Category : * Anglican – Episcopal

News and Commentary about the Anglican Communion

(Guardian) Church of England put reputation above abuse victims’ needs, inquiry finds

The Church of England put its own reputation above the needs of victims of sexual abuse, with a serious failure of leadership by the former archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, in its handling of the case of a bishop who eventually went to prison, an official inquiry has concluded.

It also found that Prince Charles and other members of the establishment were misguided in their expressions of support of Peter Ball as he battled the accusations.

Ball, a former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, was jailed in 2015, more than 20 years after allegations were made against him that were largely ignored or downplayed by the church. Ball accepted a police caution in 1993 and resigned as bishop but was allowed to continue officiating in the C of E.

Ball “seemed to relish contact with prominent and influential people”, a 250-page report published on Thursday by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) said. He “sought to use his relationship with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to further his campaign to return to unrestricted ministry”.

Read it all.

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

Promoting vocations in the Church of Ireland

Bishop Michael Burrows chairs the Church of Ireland’s Commission on Ministry, which will be organising a Vocations Sunday across the Church this autumn (15th September). In this interview with Peter Cheney, he discusses how people sense a call into ordained ministry and the main themes of his committee’s current work as the 2019 General Synod approaches.

Listen to it all (just under 11 minutes).

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

(Northern Echo) Leaders find 72 reasons why Church of England is growing

Bishop Thorpe said: “The Church of England is a church that can grow and so we want to be encouraging churches to think about how they can grow.

“This whole program is about taking a step back, working with church leaders to see how can we be part of a strategy in the Diocese to begin to invest in growth, rather than in some of the decline that we’ve seen, and that’s a challenge. But there are churches that are good at growing and we want to get right behind that and see it happen more and more.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

The Church of England releases its Working party report into the Ministry of Confession

It was important for the group to gather as much evidence as it could around the use of the confessional and the specificity of ‘the seal’. By the very nature of the subject this was not an easy task. Confessors could not break the confidentiality of matters shared with them. Those using the opportunity of making confession are not necessarily willing to share their story. However, the group did obtain significant input from those who exercise the ministry of hearing confessions, some from those who have experienced the abuse and misuse of the confessional and reflections from those who value the discipline of sacramental confession.

The evidence is clear that there have been priests, acting as confessors, who have misused and abused their position to exercise dominant power over those making confession, and in some cases seriously abusing those who had placed their trust in them. This is deeply disturbing and clearly wrong.

The evidence is also clear that there are many who have been abused and maltreated who have found the confessional and the confidentiality of it a significant place and space of safety in which to share their story, and have false guilt dealt with. This is therefore clearly of deep value.

In wrestling with the way forward the group had to recognise both realities and weigh up the contrasting evidence. The significant weight of evidence lay in the use of the confessional as a place of safety for those who have been abused rather than a place from which a priest abused their position to commit abuse.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

An Easter Conversation with Archbishop Foley Beach

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Easter, Eschatology, Theology

A Guardian Interview with activist the Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain

“In the past decade or so, I have seen and spoken to lots of young people who are trying to reconcile their sexuality and their faith, who end up self-harming, attempting suicide or who suffer with depression and mental illness,” says Foreshew-Cain. “Because if you believe God is condemning you for your essential being and that you have got to be something other than you are, where does that leave you?” He pauses. “Lizzie wasn’t the only one, and she won’t be the last.”

Statements from the most senior figures in the C of E have done little to ease his concerns. Welby, who recently announced that same-sex partners would not be invited to the Lambeth conference in 2020, while heterosexual spouses would, said he was pained by his decision and regretted the conflicts racking the church.

“Honestly, a lot of us in the queer community are very fed up with straight, white, cisgendered men talking about their suffering when they are inflicting it on other people,” says Foreshew-Cain. “It’s a bit like an abusive partner hitting you and saying: ‘This hurts me more than it hurts you.’”

The picture he paints is one of disorder, barely held together by a carefully cultivated ambiguity among the church’s top brass: bishops who quietly voice support for same-sex marriage behind closed doors vote against any liberalisation towards gay and lesbian clergy in the synod, he claims. Parishioners, tired of the endless debates, are abandoning a church at odds with itself. And young Anglicans, hoping to find acceptance and often succeeding in local parishes, are finding institutional debates about their place the source of intense pain.

Foreshew-Cain is sceptical that much will change – at least not until the conclusion of the next Lambeth conference in 2020. But a reckoning will come, and it seems the point of compromise is long past. “These campaigns are not going to go away. Gay people in the church are not going to go away. And the moral question mark over the integrity of the church is not going to go away. It’s only going to become more intense.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

An article from ENS on the proposed Changed Budgetary formula discussed at the partial ACC Meeting

A new formula for setting the level of financial commitments from the Anglican Communion’s provinces approved May 4 by the Anglican Consultative Council has the potential to greatly increase the amount of money expected from The Episcopal Church.

Anglican Communion Chief Operating Officer David White acknowledged that the new annual formula, which is based on the number “active bishops” in a province multiplied by their average salary (including housing costs) multiplied by 10%, produces “the most extreme case of potential impact” for The Episcopal Church….

Historically, the Church of England (at 41.4% of the total income) and The Episcopal Church (at 21.9%) have been the two largest contributors to what is known as the Inter-Anglican Budget. General Convention has budgeted $1.15 million as its total 2019-2021 contribution (line 412 here).

White’s budget report says the ACC’s unrestricted spending budget in 2019 is about $2.3 million. “Given the consistent excess of ambition over resources,” the report says the budget needs a 5% annual increase in money available for unrestricted spending, as opposed to money contributed for specific programs.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Consultative Council, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship

The TEC Communion Partners recently released Communiqué

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Posted in Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology

(David Ould) GAFCON affirms it won’t attend or observe The Partial Lambeth Conference of 2020

The GAFCON Primates consulted on the matter during their meeting this past week in Sydney and have written in response to Welby. While the contents of that letter have not been made public, I understand that they have made it very clear that the presence of those who participate in the consecration as bishops of actively partnered homosexuals, let alone the presence of those specific bishops, is in clear contravention of Resolution 1.10 Lambeth 98 and repeated calls for discipline from the Primates.

Beach also noted that Welby has sought to persuade conservatives to attend Lambeth by claiming that Resolution 1.10 will be reopened for debate and that if they do not attend, they may lose the vote. He went on to observe that continuous attendance at other meetings had simply failed to achieve anything and that “we’ve found that our voice is louder when we don’t attend certain events so we’re not manipulated from within them”.

Speaking to the matter a little later in the meeting, Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney pointed out that it was “incongruous” to not invite the spouses of those gay bishops when the bishops themselves were the issue. On the question of whether they would attend Lambeth he said “we’re going to remain firm”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Australia / NZ, GAFCON, Instruments of Unity, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Andrew Goddard–Ethics and policy for invitations to the partial Lambeth Conference of 2020

As a result of these actions not apparently having consequences in relation to Lambeth invitations, although over 500 bishops and nearly 400 spouses have accepted invitations, it seems likely that at least 200 bishops will decline to attend on principle while some attending may make clear their impaired or broken communion.

In relation to spouses, in a break with past practice they are being invited not to an overlapping Spouses’ Conference but to a single joint conference. It appears, however, that they will be excluded from certain parts of that conference and those spouses who are legally married to a bishop of the same sex are wholly excluded.

In relation to ecumenical observers, many (perhaps even most) Communion bishops invited to the Conference are formally in fuller communion with some of the churches in this category than they are with a number of the other Communion churches and bishops (while other Communion bishops are not in communion and in long-running legal battles with them over church property). It is unclear how their role at the Conference will be different from that of Communion bishops and their spouses.

If that were not confusing enough, when it comes to any decision-making at the Conference (about which there are at present no public details) one assumes that the spouses and ecumenical observers will not participate. However, neither will all Communion bishops unless there is a reversal of the decision of the Primates in 2016 and 2017. And so there is a further, perhaps even more contentious, decision about differences among invitations that needs to be drawn and defended at some point.

The former bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, wrote that the Communion “resembles a spilled bowl of spaghetti” and messiness will inevitably mark Lambeth 2020. There are, however, ways of thinking about, describing, and responding to our current mess (I think, for example, of The way of Anglican communion: Walking together before God drawing on Lambeth 1920) which offer a better path for the Lambeth Conference than that currently on offer in occasional official statements.

What we urgently need is the construction and articulation of a coherent and compelling vision that has theological and ecclesiological integrity, is honest about the painful lived reality of our common life, and is in continuity with the responses developed in recent decades and what the Communion’s General Secretary has recently summed up as “the principle of walking together at a distance as a means of recognising and addressing difference of understanding and practice across the Communion”. Once we have such a vision we can perhaps develop conviction policies on specifics and even find a way towards a “win-win” situation which has a greater possibility of reaching the Archbishop’s goal of “getting as many people as possible there and excluding as few as possible”.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ethics / Moral Theology, Instruments of Unity, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Next Bishop of Norwich announced

Following the announcement, Bishop Graham will tour the Diocese this afternoon, including visits to a local housing trust, a primary school garden and outdoor reflective space, a church after-school club run by volunteers, and culminating in a special Evensong at Norwich Cathedral to which everyone is invited.

On his appointment, Bishop Graham said:

“It’s a great honour and somewhat daunting to be nominated as Bishop of Norwich. I’m excited to have been called to serve among the people of Norfolk and Waveney as together we seek to live out Jesus Christ’s call to love God and our neighbours.

“A theme of God’s calling in my life is that each new chapter has been to a new and unexpected place. The Diocese of Norwich is equally a new and unexpected place for me, and what a wonderful privilege it is to be called to serve here.

“I see the role of a bishop as encouraging others to live out their faith in Jesus Christ with a generosity of spirit and compassion, bringing people together to serve their neighbours in partnership with others.”

The Acting Bishop of Norwich, the Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Revd Alan Winton said:

“As a senior staff team we are delighted with the nomination of Bishop Graham Usher to be the next Bishop of Norwich, and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to their new home in the Diocese.

“The new Bishop Graham brings significant experience, skills and enthusiasm from ministry in York, Newcastle and Worcester Dioceses. We look forward to working with him in supporting and developing the mission and ministry of God’s church here in Norfolk and Waveney. Please pray for Graham and his family as they prepare for their move to Norwich this summer.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Diocese of South Carolina Clergy renewal of Vows and Clergy Day Yesterday

Bishop Lawrence focused on prayer in his sermon at yesterday’s Clergy Renewal of Vows service and urged the clergy of the Diocese to trust the Lord with their deepest fears. “Prayer demands time, space, solitude,” he said.

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

(The Lincolnite) Former Bishops of Lincoln ignored abuse claims, investigation finds

Two former Bishops of Lincoln “turned a blind eye” to alleged abuse cases and did not report them to police until decades later, a BBC Panorama investigation…[revealed yesterday].

A list of 53 Lincoln Diocese clergy and staff was also eventually referred to the police in 2015, eight years after a review into past safeguarding disclosures was announced.

The Church of England Past Cases Review which examined thousands of records in 2008 and 2009, including some child abuse cases, found that some names could have been referred years earlier.

The police investigation that followed resulted in the conviction of three people….

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

A C of E Response to the BBC Panorama programme aired today

From there:

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “It has been harrowing to hear survivors’ accounts of their abuse – shared on BBC Panorama – and we issue an unreserved apology for how we have failed them. We acknowledge that the Past Cases Review, PCR, from 2008-10, however well-intentioned was in hindsight clearly flawed, as shown in the independent scrutiny report by Sir Roger Singleton published last summer. The ‘stringent criticisms’ of the PCR, shared with IICSA, are being acted upon and all dioceses are now carrying out a second past cases review, PCR2. We fully acknowledge that it was a serious mistake not to work with and hear from survivors during the original PCR. The new review will ensure survivors voices are heard. We are aware of the courage it takes for survivors to come forward knowing that the effects of their abuse are with them for life.

I would urge anyone affected by the Panorama programme to call the NSPCC helpline number 0808 800 5000.”

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Media, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper front page) One year after fire, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina’s, St. Andrew’s congregation growing, building new home

Bishop Steve Wood thought he was over it.

It’d been a year since his church went up in flames, and he’d gotten used to his “new normal” that includes hosting worship services inside a Mount Pleasant school.

But then he saw television images showing flames engulfing Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. The painful memories returned of his own St. Andrew’s ablaze just a year earlier.

Though thousands of miles apart, the two churches had more in common than the fire.

News outlets showed images of the golden altar cross still standing in the Catholic cathedral. After the fire at St. Andrew’s, the cross stood among the ash and rubble.

“I just had a sense of God’s presence,” Wood said.

Even in the wake of losing its ministry center to flames — forcing church staff to work remotely and parishioners inside a school for worship services — St. Andrew’s is pressing forward. The congregation continues to grow in size and faith as it builds its new ministry center, expected to open spring 2020.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

(AI) Statement from GAFCON chairman Archbishop Foley Beach on Canterbury’s invitation to ACNA to observe the partial Lambeth Conference of 2020

The Most Rev. Foley Beach, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America and Chairman of GAFCON writes from Sydney:

Yesterday I received a letter from Archbishop Justin just moments before the invitation was reported online. I read the online report first and was disappointed to see that the original “news” source had furthered a partisan, divisive, and false narrative by wrongly asserting that I left the Anglican Communion. I have never left the Anglican Communion, and have no intention of doing so.

I did transfer out of a revisionist body that had left the teaching of the Scriptures and the Anglican Communion and I became canonically resident in another province of the Anglican Communion. I have never left. For the Anglican Church in North America to be treated as mere “observers” is an insult to both our bishops, many of whom have made costly stands for the Gospel, and the majority of Anglicans around the world who have long stood with us as a province of the Anglican Communion.

Once I have had a chance to review this with our College of Bishops and the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference I will respond more fully.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop of Canterbury, GAFCON

(Spectator) Julie Burchill–Our churches aren’t perfect, but if we lose them we will all be worse off

In Britain, Christianity is merely being disappeared — from the police arresting an elderly African street preacher for ‘breach of the peace’ in London this year (his cry of ‘Don’t take my Bible!’ as a pair of strapping plods handcuffed him was heartrending) to our refusal to give sanctuary to Asia Bibi lest it upset certain Christian-hating ‘communities’.

In France, already the usual suspects are suggesting that the new Notre Dame should have ‘multi-faith’ elements — minarets, to be specific — which I’ll be up for the day I see a new multi-faith mosque.

It would be a shame for all of us if we lost the values of the Reformation — ironically, it would be worst for those who are currently cheerleading for the rise of other more repressive religions.

At the service I went to on Easter Sunday, there was no mention by the vicar of the massacre in Sri Lanka, which made me dislike that turn-the-other-cheek thing even more. But I’ll keep going back, because the churches will go from us if we don’t go to them. And what comes after them will not be better.

Read it all.

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

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

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

The 2019 Easter Sermon from the Bishop of Sheffield

This takes us to the heart of John’s extraordinary Easter message. The thing John celebrates in the resurrection and imminent ascension of the Lord Jesus is the restoration, and the transformation, of relationships. In this case, it’s his relationship with Mary: as he speaks her name and she replies, ‘Dear Rabbi’, their relationship is restored; as he then commissions her to be what the Orthodox Church calls the apostle to the apostles, taking the good news of the resurrection to the other disciples, their relationship is transformed.

And it’s clear from the errand entrusted to Mary that Jesus’ relationships with those other disciples are also about to be restored and transformed. The Lord tells her, ‘Go to my brothers’. Do you know that’s the first time in John’s Gospel that Jesus has referred to them that way? Previously, Jesus has called them his servants, and even his friends. But his death and resurrection have so restored and transformed relationships that he now refers to his disciples as his brothers. Again, Jesus has spoken often in this gospel of ‘the Father’ and even of ‘my Father’. ‘My Father and I are one’ he said, ‘My Father is still working and I am working’. ‘I have come in my Father’s name’. But right here is the first time in John’s Gospel that Jesus has referred to God as ‘your Father’. Again, until this moment Jesus has never spoken of the Father as ‘your God’. But through the death and resurrection of Jesus, relationships are not just restored, but transformed: Jesus’ God becomes ‘our God’, his Father becomes ‘our Father’.

And sure enough in the rest of the gospel we will see Jesus’ relationships with his brothers restored and transformed: restored, as he invites sceptical Thomas to see and even to touch his wounds; and transformed as he then commissions him, with the other disciples, in those words ‘As the Father sent me so I send you’; restored, as he gently asks Peter, three times over, ‘Do you love me?’ (once for each denial); and transformed as he then commissions him, equally gently, to feed his sheep (once for each denial).

I must stop. You know, if it wasn’t for the first Easter Day, no one would ever have dreamed of celebrating the Christmas. If it wasn’t for the Lord’s resurrection, there’s no way we’d celebrate his nativity.

So why celebrate the resurrection? According to John, it’s because in and it through it, we become brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus; in it and through it, we find that Jesus’ God is our God, his Father is our Father. In it and through it, our relationships with the Living God are first restored and then transformed, as we first hear the Risen Lord calling us by name, and then hear him commissioning us to share the good news with others.

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Easter, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

An Easter Carol

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

While the patient earth lies waking,
Till the morning shall be breaking,
Shuddering ‘neath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.
And when sunrise smites the mountains,
Pouring light from heavenly fountains,
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say,
Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

Up and down our lives obedient
Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,
Till those garden lives shall be
Fair with duties done for Thee;
And our thankful spirits say,
Christ arose on Easter-Day.

–Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship, TEC Bishops

The Archbishop of Sydney’s 2019 Easter Message

50 years ago, the world was looking towards space – waiting for the first moon landing.”

At the time, US President Richard Nixon described it as ‘the greatest week in the history of the world since Creation!’ The great preacher Billy Graham quickly corrected him – saying that far greater was the week of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

If you were alive in 1969 you would remember exactly where you were when Neil Armstrong took that first ‘small step for a man and one giant leap for mankind.’ Although none of us were there when Jesus lived and died – his resurrection was so significant that we remember and celebrate it every year and will continue to do so until he returns.

The resurrection of Jesus guarantees that no matter how far we have strayed, there is a way for us to be friends with God – and live with him forever.

Although none of us were there when Jesus lived and died – his resurrection was so significant that we remember and celebrate it every year and will continue to do so until he returns.

Happy Resurrection Day – Happy Easter.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Easter

Jeffrey Miller’s 2019 Easter Sermon: Nothing will ever be the Same Again

You can listen directly here or download it there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Holy Week, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Today’s Prayer from the Church of England

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

Tom Wright–The Church must stop trivialising Easter

Jesus of Nazareth was certainly dead by the Friday evening; Roman soldiers were professional killers and wouldn’t have allowed a not-quite-dead rebel leader to stay that way for long. When the first Christians told the story of what happened next, they were not saying: “I think he’s still with us in a spiritual sense” or “I think he’s gone to heaven”. All these have been suggested by people who have lost their historical and theological nerve.

The historian must explain why Christianity got going in the first place, why it hailed Jesus as Messiah despite His execution (He hadn’t defeated the pagans, or rebuilt the Temple, or brought justice and peace to the world, all of which a Messiah should have done), and why the early Christian movement took the shape that it did. The only explanation that will fit the evidence is the one the early Christians insisted upon – He really had been raised from the dead. His body was not just reanimated. It was transformed, so that it was no longer subject to sickness and death.

Let’s be clear: the stories are not about someone coming back into the present mode of life. They are about someone going on into a new sort of existence, still emphatically bodily, if anything, more so. When St Paul speaks of a “spiritual” resurrection body, he doesn’t mean “non-material”, like a ghost. “Spiritual” is the sort of Greek word that tells you,not what something is made of, but what is animating it. The risen Jesus had a physical body animated by God’s life-giving Spirit. Yes, says St Paul, that same Spirit is at work in us, and will have the same effect – and in the whole world.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Easter, Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2019 Easter Sermon

This morning, about an hour ago, I spoke to the Bishop of Colombo, Bishop Dhiloraj. All the churches attacked earlier this morning were Roman Catholic; on your behalf I have sent our condolences to the Archbishop in Colombo and told him we are praying for him.

Bishop Dhiloraj had been in the midst of his Easter Eucharist; he was just beginning the Prayer of Consecration when the police arrived and said, “You must come with us, they are about to come and kill you.”

He refused to move until he had finished the Prayer of Consecration in his packed cathedral, and I quote his exact words to me: “If God gives me permission to live, I shall live. If he gives me permission to die, I shall die.”

Such was the prophecy of Jesus, that he has overcome.

And today, we say the Easter acclamation, Christ is risen, with bittersweet joy, knowing that our sisters and brothers, and many others of other faiths, suffer and mourn.

Yet we still sing our alleluias, still we follow the command of Christ and respond with justice – but in love, not revenge and bitterness, here and around the world.

We mourn and condole, we weep with those who have lost all as the Church has done from time immemorial, for indeed, despite all, Christ is risen!

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Easter, Preaching / Homiletics

An In-between Moment

In this empty hallway, there’s nothing expected of us at this moment. The work is out of our hands, and all we can do is wait, breathe, look around. People sometimes feel like this when they’ve been up all night with someone who’s seriously ill or dying, or when they’ve been through a non-stop series of enormously demanding tasks. A sort of peace, but more a sort of ‘limbo’, an in-between moment. For now, nothing more to do; tired, empty, slightly numbed, we rest for a bit, knowing that what matters is now happening somewhere else.

–Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

Posted in --Rowan Williams, Holy Week, Theology

God knows our Dying From the Inside

Jesus dies. His lifeless body is taken down from the cross. Painters and sculptors have strained their every nerve to portray the sorrow of Mary holding her lifeless son in her arms, as mothers today in Baghdad hold with the same anguish the bodies of their children. On Holy Saturday, or Easter Eve, God is dead, entering into the nothingness of human dying. The source of all being, the One who framed the vastness and the microscopic patterning of the Universe, the delicacy of petals and the scent of thyme, the musician’s melodies and the lover’s heart, is one with us in our mortality. In Jesus, God knows our dying from the inside.

–The Rt. Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Rowell

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Holy Week, Theology

God in Private and Public: A Bishop Tom Wright Maundy Thursday Sermon

Because the newly public message which is the good news of Easter is at one and the same time so obvious – the message of new creation, which answers the deepest longings of the whole cosmos – and so utterly unexpected that if we are to announce God in public in these terms, as Paul did so spectacularly at Athens, we need the preceding private stillness to rinse our minds out of preconceived notions and make ready for God’s startling new world. Note, by the way, that it is the public truth of Easter – the dangerous, strikingly political truth that the living God is remaking the world and claiming full sovereignty over it – that has been for two hundred years the real objection, in western thinking, to the notion that Jesus rose bodily from the tomb. Western thought has wanted to keep Christianity as private truth only, to turn the Lion of Judah into a tame pussy-cat, an elegant and inoffensive, if occasionally mysterious, addition to the family circle.

And part of the point of where we are today, culturally, socially, politically and religiously, is that we don’t have that option any more. We face a dangerous and deeply challenging future in the next few years, as the demons we’ve unleashed in the Middle East are not going to go back into their bag, as the ecological nightmares we’ve created take their toll, as the people who make money by looking after our money have now lost their own money and perhaps ours as well, as our cultural and artistic worlds flail around trying to catch the beauty and sorrow of the world and often turning them into ugliness and trivia. And we whose lives and thinking and praying and preaching are rooted in and shaped by these great four days – we who stand up dangerously before God and one another and say we are ready to hear and obey his call once more – we have to learn what it means to announce the public truth of Easter, consequent upon the public truth of Good Friday and itself shaped by it (as the mark of the nails bear witness), as the good news of God for all the world, not just for those who meet behind locked doors. Every eye shall see him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn as they realise the public truth of his Easter victory. But we can only learn that in the quiet privacy around the Lord’s Table, and the humble stillness where we lay aside our own agendas, our own temperamental preferences, in the darkness of Holy Saturday. When we say Yes to the questions we shall be asked in a few minutes’ time, we are saying Yes to this rhythm, this shaping, of our private devotion to our Lord, our private waiting on him in the silence, in order to say Yes as well to this rhythm, this shaping, of our public ministry, our living out of the gospel before the principalities and powers, our working with the grain of the world where we can and against the grain of the world where we must.

Read it all.

Posted in Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Holy Week, Preaching / Homiletics

Archbishops of Canterbury and York ask cathedrals and churches to toll bells Tomorrow for Notre Dame

From there:

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are today encouraging, where possible, all cathedrals and churches across England to toll a bell for 7 minutes at 7pm this Thursday, as a mark of solidarity following the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. This initiative has been suggested by the British Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn, and it is hoped that many will take part.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), France, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

(Telegraph) Charles Moore–What can happen when a Pope kisses your feet?

It was moving to watch Pope Francis kiss the feet (or, to be absolutely accurate, the shoes) of the warring leaders of South Sudan last week. In human terms, it was particularly touching because the Pope is an old man, so his physical effort added to the gesture of humility.

As it happens, I met one of those leaders, Riek Machar, when I visited South Sudan a few years ago. Despite holding a PhD in “Philosophy and Strategic Planning” from the University of Bradford, he is something of a rough diamond. I would not have risked kissing his feet myself. But that, of course, is only 
the more reason for Pope Francis 
to have done so: great sinners have great need.

The story of South Sudan shows how much divine help is required. 
At the time I met Dr Machar, his country had just emerged from many years of tyranny under the government of North Sudan – whose appalling ruler, Omar al-Bashir, was finally removed in a coup last week after 30 years of wrongdoing. South Sudan thus became a place enjoying new freedom.

That feeling came partly from the fact that it is mainly Christian: the Khartoum government which oppressed it had once harboured Osama bin Laden. It was run by extreme Islamists who persecuted Christians. So when the leaders of this new Christian country later turned on one another and began killing, this represented spiritual as well as political failure.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, --South Sudan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Violence