Category : * Christian Life / Church Life

A North Norfolk News Profile of The Rev Canon Andrew Beane–Minister who almost doubled church’s numbers is leaving a Norfolk Church to go to be Archdeacon in Exeter

The church has become a community hub, hosting regular events such as after-school games, crafts and activities, a toddler group, holiday activity days, a food bank and a Monday market.

They have also been holding ‘interactive’ services where parishioners move around and talk to each other, and even trailled a mobile phone app where people could give live feedback about the service they were sitting in.

Mr Beane said of the app: “That’s a sign of how we like to experiment. We’ve been trying to blend contemporary and traditional worship together.”

He said they had also created a group of 18 rural churches, and this “collaborative model” meant some of the rural parishes could now have full-time clergy.

Mr Beane said he had presided over almost 1,000 funerals in his time at the church, as well as hundreds of christenings and weddings.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William White

O Lord, who in a time of turmoil and confusion didst raise up thy servant William White, and didst endow him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might lead thy Church into ways of stability and peace: Hear our prayer, we beseech thee, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that through their ministry thy people may be blessed and thy will be done; 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 a New Prayer Book (1923)

Let thy merciful ears, 0 Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please
thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–A New Prayer Book (London: Oxford University Press 1923)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(CEN) Clergy Care Covenant divides Church of England General Synod

Speaking during the debate, the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, spoke about the covenant’s potential impact on clergy terms of service.

“The proposals in here do suggest that you would have to amend the Terms of Service Measure.

“When the ordinal, which is what we signed up to, is replaced by role descriptions, when capability becomes micro-management, and when licensing services become places where we spell out all the things we are going to do for our clergy, then worry, because our most litigious clergy, and there are a minority of them, will say, ‘At my licensing service you promised to do this so I’m taking you to an employment tribunal’. “I don’t think the covenant will help us, I think the covenant is actually a bad mechanism is order to build good practice.

“If we must do it, we must do it, but I think there’s a worry… moving away from common tenure and moving towards employment and contract culture.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from H C Cooksey

O Holy Spirit of God, Lord and Giver of Life: Come into our hearts, we beseech thee; that enlightened by thy clear shining, and warmed by thine unselfish love, our souls may be revived to the worship of God, and our life be dedicated anew to the service of our fellows; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Swithun

Almighty God,
by whose grace we celebrate again
the feast of your servant Swithun:
grant that, as he governed with gentleness
the people committed to his care,
so we, rejoicing in our Christian inheritance,
may always seek to build up your Church in unity and love;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O God in whom all fullness dwelleth, who givest without measure to them that ask; Give us faith to ask, and faith to receive, all that thy bounty giveth; that being filled with all thy fullness we may as thy faithful stewards impart thy gifts to all thy children; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

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

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(NYT) Pastor’s Exit Exposes Cultural Rifts at a Leading liberal Parish–NYC’s Riverside Church

Dr. Butler’s supporters said she lost her job because she had spoken out about sexual harassment and she had complained in particular about an incident in which a former member of the church’s governing council left a bottle of wine and a T-shirt on her desk, both with labels that read “Sweet Bitch.”

They said she had pursued better treatment for women and minorities, with the aim of fixing a difficult environment that had led some church employees to complain and even quit. Her persistence strained an increasingly fractured relationship between her and the church’s lay leaders, her supporters said.

“There is absolutely no doubt that sexism played a role,” said the Rev. Kevin Wright, who had been recruited by Dr. Butler in 2015 and served as executive minister for programs before leaving last year. “I don’t understand how anyone could think anything different.”

But her opponents said her dismissal was being misconstrued, and pointed to the governing council’s significant misgivings about changes she made to the church staff and programming and spending priorities. Her philosophy and leadership style, they said, collided with a church whose culture remained deeply traditional, despite its politics.

They cited an episode that occurred in May as the final straw.

Dr. Butler was traveling to a conference in Minneapolis with two church employees and a congregant when she brought them to a sex shop during a break, according to two people affiliated with the church.

Read it all and please note there are three stories about this in the New York Post who first broke the story.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O God, who hast taught us that in thy mysterious providence suffering is the prelude to glory, and hast made much tribulation the entrance to thy heavenly kingdom: May we learn from this thy will, and also from creation around us, to wait for our deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of thy children; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Let us praise and thank God for all great and simple joys;
For the gift of wonder and the joy of discovery; for the everlasting freshness of experience;
For all that comes to us through sympathy and through sorrow, and for the joy of work attempted and achieved;
For musicians, poets and craftsmen, and for all who work in form and color to increase the beauty of life;
For the likeness of Christ in ordinary people, their forbearance, courage and kindness, and for all obscure and humble lives of service;
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost ever world without end.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Hattie Williams talks to Paul Handley about covering the IICSA hearings

“Hattie Williams, senior reporter at the Church Times, has covered the proceedings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church from the beginning. She talks to Paul Handley, Editor, about the experience, and what she thinks the Church can learn.” Listen to it all (slightly under 17 minutes).

Posted in Anthropology, CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence

(Guardian) Archbishop of Canterbury calls for mandatory reporting of sexual abuse

The archbishop of Canterbury has thrown his weight behind calls for the government to make the reporting of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults mandatory.

Justin Welby told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA): “I am convinced that we need to move to mandatory reporting for regulated activities.”

Regulated activities cover areas where professionals come into routine contact with children and vulnerable adults, such as teaching, healthcare and sporting activities. In a church context, this would cover clergy and youth leaders.

Survivors of clerical sexual abuse have argued that mandatory reporting of allegations or suspicions of abuse to statutory authorities is a vital component of effective child protection. They argue that a failure to comply should lead to criminal sanctions.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from John Calvin

My God, my Father and Preserver, who of thy goodness hast watched over me during the past night, and brought me to this day, grant also that I may spend it wholly in the worship and service of thy most holy deity. Let me not think, or say, or do a single thing which tends not to thy service and submission to thy will, that thus all my actions may aim at thy glory and the salvation of my brethren, while they are taught by my example to serve thee. And as thou art giving light to this world for the purposes of external life by the rays of the sun, so enlighten my mind by the effulgence of thy Spirit, that he may guide me in the way of thy righteousness. To whatever purpose I apply my mind, may the end which I ever propose to myself be thy honour and service. May I expect all happiness from thy grace and goodness only. Let me not attempt any thing whatever that is not pleasing to thee.

Grant also, that while I labour for the maintenance of this life, and care for the things which pertain to food and raiment, I may raise my mind above them to the blessed and heavenly life which thou hast promised to thy children. Be pleased also, in manifesting thyself to me as the protector of my soul as well as my body, to strengthen and fortify me against all the assaults of the devil, and deliver me from all the dangers which continually beset us in this life. But seeing it is a small thing to have begun, unless I also persevere, I therefore entreat of thee, O Lord, not only to be my guide and director for this day, but to keep me under thy protection to the very end of life, that thus my whole course may be performed under thy superintendence. As I ought to make progress, do thou add daily more and more to the gifts of thy grace until I wholly adhere to thy Son Jesus Christ, whom we justly regard as the true Sun, shining constantly in our minds. In order to my obtaining of thee these great and manifold blessings, forget, and out of thy infinite mercy, forgive my offences, as thou hast promised that thou wilt do to those who call upon thee in sincerity.

(Ps.143:8.) Grant that I may hear thy voice in the morning since I have hoped in thee. Show me the way in which I should walk, since I have lifted up my soul unto thee. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord, I have fled unto thee. Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God. Let thy good Spirit conduct me to the land of uprightness.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

Saint Benedict on his Feast Day–On Humility

Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
In saying this it shows us
that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
when he says,
“Lord, my heart is not exalted,
nor are mine eyes lifted up;
neither have I walked in great matters,
nor in wonders above me” (Ps. 130[131]:1)
But how has he acted?
“Rather have I been of humble mind
than exalting myself;
as a weaned child on its mother’s breast,
so You solace my soul” (Ps. 130[131]:2).

Hence, brethren,
if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
we must
by our ascending actions
erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
By that descent and ascent
we must surely understand nothing else than this,
that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
And the ladder thus set up is our life in the world,
which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.

–The Rule of Benedict, Chapter 7

Posted in Church History, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Benedict of Nursia

Almighty and everlasting God, whose precepts are the wisdom of a loving Father: Give us grace, following the teaching and example of thy servant Benedict, to walk with loving and willing hearts in the school of the Lord’s service; let thine ears be open unto our prayers; and prosper with thy blessing the work of our hands; 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 George Appleton

O Lord, who hast promised a blessing for all who suffer for righteousness’ sake: Grant to all our brethren persecuted for the truth that they may rejoice in being counted worthy to suffer dishonour for thy name. Strengthen their faith and renew their love, that in their patience they may possess their souls and win their persecutors to penitence and new brotherhood in thee; for the sake of him who suffered shame and reproach and remained invincible in his love, even thy redeeming Son, Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(Terry Mattingly) The ordination of married men as Roman Catholic priests: Is this change now inevitable?

Half a century ago, there were nearly 60,000 U.S. priests and about 90 percent of them were in active ministry – serving about 54 million self-identified Catholics.

The number of priests was down to 36,580 by 2018 – while the U.S. Catholic population rose to 76.3 million – and only 66 percent of diocesan priests remained in active ministry. According to a study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, half of America’s priests hoped to retire before 2020. Meanwhile, 3,363 parishes didn’t have a resident priest in 2018.

It’s understandable that concerned Catholics are doing the math. Thus, activists on both sides of the priestly celibacy issue jumped on an intriguing passage in the “Instrumentum Laboris” for next October’s special Vatican assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Pan-Amazonian region.

“Stating that celibacy is a gift for the Church, we ask that, for more remote areas in the region, study of the possibility of priestly ordination of elders, preferably indigenous,” stated this preliminary document. These married men “can already have an established and stable family, in order to ensure the sacraments that they accompany and support the Christian life.”

The text’s key term is “viri probati” – mature, married men.

Read it all.

Posted in Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Latest News, Media, Parish Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Book of Common Prayer

Grant, O God, that we who have been signed with the sign of the Cross in our baptism, may never be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, but may manfully fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil, and continue Christ’s faithful soldiers and servants unto our lives’ end.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(Churchman) A 1957 Article by (then) Bishop Hugh Rowlands Gough–Our Evangelical Heritage

A study of our Evangelical Heritage would be grossly incomplete unless attention were drawn to the high standard of conduct and of disciplined holy living set by our forefathers. These Evangelicals of old were men who knew their God ; they were men of God, men of Prayer, men of Christlike character, men filled with the Holy Ghost.

They proved the truth of the Evangelical Doctrines by the way they lived. They demonstrated the reality of justification by faith by their works. Through their evangelistic preaching and through the witness of their lives, thousands upon thousands of sinful men and women were converted and experienced a similar transformation of character, and this miracle was one which even their opponents admitted. Although special emphasis in their preaching was always laid upon the Atonement and man’s consequent reconciliation with God, the great implications of the Doctrine of the Incarnation were not neglected. By word and by example these men proclaimed how the Lord Christ, Who became Man, still dwelled with man upon earth, entering into his daily life and toil, so that work became worship, and “the daily round, the common task” a thrilling experience of the presence and power of God.

Moreover, as these truths were more closely studied, the Evangelicals became foremost in the movement for social reform, for the material as well as the spiritual welfare of their fellowmen….

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Evangelicals, Theology

(CC) Samuel Wells–Why did I go to a charismatic worship service in an arena?

A close friend has a category of engagements she calls “Yes damn”: things you said yes to long ago and as they approach you can’t recall why you’re going or what they want and you’ve got a bunch else to do. So it was that I arrived in the countryside of the European continent for a convention of charismatic Christians. Many had raised their hands to come: 1,300 people in all. The question to which I couldn’t recall the answer was, Why was I there?

My first reaction was that maybe I came to rediscover the 1970s. The music was antediluvian—we even sang “Give Me Oil in My Lamp,” mothballed since the dawn of time. Singers were hugging microphones and swaying like they’d just watched an Abba concert on YouTube. I’d been invited to preach, but I hadn’t been warned that the worship service would go on for three and a half hours.

When the time came, I said my usual stuff. Then the real action began. The 30 or so clergy paired up to offer anointing, laying on of hands, and prayers for healing to all comers. I wanted to say, “Look, I know how to do this stuff. Tuck it into the time it takes to distribute communion. And don’t offer a general invitation to a thousand people on an emotional, sweaty night in a large arena. You’ll be there for a week.” But I kept quiet.

This was new for me.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, in all the fullness of thy power so gentle, in thine exceeding greatness so humble: Bestow thy mind and spirit upon us, who have nothing whereof to boast; that clothed in true humility, we may be exalted to true greatness. Grant this, O Lord, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for evermore.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

([London] Times) The Rev Richard Bewes RIP

It became something of an open secret during the latter years of Richard Bewes’s ministry that he might have to “drop everything” if the call from the US came. A long friendship with Dr Billy Graham had led Graham and his family to ask Bewes to preach at his funeral. That honour was a measure of Bewes’s stature and a signal not only of the respect between the two men, but of their shared Gospel convictions.

For decades Bewes enthusiastically supported the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse International. He had chaired Graham’s Eurofest event in Brussels in 1975. He was also an energetic member of the planning committee of the Amsterdam 2000 Congress, which brought together more than 11,000 evangelists from around the world.

It was an immense disappointment to Bewes that, after Graham’s death (obituary, February 22, 2018), his failing health prevented him from flying to take part in a ceremony viewed by millions. It could have been a fitting climax to a magnificent career.

Bewes was one of the most versatile Anglican parish clergy of his generation. He served as rector of All Souls, Langham Place in central London from 1983 to 2004 as a successor to John Stott and Michael Baughen.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Stephen Hance named as new National Lead for Evangelism and Witness for the Church of England

In this key role, Stephen will be responsible for working with dioceses, churches and other organisations to equip the Church’s million regular worshippers to be a confident witness in every part of their lives and enable a growing Church.

Stephen will also be responsible for a national project to identify, equip and release 1,000 new evangelists in the Church of England by 2025. His appointment emphasises the importance the Church attaches to our commitment to ‘motivate the million.’

Stephen is currently the Dean of Derby, a position he has held since 2017. He was previously the Canon Missioner of Southwark Cathedral and Director of Mission and Evangelism for the Diocese of Southwark from 2013 to 2017. Stephen is founder and convener of the Cathedrals and Growth Network and is a former member of the General Synod.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth

C of E Synod votes to adopt Covenant on Clergy Care and Well-Being

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted overwhelmingly in support of a new deal to co-ordinate and improve the approach to the care and well-being of clergy.
Members voted to adopt a covenant committing parishes, dioceses and the wider church as well as individual clergy to sharing responsibility for the welfare of ministers and their households.

The Revd Canon Simon Butler, who headed the working group which drew up the covenant, said: “There is a widespread acknowledgment that we can and must do better to support clergy in ways that promote good practice and prevent occasional stress becoming a harmful and chronic condition.

“It will be a great boost to many clergy to see the General Synod taking a lead, and I hope to see the wider church following in the coming months.”

Read it all.

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

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–What is the Biblical Theology of Worship (Psalm 66)?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

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

A prayer for the Feast Day of Priscilla and Aquila

God of grace and might, we praise thee for thy servants Priscilla and Aquila, whom thou didst plenteously endow with gifts of zeal and eloquence to make known the truth of the Gospel. Raise up, we pray thee, in every country, heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Bright

Most loving Father, who willest us to give thanks for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of thee, and to cast all our care on thee who carest for us: Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which thou hast manifested unto us in thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

O Most Holy, Almighty, Eternal, Divine Spirit, who art of one Authority and Dominion with the Father and the Son: Set up thy throne in our hearts. Thou who art Purity, purify us; who art Light, enlighten us; who art the Lord and Giver of Life, grant us life, a long life for ever and ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer