Category : Ministry of the Ordained

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Will We be Ready When he Comes (Luke 3:1-6)?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

(Star-Telegram) Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S.

Read it all. (Please note that this is a long and painful article whose content may not be suitable for some blog readers–KSH.)

Posted in America/U.S.A., Baptists, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

The Diocese of Birmingham Response to Channel 4 News story this week

In response to the news report and interview with Jo Kind on Channel 4’s news programme (Weds 5 Dec 7pm) we believe that it is important to clarify a number of elements of the story as reported in that instance.

Most importantly, we need to make clear that the Church of England – Birmingham has never restricted, or sought to restrict Jo from telling her story. This is not the purpose of the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement). It was and will always be her story to tell. The decision with regards to the NDA was made to protect the many contributors to the report, some of whom wish to remain unidentifiable, along with the many others whom this situation affects. The suggestion of asking Jo to sign the NDA was also made by the independent reviewer once the report had been finalised. We encouraged Jo to seek legal advice, which she did, before signing the NDA, rather than ‘forcing it on her’ as reported.

It is important to understand that Jo was not asked to sign a ‘confidentiality clause’. Such a clause would have prevented her from disclosing information contained within the reports that she was already aware of, or where elements were already in the public domain. Jo was asked to sign an NDA with the intention to prevent from sharing information not belonging to her that she was not previously aware of (for example elements within the report that refer to information provided from or by other individuals, along with factors that could lead to the identity of the contributors and others who have been affected by this from being identified).

Simply put, Jo is and always has been free to tell her story, but we need to protect others who do not want their story to be told….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(Diocese of SC) Matthew Rivers Ordained to the Priesthood

“It’s all about the call. It’s all about the message. It’s all about the people.” Those were words the Very Rev. John Burwell, Rector of Church of the Redeemer, Orangeburg, stressed in his sermon at the ordination to the priesthood of the Rev. Matthew Rivers, Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at St. John’s Chapel in Charleston.

“It’s not a job. You can’t treat it like one,” said Burwell. “It’s a calling.” He noted that though the ordination itself would be “glorious,” the ministry entails hard, often thankless work and clergy rarely see the result of their efforts.

He encouraged Rivers, using words spoken to him personally by the late Bishop Terry Kelshaw, saying, “Preach the Word – the good news – every Sunday and your church will grow.”

Burwell also encouraged Rivers to focus on the people. Quoting his grandmother, he said, “They don’t care what you know until they know you care.” “Love the people the Lord puts in your path,” he said.

Read it all.

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

(Channel 4 News) Church of England gags abuse victim with NDA

A woman who claims she was abused by a vicar has told Channel 4 News she was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) – before she was allowed to read an official review accusing the Church of England of mismanaging her complaints.

Channel 4 News has seen a copy of the report, which makes a series of damning criticisms of the way a serving bishop handled her allegations.

Read it all.

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

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Martin Sewell–Church in Wonderland: the Clergy Discipline Measure shoves victims down a rabbit hole

What is missing in all this is the option of an ‘Admonishment’. By that, I mean that the Church of England does not currently accompany a ‘no action’ outcome with a plain unequivocal finding that ‘this was wrong’. Vindicating the victims complaint is immensely important to them, regardless of the sequelae.

Surely we need such an option in a revised system, preferably published and accompanied by a victim impact statement, and perhaps even an agreed statement of reconciliation in which the wrongdoer can offer an acknowledgement of error and a proper apology and, if possible an (entirely voluntary) acceptance. Closure on such a basis might be attainable with all parties able to move forward.

As it is, the Bishop is untouched, the Deputy President emerges as a humane judge constrained by an insufficient legal structure, and the role of the Chaplain has slipped under the radar. The Archbishop has been affirmed in his procedural propriety and judgment, and does not have the embarrassment of having to find against his fellow Bishop. Everyone within the church wins.

The only one… the only one for whom the whole prolonged process has offered nothing whatsoever is the poor victim, who has received no justice, no closure, and no apology whatsoever from anyone involved. On what basis do we in the Church suggest that this kind of outcome is anything other than a disgrace?

Talk to victims and they speak of an Alice in Wonderland world where injustice is justice, and due process means just what the church says it means: episcopal clothing is metaphorically rent, yet no apology escapes their lips. No wonder that victims increasingly advise each other not to disappear down this particular rabbit hole.

Read it all.

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

(Local Paper Front Page) College requirement prepares many SC preachers for ministry but serves as barrier to some

The Rev. Rosa Young Singleton didn’t have college, but she had a calling.

Singleton started as a youth minister at a nondenominational church in 2000. But when she went back home to Georgetown’s St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2013, she was told that she would need a bachelor’s degree if she wanted to pursue a pastoral ministry.

Raising two children and working, Singleton enrolled at Allen University and commuted from the Lowcountry to Columbia for classes every week.

“I got weary,” she said. “I was like ’Lord, do I really need to go through all of this to preach your gospel?‴⁣

There are many in the faith community who contemplate whether a church has the authority to restrict a person from pursuing God’s calling based on their level of education.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Education, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education

A Fleming Rutledge Sermon on Mark 13 (the Synoptic Apocalypse) for Pre-Advent and the First Sunday of Advent

Let me illustrate this sequence by quoting from the memoirs  of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, the famous Scottish-born tycoon who made his fortune in America.[2] Raised as a Presbyterian, he became suspicious of religion. When he read Darwin’s theories of evolution, the great philanthropist received what he thought was a revelation.[3] In his memoirs he wrote (this was during the Gilded Age, before the world wars):

…I remember that light came as in a flood and all was clear. Not only had I got rid of theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth…“All is well since all grows better,” became my motto, my true source of comfort. Man…has risen to the higher forms [and there can be no] conceivable end to [man’s] march to perfection.

I don’t believe anyone can read that with a straight face today. And indeed, as it happens, those were not the last words from Mr. Carnegie. The last paragraph of his autobiography was written as World War I broke out. He reread what he had written earlier, and here’s how he responded to it:

As I read this [what he had previously written] today what a change! The world convulsed by war as never before! Men slaying each other like wild beasts! I dare not relinquish all hope.

The manuscript breaks off abruptly.[4] He never finished the autobiography.

In a certain way, this illustrates the turn in biblical interpretation that I’m describing. The horrors of the two World Wars caused a widespread change in the way that serious people understood history. For biblical interpreters, it caused a change in the way the apocalyptic passages in the Bible were read. It was noted that Jesus said, “Behold, I have told you all things beforehand.”

Apocalyptic writing came out of a catastrophe. The Hebrew people—the Israelites—were the people of blessing. They were the people favored by God, who had promised them a future of safety and prosperity. But then they were overwhelmed and conquered and forced into exile in the far distant, pagan Babylonian empire.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

Jonathan Frost announced as the New Dean of York

From 1997 to 2002 Jonathan was Rector of Ash in the Diocese of Guildford. For eleven years he was Tutor for Christian Doctrine on the Diocesan Local Ministry Programme. From 2002 to 2010, he was Residentiary Canon at Guildford Cathedral and Co-ordinating Chaplain to the University of Surrey. At this time he was elected to the Church of England’s General Synod.

Since 2010 Jonathan has been Suffragan Bishop of Southampton in the Diocese of Winchester. Here he has served as Chair of the Joint Diocesan Board of Education (with Portsmouth Diocese, where he is also an Honorary Assistant Bishop); and as Chair of Love Southampton, an ecumenical network of churches in the City of Southampton working with the City Council on areas of social need. Jonathan is Episcopal Visitor for Hopeweavers, an acknowledged Anglican Religious Community.

Jonathan is a Trustee of USPG, an Anglican Mission Agency. In 2015 he was elected to represent the Suffragan Bishops of the Province of Canterbury on General Synod.

Jonathan’s emphases in ministry include: Christian unity and mission; contemplative prayer, evangelism and discipleship, inter-faith relations and action for social justice. He is committed to ministry amongst children and young people.

Jonathan is married to Christine, a teacher and therapist in training. They have three grown up children. He is a lifetime supporter of Fulham Football Club and follows Test cricket. He enjoys time spent with friends, live music, reading and is a keen walker.

Read it all.

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

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–What does it mean that Jesus Christ is King?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Atlantic) American Exorcism–Priests are fielding more requests than ever for help with demonic possession

…far from being confined to a past of Demiurges and evil eyes, belief in demonic possession is widespread in the United States today. Polls conducted in recent decades by Gallup and the data firm YouGov suggest that roughly half of Americans believe demonic possession is real. The percentage who believe in the devil is even higher, and in fact has been growing: Gallup polls show that the number rose from 55 percent in 1990 to 70 percent in 2007.

Perhaps as a result, demand for exorcisms—the Catholic Church’s antidote to demonic possession—seems to be growing as well. Though the Church does not keep official statistics, the exorcists I interviewed for this article attest to fielding more pleas for help every year.

