Category : * Anglican – Episcopal
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–There is therefore now no Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8)
(Sermon starts about 22 minutes in).
I received an email last week that included a brief message that I’ve been ruminating on ever since. It was from an acquaintance of mine, Bishop James Wong, who is the Anglican Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. Let me share part of it with you.
“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “You want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.”
I imagine he could have mentioned others: You want to worship health; I will empty your gyms and fill your hospitals. You want to worship recreation; I will close the Magic Kingdom and gate your parks. You want to worship travel and exotic places; I will dock your cruise liners and ground your planes. You want to indulge in the nightlife; I will close your restaurants and bars and shutter your cities.
Well that has the ring of truth to it—mostly! Yet not entirely. It could be understood to mean God sent this coronavirus as a judgement on the world. Yet I for one am not ready to say that. I am inclined to say it is a judgement upon our idols. It reveals to us how frail life can be and how vain at times our pursuits. You will remember the first two commandments of the Decalogue. “God spoke these words and said: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods but me. You shall not make for yourself any idol.” The reformer John Calvin said, “The human heart is a factory for the making of idols.” When we give ourselves to idols, embracing God’s good gifts separate from Him they invariably turn empty and let us down—whether as individuals, communities, or even nations. “Claiming to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man….” (Romans 1:22-23)
— Kimberley Pfeiler (@CanonKimberley) June 27, 2017
My God, I love Thee Thyself above all else, and Thee I desire as my last end. Always and in all things, with my whole heart and strength, and with unceasing labour, I seek Thee. If Thou give not Thyself to me, Thou givest nothing: if I find not Thee, I find nothing. Grant to me, therefore, most loving God, that I may ever love Thee for Thyself above all things and seek Thee in all things in this life present, so that at last I may find Thee and keep Thee for ever in the world to come.
–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)
What Luther discovered was not brand new. He built upon the work of many through the centuries. Thomas Bradwardine was one of his spiritual ancestors. Learn more him on the next Soul Anchor Podcast. #soulanchorpodcast #catholicchurch pic.twitter.com/ntezjJBtWU
— Soul Anchor Podcast (@soulanchorpod) March 18, 2020
On Sunday 5 July, prisoners and their families will be able to worship together during the first-ever online prison church service broadcast by the Church of England.
This means that, for the first time, prisoners and their families will be able to attend the same church service, wherever they may be. Worshippers outside of the prison service are also welcome to attend.
Recorded at three sites – HMP Stocken in Rutland, HMP Low Newton in Durham and HMP Pentonville in London – the service will include contributions from prison staff and chaplains, along with prayers, reflections and artwork written and created by prisoners.
First online prison church service to be broadcast by @C_of_E this coming Sunday https://t.co/yxEw3VJc6P
— Gerry Lynch (@gerrylynch) July 3, 2020
Brian McGreevy’s much-touted CS Lewis class on The Screwtape Letters now has 33 episodes available. Find them here.
Class participant, Libby Lewis says,
“First and foremost, Brian knows his CS Lewis, inside and out and his enthusiasm to communicate that knowledge in the manner of a Young Life meeting makes this class infectious, witty and fun. I love how he structures the class to meet everyone’s needs: from those who “sit on the beach“ and just soak it in to those who “snorkel” and initiate a bit more learning to providing extra material, readings, etc for those who want to go deeper and “scuba dive”. His guest appearance on the CS Lewis podcast “Pints with Jack” was loads of fun.”
The Latest Edition of the #Anglican Diocese of #SouthCarolina Enewsletter– Brian McGreevy’s much-touted #CSLewis class on The Screwtape Letters now has 33 episodes available https://t.co/Jo1XhcXINu #parishministry #lowcountrylife pic.twitter.com/VYIXVu6D1a
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) July 2, 2020
(Church Times) Government guidance for services: count them in, keep it short, and beware ‘consumables’
From 4 July, incumbents will be responsible for determining how many people can safely attend public worship in their churches, based on a risk assessment of the capacity and ventilation of the building, the Government has said.
The guidance, published on Monday and effective from 4 July, was drawn up by the Places of Worship Taskforce, which includes faith leaders and government ministers. It has legal status under the Health and Safety and Equality Acts.
No maximum number is specified for people attending for general worship, which includes led prayers, devotions, or meditations. The guidance confirms, however, that a maximum of 30 people are permitted to attend weddings, funerals, and other “life-cycle” services, such as baptisms, regardless of the size of the building, unless this takes place during routine communal worship (News, 26 June).
It states: “Limits for communal worship should be decided locally on the basis of the capacity of the place of worship following a risk assessment. The number of people permitted to enter the place of worship at any one time should be limited, so that a safe distance of at least two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation (where two metres is not viable) between households.”
LATEST. From 4 July, incumbents will be responsible for determining how many people can safely attend public worship in their churches, based on a risk assessment of the capacity and ventilation of the building, the Government has said https://t.co/YYCChpv2mf
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) June 29, 2020
The Bishops have established a multi-disciplinary implementation team led by the Rt Rev Philip North, together with the Rt Rev Beverley Mason and the Rt Rev Emma Ineson.
Bishop Philip said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to develop a new outstanding theological college in the North West to serve the Church in the region and beyond.”
The new independent college will offer part-time and full-time formational, vocational training for lay and ordained leaders of the Church and become the sole regional theological educational partner for the North West dioceses.
Bishop Emma noted: “The team recognise that change can be unsettling but we are committed to building on the strengths of three current providers, and the six dioceses they serve, so that the new college can be both an outstanding centre of excellence in theological education, and be better able to respond to the rapidly changing needs of the Church across the region.”
As part of responding to the needs of the region, the new college will seek to provide pathways for groups that have previously found it difficult to access training. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, explained “there are many people who are called by God, but who currently find it hard to access the training they need. My episcopal colleagues and I are determined that this new college will enable people from diverse backgrounds to pursue ministry in the Church of England.”
At…[a recent] Diocesan Synod in Chelmsford Diocese, a paper was discussed which proposed a radical reduction of stipendiary clergy posts from 275 to 215 within the next 18 months, a reduction of 22%. (Since these papers are in the public domain, you can read it for yourself here.) Despite some of these positions already being vacant, this will almost certainly involve making actual clergy redundant, which I think must be unprecedented in the modern era. With our (appropriate) current pre-occupation with the question of racism in society and the church, this might get overlooked or thought of as a local issue—but in fact this could be a turning point, since its implications point to a radical rejection of a commitment to a strategy of growth for the Church of England.
The introduction to the paper sets out the paradoxical pressures that has faced both dioceses and the national Church for some time:
a. On the one hand, it was widely predicted that 40% of serving clergy would retire in the next ten years, creating a kind of ‘cliff edge’ for stipendiary ministry. In fact, this has not been realised, since dioceses cannot control exactly when clergy retire, and many have been staying on longer than expected.
b. On the other hand, the Church of England nationally has never consistently reached its giving target of 5% of net income of those attending, and dioceses across the country are reporting growing deficits.
c. This paradox has been brought to a head by a very significant change in the way that the Church Commissioners distribute their funding. Prior to 2015, the Commissioners distributed funds according to what was known as the ‘Darlow formula’, which paid attention to needs in the dioceses in different ways, but paid no attention to commitment to or potential for growth. John Spence was the leading voice in the 2015 report Resourcing the Future, which proposed that the Commissioners money was divided into two: the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), which would give grants for church planting and church growth initiatives, each of which would need to become self-sustaining over a five-year period; and the Lowest Income Communities Funding (LInC), continuing support for the poorest communities across the dioceses….
Post Edited: The end of the road for C of E growth strategies? https://t.co/Nk4rr4UaM3
— Dr Ian Paul (@Psephizo) June 19, 2020
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Watch and listen to it all.
IN 1947, Time magazine called him “one of the most influential spokespersons for Christianity in the English speaking world”. More than 50 years later, in 2000, he was recognised by Christianity Today as the most influential Christian author of the 20th century — and he continues to feature as one of Amazon’s bestselling authors.
So Michael Peterson introduces the subject of this exemplary intellectual biography. C. S. Lewis is likely to feature on the bookshelves of most Church Times readers — Narnia, Screwtape, and Malcolm may well be familiar names. But his fantasy fiction and popular theology was inspired and informed by a philosophical journey that led from atheism to his embrace of orthodox Christianity. As he himself put it, “imagination is the organ of meaning,” but “reason is the natural organ of truth.”
Lewis, however, was not systematic in his articulation of the philosophy informing his progression towards Christianity’s world-view. So here Peterson seeks to provide just such a systematic treatment and does so with what might be described as typical Lewisian accessibility.
This is literary/philosophical “biography” because Lewis’s varied and voluminous publications can be understood only in the light of his personal story. Peterson deftly negotiates the balance between biography illuminating Lewis’s intellectual odyssey, and explaining it away.
Read it all (registration).
“The relationship between science and religion, what it means to be human, and the problem of pain are addressed by Lewis in ways that are robustly logical, as well as scrupulously honest” https://t.co/uPremOnC8n
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) June 29, 2020
Statement from Bishop Stephen
“Ten years ago I was approached about a safeguarding allegation regarding a priest. I was able to see the survivor and begin to hear what was a difficult and harrowing story. However, I was moving between roles at the time and although I did speak with colleagues about the actions that needed to be taken, I failed to ensure that these were properly documented and followed through in the way I would expect. Now that I have discovered that this incident was not followed up as it should have been, I am deeply distressed and extremely sorry. Because this has recently come to light, I am both thankful that it is being addressed properly now, but also mindful that in my new position as Archbishop of York it is absolutely essential that I am open and transparent about the need for the whole of our church to be scrupulously honest with each other about any failings in safeguarding.
“In the past, the Church of England has been too quick to protect its own reputation and slow to admit its failings. This must change. Those in public office should be subject to scrutiny. Good safeguarding is an absolute priority for the Church of England and for me personally.
“In the diocese of Chelmsford where I have served for the past 10 years, I have been helped by survivors I have worked with as well as a first rate safeguarding team to have a much greater understanding of why safeguarding itself is so important and how we must be prepared to confront our failings and learn from them. Therefore, although I am embarrassed that I did not follow this up as scrupulously as I should have done 10 years ago, I want to go on the record about what has happened in order to demonstrate a new spirit of openness and transparency over how we ensure that the church is as safe as it can be, that survivors are listened to and dealt with honestly, and perpetrators brought to justice.”
The Nigerian Guardian does a special interview with Anglican leader the Most Rev. Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba
How do you plan to create more dioceses, during your tenure?
Let me put it this way: I believe that my work, in the main, may have to do with consolidation. Along the line, there might be new things being introduced. But sustaining what is there, building up the structures that will make this Church stronger, funding and financing and being self-sustaining and supporting, and being able to carry out our mission to the world will be our focus. Part of that consolidation will be to help the needy dioceses to stand.
But I have also realised that as you engage in church mission, church planting, training of pastors and nurturing the believers, the church grows and there will be the need for us to expand. As of now, I cannot tell you the number of dioceses that will be created. This is a decision the House of Bishops, the Episcopal Synod and the General Synod will take. So, when the time comes, we will do the needful. But we will see that we consolidate, strengthen what is on the ground and build up the structures of this institution that will help the church to function and face future challenges.
— Diocese on the Niger – Anglican Communion (@on_niger) June 28, 2020
Lord, you have taught us
that all our doings without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) voted on its second day to accept full membership in the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches and to embrace a life of full communion as envisioned in the Cairo Covenant. The resolution, presented by Archbishop Bob Duncan and Bishop Bill Atwood, summarized the declarations of the Seventh Conference of Global South Anglicans, which met in Cairo, Egypt, on October 11, 2019. It also outlined the four objectives of the newly proposed covenantal structure: to guard the faith once delivered to the saints; to be effective in fulfilling God’s mission to the world; to strengthen the Global South’s identity, governance, relational life, and discipleship; and to work for the well-being of the global Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Duncan was honored to present this historical resolution on the anniversary of his consecration as the first archbishop of the ACNA. He commented: “As this Covenant becomes the basis of the accountability for orthodoxy, partnership, and mission in the Provinces of the Global South, it will be the most significant development in the history and ecclesiology of Anglicanism since the emergence of the Lambeth Conference in 1867.”
The ACNA has been a partner member of the Global South since 2015, and the fundamental declarations, mission objectives, relational commitments, and inter-provincial structures of the Global South are completely consistent with the provisions of the ACNA’s Constitution and Canons, Fundamental Declarations, and the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration. The ACNA continues to be committed to mutual accountability and biblical mission among Anglican provinces as remedies for both the ecclesial deficit and the gospel deficit plaguing the global Anglican Communion.
— American Anglican (@AnglicanCouncil) June 26, 2020
What did the laity experience?
Throughout the lockdown, most laity felt well supported by their clergy (51%) and by the members of their church (49%). A high proportion accessed services online (91%), but this figure needs to be read against the fact that these were people also responding to an online survey.
Among those who attended online services, the sense of participation was not as high as may have been expected. About two-fifths reported that during online services they actually prayed (40%) or recited the liturgy (36%), but fewer reported that they joined in singing (27%).
Privatising holy communion
The lockdown brought into sharp focus questions about celebrating and receiving communion. The survey revealed some significant differences between the views of those giving ministry and those receiving ministry. Whereas 41% of laity agreed that it was right for clergy to celebrate holy communion in their own homes without broadcasting the service to others, only 31% of ministers did so.
Similarly, 43% of laity argued that it was right for people at home to receive communion from their own bread and wine as part of an online communion service, compared with 34% of clergy.
The survey also revealed divided opinion between people from different traditions: 49% of Anglo-Catholics agreed that it was right for clergy to celebrate communion in their homes without broadcasting the service to others, compared with only 25% of Evangelicals.
Conversely, only 23% of Anglo-Catholics argued that it was right for people at home to receive communion from their own bread and wine as part of an online communion service, compared with 55% of Evangelicals.
Coronavirus, Church & You Survey: an in-depth look at the preliminary results https://t.co/DbZzYmLpfD
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) June 25, 2020
Loving God, we offer thanks for the work and witness of Isabel Florence Hapgood, who introduced the Divine Liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church to English-speaking Christians, and encouraged dialogue between Anglicans and Orthodox. Guide us as we build on the foundation that she gave us, that all may be one in Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, unto ages of ages. Amen.
— Dr Carol O’Sullivan (@carol_osullivan) May 8, 2017
[Via email] Dear St. Michaelites and Friends:
What a blessing it has been to have live worship during the month of June, seeing so many of your faces has been truly a gift! We miss you when we can’t see you! Indeed, Three weeks ago on June 7th, and based on the recommendation of the Re-Opening Task Force of St. Michael’s Church, we opened the church doors for worship after being closed for 11 Sundays due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. We reopened on several conditions, including the key condition, that the Covid-19 cases would flatten and decline in South Carolina as well as right here in Charleston.
Since that time, the Re-Opening Task Force, led by Dr. Jerry Reves (Epidemiologist at MUSC) has continued to monitor and meet together. In the last two weeks, Covid-19 cases have sky rocketed both in our state and in our region, with hospitals filling up quickly and new spaces being created for patients. As promised, the Re-Opening Task Force kept meeting to assess, including Monday, June 22. At that time and based on original criteria, the Re-Opening Task Force recommended to the Vestry a pause in our re-opening process. The vestry, wardens and I accepted their recommendation to pause all live-in-person worship taking effect Sunday, July 5.
Beyond the original criteria, we also made the decision based on three other factors:
1). With hospitals filling up so fast, we as St. Michael’s Church cannot contribute to the problem of overflowing Covid-19 units. We want to be part of the solution to flatten the curve.
2). After having been opened for what will be four Sundays, including the funeral for the Rev. Dr. Peter Moore and Carolina Day, this will allow us to have the time to completely sterilize the church and prepare for our eventual reopening.
3). We will also use this time to complete several projects in the Sanctuary including the final installation of our live stream capability to make sure when we do come back in person we will simultaneously also be live on computer.
Personally, I am so glad we had the month of June to be open and see so many of you! That re-opening was a test run to help us be even more effective when we do open up.
In the meantime, we will continue to produce our weekly worship videos and all our zoom discipleship offerings. That continues regardless of any circumstance. I know that for many (including me) this is a very difficult decision. However I want to assure you it is the right decision. As Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 10: “We have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive.” How do we serve the other? I believe right now the answer is to worship in our homes and participate in the zoom offerings and do our part to help flatten the curve.
You are loved, we are a phone call away. Stay faithful dear friends!
Blessings in Christ,
The Rev. Alfred Zadig, Jr.
Mr. Leland H. Cox
Mrs. Laura Waring Gruber
— Charleston photos (@charlestonphoto) January 24, 2016
A special Task Group has been set up to secure the long-term missional sustainability of the Diocese of Carlisle – the Church of England in Cumbria – post COVID-19.
The Financial Planning Task Group is chaired by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, and has ten other members including the Bishop of Penrith, clergy and members of the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF).
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, its focus is the sustained growth of church of every kind in the Diocese of Carlisle, supporting mission, ministry and the ecumenical God for All Vision Refresh.
Bishop James said: “As with all other dioceses in the Church of England, our cash flow and overall financial situation has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Almost every part of our income has been affected: churches have been closed, regular giving has fallen and Parish Offer has been affected; investment income is likely to be lower; parochial fees have not been earned as occasional offices such as weddings and funerals in churches have not happened and our commercial and residential tenants are themselves under financial pressure. We still don’t know exactly for how long and to what degree this will be the case….”
A few years ago, the College of Bishops was able to hear Dr. Albert Thompson from the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic speak to us about the history of our Anglican heritage and the failures of racism, the many injustices, and some of the progress we have made over the years. Last year in Plano at our 10th year Anniversary, we heard the Rev. Anthony Thompson from the REC Diocese of the Southeast. His precious wife was shot, along with eight other people, while having a Bible Study at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston by a hate-filled man seething with racism. Anthony told us about the power of the Gospel of Jesus and how it has enabled him to forgive the man who murdered his wife. In spite of this evil, we saw in the city of Charleston brothers and sisters like Anthony responding with the love of Jesus and the incredible power of forgiveness.
We need to search our hearts and make sure there is no offensive way in us as the Anglican Church in North America. All the words about spiritual renewal and revival in the Bible are not directed to the non-Christian culture, but to the people of God. We need to look within ourselves. And it starts with me. What the Lord has shown me about me in the past few weeks is this–I have failed to understand the incredible burden and pain that many of my black brothers and sisters live with every day. I have not wept with those who weep. And I have not understood the depth of the effect of racism and injustice. I have not understood the burden of living under racist acts, slurs, and systems they have to endure every day, nor have I understood the fear with which they constantly live for themselves and their families. It is not enough not to be a racist; we must not be blind to the sin of racism and ignore it in our midst.
Channing Austin Brown writes in I’m Still Here about a white student in a college class, who after visiting a museum on lynchings, said this to her fellow classmates: “I don’t know what to do with what I’ve learned,” she said. “I can’t fix your pain, and I can’t take it away, but I can see it. And I can work for the rest of my life to make sure your children don’t have to experience the pain of racism.” He writes, “And then she said nine words that I’ve never forgotten: ‘Doing nothing is no longer an option for me.’”
— American Anglican (@AnglicanCouncil) June 24, 2020
— ACNA (@The_ACNA) June 20, 2020
St. Andrew’s Mt. Pleasant and St. Michael’s, Charleston, are partnering together in offering a Christian Fellows program called “Holy City Fellows.” It is a a nine-month (September-May) Christian leadership program for women and men in their 20’s and early 30’s who want to bring their faith to bear in every dimension of their lives – relationships, family, church, work, and culture. This program is designed to develop emerging Christian leaders.
Now through the summer, they are taking applications for their next class of Fellows that begins in late August. They look for young adults from various local churches who love the Lord, are active in their church, exhibit maturity and humility, are teachable, are willing to apply themselves, have a desire to grow in leadership abilities, and can fulfill the program commitments. More info can be found on their website HolyCityFellows.com or hear several Fellows share their experience in this Zoom video chat.
The Latest Edition of the #Anglican Diocese of #SouthCarolina Enewsletter–St. Andrew’s Mt. Pleasant and St. Michael’s, Charleston, are partnering together in offering a Christian Fellows program called “Holy City Fellows” https://t.co/SCgGoTu9ue] #parishministry #lowcountrylife pic.twitter.com/8csY8AHZMn
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 23, 2020
Kevin Kallsen and AS Haley talk about the latest court victories for the ACNA. And, some of the challenges the US Supreme Court’s recent decisions will bring religious communities.
The Archbishop of Canterbury together with the Bishops of Salisbury, Oxford, Truro, Dover, Woolwich, Sherborne, Loughborough, Kingston, Reading and Ramsbury, and former Archbishop Rowan Williams have joined a list of eight archbishops and 38 bishops worldwide in signing an open letter stating that black lives are predominantly affected by the effects of climate change, as well as police brutality and the spread of COVID-19.
Published by the Anglican Communion’s Environmental Network, the letter reads (extract):
The world is slow to respond to climate change, hanging on to an increasingly precarious and unjust economic system. It is predominantly Black lives that are being impacted by drought, flooding, storms and sea level rise. The delayed global response to climate injustice gives the impression that #blacklivesdontmatter. Without urgent action Black lives will continue to be the most impacted, being dispossessed from their lands and becoming climate refugees.
We stand at a Kairos moment – in order to fight environmental injustice , we must also fight racial injustice.
A warning on “environmental racism”
Archbishop of Canterbury and fellow Anglican leaders link Black Lives Matter movement to fight against climate change, warning that black people bear the brunt of havoc wreaked by droughts, flooding and sea-level risehttps://t.co/WqlvE1P5aJ
— Kaya Burgess (@kayaburgess) June 22, 2020
Please note there is also an audio only version available to listen to or download there.