Category : Parish Ministry

C of E Statement on the Telford Inquiry report

The publication of the report of the public inquiry into child sex abuse in Telford, demands a response from all organisations working with children and young people. Over a thousand girls, across decades, were subject to Child Sexual Exploitation. Not only were signs ignored, but victims went unheard and were often themselves blamed.

Church leaders and representatives can be reluctant to comment publicly on the safeguarding shortcomings of other institutions, quite simply because of the Church’s own failures to protect those who are vulnerable or to respond well to survivors and victims. But we must speak up.

There is no doubt that victims and survivors were badly failed and we should all be asking what we can learn from this important inquiry and how we can better protect children and young people in our communities.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Pray for St. John’s, John’s Island This Sunday

We’re asking all our churches to include St. John’s in their “Prayers of the People” this Sunday. July 17 is their first Sunday meeting at Haut Gap Middle School.

A standing room only crowd filled St. John’s Walton Hall for their July 10 service, the final one held on the historic campus and the day they said farewell to their beloved rector the Rev. Dr. Greg Snyder (who had served the parish for 20 years) and his wife, Beth. Fr. Greg preached, acknowledging his own grief, admitting “I don’t like this,” and encouraging those present to admit their feelings, “When you stand before a loving God be honest about how you feel.” He didn’t stay in that posture though and told them, “When God’s people have been willing to sacrifice, great things happen… on the other side of this you are going to see marvelous things.” Listen to the sermon. View a video and photo album.

Read it all.

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

C of E Synod welcomes new report setting out proposals for Clergy Conduct Measure

Members voted to back the first moves to create legislation for a Clergy Conduct Measure, replacing the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) 2003.

The vote follows the publication of the report Under Authority Revisited which sets out proposals for complaints to be allocated into three different tracks, depending on seriousness.

Opening the debate, the Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, who headed the Implementation Group that drew up the report, said that the time for change was ‘overdue’.

“Whilst the critique of the CDM could be extensive, the principal failing of it as a piece of legislation lies in its inflexibility to respond to different levels of misconduct and complaint,” he told the Synod.

“In meeting our objectives the Implementation Group has sought to apply four fundamental principles – first, the process must provide for a proportionate and efficient way of dealing with a much wider range of grievances and misconduct. Secondly, the process must protect clergy from frivolous, malicious and vexatious accusations.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

The Very Revd Dominic Barrington to be the next Dean of York

Dominic began his ministry as curate in the Mortlake with East Sheen Team Ministry in the Diocese of Southwark. He served as a university chaplain at St Chad’s, Durham before becoming priest in charge, and subsequently rector at St Peter & Paul with St Michael’s in Kettering in the Diocese of Peterborough. He was installed as Dean of St James Cathedral in September 2015 after twenty years of ordained ministry in the Church of England.

Dominic has previously worked with the Arts Council to create and fund new regional touring opportunities for the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, and other orchestras. He also worked for several years with some of Britain’s leading professional choirs and vocal groups.

Dominic is married to Alison, a music therapist, who has worked in both clinical and academic contexts. They have two sons, Benedict and Linus.

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

C of E releases a new resource to help churches become more ‘fruitful in evangelism’

Leading in Evangelism’ contains free on-demand content designed to support leaders to develop a culture and plan for evangelism that suits their context .

The resource comprises a series of one hour video-supported sessions, created to stimulate conversation, planning and action within churches, which can be explored at their own pace.

It is hoped the content will help churches increase their confidence in evangelism, creating a culture where those in the church are more inclined to share their faith with others.

The series has been developed in partnership with several Anglican networks and features a range of voices from across the different traditions within the Church of England and was part funded by Benefact Trust.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Cof E General Synod votes to leave the law on Assisted Suicide unchanged

Following a debate, members backed a Private Member’s Motion (PMM) paying tribute to the ‘enormous and untiring’ efforts of health professionals working in palliative and end of life care.

They called on the Government to guarantee adequate funding and resourcing of palliative care services to ensure the highest possible standards of care for all. Members further affirmed that the law on Assisted Suicide should remain unchanged.

General Synod member Dr Simon Eyre, from the Diocese of Chichester, introducing the PMM, called for the Government to ensure adequate funding for hospices over the next decade.

He said palliative care was currently ‘insufficiently comprehensive’ with only one palliative care consultant per 100,000 of the population.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

The Dean of Southwark, Andrew Nunn, announces his retirement

The Dean of Southwark, The Very Revd Andrew Nunn, has announced his intention to retire on 4 July 2023 following the 40th anniversary of his ordination as Deacon.

In his letter to the Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, the Dean said, “I wanted to give you a year’s notice of this in order to allow you to begin the process of identifying and appointing my successor and for the new Cathedral Chapter to do the work it will need to do in order to be in a position to welcome a new Dean. It has been the most enormous privilege to serve the people of God and lead the worship of Almighty God for all these years but especially from this position.”

He continued, “There is a great deal I can do in a year. Be assured, I won’t coast towards retirement. It will be heart-breaking leaving but the time is right and I am sure you will find somebody wonderful to serve this wonderful community.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Music producer-turned-priest puts on DJ-led worship services

The Revd Simon Stride, Curate at Holy Trinity, Stalybridge, in Cheshire has had a passion for dance music since his early teens and his combined interests in theology and dance music have helped guide his spiritual direction through his adult life.

Since his early days as an ordinand, Simon has led DJ worship ranging from Christian clubland-style events complete with strobe lights and smoke machines for youth congregations – to ‘chill-out’ compline services, using soundscapes and atmospheric music tracks to help people meditate on scripture.

“I feel it’s part of my calling to use the skills I learnt in this area as part of worship – to enable people to connect with God through dance and electronic music,” he explained.

“We’ve also started seeing more young people bring their friends to these church events for the first time.”

Simon even ran a ‘Resurrection Rave’ with headlining DJ, Bazz Morgan (Velocity of Light).

“We wanted to create something that would attract young people to church and also communicate the Christian message and the meaning of the Resurrection,” he explained.

Read it all.

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

(FT) War costs Russia its influence with Ukraine’s Orthodox believers

The Sunday sermon that Metropolitan Longin, a senior bishop in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, aimed at Moscow’s patriarch Kirill in early June did not hold back.

Previously Longin had prayed at every service for the blessing of Kirill — the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, his own church’s spiritual parent.

But now Longin lambasted Kirill for “the people dying and the blood being spilled, for bombing our monasteries and churches [and] for the blessing you have given the bloodshed” in a speech condemning the Russian churchman’s support for president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“You will answer to the Lord God for every mother’s tear and freshly dug grave,” Longin said. “You have wounded the entire Ukrainian Orthodox world and brought us pain. Don’t try to justify it.”

The broadside at Kirill shows the upheaval in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, one of the country’s largest religious organisations and — before the war — a Russian cultural bastion. Now the church’s largely Russian-speaking priests and parishioners are rejecting Russia, demonstrating how a new Ukrainian identity is taking root even among people Moscow claims are part of a “brother nation”.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Orthodox Church, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

(BBC) Portsmouth councillors spend own money on free breakfasts for children

Children will have access to free breakfasts during the summer holidays through a new initiative.

Portsmouth City councillors George and Brian Madgwick are personally donating £4,000 to fund the scheme.

The breakfasts will be held at St Michael and All Angels Church in Paulsgrove every weekend through the summer holidays.

George Madgwick said they hoped it would “ease the pressure” of the current cost of living crisis.

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Posted in Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Shelton Called as next Rector of St. John’s, Johns Island

The Rev. Jeremy Shelton has accepted a call to serve as the next Rector of St. John’s Parish Church, Johns Island. In a message to the parish Shelton wrote, “Serving here the last four years has been a tremendous blessing. Serving with Fr. Gregory Snyder has been the best learning experience of my life. Learning from and pastoring the people of St. John’s has truly been God’s calling on my life and our family. …God has called us to here, at this point in time, for His greater purposes. I am certain that God has great things in store for Johns Island. My first Sunday as rector will be July 17, 2022. This will also be the first worship service of St. John’s Parish Church to be held at Haut Gap Middle School. I can’t think of a better way to begin this ministry and life as rector.”

Read it all.

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

Church run ‘baby bank’ helps growing number of young families

The North Shields Baby Bank, based at St John’s Church Percy Main, in North Tyneside, has helped more than 400 families since its launch in March last year with items including nappies, wipes, clothing and baby formula.

The church is now appealing for help to replace its heating system, in order to keep the baby bank operating over the winter months.

Revd Lee Cleminson, Vicar of St John’s, said: “People are really, really struggling with energy prices, food prices and the cost of petrol and all sorts of other expenses. They are referred through different agencies and community projects to the baby bank but also there are people who knock on the vicarage door, because I live next door to the church.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

An Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Legal Update for today

Friends,

As most of you are aware, the South Carolina Supreme Court released its final ruling in our case on April 20 this year. Shortly thereafter, eight of our congregations filed a petition for rehearing, each providing additional legal considerations for the court suggesting the standard adopted by the Court did not, in fact, create a trust interest in their property. Of those eight, there are still seven petitions being given active consideration by the Court.

Last week, legal counsel for the Episcopal Church (TEC) filed their Court directed return, detailing their legal arguments for why the remaining petitions should not be granted. Monday, legal counsel for the parishes in our Diocese filed their reply, providing counter arguments to those in the TEC return last week. Those filings can be found HERE and HERE.

To simplify somewhat, the ruling of the Court is that if a congregation acceded to the constitution and canons of TEC after 1979, it created a trust interest in the property in favor of TEC and its local Diocese. The arguments of the petitioning parishes, supported by yesterday’s reply, addresses two essential issues. Based on the Court’s holdings in April, to create a trust requires present action and present intent. Because the parishes of Holy Comforter, St. Jude’s, St. Luke’s and Trinity Church added their accession clauses long before the adoption of the Dennis Canon in 1979, those actions should not represent present action or intent to create a trust.

The other issue identified for Good Shepherd, Holy Cross and Old St. Andrew’s is that the documents referenced by the Court that created the alleged trust were adopted after January 2006. By state statute 62-7-602(a), trusts created after this date are revocable, unless there is clearly expressed intent at that time they should not be. Arguments provided in the petitions and Monday’s reply demonstrate there was no such intent at the time and these parishes clearly acted with intent to revoke any such interest.

Based on these arguments, it is our hope that these remaining seven parishes will be judged by the Court to have retained unencumbered ownership of their property. The outcome is now fully in the hands of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Please keep the Court, its Justices and staff in your prayers, that justice might be done, and swiftly.

In Christ’s service,

–The Rev. Canon Jim Lewis is Canon to the Ordinary in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The Controversy over neglected Widows and the story of the Death of Stephen (Acts 6-7)

You may also find more there.

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

(World) Erin Hawley and Kristen Waggoner on the historic Dobbs decision–A victory for life and the Constitution

The U.S. Supreme Court’s courageous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a win for life and the Constitution. That historic ruling finally reverses the court’s disastrous opinion in Roe v. Wade—a decision that made up a constitutional right to abortion and resulted in the deaths of more than 60 million unborn children. Because of the court’s ruling in Dobbs, states may now fully protect unborn life.

The Mississippi law at issue in the case, the Gestational Age Act, protects unborn children and the health of their pregnant mothers based on the latest science. It protects unborn life after 15 weeks of gestational age—a point in time when babies can move and stretch, hiccup, and quite likely feel pain. It permits abortions to save the life of the mother or for severe fetal abnormalities. Despite the modesty of Mississippi’s law, the lower courts struck it down because no matter what science showed, or how strong a state’s interest in protecting unborn life was, under the Roe regime, states may not protect life until viability—about 22 weeks of gestational age.

Dobbs is a win for life. Fifty years of scientific progress and innovation establish what the Bible has always taught: Life begins at conception. Ultrasound technology allows expectant parents to see the truth of Psalm 139: Children are fearfully and wonderfully made from the very beginning.

Under Roe v. Wade, moreover, the United States has been an extreme outlier in abortion law and policy. As the chief justice noted during oral arguments, the United States is one of only six nations, including China and North Korea, that allow elective abortions through all nine months of pregnancy. The Washington Post recently ranked the United States as the fourth most liberal abortion country in the world. Most countries do not allow elective abortions at all, and 75 percent protect life after 12 weeks of gestation.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Supreme Court, Theology

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

(The Verge) Amazon shows off Alexa feature that mimics the voices of your dead relatives

Amazon has revealed an experimental Alexa feature that allows the AI assistant to mimic the voices of users’ dead relatives.

The company demoed the feature at its annual MARS conference, showing a video in which a child asks Alexa to read a bedtime story in the voice of his dead grandmother.

“As you saw in this experience, instead of Alexa’s voice reading the book, it’s the kid’s grandma’s voice,” said Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s head scientist for Alexa AI. Prasad introduced the clip by saying that adding “human attributes” to AI systems was increasingly important “in these times of the ongoing pandemic, when so many of us have lost someone we love.”

“While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last,” said Prasad.

Read it all.

Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Science & Technology

(Eleanor Parker) Ælfric of Eynsham’s Homily for the Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist

The holy church celebrates the birth-tide of three people: of the Saviour, who is God and man, and of John his herald, and of the blessed Mary his mother. Of other chosen people, who have gone to God’s kingdom through martyrdom or other holy merits, we celebrate as their birth-tide their last day, which, after the fulfilment of all their labours, bore them victorious to eternal life; and the day on which they were born to this present life we let pass unheeded, because they came here to hardships and temptations and various dangers. The day is worthy of memory for God’s servants which sends his saints, after victory won, from all afflictions to eternal joy, and that is their true birth – not tearful, as the first, but rejoicing in eternal life.

But the birth-tide of Christ is to be celebrated with great care, through which came our redemption. John is the ending of the old law and the beginning of the new; as the Saviour said of him, “The old law and the prophets were till the coming of John.” Afterwards began the preaching of the gospel. Now, because of his great holiness, his birth is honoured, as the archangel promised his father with these words, “Many shall rejoice in his birth-tide.” Mary, parent of God, is like to none other, for she is maiden and mother, and bore him who created her and all creation: therefore she is most worthy that her birth should be honourably celebrated…

He was sent before the Lord, as the day-star goes before the sun, as the beadle goes before the judge, as the Old Testament before the New; because the old law was like a shadow, and the New Testament is the truth itself, through the grace of the Saviour.

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Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics

(Guardian) Christians in Oxford asked to commit to protecting environment

The addition to the liturgy comes as the Oxford diocese announces plans to spend £10m improving the energy efficiency of its vicarages in an effort to hit net zero emissions by 2035. It is one of 10 dioceses to have divested from fossil fuel companies, making commitments not to invest in coal, oil and gas in the future.

At a national level, the Church of England has been criticised for not acting quickly enough to cut its links with fossil fuel companies. It began to cut ties to coal and other heavily polluting industries in 2015, then pledged in 2018 to divest by 2023 from high-carbon companies that were “not aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement”. But as the deadline approaches, the organisation has said it is still “engaging” with key oil and gas interests, rather than cancelling all of its holdings.

Chris Manktelow, of the Young Christian Climate Network, told the Guardian earlier this year that that was not good enough. “The church should be moving quickly and showing moral leadership, and is just not going fast enough. We are not happy with this response [to the calls to divest].”

On Wednesday, Greenpeace welcomed the Oxford decision.

“The diocese of Oxford is moving away from fossil fuels, which is essential, but this liturgical change goes deeper,” said a spokesperson. “Today’s lesson is that, in a climate and nature emergency, you need to make environmental considerations central to your project right from the very beginning and keep them in mind the whole way through. That sounds very much like wisdom worth listening to.”

Read it all and you can see the additional wording in the liturgy there.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Theology

Jeremy Shelton announced to be the new rector of Saint John’s Anglican Church, Johns Island SC

From here:

A Letter from our Sr. Warden
Regarding the New Rector

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Brothers and Sisters of St John’s Parish Church,
On May 3, 2022, Father Greg Snyder announced to the Wardens of St John’s that he would be leaving his position as Rector, that God had called him to a new ministry, a ministry which God has been preparing him for nearly 5 years. A ministry in the academy to young scientists and their professors. As Senior Warden, it was my responsibility to consult with the Bishop to determine what our options were going forward. Bishop Edgar explained the search process to me, that the Vestry should form a nominating committee that would prepare a parish profile, identify and screen candidates, interview them and present their recommendation to the Vestry for vote. Bishop Edgar also informed me that, given all else going on, if the Vestry chose to, we could vote to accept our associate Rector as our next Rector, and the process would be completed. After considerable thought and prayer, I chose not to pursue this option, as I felt we needed to be sure of who we are as a parish, and who we wanted as our next Rector. I instructed the Vestry to appoint a nominating committee, one that the Vestry voted should be comprised of members of the Vestry, as was recommended by Fr Greg and confirmed by Bp Edgar. The appointed nominating committee was made up of five members: Lindy Reynolds, Ann Edenfield, Todd Young, Jane Vaughan, and Jay Withington. As Senior Warden, I served as an ex-officio
member of the nominating committee.

The Nominating Committee identified five potential candidates to interview as the next Rector of St John’s. After much prayer and consideration, the committee voted unanimously to interview only one. Using input from several members of the parish, some of whom were not members of the Vestry, the nominating committee provided the interviewee with the parish profile, as well as the position description for Rector of St John’s Parish Church and spent the next two weeks in prayer and consideration over the process. The nominating committee conducted its final interview on Tuesday, June 14th, and presented their recommendation to me.

On Thursday, June 16th I brought the recommendation to the entire Vestry for a vote. The vote was unanimous, in favor of the recommended candidate. I then contacted Bp Edgar and informed him that the Vestry had made the decision for the next Rector of St John’s Parish Church. We discussed the decision, and he concurred with our decision. Bp Edgar also instructed me to make this announcement as soon as practical, that continuity of leadership was crucial in these days.

Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Wardens and Vestry of St John’s Parish Church has voted unanimously to call Father Jeremy Shelton as our next Rector, and that after discussion on Friday, June 17, Father Jeremy has accepted the call. Fr Jeremy will be conducting his first service as Rector of St John’s Parish Church on Sunday, July 17 at Haut Gap Middle School, and I invite all of you to join us in worship as we move forward into this next chapter of the life of this Parish.

In Christ,

Ben Dixon
Senior Warden, St John’s Parish Church

Please read all the additional documents at the link above

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

(BBC) Salisbury bishop marks appointment with cash giveaway

A new bishop says parishioners cheered after they were surprised with a gift of £10 each at his inauguration.

Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Stephen Lake, said it was the first time he had seen a congregation “burst out in applause”.

He said the money, given by two anonymous donators, was to show people can make the most of what they have been given.

Bishop Lake said: “It was a great start to a new ministry.”

He added: “They [the congregation] were given the £10 because we were living out the gospel, read out in the service. Taken from Luke, The Parable of the Talents, also known as The Parable of the Pound.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bernard Mizeki

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Mozambique, South Africa, Spirituality/Prayer, Zimbabwe

(Church Times) Church Commissioners acknowledge that the slave trade boosted early funds

The Church Commissioners acknowledged on Thursday that their £10.1-billion fund has early links with the transatlantic slave trade. Both the Commissioners and the Archbishop of Canterbury have apologised.

The revelations come after research into Queen Anne’s Bounty, which was established in 1704 to tackle poverty among the clergy through the buying of land (from which the clergy received the income) or through an annuity stream. The Commissioners came into being in 1948 after a merger of the Bounty and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The research was initiated by the Commissioners in 2019 — shortly before the death of George Floyd sparked the Black Lives Matter movement (News, 5 June 2020), and amid an international debate about monuments to people with links to the slave trade (News, 14 May 2021).

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Local Paper front page) How Polly Sheppard, a survivor of the Emanuel mass shooting that occurred 7 years ago today, carries on

It doesn’t take long before the first embrace. And then Polly Sheppard greets another of the students, then another.

This group of young evangelicals, affiliated with the parachurch ministry Cru, is here at Emanuel AME Church to learn more about the 2015 mass shooting, visit the sanctuary and offer their prayers. They have just watched Brian Tetsuro Ivie’s documentary “Emanuel,” and they recognize Sheppard, who is visiting the church grounds, where a memorial soon will be erected.

The exchange between this survivor of the attack and the Cru crew is polite, warm, engaging.

Because that’s how the magnanimous Sheppard operates. Mostly, she sees the good in people. She’s ready with a smile….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, History, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Prospect) Alice Goodman–Clerical life: Ordination season

In the US, where I studied for my Masters in Divinity (the professional degree for clergy across most of the churches in North America) it takes at least three years to prepare for ordination. I studied the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, the history of Christianity, the philosophy of religion, moral theology, systematics, homiletics and pastoral care and counselling. I have my old ring-bound notebooks stacked in the wardrobe, and it comforts me to know they’re there if I ever forget what was said in that seminar on “Revelation, Faith, and the Nature of Tradition.”

You learn the history of liturgy, and how and why the church’s ceremonies have taken the shapes they have. There’s Field Education, the North American name for the attachments and placements we have here. Finally, before your General Ordination Examination, you go off to a hospital for an intensive programme of chaplaincy training combined with group therapy: the dreaded Clinical Pastoral Education. You learn how to listen to what’s not being said as much as to what is. You learn what your own baggage is, and how to check it. Some people concentrate on one part or another of the curriculum, but everyone has the basics and for everyone—whether they’re 20 or 60—it takes three years.

Over here it’s quite different. Alarmingly so. In the Church of England, the training you get depends, first of all, on your age. Ordinands over 40 tend to be funnelled into a shorter programme. The three-year course is primarily for younger ordinands, and those who have been talent-spotted for preferment. A full-time residential programme is for the lucky few. In a new development, one theological college and at least one diocese are trialling a scheme for ordinands to move in a single year from the selection interviews to the bishop’s laying-on of hands and anointing that makes them priests. This is aimed at what are referred to as “mature Christians.” Apparently, they are people who have been active in their church for a long time, and have retired with a really good final salary pension scheme, or are independently wealthy. The Church of England has decided that the learned clergy that the Elizabethans pushed for are a limiting factor to the survival of the institution.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Saint James Welcomes Toby Larson as Rector

The Rev. Toby Larson was welcomed by Saint James Church, James Island, on Sunday, June 12, as their new rector. Toby most recently served as Director of Celebration International in Fredericksburg, VA. He received his B.A. from Gonzaga University and his Th.M. in Biblical Theology and M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Before his ministry at Celebration International, Toby worked in China, as a Foreign Expert in China’s Ministry of Television, Radio, and Film. After his time in China, he planted two congregations in Virginia and led evangelistic missions to central and east Asia.

Toby said, “‘Love God, Love Life’ is our family motto, and we’re excited to live that out at Saint James.” He and his wife Cynthia have five children the youngest of whom will live with them on James Island.

Read it all.

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

(ITV) Grenfell victims remembered at Westminster Abbey service on fifth anniversary

Attendees included former prime minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Housing Secretary Michael Gove, building safety and fire minister Stephen Greenhalgh, and shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy.

Opening the service, the very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, said the loss and anguish “are still vivid and sharp” as the congregation gathered “in sorrow and in pain”.

He said: “Here we renew our commitment to remember those we have lost.

“We gather as those who look for justice and a renewed commitment to securing safety in our homes, safety in times of fire.

“Grateful for the support of the communities and individuals that have sustained the bereaved and the survivors over the last five years, we meet in faith and hope looking to a better, safer, surer future.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire