Category : Ministry of the Ordained

Photos from South Carolina Clergy Day and Renewal of Ordination Vows

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

Please pray for the Diocese of SC Clergy Day Tomorrow as it will be the last one with Mark Lawrence as Bishop

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

Ashley Null preaches on the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

The sermon starts about 46 minutes in.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Pandemic pressure on clergy has tripled psychiatric referrals, says St Luke’s psychiatrist

Pressure on clergy to deliver additional online services against a backdrop of diminishing financial and human resources, has contributed to an unprecedented increase in clergy referrals for psychological care, a psychiatrist said this week.

St Luke’s Healthcare for the Clergy, which provides access to advice and clinical care for clergy and their families, provided 146 psychological appointments in the first ten weeks of 2021 — up from 43 in the first 12 weeks of 2020.

Dr Gary Bell, a psychiatrist who serves as both a trustee of St Luke’s and a consultant, expects consultations to double this year. “This is the highest level of demand for help from clergy that I have experienced over the ten years I have been associated with St Luke’s,” he said.

The increase had highlighted “the many and varied ways in which the pandemic has adversely affected the life of the Church. Clergy are now under immense pressure to deliver more than ever before, their traditional ministerial roles being added to by the demand for an ongoing online presence, with correspondingly diminishing financial and human resources. It is hardly surprising that rates of anxiety, depression, and burnout have skyrocketed.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The Whole Gospel to the Whole person Throughout the Whole World (Acts 16:11-40)

The sermon starts about 30:10 in.

Listen carefully for an illustration from Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895-1960), pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia from 1927 to 1960.

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

(RNS) For some pastors, the past year was a sign from God it was time to quit

Chuck DeGroat, professor of counseling and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, said pastors have long had to mediate disputes over theology or church practice, like the role of women in the church or the so-called “worship wars” of recent decades. They now face added stresses from the pandemic and polarization, with people willing to leave their churches over mask policies or discussions of race.

“I’m hearing from pastors that they just don’t know what to do,” he said.

A recent survey of Protestant pastors by the research firm Barna Group found that 29% said they had given “real, serious consideration to quitting being in full-time ministry within the last year.”

David Kinnaman, president of Barna, said the past year has been a “crucible” for pastors. Churches have become fragmented by political and social divides. They have also become frayed, as “people’s connectedness to local congregations is waning.

“The pandemic was a great revealer of the challenges churches face,” said Kinnaman.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Stress

Kendall Harmon’s Video Message to Christ-St. Paul’s Church Announcing his Imminent Departure

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

News from the Bishop Coadjutor Search Committee for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

From there:

News from the Bishop Coadjutor Search Committee
April 29, 2021

The committee selected to search for the next Bishop of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina met in an overnight retreat at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center Sunday evening, April 18 and Monday April 19.

We began and ended our overnight steeped in prayer and all had a truly blessed time watching in awe as the power of the Holy Spirit moved, molded and shaped our thoughts and directed our hearts. This committee remains convinced that our Lord has already chosen our next bishop and that we, on the committee, are merely affirming God’s choice.

You may remember that according to our timeline we offered a very long inquiry period in which the entire Anglican Diocese of South Carolina was invited to suggest a priest for consideration by the committee. We received a large number of suggested names during this first phase which concluded on April 1.

The majority of those suggestions ended in the suggested priest deciding themselves not to go any further in the process. For those remaining, we divided the names amongst us and are now checking references and setting up appointments for interviews via Zoom. All of the remaining nominees will be interviewed by the committee as a whole on Zoom and also every remaining nominee will be visited in their ministries by small teams of committee members. This phase of the search process is scheduled to end June 24 when the Search Committee meets as a whole to hear reports from the teams who visited the nominees.

Here’s a timeline of remaining tasks to be completed by the Bishop’s Search Committee:

April 23 –May 23 – Zoom meetings by entire search committee with every remaining suggested person.

May 24 – the Bishop’s Search Committee meets as a whole to consider a list of nominees who will move on in the process.

May 25 through June 23 – the final list of nominees will be visited in their ministry context.

June 25 – Search Committee meets to approve final list to be presented to the Standing Committee.

July 6 – The Standing Committee makes their choices as to whom will continue in the process, pending extensive background checks.

August 1 – an official list of Candidates for Bishop Coadjutor will be published with a suggested date or dates for a walkabout or for several walkabouts for diocesan delegates to meet the candidates.

Around September 11– Walkabout (or walkabouts) to be held for the diocesan delegates to meet the candidates. The Walkabout or walkabouts will be hosted by the Search Committee.

October 16 – Ballots to be cast for Bishop Coadjutor at a special Diocesan Electing Convention.

After October 16 – ACNA College of Bishops meets to approve Diocesan selection of new Bishop.

March 12, 2022 (God willing) – Consecration of new Bishop at Diocesan Convention

Thank you so very much for your faithful prayer for this search committee. We can honestly feel your participation and the undergirding that you provide through your prayers. Please continue!

Respectfully Submitted ,

John Burwell,
Communications member of the Bishop’s Search Committee

Posted in * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(AI) Andrew Pearson, Dean of the Cathedral of the Advent, steps down over tensions with TEC

With significant sadness, the Vestry of the Cathedral Church of the Advent has accepted the resignation of Andrew Pearson as our Dean and Rector. Andrew has discerned that the ongoing tension he feels serving in the Episcopal Church makes him no longer able to serve as the spiritual leader of the Advent. Although saddened, we are grateful for the significant gifts which he has shared with us for nearly ten years, and remain confident that those gifts will continue to be exercised for our Lord’s kingdom, leading people to Christ. In that sense, we are excited for him and continue to love and support Andrew, Lauren, and their girls, wishing them Godspeed as they move to this next chapter in their lives.

Andrew’s last Sunday as our Dean and Rector will be May 16. He will preach at both services, and also teach the Dean’s Class. We look forward to a reception for Andrew and Lauren that afternoon, after the 11:15 service, in the Rector’s Garden.

Although the Advent has its own tension with the Episcopal Church, we are hopeful that the new leadership of Bishop Glenda Curry has provided an opportunity to build a foundation for a continued and generational peace between the Advent and the Diocese. Accordingly, the Vestry of the Advent appointed a team to talk with Bishop Curry to find a better, amicable path forward while protecting the essential attributes of the Advent. During these discussions, the Bishop has affirmed the Advent’s ability to express its theology and its ability to call, develop, and maintain clergy who are committed to the Advent’s theological expression.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–What does it Mean to be Discipled by the Resurrected Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18)?

The sermon starts about 26:20 in.

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

(Spectator) Chris Wright–John Stott: the centenary of a true radical

But such evangelicals, a fraction of the global majority, are not typical. Most evangelicals are more aligned with the faith modelled by John Stott, which had nothing to do with ethnic or political allegiance but simply a personal devotion to Jesus Christ as saviour and Lord, belief in the trustworthiness of the Bible, and a commitment to live out their faith in daily practice.

Decade after decade, Stott travelled around the globe, speaking and teaching at conferences, building friendships among church leaders in the majority world, and mentoring young men and women by his own example of humility, integrity, and servanthood. Together with Billy Graham, he launched the Lausanne Movement in 1974 which, in partnership with the World Evangelical Alliance, holds evangelicals to the historical legacy of Wesley, Wilberforce, and Shaftesbury – integrating their evangelistic message and mission with social action in combatting the evils of poverty, injustice, racism and slavery.

As an Anglican clergyman who stayed rooted in his own local parish for 50 years, he had a profound love for the Church of England and the rapidly growing Anglican churches in other continents, especially in Africa. He founded and inspired the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC), a global network to encourage faithfulness to the Bible’s teaching and moral standards. But his vision also embraced all denominations of the global church – he founded the Langham Partnership to resource churches worldwide with enhanced theological scholarship, quality literature in local languages and cultures, and training in biblical preaching.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

(C of E) New findings published in long term study into clergy wellbeing

Moving In Power, Transitions in Ordained Ministry, part of the Living Ministry research project, explores transitions from ordination to curacy and first posts, between posts and in the period before retirement.

The qualitative panel draws on individual and group interviews with 72 clergy and examines their wellbeing based on five dimensions: spiritual and vocational, physical and mental, relationships, financial and material, and participation in the wider church.

The study makes suggestions for good practice for the person in transition, theological education institutions, diocesan officers and senior clergy, parishes and the national church, arguing that each of these has a role to play in supporting ordinands and clergy through periods of transition.

The report also explores underlying dynamics and relationships during transition periods. It includes a theological reflection by the Very Revd Dr Frances Ward, former Dean of St Edmundsbury.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Theology

The rector of Saint Michael’s Easter Sermon for 2021–Don’t Give Up, Hold It Up

Disillusionment is too weak a word to describe Mary’s crushing pain of feeling sucker punched.
Yes that Easter Sunday…Mary had given up on miracles. Have you?

Miracles: Don’t give up, hold it up 3
If so, you’re in good company. The male disciples don’t even bother showing up at the tomb…
1. Peter gave up
2. The James’s gave up
3. John gave up
4. Andrew gave up
5. Bartholomew gave up
6. Jude
7. Matthew
8. Philip
9. Simon
10. Thomas all gave up

Meaning…If you’ve given up on God—on miracles- You are not alone! There is No guilt-or
judgement in feeling as if that pattern of pain and sin will never break. WHICH IS WHY I SAY:
THANK GOD FOR THE MIRACLE THAT IS EASTER!
• Divine Intervention
• Breaking all Patterns
• Never thought break-able!

As the Disillusioned Marys and Salome walk to the tomb, literally, all HEAVEN breaks loose!
The Miracle begins..
• First…..the massive stone is gone from the entrance to the burial tomb!
And with eyes as wide as 50 cent pieces, the ladies WALK into the tomb. When a white robed
angel APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE AND SAYS five things that would break the GLOBAL
pattern of sin and pain forever!

• Fear not
• I know you’re looking for Jesus
• I know you saw Him killed
• He is not here
HE HAS RISEN!

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jeffrey Miller’s 2021 Easter Sermon–Easter Instructions

You can listen directly hereor download it there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Final Easter Sermon at the Cathedral of Saint Luke and Saint Paul–He Will Draw All People to Himself

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Charles Simeon on Easter–a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers

In this tomb, also, you may see, A pledge to us…Yes, verily, it is a pledge,

Of Christ’s power to raise us to a spiritual life -The resurrection of Christ is set forth in the Scriptures as a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers; and by the very same power too, that effected that. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul draws the parallel with a minuteness and accuracy that are truly astonishing. He prays for them, that they may know what is the exceeding greatness of God’s power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” And then he says, concerning them, “God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us usi together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus^” Here, I say, you see Christ dead, quickened, raised, and seated in glory; and his believing people quickened from their death in sins, and raised with him, and seated too with him in the highest heavens. The same thing is stated also, and the same parallel is drawn in the Epistle to the Romans ; where it is said, “We are buried with Christ by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” But can this be effected in us ? I answer, Behold the tomb ! Who raised the Lord Jesus? He himself said, ” I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again….”

–Horae homileticae, Sermon 1414

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

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–Why is Easter Important?

The sermon starts about 25:30 in.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology

Kendall Harmon’s Palm Sunday 2021 sermon–Where should we Focus as we begin Holy Week (Mark 11:1-11)?

The sermon starts about 34:20 in.

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

Still More Charles Henry Brent for his Feast Day–his 1925 Sermon “the Authority of Christ”

(This sermon was preached at the consecration of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island–KSH

Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I com­manded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:18-20.

I wish I could hear these words for the first time. Familiar as they are, they thrill me with their exult­ant strength whenever I read them anew. They open up new vistas of hope and happiness, of greatness and immortality, of a world exalted, completed, uni­fied, made Christian wholly and irrevocably. They set their own seal upon their authenticity. Under their spell we move out into life with the joyous sting of certainty goading us on to renewed effort to do the great bidding of winning the nations of the earth to Him.

How hedged in with finality that bidding is! Before the commission comes the charter under which it is issued. He who bids us to the new creative act of making disciples has been given authority over and possession of all things in heaven and on earth.

We are familiar with authority in piecemeal fashion—authority over a nation, an institution, a department. But this is authority over all things seen or unseen. It is the unifying authority for which human life had been waiting. It is final and exercised by Man over man. There is no separation of the religious from the secular in His jurisdiction. It includes in one vast sweep the whole universe—nations and all their contents, the realm of thought ramifying into ten thousand specialisms, the domain of activity running into a myriad vocations, fast slipping time past, present and future, the tiny sphere of the known and the endless stretches of the un­known from Alpha to Omega, from the beginning to the end.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in Christology, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics

(JEC) Michael Snape–‘Anglicanism and interventionism : Bishop Brent, the United States, and the British Empire in the First World War’

Brent himself stands as perhaps the ultimate example of these successful clerical migrants to the United States. Born in Newcastle, Ontario, in April 1862, Brent’s father was an Anglican
clergyman and a first-generation immigrant from England, his mother a descendant of Loyalist refugees from New York.20 Although the infusion of immigrants from Canada was smaller than the stream from Great Britain around the turn of the twentieth century, it was still considerable, as around 450,000 Canadians entered the United States in the quarter century prior to the First World War.21 While Anglicans represented a smaller proportion of the Canadian population, comprising around 15 per cent of all Canadians in 1914 as opposed to two-thirds of all Britons,22 there was already a well-established tradition of Anglican clergymen moving across the porous border between Canada and the United States in search of employment,23 a situation that brought Brent to the State of New York in 1886 while still in deacon’s orders. As Alexander C. Zabriskie emphasised in his concise biography of 1947, Brent’s move to St. Paul’s Church, Buffalo, was entirely pragmatic: with no opportunities available in the diocese of Toronto, ‘it was circumstance rather than conscience or preference that sent [Brent] there. He had not the least intention of remaining permanently under the American flag; rather he looked forward to returning to a Canadian country parish within a few years.’24 In fact, it took a further appointment, as associate rector of St. Stephen’s Mission in the slums of Boston, to persuade Brent to take out his naturalisation papers in 1891, and even then he
appears to have maintained dual citizenship.25 In the event, his years in Boston served to reinforce Brent’s links with Great Britain, for there he developed a formative relationship with the Society of St. John the Evangelist, or Cowley Fathers, a connection that would take him to England on his very first overseas trip in November 1891.26

Read it all (numbers are to footnotes in the original).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Canada, Church History, History, Military / Armed Forces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops

Charles Henry Brent for his Feast Day–Time Magazine’s Cover Story on him, August 29, 1927

In the past few weeks, the Christians of the world have been holding their first major conference in some 500 years for the specific purpose of seeing what can be done about unifying Christianity as the sum of its world-wide parts.

Preparation. Today the parts (denominations) number 200-odd, all of them organized as distinct entities. The practical necessity of relating so many parts, of discovering identity among so many entities, was established by the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910. The logical necessity was established later the same year, at a convention of the Episcopal Church in Cincinnati. The man who then proposed a world conference on Faith & Order lived to see such a conference actually held, after 17 years of preparation, and to preside over it as chairman, at Lausanne, Switzerland, the past three weeks.

Chairman Brent. This man was Bishop Charles Henry Brent of the Episcopal diocese of Western New York. Canadian-born and educated, naturalized in the U. S., an obscure worker in the awkward robes of the Cowley Fathers among the poor of Boston, later (under Bishop Phillips Brooks) an Episcopal rector who was made a missionary bishop and sent to the Philippines because of his earnest simplicity, rugged strength and adaptability among people of other races, it was Bishop Brent who confirmed General Pershing in the Philippines and subsequently became Chaplain-in-Chief of the A. E. F.

First in war, first in peace, Bishop Brent had had experience in handling international conferences, as president of opium parleys at Shanghai (1909) and The Hague (1911). He declined the bishoprics of Washington, D. C., and New Jersey, to preserve for his world ministry the freedom of action he enjoys at Buffalo, N. Y. When his world ministry reached its peak this month, he was not content merely to preside over the hundreds of churchmen he had brought together, but went with them into their councils; explained, directed, adjusted and dictated daily despatches on their progress to the New York Herald Tribune.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops

(PW) Fear and Hope: When Timothy Keller’s Book Met His Life

“Most books you write after you have gone through an experience, but in this case what was so strange was I was having the experience while writing the book,” he told PW. “When you realize this may be the end and you have this abstract belief in heaven and the promise of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, you have to ask, do I really believe this? So writing the book was really a struggle with that question.”

It’s not much of a spoiler to say that the 70-year-old Keller, founder of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the sodom known as Manhattan does believe in a literal resurrection of Jesus. While writing, he spent extra time in prayer and “experiencing the presence of the risen Christ,” as he put it. “I was just shocked at how much more experience of God there was than I found before. So I have grown and I have confidence in the resurrection after a combination of faith and experience.”

Keller has buckets of experience as an author. His first title, The Reason for God: Belief in the Age of Skepticism (Dutton, 2008) hit number five on PW’s Bestseller List and sold more than 150,000 copies in its first year. That was followed by more than 20 titles on everything from love to suffering, Christmas to church planting. He hit PW’s twice more, with Prodigal God (Dutton, 2008) and Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Dutton, 2014), both of which hit the 100,000 copies sold mark. Hope in Times of Fear is intended as a bookend to Hidden Christmas, a holiday book published by Viking in 2016. In between books, Keller became one of the pioneers of the now-standard megachurch model of multi-site worship. Before retiring in 2017, he spent years of Sundays hopscotching across Central Park, going uptown and down, giving three or more sermons a day at Redeemer’s five different sites. Today, there are Redeemer-affiliated churches in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Throughout his publishing career, he has been with one editor — Brian Tart, president and publisher of Viking Penguin. Tart heard about Keller and his popular church in 2006 and headed there one Sunday to hear him preach. “Obviously, he knew the Bible inside and out, but he also took a lot of examples from stories and myths and movies and books. He was really engaged in the cultural conversation of the moment and there wasn’t a barrier of entry for people to understand him. He reached people where they were,” Tart told PW. “That Tim is talking about cancer makes his personal journey to God helpful to people. He is saying ‘I’ve been through a dark time, we all been through a dark time, and yet I feel this great reservoir of hope.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

The Dean of Durham’s 2014 Sermon on St. Cuthbert and The Whole Armour of God

You’ll recognise the motifs on the badge from today’s 2nd lesson. ‘Take up the whole armour of God’ says Ephesians: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. The author’s appeal to his readers is vivid and urgent. ‘Be strong in the Lord…so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.’ Combative stuff. But it fits exactly into the world-view of the first and second generations of Christians. They believed themselves to be warriors of light and truth in an alien, hostile universe. And just as Christ in his descent into hell had harrowed it, ransoming his own and rescuing them from the demonic clutch of death and Satan, so now the church was called bravely to battle against evil by witnessing to the gospel’s redeeming power and by turning human lives round from the oppressions of terror and wickedness to the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Move the clock forward by six centuries, and we come to St Cuthbert whom we celebrated last week. There is a so-called ‘Celtic’ perception of our northern saint, and there is the truth. The fantasy is that he was a kind of proto-romantic who took himself off to the Inner Farne for peace, quiet, and plenty of time to contemplate ducks. The more austere truth is that he went to the Farne to fight, Bede says, to ‘seek out a remote battlefield farther away from his fellows’. For him, to be a hermit was to wrestle with evil, the demons within and those without. This warfare was not, or not principally, a private affair. It was an act of the church whereby the ever-threatening forces of chaos and disorder were kept at bay by those called, so to speak, to front-line service. The consolations of the Farne were, to quote the title of a book about desert spirituality, ‘the solace of fierce landscapes’. There is nothing perfumed or rose-hued about Cuthbert’s struggle for the good, the life-giving and the just. Like all who are valiant for truth, like the prophets and apostles, like the desert fathers and Irish monks, like Jesus himself, it cost him everything. He lived for it, and in the end he died for it.

Read it all.

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

Pressing On: Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Address to the 2021 Convention of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

What do I owe the diocese before stepping down?

The Pandemic—what an inspiring video clip put together by our staff and folks from St. Helena’s documenting how our churches have continued to minister during what has seemed like a Kafkaesque dream for some of us. Our churches without exception have found ways to minister with creativity and care. Ordinations, confirmations, baptisms, marriages, funerals have continued often by exercising a remarkable resourcefulness: Zach Miller ordained in his family’s back lawn on Johns Island, Chip Bateson at a drive in style service at Resurrection, Surfside and Bill Clarkson under a tent in the parking lot of St. Matthew’s Fort Motte. The work of the gospel and the ministry of the Church has gone on. We have seen small congregations have a big reach, and local churches minister globally in ways rarely seen before. I showed up recently for visitations at congregations even as small as Advent, Marion and they all have their I-Phones there to broadcast the service and sermon online. Congregations in the Pee Dee have not only reached their members with inspiring and sustaining worship through praise, word, and sacrament, but in many cases, they have a growing “virtual congregation” faithfully viewing their worship from as far away as Virginia, California and the U.K. Those in the Beaufort deanery have told me of viewers in Sweden and Tanzania. Our rectors and vicars have people from across the country who now consider them and even refer to them as their pastor. Just yesterday, I was talking to one of our priests who told me that he has people throughout the southeast joining in on a bible study that he offers virtually. Several are members of other churches but they now call him “my pastor.” I asked him, “What are their churches doing?” He said, “I don’t know.” I told him, “Over and over I hear this story all over the diocese.” Many offer virtual services of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline as part of the rhythm of their lives—the rhythms of grace for their isolated members. Our larger congregations have invested in developing or upgrading their capacity to live stream or professionally record their worship services. In some cases tailoring these services primarily for those who partake only in home worship. While our smallest congregations have found ways to offer high pastoral touch in this low touch world. I want to pause in the midst of this convention to celebrate our clergy—rectors, vicars, assisting priests, and deacons and their lay members for your extraordinary ministry during these extraordinary times! Not only that but for how you have helped and learned from one another building up the body of Christ. I have thought for years that we are a remarkably unique place in the Anglican world. For years, we had visitors coming to Charleston for our Mere Anglican Conferences and various offerings. I pray that we shall have that once again. But for now, we are broadcasting via the internet and social media the vibrancy of the life in Christ among our congregations both great and small through worship and word in ways many of us never imagined. While I am offering kudos, I don’t want to forget what Bob Lawrence and his staff have accomplished in keeping St. Christopher in the game, or the Men’s Ministry with their zoom Summit, and the Anglican Women with their fall retreat. Well done good and faithful servants!

With that said and celebrated, I want to sound a word of concern. Chalk it up, if you must, to the world view of a septuagenarian, a curmudgeon with an Anglican bent, born in the exact middle of the past century, the son of a WWII vet and survivors of the Great Depression, who himself remembers all too well the cold war, and who as a young man took graduate courses in Marx and Soviet Thought. As I said, I feel at times that I am living through a Kafkaesque dream, concerned about things many others are not. We have entered a masked, isolated, atomistic world controlled or at least being shaped by that, which is erasing, deleting, unfriending, or cancelling a culture that once shaped our understanding of self and society. Certainly all the once was was not good; not every handshake, kiss or hug came from heartfelt conviction; and not every Easter or Christmas worship was glorious and resounding; but they were formative, and shaped earlier generations. Now, from what I have seen more of our older members have returned to in-person worship in numbers greater than the young. Generation Z those born after 1998 according to reliable research is the most unchurched generation in American history. These are their formative and perhaps in many ways their defining years. The axiom we have used in the past of “Every Congregation Engaging Every Generation” has never been more challenging nor more critical than it is today. There are few sustaining replacements for family life and lively worship in the midst of the family of God made up of “all sorts and conditions of men.” These need not be in large gatherings; yet as our Lord revealed to his first followers and was (at the risk of their lives) the irrefutable experience of the early church; it does need to be incarnational. There is much that I would like to say about this but now is not the time; I shall save it for my upcoming gatherings with the clergy. Just know I will shortly be assembling a team to consider updated guidance regarding how we chart the course to whatever normalcy may lie ahead.

Stewardship—I mentioned in my last address the need for us to strengthen our practice and teaching on stewardship at every level throughout the diocese—to parishioners, congregations, and diocesan initiatives. I have been encouraged by how many have stepped up. Our parishioners continue their generosity and giving to their congregations, our parishes and missions have to our diocesan work as well—even increasing in several cases. Stewardship, to paraphrase Henri Nouwen, is always a call to conversion. “And this call comes to those who seek funds and to those who have funds.” It is, as Nouwen says, a form of ministry, “…a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. Vision and mission are central to life of God’s people … and give us courage when we might want to remain silent.” We in the Church need to overcome our reluctance to ask for the resources to carry out our God given vision and mission for the kingdom of God. Yet if we ourselves are not practicing it, it becomes the place where conscience doth makes cowards of us all.

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

(ISCAST) Physicist John Pilbrow writes a nice tribute article about the late John Polkinghorne

Theologically, while John held a very orthodox Christian position, he had a capacity to engage with people from across the broad Christian spectrum. Another rare gift. In my opinion his book that expresses that orthodoxy most eloquently is Science & Christian Belief: Theological Reflections of a Bottom-up Thinker based on his 1993–1994 Gifford Lectures. Here John reflects on the Nicene Creed both theologically and scientifically in the light of the best of modern science. As well, he placed much emphasis on the centrality of the resurrection as a strong basis for hope. Aspects of his thought here may be found in Tom Wright’s Surprised by Hope.

John was also able to engage with other faiths without compromising Christian faith. He often reminded us that different faith traditions actually make rather different truth claims. But for him that was a reason to keep dialogue open.

John’s other books are all, of course, excellent in their own way. They are all deliberately relatively short and address one or more specific issues. This makes them readable and accessible resources.

After 1979, John focussed on encouraging and enabling good conversation and dialogue amongst and between scientists and theologians. Establishment of the ISSR was consistent with this and he served as its first President.

John certainly believed in the the unity of knowledge and one reality: the world of our experience that we seek to describe scientifically. Further, he was a critical realist believing that truth, whether scientific or theological, needs to be carefully assessed. This is a big theme and there is not space to deal with it in any detail here.

In the following we get a taste of some of his key insights.

If we are seeking to serve the God of truth then we should really welcome truth from whatever source it comes. We shouldn’t fear the truth. … The doctrine of creation of the kind that the Abrahamic faiths profess is such that it encourages the expectation that there will be a deep order in the world, expressive of the Mind and Purpose of that world’s Creator. It also asserts that the character of this order has been freely chosen by God, since it was not determined beforehand by some kind of pre-existing blueprint … As a consequence, the nature of cosmic order cannot be discovered just by taking thought … but the pattern of the world has to be discerned through the observations and experiments that are necessary in order to determine what form the divine choice has actually taken. (Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship, 2007).

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Posted in Books, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Theology

Good Samaritan Church Plant in Summerville, South Carolina

Good Samaritan Church Plant in Summerville from The Anglican Diocese of SC on Vimeo.

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

The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Presses On: Convention Held March 13, 2021

In considering what he owes his successor, the Bishop outlined his plans for meeting with, “shoring up and strengthening” the diocesan staff and leaders of Diocesan ministries; the Diocesan Council; those who oversee the discernment, call and training for ordained ministry; and the Deans and Standing Committee.

Before reflecting on what he owed the Diocese, the Bishop praised the clergy and the congregations for how they had pressed on despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, celebrating the many ways “creativity has abounded, and the work and ministry of the churches have gone on.”

“I want to pause in this convention to celebrate our clergy – rectors, vicars, assisting priests and deacons and their lay member for your extraordinary ministry during these extraordinary times!” he said. “Not only that but for how you have helped and learned from one another building up the body of Christ. … Well done good and faithful servants.”

He did express a word of caution noting “more of our older members have returned to in-person worship in numbers greater than the young.” “Generation Z those born after 1998 according to reliable research is the most unchurched generation in American history. These are their formative and perhaps in many ways their defining years.” The Bishop stressed that though we need not meet in large gatherings the church “does need to be incarnational.” He will be assembling a team to consider updating guidance regarding the way forward.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Barna) ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: John Mark Comer on Pastoral Rhythms

[John Mark] Comer reflects on the ways in which this past year has forced him to recognize how little control he has over circumstances, especially when it comes to the impossibility of pleasing everyone as a leader. He reflects, “It is literally impossible to lead through a year like 2020 and 2021 and not have a whole bunch of people upset about you. There’s such a broad range of opinion issues—social distancing and masks, right and left, people who want you to be political and others who don’t.”

One of the invitations Comer sees for leaders in this difficult season is the ability to accept reality and limitations as they are and move from a place of fear into love. Comer notes, “When we are fearful of something, we need the world to go a certain way, we need people to act toward us in a certain way in order to act toward them in love. As long as we [desire control], we’ll always sabotage our growth into people of faith, hope and love. As the mystics would say, at the root of fear is a need for control.”

He adds, “The last year has exposed the illusion that we’re more in control of our life than we actually are. It has given all of us an invitation to either freak out and rant or to actually begin to accept reality and move to a place of trusting love.”

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, has announced his intention to retire

Bishop Pete has been Bishop of Willesden since 2001. Before that, he served as Archdeacon of Northolt, as a Vicar in Harrow and as a Polytechnic Chaplain in Islington.

The Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, said:

“It’s been a joy and a privilege to serve the churches and people of North West London this past twenty years. I look forward to the next stage, helping the Diocese of London with our 2030 Vision – making it possible for every Londoner to encounter the love of God in Christ.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Local Paper) Line stretches across East Side block as church offers walk-in coronavirus vaccines

While thousands of South Carolinians who are newly eligible for the coronavirus vaccine struggle to get an appointment, a Charleston church and pharmacy found a way to immunize members of their East Side community on a walk-in basis.

They were regular attendees and people who’d never before seen the inside of Ebenezer AME Chruch’s education building, Nassau Street neighbors and suburb residents who crossed rivers get to the event. But they hoped, by the end of the day, to have one thing in common: a Johnson & Johnson vaccine in their arms.

In a three-hour sprint on March 13, Ebenezer AME and Focus: Meds Pharmacy & Wellness hoped to vaccinate as many people as possible, Rev. William Swinton Jr. said. As part of the strategy, they decided to make the event a first-come, first-served, avoiding the online registration process that’s befuddled many South Carolinians in Phase 1B.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology