Category : Presbyterian

Down Under, Anglicans respond to an interesting Presbyterian Same-sex Marriage vote

Senior Anglican leaders have responded to a move by the Presbyterian Church in NSW to consider ministers handing back their marriage licences if marriage is redefined to include same-sex couples.

Kevin Murray, the moderator of the NSW Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, wrote to churches about debate at the annual assembly in Sydney last week.

“The Assembly considered what the church should do if marriage is redefined in Australia. It decided to ask the General Assembly of Australia to withdraw the whole church from the Marriage Act, so that our ministers could no longer solemnise marriages under the Marriage Act.” Mr Murray said. “The report which recommended this decision argued that if the Federal Government were to redefine marriage to include same-sex marriage then it would corrupt a good gift of God into a wrong. That would mean that ministers would then be acting for the government in a system which did not reflect the biblical view of marriage. In this case the positive reason for our co-operation with the Marriage Act would have been removed, and we would be better to avoid association with evil by no longer acting as celebrants.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Layton Williams–Presbyhonest–Why the inclusion of LGBTQ people is not enough

The work of the church is not merely to accept those of us who are transgender, asexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, and intersex. The work of the church is to accept and celebrate that the church””the body””is itself queer. The body of Christ is queer because it isn’t defined or bound by human constructs or binaries. It transcends and subverts norms and boundaries. It contains multitudes. But the body is also queer simply because its queer members are a vital component of its identity. When I was dating a cisgender (i.e., identifying with the gender assigned at birth), heterosexual man last fall, we were in a queer relationship. My queer identity made the relationship itself queer, even though he was straight. The body of Christ is queer in this same way because it contains queer identities.

It is time for the church to sit down nervously at its own Table and confront its internalized queerphobia. It is time for the body of Christ to come out. Some of us who have come out ourselves are happy to be the friend that talks the church through it.

Coming out is not easy. It is not just about moving forward in celebration and inclusion. It is about accepting that in some ways you are just now becoming acquainted with who you really are. It means recognizing you have missed opportunities for relationship, happiness, and growth. It means grieving the years lost to fear and the heartbreak of relationships with loved ones who cannot understand. It means holding with grace the wounds you will always carry.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(World Magazine) Church, Inc: Mainline denominations with empty buildings enter the real estate Bus

The Church of the Intercession is a beautiful stone building constructed in 1915, with vaulted ceilings, large stained glass windows, and a nave that could seat several hundred. It now needs $1 million in repairs, and its members face difficult choices.

Outside this Episcopal church in Harlem is its sweeping cemetery that includes the grave of naturalist John Audubon. Inside on a Sunday only 42 worshippers, including the choir, were present. Almost everyone was elderly. There were three canes, one walker, and one child.

Those 42 seemed a megachurch in comparison with the congregation across the street in North Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). In its historic stone building Pastor Carmen Mason-Browne preached to an audience of six women in a room with space for several hundred. The women weren’t even sitting together, but spaced like strangers on an empty train.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, United Church of Christ

(CC Editorial) Counting the faithful

What does directly touch church life are Pew’s numbers on generational change. Attachment to religion is declining across all age groups, but the rise of the nones is most pronounced among younger cohorts: the younger the age bracket, the less likely people are to belong to any Christian (or other religious) body. And of all Christian groups, mainline Protestants do the worst job at reaching and retaining younger generations.

One practical lesson of the Pew report, then, is on the crucial need for mainliners to focus on passing the faith on to the next generation. Mainliners may need to borrow some of the ethos of evangelical Protestants (who seem to do a better job at this) in equipping families to be primary incubators of faith and in forming identities that are distinct and (in some selective ways) more oppositional toward the culture than they have been.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Adult Education, Children, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Youth Ministry

(RNS) 1 year after Meriam Ibrahim’s release, two Christians face possible death penalty in Sudan

Last year, a death penalty sentence slapped on a Sudanese doctor for refusing to renounce her Christian faith stirred international outrage and heightened calls on the government to increase religious liberty.

Meriam Yahya Ibrahim was released a month later, but now two Christian pastors have been jailed and they also face a possible death sentence.

The Rev. Michael Yat and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith, both from the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, have been charged with undermining the constitutional system and spying, offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment.

The clerics are charged with waging a war against the state and assault on religious belief.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology

(Pew R) Methodists, Lutherans+Episcopalians all have declined as % of U.S. adults in recent years

Most of the Founding Fathers of the United States ”“ not to mention a majority of U.S. presidents ”“ were members of Christian denominations that fall into the mainline Protestant tradition. But in recent years, the share of Americans who identify with mainline Protestantism has been shrinking significantly, a trend driven partly by generational change.

Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study finds that 14.7% of U.S. adults are affiliated with the mainline Protestant tradition ”“ a sharp decline from 18.1% when our last Religious Landscape Study was conducted in 2007. Mainline Protestants have declined at a faster rate than any other major Christian group, including Catholics and evangelical Protestants, and as a result also are shrinking as a share of all Protestants and Christians.

Indeed, despite overall U.S. population growth between 2007 and 2014, the total number of mainline Protestant adults has decreased by roughly 5 million during that time (from about 41 million in 2007 to 36 million in 2014).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture

(Scotsman) Kirk vote clears the way for ministers in same-sex partnerships

Earlier last week, the outgoing moderator, the Right Reverend John Chalmers, issued an appeal for calm in the run-up to the debate and also called for a “year of grace”.

During the debate, the Rev Gordon Kennedy from Edin-burgh said: “This has been the greatest cause for the expression of disunity in our church for 170 years. The only fruit this will bear is disharmony and disunity,”

But the Rev Dr Ian Whyte strongly disagreed and said he had witnessed the suffering of gay ministers who felt they had to hide their sexuality.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Scotland, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Church of Scotland votes to allow ministers in same-sex partnerships

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to allow congregations to ordain gay ministers who are in same sex civil partnerships.

Delegates voted 309 in favour and 183 against.

The vote followed a church-wide debate and consultations with all 45 presbyteries, which voted 31 to 14 in favour of change.

A further vote will be held this week on whether or not to extend ordination to ministers in same sex marriages.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Scotland, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Penn Live) Presbyterian Church forcing evangelicals out for having the "wrong" view of marriage?

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the national Presbyterian Lay Committee, said that in the same way the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ became inhospitable environments for evangelicals to serve, the Presbyterian Church is becoming much the same way.

“We are seeing the environment within the PCUSA change following the affirmation of this particular vote,” she says. “That environment is changing pretty rapidly. Presbyteries are becoming inhospitable to pastors who hold traditional views not only on this issue but on underlining issues related to the biblical authority of Jesus as the only way to salvation.”

While sexuality might be the presenting issue in this case, LaBerge argues that the real division is rooted in a theological cleansing – fueled by a growing intolerance toward traditional, biblical views.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Presbyterian, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Presbyterian Ch. USA Stalling Korean Church's Effort to Leave Denomination?

A Presbyterian Church (USA) regional body located in California has been accused of putting a Korean congregation’s effort to leave the mainline denomination to a standstill.

Last year, Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church of Rowland Heights voted overwhelmingly to seek dismissal from PCUSA over the denomination’s growing acceptance of homosexuality.

Out of 817 votes casted in the March 2014 vote, 738 voted to leave, 74 voted to stay, and 5 votes were dismissed.

Despite that, the PCUSA Presbytery of San Gabriel has not apparently finalized the dismissal as of this month, according to the Korean-American Christian publication Christianity Daily.

Read it all from the Christian Post.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

Six Utah women share their faith journeys

The evening concluded with the story of how Wendy Stovall, an assistant pastor in Utah’s Unification Church, started by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, found her way from Zimbabwe to a London park, where she met a friend from that faith.

Raised as an Anglican, Stovall found little comfort in that tradition after her divorce as a young woman. The Unification Church, she said, held many answers to the theological questions that troubled her. “God,” she said, “was taking a role in my life.”

That view was a common thread in the evening’s tapestry.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Buddhism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Other Faiths, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Women

(Charisma News) 34,000 Black Churches Break Ties With Presbyterian Church USA

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African-Americans, has broken its fellowship with Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) following its recent vote to approve same-sex marriage.

The Presbyterian General Assembly, the top legislative body of the PCUSA, voted last June to revise the constitutional language defining marriage. This arbitrary change of Holy Scripture is a flagrantly pretentious and illegitimate maneuver by a body that has no authority whatsoever to alter holy text.

Rev. Anthony Evans, NBCI President noted:

“NBCI and its membership base are simply standing on the Word of God within the mind of Christ. We urge our brother and sisters of the PCUSA to repent and be restored to fellowship.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BGC) Baptists, Presbyterians make room for Anglicans at Calvinist confab

Calvinist-inclined Baptists and Presbyterians attending this year’s upcoming national conference of the Gospel Coalition are adding a place at the table for a new constituency: conservative Anglicans who have broken with the Episcopal Church.

Joining mainstays like Danny Akin, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler and Russell Moore scheduled to speak at the April 13-15 gathering in Orlando, Fla., is John Yates II, rector of The Falls Church Anglican in suburban Washington.

Other Anglican leaders are offering seminars and workshops at the Gospel Coalition 2015 National Conference, and there will be an informal gathering one evening for Anglicans to come together for fellowship and encouragement, Yates said in a Gospel Coalition blog titled “Who Are These Anglicans in TGC?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Baptists, Ecumenical Relations, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Theology

(Patheos) John Shuck I’m a Presbyterian Minister Who Doesn’t Believe in God

For example, I believe that:

Religion is a human construct
The symbols of faith are products of human cultural evolution
Jesus may have been an historical figure, but most of what we know about him is in the form of legend
God is a symbol of myth-making and not credible as a supernatural being or force
The Bible is a human product as opposed to special revelation from a divine being
Human consciousness is the result of natural selection, so there’s no afterlife

In short, I regard the symbols of Christianity from a non-supernatural point of view.

And yet, even though I hold those beliefs, I am still a proud minister. But I don’t appreciate being told that I’m not truly a Christian.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology

Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, Kansas, embrolied in controversy

It’s church time, close to 9 a.m. last Sunday.

Katherine Milligan, 66, walks through the central hallway of the Presbyterian Church of Stanley, feeling more uncomfortable, more spurned and more angry than she has in all her 33 years attending this Overland Park church.

“I’m too old. I don’t care what people think,” the Olathe woman said later, defiant in the battle she has joined. “No one is going to tell me I can’t worship in my sanctuary.”

Yet in late April a trial scheduled in Johnson County District Court will effectively determine exactly that. Judge Kevin Moriarty will hear arguments on who owns this $4.4 million house of God, a white modernist building erected in 1978 on a grassy rise at 148th Street and Antioch Road.

For six months, two factions of the church have been embroiled in what both sides agree has been an ugly and hurtful conflict.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/religion/article14448485.html#storylink=cpy

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AP) Presbyterians give approval to same-sex marriage in church constitution

The Presbyterian Church approved redefining marriage in the church constitution Tuesday to include a “commitment between two people,” becoming the largest US Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.

The new definition was endorsed last year by the church General Assembly, or top legislative body, but required approval from a majority of the denomination’s 171 regional districts, or presbyteries. The critical 86th “yes” vote came Tuesday night from the Palisades Presbytery in New Jersey.

After all regional bodies vote and top Presbyterian leaders officially accept the results, the change will take effect on June 21. The denomination has nearly 1.8 million members and about 10,000 congregations.

Read it all and there are many more stories there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(JE) Mark Tooley–Mainline Protestant Decline and Hope

This year is an ignominious anniversary for Mainline Protestantism, commemorating a half century of continuous decline since their membership peaks in the early 1960s. Fifty years ago one of every six Americans belonged to the Seven Sisters of Mainline Protestantism. Today it’s one of every 16 and plunging. Membership has dropped from 30 million to 20 million during a time when Americas population has nearly doubled. And it did so despite Gallup Poll’s insistence that overall church attendance has remained essentially the same for about the last 80 years.

In our current post denominational age, many question why this decline matters. Who cares about the Mainline except the dwindling and increasingly aged members who remain? After all, haven’t evangelical churches, especially nondenominationals, plus Catholicism, more than filled the void? Wasn’t it time for the Mainline to leave the stage, having more than played its part in American and Christian history across 4 centuries? And in the end, didn’t they deserve their own demise?

The answers are yes and no.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, History, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology, United Church of Christ

(Times) Church of Scotland Moderator says Social media the key to new worshippers

Writing for Life and Work magazine, he said that churchgoers should embrace digital technology as they set about engaging a new kind of recruit.

He went on: “It might pain me to say it, but it’s time for a radical change and I don’t mean a change of hymns, or a visually aided sermon or a new time of day for traditional forms of worship ”””“ I mean something much more far reaching than that.

“I’m looking for a way of including the many hundreds of people who are fully engaged in the practical and project work that our churches are doing throughout Scotland, but whose belonging to the faith community is not necessarily complemented by regular attendance at Sunday worship.”

Read it all (requires subscription)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Scotland, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

(Times) Church of Scotland at loggerheads over move to appoint clergy in Same-sex partnerships

A majority of presbyteries in the Church of Scotland have agreed to a historic legal change, enabling individual congregations to opt out of traditional teaching on marriage and appoint a gay minister who is in a civil partnership.

While official returns will not be released until the new year, it was revealed last night that at least 27 of the 45 voting presbyteries had already accepted the principal of a “mixed economy” within the church, the compromise agreed at this year’s general assembly.

The policy laid out in an “overture” ”” or proposal ”” was drawn up as a way of maintaining the doctrinal position of the Church, to the satisfaction of some of its evangelical members, while allowing more liberal congregations to break with tradition and appoint gay clergy.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ARDA) David Briggs–Why hundreds of congregations made the final break with mainline denominations

It was not as if these congregations chose the most theologically conservative new homes.

The great majority of congregations leaving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) chose to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church or the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Few chose to join the larger Presbyterian Church in America, which does not permit women clergy.

Similarly, congregations leaving the ELCA overwhelmingly bypassed the more conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod denominations for the new Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and the North American Lutheran Church.
Still, the future does not look bright for reconciliation, analysts noted.

“There is an exhaustion factor of having fought for decades,” Thompson said.

Among some denominational leaders, he said, there is a sense, “The bad guys have left.”

And leaders of congregations departing their former mainline Protestant denominations told Carthage researchers they were happy to be in a new place.

When the church leaders were asked if they had any regrets about their decision to leave, “The only thing they’d ever say is we should have left sooner.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sociology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, Theology, United Church of Christ

(R+P) Gene Zubovich–The Protestant Mainline Goes to Washington

On a Sunday morning this past October, some 1,500 preachers and ministers across the country joined in a nationwide protest they called Pulpit Freedom Sunday. They spoke defiantly from their pulpits about political campaigns and pending legislation. They even endorsed politicians, knowingly violating laws meant to prevent such mixing of church and state. Organized by the Alliance Defending Freedom, this group of evangelicals targeted the Johnson Amendment, which forbids tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates and getting involved in campaigns. By violating these rules in an act of civil disobedience, they hoped to trigger a court case to get the amendment overturned. The issue, as they see it, is too much involvement by the government in religious life. The government should not tell Christians how to run their businesses, how to teach their children, or””as the Pulpit Freedom Sunday protesters asserted””how to write their sermons.

These sermons of protest were part of a broader political mobilization among religious institutions in the United States in recent years. The number of “Nones”””those professing no religious affiliation””is on the rise, and a small but vocal group of atheists are challenging Christian displays in public spaces. And the Christian Right appears to be losing the battle on gay rights. In response, many of the leading conservative religious organizations are mobilizing politically while also shifting their strategy. Their new aim is to mark off a part of life that can remain Christian, to protect Christians as a minority that can stand apart from the demands of a national culture they see as being dominated by secularism. The Hobby Lobby case was only the most prominent example of this trend.

On the other hand, a broad swath of American Christians sees things entirely differently. Although they receive far less attention, members of the religious left do not feel besieged by their country. Instead, they are pushing law and politics in the very directions the religious right is resisting. The United Church of Christ filed suit in April 2014 to overturn the prohibition on gay marriage in North Carolina. In the same state, many ministers are participating in the “Moral Monday” campaigns, a movement that is saturated in religious language. And Jim Wallis and Cornel West were arrested last month for protesting police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri. Although the left differs with the right on cultural policy, both groups see political mobilization as being at the heart of religious thought and practice.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology, United Church of Christ

(CC) Carol Merritt–The church’s new foundation

The church’s best days are still ahead,” said Cam­­eron Trimble. I shared a conspiratorial smile, as I often do when with her. She is executive director of the Cen­ter for Progressive Re­newal, where I am a consul­tant. She was telling me about Con­vergence, a network that she is dreaming up with a group of people, including authors Brian Mc­Laren and Diana Butler Bass.

As Trimble talked about Convergence, I imagined her standing in that long pattern of creation which reverberates through our ancient texts. God spoke into the chaos, and the words formed order as they gathered waters, brought forth vegetation, gave rise to animals, and molded humanity. The birth of Jesus Christ, the answer to longing prayers, is described as the Word made flesh.

We see creation in these grand narratives, and we also watch it unfold in our everyday lives. A 13-month-old toddler has not begun to speak, so she stands before the refrigerator, with her arm out and her tiny fist grabbing at air, and grunts. The guttural noises let her parents know that she wants. Eventually her “meh, meh, meh” will become “milk.” When her parents deliver the magical liquid, longing becomes word, and word becomes object.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture

(Scotsman) David Maddox: Lords Spiritual fight for survival

Hanging on by a wing and a prayer, the Lords Spiritual fight for their survival, writes David Maddox

For constitutional geeks the years 1871 and 1920 bear a special significance in terms of reform of that much debated body the House of Lords. The first date was the removal of the Irish Episcopalian bishops from the Upper Chamber, when it was finally accepted that Roman Catholicism and Presbyterian Protestantism were the churches of its peoples. The second was the removal of Welsh bishops, making the Lords Spiritual ”“ as they are collectively known ”“ an English-only body.

It is worth noting that there were never any Scottish bishops given seats in the House of Lords, because of the success of Scotland’s politicians in keeping the Church separate in their negotiations for the 1707 Act of Union.

So with this in mind, Archbishop Justin Welby’s appearance at the Press Gallery lunch yesterday was poignant at a time when political reform, devolution and English votes for English laws are so high on the agenda.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Scotland, Theology

Presbyterian church in Milwaukee with roots in 1800s to close

A struggling Presbyterian congregation with roots going back more than a century has decided to close its doors.

Beset by financial problems ”” brought on in part by a for-profit day care center it opened ”” New Life Presbyterian Church at 3410 W. Silver Spring Drive voted last month to dissolve itself. The church is the latest iteration of a Milwaukee congregation founded as Newminster Presbyterian in the late 1800s.

Now, the Presbytery of Milwaukee will take up the issue at a special meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Greenfield Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1455 S. 97th St., in West Allis. The presbytery, which has contributed some $250,000 to New Life over the years, will spend an additional $60,000 to get its financial affairs in order.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

Kirk calls for Scots to work together after referendum decision

The Church of Scotland’s most senior cleric has urged unionists and pro-independence campaigners to respect the outcome of the referendum and work together towards a stronger future.

In the hours after the result both sides must publicly declare that the matter has been democratically settled, the Moderator of the Kirk’s General Assembly said.

The Rt Rev John Chalmers also suggested replacing posters and badges from the Yes and No campaigns with a “One Scotland” image, while opposing voters should pose together for selfies and share them on social media.

Read it all and please note there is a Service of Reconciliation at St Giles planned for this Sunday.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Foreign Relations, History, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Theology

(Former Ch of Scotlnd Modrtr) Lorna Hood–A simple Qtn with enduring and far-reaching Consequences

I look no further than the disciples of Jesus; a group of disparate, argumentative and fickle individuals. We have Matthew a tax gatherer, who worked for the Roman army of occupation and alongside him Simon the Zealot sworn to obliterate them by whatever means possible. They were divided in their politics and divided on how Jesus could achieve his mission. Yet with God’s guidance and a common purpose they took his message of love to the ends of the earth.

May we also find a new common purpose beyond the vote.

Read (or listen to) it all (from BBC Thought for the Day).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Theology

(Guardian) Scottish referendum campaign 'permeated by something ugly' says senior cleric

The Church of Scotland’s most senior cleric has expressed fears that “something ugly” is permeating the referendum campaign, as a new poll finds that voters believe the country will be divided after 18 September regardless of the outcome of the vote.

The Right Rev John Chalmers, moderator of the General Assembly, said: “I am repelled by the name-calling and rancour we have seen in recent weeks. We need to behave as though we are paving the way for working together whatever the outcome.

“I have faith that despite divergent views most Scots are behaving courteously during the runup to the referendum. However, it has become clear that some are not. I fear that something ugly may be beginning to permeate the independence debate.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Theology

Jacob Lupfer does some analysis on the Presbyterian Same Sex Marriage Vote

Two trends made the PCUSA shift so quickly.

First, as the AP reports, the PCUSA has lost thousands of members and hundreds of churches in recent years. Some of this decline is purely demographic. Presbyterians, like most Mainline Protestants, are aging (dying) and have low rates of fertility, intramarriage, and adult retention. But a significant number of churches have left the denomination over its liberal stances. Some are large, like the Reverend Dr. John Ortberg’s Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. Many others are small.

As traditionalists leave the PCUSA for more conservative denominations like the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO), the theology and politics of those who remain in the PCUSA will move to the left. Think about how the realignment of Dixiecrat politicians and other conservative Democrats to the Republican Party moved the Democrats’ median ideology to the left. It’s the same principle at work.

I also want to offer an additional explanation that no one else is talking about, one that helps explain why the Mainline churches are liberal and becoming more so as they decline. Clergy are significantly more polarized than laypeople. (This 2008 survey of Mainline Protestant clergy is worth studying.) We now know that a bare majority of Americans supports same sex marriage (53%). Surveys indicate that 62% of Mainline Protestants approve of same sex marriage. Mainliners, who comprise only 14% of the population, are more liberal than Americans as a whole on this issue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sociology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Kenya's Christian leaders warn against ethnic violence

We call upon all Kenyans;

To cease from spreading rumours, incitement and inflammatory and derogatory remarks of any kind that may spiral to ethnic violence due to the volatile atmosphere . The name calling, and ethnic profiling on social media and other public places should stop.
To obey the the rule of law, respect and uphold the Constitution of Kenya and all its instituions.
To exercise patriotism and seek to uphold national unity for the sake of development and the well-being of all. With the political, social, economic, religious and any other differences amongst us, we should acknowledge that we are united by one country- Kenya.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Methodist, Other Churches, Politics in General, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence

Presbyterians, Debating Israeli Occupation, Narrowly Vote to Divest Holdings

After passionate debate over how best to help break the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Friday at its general convention to divest from three companies that it says supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory.

The vote, by a count of 310 to 303, was watched closely in Washington and Jerusalem and by Palestinians as a sign of momentum for a movement to pressure Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and end the occupation, with a campaign known as B.D.S., for Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Israel, Middle East, Other Churches, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, Theology