Category : Pastoral Care

(C of E) How words of familiar prayers or hymns help people with dementia

Residents at Westview House in Totland Bay, on the Isle of Wight might be living with dementia – but they could remember the words to the Lord’s Prayer.

As Anne Powell started to lead the informal service in the care home, several seemed initially confused about what was going on.

But when Anne started to lead them in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, something amazing happened. Long-term memories kicked in, as many of them recited the words they had learnt decades ago. Something similar happened as they started to sing ‘All things bright and beautiful’.

This is the kind of ministry that Anne Powell offers regularly, as an ‘Anna Chaplain’.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Bristol warm places scheme welcomes first residents

New mothers and the elderly are among the first to take advantage of a warm spaces scheme to help people struggling to afford to heat their own homes.

Cafes, churches and libraries across Bristol are opening their doors as energy prices rise this winter.

The city council asked businesses and public buildings to join the scheme in the summer.

As well as warmth, many of the spaces are offering services like financial advice and homework support.

A cafe in the Wellspring Settlement community centre in Barton Hill is taking part in the initiative twice a week and is also providing food.

People are only asked to pay what they can afford, with the rest subsidised by the council.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Energy, Natural Resources, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Personal Finance, Stewardship

World Mental Health Day: Church-run course giving support to people living with depression

Hope in Depression is a registered charity and has been running courses through churches since 2013. People attending the course explore the causes and symptoms of depression and anxiety, learn about brain chemistry and medication, hear about counselling and discover ways that have been clinically shown to aid recovery and continued wellbeing.

Christ Church’s course leader Denise Morris has run the online course twice a year since 2019. She says, “Hope in Depression is suitable for adults of all ages – we’ve had 18-year-olds and 80 year-olds on the course and men and women of all ages in between.  Many people who have done the course have reported improvements in their mood and ability to cope day to day. It really can help make a difference.”

The course has received positive feedback from attendees who highlight the relaxed, safe and caring environment.

As one explains: ‘Meeting others, knowing there are so many of us who experience depression – knowing I’m not alone. It’s so very important that this course is available to as many people as possible.’

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Faith chaplains to comfort mourners queuing for Queen’s Lying-In-State

The chaplain service will start at 9am…Wednesday 14th September…and run until Sunday 18th September. They will be with the crowd during day-light hours.

The chaplains will be identifiable by their Hi-Vis vests with Faith Team printed on them.

They will move along with the crowd and will introduce themselves, have conversations and, only if requested, pray with people.

The Church of England is working in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to organise this collaborative chaplaincy.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Prayer cards delivered to Anglican parishes for Comfort and Hope

More than a million free prayer cards are being delivered to cathedrals and churches of all denominations to help people find comfort and hope in this world of uncertainty.

Hundreds of thousands of prayer cards are currently going out to cathedrals in England and Wales and other churches across the country in a unique project shaped by people’s experience of the pandemic.

Join us for the Launch of the EXPLORE Project on Monday 4th April.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

Bishop Lawrence Looks Back on 14-Year Episcopacy in the Historic Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

Do you have any final thoughts on the state of the Church? State of the diocese?

I would say that if we prevail, if the parishes prevail in this lawsuit, I think there will be an explosiveness of energy that we’re capable of experiencing. I think it can unleash a great season of missional and ministry ventures that has been put on hold. And along with that, we’ve been on hold because of COVID so most people don’t know where they will be on the far side of that.

If you had one book, not the Bible, you think every person, laity and clergy read, what would it be?

One book? I’m not sure I think in those terms. But if I could only have three books for the rest of my life in addition to the Bible, I’d say a good Introduction to the Old Testament, an Introduction to the New Testament and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I would hope everyone could read The Confessions of St. Augustine before they die, but I’m not going to say that I want everyone to read that.

What’s the hardest thing about being the bishop?
For me, the hardest thing about being a bishop is not being rooted in a congregation.

You see, there are different styles of teaching and preaching. The kind of teaching I like best is expository teaching through the Bible or a book of the Bible, teaching a sequential class in a congregation on theology, basic Christian theology, or teaching a class on the history of the Church in England or history of the Anglican Church.

Read it all.

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

(C of E) How a church bench helped tackle loneliness

Drop-in sessions at a Church of England parish, set up to provide a ‘safe space’ for people feeling anxious or lonely in the wake of the pandemic, have proved so popular that they are being expanded to cater for demand.

‘Ric’s bench’, offering tea, coffee, snacks and a place to chat at St Richard’s parish in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, will be launching a fourth session in response to demand.

Father Chris Brading, Vicar of St Richard’s, said the two-hourly sessions are attracting people of all faiths and none to the church and hall.

Volunteers are coming forward from the church and the wider community, he said. The sessions are about listening, engaging with guests and providing signposting to specialist support if needed.

The ‘Ric’s bench’ title is taken from a bench – actually a pew – preserved from the original ‘tin church’, that was demolished to make way for the current church building in the 1930s.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Psychology

(Northern Echo) St Nicholas Church Durham offers practical help to North East people

A City centre church is to offer practical support for local people suffering financial hardships.

St Nicholas Church, in the Market Place, Durham, has announced it will be able to raise money for those in need to purchase a specific needed item, such as replacing a broken cooker for a family struggling financially or equipping someone with interview clothes to help get a job.

This potential support is made possible through a new partnership with Acts 435, a national online charity that gives donors the opportunity to connect with people who need help.

Acts 435 enables St Nicholas, or St Nics, as it is known locally, plus other participating churches and local charities, to post requests for specific needs onto their website.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Poverty, Stewardship, Urban/City Life and Issues

(LR) Your Pastor Cares When You Don’t Care

Pastors face unique difficulties inherent in their career, but what are their greatest needs? Pastors themselves say they’re most concerned about seeing their churchgoers grow spiritually and making connections with those outside of their churches.

After speaking directly with pastors to gather their perspectives on their ministry and personal challenges, Lifeway Research surveyed 1,000 US pastors for the 2022 Greatest Needs of Pastors study to discover what they see as their most pressing issues.

“The pre-existing challenges of ministry were amplified by COVID, and it’s important we lean in and listen closely to pastors,” said Ben Mandrell, president of Lifeway Christian Resources. “This project has shed light on critical needs they have and will point the way forward in how we partner with them to fuel their ministries and improve their health in multiple areas.”

Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said his team began the study by speaking with more than 200 pastors, asking them to think beyond the current pandemic-related struggles and share some of the enduring needs of pastors and their churches today.

Read it all.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology

Archbishops’ Commission on Reimagining Care proposes set of values to inform vision for care and support in England

Today marks the start of a formal period of Listening and Engagement which will run until Friday 10 December. The Commission wants to hear from a wide range of individuals and organisations and ensure that its work is shaped by the views and voices of people and organisations who have experience of care and care giving.

They are calling for contributions from:

  • Those who draw on formal services
  • Unpaid carers, and the relatives and friends of those who draw on care and support
  • Those who work in the care sector and the voluntary and community sector
  • Churches of all denominations and other faith communities
  • Those who commission, provide and regulate formal services
  • Community groups and people who provide informal support

The consultation launched today aims to gather views about the challenges experienced by those currently drawing on care and support and those who work in the sector.

They are also interested in identifying examples of good practice.

The Commission is particularly interested in the role that communities play in supporting people with disability and in later life to live well, in particular the role of church and other faith communities.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

(CT CS) Is Texting the Next Big Thing for Churches?

“A simple ‘I love you! Thanks for getting up with the baby last night’ can do wonders for my mood,” says Carla Wiking in “How Texting Has Improved my Marriage.” Though she was initially resistant to embracing texting as more than a way to send succinct updates, Wiking now sees it as an important third party in her marriage. For Wiking, texting offers vital connection: “I feel appreciated and thought of, which can be extra nice on long lonely days caring for kids at home.” Because of its connective power, texting can smooth and soften in ways other mediums may not. “We aren’t simply better coordinated,” writes Wiking. “We feel more love and appreciation and joy. Who knew a tiny keyboard could do all that?”

Healthier marriages aren’t the only beneficiary of SMS (Short Message Service). Hannah Natanson reports in The Washington Post that texting has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on our healthcare system, lowering communication hurdles and increasing provider availability. Natanson notes that texting allows hospitals and doctors’ offices to gather more accurate patient history, and instant-response crisis text lines provide support for individuals facing acute mental-health crises.

The opportunity to text with medical professionals offers a life-changing difference for many people. Jeffrey Millstein, Anish Agarwal and Lillian Sun—a primary care physician, an ER physician, and a medical student—wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer that they “constantly combine hands-on care with digital technology” in their work with patients. Texting is growing to be the most accessible form of communication as “font size can be adjusted for those who are visually impaired, and voice commands through digital assistants such as Siri can be used if vision or finger dexterity are limitations.” All these features, especially when combined with texting’s ability to overcome language barriers via translations apps, make it easier to contact patients of every age, background, and income level.

Even while relationships and businesses benefit from this new touchpoint, people still want more texts. 75 percent of clients say that they would like to receive offers via SMS, but only 30 percent frequent businesses that offer this service.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Language, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Thursday Food for Thought–Aristides on the Early Christians

But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth; and as we learned from their writings, they have come nearer to truth and genuine knowledge than the rest of the nations. For they know and trust in God, the Creator of heaven and of earth, in whom and from whom are all things, to whom there is no other god as companion, from whom they received commandments which they engraved upon their minds and observe in hope and expectation of the world which is to come. Wherefore they do not commit adultery nor fornication, nor bear false witness, nor embezzle what is held in pledge, nor covet what is not theirs. They honour father and mother, and show kindness to those near to them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols (made) in the image of man; and whatsoever they would not that others should do unto them, they do not to others; and of the food which is consecrated to idols they do not eat, for they are pure. And their oppressors they appease (lit: comfort) and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies; and their women, O King, are pure as virgins, and their daughters are modest; and their men keep themselves from every unlawful union and from all uncleanness, in the hope of a recompense to come in the other world.

Further, if one or other of them have bondmen and bondwomen or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction. They do not worship strange gods, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness. Falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food. They observe the precepts of their Messiah with much care, living justly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and every hour they give thanks and praise to God for His loving-kindnesses toward them; and for their food and their drink they offer thanksgiving to Him. And if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another near. And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. And further if they see that any one of them dies in his ungodliness or in his sins, for him they grieve bitterly, and sorrow as for one who goes to meet his doom.

Such, O King, is the commandment of the law of the Christians, and such is their manner of life. As men who know God, they ask from Him petitions which are fitting for Him to grant and for them to receive. And thus they employ their whole lifetime. And since they know the loving-kindnesses of God toward them, behold! for their sake the glorious things which are in the world flow forth to view. And verily, they are those who found the truth when they went about and made search for it; and from what we considered, we learned that they alone come near to a knowledge of the truth. And they do not proclaim in the ears of the multitude the kind deeds they do, but are careful that no one should notice them; and they conceal their giving just as he who finds a treasure and conceals it. And they strive to be righteous as those who expect to behold their Messiah, and to receive from Him with great glory the promises made concerning them. And as for their words and their precepts, O King, and their glorying in their worship, and the hope of earning according to the work of each one of them their recompense which they look for in another world,-you may learn about these from their writings. It is enough for us to have shortly informed your Majesty concerning the conduct and the truth of the Christians. For great indeed, and wonderful is their doctrine to him who will search into it and reflect upon it. And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine (lit: “a divine admixture”) in the midst of them.

The Apology of Aristides, XV-XVI

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

An update on the situation in the ACNA diocese of the Upper Midwest

Earlier this month, Archbishop Beach announced that, at the request of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, the Province would undertake oversight of the independent investigation into allegations of abuse within the diocese, ensure that pastoral care for survivors is offered, and conduct a review of diocesan structures and processes. Below are some recent developments in that unfolding situation:

Executive Committee expresses sorrow, calls for prayer, and approves formation of Provincial Response Team

Meeting on Monday, July 26, 2021 the Executive Committee of the Anglican Church in North America responded to the concerns raised by survivors of abuse in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. The members of the Committee expressed “deep sorrow for all survivors who have suffered harm and pain as a result of abuse and/or misconduct and for their families and loved ones,” approved the formation of a Provincial Response Team, and called for “prayer for healing and justice for all affected by this tragic situation, for wisdom for those dealing with it, and for a spirit of grace, humility, and repentance throughout our Church.”

The Executive Committee is the Anglican Church in North America’s Board of Directors and is made up of clergy and laity elected from across the Province. Read more from the Executive Committee here.

Archbishop Beach appoints Bishops Miller and Atkinson to assist Diocese

Read it all and please note the diocesan website is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology

(RNS) With more than a million children orphaned by COVID19, faith-based groups look to mobilize support

More than a million children around the world may have been orphaned by COVID-19, losing one or both parents to the disease or related causes.

Another estimated 500,000 lost a grandparent or another relative who cared for them.

The numbers are from a new study by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others that highlight another grim reality in the sweeping devastation caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Care

(The Big Issue) When the Archbishop of Canterbury sold The Big Issue

JW: I come from a family of both parents being alcoholic and my mother stopped drinking half a century ago and never went back. My father died of it. What happens if vendors who struggled with a similar thing go back on the booze or the drugs?

LW: For me, personally, I understand if people slip up because I’ve learned addiction is not so black and white as I thought it was. I’ve been quite lucky in life. I did a lot of my silly stuff when I was younger and I haven’t really got any addictions, except maybe to chicken. I don’t mind if my vendors fall, it’s about getting back on the horse. That is what I try and teach them. As a guy who has failed quite a lot in life, I teach people to get off your high horse in life and get yourself a pony – when you fall off it doesn’t hurt as much.

JW: I couldn’t agree more, I think that’s really good. I shall use that!

LW: I’ll be honest, you doing this is really going to help me get my voice out there. We really need to change the way we think as a society.

JW: We need to change the way we think, we really do.

LW: We’ve spoken about this and it’s in your book [Reimagining Britain]. We don’t want to go back to normal because normal didn’t work, did it? We want to have a better life now and we’ve got a chance of starting something.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture

(AP) Black community has new option for health care: the church

Every Sunday at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, the Rev. Joseph Jackson Jr. praises the Lord before his congregation. But since last fall he’s been praising something else his Black community needs: the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We want to continue to encourage our people to get out, get your shots. I got both of mine,” Jackson said to applause at the church in Milwaukee on a recent Sunday.

Members of Black communities across the U.S. have disproportionately fallen sick or died from the virus, so some church leaders are using their influence and trusted reputations to fight back by preaching from the pulpit, phoning people to encourage vaccinations, and hosting testing clinics and vaccination events in church buildings.

Some want to extend their efforts beyond the fight against COVID-19 and give their flocks a place to seek health care for other ailments at a place they trust — the church.

“We can’t go back to normal because we died in our normal,” Debra Fraser-Howze, the founder of Choose Healthy Life, told The Associated Press. “We have health disparities that were so serious that one pandemic virtually wiped us out more than anybody else. We can’t allow for that to happen again.”

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

(CC) Samuel Wells on one man’s question in one group on one particular day–“Where’s my love to go now?…Tell me That”

So I took a risk, and said, gently, “Imagine eternity from God’s point of view. Imagine God having all that love pent up like you have right now. But the difference is, God’s got that love all pent up potentially forever. God’s like you. God’s thinking, ‘Where’s my love to go?’ So God creates the universe. But God’s got still more love to give. So God creates life, and makes humanity, and calls a special people. But that’s still not enough. God’s got yet more love to give. So God comes among us as a tiny baby. God’s question ‘Where is my love to go?’ is perhaps the most important one of all time. Half the answer is the crea­tion of the universe. The other half is the incarnation. On Christmas Day we find out why the universe was created. It was created for us to be the place where God’s love could go.”

In case I hadn’t made myself clear, I added one more suggestion. “So when you ask yourself, ‘Where’s my love to go?’ you’re getting an insight into the very heart of God.”

The pandemic has been about many things, but one above all: powerlessness. It’s been an intensification of life’s fragilities and limitations. We’ve felt fearful, lonely, and disappointed. Where is our love to go? We’ve not been getting an easy answer to this question. We’re getting something else instead: the discovery of what it’s like to be God, who asked the same question and came among us to complete the answer. What the pandemic’s given us is an opportunity to dwell in the very heart of God.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Christology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

(WSJ) Anna Broadway–How Some Churches Leave Singles Behind

Touch played a significant role in Jesus ’ ministry too. That he let a woman kiss his feet shocked the Pharisees, but he defended her actions as an appropriate response to forgiveness. Later, Jesus even invited Thomas to touch his wounds. Jesus’ example shows that our bodies are part of how we’re meant to commune with God and each other. How then do Christians balance love’s call to extend safety and welcome?

At Christ Church East Bay in Berkeley, Calif., the Rev. Jonathan St. Clair told me in an email that they encourage vaccinated singles to sit with families or other solo attendees. Ms. Kaiser hopes to do something similar with some of the other widows at her church. Reality SF, a church in San Francisco, took this one step further: Leading up to Easter, it urged the majority-single congregation to form Holy Week pods.

Longer-term use of pods could help singles feel more included in their churches. For most Christian singles I have interviewed, commitment in relationships proved elusive outside marriage; only Catholic priests consistently reported a sense of commitment within a community. Why should so few Christian singles find that?

Singles have the same needs as married people; we simply have different ways to meet them. By giving singles a committed group with which to sit, hug and maybe even eat, pods could help us participate more equally in God’s family.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture

Quigg Lawrence on the Extraordinary story of Archbp Ben Kwashi’s Healing

During surgery, Dr. Madge Ellis found the cancer had spread to Ben’s liver and he was, shockingly, Stage 4. Ben definitely would have died had the Holy Spirit not rather miraculously told us to invite him to come here for treatment.

7 months and 12 brutal rounds of chemo later, Ben is healthy.

Ben’s levels of CEA (protein “tumor markers”) are within the normal range. In layman’s terms, the chemo was effective and Ben appears posed to have a much longer life!

Annette and I have been honored to share our home and our lives with them. We will never, ever forget them. They are dear to us.

++Ben and Mama taught us many things in the last 7 months. They are beautiful reflections of Jesus, they are wise, they are joyful.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Spirituality/Prayer, Travel

Jimmy Bailey–When The Church “Bears One Another’s Burdens”

A few months later, my son James woke up on a Sunday morning with a mild fever. I took his siblings to church, and my wife, Beth, stayed home to care for him. By the time we returned, his fever had spiked severely and his heart rate was high enough for the urgent care center to refer us to the emergency room. The E.R. physicians determined it was serious enough for him to be admitted overnight, and I was scared. Within a matter of hours, however, our church family was bearing this burden with us. We heard from four members of the clergy, including Jeff and his wife, Kristin. I vividly remember sitting in my car at the MUSC parking garage praying over the phone with Marc Boutan, and feeling so comforted by his words and support. Our phones were lighting up with text messages, emails, calls, and social media notifications from our church family, who were bearing this burden with us and lifting us in prayer. I remember a non-St. Philip’s friend saying, “You have a great hospital and friends who pray for you––that’s a great team.” James quickly returned to good health.

Later in the year, I began to suffer from a mysterious illness with symptoms that eluded diagnosis for a long 87 days. The physical pain ebbed and flowed, but the uncertainty was constant and taxed me mentally. I tried to keep this situation under wraps, mainly because I didn’t want my children to worry. However, solutions continued to elude my medical team and I couldn’t bear this burden alone.

I looked to my church family for help, and St. Philip’s wrapped its arms around me and hugged tight. The men in my Bible study prayed for me and checked in constantly. Every member of our clergy prayed with me. Hundreds of you prayed for me in your own Bible studies. Occasionally, total strangers introduced themselves and said they learned about my situation during prayer requests at a Bible study, and wanted me to know they were praying for me, too. During a December service (I think Christmas Eve), while serving communion, Martha Vetter leaned down, took some extra time, and prayed vigorously for me, my family, my doctors, and for healing. My eyes filled with tears of appreciation for this love and compassion, and for her willingness to bear my burden with me, along with so many of you.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care

(Church Times) Hospital chaplains at the core of coronavirus care

The coronavirus has swept away any idea that chaplains are optional extras or “genteel outsiders”, the president of the College of Healthcare Chaplains, Dr Simon Harrison, has said.

“In the first wave of the virus, there was a bit of the ‘Perhaps the chaplaincy should stay away for a bit until we get over this,’” Dr Harrison, who is also lead chaplain at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, said on Monday. “That has long passed.”

Staff support is significantly more embedded into the infrastructure, to the extent that some trusts have newly recruited dedicated staff chaplains.

The impact of the virus on chaplaincy teams themselves has also heightened the sense of being part of the hospital team. All were now hands-on and very busy, Dr Harrison said.

“There is a lot of fatigue and ongoing anxiety among chaplains, but collegiality is at an all-time high. Staff support feels like the direction of travel for so many more.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture

(C of E) Chaplain mobilises churches and community to identify more than 1,000 over 80s for Covid-19 vaccination

The Revd Andy Dovey, Lead for Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust in south London, reached out to churches and faith groups in the area to raise awareness of the availability of the vaccine.

It came as NHS teams across the country booked appointments for the most vulnerable people in our society, including those over 80 who were already coming in to hospital for outpatient appointments,

“The response has been amazing,” he said.

“I am really grateful to the community of churches that have pulled together to support our congregations in these difficult times.”

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

The Incredible story of what Saint John did to recover a convert who lapsed from the faith

Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit.
7. When he had come to one of the cities not far away (the name of which is given by some ), and had consoled the brethren in other matters, he finally turned to the bishop that had been appointed, and seeing a youth of powerful physique, of pleasing appearance, and of ardent temperament, he said, ‘This one I commit to you in all earnestness in the presence of the Church and with Christ as witness.’ And when the bishop had accepted the charge and had promised all, he repeated the same injunction with an appeal to the same witnesses, and then departed for Ephesus.

8. But the presbyter taking home the youth committed to him, reared, kept, cherished, and finally baptized him. After this he relaxed his stricter care and watchfulness, with the idea that in putting upon him the seal of the Lord he had given him a perfect protection.

9. But some youths of his own age, idle and dissolute, and accustomed to evil practices, corrupted him when he was thus prematurely freed from restraint. At first they enticed him by costly entertainments; then, when they went forth at night for robbery, they took him with them, and finally they demanded that he should unite with them in some greater crime.

10. He gradually became accustomed to such practices, and on account of the positiveness of his character, leaving the right path, and taking the bit in his teeth like a hard-mouthed and powerful horse, he rushed the more violently down into the depths.

11. And finally despairing of salvation in God, he no longer meditated what was insignificant, but having committed some great crime, since he was now lost once for all, he expected to suffer a like fate with the rest. Taking them, therefore, and forming a band of robbers, he became a bold bandit-chief, the most violent, most bloody, most cruel of them all.

12. Time passed, and some necessity having arisen, they sent for John. But he, when he had set in order the other matters on account of which he had come, said, ‘Come, O bishop, restore us the deposit which both I and Christ committed to you, the church, over which you preside, being witness.’

13. But the bishop was at first confounded, thinking that he was falsely charged in regard to money which he had not received, and he could neither believe the accusation respecting what he had not, nor could he disbelieve John. But when he said, ‘I demand the young man and the soul of the brother,’ the old man, groaning deeply and at the same time bursting into tears, said, ‘He is dead.’ ‘How and what kind of death?’ ‘He is dead to God,’ he said; ‘for he turned wicked and abandoned, and at last a robber. And now, instead of the church, he haunts the mountain with a band like himself.’

14. But the Apostle rent his clothes, and beating his head with great lamentation, he said, ‘A fine guard I left for a brother’s soul! But let a horse be brought me, and let some one show me the way.’ He rode away from the church just as he was, and coming to the place, he was taken prisoner by the robbers’ outpost.

15. He, however, neither fled nor made entreaty, but cried out, ‘For this did I come; lead me to your captain.’

16. The latter, meanwhile, was waiting, armed as he was. But when he recognized John approaching, he turned in shame to flee.

17. But John, forgetting his age, pursued him with all his might, crying out, ‘Why, my son, do you flee from me, your own father, unarmed, aged? Pity me, my son; fear not; you have still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for you. If need be, I will willingly endure your death as the Lord suffered death for us. For you will I give up my life. Stand, believe; Christ has sent me.’

18. And he, when he heard, first stopped and looked down; then he threw away his arms, and then trembled and wept bitterly. And when the old man approached, he embraced him, making confession with lamentations as he was able, baptizing himself a second time with tears, and concealing only his right hand.

19. But John, pledging himself, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness with the Saviour, besought him, fell upon his knees, kissed his right hand itself as if now purified by repentance, and led him back to the church. And making intercession for him with copious prayers, and struggling together with him in continual fastings, and subduing his mind by various utterances, he did not depart, as they say, until he had restored him to the church, furnishing a great example of true repentance and a great proof of regeneration, a trophy of a visible resurrection.

(From Eusebius which may be found there [III.23]).

Posted in Church History, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Government guidance for services: count them in, keep it short, and beware ‘consumables’

From 4 July, incumbents will be responsible for determining how many people can safely attend public worship in their churches, based on a risk assessment of the capacity and ventilation of the building, the Government has said.

The guidance, published on Monday and effective from 4 July, was drawn up by the Places of Worship Taskforce, which includes faith leaders and government ministers. It has legal status under the Health and Safety and Equality Acts.

No maximum number is specified for people attending for general worship, which includes led prayers, devotions, or meditations. The guidance confirms, however, that a maximum of 30 people are permitted to attend weddings, funerals, and other “life-cycle” services, such as baptisms, regardless of the size of the building, unless this takes place during routine communal worship (News, 26 June).

It states: “Limits for communal worship should be decided locally on the basis of the capacity of the place of worship following a risk assessment. The number of people permitted to enter the place of worship at any one time should be limited, so that a safe distance of at least two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation (where two metres is not viable) between households.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Politics in General, Stewardship

(CT) They’re Not From the US. But They’re Ministering to the Nation’s Soldiers

Agravel road in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Thumps of artillery become background noise as units practice on the nearby range. A few wisecracks start off the morning, along with some last instructions before the ruck march. Then Cornelius Muasa’s voice rises over the soldiers’ to ask a blessing on their day’s tasks, the chaplain carefully articulating the English words that are challenging after his native Kenyan tongue of Kikamba.

Growing up as a stuttering pastor’s kid in Africa, Muasa never imagined he would one day be serving God in the American military. But the Lord led him from a Kenyan church to a United States seminary to discover a global calling and a burden for soldiers.

Muasa is one of many foreign-born evangelical chaplains whose experiences have equipped them to minister to the growing diversity of the US and the American military. Nineteen percent of US Army chaplains and 10 percent of Navy chaplains were born outside the US, according to military spokesmen (The Air Force did not respond to CT’s request for data). These include Buddhists from East Asia, Roman Catholics from Europe, Muslims from Africa, and many evangelical Christians like Muasa from around the world.

Diversity drew Muasa to this ministry, and it’s why he loves it. There are about 1.3 million active-duty personnel in the US military, and the service members are more diverse than they’ve ever been—16 percent black, 16 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian, and about 5 percent who are immigrants to America.

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Posted in Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Amid a Pandemic, Black and Latino Churches Offer Prayer, Hope — and Testing

Ten days in May. Twenty-four churches around New York City. Nearly 20,000 coronavirus tests.

Over the past few weeks, churches serving communities of color have been transformed overnight into mini-clinics offering free coronavirus tests to all comers. The initiative, a partnership of the churches, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office and Northwell Health, is an effort to expand testing among black and Hispanic citizens, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Black and Latino New Yorkers have succumbed to Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, at twice the rate of whites, a result of entrenched economic and health disparities, denser housing and a higher risk of exposure on the job.

Participants were asked to preregister by phone, but walk-ins were accommodated so long as they lined up six feet apart and wore masks. Among those who sought testing on a cool, sunny Wednesday in May were two teenage brothers who recently went to a hospital to take home their 50-year-old father, only to find he had died of the virus.

“We were expecting him to be released and were texting with him,” said one brother, who identified himself only as Angel.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT) The Last Anointing

Beyond the glass lay a man, unconscious in the electric blue light, shrouded in tubes. His family was not allowed to visit. His body could not be touched.

Father Ryan Connors stood at the door watching, his Roman collar barely visible beneath his face shield.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, he had gone to the bedsides of Covid-19 patients across the Boston area to perform one of the oldest religious rituals for the dying: the Roman Catholic practice commonly called last rites.

For centuries, priests have physically anointed the dying with oil to heal body and soul, if not in this life, in the next. Many Catholics have spent their entire lives trusting that in their most difficult hours a priest, and through him God, would come to their aid.

On this Tuesday morning, in the intensive care unit at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, west of the city, all that Father Connors knew about the patient was his name, and that his family had called for a priest.

He had a clear plastic bag with a cotton ball containing a few drops of holy oil. He carried a photocopy of pages from a liturgical book.

At 10:18 a.m., he slid open the door. He walked over to the bed, careful to avoid the tubes on the ground.

He stretched out his hand, and began to pray….

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

(C of E) 1,000 answered calls for help in Shropshire town

In a Shropshire town, a young church member’s idea to help people with shopping has seen more than 1,000 answered calls for practical support for the vulnerable and isolated.

Shifnal Help launched the week before lockdown as St Andrew’s Church, brought together a community partnership to launch an emergency phone line for local people who were self-isolating. Two months later, today it now operates a helpline six days a week offering support, medication collection and delivery, shopping and other key tasks – with the local pub becoming a food donations hub.

Shifnal Vicar, The Revd Preb Chris Thorpe reveals: “It all started with one young mum from church called Elizabeth, who posted an offer to help people with shopping!”

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

Preparing for Pentecost: Reflections on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit with Bishop Mark Lawrence

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

American Hero Burnell Cotlon–one of the ordinary people helping to hold our country together in this difficult time

Take the time to watch it all.

Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Care, Urban/City Life and Issues