Category : Ministry of the Laity

The Walkabouts for the three Finalist for the Next Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

I am putting up the one in which I participated here at Saint Philip’s, Charelston:

But please note there are three others to choose from. Please do take the time to watch through at least one.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Aging / the Elderly, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Prison/Prison Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

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

(CEN) Safeguarding Sunday launched but ‘criticisms’ remain

Safeguarding Sunday, will be introduced to churches nationally, a new initiative aiming to raise the profile of safeguarding.

The Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, gave a Safeguarding update to Synod.

Dr Gibbs, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, told Synod the church is “entering a season of action” in which “there is far more to be done.”

“Our aim is to help people see safeguarding as an integral part of the mission of the church,” he said.

“Safeguarding is partly about stopping bad things happening and about how we respond when they do, but it is also about enabling our churches to become places where people are enabled to flourish and grow into the fullness of life that God intends for us all.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

The Wedding Dress; And Why I Tithe….
By Susan Clarkson Keller, St. Philip’s Church, Charleston

I began tithing sometime after college, when I began my first job. Despite being a young believer, I understood that tithing was a way to show God how much I trusted Him to provide for me.

Then a speaker came to St. Philip’s in the mid-1980s, whose message greatly impacted my thinking about giving. I was challenged not only to tithe, but to see everything I had as God’s and to realize what a blessing it would be to give more and more to the work of the Kingdom, in and out of the church. I decided then to start tithing my gross income… which was a big step for me. Since that time, I have experienced the faithfulness of God in providing for me in some truly remarkable ways….

Read it all.

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

(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

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.

Read it all.

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

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

(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.

Read it all.

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

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

St. Michael’s Launches PODZ: Parish Outreach Dedicated by Zip Code

The COVID-19 outbreak presented all leaders with far more than a problem to solve. It gave us a dilemma. You can’t really “solve” a dilemma but you can flip it. Bob Johansen, author of Leaders Make the Future defines dilemma flipping as reframing an unsolvable challenge as an opportunity. At St. Michael’s we reframed the COVID challenge with an opportunity for PODZ – Parish Outreach Dedicated by Zip Code.

Read it all.

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

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

On June 19, 2020, Judge Edgar Dickson issued a ruling interpreting the 2017 S.C. Supreme Court decision with its five separate opinions. Integral to that interpretation was his determination that the Episcopal Church had no trust interest in the Diocesan properties or those of its parishes. TEC and TECSC have appealed that interpretation, and the Supreme Court has once again taken jurisdiction of the case. On November 12, TEC and TECSC filed their initial brief, presenting their legal arguments for vacating Judge Dickson’s determinations. Last Friday (February 12, 2021), legal counsel for The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina filed our respondent’s brief, in support of Judge Dickson’s ruling.

Counsel for TEC and TECSC will now make a final reply to our arguments. The case will then be wholly in the hands of the Supreme Court. God has providentially brought us to this place, for which we should give thanks. Please keep the Supreme Court and its justices in your prayers as they deliberate our case, that God will be glorified in the outcome and His Church be blessed.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Anglican Diocese of South Carolina 2021 Convention to be held Virtually

From there:

With hardly a week going by with one of our clergy and or parish staff not having been exposed to someone with Covid-19 therein necessitating the cancellation of Sunday services and even Christmas Eve services, and with cases in many parts of the diocese still numerous or on the rise, we have made the decision for our spring 2021 Diocesan Convention to be held virtually. This gives our diocesan staff and your elected delegates not only clarity but time to make needed plans. While this is disappointing to our diocesan team and to me, we realize that to postpone the decision another month to see if the environment changes for the better only puts a greater burden on all to adequately coordinate and execute an effective online meeting. Therefore, this year’s Diocesan Convention on March will again be held online enabling not only broader participation from our congregations but also assuring all of greater safety and peace.

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

The Latest Issue of the Diocesan Newpaper of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, the Jubilate Deo

Including: An Advent Meditation

The Marriage
of the Virgin
By The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Bishop, The Anglican Diocese
of South Carolina

Read it all.

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

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Bishop Lawrence’s Annual Visitation schedule has just been released. In order to allow time for the Bishop Coadjutor’s selection, election and consecration, the calendar has been extended through the first of March 2022.

Read it all.

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

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, October 25, 2020, as we, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and ministry…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, October 23, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

In lieu of this year’s cancelled Clergy Conference—Bishop Lawrence held two smaller gatherings October 19-21, the first held for Rectors and the second hosting Vicars, Associates & Deacons. The theme of the retreats was “Seeing Covid-19 as a Season of Exile.” The brief gatherings included teachings from Jeremiah—his life and writings and from insights gleaned from Eugene Peterson’s book, Run With the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best, small group discussions, fellowship, and personal time for reflection on the call of God.

Some of the questions they considered included:

1. How has Covid-19 been for you, your family, or your congregation?
2. How is your congregation adapting to this exilic environment?
3. Where are you in need of such a renewal and new commitment now?
4. What has God appointed you to do or be—to what work has he given you now?
5. When Jeremiah bought the field at Anathoth he was buying into God’s promise. During this time of Covid-19 and social unrest how is God calling you to buy into what you believe?

“It was time well spent!” said the Rev. Karl Burns, Rector of Church of Our Saviour, Johns Island, “The Bishop’s teaching from Jeremiah was relevant and it was just good to be with my fellow rectors in a relaxed environment. Just to be able to sit and share in the atmosphere of where we are was very good.”

Read it all.

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

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

THE PALMS PROJECT is an album of worship songs we (former camp staff) chose to reflect the last decade of worship at St. Christopher. It was recorded in the Chapel of the Palms in hopes of capturing the sonic qualities that make us all feel so at home. The microphones, set up around the room really capture the worship experience. Sadly, there was not a room full of campers to join in that worship and the chapel yearned for their chorus. We worked hard with the time and resources available. We hope you can find joy and peace in this album!

Read it all.

The Doxology – The Palms from The Anglican Diocese of SC on Vimeo.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Diocesan News, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Full Address to the 2000 Convention of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina

Bishop Mark Lawrence's Address to the 2020 Diocesan Convention from The Anglican Diocese of SC on Vimeo.

Watch and listen to it all (just over 37 minutes).

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

Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Meets Online for the 2020 Convention

In his address to the convention, Bishop Mark Lawrence reflected on lessons he’d learned from his predecessors, Bishops Temple, Allison and Salmon. With the last 12-15 months of his episcopacy remaining he asked, “What do I need to accomplish for the good of the Diocese? What do I need to give myself to? I’ve come to the conclusion I need to give myself, as much as I can, to the clergy of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina….To the rectors, vicars, associates and curates: I want to double down on my prayers for you, your families and ministries and to spend as much time with you as I can fit into my calendar.” He spoke of trimming time spent on committees, boards and speaking engagements “which often draw you away from what your heart wants to do” to allow him to spend time with clergy.

Analyzing the clergy of the Diocese by age, he said 10% of our clergy are between the ages of 25-39; 23% between 40-54 and 67% are age 55+. “We need to fan the flame of the gift of the Holy Spirit in the young men and women of the Diocese that God might call them to offer themselves, if God so calls, to the ordained ministry of the church.” He asked those listening to join him in praying for the work of St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, where many young people have heard a call to ministry. “Pray for a spiritual revival on our clergy and lay leaders alike.”

He also said the Diocese needed to put an increasing emphasis on church planting, expressing his thankfulness for the work of the Rev. Todd Simonis, our (very part-time) Canon for Church Planting stating that by 2023 he hoped the Diocese would be able to fund that as a full-time position.

Read it all.

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

Please Pray for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Virtual Convention which happens today

You can find the agenda there.

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

(CT) Polyamory: Pastors’ Next Sexual Frontier

How would you respond to Tyler, Amanda, and Jon? How would you counsel Tyler’s parents to respond? Tyler’s parents’ pastor advised them to first listen to their son rather than trying to preach at him, so after Tyler came out to them, they set up a time to simply connect and listen. Though they were clear they did not affirm Tyler’s choice, they did affirm their love for Tyler, Amanda, and their grandkids. They made a point to keep their weekly Thursday afternoon “dates” with their grandkids and stay a part of their lives. Because of this, Tyler has maintained his relationship with his parents, and though his relationship choices are unbiblical, they have been able to communicate their love and care for him and his family. Amanda’s mother responded differently. Decades earlier, her relationship with Amanda’s father had ended when he had proposed a polyamorous relationship and then left when she wasn’t open to it. Amanda’s choice reopened her mother’s unhealed wounds. Feeling angry and betrayed, Amanda’s mother effectively broke off the relationship with her daughter. When children choose less than God’s best for their relationships, affirming both grace and truth is a difficult but necessary balance for parents to maintain.

Another important pastoral step is to distinguish elements of polyamory that are in violation of God’s will from elements that are simply culturally unfamiliar to us. When we want to lovingly call people to repentance, we should be precise about what needs repentance and what relationships or elements can and should be sanctified in Christ. For example, the notion of kinship in polyamory is a secular echo of the way Scripture calls the church to function as a new family. In cultures that idolize individualism (but actually isolate individuals), polyamory’s focus on relationship, care, and affection can have a powerful pull. And in churches that idolize marriage and the nuclear family, polyamory’s focus on hospitality and community can be an attractive alternative. We can acknowledge that many of the elements that draw people to polyamory—deep relationships, care for others, hospitality, and community—are good things.

But Scripture does clearly connect sex, marriage, and monogamy in ways that are violated in polyamorous relationships. In the example above, Amanda and Tyler both need to be called to repentance for the way they have committed adultery. A pastoral approach would commend them for their desire to have other adults contribute to the life of their family but point them to the church—not a polyamorous relationship—as the place where God intends for that to happen.

Read it all.

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

Posted in --Polyamory, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) General Synod accepts that ‘serious money’ must be found for abuse survivors

Calls for “proper” and “just” redress for survivors of clerical abuse, with “serious money”, were made in an emotional debate on safeguarding in the General Synod on Wednesday morning.

The Synod voted unanimously for an amended motion to endorse the response of the Archbishops’ Council to the recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The amendment, brought by the next lead Bishop of safeguarding, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, asked that the original motion be reinforced by “concrete actions”. Earlier attempts to strengthen it had foundered (News, 7 February). Dr Gibbs’s amendment also urged the National Safeguarding Steering Group to commit to a “fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress for survivors” and to update the Synod on the progress on the IICSA recommendations not later than 2021.

Redress was a small phrase with large implications, Dr Gibbs said. “It will mean serious money [and] changes in ways we handle claims and complaints.” Safeguarding responses must be “shaped by the righteousness and compassion of God’s Kingdom, not by the short-term and short-sighted financial and reputational interests of the Church,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Stewardship, Theology, Violence

(C of E) Overwhelming support for General Synod safeguarding motion

General Synod voted unanimously today to endorse the Church’s response to the five recommendations from IICSA and urged its national safeguarding steering group to work towards a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress for survivors.

The debate was opened by the lead bishop for safeguarding, Bishop Peter Hancock who shared personal reflections on his time as lead bishop along with outlining the Church’s response to the IICSA recommendations. The Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, takes over as lead safeguarding bishop in April.

Read it all and please note the links to the various speeches.

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

(Archbp Cranmer Blog) Martin Sewell–Safeguarding: the Church of England’s house is slowly being rebuilt

Our proposals sought to record our collective lament at our sins of omission and commission, and (for the second time of asking) we commended the text of the excellent Blackburn Ad Clerum. Then and now these suggestions were rejected: the first time our Archbishops thought it premature; this time, seeking to preface our acceptance of the IICSA recommendations with sentiments of repentance, and endorsing the pastoral response which our victims had welcomed, were ruled technically out of order. We can play with the idea of repentance being ‘out of order’ in this context at a future juncture: this is not the time for mischief-making, however tempting.

Our purpose in going beyond the anaemic and prosaic was to make this debate a cultural turning point from which we might begin to move on from the necessary demolition – of structures, attitudes, policies etc. – toward a more positive future.

We thought it important that such an initiative should come from below, for we saw that it is no longer sufficient for the House of Bishops alone to direct our response. Archbishop Justin has previously acknowledged that a change to the culture of deference is needed. We were taking him seriously. It is liberating and deserves to be taken seriously. “Trust me, I’m a Bishop” is no longer a sound principle: the whole of the Church, from top to bottom, must own its priorities, and discussing these at Synod seemed to be a healthy place to start.

Our proposals additionally committed Synod to accepting the final IICSA proposals promptly, on the basis that it was inconceivable that we would pretend to know better after all the embarrassment of the IICSA evidence and submissions. Our track record does not merit once again wandering off on a Safeguarding frolic of our own.

Our final proposal dared to engage bluntly with the issue of proper reparation. We were mindful of the story of ‘Tony’ in the insurance press. He told his story on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, and explained how survivors have endured very low levels of compensation because they cannot afford to take matters to court and lose. The power imbalance in the negotiations is immense.

Read it all.

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

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Not a Convention Delegate? Come anyway – for the Workshops! Join us on Friday March 13:

Morning Mini Conference on:
Creating a Spiritual Legacy: Your Game Plan from Success to Significance

Afternoon Workshops on:

Church Revitalization • Stewardship • Global Partnerships • Church Planting • The New ACNA Prayerbook • Small Church, Big Heart, Big God • Hispanic Ministry • Prayer

Read it all.

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

Bishop Philip Mounstephen of Truro issues a statement on safeguarding

As your bishop I have a particular charge laid upon me ‘to serve and care for the flock of Christ’, and as chief pastor of the whole diocese I will never abrogate that prime responsibility. I bring many years’ experience of devising and implementing safeguarding policies to this role: but that very experience teaches me that in this area there is never any room at all for complacency.

Pastoral care in this diocese falls ultimately to me, so I expect all those who exercise pastoral responsibility under my authority to show the very highest levels of care and concern possible, the Lord being our helper. We do well to remember Jesus’ sobering words, ‘If any of you put a stumbling- block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18: 6)

These things should be of the utmost importance in any diocese, which is why the Church of England is currently undergoing the second ‘Past Cases Review’. But there are particular reasons why these are core concerns for us here in Truro. I am acutely aware that Peter Ball lived with his twin brother, Bishop Michael, in the same house my wife and I now call home, after he resigned as Bishop of Gloucester. I know, too, that for many the recent documentaries about Peter Ball were deeply upsetting and shocking – and rightly so.

Furthermore, those in authority in this diocese repeatedly failed to deal with allegations of child sex abuse made against a former press officer of the diocese, Jeremy Dowling. Those were abject failures and must never be repeated. The report on this case, written by Dr Andy Thompson, makes for sobering, but necessary reading, and I commend it to you

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

Saint Michael’s Charleston’s Four Collars Podcast on Daniel and the Beast

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Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology: Scripture

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Being Human: Gender, Sexuality, Fulfillment
A Ridley Institute Offering
January 10-11

In order for a Christian to faithfully respond to the challenging topics of sexuality and gender, one must engage and understand Scripture’s teaching on these matters. This two-part course will help to increase the Church’s understanding and compassion towards those experiencing same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria, so all may be cared for in love and truth. We will create space for Christians to learn and talk about these challenging topics together, so that voices may be heard, questions addressed, and the Church encouraged to live faithfully today.

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