Category : Parish Ministry

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Not a Convention Delegate? Come anyway – for the Workshops! Join us on Friday March 13:

Morning Mini Conference on:
Creating a Spiritual Legacy: Your Game Plan from Success to Significance

Afternoon Workshops on:

Church Revitalization • Stewardship • Global Partnerships • Church Planting • The New ACNA Prayerbook • Small Church, Big Heart, Big God • Hispanic Ministry • Prayer

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

(Wired) The Future of Death Tech Has No Rules—Yet

When a company asks permission to pulverize a corpse—to freeze a body solid, then shake it till it shatters—how, exactly, should the government respond? Last September, Derek Schmidt, the attorney general for Kansas, sat down to ponder the specifics. Interest in a new process for disposing of the dead had trickled across the state; it was up to Schmidt to say whether the technology was even legal.

Schmidt’s analysis began on YouTube, where he landed on an animated demonstration that broke down the new mortuary method, known as promession, into steps: First, cadavers are cryogenically frozen; then they’re vibrated into bits, freeze-dried to get the moisture out, and filtered into an urn. In theory, promession would release significantly fewer emissions than fire cremation, which is responsible for 270,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. If true, that would make promession a big draw for the environmentally conscious. Schmidt cross-referenced each step in the promession process against Kansas law in the hopes of answering what turns out to be a highly consequential question: Is vibration into bits a type of cremation, and therefore a legal form of disposition?

Two months later, Schmidt issued his decision. Promession, he announced, “would not meet the requirements of a cremation process as set forth” in state law. His reasoning reads a bit like science fiction and a bit like a rabbi’s parsing of biblical law. Schmidt argued, for instance, that cremation requires “the separation of flesh from bone by the destruction of the flesh.” Promession certainly could be said to destroy the flesh, but the crystallization process doesn’t really separate it from the bone. In that sense, Schmidt concluded that Kansas could not treat it as cremation.

Schimdt’s predicament is not unique. In the last few years, state officials across the country have been forced to map a range of futuristic death technologies onto the creaky regulations of a prior age. Most state disposition laws are antiquated, premised on narrow definitions of “cremation” and “burial” that leave new technologies like promession without the legal grounds to establish themselves. But a few states—Kansas among them—have seized the opportunity. In a bid to attract death-tech companies, and perhaps a piece of the $2 billion fire cremation industry, they’ve been revamping regulations.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Reuters) Equinor broadens scope of carbon targets to match rivals

“Repsol has shown the net zero 2050 ambition we need,” said Edward Mason, head of responsible investments at the Church of England, which has been buying shares in oil and gas companies so it can push them to make stronger climate commitments.

“Equinor is doing some great stuff, particularly on (Scope 1 and 2 emissions), but I’m not sure a pledge to halve carbon intensity by 2050 does it any more,” he said on Twitter.

Equinor, which has been building a renewables business mainly focused on offshore wind, will also achieve its renewable investment target sooner than planned, its chief financial officer told Reuters on Thursday.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Church Times) Safeguarding amendments to give Synod motion ‘more teeth’ are rejected

Survivors of clerical abuse welcomed amendments to next week’s General Synod motion on safeguarding, in a letter to members that laments that the Church has made “no progress at all” in caring for victims and survivors. It was ruled on Wednesday, however, that the amendments were out of order and could not be moved.

“We need you to acknowledge that you do not have the competence or the right to clear up your own mess,” the ten survivors write. “We need independent people we can go to to report abuse and find support; people who are not part of the Church, and don’t wear the same uniform that our abusers wore. We need you to use your power as a Synod to establish a properly funded scheme for support, compensation and redress for victims of church abuse.”

The existing motion, to be debated on Wednesday morning, endorses the Archbishops’ Council’s response to the five recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in May (News, 9 May 2019).

“Is that all?” the survivors ask. “We believe that you should go much further. . . The motion before you is anodyne, but the amendments we have seen seem to have some teeth.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(EF) Brazilian churches start to introduce facial recognition in their worship services

At the end of last year, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo hosted the so-called ExpoCristiana, a commercial event which offers concerts of Christian music, samples of evangelical publishers and even virtual simulations of episodes of the Bible. One of the most striking products was the one offered by the artificial intelligence company Kuzzma under the slogan “Change the way you manage your church”. The company presented a facial recognition service especially aimed at churches. On the first day of ExpoCristiana, Marcelo Scharan, executive director of Kuzzma, gave a conference entitled Personalization, data and churches.

“Data such as gender, age, attendance, arrival time, likely reasons for being late, and many others are analyzed and presented in reports. We can even define if someone needs a pastoral visit”, Scharan said. According to the Kuzzma website, facial recognition works from a high-resolution panoramic camera installed in the churches, that identifies both personal data and the attendance to the worship service. Then, with all that data, they make reports of each person, which include statistics on their behavior and even warnings if there is any abnormal activity. The Brazilian company Igreja Mobile was also selling the facial recognition service at the fair.

Read it all.

Posted in Brazil, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Bishop Philip Mounstephen of Truro issues a statement on safeguarding

As your bishop I have a particular charge laid upon me ‘to serve and care for the flock of Christ’, and as chief pastor of the whole diocese I will never abrogate that prime responsibility. I bring many years’ experience of devising and implementing safeguarding policies to this role: but that very experience teaches me that in this area there is never any room at all for complacency.

Pastoral care in this diocese falls ultimately to me, so I expect all those who exercise pastoral responsibility under my authority to show the very highest levels of care and concern possible, the Lord being our helper. We do well to remember Jesus’ sobering words, ‘If any of you put a stumbling- block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18: 6)

These things should be of the utmost importance in any diocese, which is why the Church of England is currently undergoing the second ‘Past Cases Review’. But there are particular reasons why these are core concerns for us here in Truro. I am acutely aware that Peter Ball lived with his twin brother, Bishop Michael, in the same house my wife and I now call home, after he resigned as Bishop of Gloucester. I know, too, that for many the recent documentaries about Peter Ball were deeply upsetting and shocking – and rightly so.

Furthermore, those in authority in this diocese repeatedly failed to deal with allegations of child sex abuse made against a former press officer of the diocese, Jeremy Dowling. Those were abject failures and must never be repeated. The report on this case, written by Dr Andy Thompson, makes for sobering, but necessary reading, and I commend it to you

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(Medium) Ray Gaston–On being pastorally (ir)responsible — and not waiting for bishops

On my return to parish ministry in Wolverhampton a new chapter in engagement with LGBT+ people and the church began as through a member of our congregation Kenny Rogers(who was gay) a growing ministry to sanctuary communities developed. This included a small number of people, particularly — but not exclusively — from African contexts fleeing persecution because of their sexuality. Sadly, Kenny died suddenly but on the night of his death we opened the church for nearly a hundred people, mainly from sanctuary communities to come and light candles and mourn together. At his funeral I shared his story and his journey that he had written for the process he was undergoing to become an authorised lay minister in the church. From this a growing ministry to refugees generally and a small number of LGBT+ refugees has developed and with the help of the Inclusive church ambassador for our area the support group for LGBT+ refugees Emmaus was established. This group now meets at our church and draws people from across our region to support and encourage one another through the hostile asylum process. For some of these people our church has also become their spiritual home. They come from contexts where anti-homosexual legislation introduced in the 19th century by European colonisers is defended by the church and in some cases the church argues for greater prohibition and penalties for LGBT+ people. We often hear about the Bishops of African churches and their negative views on LGBT+ inclusion in the church. At Emmaus we hear from the LGBT+ African Christians their faithfulness in the face of Christian persecution, their love for Jesus and their courage often rooted in a profound knowledge and love of God. Some of these folks rejected the church at home and have (re) embraced the faith here. Its been my experience here and in my previous incumbency that inclusivity (which I prefer to see as true catholicity) leads to growth numerically and spiritually.

I have yet to be asked if I would marry or bless a lesbian or gay relationship at St Chad and St Mark. The guidelines of the church issued in 2014 closed off any ambiguity that some of us felt gave us wiggle room in the noughties to offer blessings. Ironically following the rejection at Synod of ‘The Marriage and same sex relationships’ report in 2017 the bishops claimed they were working towards a ‘radically inclusive church for LGBT+ people’, this latest unnecessary statement shows this not to be the case. And as one non Christian friend commented ‘What’s so radical about NOT discriminating!’

Some of us at the grassroots have been seeking to develop ‘inclusivity’ for years hampered by the pronouncements of the House of Bishops. Perhaps we need to get more radical in our approach and directly and openly flout the guidelines from 2014 and 2020 misdescribed as ‘pastoral’ and make visible the reality of those struggling and in small ways succeeding in creating truly ‘radically inclusive spaces’ at the grassroots — perhaps it’s the only way change will come!

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Crux) Canada’s Roman Catholic bishops call assisted suicide plan ‘deeply troubling’

As Canada’s government works to expand the criteria for individuals seeking medically assisted suicide, the head of Canada’s Catholic bishops has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying his government has failed to provide an impartial consideration of the matter.

“Suffering and death are indeed terrifying and the instinct to flinch from pain is universal. But euthanasia and assisted suicide are not the answer,” wrote Archbishop Richard Gagnon, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in a letter dated January 31.

“We strongly urge the Government of Canada, before proceeding further, to undertake a more extensive, thorough, impartial, and prolonged consultation on the question, in order to ensure all pertinent factors – social, medical, and moral – are carefully and thoroughly considered,” he continued.

The letter is in response to the Trudeau’s government’s efforts to extend the categories of individuals who are allowed to seek medical support to end their lives, following a ruling from the Superior Court of Quebec saying it is unconstitutional only to allow the practice to individuals who are already near death.

Gagnon, who is also the archbishop of Winnipeg, called the move “deeply troubling.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Theology

(The Expositor) Brantford, Ontario, Canada’s oldest church gets some TLC

Since 1857, congregations have been lovingly caring for Grace Anglican Church.

The Gothic revival building, which consumes the corner of Albion, Pearl and West streets, was designed by prolific architect John Turner who, with a long list of the city’s most iconic buildings to his credit, has been called the builder of Brantford.

Some of the city’s most prominent families helped established Grace church and worshipped there over the decades.

And, much later, as congregations dwindled and neighbouring churches closed, they have been taken in by Grace, the Mother Church of Brantford.

It’s no longer just a place for Sunday worship, but for Girl Guide meetings, AA gatherings, a refuge for the hungry to get a meal, and a centre for those involved in various charity projects.

But, when you’re 163 years old, your age starts to show.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Parish Ministry

Archbishop Justin Welby launches the Church of England’s first ever Green Lent campaign

Thousands of people will take action to help tackle Climate Change as part of the Church of England’s first ever official green Lent campaign, launched today by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Environmentalists, activists and climate experts gathered at Lambeth Palace for the official launch of LiveLent 2020 a set of 40 daily reflections, actions and prayers.

It comes on the same day Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially launched the UK’s COP26 strategy ahead of the crucial UN climate talks in Glasgow in November, alongside Sir David Attenborough, climate expert Lord Stern and the outgoing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.

Those attending the launch were invited to add personal climate commitments to a ‘pledge-tree’, before a panel of expert climate academics, influencers and activists was chaired by the Archbishop.

#LiveLent 2020 is based on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book, Saying Yes to Life, by Dr Ruth Valerio.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lent, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Kate Bowler) The Burden of Love

Says Lewis, “There is nothing we can do with suffering, except to suffer it.”

We know that advice from other people can sound a lot like well-meaning white noise. Or like a line separating the grieving from everybody else in the normal world. It makes me wish we learned a bit more from cultures who carve out space for mourning, like the Jewish custom of “sitting Shiva” where friends and family gather for seven days together in silence. Or how people in Greece and Portugal encourage widows to wear black for months, creating a reminder for others of their loss.

We all need a bit of permission to allow ourselves time and space to feel the weight of loss, and move through it in our own way. My friend and former cello teacher lost her husband last year, and the week after the funeral, to the chagrin of those thought she should be taking a break, there she was at the piano accompanying the services as she always did. That was her way of living through her loss, with keys under her fingers, helping others the way she always did.

So my dears, what can then be said of grief except that is the burden of love? It can’t be defined or drawn, only suffered. But what must be said, what must be given, is the permission to feel it. All of it. Not as a state, but as a process. No one can tell you what that process must be for you, just now. So gently, gently, let it lead you through.

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Posted in Anthropology, Books, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(PRC) U.S. churchgoers are satisfied with the sermons they hear, though content varies by religious tradition

Sermons are a major part of many churchgoers’ religious experiences. But there are differences by religious tradition in how satisfied churchgoers are with what they hear from the pulpit – as well as in the length and content of those sermons, according to two recent Pew Research Center studies.

An opinion survey of 6,364 U.S. adults conducted in 2019 found that 90% of Christians who attend worship services at least a few times a year are satisfied with the sermons they hear, though Protestants are somewhat more satisfied than Catholics.

Six-in-ten evangelical Protestants (61%) say they are “very satisfied” with the sermons they hear, almost twice as many as those who say they’re “somewhat satisfied” (32%). Among Catholics, only about a third (32%) say they’re “very satisfied,” while roughly half (52%) say they are “somewhat satisfied.” Catholics also have a higher share of respondents who say they’re “not too” or “not at all” satisfied (15% vs. 7% for Protestants).

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(CC) Why Andover Newton requires seminarians to take a course from the Yale School of Management

Bill Goettler, associate dean at YDS, says that a quarter of YDS students indicate an interest in taking courses at the SOM, though only a small fraction of that number follow through. By making it a requirement, Andover Newton is nudging people toward a kind of learning that, on some level, they realize they need.

Perhaps most interesting is the way new theological questions can arise in business classes. Washington shared an example of how this happened in the course Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organizations. “I had to answer questions like whether or not nonprofits were supposed to work to no longer be needed, which led me to ask myself this same question as it relates to denominations and churches.”

As long as the world still needs churches, it needs a learned clergy, and the clergy need whatever education is called for by the times. Today congregations are calling out for multidimensional leaders, and business education is rounding out an increasingly important dimension of pastoral ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecclesiology, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Church Times) Priest speaks of community’s ‘resilience’ after Streatham knife attacks

The Rector of St Leonard’s, Streatham, the Revd Anna Norman-Walker, has praised the “resilience and neighbourliness” of the diverse south-London community, after a suspected terrorist stabbed two people just metres from the rectory before being shot dead by police, on Sunday afternoon.

The man, named as Sudesh Amman, aged 20, was wearing a fake suicide vest when he stole a kitchen knife from a general store and stabbed a man and a woman on Streatham High Road. He was chased by plain-clothes officers before being shot several times by uniformed police.

Ms Norman-Walker was arriving back at the rectory, at about 2 p.m., when she heard gunshots. “My daughter and I just got back from the church brunch, and we heard gunshots,” she said on Monday.

“We thought it was a car back-firing, but it was five consecutive bangs. Suddenly, people came down our road, just off the High Road, and very quickly — within minutes — police cars were blocking the road, cordoned tape went up, and helicopters came down. It was quite extraordinary.”

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

(NYT) George Steiner, Prodigious Literary Critic, Dies at 90

George Steiner, a literary polymath and man of letters whose voluminous criticism often dealt with the paradox of literature’s moral power and its impotence in the face of an event like the Holocaust, died on Monday at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 90.

His death was confirmed by his son, Dr. David Steiner.

An essayist, fiction writer, teacher, scholar and literary critic — he succeeded Edmund Wilson as senior book reviewer for The New Yorker from 1966 until 1997 — Mr. Steiner both dazzled and dismayed his readers with the range and occasional obscurity of his literary references.

Essential to his views, as he avowed in “Grammars of Creation,” a book based on the Gifford Lectures he delivered at the University of Glasgow in 1990, “is my astonishment, naïve as it seems to people, that you can use human speech both to love, to build, to forgive, and also to torture, to hate, to destroy and to annihilate.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, France, History, Judaism, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The Presentation and its Call upon us to see as God sees (Luke 2:22-40)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the [four] Dorchester chaplains

Holy God, who didst inspire the Dorchester chaplains to be models of steadfast sacrificial love in a tragic and terrifying time: Help us to follow their example, that their courageous ministry may inspire chaplains and all who serve, to recognize thy presence in the midst of peril; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

The Latest Edition of the Parish Newsletter from Christ St Paul’s, Yonges Island, South Carolina

February is celebrated as the month of LOVE. What if we looked deeper than the culture’s view, and set our eyes on a Godly definition of love, one of covenant, self-sacrifice, and lasting commitment? You can be a part of our Celebration of Marriage, a special 20/20 focus on the bonds that keep couples together – through thick and thin, through ups and downs, through joy and sorrow.

Read on for 3 new vehicles to care for, celebrate, and strengthen marriage. There’s something for everyone. Take part in one or take advantage of all three, it’s up to you….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

Eleanor Parker–An Anglo-Saxon Sermon for Candlemas

‘The blessed Mary offered her sacrifice to God with the child, as it was appointed in God’s law. It was so appointed in the old law, by God’s command, that those who could afford it should bring a lamb of one year old with their child, as an offering to God, and a pigeon or a turtle-dove. But if any woman were so poor that she could not obtain those things, then she should bring two young pigeons or two turtle-doves.

This smaller offering was offered for Christ, that is, the birds, which were the offerings of the poor. The Almighty Son of God was very mindful of our needs in all things; not only did he choose to become man for us, though he was God, but he also chose to become needy for us, though he was mighty, so that he might give us a portion in his kingdom and communion with his divinity. A lamb betokens innocence and the greater kind of goodness; but if we are so wretched that we cannot offer to God that greater goodness, then we should bring him two turtle-doves or two young pigeons; that is, a twofold burgeoning of awe and love. A person experiences this burgeoning in two ways: first, he dreads the torments of hell, and mourns for his sins; then afterwards he feels love to God, and he begins to murmur, and it seems to him too long a time until he shall be taken from the afflictions of this life, and brought to eternal rest.’

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Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics

The Rev. Gary Beson to become the next rector of Prince George Winyah Church in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

Gary and Sue were both born in Ohio and later both of their families, after several moves, ended up in Summerville, SC. They met their junior year at Summerville High School, dated while Gary was at the Citadel and after graduation, and they were married in 1984 at St. Phillips Church. They moved that fall from Charleston to Columbia so Sue could attend the University of South Carolina and major in Civil Engineering. In 1987 they moved back to Summerville so Gary could open his first Home Health business. Children followed: Gardner in ‘89, Parks in ‘92 and Mary Grace in ‘95.

They lived and served the Lord at St. Paul’s Summerville (where Gary was confirmed as a teenager, by the Rt. Rev. Fitz Allison in 1974) for over 25 years before being called into full-time ordained life. They attended Trinity School for Ministry and while there the family became involved in church planting at Southside Anglican Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Local Paper) Facing dire climate threats, Charleston, South Carolina has done little to reduce its carbon footprint

Pounded by rain bombs from above and rising seas below, Charleston is among the most vulnerable cities in the South to a rapidly warming planet.

City officials estimate it may take $2 billion or more in public money to fortify Charleston against these threats — costs rooted in the rise of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Yet, amid these looming perils and costs, the city government itself has taken relatively modest steps to reduce its own carbon footprint in recent years, a Post and Courier investigation found.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Stewardship

(ABC Nightline) Important but difficult Viewing– The Children of Auschwitz: Survivors Return 75 years after Liberation

Take the time to watch it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Germany, History, Judaism, Military / Armed Forces, Poland, Religion & Culture, Violence

(CEN) Church of England to go carbon neutral by 2045

General Synod is to be asked to set a target date of 2045 for the Church of England to become carbon-neutral.

The motion will be moved by the Bishop of Salisbury when the Synod meets in London next month. The Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam pointed out that combating climate change was one of the five Anglican ‘marks of mission’.

To help parishes and other church bodies to work towards the net-zero target this week the Church launched an energy ratings system similar to those used for household appliances to help monitor the carbon footprint of its almost 40,000 buildings.

The Bishop said: “The problem is that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And it’s not only the church that is struggling with that, the climate change committee in Parliament’s been having to think about the same issue.”

However, some were unhappy about the target date of 2045.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Yorkshire Post) Anonymous donor gives nearly £6million to church next to York Minster for urgent repairs

An anonymous donor has gifted a York church almost £6million to go towards essential repairs.

The mystery benefactor has given £5.9million to St Michael le Belfrey, which is the parish church next to York Minster where Guy Fawkes was baptised.

The money will be used specifically to fund a major repair project to preserve the 16th-century building for future generations.

The Church of England also hope to turn St Michael be Belfrey into a ‘stunning city centre venue that benefits York’s residents and businesses.’

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Christian Today) C of E’s clergy discipline process ‘leading to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder

…no-one in the official Church hierarchy has a proper overview of what is happening, according to the investigation by the Sheldon Hub – part of a charity supporting those in Christian ministry. And Bishops are operating “irregular discipline” over clergy which is ‘even less accountable’, the report adds.

The Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) was introduced in 2003 and is supposed to deal “efficiently and fairly with formal complaints of serious misconduct against members of the clergy” – according to the Church of England website.

However, the CDM has been subjected to scathing criticism – and even the Church’s own explanatory diagram of the processes involved reveals a highly complex and confusing structure.

The report from the Sheldon Hub says: “We started two years ago with the assumption that the likely outcome of our project should be better training for those tasked with implementation of the existing CDM, plus some repairs to the Measure.

“The process so far has convinced us that the Measure is so fundamentally flawed that starting over from first principles and completely replacing the Measure is essential.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

The Bishop of Repton to move to a new role at Lichfield Cathedral

The Bishop of Repton is moving on from the Diocese of Derby to become Residentiary Canon (House for Duty) at Lichfield Cathedral and Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Lichfield.

The Rt Revd Jan McFarlane will move to Lichfield with her husband Andrew and take on her new role in April, after almost four years as Bishop of Repton.

It will be a return to Diocese of Lichfield for Bishop Jan who was born in Stoke-on-Trent and began parish ministry in Stafford following her ordination as a priest in 1994. From there she served in Ely and Norwich dioceses before becoming the Bishop of Repton in 2016.

Bishop Jan said: “Andrew and I will be very sorry to leave the beautiful county of Derbyshire where we have been so happy. I feel blessed to have worked with some excellent colleagues and wonderful congregations. I came to the diocese knowing there would be a vacancy-in-see to cover. The completion of that task has coincided with the silver anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood, and much reflection during my recent sabbatical on the past 26 years since I was ordained at Lichfield Cathedral.

“In addition, following five years of hospital visits I have been formally declared in remission from cancer. All of this together has led to a desire to live life at a different pace. I look forward to being able to carve out time for writing and to return to the rhythm of preaching, praying, presiding and pastoring for which I was first ordained. I’m much looking forward to returning to my home county and diocese, journeying from Repton to Lichfield quite literally in the footsteps of St Chad.”

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

(Metro UK) Simon Butler–As a vicar I know it’s time the Church stopped telling people to be abstinent

Last week, bishops of the Church of England, issued a statement on the new opposite-sex civil partnerships.

All they could say, when it boiled down to it, was: ‘no sex before or outside marriage.’ They added that those in same or opposite sex civil partnerships should live their lives as ‘sexually abstinent friends’ and those in same sex marriages should not be having sex. The bishops of the Church are, in my experience, thoughtful, wise and compassionate women and men. But many of us are embarrassed and angered by the tone of what we read. The response of many clergy in the Church was to, metaphorically, shout at the telly.

I think it’s wrong and naive to ask for and to expect abstinence from couples. It’s wrong because there is no evidence that sex in other forms of committed relationship are harmful: the texts of the Bible assume a very different meaning to sex than it currently possesses….

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CNS) The Roman Catholic faith of Kobe Bryant RIP

In 2015, the basketball player told GQ that after the matter was resolved, he decided to shed some superficiality he felt he had built up in his public persona.

“What I came to understand, coming out of Colorado, is that I had to be me, in the place where I was at that moment.”

Bryant said it was a priest who helped him to make some important personal realizations during the ordeal.

Describing his fear of being sent to prison for a crime he believed he had not committed, Bryant told GQ that “The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Roman Catholic, Sports