— Kimberley Pfeiler (@CanonKimberley) June 27, 2017
Category : Ministry of the Ordained
Please join us tomorrow for our final Lenten Teaching Series with The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence. 11:00 – Holy Eucharist (Chapel)11:45 – Lunch served (Fellowship Hall)12:10 – Teaching time (Fellowship Hall)12:50 – Blessing and Dismissal https://t.co/dXxdBPa2ON pic.twitter.com/2u80ePrDkX
— St. John’s Church (Anglican) (@STJOHNSFLORENCE) April 10, 2019
“People can create online personalities that are simply not real. … A lot of what they say in social media has little to do with who they really are and all the fleshy, real stuff that’s in their lives,” said the Rev. John Jay Alvaro of First Baptist Church in Pasadena, California.
Thus, Alvaro and the church’s other clergy are committed to this strategy: Always move “one step closer” to human contact. “What we want is coffee cups and face-to-face meetings across a table. … You have to get past all the texts and emails and Facebook,” he said.
In fact, Alvaro is convinced that online life has become so toxic that it’s time for pastors to detox. Thus, he recently wrote an essay for Baptist News Global with this blunt headline: “Pastors and other church leaders: Give up social media. Not for Lent, but forever.” His thesis is that the “dumpster fire” of social media life is making it harder for pastors to love real people.
To quote one of Alvaro’s Duke Divinity School mentors — theologian Stanley Hauerwas — today’s plugged-in pastor has become “a quivering mass of availability.”
Whether a lesson be mastered in obedience to conscience, or from a dread of punishment, from filial affection, or determination to beat a rival, is a question of little moment, I grant, in reference to the stock of knowledge acquired, but of incalculable consequence when asked in reference to the bearing upon moral character. The zeal to make scholars, should, in the minds of Christians at least, be tempered by the knowledge that it may repress a zeal for better things. The head should not be furnished at the expense of the heart. Surely, at most, it is exchanging fine gold for silver, when the culture of gracious affections and holy principle is neglected for any attainments of intellect, however brilliant or varied. What Christian parent, would wish his son to be a linguist or a mathematician, of the richest acquirements or the deepest science, if he must become so by a process, in which the improvement of his religious capabilities would be surrendered, or his mind accustomed to motives not recognised in the pure and self-denying discipline of the Gospel. Not that such discipline is unfriendly to intellectual superiority; on the contrary, the incentives to attain it, will be enduring, and consequently efficient, in proportion to their purity. The highest allurements to the cultivation of our rational nature, are peculiar to Christianity. Hence, literature and science have won their highest honors in the productions of minds most deeply imbued with its spirit. The effect, however, of exclusively Christian discipline in a seminary of learning, when fairly stated, is not so much to produce one or two prodigies, as to increase the average quantum of industry; to raise the standard of proficiency among the many of moderate abilities, rather than to multiply the opportunities of distinction for the gifted few.
A formal complaint of serious misconduct has been lodged with the Church of England against the Bishop of Chester, it has emerged.
Known as a Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM), it was brought against Dr Peter Forster by Sir Roger Singleton, interim safeguarding director at the Church.
A spokesman told the Standard that permission is currently being sought to bring the CDM ‘out of time’.
This is because under C of E rules there is a 12-month time limit between the date of the alleged misconduct and the lodging of the complaint.
I am one of those ministers who has endured a handful of seasons of anxiety and depression. Most of the time, thankfully, the affliction has been more low-grade than intense. On one occasion, though, it pretty much flattened me physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. I call this particular season my ‘living nightmare.’
That season, as well as others, occurred while serving in ministry.
How bad was the living nightmare? I could not fall asleep for two weeks straight. Even sleeping pills could not calm the adrenaline and knock me out, which only made things worse. At night I was terrified of the quiet, knowing I was in for another all-night battle with insomnia that I was likely to lose. The sunrise also terrified me, an unwelcome reminder that another day of impossible struggle was ahead of me. I lost nearly thirty-five pounds in two months. I could not concentrate in conversations with people. I found no comfort in God’s promises from Scripture. I was unable to pray anything but “Help” and “Please end this.”
Why would I tell you this part of my story? Because I believe—no, I am certain—that anxiety and depression hits ministers disproportionately. And a minister who suffers with this affliction, especially in isolation, is a person at risk. When I was in seminary, two pastors committed suicide because they could not imagine going on another day having to face their anxiety and depression. Both suffered with the affliction in silence. One wrote in his suicide note that if a minister tells anyone about his depression, he will lose his ministry, because nobody wants to be pastored by a damaged person….
She was completely trapped, locked ina life of immorality and shame with no apparent way out.No way forward. No way back. Living an almost invisible existence until he, under God’s providence, crossed several boundaries—both geographical and cultural; established a personal contact with her in spite of her desire to be invisible; courted her curiosity; touched her deepest pain and need and brought her into the grace of his reckless and redeeming love….
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 18, 2018
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail; whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.”””HEB. vi. 19, and part of v. 20.
Life is full of changes and chances. It sounds commonplace to say so, and yet more and more one learns to realize that the commonplaces of life are the things we most frequently dwell on, and the things we most often need comfort about. Poverty and riches, sickness and health, prosperity and adversity, joy and sorrow, succeed one another in our lives in a way that men call chance, and Christians know to be the will of God. All external circumstances change and alter; friends fail us or are taken away; death breaks up family circles; we move away from the scenes of youth and dwell in other places; cities and towns lose their familiar appearance; nay, in this our day things that should be most stable shake and totter, and government and order seem about to fail, and the very Church itself partakes of the universal disquiet; and only the eye of faith can discern the sure and immovable foundations against which the gates of hell shall never prevail.
But, even if there were no external changes, the changes within us are still harder to bear. We are not what we were. Time more surely alters our inner selves than even it does what is without us. We do not love what we loved, we do not seek what we sought, we do not fear what we feared, we do not hate what we hated. We are not true to ourselves. However brave a front we may present to the world, we are compelled to acknowledge to ourselves our own inconsistencies. There is often a broad chasm even between the intellectual convictions of one period of life and of another; and our very religious convictions, except they are built on the unchanging rule of the catholic faith, contradict each other; and the weary heart, uncertainly reaching forth in the darkness, longs with an ever deeper longing for that immutable One “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Blessed, then, is it to hear of an anchor of the soul. The imagery is simple enough. The ship, beaten by waves, tossed by tempests, driven by winds, takes refuge in the harbor. The anchor is cast from the stern. The ship rides securely; the danger is over.
The October 2017 decision by Wisconsin district judge Judge Barbara Crabb had been a victory for the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), which “jeopardized the benefit for clergy in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin … and many predicted similar consequences nationwide,” wrote CT’s sister publication, Church Law & Tax(CLT) in an analysis.
In today’s ruling, a panel of three judges again refuted the claims of FFRF attorneys, deciding that the allowance passes muster according to two related Supreme Court rulings, Town of Greece v. Galloway and Lemon v. Kurtzman.
“FFRF claims Section 107(2) renders unto God that which is Caesar’s,” wrote circuit judge Michael Brennan. “But this tax provision falls into the play between the joints of the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause: neither commanded by the former, nor proscribed by the latter.”
The FFRF told the Associated Press it is reviewing its options.
CT previously reported how the FFRF challenged the same tax break in 2012 with the same initial success, but ultimately lost on appeal in November 2014. Today’s ruling was essentially a rematch over whether the tax benefit unfairly benefits religious Americans.
“This ruling is a victory not just for my church but for the needy South Side Chicago community we serve,” said Chicago Embassy Church pastor Chris Butler in a Becket press release. He intervened in the case because his church “can’t afford to pay him a full salary, but it offers him a small housing allowance, so he can afford to live near his church and the community he serves,” noted Becket, which represented a group of pastors appealing the FFRF’s initial victory.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) March 17, 2019
To their credit, the Scottish Liberal Party have moved swiftly to suspend and investigate Lord Steel’s case. In this they put to shame the Church of England. At virtually the same time problems have again hit the Church of England with reports
from Chester Crown Court that the local Diocesan Bishop had received an admission from a priest abuser but accepted an assurance that he “would not do it again”. This has resulted in campaigning journalist Andrew Graystone writing to directly call for the Bishop’s resignation.
In both cases, plainly those exercising misjudgement are not bad people. I constantly remind readers that the context of the time must be factored in. However, the time for this to be an excuse allowing us to continue, simply apologising, undertaking a “learned lesson review’ and moving on, has surely passed. That scenario has been played out too many times in too many places. Victims need to see more robust responses either from the individuals concerned or from the relevant institutions.
Until such public figures pay a price, either through voluntarily resignation, through the withdrawal of honours conferred upon them, or through being shunned by the court of public opinion, we shall continue to have a culture of minimisation and cover-up. Hitherto the only ones who have paid a price for these matters coming into the public domain are the victims who have to revisit their history of pain, humiliation, anger and all the tragedies within their personal lives that go with this.
If the Establishment, secular or faith, is to retain any credibility, it is time for its members to grasp the personal responsibility that such cases require. Great reputation and personal advantage goes with pubic status: with great privilege goes great responsibility. Respect for both victims betrayed and the institutions served requires no more feet shuffling but bold moral acceptance of consequence through principled resignation.
Anything less would demonstrate precisely the kind of cynicism which our Archbishop advised us to give up for Lent when he addressed the General Synod last month. It will continue to poison our public discourse unless or until those privileged with public approval voluntarily surrender it when public confidence is no longer merited.
When asked whether the Church of England was a brand and whether companies could learn from it, Coles said no, though said there was temptation to “make sure we give the right kind of message” to address the haemorrhaging of numbers.
“Someone said we needed a mission statement,” he said. “But what we do is so different to our [wider] culture values. We have problems, and I kind of like that. I like that we’re seen as hopeless and bumble around; that we’re not afraid of failure.
“Mary Magdalen went to the graveyard expecting a body in the tomb but she found a life transformed. That’s really what we’re for and I don’t think that that is something we can easily articulate.”
In a similar vein he cautioned against a drive to bring more young people into the church. Instead, they should go out and live life to the full – the church will be there for them later, as it was for him.
“As a vicar I spend a lot of time with older people but recently I have spent a lot of time with young people and they are stimulating in a different way. Younger people don’t know their limits yet. It makes them exciting, risky and bold.”
— Keep The Faith ® mag (@KeepTheFaithmag) March 14, 2019
(Telegraph) Longest serving Church of England bishop faces calls to resign after court hears he knew about paedophile priest
The longest-serving bishop in the Church of England is facing calls to resign after it emerged he knew about a paedophile priest in his diocese and did nothing.
The Bishop of Chester, Rt Rev Peter Forster, found out Rev Gordon Dickenson had become embroiled in a child abuse scandal decades earlier when the retired vicar wrote a letter about the affair in 2009.
Dickenson was convicted earlier this month of eight counts of sexual assault after pleading guilty to abusing a boy during the 1970s inside a church hall and even his vicarage.
But ten years ago, Dickenson had written to the Diocese of Chester which was conducting a review of past abuse cases admitting he been accused of the abuse during the 1970s and had promised the then Bishop of Chester he would “never do it again”.
Despite this admission, Bishop Forster failed to pass on the letter to the police or order an internal church inquiry.
The longest serving bishop in the Church of England, Peter Forster, is facing calls to resign after it emerged he knew a retired priest was embroiled in a child abuse scandal and did nothing. My story in today’s @Telegraph https://t.co/sCstcvOmWv
— Tim Wyatt (@tswyatt) March 14, 2019
[The] Reverend Robert Duncan served as the Bishop of Pittsburgh for two decades before being elected the first Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America 10 years ago. He served until 2014 when he attempted to retire. Instead, he says he soon learned the church was looking to update its venerable Book of Common Prayer, an important and tangible link between the American church and its English forebear.
“There came to be the assessment that the 1662 (book) was the standard for both doctrine and worship within Anglicanism,” he explained. “So the 2019 book is actually a fresh assessment of 1662; an attempt to be completely continuous on what it is that Anglicans have always believed and how they’ve always prayed.”
But no sooner had Duncan accomplished that formidable job, than the church had a new assignment for him. The newly elevated St. Peter’s Cathedral parish in Tallahassee, Florida found itself without a dean. The congregation’s longtime leader, Father Eric Dudley, had resigned this past summer amidst allegations of alcohol abuse and an improper relationship. Robert Duncan was sent into the breach.
“This is one of the half-dozen most significant congregations in the entire Anglican Church in North America,” he insisted. “In the midst of a difficult moment, the bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese Neil Lebhar and the archbishop, my successor Foley Beach, both called me and said, ‘You need to go to St. Peter’s.’”
Change your name to Humpty Dumpty pic.twitter.com/XIEegfQKoj
— Olasinde Afolabi (@the_olamide_) February 25, 2019
(NYT Op-ed) Ross Douthat–Why Celibacy Matters: How the critique of Catholicism changes and yet remains the same
…the way the “healthy sexuality” supposedly available outside the church seems to change with every generation offers a reason to be skeptical that all Catholic ills would vanish if Rome only ceased making “unnatural” demands like celibacy and chastity.
The sexual ethic on offer in our own era should make Catholics particularly skeptical. That ethic regards celibacy as unrealistic while offering porn and sex robots to ease frustrations created by its failure to pair men and women off. It pities Catholic priests as repressed and miserable (some are; in general they are not) even as its own cultural order seeds a vast social experiment in growing old alone. It disdains large families while it fails to reproduce itself. It treats any acknowledgment of male-female differences as reactionary while constructing an architecture of sexual identities whose complexities would daunt a medieval schoolman.
In the name of this not-obviously-enlightened alternative, Catholicism is constantly asked to “reform” away practices that are there because they connect directly to the New Testament — in the case of celibacy, to Jesus’ own example and his hard words for anyone making an idol of family life.
This seems like a bad bargain, no matter how much hypocrisy there may be in Rome.
— Father Edward Beck (@FrEdwardBeck) February 23, 2019
People are increasingly being corralled unwittingly into certain positions – corralled by social media, traditional media, being encouraged to take positions about things. Politicians are forced into not saying things or saying things because everyone wants to know where they stand on a particular issue. And all of us are being encouraged to do that.
I want Wakefield Cathedral to be a place where people can reflect on these issues without feeling they are being forced into a particular position; where they can have the space to think these things through. We want people to know that this beautiful building is for everyone.
Here at Wakefield Cathedral they can experience that sense of peace, quiet and tranquillity that is so often denied us but which is so important for reflection. I want it to be a place where people can understand something about themselves and about others, a place which enables them to test their sense of identity in a kind and supportive arena.
Dean of Wakefield Simon Cowling-I want the Cathedral 2 B a place where people cn reflect on these issues w/o feeling they R being forced in2 a particulr positn; where they cn have the space 2 think these thngs thru https://t.co/vR9gOFvBmu #anglican #parishministry #religion #uk
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) February 21, 2019
Rev. James Martin:
But you know my faith in God hasn’t changed. It’s it’s my sort of disappointment and anger. You know certain people in the church at abusers certainly some of whom I know people who covered this up. But I think it’s also important to say that this happens in all sorts of institutions you know families schools places like that. But in the church what we need to do is really address that and be sort of forthright about it and be as transparent as possible so frankly I am really in favor of the release of these lists that have been happening that’s pretty controversial because it’s it’s necessary for transparency it’s necessary for us to understand how these things happen and enable us to move ahead and reconcile.
Well what are you looking for this week? What helps the church survive this?
Rev. James Martin:
This desire to confront it without any sort of fear. You know that you know we have of the truth the truth sets us free. I mean that that really should be kind of what we’re focused on.
You think the Pope’s doing enough?
Rev. James Martin:
I think the pope could always do more. I think that this meeting in the end of this week is really helpful it’s the heads of all the bishops conferences. There are still countries where bishops have said well it doesn’t happen in our country it doesn’t happen and are part of the world. And I think one of the reasons for this meeting is to teach in a sense those bishops the facts about sex abuse. So I think that’s a really good step forward.
On PBS Newshour: “Pope sends ‘signal’ by defrocking ex-cardinal for sexual abuse” https://t.co/XzkkyYAK4o
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) February 16, 2019
O God, come to our aid.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Miraculous draught of fish,1610
Peter Paul Rubens pic.twitter.com/Mo934jyN2l
— Kalina Boulter (@KalinaBoulter) April 6, 2018
Although as a child, she claimed Jesus had taught her to skate, she never considered herself a devotee. Instead, she says she has always understood God obliquely, as love.
After graduating from college with an arts degree and in search of adventure, Ms. Vosper moved to the far north of Canada, where she was married and had a daughter. After her marriage broke down, she returned to Kingston as a single mother and enrolled in divinity school.
“I wanted to learn how to make the world a better place through it,” said Ms. Vosper, who is sprightly, with short salt-and-pepper hair, chunky glasses and a penchant for bubbling over with language.
By then, the United Church of Canada was propelled more by social justice than theology, according to Kevin Flatt, author of “After Evangelicalism: The 60s and the United Church.” The first church to ordain transgender ministers, its leadership supported abortion and same-sex union before either became legal in Canada.
Divinity school cemented her metaphorical views of God, Ms. Vosper says. But once she began preaching, she realized many congregants thought she was talking about an all-knowing, all-seeing spirit who answered prayers and called some to heaven and others to hell.
“I realized how little of what I said got through to anyone,” said Ms. Vosper….
“‘Most of the congregation was in a similar place theologically,’ said Debbie Ellis, a member at West Hill for more than two decades. ‘The idea of a savior from our sins keeping us from actual eternal damnation was not something many believed in.’” https://t.co/ZrlmeIKJSZ
— RFRorg (@RFRorg) February 6, 2019
Here is the notice from Wycliffe Hall:
It is with great sadness that I pass on the news that Michael Green went to be with the Lord yesterday Wednesday 6th February at around 3pm at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
His passing was peaceful and he was surrounded by Rosemary and his immediate family (including his son, Tim who’d just managed to get there from SE Asia).
As we grieve with hope (1 Thess 4:13) we give thanks to the Lord for the privilege of being associated with such an amazing man of God and for his incredible legacy.
I’ve just spoken to Rosemary on the phone and prayed with her and she is feeling at peace and grateful for the many messages of support and love that she has received from around the world.
Details of the funeral/memorial service will be released in due course but for now lets continue to hold Rosemary and the immediate family in our prayers.
With love in Christ
The Revd Greg Downes
Director of Ministerial Training
Dean of the Wesley Centre for Missional Engagement
RIP the eminent Rev’d Canon Dr Michael Green. ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant’. pic.twitter.com/kVEYHDtZng
— Archbishop Cranmer (@His_Grace) February 7, 2019
We have no respect for a surgeon who goes in but does not cut deeply enough to cure nor a patient who backs out of an operation because it may hurt; yet people can go through their whole lives attending church, listening to searching exposures of human sin, without ever taking it to themselves, or meeting anyone with skill and concern enough to lay the challenge right in their own laps.
—Experiment of Faith (New York: Harper&Row, 1957), p.22 (emphasis mine)
Researchers contacted 410 senior ministers in 29 evangelical and mainline Protestant denominations, along with non-denominational congregations.
Pastors were asked about 18 issues, including marital infidelity, premarital sex, same-sex relationships, sexting, gender dysphoria and the use of pornography by husbands, wives, teens and young children. Among the findings:
- Eighty percent of these Protestant pastors said they had been approached during the past year by church members or staff dealing with infidelity issues, and 73 percent had faced issues linked to pornography.
- Seventy percent of the pastors said they dealt with serious “sexual brokenness” issues in their flock several times a year, with 22 percent saying this took place once a month or more.
- Only one-third of the pastors said they felt “very qualified” to address the sexual issues being raised by their staff and church members.
- Two-thirds of pastors “agree strongly” that the church should help people dealing with sexual sins. However, fewer than 1 in 4 said their churches openly discuss these issues in Bible studies, small groups, training for laity or support groups.
- “Mainline” church pastors were much less likely (39 percent) to address “sexual health” issues than evangelical or conservative clergy (78 percent). Many clergy offer “pastoral counseling,” and that’s that.
On Religion: Many pastors clueless when swamped with sex, tech issues https://t.co/6QZVWvvddo
— Ukiah Daily Journal (@UDJnews) January 19, 2019
(Telegraph) Charles Moore–New allegations have rightly been thrown out, but justice has yet to be done for Bishop Bell
The Church does feel uneasy. It admits its processes were wrong. Its tone has changed. It recognises Bell’s greatness, which it previously ignored: Archbishop Welby has personally tweeted to support the building of a statue to Bell in Canterbury, a project frozen by Carol’s original allegation. But it still cannot face the obvious point that if it had applied the Carlile processes it admits it should have used it would never have found against Bell in the first place.
Trying to make some amends, the present Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, wrote to Bell’s niece last week, expressing his sorrow for having ignored the rights of the family. He added in a separate statement, however: “Bishop Bell cannot be proven guilty, nor can it be safely claimed that the original complainant has been discredited.” It reminds one of Pontius Pilate, who found no fault in Jesus, but condemned him all the same.
In our law and culture, if guilt cannot be proved, innocence must be presumed. To do this is not to “discredit” a complainant, who might not be lying, but might be mistaken about identity or confused in other ways. Memory plays strange tricks, especially about events alleged to have occurred 70 years ago.
— iDrew (@AussiemacJ) January 18, 2018
— Fr. David (@FrDavid1) October 6, 2018
Professor Andrew Chandler, Bishop Bell’s biographer, who has been campaigning to clear Bell’s name, said on Thursday evening that the statements “show that they are clinging to the wreckage of their old position as best they can.
“It is simply self-justification, but it does indicate that they will just maintain for the sake of consistency the views that got them into such trouble in the first place.”
He questioned why, in January of last year, the Church had issued a statement and commissioned a second investigation: “What today has really exposed is the ridiculousness of what has been going on, and the foolishness of people who have real power in the Church. . .
“Many people will say that the Church was trying to control, or retrieve control, of the narrative of Lord Carlile, to shut down the critics, and create a doubt in the public mind that Bell might be a serial offender of some kind.
“They have nothing to hide behind now. It looks like a highly calculating, politicised outfit indeed.”
While parts of the Archbishop’s statement were “meaningful, welcome, and appropriate”, the reference to the Church’s “dilemma” in weighing up a reputation against a serious allegation did not exist, Professor Chandler argued….
UPDATE: “Many people will say that the Church was trying to control, or retrieve control, of the narrative of Lord Carlisle. . . It looks like a highly calculating, politicised outfit indeed.”
Response from Bell’s biographer, Andrew Chandler:https://t.co/znvBrEJWhn
— Hattie Williams (@hattieewilliams) January 24, 2019