Father Vincent Lampert, the official exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, told me in early October that he’d received 1,700 phone or email requests for exorcisms in 2018, by far the most he’s ever gotten in one year. Father Gary Thomas—a priest whose training as an exorcist in Rome was documented in The Rite, a book published in 2009 and made into a movie in 2011—said that he gets at least a dozen requests a week. Several other priests reported that without support from church staff and volunteers, their exorcism ministries would quickly swallow up their entire weekly schedules.

The Church has been training new exorcists in Chicago, Rome, and Manila. Thomas told me that in 2011 the U.S. had fewer than 15 known Catholic exorcists. Today, he said, there are well over 100. Other exorcists I spoke with put the number between 70 and 100. (Again, no official statistics exist, and most dioceses conceal the identity of their appointed exorcist, to avoid unwanted attention.)

In October of last year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had Exorcisms and Related Supplications—a handbook containing the rite of exorcism—translated into English.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theodicy

Latest Developments in the TEC Diocese of Albany (III)–TLC finds a priest in the diocese told the publication he “intends not to abide by” Bishop Love’s directive

One priest in the diocese told TLC he “intends not to abide by” Love’s directive and will celebrate a same-sex marriage if the opportunity arises.

The Rev. Glen Michaels is an assistant attorney general for New York State. He serves as priest in charge of All Souls Memorial Chapel in St. Hubert’s in the Adirondacks, about 100 miles north of Albany. All Souls is open only in the summer, and Michaels said it frequently serves as a wedding venue.

Michaels said that as he reads the canons, Love’s prohibition of same-sex marriage is “not enforceable” because of the action of the General Convention.

“For better or worse I see myself as a good person to challenge this,” he said, because his livelihood does not depend on his work as a priest.

Read it all.

Posted in Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Theology

(Observer) Bullying claims at Oxford ‘medieval fiefdom’ take toll on reformist dean

It is a quintessential institution of the establishment, producing 13 British prime ministers, 10 chancellors of the exchequer and 17 archbishops. Among its former students are King Edward VII, Albert Einstein, Lewis Carroll and WH Auden. One fictional alumnus, Lord Sebastian Flyte, came to personify its privileges in the pages of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.

But Christ Church, one of Oxford’s most venerable colleges, was plunged into turmoil last week when its dean was suspended from duties and barred from taking services at his own cathedral after being challenged under archaic and opaque rules.

A formal complaint has been filed against the Very Rev Martyn Percy with the college’s governing body. Few people know details of what is being alleged, or who is behind the move. Even Percy is largely in the dark, according to his friends.

The complaint is believed to centre on issues of governance; no one is suggesting improper personal conduct. It will be heard by a tribunal, which could dismiss Percy. A date for a hearing is yet to be set.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Religion & Culture

(ADNE) The Rev. Andrew Williams elected the Next Bishop of the ADNE

Prior to his election, [the] Rev. Williams served as pastor of Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT. He began his professional life as a lawyer in the United Kingdom. From 1989-1998, he was a corporate litigator specializing in defending law suits brought against the legal profession. Despite a successful career, it was during this time that he began to sense that something significant was missing in his life, and much to the surprise of Rev. Williams and his wife, Elena, they found themselves drawn into something far deeper, and ultimately came to a living faith in God through the love, support and friendship of their Anglican Parish. A time of discernment followed, and after much prayer and strong encouragement from those who knew him, he resigned from his law firm and began training for ordination at Trinity College, Bristol. He graduated with an honors degree in theology and was ordained in the Diocese of Exeter in 2000. Drew spent six years as Associate Vicar of St. Andrew’s, Chorleywood, a vibrant suburban congregation just outside London. Prior to coming to Chorleywood, he served a congregation in the southwest of England….

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained

(WSJ) Mene Ukueberuwa–The Vatican prevents American prelates from addressing clergy sexual abuse

Ahead of the conference, the bishops coalesced around two proposals to impose accountability. The first is a simple code of conduct extending to bishops the zero-tolerance policy for sex abuse enacted for priests in 2002. The second is an independent review board to investigate claims against bishops and refer credible cases directly to the Vatican. “Each bishop would have to agree to allow himself to be investigated by the committee,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone told me last week. He described the bishops’ shedding of immunity as “a covenantal sort of relationship” that would allow them to police each other better.

Yet the Vatican’s surprise announcement means the new covenant will have to wait. The Holy See barred the conference from voting on new sex-abuse protocols until after a summit in Rome this February. Naturally, the bishops were shocked when they received the news Monday morning. Instead of returning to their dioceses with a concrete agreement, they’ll bring nothing but assurances of future reforms. More than 15 years after the sex-abuse crisis first surfaced in the U.S., such promises do little to quell public anger or ease prosecutorial pressure.

The delay shows that the Vatican simply doesn’t place the same value on speed and openness with the public that the U.S. episcopate does. American bishops are closer to the schools and parishes where abuse actually takes place. When one leader fails to respond appropriately to abuse, they all take on the stench of corruption. And unlike the pope, local bishops generally are seen as dispensable by their followers—shepherds to be discarded if they fail to protect the flock.

Despite the imprudent delay, U.S. bishops can continue cleaning their own pastures ahead of the Rome summit.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The God who is at Work and Who provides (1 Kings 17:8-16)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings

Charles Simeon as described by (Bishop of Calcutta) Daniel Wilson

He stood for many years alone, he was long opposed, ridiculed, shunned, his doctrines were misrepresented, his little peculiarities of voice and manner were satirized, disturbances were frequently raised in his church or he was a person not taken into account, nor considered in the light of a regular clergyman in the church.

–as quoted in William Carus, Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon (New York: Robert Carter, 1848), p.39

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

(CP) Atheist United Church minister keeps her job; ‘heresy trial’ called off

A United Church minister who had faced an unprecedented ecclesiastical court hearing over her professed atheism is no longer in danger of a defrocking after the two sides reached an agreement in the long-running case.

In an unexpected development this week, Rev. Gretta Vosper and the church settled ahead of what some had dubbed a “heresy trial,” leaving her free to minister to her east-end Toronto congregation.

“It’s going to be wonderful,” Vosper said in an interview Friday. “We’ll be out from underneath that heavy cloud. Now we’ll be able to really fly.”

The settlement, the terms of which are confidential, came during what was supposed to be a week of routine preliminary motions ahead of the full hearing later in the month.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Theology

(WSJ) Joseph Loconte–What World War I Taught the Clergy

Throughout the 1930s Christian leaders played down the differences between Western democracies and the fascist regimes in Italy and Germany. When Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, Charles Clayton Morrison, editor of the Christian Century, denounced a potential Anglo-American alliance as “a war for imperialism.” Harry Emerson Fosdick, the popular social-gospel minister at New York’s Riverside Church, warned that American involvement in the war against Nazism would be “a colossal and futile disaster.”

Some Christian thinkers repented their pacifism as the Nazi blitzkrieg enveloped Europe. Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, on launching the magazine Christianity and Crisis, excoriated liberal churchmen for evading the problem of radical evil: “This utopianism contributed to the tardiness of the democracies in defending themselves against the perils of a new barbarism.” Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, who fought in France during the Great War, told a friend on the eve of World War II that “death would be much better than to live through another war.” Nevertheless, he saw no moral alternative in a world ravaged by the will to power.

“We know from the experience of the last twenty years,” Lewis wrote in 1944, “that a terrified and angry pacifism is one of the roads that lead to war.” It is a truth that bears repeating as the world reflects on the tragedy of World War I.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Dean of Oxford, Martyn Percy, faces removal from office

A formal complaint has been made against the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy. He will have to appear before a tribunal to defend himself, and may be removed from office.

The Cathedral Chapter and the college’s Governing Body, having seen the evidence presented by the complainants, have agreed that there is a case to answer, which, if proved, could constitute good cause for the removal of the dean from office. It is understood that there is a range of views on the issue in the Chapter.

No details of the complaint have been made public, but it is believed to relate to an issue of poor governance raised by Dr Percy, including the setting of senior salaries at Christ Church, among them his own.

The tribunal process itself raises further questions about governance. It is understood that Dr Percy was given no opportunity to challenge any of the evidence against him. Dr Percy is not talking to the press, but a college insider said: “Chapter and Governing Body did not invite the Dean to give any response to the complaint, or put forward any documents of his own before making their decision.”

Read it all.

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

(CEN) New Report suggests training for the C of E ministry is only for the wealthy

Don’t become an ordinand unless you are well-off, that was the message of a new report released by the Church of England.

The Living Ministry research follows cohorts of 85 ordinands and clergy through their ministry over a decade.

According to the report, non-residential ordinands who started training in retirement, maintaining their pension drawings or those who retain an adequate salary even after a reduction in working hours to fit in training,report the best financial wellbeing.

This is the same for those whose main household income is their partner’s (about two thirds are reliant to some extent on income from their partner).

One male participant reported:“I think actually [the Church has]probably got it bang on that that is what you need to live on, because I can live on that, but it is so tight that anything extra that comes up, you’ve got no way of doing anything.”

Read it all (subscription may be required).

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

A Fine Photo from the Recent Diocese of South Carolina Clergy Conference

Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

The NYT Obituary for Eugene Peterson

He added: “American culture is probably the least Christian culture that we’ve ever had, because it’s so materialistic and it’s so full of lies. The whole advertising world is just intertwined with lies, appealing to the worst instincts we have. The problem is, people have been treated as consumers for so long they don’t know any other way to live.”

Mr. Peterson’s entire pastoral career unfolded in a single small church that he founded in 1963: Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Md., a suburban town of 8,000 northeast of Baltimore. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, his parish began with a few dozen people; decades later it had only 500 members and Sunday service attendances of about 250.

He liked to be called Pastor Peterson or Pastor Pete. “Ours was an informal congregation, and except for the children and youth, most of the people in it were older than I and addressed me by my given name, Eugene, which was fine by me,” Mr. Peterson wrote in “The Pastor: A Memoir” (2011).

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT Pastors) Ministry Lessons from the Life of Eugene Peterson 8 church leaders share what they learned through his books, letters, and friendship.

Choose your words carefully.

Relevance is irrelevant.

Pastoral ministry is serious, consequential work.

There is no ministry in the abstract.

Every step is integral to your journey.

Christ is all we have to offer.

Reject grandiosity.

Sabbath is a gift.

Read them all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) How an ex-heroin addict became a priest in Derby

The Reverend Darren Howie is a former thief and was addicted to heroin.

He spent a decade in and out of prison – and was once told by a prison chaplain, when he weighed just six-and-a-half stone, that he would die once he left prison.

However, Mr Howie got clean through a Christian rehabilitation programme….

Read it all and watch the whole video.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Prison/Prison Ministry

(CH) The Anguish and Agonies of Charles Spurgeon

Spurgeon’s friends and even casual acquaintances remarked on his hearty laughter. His humor also found expression in his sermons and writings, for which he was sometimes criticized. Spurgeon responded that if his critics only knew how much humor he suppressed, they would keep silent.

At the same time, Spurgeon’s life was saturated with suffering. We know about his sufferings intimately owing to his frequent and candid descriptions of them.

What torments did Spurgeon suffer? How did he reconcile his painful experiences with his view of a gracious God?

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Psychology

(CT Pastors) J Todd Billings and Stephen Shaffer–The Loneliness of the Pastor-Theologian

In many congregations, the discipline of theology is simply not valued. Congregations may like having a “smart pastor,” but they are unsure how his or her interest makes a difference in the church’s ministry. Theological study is often viewed with suspicion, a particular brand of nerdiness—the Baptist minister is a Spurgeon fan, the Catholic priest roots for Aquinas, and the Reformed pastor wears Jonathan Edwards t-shirts. Theology is all well and good—as long as it does not keep pastors from more important tasks.

In fact, with so many people to care for, sermons to write, skills to master, who can justify the slow work of reading theology (let alone reflecting or writing theologically)? There is no room for the church father Athanasius when marriages are falling apart, people are on hospice, and membership is shrinking.

It’s no wonder that so many pastors who feel the tug of theological reflection abandon it after a few months or a few years in the pastorate. So how can those with a vision and sense a calling to do theological work keep this vision and calling alive as they serve the local church?

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Spectator) Harry Mount reviews ‘A Field Guide to the English Clergy: A Compendium to Diverse Eccentrics, Pirates, Prelates and Adventurers; all Anglican, some even practising’

As the wordy title of this book and the name of its author suggest, this is a faux-archaic, fogeyish journey around England’s oddest vicars. The Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie is, though, the real thing: a young curate in the Church of England. Yes, he’s given to sometimes tiresome jocularity: he describes himself as ‘a Bon Viveur first and foremost, with a soupçon of Roguishness and Prodigality’. But, still, his essential thesis is right: the Church of England has produced some real oddballs in its time, and this is an entertaining gallop through several centuries’ worth of them.

For 400 years after the Reformation, the Church of England was the ideal Petri dish for nurturing eccentricity. Take plenty of money, lots of free time, a good education, power and class confidence, and vicars were bound to overindulge their whims. Well, at least until the second half of the 20th century — when the collapse of religious feeling, the decline of the Church’s wealth and power, and the selling-off of the finest vicarages and rectories brought a sad end to clever, rich, eccentric, educated vicars….

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Church of England, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–How are we as Christians to understand Work? (For Labor Day)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop FitzSimons Allison’s sermon this weekend at Saint Philip’s, Charleston–“Happy Guilt”

You may download it there or listen to it directly there from Saint Philip’s, Charleston, South Carolina.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture