Category : Parish Ministry

(WSJ) Vatican Pushes Against Growing Acceptance of Euthanasia

The Vatican condemned the spreading international acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide, including in some traditionally Catholic countries in Europe, in a strongly worded document that reasserts traditional teaching.

“Euthanasia is an act of homicide that no end can justify and that does not tolerate any form of complicity or active or passive collaboration,” the Vatican’s doctrinal office said in a document published Tuesday and expressly approved by Pope Francis. “It is gravely unjust to enact laws that legalize euthanasia or justify and support suicide, invoking a false right to choose a death improperly characterized as respectable only because it is chosen,” the document says.

Spain’s Parliament is considering a law that would make the country the fourth in Europe to legalize euthanasia, after the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Legislators in neighboring Portugal are considering similar proposals. In February, Germany’s highest court overturned a law banning assisted suicide.

Euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient suffering from a physical or mental disease. In assisted suicide, patients administer lethal drugs to themselves under medical supervision.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CT) Atlanta’s Black Church

They say you can’t love what you don’t know, and lately, many of us are realizing just how much we don’t know. This year, my church in Augusta, Georgia, began exploring the racial history of our city, the location of one of the first and largest civil rights riots in the South. The details of the 1970 riot—chronicled in a recent Georgia Public Broadcasting podcast—resemble current events: a teen beaten to death in police custody, the black community responding with peaceful demands then rebellion, police using deadly force to suppress the uprising. But the parallels to the present aren’t striking if, like so many young people in our city, you had no idea it took place.

No wonder we feel so stuck in this racial justice fight. You can’t lament a past you don’t remember. You can’t change problems you don’t recognize. You can’t empathize with voices you ignore. Part of our call to love and serve our neighbors is to understand the lingering scars and burdens they bear.

Learning how my community downplayed the significance of its racial past made me all the more curious about the extensive civil rights legacy in the Georgia capital, the subject of this month’s cover package. Across the generations, Atlanta—with the black church as its heartbeat—has worked to honor its hard-won progress as well as to lament the cost of the ongoing fight for justice.

That practice has helped carry on a long legacy and inspire today’s leaders in Atlanta—the preachers and politicians, entrepreneurs and activists, who are working to see the principles of God’s kingdom shape every sphere of life.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

The Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch looks back to 1817–Episcopal priest Philander Chase Comes to Preach

On May 3, 1817, he conducted the first…[Episcopal] service in Columbus at the Buckeye House hotel.

Four days later, he preached again at the High Street home of storekeeper Lincoln Goodale. “Some of those who came were merely curious. Others believed that God’s inerrant providence brought them to that spot. All listened with reverence as Chase intoned the service from the Book of Common Prayer and preached to them,” Lisa M. Klein wrote in her 2003 history of Trinity Episcopal Church, Be It Remembered.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Marcus Kaiser, rector of Holy Comforter, Sumter, SC announces his call to be the new dean of St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee, Florida

This is a letter I knew that I would one day write, but never wanted to believe it. It’s with the most extreme mix of sadness and excitement that I tell you that I have been called to be the next Dean of St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee, FL. My last Sunday at Holy Comforter as your Rector will be October 18th, 2020. In the coming weeks, Bishop Lawrence will be working with the vestry to develop a plan both for the interim period between Rectors and the calling a new Rector for Holy Comforter.

It has been a privilege and honor beyond anything I can explain to have worked and served alongside you for the past 11 years, and even more so as your Rector for the last 6. I want you to know that I am not being called away from you, but to St. Peter’s and serving the wider Church. Kim, our boys, and I will be here for plenty of discussion and questions, and this is not our final farewell, but in the remainder of this letter, I want to answer two questions – Why now and why this call?

First, why now?
The truth is that there is never a perfect time, but I have come to believe this is God’s kairos time. I did not know then, but looking back it is clear I was called to see Holy Comforter through a contentious time of lawsuits and conflict. I have learned hard lessons of patience and known God’s grace in ways no human could ever imagine. We have been through this struggle for the gospel together, most of you have stayed in and stood your ground, and we have come through. I truly believe that the worst of that is behind us and that this congregation is poised to start a new chapter, an era unmarked by the existential threat of the past several years, a time of asking, “what now, Lord?” It is clear to me that the vision for that new chapter will be given to someone else, and I am excited to see how God directs this.

You might also reasonably ask why I would leave in the middle of a pandemic. All I can really say is that Kim and I have struggled with that very question more than any other, even more than the lawsuits. The reality of this pandemic is that we simply don’t know when it will be over enough. We are now 7 months in, and it was clear months ago that there will probably not be a single day when we can say the threat has passed. Still, we are in a good and stable place. Almost half of the congregation has decided to return to in-person worship, even with the restrictions in place, and the staff is working hard on exciting bible studies and small groups that will be sustainable. I would not have picked this time, either for my family or for Holy Comforter, but after many hours of prayer, I believe it is the time God has anointed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry

Andrew Cannell’s Sunday Sermon–Giving Hope to Our Enemies (Jonah 3:10 – 4:11)

The sermon starts about 22:30 in.

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture, Youth Ministry

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, September 20, 2020, as we, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the retired clergy…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, September 18, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(NPR) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87.

“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

Architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation’s highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign.

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Law & Legal Issues, Supreme Court, Women

Choral Worship back at Hereford and Lincoln Cathedrals

Hereford and Lincoln cathedrals are the latest to reintroduce choral worship upholding a tradition that goes to the heart of our mission and ministry – thanks to the support of the Church Commissioners.

Tonight (Friday) will mark the first time the full choir of Lincoln Cathedral will return for Choral Evensong since our cathedrals were closed last March.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

An EB Pusey Sermon for his Feast Day–“Patience and Confidence the Strength of the Church” (1837)

The general conduct of our Church has been true to her first principles, to render to Caesar the things that were Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s; to do nothing against the command of God, but to suffer every thing which the Caesar may require. It was thus that the seven Bishops mainly checked James’s tyranny, refusing to do, but submitting to suffer, what was unlawful; it was thus that even in the Great Rebellion men cheerfully took the spoiling of their goods; it was thus that in events familiar to us, the members of this place, at different periods, suffered what was un lawful, rather than compromise their principles;–and we cherish their memories.

The two events, for which we keep this day as an annual thanksgiving to God, together, strikingly illustrate these principles. 1. That we may safely leave things to God. 2. That there is great risk, that man, by any impatience of his, will mar the blessing which God designs for His Church.

In the plot, from which this day is named, God had permitted things to come to the uttermost; every preparation was made, every scruple removed; a Roman priest had solemnly given the answer, that, for so great a benefit to the Church, their own people too might be sacrificed; the innocent might be slain, so that the guilty majority escaped not. The secret was entrusted to but few, was guarded by the most solemn oaths and by the participation of the Holy Eucharist, had been kept for a year and a half although all of the Roman Communion in England knew that some great plot was being carried on, and were praying for its success; inferior plots had been forbidden by Rome, lest they should mar this great one; no suspicion had been excited, and there was nothing left to excite suspicion, when God employed means, in man’s sight, the [28/29] most unlikely. He awoke, at the last, one lurking feeling of pity for one person in the breast of but one, so that a dark hint was given to that one: and He caused him who gave it, to miscalculate the character of his own brother-in-law, or entrust him with more than he was aware; then He placed fear in that other’s breast, so that, through another and distant fear, he shewed the letter which contained this dark hint; then, when the councillors despised the anonymous hint, as an idle tale, He enlightened the mind of the monarch, to discover the dark saying, which to us it seems strange that any beforehand should have unravelled; and when even then the councillors had surveyed the very spot, and discovered nothing, He caused the monarch to persevere, undeterred, until He had brought the whole to light. Yet to see more of this mystery of God’s Providence, and how He weaves together the intricate web of human affairs, and places long before the hidden springs of things, we must think also, how He ordered that one of these few conspirators should be intermarried with one of the few Roman peers, and so desired to save him; and by the conspiracy from which God had shielded the monarch’s early life, He quickened his sense of the present danger; so that while men were marrying, and giving in marriage, and strengthening themselves by alliances, God was preparing the means whereby this kingdom should be saved against the will of those so employed; and while men were plotting against a sacred life, God was laying up in the monarch’s soul the thought, which Himself should hereafter kindle to save it. Verily, “a man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.” “The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings; own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” The words of the Psalmist, selected for this day’s service, find a striking completion in this history. “God hid him from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity–they encourage themselves in an evil matter; they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? they search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search; the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep: but God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded; so they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves.”

But it yet more illustrates the teaching, and is an argument of encouragement to our Church, how God in two neighbouring countries permitted similar plots to be accomplished.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Preaching / Homiletics

Mark Lawrence’s Sermon from last Night at Christ Saint Paul’s–Confirmed by the Holy Spirit in the Love of the Father

The sermon starts about 19:30 in.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Stewardship, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

(Anglican Diocese of SC) Hamilton Smith–Covid 19 Provides Opportunity To Love Your Community

Covid 19 has put a stumbling block in front of so much ministry. I don’t need to go into the litany of things that have been cancelled, moved, zoomed, or put outside. It’s easy to see Covid as only an obstacle.

Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant, however, saw it as an opportunity. One business particularly hard hit by Covid has been the performing arts. Like Churches, these businesses exist by bringing groups large and small to rehearse, sing, laugh, hug, and watch others do the same. All of that came to a crashing halt in mid March. Rehearsals could be moved outside, but all of the performance spaces were shut down. This included all publicly owned amphitheaters. Many performing arts companies were forced to hold plays in their parking lots (with the audience watching from cars and lighting the stage with headlights!) or on farms miles away from town.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(ABC Aus.) Rodeo bronc rider to Christian leader, Keith Christie celebrates church’s 20 years

Before Pastor Keith Christie joined the church he was a rodeo-going bronc rider with what he described as a “pretty bad attitude”.

Standing in Mount Isa’s Christian Outreach Centre, it is hard to draw any parallel between the Pastor Keith who stands before you and the photos of the bronc rider on his office walls.

Pastor Keith reopened the Christian Outreach Centre two decades ago and celebrated the milestone last month.

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Posted in Australia / NZ, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Craige Borrett’s Sunday Sermon–Christ’s Radical Call to Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)

The sermon begins about 20:30 in….

Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

A Charles Spurgeon Sermon for Holy Cross Day–The Death of Christ for His People

O heir of heaven, lift now thine eye, and behold the scenes of suffering through which thy Lord passed for thy sake! Come in the moonlight, and stand between those olives; see him sweat great drops of blood. Go from that garden, and follow him to Pilate’s bar. See your Matter subjected to the grossest and filthiest insult; gaze upon the face of spotless beauty defiled with the spittle of soldiers; see his head pierced with thorns; mark his back, all rent, and torn, and scarred, and bruised, and bleeding beneath the terrible lash. And O Christian, see him die! Go and stand where his mother stood, and hear him say to thee, “Man, behold thy Saviour!” Come thou to-night, and stand where John stood; hear him cry, “I thirst,” and find thyself unable either to assuage his griefs or to comprehend their bitterness. Then, when thou hast wept there, lift thine hand, and cry, “Revenge!” Bring out the traitors; where are they? And when your sins are brought forth as the murderers of Christ, let no death be too painful for them; though it should involve the cutting off of right arms, or the quenching of right eyes, and putting out their light for ever; do it! For if these murderers murdered Christ, then let them die. Die terribly they may, but die they must. Oh! that God the Holy Ghost would teach you that first lesson, my brethren, the boundless wickedness of sin, for Christ had to lay down his life before your sin could be wiped away.

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Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, September 13, 2020, as we, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, September 11, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

The Lamb of God, a sermon by Bishop John Henry Hobart for his Feast Day

The striking and appropriate terms in which the prophet Isaiah depicts the character and offices of the Messiah, have procured for him, by way of eminence, the title of the Evangelical Prophet. He exhibits a glowing but faithful picture of the character of Christ, and all the humiliating and all the triumphant events of his life. In the chapter which contains my text, the prophet has dipped his pencil in the softest colours, and draws a portrait of the Saviour, which, while it conveys to us the most exalted ideas of his character, is calculated to awaken our tenderest and liveliest sympathy.

Let us then contemplate the character of Christ, as delineated by the prophet under the emblem of “a lamb brought to the slaughter,” that our penitence may be awakened, our gratitude enlivened, and our souls warmed with the ardent emotions of love and duty.

Under the character of a “lamb brought to the slaughter,” we are led to consider,

The innocence of Christ;

His tenderness and compassion;

His patience;

And, finally, to consider him as the victim for our sins.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops

Must not Miss 9/11 Video: Welles Crowther, The Man Behind the Red Bandana

The Man Behind the Red Bandana from Drew Gallagher on Vimeo.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Sports, Terrorism

One Photo Provides Insight into One Heroic 9/11 firefighter’s story: Gary Box

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Photos/Photography, Terrorism

(NYT) Diana Rigg, Emma Peel of ‘The Avengers,’ Dies at 82

Diana Rigg, the British actress who enthralled London and New York theater audiences with her performances in classic roles for more than a half-century but remained best known as the quintessential new woman of the 1960s — sexy, confident, witty and karate-adept — on the television series “The Avengers,” died on Thursday at her home in London. She was 82.

Her daughter, Rachael Stirling, said in a statement that the cause was cancer.

Ms. Rigg had late-career success in a recurring role, from 2013 to 2016, as the outspoken and demanding Lady Olenna Tyrell on HBO’s acclaimed series “Game of Thrones.” “I wonder if you’re the worst person I ever met,” Lady Olenna once said to her nemesis Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). “At a certain age, it’s hard to recall.”

But Ms. Rigg’s first and biggest taste of stardom came in 1965, when, as a 26-year-old veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company, she was cast on the fourth season of ITV’s “The Avengers.” As Emma Peel, she was the stylish new crime-fighting partner of the dapper intelligence agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee), replacing Honor Blackman, who had left to star in the James Bond film “Goldfinger.”

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Movies & Television

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Do We As a Church Embody and Embrace the Grace of God? (Romans 12:12)

It starts about 22 1/2 minutes in; listen carefully for a great story about the swimmer Florence Chadwick, among many other things.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, September 6, 2020, as we, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and ministry…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, September 4, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Craige Borrett announces his departure from Christ St Paul’s Anglican parish after 28 years

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Does Your Faith in God Form Who You Are and What You Do? (Romans 12:1-3)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

Newman Lawrence to be the new rector of Saint Jude’s, Walterboro, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

Trish and I are pleased to announce that I have been called to be the next Rector of St. Jude’s Anglican Church in…

Posted by Newman Huckabee Lawrence on Monday, August 24, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(CT Pastors) Wendy Alsup–Grieving Ministry Loss? You’re Not Alone.

My brother-in-law is a pastor in upstate South Carolina. He and his wife shared with me their grief when they realized that they had to completely cancel their summer vacation Bible school, after months of planning and regardless of handwashing protocol.

My own pastor, ministering in our cross-cultural church plant, shared with me the impact of the loss of our community’s call and response pattern of worship, which cannot be replicated through our current options to broadcast live services. It sounds small to some, and yet it has impacted our congregation in real ways. Most of all, we have lost contact with folks we were discipling, fragile buds just beginning to bloom into true discipleship. Though core members have hung together and grown closer, we weekly note the number of fringe attendees, those just beginning to feel a part of our church community, who have fallen away despite efforts to reach out and include them.

The evangelical church in America needed refining. But along with those things that needed to be pruned, it seems ministries are losing many good opportunities that fit God’s call to disciple the nations. Pastors sought God’s face before making their plans. Their ministries moved into the doors God seemed to be opening. In light of global suffering from the pandemic and racial injustice, such ministry losses may seem trivial to some. But they are not trivial. These losses affect pastors and ministry leaders in real ways, though sometimes we don’t even know how to name the feeling of loss they bring.

Ministry losses are piling up for pastors as hopes they had for their churches and joys they found in their ministries seem destroyed by the stifling measures we must all take right now to love our neighbor and slow the spread of this pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The Marvelous Mercy of Christ and the great Faith of the SyroPhoenician Woman (Matthew 15:21-28)

The sermon starts at about 18 minutes in.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly–Can Episcopal clergy consecrate bread and wine online?

In the late 1970s, the Episcopal Ad Project began releasing spots taking shots at television preachers and other trends in American evangelicalism.

One image showed a television serving as an altar, holding a priest’s stole, a chalice and plate of Eucharistic hosts. The headline asked: “With all due regard to TV Christianity, have you ever seen a Sony that gives Holy Communion?”

Now some Anglicans are debating whether it’s valid during the coronavirus crisis to celebrate “virtual Eucharists,” with computers linking priests at altars and communicants with their own bread and wine at home.

In a recent House of Bishops meeting — online, of course — Episcopal Church leaders backed away from allowing what many call “virtual Holy Eucharist.”

Read it all.

Posted in Eucharist, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Science & Technology

Rob Sturdy–Beware the Autumn People, a sermon on the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13)

The sermon begins around 22:20 in. You can also download or listen directly to the audio at the link provided here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer