Category : * Anglican – Episcopal

News and Commentary about the Anglican Communion

(Church Times) Pros and pitfalls of Vision and Strategy discussed in C of E webinar

The Church of England, beset by fears of scarcity and chasing a vision of “something bigger and better”, should look to the experience of the Church in Iran, which has survived being stripped of everything that it possessed, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, told a Church House webinar this week.

Finances and buildings were “both a huge gift to us but also a great curse; they are like nooses around our necks”, she said. “And I think if something were to happen, and they were all to be swept away, we would find at that point new life coming.”

Her comments were made during the first in a series of webinars exploring the Church’s Vision and Strategy for the 2020s: “Has strategy eaten theology for breakfast?” Introducing it, Dr Nick Shepherd, a senior vision and strategy consultant at Church House, acknowledged the existence of concerns about the salience of strategic terminology and planning (Comment, 1 July 2022).

Dr Francis-Dehqani offered episcopal solidarity with such concerns in June (News, 8 July 2022), when, in an address to her diocesan synod, she warned against “putting too much emphasis on our human powers — that if only we try hard enough and pull together well enough and all follow the same programme, then we can solve the problems and challenges and ensure the future survival of the Church, either much as it has been in the past, or preferably producing a shinier, bigger, better version.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Lancelot Andrewes sermon for his Feast Day–‘One, that should save His people from their sins; save not their bodies for a time, but their souls for ever’

There is born a Saviour, is the first. The Angel addeth farther, Saviour Which is Christ. For, many saviours had been born, many had God sent them that at divers times had set them free from divers dangers of their enemies; Moses, from the Egyptians; Joshua, from the Canaanites; Gideon, from the Midianites; Jephtha, from the Ammonites; Sampson, from the Philistines. And indeed, the whole story of the Bible is nothing else but a calendar of saviours that God from time to time still stirred them up.

But these all were but petty saviours, there was One yet behind that was worth them all. One, that should save His people from their sins; save not their bodies for a time, but their souls for ever, which none of those saviours could do. One therefore must spoken of, wished for, and waited for, a Saviour Which was Christ. When He came they looked for great matters, as said the woman at the wells side, for He was the most famous and greatest Saviour of all. And this is He, a Saviour Which is Christ. He, of Whom all the promises made mention, and He the performance of them all; of Whom all the types under the Law were shadows, and He the substance of them all; of Whom all the prophecies ran, and He the fulfilling of them all; He, of Whom all those inferior…saviours were the figures and forerunners, and He the acomplishment of all in them was wanting. This is He; Jacob’s Shiloh, Isaiah’s Immanuel, Jeremiah’s Branch, Daniel’s Messias, Zachary’s oriens ab alto, Aggei’s desideratus cunctis gentibus, the desire of all the nations then, and now the joy of all nations, a Saviour Which is Christ.

And what is meant by this term Christ? A Saviour anointed; or, as in another place it is said more agreeable to our phrase of speaking, a Saviour sealed a Saviour under God’s Great Seal. That is, not as those other were, saviours raised up of a sudden upon some occasion, to serve the turn for the present, and never heard of till they came; but a Saviour in God’s fore-counsel resolved on, and given forth from the beginning; promised and foretold, and now signed and sent with absolute commission and fullness of power to be the perfect and complete Saviour of all.

And to be it, ex officio; His office, His very profession, to be one, that all may have right to repair unto Him, and find it at His hands. Not as Saviour incidentally, as it fell out; but one, ex professo, anointed to that end, and by virtue of His anointing appointed, set forth, and sent into the world to exercise this function of a Saviour; not for a time, but for ever; not to the Jews, as did the rest, but even to all the ends of the earth. So runs His bill, Venite ad Me omnes, come all; and, qui ad Me venerit non ejiciam foras, of them that come to Me, I will cast none out.Servator omnium hominum, the Saviour of all men, and as the Samaritans said of Him, Servator mundi, the Saviour of the world, of Samaritans, Jews, Gentiles; of kings, of shepherds, and all.

And there is yet more particularity in this word Christ: three offices did God from the beginning erect to save His people by, and that, by three acts the very heathen took notice of them1. Purgare, 2. Illuminare, 3. Perficere. 1. Priests, to purge or expiate; 2. Prophets, to illuminate or direct them; 3. Kings, to set all right, and to keep all right in that perfection which this world admitteth. And all these three had their several anointings. Aaron the Priest, Elisha the Prophet, Saul the King. In the Saviour Which is Christ, His will was all should meet, that nothing in Him might want to the perfecting of this work. That He might be a [76/77] perfect Saviour of all, He was all. A Priest after the order of Melchizedek; a Prophet to be heard when Moses should show his peace; a King to save His people, Whose name should be Jehova Justitia nostra. David’s Priest, Moses’ Prophet, Jeremy’s King.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Lancelot Andrewes

Almighty God, who gavest thy servant Lancelot Andrewes the gift of thy holy Spirit and made him a man of prayer and a faithful pastor of thy people: Perfect in us what is lacking of thy gifts, of faith, to increase it, of hope, to establish it, of love, to kindle it, that we may live in the life of thy grace and glory; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

(Guardian) Divine comedy: the standup double act who turned to the priesthood

Josh arrived at Oxford in 2012 to study history, Jack in 2013 for English. Once there, Jack devoted himself to comedy. The first time Josh saw him on stage, he couldn’t get over Jack’s brilliance. After the show, he went over and said: “You should do a sequel of that, but with me in it, too.” Jack was quick and witty. But he was also more honest than other people Josh had met at university. No one else talked about how punishing it was. Likewise, Jack admired how straightforwardly, unapologetically himself Josh seemed. In each other they both discovered qualities they could not see were also in themselves: someone grounded and earnest, who reminded them of home.

Jack is taller, more angular than Josh. The first time Josh saw a Rembrandt self-portrait, he thought: at last, people who look like me getting some representation in art. He has soft features, a stooped posture and droopy eyes that suggest a melancholic disposition. This impression falls away as soon as he speaks. When together, Josh is the more animated of the pair. At any hint of a joke from Jack (and when I interviewed them as a pair, there were many of these – I, the waiter, any passers-by becoming audience while they tried out accents and characters), he throws his head back and slaps his knees appreciatively. Jack is more sensitive and self-critical. He sometimes disappears into himself without warning. We spoke every few months between 2021 and 2022. The deepening of his commitment to Christianity during this period meant that on each occasion we talked, the version of himself from our last meeting had already become an object of some disdain.

There are two distinct routes to faith among those who don’t grow up Christian. The first is person-led. One priest I spoke to followed a girl he fancied into a church. He walked in an atheist and came out a believer. The process isn’t always so quick, of course. One devout Christian, named Chris, told me that it had started on his gap year when he met a Pentecostal Christian in Huddersfield. Every day the two spoke about faith. At the end of the year, Chris went to visit his new friend’s church. There the friend spoke to him through the Holy Spirit. In that heightened state, he told Chris truths about himself no one else knew. After that, Chris could think of no further reason not to become a Christian.

Others arrive at church after trauma.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Humor / Trivia, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(R U) Terry Mattingly–The Last Rites For Elizabeth II

“Queen Elizabeth was one of those people in this mortal life who always thought ahead,” said David Lyle Jeffrey, distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. When preparing these rites, the queen was “clearly looking for prayers, Scriptures and hymns that made connections she wanted to make for her family, her people and the world. … I think she succeeded brilliantly.”

An Anglican from Canada, Jeffrey said the events closing the queen’s historic 70-year reign were an appropriate time to explore the “essence of her admirable Christian character.” Thus, the retired literature professor wrote a poem after her death — “Regina Exemplaris (An exemplary queen)” — saluting her steady, consistent faith. It ended with these lines:

She who longest wore the heavy crown

Knew but to kneel before the unseen throne

And plead her people’s cause as for her own,

And there to praise the Lord of All, bowed down,

More conscious of his glory than her high acclaim,

Exemplar thus in worship, in praise more worthy of the Name.

After the “Kontakion of the Departed,” Bishop David Conner, the dean of St. George’s Chapel, noted the importance of this sanctuary to Queen Elizabeth. She had worshipped in the Windsor Castle chapel as a girl, sometimes singing in the choir and taking piano lessons with organist Sir William Henry Harris. The queen included some of his music in the committal service.

“We are bound to call to mind,” said Conner, “someone whose uncomplicated, yet profound Christian faith bore so much fruit … in a life of unstinting service to the nation, the Commonwealth and the wider world, but also, and especially to be remembered in this place, in kindness, concern and reassuring care for her family, friends and neighbors.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(TLC Covenant) Rowan Williams–Queen Elizabeth’s Anglican Faithfulness

[Archbp Geoffrey Fisher’s book of prayers and meditations]…were the foundations for her thinking about her calling. And they helped her make what must have been a difficult discernment in her later years. As British society grew both more religiously plural and more secular, she responded not by watering down what she had to say in her annual Christmas broadcasts but by gently increasing the references to her faith and to the role of religious faith in general.

Reading through these Christmas texts, it is striking that, as her society ceased to take for granted the frame of reference that was hers, she recognized that part of her task was to remind us of it. Never triumphalist, never aggressive, she simply reiterated her own commitment, her acknowledgment of God’s grace, and her insistence on the need to remember what the Christmas festival was actually about.

Contrary to what some over-anxious and over-apologetic observers might have feared, this did not offend or alienate the faithful of other communities. It reassured them that the monarch understood how and why faith mattered. And that was partly because she was increasingly willing to take part in interfaith events (and was indeed criticized by some Christian rigorists for doing so). This might be at large public events like Commonwealth Day services.

But my strongest memory is of an event at Lambeth Palace, late in my time as archbishop, when we had organized a small exhibition of treasures from different faith traditions and invited the queen to come and view this, to meet a number of religious leaders, and to address the group. What she said in her address was a powerful statement of a genuinely theological rationale for the Church of England’s role in a religiously plural society.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Telegraph) Marcus Walker–The Church of England is clearly in rude health. It must recognise its strengths

The interplay of the national and the local and the strength that the Church of England still has in its atrophying muscles should be a cause of serious hope to those leading the national church. But, as Christ says, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” so if we’re going to build on these strengths, we need to make a conscious decision to invest in them.

The local is our strength. Churches at the centre of their communities, priests at the centre of their churches – with the time to devote to their communities. The CofE knows this – three reports have been commissioned into why some churches grow and some shrink and all three came back with the same answer.

As one, From Anecdote to Evidence put it: “The findings show that single church units under one leader are more likely to grow than when churches are grouped together…There is a strong negative trend between the more churches amalgamated together and the likelihood of decline.”

Communities across the country are concerned that the old model of Anglican Christianity is slowly dying – and often for paltry sums of money, unable to be raised at a local level but easily available at a national level where the Church of England sits on £10 billion of assets. Where your treasure is, there will you heart be also: let’s put our money in our parishes, for that is where the real beating heart of the CofE is found. (And let’s celebrate the fact that we no longer have a recruitment crisis – we are now ordaining more new priests than we have clergy retiring or quitting early.)

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

(BBC Sounds) A Discussion looking back on the Queen’s funeral especially focusing on the faith issues involved

Herewith the BBC blurb about the show:

Exploring the faith behind the pomp and pageantry of the Queen’s funeral.

Millions will have watched the historic funeral service from Westminster Abbey and the Committal at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest. For some, the services will be full of meaning and resonance. Others will be less familiar with the Christian rituals that have evolved over centuries.

Ernie Rea is joined by writer and journalist Catherine Pepinster, Professor Douglas Davies, Rev Dr Giles Fraser and Andrew Carwood MBE (Director of Music, St Paul’s Cathedral) to discuss and illuminate the meaning, symbolism and significance of the Queen’s state funeral.

Listen to it all (28 minutes).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

The New Dean of Llandaff Cathedral, Richard Peers, is announced

Canon Richard has had a long connection with the Church in Wales, leading retreats, preaching, and teaching across Wales. Richard has undertaken education consultancy in Church in Wales’ schools and assists as an adviser in change management to clergy. He is an Honorary Canon of St Asaph Cathedral.

“I am delighted to have been invited by Bishop June to be the next Dean of Llandaff,” says Canon Richard Peers. “The Church in Wales and Llandaff Cathedral have had an important place in my heart for many years. I look forward to praying, working, and living in Llandaff as part of the strong team in the Cathedral.

“This is an exciting time for the Church in Wales and for Llandaff Diocese and Cathedral. The Cathedral is a place where faith matters and I will be glad to lead the Cathedral as it further develops the diocesan vision to tell a joyful story, grow the kingdom of God, and build the capacity for good of churches across the Diocese.”

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

(NYT front page) With Sadness and Uncertainty, Britons Close an Elizabethan Age

Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest on Monday after a majestic state funeral that drew tens of millions of Britons together in a vast expression of grief and gratitude, as they bade farewell to a sovereign whose seven-decade reign had spanned their lives and defined their times.

It was the culmination of 10 days of mourning since the queen died on Sept. 8 in Scotland — a highly choreographed series of rituals that fell amid a deepening economic crisis and a fraught political transition in Britain — and yet everything about the day seemed destined to be etched into history.

Tens of thousands of people lined the route of the cortege past the landmarks of London. In Hyde Park, people watching the service on large screens joined in “The Lord’s Prayer” when it was recited at Westminster Abbey. Thousands more cheered, many strewing flowers in the path of her glass-topped hearse, as the queen’s coffin was driven to Windsor Castle, where she was buried next to her husband, Prince Philip.

“In this changing world, she was a pillar of the old world,” said Richard Roe, 36, who works in finance in Zurich and flew home for the funeral. “It’s nice to have something that’s stable and stands for good values.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Coleridge Patteson

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servants John Coleridge Patteson and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia, and by their labors and sufferings didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many, thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Anglican Church of Melanesia, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Spirituality/Prayer

The full order of service for Queen Elizabeth II’s committal at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle today

All stand as the Dean of Windsor says:

THE BIDDING

WE have come together to commit into the hands of God the soul of his servant Queen Elizabeth. Here, in St George’s Chapel, where she so often worshipped, we are bound to call to mind someone whose uncomplicated yet profound Christian Faith bore so much fruit. Fruit, in a life of unstinting service to the Nation, the Commonwealth and the wider world, but also (and especially to be remembered in this place) in kindness, concern and reassuring care for her family and friends and neighbours. In the midst of our rapidly changing and frequently troubled world, her calm and dignified presence has given us confidence to face the future, as she did, with courage and with hope. As, with grateful hearts, we reflect on these and all the many other ways in which her long life has been a blessing to us, we pray that God will give us grace to honour her memory by following her example, and that, with our sister Elizabeth, at the last, we shall know the joys of life eternal.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Sermon for The State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Come Holy Spirit, fill us with the balm of your healing love. Amen.

The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death. The pattern for all who serve God – famous or obscure, respected or ignored – is that death is the door to glory.

Her Late Majesty famously declared on a 21st birthday broadcast that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the Nation and Commonwealth.

Rarely has such a promise been so well kept! Few leaders receive the outpouring of love that we have seen.

Jesus – who in our reading does not tell his disciples how to follow, but who to follow – said: “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Her Late Majesty’s example was not set through her position or her ambition, but through whom she followed. I know His Majesty shares the same faith and hope in Jesus Christ as his mother; the same sense of service and duty.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Theodore of Tarsus

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and didst give him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in thy Church, we pray, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

King Charles III’s remarks to Faith Leaders Today

I have always thought of Britain as a ‘community of communities.’ That has led me to understand that the Sovereign has an additional duty – less formally recognized but to be no less diligently discharged. It is the duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for Faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals. This diversity is not just enshrined in the laws of our country, it is enjoined by my own faith. As a member of the Church of England, my Christian beliefs have love at their very heart. By my most profound convictions, therefore – as well as by my position as Sovereign – I hold myself bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals.

The beliefs that flourish in, and contribute to, our richly diverse society differ. They, and our society, can only thrive through a clear collective commitment to those vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit and care for others which are, to me, the essence of our nationhood. I am determined, as King, to preserve and promote those principles across all communities, and for all beliefs, with all my heart.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Queen’s visits to Aberfan were an example of ‘soft power’, says Archbishop of Wales

The Queen’s repeated visits to the small Welsh mining town of Aberfan, after a disaster which killed 116 children and 28 adults, were an example of her “soft power”, which shaped the UK and its relations with the world, the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Andrew John, said on Friday.

The tragedy, in 1966, when a colliery spoil tip collapsed engulfing a primary school, led to four visits to the town from the Queen — the last in 2012, to open a new school. Archbishop John said that the people of Aberfan found her “deeply consoling”.

“In her role as head of the Commonwealth,” he said, “she presided over a growing fellowship of nations, and she embraced our diverse histories, cultures, and languages, delighting in the sheer variety of this unique assembly. At times, when countries threatened to forsake each other, she displayed the skilful use of that ‘soft power’ . . . that way of exercising power that has depth and reach.

“In Wales, that skill was never more evident than when she visited Aberfan, in 1966. The community of Aberfan found her presence deeply consoling, and Her Majesty would return four more times to this community.”

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Posted in Church of Wales, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Spectator) [Former Bishop of London] Richard Chartres–The Queen’s life was anchored by Christianity

She was always reticent about her personal opinions about people and policies. She was reluctant even to divulge whether she had a favourite hymn, knowing that she would be condemned ever afterwards to hear it on every occasion.

During the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, in a speech at Lambeth Palace the Queen was explicit about her own view of the role of the Church of England in a multicultural country. ‘The concept of our established church is occasionally misunderstood and I believe commonly underappreciated. Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country.’

The Queen believed that the ‘Defender of the Faith’ should be the friend and protector of all the faiths which make up the national community. She was an assiduous visitor to temples, gurdwaras and mosques. The idea, however, that you could slip the Christian anchorage in favour of a generalised benevolence to all religions was not one she instinctively favoured. To be simply a ‘Defender of Faith’, rather than the Faith, suggests that one occupies an elevated position in which all faiths are seen as more or less adequate local editions of something vaguely lying beyond them all. Spiritual progress and deeper appreciation of other traditions comes from the serious and disciplined choice of a particular way to follow. The Queen was intensely disciplined in every aspect of her life including in its spiritual dimension. Wherever she was, Sunday worship was a priority.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper) South Carolina Anglican Diocese’s first Black female priest reflects on symbolism of moment

The Rev. Henrietta Rivers can name the handful of male pastors who helped shape her approach to ministry. But perhaps the most influential person to impact her pastoral career was a woman — N.C. Williams, an instructor at the predominantly Black and now closed Charles A. Brown High School.

Rivers recalls how Williams would tell the freshmen students that their worth didn’t come from their material possessions. She also taught the importance of being proud of one’s African American heritage.

“She allowed us to see our human value,” said Rivers, 55, who now preaches a similar message to middle school students in her role as chaplain at Porter-Gaud School.

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

Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell’s Sermon on the Death of Queen Elizabeth

And where did this come from? This way of being a monarch that was more about service than rule?

At her Coronation, as I’ve already heard said several times, in perhaps one of the most poignant moments of the service, she steadfastly walked past the throne upon which she would sit and knelt at the altar, giving her allegiance to God before anyone else gave their allegiance to her.

Echoing those comforting words of scripture from the Book of Lamentation, which is itself a book written out of the heart of the profoundest grief and tragedy, the Queen said this in one of her Christmas broadcasts –

“Each day is a new beginning… I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.”

And let’s not forget that today is September the 11th, a day etched into the corporate memory of the world as we remember another day of horror and sadness when so many died.

And this is what we do. As we remember, as we grieve and mourn in our families, across our world, and in the household of our nation we tell our stories. And how do we make sense of the end of life and of death? How do we live our lives well in the time that is remaining to us? Well, we can do no better than follow the example of Her Late Majesty the Queen, who each day put her trust in God. There’s nothing sensational or mystical about this. The Christian life is a life of simple discipline where each day we choose to live a certain way. Each day we choose to love our neighbour as ourselves. Each day we choose to love God.

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Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Justin Welby preaches at Canterbury Cathedral on the Death of Queen Elizabeth

That same year, it was the year of the European City of Culture for Liverpool, Her Late Majesty came to Liverpool and there was a formal lunch. I was at a table not far away from her. Also at the table with her was a Rwandan woman who had escaped the genocide but lost almost her entire family and seen most terrible horrors. At the end of lunch, the Queen invited her to come and sit next to her, and talked to her for at least 20 minutes, while some of her staff hovered, twitching. And when I spoke to her later, she said, ‘there was healing’.

Both Her late Majesty and His Majesty treat others as special because for both their faith is built on the same rock. The rock of Christ. It is a rock on which we too can stand. There is room on that rock for every human being, however important or unimportant. Our sure hope comes from the fact the monarchy is not in a person, it is in God’s loving grace that he poured upon the Queen and pours upon the King – ‘Thy choicest gifts in store, on him be pleased to pour’.

This is the faith that enabled Her Late Majesty to be such a blessing to us, and to people around the world, an example of wisdom and reconciliation. Some of us will remember seeing on television her visit to Ireland in 2011 when, at the formal state dinner, she opened her speech in the Irish language, and Mary MacAleese, the then President of Ireland, looked at her neighbour at the table and went ’wow’. Or when Her Majesty in 2012, chose quite literally to extend the hand of friendship to Martin McGuinness, despite their differences and painful history – including the very personal history for the Queen of the death of her beloved uncle Lord Mountbatten as a result of an IRA attack in 1979. She was able to offer her hand because she stood on the rock of Christ.

She knew that every person is part of the flock, she saw every one of her subjects and every person she met as part of God’s treasured people. She knew that even in the shadow of the valley of death the Good Shepherd was with here. She knew that throughout this country’s darkest days and greatest victories, the hand of the Lord seeks us out and guides us. His Majesty knows the same. We have continuity, we have stability through grace.

Her life made sense in the light of Jesus Christ, her Lord and Saviour. So does that of His Majesty.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon: What does in Mean that Christians are Forgiven and Free (Romans 8:1-2)?

Listen to it all and there re other options here.

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

(ABC Aus.) Alison Milbank–“May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”: Elizabeth II and the virtues of a Christian monarchy

There is a danger that we consign Elizabeth and what she represents of embodied faithfulness to the angels and to history and go forward on our atomised way as a society and a Church into an ever more individualist future, where the only mutual belonging is in our separate identity groups. Instead, let us use that sense of common loss to forge ever-stronger bonds between neighbours, classes, cultures, and nations, and resist the forces that seek to pull us apart. As King Charles said in his first speech, we must instead “help … to bring the marginal to the centre ground”; the needs of Lazarus must be at the heart of our attention. We need strong neighbourhoods and parishes to resist the pressures of globalisation, of racism and hate. The virtues and the faith of the late Queen, far from being old-fashioned and superseded, are what we need for our future, which will only be sustainable if we can co-operate, act sacrificially, and show steadfastness and loyalty.

So we clergy can wear our white vestments of hope with integrity, for in laying Elizabeth to rest and acknowledging the religious resources upon which she drew, we can affirm the value of a Christian monarchy as offering a world of many faiths and cultures a moral umbrella, in which we can imagine together a better world of real justice, peace, and co-operation.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory. And may her faithfulness inspire and steady us in the years to come.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Language, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BBC) The Queen: Religious leaders reflect on her Christian faith

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, said that it had always been very clear to him that Queen Elizabeth II was a woman of deep personal faith, particularly through her public speaking.

“She was unafraid to be a strong, personal and courageous witness to the teachings of Christ,” he said.

“Here was a woman who lived her faith – who served the Lord at every moment of her life and who really wrote faith into everything that she thought, said and did.”

Archbishop Martin said that he always always believed the Queen was someone who practiced her faith, who regularly went to church, and was “clearly steeped in the word of God”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

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

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

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

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

The innocence of Christ;

His tenderness and compassion;

His patience;

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

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Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Bishops

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Henry Hobart

Revive thy Church, Lord God of hosts, whensoever it doth fall into complacency and sloth, by raising up devoted leaders, like thy servant John Henry Hobart whom we remember this day; and grant that their faith and vigor of mind may awaken thy people to thy message and their mission; 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, TEC Bishops

(PC) Devout, relaxed and friendly: Tom Wright recalls his 36 hours with The Queen

She was very friendly and clearly a very devout, what we would consider ‘old fashioned’ Church of England Christian.

I remember thinking during more than one Christmas broadcast, she has just preached the gospel to the nation in a way that perhaps nobody else could have done.

I was a small boy when the coronation took place, and I remember being taken down to the town square. We lived in the far north of England, and there was a ceremony. My sister and I were both given coronation Bibles, and I think we had coronation socks and a coronation mug.

I remember when she was presiding at the opening of General Synod and there was a communion service in Westminster Abbey. She expressed great surprise afterwards because the way communion was distributed was by people simply walking forward in a line and receiving communion without kneeling down, whereas she was used to receiving communion while kneeling down. Kneeling was important to her, and worshipping was something to do with your whole body.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(1st Things) Carl Truman–The Quiet Faith Of Queen Elizabeth Ii

…she saw the monarchy as something larger than herself, something to which her personal interests had to be subordinated.

Some of this was no doubt due to her quiet but serious Christian faith. A friend who once had the privilege of being a royal chaplain and spending a weekend at Balmoral Castle confirmed that the conversations he had with the queen revealed her to be a thoughtful, devout Christian. As a humble Christian she took her earthly vocation seriously, placing the needs of the office and of the people she ruled before her own.

Unlike most heads of state today, she was a person to whom one could point and say to one’s children and grandchildren, “When you grow up, you want to be like her.” Her reign was marked with a deep sense of the dignity of her office. She never used profane language. She never sneered at critics. A generation raised on reality TV, life-as-performance, confected Twitter outrage, and “living loud” would do well to reflect upon that. To how many other executives of the past decades can one point as a good example to follow? Maybe that is why monarchy might not be such a bad thing after all. Democratically-elected leaders often achieve their positions thanks to ruthless ambition, dirty tricks, and an overwhelming sense of their own vital importance. The queen was never burdened with such temptations, and it showed.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Theology

King Charles III’s first address to the nation: The full transcript

“The role and the duties of monarchy also remain, as does the Sovereign’s particular relationship and responsibility towards the Church of England – the Church in which my own faith is so deeply rooted.

“In that faith, and the values it inspires, I have been brought up to cherish a sense of duty to others, and to hold in the greatest respect the precious traditions, freedoms and responsibilities of our unique history and our system of parliamentary government.

“As the Queen herself did with such unswerving devotion, I too now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.

“And wherever you may live in the United Kingdom, or in the realms and territories across the world, and whatever may be your background or beliefs, I shall endeavour to serve you with loyalty, respect and love, as I have throughout my life.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Language, Politics in General