Category : * Christian Life / Church Life

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

Listen to it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from John Baillie

Eternal God, Who hast been the hope and joy of generations, and in all ages hast given men the power to seek Thee and in seeking to find Thee: grant me I pray Thee, a clearer vision of Thy truth, a greater faith in Thy power, and a more confident assurance of Thy love. If I cannot find Thee, let me search my heart and know whether it is not rather I that am blind – than Thou Who art obscure, and I who am fleeing from Thee rather than Thou from me; and let me confess these my sins before Thee, and seek Thy pardon in Jesus Christ my Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(Saint Philip’s, Charleston) Denise C. Pickford–Recipe for a Christian Life: Reflections on Canon J.John’s Sermon

I love to cook. Browsing through recipes and then preparing them for my family and friends is one of my favorite things to do. To me, I am showing my love for them by taking the time to follow each step and make the preparations for a wonderful meal as my gift to them––and, of course, when my children were younger, to ensure their proper physical growth and health.

Is preparing nourishment in the form of food for our bodies any different from being nourished spiritually? We are not just a physical body; we have a spiritual body that must be fed as well. Without food and water, we would die. Without feeding our spiritual bodies or souls, we would become empty and begin searching for, in many instances, the wrong things to feed our hunger, which could never be satisfied with just earthly things. God wants to nourish our souls so that we may have the proper spiritual growth and health.

As I sat listening to Canon J.John on Sunday, his sermon struck me as the perfect “recipe” for how to live a Christian life!

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

The Latest Edition of the Parish Newsletter from Christ St Paul’s, Yonges Island, South Carolina

What is your response when you read this excerpt from John Eldridge’s book All Things New: Heaven, Earth and the Restoration of Everything You Love?

“One day soon you will step into a renewed earth, a young earth, sparkling like an orchard of cherry trees after a rain shower. Joy will be yours. How do we open our hearts to this after so much pain and disappointment? We have lost many things as we’ve passed through the battlefields of this war-torn world; our humanity has been stripped of such essential goodness.” (All Things New, Eldridge, p. 115)

Do you scoff with cynicism or cry out in wonder?

Read it again, stopping to consider your own thoughts of our future hope – The New Heaven and New Earth. We invited you to take advantage of one of the ways to further engage with this topic, to study, take in, and talk about something we don’t often talk about… what does eternity look like?

Or, pick up a copy of the book and “grab hold with both hands!”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Eschatology, Parish Ministry

(Regent College) Dr. Amanda Russell-Jones–The Other Handmaid’s Tale

This year in my pondering of Mary’s Song I have had two companions along the way. My first companion has been another handmaid or, rather, many of them, in the shape of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; this time revisited in a powerful drama series created for television which incorporates Atwood’s book then extends it. In the dystopian world of Gilead, a highly religious patriarchy has been set up where the Bible is quoted tirelessly as the thread that knits together and mandates a unique way of life.

Women are divided into three classes—wives; Marthas, who perform the household tasks like cooking; and Handmaids—fertile young women assigned to a household and given a name based on that of their commander. Each commander impregnates his Handmaid against her will via a monthly ceremony. All this is justified by the argument that birth rates are so low and that this is due in large measure to the failure of women to know their place in the patriarchy and to fulfil their God given role of reproduction. No woman is allowed to read or dissent from the regime. Punishments include losing a finger or eye or tongue.

It is a tough watch, as all dystopian versions of Christianity are. Adding insult to injury, my favourite craft (and possibly the only skill for which I am an Olympic hopeful) comes in for criticism in one episode when a highly capable commander’s wife complains that she hates knitting. It was almost enough to cause me to put down my needles and throw the ball of wool at the screen. (For you fellow knitting fans who just cheered—it was a Christmas baby hat. I knew you would want to know. Keep knitting live!)

My other companion of some 10 years has been Josephine Butler, the English nineteenth-century Christian reformer. Butler’s use of the Bible in her arguments with church and state was the subject of my doctoral research and became and remains a great source of inspiration and joy. Butler was convinced that Jesus requires an absolutely equal standard of morality from everyone—male and female. In her time, it was expected that men would “sow some wild oats.” Women, however, were shamed and shunned for the smallest breaches of propriety. Men who frequented brothels or kept mistresses were excused for their behaviour, retaining positions of power and influence. In contrast, the women they used were permanently expelled from society with no opportunity for restoration. Butler pointed out the inconsistency, drawing on Christ’s words––“let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Prodigal sons were welcomed back when they repented, she observed, so why not prodigal daughters?”

If Mary had lived in the Victorian world, Butler asks, would she too have been cast out by a church and society quick to accuse and shun immoral women?

Read it all.

Posted in Christmas, Theology: Scripture

Phillips Brooks on Phillips Brooks Feast Day

Courage…is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry…. If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.

—-Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59

Posted in Church History, Preaching / Homiletics

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Phillips Brooks

O everlasting God, who didst reveal truth to thy servant Phillips Brooks, and didst so form and mold his mind and heart that he was able to mediate that truth with grace and power: Grant, we pray, that all whom thou dost call to preach the Gospel may steep themselves in thy word, and conform their lives to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Thomas Becon

For these Thy most bounteous gifts, and for all other Thy benefits which Thou daily givest unto us of Thy great mercy both for our body and soul; we most humbly thank Thee, most gentle and merciful Father, beseeching Thee that Thou wilt give us grace through Thy Holy Spirit not to be unthankful, but to walk worthy of this Thy kindness, and so to behave ourselves all our lifetime in this world according to Thy holy will, that at the last day we may be found in the number of them to whom Thy only-begotten Son shall say: Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning of the world; through the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(GR) Trinity Church Wall Street: Can reporters solve the case of the missing Episcopal rector?

It was a strange way to announce one’s resignation, I must admit.

On Jan. 5, the rector of the richest Episcopal church in the country was standing before his congregation in downtown Manhattan giving some rather banal parish announcements. Then, he added, he knew that some folks had heard that he was leaving and yes, this would be his last Sunday there. Comparing himself and his wife to the Mary, Joseph and Jesus trio in terms of being on the move toward Egypt (and away from Herod, one supposes), he said they were going to take a sabbatical and that he wished the church well.

It was clear that many in the church had no idea what was going on, including the choir that was awkwardly standing by, waiting to sing an anthem during the offering. (You can see all this go down in this video. Start at the 50-minute mark).

Read it all.

Posted in Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Parishes

The Rev. Canon J. John Ali Lecture at Saint Philip’s, Charleston, SC, Yesterday

There are links for you to listen to it directly or to download it. You can read more about the event there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Vincent

Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by thee, was not terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us, we beseech thee, to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick B. Macnutt

O Holy Spirit the Comforter, Spirit of Jesus, come Thou upon us and dwell within us. Not of ourselves, but of Thee is our life. Teach us that we may know; cleanse us and purify us within; strengthen us to persevere, lest we fall away from Thee. Come into us, Thou Who art already there, that by Thine arrival again Thou mayest enter into Thy possession anew. And out of worldly death in which we languish create in us the life that shall make us as Thou art, through inward unity in which we are one with Thee. Come, then, eternal Spirit, Who with the Father and the Son art one God, and abide with us for ever.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

Leander Harding–the mission of a Cathedral to the modern world

In the remainder of this report I want to focus on responding to the immense missionary challenges that are facing the Christian Church in general and the Cathedral in particular. In November I gave a set of talks in the Diocese of Dallas on this problem entitled Modernity and Mission. The topic was the focus of my study and prayer for the Summer and Fall. I believe I have a better understanding of what is distinctive about the missionary environment in which we find ourselves and greater clarity about what an authentic missionary engagement with modernity looks like. I have been trying to share some of these thoughts in the Dean’s Forum. As a result of this study I believe strongly that The Cathedral of All Saints is uniquely positioned to be especially effective in reaching contemporary people for the sake of Jesus Christ.

There are many blessings of modernity for which to give thanks, modern medicine and a remarkable rise in the standard of living right across the world. Modernity is also characterized by what the old preachers called worldliness, a mentality which is preoccupied with the things of this world in which God is not so much denied as forgotten. The experience of transcendence, of holiness and otherness is rare. The experience of awe which leads to worship is rare and so modern people are in jeopardy of losing their souls and of losing that which is essential to our humanity: the worship of the one true and living God. It requires something powerful to break out of the captivity to this worldliness and the diminution and constriction of the human heart that must be its consequence. It requires something like a Gothic Cathedral.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Secularism, Theology

(CC) Samuel Wells–The dirty work of ministry: What two drastically different messages from parishioners taught me

Some people are quick to judge, and some remarks are designed to hurt. A month ago I received a letter from someone I haven’t met but who is nonetheless convinced of all my faults and more. She wrote to tell me how outraged she was about how she sees our church approaching its work in the local community.

My chief sin, it turns out, is that I’m not a certain predecessor of mine. “You have turned that lovely, caring community run by lovely gentle gentlemen in my time, into a modern-day business, bent on efficiency,” she asserted. It seems the glorious amateurs have been replaced by hard-nosed professionals—me chief among them. “When I think of the saints who worked there, I could weep.” The rhetorical dial went up a couple of notches: “Shame on you.” And then the big ending: “Don’t sleep easy in your bed tonight. And tomorrow roll up your sleeves and do some of the dirty work.”

She didn’t explain precisely what this dirty work is. It took me back to a rather conflictual relationship many years ago, when a parishioner detonated the nuclear judgment: “You have failed this community as a priest.” No answer to that. The scar abides.

I got an insight into the dirty work later the same day….

Read it all.

Posted in Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Agnes

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the world deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Knight

O Thou, who givest to thy children liberally and upbraidest not: Preserve us from all envy at the good of our neighbour, and from every form of jealousy. Teach us to rejoice in what others have and we have not, to delight in what they achieve and we cannot accomplish, to be glad in all that they enjoy and we do not experience; and so fill us daily more completely with love; through him in whom thou hast promised to supply all our need, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast day of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

Almighty God, the giver of strength and joy: Change, we beseech thee, our bondage into liberty, and the poverty of our nature into the riches of thy grace; that by the transformation of our lives thy glory may be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

Patricia Hamill “Pat” (Teale) French (1926 – 2020) RIP

Patricia “Pat” Hamill Teale French, 93, of Woodstock, Virginia died Friday, January 10, 2020 at her home.

Pat was born October 17, 1926, in Baltimore, Maryland, the first of two children of the late Gladys Adelaide Hamill Teale and Edward Painter Teale. She was a member of the Class of 1943 of Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, Virginia and attended Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. After college, she worked in a division office of AT&T Long Lines in Washington, DC, where she met her future husband Warren Ballinger French, Jr.

Pat’s greatest pride was her family. She married Warren on September 17, 1949 in Silver Spring, Maryland. In the fall of 2019, they celebrated their 70th year of marriage. They were the parents of four children. Pat was predeceased by her son Warren Ballinger French, III, who passed away April 19, 1981. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her three remaining children and their spouses: Anne Elizabeth French Dalke and Jeffrey Alan Dalke of Philadelphia and Edinburg; Cynthia Ellen French Mullen and Wesley Grigg Mullen, Jr. of Rockbridge Baths; and Christopher Edward French and Rhonda Harris French of Woodstock. Pat is also survived by her grandchildren and their spouses: Lena French Dalke and Sameer Gupta of Brooklyn; Lillian Stover Dalke and Angelina Lim of Brooklyn; Samuel Shaffer Dalke and Katharine Baratz Dalke of Harrisburg; Marian Ballinger Dalke and Elizabeth Nadia Pisarczyk of Philadelphia; Wesley Grigg Mullen, III and Accacia Max Mullen of Rockbridge Baths; Andrew French Mullen and Melissa Ann Falkenstern of Albuquerque; Rebecca Blythe French of Harrisonburg; Warren Ballinger French, II of Woodstock; and Stuart Teale French and Tiffany Marie French of Harrisonburg. Five great grandchildren also survive her: Naima Belle Dalke Gupta, Mahalia Vati Dalke Gupta, Andy Bo Tian Dalke-Lim, Julia Baratz Dalke, and Audrey French Dalke. She is also survived by her brother Robert “Bob” Edward Teale and his wife Carol Rogers Teale of Lincoln, Nebraska; her sisters-in-law Doris French, Emma Randel, Marian French, Ellen Fuller, Joyce French and Sally Weber; and her brother-in-law John Weber, and many, many nieces and nephews.

In addition to being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Pat was an active supporter of her church and an advocate for her local community. She became a member of the Woodstock United Methodist Church in 1954, later served as a member of its Board of Trustees and the Administrative Council, and was active in the church’s Tape Ministry, Food Pantry, and Clothes Closet. She was a member of the Shenandoah Garden Club, where she served as corresponding secretary.
Pat’s love of children and reading led to her involvement in and support of libraries at the town, county, and state levels. She served on the Board of the Woodstock Library and was appointed by Virginia Governors Godwin and Dalton for five-year terms on the State Library Board of the Virginia State Library, serving as chairman for one year. Pat also worked to gain support of the Shenandoah County Supervisors for the creation of the Shenandoah County Library, which opened in 1985 and led to the creation of the Shenandoah County Library System. She served two terms on that board. Pat was also involved in the founding of the Shenandoah Community Foundation in 1999.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Harmon Family

A Prayer to Begin the Day from H J Wotherspoon

Almighty God, who hast set in thy Church some with gifts to teach and help and administer, in diversity of operation but of the same Spirit: Grant to all such, we beseech thee, grace to wait on the ministry which they have received in the body of Christ with simplicity, diligence, and cheerfulness; that none may think of himself more highly than he ought to think, and none may seek another man’s calling, but rather to be found faithful in his own work; to the glory of thy name in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–The Rev. H. J. Wotherspoon [1850-1930], Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”): A Manual of Private Prayers (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1905)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

On our Way to a Family Funeral in Virginia this Weekend

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Harmon Family

A Prayer for the Confession of St. Peter

Almighty Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O Blessed Lord, who in the days of thy earthly childhood didst earnestly desire to be about thy Father’s business: Give us the grace of thy Holy Spirit early to seek thee and evermore to follow thee; that being continuously aided by thy grace, we may be exercised in thy service; who livest and reignest with the Holy Spirit, world without end.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Antony

O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst enable thy servant Antony to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil: Give us grace, with pure hearts and minds, to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst sit lowly in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions: Give unto thy servants that humility of heart, and willingness to learn, without which no man can find wisdom; to the glory of thy holy Name.

—-Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

Thinking Strategically About Book Choices; An Interview with Bishop Mark Lawrence

Bishop, I sense you’re a voracious reader. Would you use that term to describe yourself?

I would say as a parish priest I was, but as a Bishop less so, because the schedule and demands – which are voracious – have truncated that.

How many books do you read a month?

Far less than I wish, unfortunately. About two a month.

What are you reading right now?

This summer I’m rereading Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth. I’m also listening to two lecture series on the tragedies of Shakespeare and looking for opportunities to attend performances of those plays. Remarkably, we’ll be at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in August, and they’re performing Hamlet and Macbeth. There’s also a haunting performance of Lear by Anthony Hopkins in a movie version.

I’m also reading Landscape and Inscape: Vision and Inspiration in Hopkins’s Poetry by Peter Milward and The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R.S. Thomas by Byron Rogers. (Thomas was a Welsh Poet and Anglican Priest). So I’ll reread his poems along with this recent biography.

How do you go about deciding what to read?

Often I will choose a reading project. When I was in parish ministry, I did this all the time. I’d read books in three areas: preaching and teaching, leadership, and pastoral ministry.

For preaching and teaching I would read 8 to12 books per year in theology, commentaries on the scriptures, homiletics or preaching. For leadership I’d read books from the secular world whether it be a book by Stephen Covey, Warren Bennis, Peter Drucker, James Burns, John Maxwell, etc., as well as in the Christian world and certainly biographies of leaders in various walks of life. The other arena was books on pastoral care, what’s known as pastoralia. That was for many years what I did in terms of my calling or vocational reading.

Read it all.

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

(Church Times) Bishops shamed by BBC documentary

The two-part programme, Exposed: The Church’s dark secret, was shown on BBC2 on Monday and Tuesday nights after the watershed. The documentary, which has been well-received by reviewers, included testimonies from victims, police, lawyers, and church officers, as well as dramatic reconstructions.

On Wednesday, the independent chair of the National Safeguarding Panel, Meg Munn, praised survivors of Ball and their families. “The BBC documentary showed the devastating and lifelong impact of abuse,” she said. “Those who spoke out, showed incredible bravery.

“The failure to stop Peter Ball and other abusers, and the failure to bring them promptly to justice, compound the hurt and damage to victims and survivors. Failure to co-operate with police by high-ranking clergy, including a former Archbishop, is truly shocking. Those who failed victims should consider their position.”

Speaking about the changes in the Church’s hierarchy and culture that she has witnessed, she said: “These are necessary, but not sufficient.

“Within the church structure, each diocese is effectively a fiefdom, and significant power rests with diocesan bishops. Last year, one diocese refused to share safeguarding information with another diocese. It took a number of months to resolve the issue, possibly exposing people to risk.”

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Knight

O Thou, in whom we live and move and have our being: We offer and present unto thee ourselves, all that we are and have, our thoughts and our desires, our words and our deeds, to be a living and continual sacrifice. We are not our own; therefore we would glorify thee in our bodies and our spirits, which are thine; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

Wednesday Encouragement–After being bullied for his sneakers, teen donates shoes to those in need

Kyler Nipper started the nonprofit Kyler’s Kicks to make sure others with limited means can have a new pair of shoes. It’s a struggle Kyler knows all too well. The 14-year-old lives in a shelter with his family and says he was bullied and attacked for his worn-out sneakers

Watch it all from NBC.

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Education, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Stewardship

(AI) Southwark vicar cleared of immigration fraud by criminal court, sacked by CoE for theft

In his first four years at St Jude’s, Mr. Ntege conducted 29 weddings. The pace quickened beginning in 2007 with nine weddings a day taking place on some Saturdays. In 2011 the UK Border Agency arrested him, charging him with facilitating immigration fraud. In Oct 2014 a judge at Inner London Crown Court threw out the trial after he determined UK Border Agency officers concealed evidence and lied under oath. Judge Nic Madge ruled “bad faith and serious misconduct” had fatally undermined the case against the vicar and six other defendants.

After the trial Mr. Ntege was permitted to resume his post at St Jude’s, but in 2017 the Archdeacon of Croydon initiated church disciplinary proceedings over the shortfall in fees collected at the suspect weddings but not remitted to the diocese. At the November 2019 hearing the panel found the vicar ‘had knowingly engaged in systematic wrongdoing over a period of several years” and “wrongfully retained substantial sums of money which he knew should have been remitted to the DBF and had done so over a sustained period of time.”

Mr. Ntege, who had been able to delay his hearing for over a year due to claims of ill health claimed he had not been properly trained by the Church of England upon his arrival from Uganda and was unfamiliar with his statutory responsibilities. The panel was not persuaded by this argument and further noted he had “not demonstrated any remorse in relation to his conduct.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry