Category : Church History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of ‘the beautiful-sounding nightengale of the church’ Kassiani

O God the Father of boundless mercy, whose handmaiden Kassiani brought forth poetry and song: Inspire in thy church a new song, that following her most excellent example, we may boldly proclaim the truth of thy Word, even Jesus Christ, our Savior and Deliverer, who with the Holy Spirit lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen (slightly ed.).

Posted in Church History, Orthodox Church, Spirituality/Prayer

For her Feast Day–(CT) Hannah More: Powerhouse in a Petticoat

Imagine yourself seated at a fashionable London dinner party in 1789.

The women are wearing hoops several feet wide, their hair dressed nearly as high and adorned with fruit or feathers. In between hips and hair, bosoms overspill. The men sport powdered hair, ruffled shirts, embroidered waistcoats, wool stockings, and buckled shoes. Politeness and manners reign around a table laden with delicate, savory dishes.

As guests wait for the after-dinner wine to arrive, a handsome but demure woman pulls a pamphlet from the folds of her dress. “Have you ever seen the inside of a slave ship?” she asks the natty gentleman seated next to her. She proceeds to spread open a print depicting the cargo hold of the Brookes slave ship. With meticulous detail, the print shows African slaves laid like sardines on the ship’s decks, each in a space so narrow, they can’t lay their arms at their sides. The print will become the most haunting image of the transatlantic slave trade””as well as a key rhetorical device used to stop it.

The woman sharing it is Hannah More.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hannah More

Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son led captivity captive: Multiply among us faithful witnesses like thy servant Hannah More, who will fight for all who are oppressed or held in bondage; and bring us all, we pray, into the glorious liberty that thou hast promised to all thy children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Paul Jones

Merciful God, who didst send thy beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in this and every land witnesses, who, after the example of thy servant Paul Jones, will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Phoebe

Eternal God, who didst raise up thine servant Phoebe as a deacon in thy church and benefactor of the Gospel, such that she took the message of thine Apostle Paul into the very heart of a hostile empire; grant unto us thy same grace, that aided by her prayers and example, we too may take the Gospel unto the ends of the earth, Through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of New Guinea

Almighty God, we remember before thee this day the blessed martyrs of New Guinea, who, following the example of their Savior, laid down their lives for their friends; and we pray thee that we, who honor their memory, may imitate their loyalty and faith; 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, Spirituality/Prayer

Food for Thought from P T Forsyth


–quoted in the morning sermon by yours truly

Posted in * Theology, --Scotland, Church History

(Item) Holy Comforter priest: Betterments is a ‘Plan B’

he Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg was founded in 1788, said its rector, Michael Ridgill, on Thursday, and its present facility was built in 1850. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and its current attendance is about 45 people, he said.

Official appraisals would be necessary to determine the current value of all the diocese’s parishes in question, the two rectors said, but the case has been referred to as a “$500 million lawsuit” by state media outlets.

Kaiser said the 2017 state Supreme Court ruling was “complex” with five separate opinions, but the diocese and congregations believe the individual parishes are the property owners.

The fact that the Church of the Holy Comforter and none of the other parishes agreed to the 1979 trust is a central issue, he said.

“If you look at our church’s governing documents, you won’t find any place where we said, ‘Yes, we agree to this trust,'” Kaiser said. “And the same is true of every parish. So, the deed is in our name, and the fact is the good people of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Sumter – not outside of Sumter – were the ones who gave the money to build these facilities, they were the ones who have maintained them, and they continue to maintain them. Enough is enough. All we really ever wanted was to be left alone to be who we are and not have somebody come and try to change who we are.”

Kaiser said the best option for the diocese is for the national group to drop the case. The next best solution, he said, is for the courts to uphold the deeds of the properties.

He added the whole legal tug-of-war has been a distraction to the church’s mission to tell the world about Jesus Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Aidan

O loving God, who called your servant Aidan from the peace of a cloister to re-establish the Christian mission in northern England, and endowed him with gentleness, simplicity and strength: Grant, we ask you, that we, following his example, may use what you have given us for the relief of human need, and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel of our Redeemer Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

Bishop Charles Grafton on his Feast Day–Catholicity and the Vincentian Rule

This little treatise begins with giving an application of the Rule of St. Vincent to some theological questions concerning faith and practice. St. Vincent’s name is a household one in our Communion, especially since the Reformation. He was often quoted by the Reformers and Anglican divines in their controversy with Rome. In his disputation at Oxford, Ridley said, when doubts arose in the Church, “I use the wise counsel of Vincentius Lirinensis, whom I am sure you will allow; who, giving precepts how the Catholic Church may be, in all schisms and heresies, known, writeth on this manner: ‘When,’ saith he, ‘one part is corrupted with heresies then prefer the whole world before the one part: but if the greatest part be infected then prefer antiquity.”‘

On the southern coast of France, there is an island called St. Honorat. It had in Vincent’s time the name of Lerins. A quite famous monastery flourished there. Under the discipline of its holy religious rule and the Church’s sacramental system, St. Vincent’s mind and character were developed.

It was about the year 434 that his short treatise appeared. The controversies which had been raging in the Church led him to put forth his little book as a practical guide for a Churchman in times of trouble. He must, through Divine assistance, fortify his faith in a two-fold manner: by authority of the Divine Law, and by the tradition of the Church. “Catholics,” he said, “and true sons of the Church will make it their special care to interpret the Divine Canon by the tradition of the universal Church and according to the rules of Catholic theology. Wherein it is also necessary to follow the universality, antiquity, and consent of the Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Grafton

Loving God, who didst call Charles Chapman Grafton to be a bishop in thy Church, endowing him with a burning zeal for souls: Grant that, following his example, we may ever live for the extension of thy kingdom, that thy glory may be the chief end of our lives, thy will the law of our conduct, thy love the motive of our actions, and Christ’s life the model and mold of our own; through the same Jesus Christ, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, throughout all ages. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

Your Prayers Requested as mediation begins next week in the Mess between the Historic Diocese of South Carolina and the brand new TEC Diocese

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Item) Judge: If it comes to that, Historic South Carolina diocese has right to money for property upgrades

A total of 28 parishes, including two in Sumter County, have been involved in the diocese’s legal battle over their right to properties with the national church. The two Sumter parishes are Church of the Holy Comforter, 213 N. Main St., and The Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg.

After the U.S. Supreme Court denied a diocese petition for a hearing last year, the case is now back at the circuit court where it originated, Lewis said.

The statute describes the process for payback for improvements, but Lewis said he wasn’t sure on the process.

He said the judge’s ruling this week is definitely a “win” for the breakaway diocese, if it lost control of the parishes.

“From our perspective, it would mean, if we lost control of the property because of this trust interest, then The Episcopal Church doesn’t get all this property for free,” Lewis said. “They will have to pay for it in some fashion.”

Currently, Dickson of the circuit court has the responsibility of interpreting a 2017 state Supreme Court 3-2 ruling with five different opinions in it.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Death of John the Baptist

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant John to be the forerunner of thy Son our Lord both in life and death; grant, we beseech thee, that as we remember his faithfulness unto death, we may with boldness speak thy truth and with humility be ready to hear it; through Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead, who with Thee and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest one God, world without end. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

South Carolina Circuit Court Rules in Favor of historic Diocese on Betterments Statute

From there:

Orangeburg, S.C. (August 28, 2019) – In a follow up to the July 23 hearing on the Motion to Dismiss filed by The Episcopal Church (TEC) and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) regarding the Betterments Statute claim filed by the Diocese of South Carolina (Diocese), Judge Edgar W. Dickson ruled late yesterday that he is denying TEC and TECSC’s motion. Counsel for the Diocese has been asked to submit a proposed order reflecting that decision by September 6th.

The Betterments Statute provides that a party who makes good faith improvements to property they believe they own, may be compensated for the value of those improvements, if a court makes a final determination that another party is the true owner. Many of the parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina can trace their unbroken history back to the colonial era of the state. During that entire time, there has never been any question of their unencumbered title to property or legal identity. All have proceeded throughout their history with the maintaining and improving of their properties in the good faith belief of their ownership of them.

The Betterments claim was filed in late 2017 because of the timing requirements for filing such an action. The complaint asks that the court stay any proceedings on the merits of that claim until the issue of property ownership is finally decided. The issue of property ownership is before Judge Dickson on motions filed by both sides after the case was remitted back to the Circuit Court from the Supreme Court. These are still under consideration by the Circuit Court. Yesterday’s ruling means that if Judge Dickson rules TEC/TECSC does have a trust interest in any parish property, then those parishes have claims against TEC/TECSC for the value of the improvements made in good faith to those properties since they were created.

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

More from Saint Augustine–John 1: “words to drink”

Therefore, brethren, may this be the result of my admonition, that you understand that in raising your hearts to the Scriptures (when the gospel was sounding forth, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and the rest that was read), you were lifting your eyes to the mountains. For unless the mountains said these things, you would not find out how to think of them at all. Therefore from the mountains came your help, that you even heard of these things; but you cannot yet understand what you have heard. Call for help from the Lord, who made heaven and earth; for the mountains were enabled only so to speak as not of themselves to illuminate, because they themselves are also illuminated by hearing. Thence John, who said these things, received them, he who lay on the Lord’s breast, and from the Lord’s breast drank in what he might give us to drink. But he gave us words to drink.

Thou oughtest then to receive understanding from the source from which he drank who gave thee to drink; so that thou mayest lift up thine eyes to the mountains from whence shall come thine aid, so that from thence thou mayest receive, as it were, the cup, that is, the word, given thee to drink; and yet, since thy help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth, thou mayest fill thy breast from the source from which he filled his; whence thou saidst, “My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth:” let him, then, fill who can. Brethren, this is what I have said: Let each one lift up his heart in the manner that seems fitting, and receive what is spoken. But perhaps you will say that I am more present to you than God. Far be such a thought from you! He is much more present to you; for I appear to your eyes, He presides over your consciences. Give me then your ears, Him your hearts, that you may fill both. Behold, your eyes, and those your bodily senses, you lift up to us; and yet not to us, for we are not of those mountains, but to the gospel itself, to the evangelist himself: your hearts, however, to the Lord to be filled. Moreover, let each one so lift up as to see what he lifts up, and whither. What do I mean by saying, “what he lifts up, and whither?” Let him see to it what sort of a heart he lifts up, because it is to the Lord he lifts it up, lest, encumbered by a load of fleshly pleasure, it fall ere ever it is raised. But does each one see that he bears a burden of flesh? Let him strive by continence to purify that which he may lift up to God. For “Blessed are the pure in heart, because they shall see God.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Food for Thought from Saint Augustine for his Feast Day–‘O, how wonderful is Thy goodness’

O, how wonderful is Thy goodness, for it is unlike all other good things. I desire to come to Thee; and all that I have need of on the way I desire from Thee, and chiefly that without which I can not come to Thee. If Thou forsake me, I perish; yet I know that Thou wilt not forsake me unless I forsake Thee; nor will I forsake Thee, for Thou art the highest good. There is none who rightly seeketh Thee that doth not find Thee. He alone seeketh Thee aright whom Thou teachest aright to seek Thee, and how he should seek Thee. O, good Father, free me entirely from the error in which I have hitherto wandered, and yet wander; and teach me the way in which no foe can encounter me before I come to Thee. If I love naught above Thee, I beseech Thee that I may find Thee; and if I desire any thing beyond measure and wrongly, deliver me from it. Make me worthy to behold Thee.

–Saint Augustine’s Soliloquies, Book I

Posted in Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Augustine of Hippo

O Lord God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee: Help us, following the example of thy servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, and so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom; 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, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Hilary Mantel and Diarmaid MacCulloch–‘Make something of me’: creating Thomas Cromwell

HILARY MANTEL: There has always been a mismatch between what Thomas Cromwell has meant to historians and what he has meant to the general public — and that’s the case whether they’re novel-readers or theatregoers or filmgoers. For some academics in the past, Cromwell has been nothing but a cynical hatchet-man: clever but destructive. There is a far more interesting, vital, creative figure that the great Tudor historian Geoffrey Elton uncovered — or, some people say, created. . .

There are several problems with a biographer, which the novelist also shares. Cromwell’s early life is mostly off the record, and it exists as a set of interesting traditions and almost folk tales rather than a set of verifiable facts. And, in the second phase of his life, when he’s working for Cardinal Wolsey, he begins to come on the record; and then, in the third phase, as secretary to the King, and in effect Henry VIII’s first minister for almost a decade, he doesn’t just come on to the record, he is the record: his work is everywhere; his eye, his hand are everywhere.

Paradoxically, that makes it difficult, because it’s too big to pin down. He ranges across every department of government. Accordingly, biographers have tended to think of him in compartments; so, there’s Cromwell and the Church, Cromwell and finance, and Cromwell and Parliament. And you readily see what happens. You can’t section a human being like that. So, a sense of a man being in there vanishes.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joanna, Mary and Salome

Almighty God, who didst reveal the resurrection of thy Son to Joanna, Mary and Salome, as they faithfully came bearing myrrh to his tomb: Grant that we too may perceive the presence of the risen Lord in the midst of pain and fear, that we may go forth proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Right Reverend Samuel David Ferguson (1842-1916)

Almighty God, who didst raise up thy servant Samuel Ferguson and inspire in him a missionary vision of thy Church in education and ministry: Stir up in us through his example a zeal for a Church, alive with thy Holy Word, reaching forth in love and service to all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Liberia, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joseph of Arimathaea

Merciful God, whose servant Joseph of Arimathaea with reverence and godly fear did prepare the body of our Lord and Savior for burial, and did lay it in his own tomb: Grant, we beseech thee, to us thy faithful people grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(AH) Rodney Hacking–St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Renewal of the Anglican Episcopate

Ignatius offers a fascinating insight into the heart of a true man of God given over to His will. It is tempting to want to leap from his example and vision of episcopacy to its practice within our own Church at this time, but such a leap needs great care. A bishop in the first decade of the second century cannot fairly be compared even to one of 250 years later let alone in the Church of today. The three-fold ministry was still in an early stage of its development. Even though Lightfoot has cogently argued that a case can be made for regarding episcopacy as being of Apostolic direction, and therefore possessing Divine sanction, long years of evolution and growth lay before it. At this stage too the Church across the Roman Empire faced the daily possibility of considerable persecution and martyrdom. That demanded a particular kind of shepherding and witness.

On the other hand a bishop at the beginning of the third millennium might profitably and properly ask (or be asked) whether endless committees and synods are really the way in which their lives are to be laid down for their flock? An institution requires administration, but in the New Testament list of charisms, administrators are quite low in the order of priorities, and of its pastors at this time the Church has other, more pressing, needs. Rather than imposing upon an already disheartened clergy systems of appraisal (mostly copied from secular models of management) it would be good for parish priests to experience bishops as those who were around so much that they could afford regularly to ”˜drop in’ and just be with them. It is hard to expect the parish clergy to make visiting a priority if their fathers in God do not set an example.

In some dioceses the more obviously pastoral role has sometimes been exercised by a suffragan but as more and more diocesan bishops, at least within the Church of England, are being selected from the ranks of the suffragans the temptation is for those who are ambitious to prove their worth more as potential managers than those given to the ”˜Word of God and prayer’ (Acts 6.2). If the communities within which the bishops are to exercise their ministry of unity and care are too large for them to do their work has not the time come to press for smaller dioceses and for bishops to strip themselves of the remnants of the grandeur their office once held and be found, above all, with their clergy and amongst the people, drawing them together into the unity for which Christ gave himself?

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, CoE Bishops, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Ignatius of Antioch

Almighty God, who didst call Ignatius of Loyola to the service of thy Divine Majesty and to seek thee in all things; Give us also the grace to labor without counting the cost and to seek no reward other than knowing that we do thy will; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Wilberforce

Let thy continual mercy, O Lord, enkindle in thy Church the never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of thy servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Mary and Martha of Bethany

O God, heavenly Father, whose Son Jesus Christ enjoyed rest and refreshment in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany: Give us the will to love thee, open our hearts to hear thee, and strengthen our hands to serve thee in others for his sake; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

William Reed Huntington for his Feast Day-‘Catholicity is what we are reaching after’

Dissatisfaction is the one word that best expresses the state of mind in which Christendom finds itself today. There is a wide-spread misgiving that we are on the eve of momentous changes. Unrest is everywhere. We hear about Roman Councils, and Anglican Conferences, and Evangelical Alliances, about the question of the Temporal Power, the dissolution of Church and State, and many other such like things. They all have one meaning. The party of the Papacy and the party of the Reformation, the party of orthodoxy and the party of liberalism, are all alike agitated by the consciousness that a spirit of change is in the air. No wonder that many imagine themselves listening to the rumbling of the chariot- wheels of the Son of Man. He Himself predicted that ” perplexity” should be one of the signs of His coining, and it is certain that the threads of the social order have seldom been more seriously entangled than they now are.

A calmer and perhaps truer inference is that we are about entering upon a new reach of Church history, and that the dissatisfaction and perplexity are only transient. There is always a tumult of waves at the meeting of the waters; but when the streams have mingled, the flow is smooth and still again. The plash and gurgle that we hear may mean something like this.

At all events the time is opportune for a discussion of the Church-Idea; for it is with this, hidden under a hundred disguises, that the world’s thoughts are busy. Men have become possessed with an unwonted longing for unity, and yet they are aware that they do not grapple successfully with the practical problem. Somehow they are grown persuaded that union is God’s work, and separation devil’s work ; but the persuasion only breeds the greater discontent. That is what lies at the root of our unquietness. There is a felt want and a felt inability to meet the want; and where these two things coexist there must be heat of friction.

Catholicity is what we are reaching after….

–William Reed Huntington The Church Idea (1870)

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Reed Huntington

O Lord our God, we thank thee for instilling in the heart of thy servant William Reed Huntington a fervent love for thy Church and its mission in the world; and we pray that, with unflagging faith in thy promises, we may make known to all peoples thy blessed gift of eternal life; 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, Spirituality/Prayer

(FT) Exploring churches with Diarmaid MacCulloch: ‘I love a locked door’

On a high-summer morning in Oxford city centre, entering the calm, cool interior of the church of St Michael at the North Gate offers relief from both the crowds and the heat. A moment later, through the tiny souvenir shop, comes Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church at the University of Oxford and author of many books — most recently a biography of the nation’s favourite Tudor, Thomas Cromwell.

MacCulloch is a star in the history world, knighted in 2012 for services to scholarship. His is a familiar face from TV series including A History of Christianity (and its accompanying book) and Sex and the Church. But today he’s not talking about Cromwell, he’s introducing me to his favourite hobby: a “church crawl”.

For the uninitiated, this is like a pub crawl, but we are refreshing ourselves by visiting places of Anglican worship. It has been MacCulloch’s passion since his “very happy” childhood in rural Suffolk. His father was a village parson and would drive young Diarmaid around to look at churches. Now 67, MacCulloch reckons he has visited “6,000 or 7,000 so far — and several more than once”.

Oxford has an extraordinary number of churches. It is also home to St Cross, a postgraduate institution where MacCulloch has been a fellow for 25 years, and which is within an easy walk of them all. Today he has picked three for us, beginning with St Michael’s because it is the official city church of Oxford, and lies “at the North Gate”, one of the lost entrances to the early walled city.

Read it all (subscription).

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint James the Apostle

O gracious God, we remember before thee this day thy servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that thou wilt pour out upon the leaders of thy Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among thy people; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer