Category : Stewardship

(CC) Bethany Sollereder–Climate change is here: How will we adapt?

For humans, we need to begin to create policies that open up our borders to climate refugees, to come up with new technologies that can grow more food on less land, and to help populations migrate away from coastal cities at risk of permanent flooding. For other life, we need to have frank discussions about human population levels (given expected lifestyles and lifespans) and ask what can be done to reduce human impact without imposing unrealistic or draconian measures. More generally, we need to change our views of environmental action from conserving what was to adapting to what is to be. If we instead continue with life as usual, the results will be devastating, especially for those who are already the poorest and most marginal in our world.

If we do give up thinking of ourselves as the masters over crea­tion and climate and see ourselves instead as part of God’s community of creatures on Earth, we again encounter the question of how we should understand our role and our responsibilities toward other life. A thoroughly Christian position might maintain that it is our duty to take up a self-sacrificial stance toward other life—like Jesus, who laid down his life for others, or like John the Baptist, who said of Jesus, “He must increase, I must decrease.” The central importance of humans in the Bible does not mean that humans should live like kings on the back of the rest of creation, looking always and only toward their own flourishing. The Christian model of rulership is just the opposite: the greatest is the one who serves and gives themself up for others.

For now, there is some good news: for the most part, we don’t have to fight over what we should do. The activities we should pursue if we are going to adapt well to climate change are largely the same as what we would do if we were trying to prevent climate change. The urgency of cutting down on carbon emissions remains. We should still plant more trees, use less stuff, eat less meat, and create less carbon dioxide. These actions will slow the rate of climate change, giving all creatures a chance to migrate and adapt to a new normal—and giving us time to invent new technologies that can help all other creatures live well in a new climate.

Read it all.

Posted in Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship

(WCAX) TEC Diocese of Vermont confronts financial squeeze

The Episcopal Diocese of Vermont is considering its next steps after a recent financial analysis revealed problems.

“Fewer people may mean fewer dollars coming in to those congregations and thus those congregations giving fewer dollars to support the dioceses,” said the Diocese’s Rev. Walter Brownridge. This is the flow of finances for the church in Vermont and he fears they will struggle to support their 45 congregations. “We knew we were facing some real challenges in a few years if we didn’t change course.”

There are less than 6,000 Episcopalians in the state, a number that is on the decline due to various reasons, including an aging demographic.

“I’m almost 80 myself and I’m not particularly unusual in our congregation, and there are a lot of parishes like this that are losing members due to attrition, to deaths, to people moving away,” said Glenn Sproul, a member of the All Saints Episcopal Church in South Burlington.

Read it all (part of summer break article catch-up).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

Joint statement on climate change by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch

In a joint statement, the Christian leaders have called on people to pray, in this Christian season of Creation, for world leaders ahead of COP26 this November. The statement reads: ‘We call on everyone, whatever their belief or worldview, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us.’

The joint declaration strikes a clear warning – ‘Today, we are paying the price…Tomorrow could be worse’ and concludes that: ‘This is a critical moment. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.’

Read it all.

Posted in Ecology, Ecumenical Relations, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Stewardship

Tuesday Morning Encouragement–Restaurant Makes Special Chocolate For Blind Customer With Birthday Message in Braille

There may be a thousand ways to say, ‘Happy Birthday!’ but the sweetest of all may very well be a special chocolate message that was recently served up by an amazingly thoughtful restaurant staff.

Creating natal felicitations in warm liquid cocoa was nothing new at London’s Luciano by Gino D’Acampo restaurant, but for birthday girl Natalie Te Paa, who is totally blind, the best wishes were spelled out in Braille.

What gave the message an even greater meaning was that there was no advance planning involved. When the restaurant crew learned the dinner Te Paa was sharing with friend Claire Sara was a birthday celebration, they took it upon themselves to find and recreate the Braille translation that summed up their best wishes in well-chilled chocolate.

Te Paa could barely believe her fingertips as she traced over the raised confectionary dots.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Stewardship

Thursday Morning Encouragement–(NBC) Co-Workers Donate Organs To Each Other’s Spouses

“After Tia Wimbush and Susan Ellis connected over their husbands’ kidney failures and a long transplant waiting list — a serendipitous moment occurred. Tia and Susan realized they matched blood types for each other’s spouse. Several months later and after a smooth recovery, the pair say they are now family.”

Watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Stewardship

(Archbp Cranmer blog) ‘Key limiting factors’: the end of stipendiary parish ministry

Which is absolutely laudable: a church without a mission is just a monument in memory of the Messiah. And a parish-based innovation which is overseen by qualified parish clergy is welcome if it leads people to Christ. But church leaders who have not submitted to a “long, costly college-based training” will have little theology and poor (or no) formation. You end up with a Wesleyan model of church (conveniently forgetting that the Wesleys were steeped in theology and had a profound understanding of Anglican orthodoxy), with all the inherent dangers of error and heresy being lay-preached. Reading Against Heresies: On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis and writing tedious 5,000-word essays on the definition of ‘Applied Theology’ is what helps to qualify you to teach, preach and minister effectively. Some eager disciples yearn to get out into the community and ‘do stuff’, but that stuff is far better done when it is led by people whose skills have been honed, mettle tested, and vocation discerned.

And who are all these lay leaders waiting to be ‘released’? Are they all wealthy or self-employed with a lot of spare time on their hands and the ability to labour for nothing, like parliamentary candidates for the Conservative Party?

Or perhaps there are no lay leaders waiting and yearning to be ‘released’ – and certainly nothing like the army necessary to birth and nurture 10,000 church plants.

Isn’t it a curious vision for renewing and reinvigorating the Church of England that the strategy is apparently to inculcate a new generation with the theology of the Free Church: you don’t need knowledgeable priests, you don’t need beautiful buildings, and you don’t need rigorous qualifications in theology: these are key limiting factors to mission. All you need is a passion for Christ and the ability to lead a Bible study. The rest is otiose.

Now, when will someone write a paper on the key limiting factors in the House and College of Bishops?

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship, Theology

(NBC) Alabama teen donates hair for children in need

“Before heading to the U.S. Air Force Academy, 17-year-old Kieran Moïse needed a haircut. He donated his 19 inches of hair to children with hair loss, and he’s raised more than $35,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”

Watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Stewardship

(Bloomberg) California’s Drought Is So Bad That Almond Farmers Are Ripping Out Trees

Christine Gemperle is about to do what almond farmers fear the most: rip out her trees early.

Water is so scarce on her orchard in California’s Central Valley that she’s been forced to let a third of her acreage go dry. In the irrigated areas, the lush, supple trees are dewy in the early morning, providing some relief from the extreme heat. Walking over to the dry side, you can actually feel the temperature start to go up as you’re surrounded by the brittle, lifeless branches that look like they could crumble into dust.

“Farming’s very risky,” said Gemperle, who will undertake the arduous process of pulling out all her trees on the orchard this fall, replacing them with younger ones that don’t need as much moisture. It’s a tough decision. Almond trees are typically a 25-year investment, and if it weren’t for the drought, these trees could’ve made it through at least another growing season, if not two. Now, they’ll be ground up into mulch.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand just how risky this business is, and it’s a risk that’s associated with something you can’t control at all: The weather,” she said.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship

C of E Church Commissioners report strong long-term investment performance

Continued strong long-term investment performance enabled the Church Commissioners to extend financial support to the Church of England during the pandemic

Church Commissioners also give confidence about maintaining distributions through this triennium and the next

Determined action on climate change continues whilst the Church Commissioners deepen its focus as Responsible Investors on twin pillars: Respect for People, Respect for the Planet

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market

Lightning Strike Damages the Structure of Saint Philip’s, Charleston

The National Weather Service reported five lightning strikes on the Peninsula Saturday night, and one such strike reportedly landed near the corner of Church and Market Streets. More than likely, since the location may be approximate, “near the corner” may just be the tallest landing spot in the area: the St. Philip’s steeple.

The steeple bells were damaged beyond repair, as were three of the four video cameras used for streaming and parts of the air conditioning units. But the damage was not limited to the church building itself. The electrical current reached the Ministries Hall (church office building), knocking out one desktop computer and three phones (and temporarily knocking out the entire phone system), along with some PoE (power over ethernet) ports and the network card of the production printer used for the inSPIRE and bulletin preparation.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Stewardship

The Church of England Pensions Board’s response to Shell CEO’s statement

“We continue to engage with Shell on the implications and how accelerating its plans will enable the company to meet the requirements of the CA100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark by 2023. It also underlines the importance that we must all work to decarbonise the real economy to reshape energy demand and ensure all companies – energy companies and all their customers in shipping, aviation, transport, road haulage, power generation and elsewhere are aligning to net zero.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market

(Nilepost) Uganda Archbishop Kaziimba launches “Yes, We Can!” fundraising campaign to clear church debts

Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has launched the “Yes, We Can!” fundraising campaign at All Saints’ Cathedral, Kampala to save the church from debts.

The “Yes, We Can!” fundraising campaign aims to raise 1,000,000 “Love Gifts” of Shs 60,000 each to clear the construction loans on Church House.

Last week, Mugalu called upon Ugandans to participate towards the contribution of the church house debt.

Church of Uganda is currently in crisis talks following reports that its multi-billion Church House building on Kampala Road is at risk of being auctioned over Shs 48 billion unpaid debt.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Uganda, Stewardship

(CBS) 60 Minutes Interviews Sir David Attenborough, age 95

Anderson Cooper: You were skeptical of– of climate change And I think that’s– that’s interesting, because I think it makes your warnings now all the more powerful.

Sir David Attenborough: Yeah, yeah, certainly so. And if you’re going to make a statement about the world, you better make sure that it isn’t just your own personal reaction. And the only way you can do it, do that, is to see the– the work of scientists around the world who are taking observation as to what’s happening. As to what’s happening to temperature, what’s happening to humidity, what’s happening to radioactivity, and what’s happening ecologically?

Anderson Cooper: You’ve said that– that “climate change is the greatest threat facing the planet for thousands of years.”

Sir David Attenborough: Yes. Even the biggest and most awful things that humanity has done, civili– so-called civilizations have done, pale to significance when you think of what could be around the corner, unless we pull ourselves together.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in Animals, Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Stewardship

(Telegraph+Argus) Bradford Cathedral’s Cycle Route promotes wellbeing on two wheels

A team of cyclists from Bradford Cathedral have set off on a regional journey promoting wellbeing benefits of taking to two wheels.

The cyclists are riding part of the new Cathedrals Cycle Route linking all the UK’s 42 Anglican cathedrals. Twenty cyclists are riding between Bradford and Wakefield Cathedral today – World Bicycle Day – passing on a baton to the next group of riders, in a relay event launching the new route. Joining a national network of cyclists from all cathedrals to promote green travel and mental and physical wellbeing, the Bradford team will carry the baton etched with the words ‘Some days you need a hand….other days you are called to lend a hand’.

Bradford Cathedral has teamed up with the University of Bradford Union of Students and Bradford’s Capital of Cycling for the 20-mile journey to Wakefield cathedral, which takes in the Spen Valley Greenway and Dewsbury Minster.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

Brand New TEC Diocese of SC has lawsuit against the Church Insurance Company dismissed by the 4th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

Plaintiff Episcopal Church in South Carolina is embroiled in litigation…It filed this action against its own insurer—the Church Insurance Company of Vermont—after discovering that the company had reimbursed its adversaries’ defense costs. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of standing. We agree with that assessment and affirm.”

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, TEC Bishops

Church of England Pensions Board commits to the global ‘Net Zero Investment Framework’

21 asset owners, with $1.2 trillion in assets, have used publication of the Framework to commit to achieve net zero alignment by 2050 or sooner. The funds, including the Church of England Pensions Board, are drawing on the Framework to deliver these commitments, alongside a number of asset managers who are already working with clients on net zero alignment.

The Framework enables investors to decarbonise investment portfolios and increase investment in climate solutions, in a way that is consistent with and contributes to a 1.5°C net zero emissions future. Investors do this by developing a ‘net zero investment strategy’ built around five core components of the Framework. These key components are: objectives and targets, strategic asset allocation and asset class alignment, alongside policy advocacy and, investor engagement activity and governance.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship, Stock Market

(BBC) The Rev. Yvonne Clarke–First black female deacon fights to save parish

The first black woman to become a deacon in the Church of England is fighting to keep her parish open.

The Reverend Yvonne Clarke became a deacon in 1987 and was among the first women ordained as a priest in 1994.

Her south London parish of All Saints Shirley, in Southwark Diocese, which is also her home, is earmarked to close under plans to reduce financial pressures.

The diocese said it had not come to the decision “lightly”.

Ms Clarke said no-one had consulted with her about her future “in an appropriate way”.

“Instead, I have been informed about what will happen to me, that the changes will mean I lose my vocation and my home,” she said.

“It has been my mission to ensure that immigrants and children of immigrants to the area have been welcomed into the church.

“I work with the diverse community and I have brought a wider group of worshippers to the church.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth) U.S. Supreme Court upholds Texas ruling on bishop Ryan Reed led Diocese and Corporation

It is with great joy and thanksgiving to God that we receive news today that the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has let stand the unanimous May 2020 ruling of the Texas Supreme Court (TXSC),which found in favor of the Diocese and diocesan Corporation.

Responding to two Petitions and replies, SCOTUS denied the requests of The Episcopal Church and All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth for a review of the May 2020 opinion. That opinion upheld state trust law and statutes governing unincorporated associations, affirming ownership of properties throughout the Diocese is governed by our Constitution and Canons and administered by the diocesan Corporation.

For all practical purposes this ends the appeals process that began in 2015 following the Second Summary Judgement of the trial court in Fort Worth.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, Supreme Court, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Alan Haley–TEC Diocese in Fort Worth loses its Appeal to the US Supreme Court of a Unanimous Texas Supreme Court Ruling Against them

With its denial of certiorari (review) this morning to two of the Episcopal Church in the USA’s (“ECUSA’s”) groups in Fort Worth, Texas, the United States Supreme Court has put to rest the multiple adverse claims made for the last twelve years against the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. All of those various claims, and the stages of their ups and downs, have been chronicled on this blog, which began just before the legal disputes emerged. It is gratifying, therefore, to report that this blog has managed to outlive, along with (retired) Bishop Jack Iker and his faithful flock, the Machiavellian intrigues of the schemers at 815 Second Avenue to hound and intimidate them into surrender of their properties.

Denial of review of the May 2020 decision by the Texas Supreme Court puts finally to rest ECUSA’s dogged attempts to enforce its notorious and one-sided Dennis Canon in Texas. The brazenness of that Canon, which attempted unilaterally to impose (after the fact) an enforceable, perpetual trust everywhere on all the parish properties of its members in ECUSA’s favor, ran directly into long-standing Texas trust law, which requires the consent of a property’s owner to place it into a trust, and which also requires express language to make a trust irrevocable. The Dennis Canon failed the test on both of those grounds.

Nor could ECUSA succeed by giving its successor group the same name as Bishop Iker’s Diocese, and then pretending to assume its identity. The Texas Supreme Court saw through those machinations, and held that the majority controlling the Diocesan corporation, and not ECUSA’s minority faction, were the true successors under Texas corporate law to the group that founded the original Diocese in 1983. In that respect, the Texas courts were far more perspicacious than the feckless courts in California, New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere who simply allowed ECUSA’s attorneys to pull the wool over their eyes, and pretend that the newest kid on the block was actually the oldest, who (they claimed) had been there the whole time.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Katherine Jefferts Schori, Law & Legal Issues, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Supreme Court, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

(AP) 10 years after quake, Christ Church Cathedral finally rising

The Christ Church Cathedral was arguably New Zealand’s most iconic building before much of it crumbled in an earthquake 10 years ago. The years of debate that followed over whether the ruins should be rebuilt or demolished came to symbolize the paralysis that has sometimes afflicted the broader rebuild of Christchurch.

As the city on Monday marks one decade since the quake struck, killing 185 people and upending countless more lives, there are finally signs of progress on the cathedral.

It’s being rebuilt to look much like the original that was finished in 1904, only with modern-day improvements to make it warmer and safer, even to add extra much-needed bathrooms. But first, workers must stabilize the remains.

Peter Carrell, the Anglican bishop of Christchurch, said reopening it will represent a key milestone.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Church Times) C of E’s carbon footprint calculated for first time

The carbon footprint of Church of England buildings has been calculated for the first time. The estimate is that parish churches use about 185,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.

The data has been gathered by the Energy Footprint Tool (EFT), an online calculator built by the statistics team at Church House, Westminster, which allows parishes to input their energy usage and discover how much carbon-dioxide equivalent they are using (News, 4 September 2020).

Once churches have entered their data, the tool offers advice for how they could cut their energy usage, and a simple comparison on how they are doing compared with churches of similar size.

It is hoped that wider usage of the EFT will help to push the Church towards meeting its target, set by the General Synod, of reaching net-zero emissions by 2030 (News, 14 February 2020)

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment, said that the 2030 target had inspired Anglicans everywhere to “pick up the pace”.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Is the Church of England on the brink of collapse?

No, the Church of England is not on the brink of collapse But it does need to be on the brink of making some courageous and radical decisions if it is to have an effective ministry in the future.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

([London] Times) Clergy eased out as Church of England puts its faith in managers

As a volunteer for 25 years, she has taught at Sunday school, led the choir, run the food bank, served the tea and — crucially — paid £50 a month by direct debit to keep the village church alive.

The congregation has shrunk to 25. The pressure is on those left to stump up the £30,000 that is required every year, through personal donations and fundraising, to pay for the upkeep of their church and the privilege of a vicar split between four other parishes.

So when the volunteer, who asked not to be named, heard that the Church of England intended to “prune” the clergy and recruit middle managers with elaborate titles and salaries of more than £50,000 to do some heavenly thinking on how to revive its flagging fortunes, there was anger in the ranks.

The church says that dwindling numbers and financial pressures leave it no choice but to abolish posts when clergy retire. It moves some vicars out of struggling parishes and into bigger communities, for example in inner cities or suburban housing estates where there may not have been a church before, in an effort to survive.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Church Times) Clergy won’t be pushed out in cost cuts, says Archbishop of York

Clergy are still needed to serve the Church of England, and “are not being pushed out” of their posts to make up for the continued decline in income, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, says.

None the less, the Church will have to make “tough” and “challenging” changes to spread both its wealth and stipendiary clergy fairly across the 42 dioceses, he warns. This is likely to result in some cuts to stipendiary posts in all dioceses, many of which — especially in the north — are being left vacant after clerics retire.

Archbishop Cottrell, writing in the Church Times this week, is responding to the alarm caused by a discussion paper circulated to bishops and diocesan secretaries last month, part of which was leaked to The Sunday Times (see our full news report here).

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(FT Magazine) How the race for renewable energy is reshaping global politics

Australia itself has long been a climate laggard and a major coal exporter, but as China and other big customers plan to cut their emissions, taking their business with them, that may be changing. Dozens of the world’s biggest economies have adopted targets for net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. And 189 countries have joined the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2C. In a race to curb climate change, countries are rushing to cut fossil fuels, boost clean energy — and transform their economies in the process.

But as the energy system changes, so will energy politics. For most of the past century, geopolitical power was intimately connected to fossil fuels. The fear of an oil embargo or a gas shortage was enough to forge alliances or start wars, and access to oil deposits conferred great wealth. In the world of clean energy, a new set of winners and losers will emerge. Some see it as a clean energy “space race”. Countries or regions that master clean technology, export green energy or import less fossil fuel stand to gain from the new system, while those that rely on exporting fossil fuels — such as the Middle East or Russia — could see their power decline.

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the former president of Iceland and chair of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, says that the clean energy transition will birth a new type of politics. The shift is happening “faster, and in a more comprehensive way, than anyone expected”, he says. “As fossil fuels gradually go out of the energy system . . . the old geopolitical model of power centres that dominate relations between states also goes out the window. Gradually the power of those states that were big players in the world of the ­fossil-fuel economies, or big corporates like the oil companies, will fritter away.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Stewardship

William Nye, Secretary General, Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England , pens a Response to an article in this week’s Spectator

In response to a cover story in the Spectator:Holy Relic – The Church of England as we know it is disappearing’ published 4 February 2021, William Nye, Secretary General, Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England has responded with the following Letter to the Editor (for publication). The letter reads as follows:

Sir,

As a longstanding and loyal reader of the Spectator, I was disappointed in your cover story about the Church of England.

I was amazed to read the ludicrous claim that the parish system is being dissolved like the monasteries, repeated without even a cursory check on whether this could possibly be true. We read of a supposed central take-over of independent dioceses and an imaginary national plan to roll out cuts and sell assets to fund more managers. The old canard that the Archbishops decided to suspend public worship last year at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, rather than the Government, did not even get a rudimentary qualification.

No one from the Spectator called the Church of England to ask whether any of these things were true.

This matters because truth matters. It matters because this kind of misinformation is damaging and demoralising to clergy and laity in every corner of England who have been worshipping God and serving their neighbours in extraordinary new ways, despite the restrictions we have all faced during this pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(AI) Anglican Diocese of Fort Worth files responses to TEC’s appeal to the US Supreme Court

Today in Washington, D.C., attorneys for the Diocese and Corporation have filed two Briefs in Opposition with the U.S. Supreme Court, responding to Petitions initiated in that Court by the TEC parties and All Saints’ Church (Fort Worth) in October. (The property of All Saints’ Church in Fort Worth was separated by the trial court from the rest of the property suit in 2015.)

The October Petitions asked for a review of the unanimous opinion issued in May of this year by the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Diocese and Corporation.

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, Supreme Court, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

(JE) Virginia TEC Diocese Signals Truro Anglican Sale is Possible

Episcopal Diocese of Virginia officials have announced that diocesan leadership initiated “confidential conversations” in late 2019 with representatives of Truro Anglican Church in suburban Washington about the future of the property, with a potential sale possible.

“The discussions have been productive and are expected to continue,” the diocese shared in a December 6 press release on its website. A member of the Truro congregation confirmed to me that the diocesan release “is substantially correct.”

I’ve reached out to Truro’s vestry wardens and will update this blog entry as I receive their responses. Truro staff confirmed that a verbal announcement was read aloud to the congregation during a parish meeting but that no written or public statement was released.

Anglican Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic Canon for Congregation and Clergy Care the Rev. Mary Maggard Hays noted that ongoing negotiations with the Diocese of Virginia are still confidential, but characterized them as “amicable and thoughtful.”

That assessment is similarly held by Episcopalians.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

(Church Times) Chelmsford diocese to lose stipendiary clergy posts

Chelmsford diocesan synod has formally approved a proposal to cut 61 stipendiary clergy posts by the end of 2021; a possible 49 more posts are to go if the financial situation does not improve.

The cuts come five years in advance of the original proposal for 2025, in the light of the pandemic. But plans have been in place since 2011 — when 47 per cent of stipendiary clergy were due to retire within the decade — to reduce clergy posts to the minimum sustainable number of 215 (News, 9 June).

A traffic-light system will operate, where posts “to be retained or filled if vacant” are classified as Green, and those “desirable and should be retained if finances permit” are Amber. Red posts are those “unlikely to be filled with a full-time stipendiary incumbent, and other options for enabling ministry should be considered.”

Benefices in the Red category which are unable to cover the average £80,180 costs of a full-time stipendiary priest will be invited to discuss alternatives, such as interim ministry, a self-supporting priest, or a licensed lay minister.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(CBC) Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador running out of cash, selling assets in ‘hemorrhage situation’

The Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has announced it’s running out of money and may need to stem its losses with layoffs, closures and sale of assets.

In an Oct. 5 letter obtained by CBC News, the diocesan finance committee said COVID-19 lockdown measures — which prevented gathering for worship for months — had a “devastating impact” on the church’s finances.

“While a number of our parishes continued to receive offerings and donations via drop-off collections and electronic means, it is clear that COVID-19 has negatively impacted our stewardship,” the letter says.

Archdeacon Sam Rose told CBC the pandemic has exacerbated previous financial struggles resulting from a reduction in church attendance.

“Like most organizations the onset of COVID accelerated this rapid decline,” he said Thursday.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship