Category : Parish Ministry

Wednesday Food for Thought–Tim Keller on the Holy Spirit as our Second Advocate and a story from the 18th century Welsh Church

” … your defense lawyer may have hard and challenging things to say to you, yet always in order to help you case and cause. And he or she does not merely speak to you – but also speaks to the powers that be for you. This is why the translations of John 14:16-20; 25-27 that call the Holy Spirit the Advocate are also, I believe, on the right track. That’s how God’s Spirit is defined, or described, in the word Jesus uses to talk about him. But we must notice also that Jesus calls the Spirit another Advocate or counselor. Who, then, is the first Advocate? The only other place in the New Testament where the word paraklete is used is in 1 John 2:1-2: ‘If anyone does sin, we have an advocate (paraklete) with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.’ So Jesus is the first Advocate, and the Spirit is the second. And I want you to know that in this word – advocate, counselor – we have the key to understanding not only Jesus’ work on the cross but also the Spirit’s work in our hearts. Indeed, I’d argue that unless you know that Jesus was the first Advocate, you won’t understand the work of the Holy Spirit as the second Advocate at all….”

“The first Advocate is speaking to God for you, but the second Advocate is speaking to you for you. Throughout the Farewell Discourse, Jesus keeps saying that the job of the Spirit is to take all the things Jesus has done on our behalf – all the things that the apostles had still not yet grasped – and to ‘teach you’ and ‘remind you’ and enable the apostles to finally understand all that Jesus had taught them about his saving work (John 14:26).”

“I love the fact that the Holy Spirit is not merely an instructor, but an Advocate. Though he is ‘the Spirit of truth,’ he does not merely teach and inform us; he calls us to live according to what he is telling us. He convicts us and challenges us (John 16:8-11). He says in effect, ‘You are a sinner – are you living with the humility and dependence on God that results from that fact? Yet you are also righteous in Christ – adopted and accepted into the family. Are you living with the boldness and freedom that should accord with that fact? Are you as free from the need for worldly power and approval and comfort as you should be?’ He argues with us, he exhorts, beseeches, and entreats us (all good translations of parakleo), to live lives in accordance with the accomplishments and realities of Christ’s love. And this is why Jesus says that through the Holy Spirit he will finally ‘show’ himself to his friends (John 14:21). They will finally see him and know his loving presence. … it’s natural for us to believe that it would have been better to have lived during the time of Christ and to have actually met him and heard him with our ears and seen him with our eyes. You might believe that you could know him better that way than you do now – but you would be wrong. Before he died, the Holy Spirit had not been released into the world in this powerful way, and you can only know Jesus fully through the Spirit’s influence, as he shows you in the shadow of the cross how high and long and wide and deep his love is for us. In other words, right here and now, through the Holy Spirit, you can see Christ and know his presence and his love better than the apostles could in that moment in the upper room.”

“This week, somebody criticized you. Something you bought or invested in turned out to be less valuable than you thought. Something you wanted to happen didn’t go the way you wanted it to. Someone you counted on let you down. These are real losses – of your reputation, of your material wealth, of your hopes. But what are you going to do, if you’re a Christian? Will this setback disrupt your contentment with life? Will you shake your fist at God? Toss and turn at night? If so, I submit that it’s because you don’t know how truly rich you are. You are not listening to the second Advocate about your first Advocate. You are not living in joy. You are forgetting that the only eyes in the universe that matter see you not as the ‘phony little fake’ you have sometimes been, but as a person of captivating beauty. If you’re that upset about your status with other people, if you’re constantly lashing out at people for hurting your feelings, you might call it a lack of self-control or a lack of self-esteem, and it is. But more fundamentally, you have totally lost touch with your identity. As a Christian, you’re a spiritual billionaire and you’re wringing your hands over ten dollars. It’s the job of the second Advocate to argue with you in the court of your heart, to make the case about who you are in Christ, to show you that you’re rich. And it’s your job to listen. How can you listen better? That’s a big subject, but if you are a believer, then the Holy Spirit will do his work as you use the ‘means of grace’ – reading and studying the Word by yourself and in community, prayer, worship, and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper….” 

“I once heard a story of an eighteenth-century Welsh preacher who, when he was just a teenager, was standing with his family around the deathbed of one of his aunts. His aunt had been a strong Christian, but she was slipping away. Everyone thought she was unconscious and some said out loud, ‘It’s a shame; she’s had such a hard life. She’s seen two husbands die, and she’s often been sick, and on top of it all she has died poor.’ Suddenly she opened her eyes, looked around, and said, ‘Who calls me poor? I am rich, rich! And I will soon stand before Him bold as a lion.’ And then she died. Understandably, that had quite an effect on the young man. This woman had the peace that Jesus spoke of because she had listened to the Advocate. She was saying, ‘I’ve got the only husband who can’t die. I’ve got the only wealth that can never go away. And my Savior dealt long ago with sin – the only disease that can really and truly kill me. How can you call me poor?’ The second Advocate had told her about the first Advocate, so she could say in the face of great loss, as the hymn writer did, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.'”

–Timothy Keller, Encounters with Jesus (New York: Penguin Books, 2013), pp.34-147, quoted by yours truly in this past Sunday’s sermon

Posted in --Wales, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth) U.S. Supreme Court upholds Texas ruling on bishop Ryan Reed led Diocese and Corporation

It is with great joy and thanksgiving to God that we receive news today that the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has let stand the unanimous May 2020 ruling of the Texas Supreme Court (TXSC),which found in favor of the Diocese and diocesan Corporation.

Responding to two Petitions and replies, SCOTUS denied the requests of The Episcopal Church and All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth for a review of the May 2020 opinion. That opinion upheld state trust law and statutes governing unincorporated associations, affirming ownership of properties throughout the Diocese is governed by our Constitution and Canons and administered by the diocesan Corporation.

For all practical purposes this ends the appeals process that began in 2015 following the Second Summary Judgement of the trial court in Fort Worth.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, Supreme Court, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

A Portion of the Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp for his Feast Day

Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, “Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp!” No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, “Have respect to thy old age,” and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as], “Swear by the fortune of Cesar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists.” But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, “Away with the Atheists.” Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, “Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;” Polycarp declared, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?”

The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp, Chapter IX.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Polycarp

O God, the maker of heaven and earth, who didst give to thy venerable servant, the holy and gentle Polycarp, boldness to confess Jesus Christ as King and Saviour, and steadfastness to die for his faith: Give us grace, after his example, to share the cup of Christ and rise to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Spirituality/Prayer

Alan Haley–TEC Diocese in Fort Worth loses its Appeal to the US Supreme Court of a Unanimous Texas Supreme Court Ruling Against them

With its denial of certiorari (review) this morning to two of the Episcopal Church in the USA’s (“ECUSA’s”) groups in Fort Worth, Texas, the United States Supreme Court has put to rest the multiple adverse claims made for the last twelve years against the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. All of those various claims, and the stages of their ups and downs, have been chronicled on this blog, which began just before the legal disputes emerged. It is gratifying, therefore, to report that this blog has managed to outlive, along with (retired) Bishop Jack Iker and his faithful flock, the Machiavellian intrigues of the schemers at 815 Second Avenue to hound and intimidate them into surrender of their properties.

Denial of review of the May 2020 decision by the Texas Supreme Court puts finally to rest ECUSA’s dogged attempts to enforce its notorious and one-sided Dennis Canon in Texas. The brazenness of that Canon, which attempted unilaterally to impose (after the fact) an enforceable, perpetual trust everywhere on all the parish properties of its members in ECUSA’s favor, ran directly into long-standing Texas trust law, which requires the consent of a property’s owner to place it into a trust, and which also requires express language to make a trust irrevocable. The Dennis Canon failed the test on both of those grounds.

Nor could ECUSA succeed by giving its successor group the same name as Bishop Iker’s Diocese, and then pretending to assume its identity. The Texas Supreme Court saw through those machinations, and held that the majority controlling the Diocesan corporation, and not ECUSA’s minority faction, were the true successors under Texas corporate law to the group that founded the original Diocese in 1983. In that respect, the Texas courts were far more perspicacious than the feckless courts in California, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere who simply allowed ECUSA’s attorneys to pull the wool over their eyes, and pretend that the newest kid on the block was actually the oldest, who (they claimed) had been there the whole time.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Katherine Jefferts Schori, Law & Legal Issues, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Supreme Court, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

(AP) 10 years after quake, Christ Church Cathedral finally rising

The Christ Church Cathedral was arguably New Zealand’s most iconic building before much of it crumbled in an earthquake 10 years ago. The years of debate that followed over whether the ruins should be rebuilt or demolished came to symbolize the paralysis that has sometimes afflicted the broader rebuild of Christchurch.

As the city on Monday marks one decade since the quake struck, killing 185 people and upending countless more lives, there are finally signs of progress on the cathedral.

It’s being rebuilt to look much like the original that was finished in 1904, only with modern-day improvements to make it warmer and safer, even to add extra much-needed bathrooms. But first, workers must stabilize the remains.

Peter Carrell, the Anglican bishop of Christchurch, said reopening it will represent a key milestone.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Urban/City Life and Issues

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What does it Mean to Abide in the Lord (Psalm 25:1-10)?

The sermon starts about 31:15 in.

Listen carefully for a story from the life of evangelist Daniel Paul Rader (1879-1938) and another one about the church in 18th century Wales.

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

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, February 21, as we, in The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and ministry of…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, February 19, 2021

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

Gail Thornton RIP

Agnes Gaillard Thornton, 83 of Summerville, SC passed away January 25, 2021 at Life Care of Charleston.
Daughter of H. Reed Joyner and Agnes L. Gaillard. After the death of her father in WWII, in Belgium, at the Battle of the Bulge, her mother remarried the Reverend George Lenhart Jacobs, who in turn adopted mom. Her name was changed to, Agnes Gaillard Joyner Jacobs. After marrying our father, Reuben Thomas (Tommy) Thornton, III she became known as Agnes Gaillard Thornton.
Mom was a lifelong member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where she sang in the choir. She was a voracious reader, lover of the theater and loved traveling the world especially Paris!
She was predeceased by her parents, her husband of 37 years and her youngest son Geoffrey.
She is survived by her brother, Adam (Rachel) of Ravenel, SC; and sister Georgia (Jerry) of Johns Island, SC. Sons Tommy (Cathryn) of Indian Harbour Beach, Fl and Clay (Sandy) of Summerville, SC. Grandchildren: Elizabeth, Ben, Cameron, Clayton. Great grandchildren: Nicholas, Jack, Timothy, and Charlotte.
The family would like to give a special thank you for the awesome, loving care she received at Life Care of Charleston and especially her special nurses: Candace and Nina.
In lieu of flowers, if a memorial would like to be given, the family ask they be made to: Flowertown Players, 133 S. Main Street, Summerville, SC 29483.
During this period of COVID 19, the family is having a private graveside service (Courtesy of Dyal Funeral Home).

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals

Churchwarden Patrick Kidd Expresses Some Concerns about recent C of E leadership amidst the Pandemic

Take the time to read it carefully.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(LA Times) Black people still aren’t getting COVID vaccines. This pastor isn’t having it

The pandemic has forced churches across California to keep their doors shut for much of the last year. For some, that has meant losing loyal congregants who lack internet service and, therefore, have been unable to watch sermons online. For others, the shift to streaming solely on social media has allowed them to actually expand their congregations.

City of Refuge is one the churches that has grown and Jones has used the opportunity to speak to more people about the dangers of COVID-19 and the safety of vaccines. In fact, the biggest reason he wanted to get vaccinated was to set an example for his congregation of 20,000, and for the hundreds of others who also now watch him online every Sunday.

Too many members are reluctant to get vaccinated, he said, despite the risks they face. They insist that the vaccines are “evil,” he said, and that the coronavirus was manufactured and that Donald Trump had something to do with it.

“It’s just the same old conspiracy stories. There’s no proof for any of that,” said Jones, 71, who also happens to be the brother of model and actress Grace Jones. “So what I do is I go in and say, where’s the proof? Let’s talk reality.”

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(RNS) Dallas faith groups help shelter homeless Texans during deep freeze

Some communities urged residents to boil water before drinking, and Texas officials are not sure when power outages will end, according to local news reports from Dallas. The Weather Channel reported 17 people had died due to the storm.

The Rev. Wayne Walker of OurCalling, a Dallas-based homeless ministry, said his organization had been providing shelter at its building but became too crowded during the deep freeze. There was not enough space for people to stay warm while still keeping socially distanced.

One Dallas homeless shelter, where about 250 people were staying, temporarily lost power due to the storm, reported The Dallas Morning News. The city has also been relying on local hotels to provide winter shelter for the homeless during the pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Parish Ministry

(The Bakersfield Californian) Churches strive to maintain Ash Wednesday tradition, even as they bend it for safety’s sake

It was another sign of the times Wednesday as two Anglican priests sprinkled ashes over the heads of the faithful without the congregants having to get out of their cars.

Beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of Trinity Anglican Church in southwest Bakersfield, a drive-thru format was used to minimize physical contact during the early-morning observance of Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

“We’ve never done this before, but with COVID, God is letting us try something different this year,” said the Rev. Karl Dietze, pastor at Trinity.

He didn’t really know whether anyone would even show up for the unusual Ash Wednesday rite, but Dietze said it was worth a try.

“We’re trying to do ministry and keep people safe at the same time,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lent, Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

On June 19, 2020, Judge Edgar Dickson issued a ruling interpreting the 2017 S.C. Supreme Court decision with its five separate opinions. Integral to that interpretation was his determination that the Episcopal Church had no trust interest in the Diocesan properties or those of its parishes. TEC and TECSC have appealed that interpretation, and the Supreme Court has once again taken jurisdiction of the case. On November 12, TEC and TECSC filed their initial brief, presenting their legal arguments for vacating Judge Dickson’s determinations. Last Friday (February 12, 2021), legal counsel for The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina filed our respondent’s brief, in support of Judge Dickson’s ruling.

Counsel for TEC and TECSC will now make a final reply to our arguments. The case will then be wholly in the hands of the Supreme Court. God has providentially brought us to this place, for which we should give thanks. Please keep the Supreme Court and its justices in your prayers as they deliberate our case, that God will be glorified in the outcome and His Church be blessed.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(CBS 17) Sunday afternoon Inspiration–A 93-year-old veteran takes 3 buses almost every day to visit wife’s grave

“Ted Richardson is well-known up at the Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl — because he’s there so often.”

Watch it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, February 14, 2021, 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, February 12, 2021

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

(CS Monitor) No pew? No problem. Online church is revitalizing congregations.

All that changed last year, however, when joining another church became an option – a church 2,000 miles away.

Ms. Schultz began worshipping at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, one of many making room during the pandemic for new “virtual members” who attend only online. She watches services on YouTube in her bathrobe, attends social gatherings on Zoom, and is glad to be rid of what she calls “the judgment factor” that she’s too often felt when visiting churches in person. So when Wilshire Senior Pastor George Mason started inviting online attendees to join the congregation, no matter where they live, she eagerly signed up.

“It’s nice to be seen, noticed, and welcomed when you show up alone,” says Ms. Schultz, who tithes to her faraway church and sometimes has a speaking role during worship. “It feels like less pressure when you’re behind a screen. You don’t have to talk, but you can talk when you’re ready to talk.”

It’s a pandemic shift no one saw coming at the start of 2020. Churches that had long assumed their members would live nearby are no longer resigned to geographic constraints. As congregations have gone online to maintain ministries while social distancing, new worshippers from other regions have been showing up. Now some are getting even more involved. They’re becoming part of the fabric of church life as members, regular donors, and active participants in a host of church activities.

“Online really is a way to reach people that maybe we couldn’t reach in a local setting because some people wouldn’t come into a church building,” says Gary McIntosh, professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Biola University in La Mirada, California, and author of 23 books on church growth. “But they will observe a worship service online, and they will get involved in a small group online

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(AJ) Five Regina churches merge to form new parish

A group of five Anglican parishes in Regina are merging in a bid to ensure the long-term sustainability of their congregations.

The combined parishes of St. Luke’s, St. James, St. Matthew, St. Phillip and All Saints Anglican Church—representing five of the seven Anglican parishes in the city—will henceforth be known as Immanuel Anglican Parish.

Archdeacon Cheryl Toth, representing the archdeaconry of St. Cuthbert that administers Anglican churches in Regina, said in an interview with the CBC that the merger’s aim is for congregations “to bring together resources of all kinds, people and otherwise, and be able to work together to engage in the ministry they want to have.”

Bishop Rob Hardwick of the diocese of Qu’Appelle initially brought together leaders from seven Regina parishes in 2018 to consider some form of restructuring. The move was prompted by declining congregational membership, financial difficulties and clergy vacancies.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Parish Ministry

(Church Times) C of E’s carbon footprint calculated for first time

The carbon footprint of Church of England buildings has been calculated for the first time. The estimate is that parish churches use about 185,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.

The data has been gathered by the Energy Footprint Tool (EFT), an online calculator built by the statistics team at Church House, Westminster, which allows parishes to input their energy usage and discover how much carbon-dioxide equivalent they are using (News, 4 September 2020).

Once churches have entered their data, the tool offers advice for how they could cut their energy usage, and a simple comparison on how they are doing compared with churches of similar size.

It is hoped that wider usage of the EFT will help to push the Church towards meeting its target, set by the General Synod, of reaching net-zero emissions by 2030 (News, 14 February 2020)

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment, said that the 2030 target had inspired Anglicans everywhere to “pick up the pace”.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Anglican Diocese of South Carolina 2021 Convention to be held Virtually

From there:

With hardly a week going by with one of our clergy and or parish staff not having been exposed to someone with Covid-19 therein necessitating the cancellation of Sunday services and even Christmas Eve services, and with cases in many parts of the diocese still numerous or on the rise, we have made the decision for our spring 2021 Diocesan Convention to be held virtually. This gives our diocesan staff and your elected delegates not only clarity but time to make needed plans. While this is disappointing to our diocesan team and to me, we realize that to postpone the decision another month to see if the environment changes for the better only puts a greater burden on all to adequately coordinate and execute an effective online meeting. Therefore, this year’s Diocesan Convention on March will again be held online enabling not only broader participation from our congregations but also assuring all of greater safety and peace.

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

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Is the Church of England on the brink of collapse?

No, the Church of England is not on the brink of collapse But it does need to be on the brink of making some courageous and radical decisions if it is to have an effective ministry in the future.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Charleston, South Carolina’s St. John’s Chapel Experiences Growth through Social Media During COVID Pandemic

Before the lockdown, the Rev. Matthew Rivers wasn’t a fan of Facebook. But last spring when COVID-19 shut the doors of St. John’s Chapel, he reluctantly ventured into preaching via social media. To his surprise, the sermon and worship videos allowed the church to grow during the pandemic and expand the ministry far beyond its Eastside setting.

“God used the thing I wasn’t really enamored with, to enlarge the church,” Rivers said with a laugh.

In recent months, 22 new members have joined St. John’s Chapel, with about 30 percent discovering the church through its Facebook postings. In addition, more than 60,000 people around the world are following its Facebook services, which also feature the First Lady of the church, Chaplain Henrietta Rivers.

“The online ministry has been pivotal; St. John’s has been exposed,” Henrietta says. “We know God’s vision is larger than our small building.”

Read it all.

There are so many ways God can use us, especially when we follow him into uncomfortable and unknown places. Rev. Matthew…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Saturday, February 6, 2021

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Latest News, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Parish Ministry

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, February 7, 2021, 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, February 5, 2021

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

Sally Ann French Weber May 27, 1935 – February 1, 2021

Sally was born and raised in Woodstock, Virginia, the youngest of eight children of the late Warren Ballinger French and Lena Belle Sheetz French. Sally was a graduate of the Woodstock High School Class of 1953. She was 85.

Sally received her Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia in cooperation with the Medical College of Virginia. She worked as a medical technologist up until her retirement just last year, enjoying warm relationships with fellow staff and her patients. Sally took time off from work while raising her family of four girls, welcoming their friends, and volunteering for many organizations including the Girl Scouts, the Winnetka Children’s Theater, and the Winnetka Children’s Fair. Sally could also be found as part of the “kitchen witches” for the Winnetka Community House Antique Show and volunteered with Meals on Wheels, the Women’s Club of Winnetka, and the Crow Island PTA and Resale Shop. She was an active member of the Winnetka Presbyterian Church and a life member of the Chicago Botanic Garden….

Read it all.

A greatly loved friend of my mother's extended family. She will be missed.

Posted by Kendall Harmon on Saturday, February 6, 2021

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals

([London] Times) Clergy eased out as Church of England puts its faith in managers

As a volunteer for 25 years, she has taught at Sunday school, led the choir, run the food bank, served the tea and — crucially — paid £50 a month by direct debit to keep the village church alive.

The congregation has shrunk to 25. The pressure is on those left to stump up the £30,000 that is required every year, through personal donations and fundraising, to pay for the upkeep of their church and the privilege of a vicar split between four other parishes.

So when the volunteer, who asked not to be named, heard that the Church of England intended to “prune” the clergy and recruit middle managers with elaborate titles and salaries of more than £50,000 to do some heavenly thinking on how to revive its flagging fortunes, there was anger in the ranks.

The church says that dwindling numbers and financial pressures leave it no choice but to abolish posts when clergy retire. It moves some vicars out of struggling parishes and into bigger communities, for example in inner cities or suburban housing estates where there may not have been a church before, in an effort to survive.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(RNS) Funeral directors survive ‘surreal’ year with creativity and faith

There are no signs in front yards hailing the men and women who sometimes wryly call themselves “last responders.”

But for funeral directors across the country, like medical professionals, this has been a year like no other.

“There is no way to explain it,” said Stephen Kemp, 61, director of Kemp Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Southfield, Michigan, which borders Detroit. “I will never forget it as long as I live. In terms of sheer volume, it was surreal.”

In a normal month, Kemp estimates, he handles arrangements for about 30 bodies. In April, said Kemp, he did 152, mostly African American men. Now, even as his monthly toll has settled to about 40, he’s seeing people with comorbid conditions succumbing to the long-term effects of the disease.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Clergy won’t be pushed out in cost cuts, says Archbishop of York

Clergy are still needed to serve the Church of England, and “are not being pushed out” of their posts to make up for the continued decline in income, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, says.

None the less, the Church will have to make “tough” and “challenging” changes to spread both its wealth and stipendiary clergy fairly across the 42 dioceses, he warns. This is likely to result in some cuts to stipendiary posts in all dioceses, many of which — especially in the north — are being left vacant after clerics retire.

Archbishop Cottrell, writing in the Church Times this week, is responding to the alarm caused by a discussion paper circulated to bishops and diocesan secretaries last month, part of which was leaked to The Sunday Times (see our full news report here).

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Japan

O God our Father, who art the source of strength to all thy saints, and who didst bring the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of life eternal: Grant that we, being encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith that we profess, even unto death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Japan

(FT Magazine) How the race for renewable energy is reshaping global politics

Australia itself has long been a climate laggard and a major coal exporter, but as China and other big customers plan to cut their emissions, taking their business with them, that may be changing. Dozens of the world’s biggest economies have adopted targets for net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. And 189 countries have joined the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2C. In a race to curb climate change, countries are rushing to cut fossil fuels, boost clean energy — and transform their economies in the process.

But as the energy system changes, so will energy politics. For most of the past century, geopolitical power was intimately connected to fossil fuels. The fear of an oil embargo or a gas shortage was enough to forge alliances or start wars, and access to oil deposits conferred great wealth. In the world of clean energy, a new set of winners and losers will emerge. Some see it as a clean energy “space race”. Countries or regions that master clean technology, export green energy or import less fossil fuel stand to gain from the new system, while those that rely on exporting fossil fuels — such as the Middle East or Russia — could see their power decline.

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the former president of Iceland and chair of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, says that the clean energy transition will birth a new type of politics. The shift is happening “faster, and in a more comprehensive way, than anyone expected”, he says. “As fossil fuels gradually go out of the energy system . . . the old geopolitical model of power centres that dominate relations between states also goes out the window. Gradually the power of those states that were big players in the world of the ­fossil-fuel economies, or big corporates like the oil companies, will fritter away.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Stewardship

William Nye, Secretary General, Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England , pens a Response to an article in this week’s Spectator

In response to a cover story in the Spectator:Holy Relic – The Church of England as we know it is disappearing’ published 4 February 2021, William Nye, Secretary General, Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England has responded with the following Letter to the Editor (for publication). The letter reads as follows:

Sir,

As a longstanding and loyal reader of the Spectator, I was disappointed in your cover story about the Church of England.

I was amazed to read the ludicrous claim that the parish system is being dissolved like the monasteries, repeated without even a cursory check on whether this could possibly be true. We read of a supposed central take-over of independent dioceses and an imaginary national plan to roll out cuts and sell assets to fund more managers. The old canard that the Archbishops decided to suspend public worship last year at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, rather than the Government, did not even get a rudimentary qualification.

No one from the Spectator called the Church of England to ask whether any of these things were true.

This matters because truth matters. It matters because this kind of misinformation is damaging and demoralising to clergy and laity in every corner of England who have been worshipping God and serving their neighbours in extraordinary new ways, despite the restrictions we have all faced during this pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship