Category : * Christian Life / Church Life

South Carolina Anglican Bishop Mark Lawrence Calls for a Bishop Coadjutor

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Children, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Thursday Mental Health Break–Ubi Caritas – Ola Gjeilo (cover)

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Venerable Bede

Grant me of Thy grace, O Christ, I beseech Thee, that Thy good Spirit may lead me in the right way, and remove far from me him who cometh to destroy; that casting away all malice of evil, I may search into the commandments of my God, and with the eyes of my mind awakened go forward faithfully to read and to weigh the marvels of Thy holy law.

–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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Dwight L. Moody

Use me, my Saviour, for whatever purpose and in whatever way Thou mayest require. Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel: fill it with Thy grace. Here is my sinful and troubled soul: quicken it and refresh it with Thy love. Take my heart for Thine abode; my mouth to spread abroad the glory of Thy Name; my love and all my powers for the advancement of Thy believing people; and never suffer the steadfastness and confidence of my faith to abate.

–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

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–There is therefore now no Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8)


(Sermon starts about 22 minutes in).

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

Anglican Bishop of South Carolina Mark Lawrence–The Viral Shuttering of Other Gods

I received an email last week that included a brief message that I’ve been ruminating on ever since. It was from an acquaintance of mine, Bishop James Wong, who is the Anglican Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. Let me share part of it with you.

“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “You want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.”

I imagine he could have mentioned others: You want to worship health; I will empty your gyms and fill your hospitals. You want to worship recreation; I will close the Magic Kingdom and gate your parks. You want to worship travel and exotic places; I will dock your cruise liners and ground your planes. You want to indulge in the nightlife; I will close your restaurants and bars and shutter your cities.

Well that has the ring of truth to it—mostly! Yet not entirely. It could be understood to mean God sent this coronavirus as a judgement on the world. Yet I for one am not ready to say that. I am inclined to say it is a judgement upon our idols. It reveals to us how frail life can be and how vain at times our pursuits. You will remember the first two commandments of the Decalogue. “God spoke these words and said: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods but me. You shall not make for yourself any idol.” The reformer John Calvin said, “The human heart is a factory for the making of idols.” When we give ourselves to idols, embracing God’s good gifts separate from Him they invariably turn empty and let us down—whether as individuals, communities, or even nations. “Claiming to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man….” (Romans 1:22-23)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

UK Faith leaders make call for environment-focused economic recovery

Marking the end of the first half of London Climate Action Week, representatives from UK faith groups have signed an open letter to the UK Government urging it to ensure that its economic recovery strategy is centred on the urgent need to reduce the impact of climate change.

In the letter, the signatories, some of whom are members of the ‘Faith for the Climate’ network, also commit to the goals of the Laudato Si encyclical – an initiative of Pope Francis – to advocate for and model positive initiatives to continue to tackle the Climate Emergency.

The open letter [begins]:

COVID-19 has unexpectedly taught us a great deal. Amidst the fear and the grief for loved ones lost, many of us have found consolation in the dramatic reduction of pollution and the restoration of nature. Renewed delight in and contact with the natural world has the capacity to reduce our mental stress and nourish us spiritually.

We have rediscovered our sense of how interconnected the world is. The very health and future of humanity depends on our ability to act together not only with respect to pandemics but also in protecting our global eco-system.

At the same time, less travel and consumption and more kindness and neighbourliness have helped us appreciate what society can really mean.

We have also seen yet again that in times of crisis, injustice becomes more obvious, and that it is the poor and vulnerable who suffer most….

Read it all.

Posted in Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Short description of Jan Hus from the Virtual Museum of Protestantism

He protested against the ecclesiastical system, he preached in favour of reform in the Church and advocated a return to the poverty recommended by the Scriptures. Indeed, the Scriptures were the only rule and every man had the right to study them. In Questio de indulgentis (1412) he denounced the indulgences.

He admired Wyclif’s writings and defended him when he was condemned as a heretic. He was excommunicated. An interdict was pronounced over Prague and he had to leave it and go to southern Bohemia, where he preached and wrote theological treatises, notably the Tractatus de ecclesia (1413), known as «The Church».

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Czech Republic

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Jan Hus

Faithful God, who didst give Jan Hus the courage to confess thy truth and recall thy Church to the image of Christ: Enable us, inspired by his example, to bear witness against corruption and never cease to pray for our enemies, that we may prove faithful followers of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Prayer Manual

O Almighty God, Who sittest upon the throne, make all things within us new this day. Renew our faith, and hope, and love; renew our wills, that we may serve Thee gladly and watchfully with all our powers; renew our delight in Thy truth and in Thy worship; renew our joy in Thee, our longing that all may know Thee, our desires and labours to serve others. And so take care of us Thy people, who embrace the Cross of Thy Son and desire to walk in the light and power of Thy Spirit, now and evermore.

–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

(BBC) Coronavirus: The priest treating patients during crisis

Belfast man Christopher Gault left medicine to join the priesthood in 2014.

With the outbreak of coronavirus, he returned to work as a doctor for six weeks on the front line in Belfast’s Mater hospital.

Read it all (video availablealso).

Posted in --Ireland, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(AP) Some Religious Leaders to Invoke Frederick Douglass on July 4th

About 150 preachers, rabbis and imams are promising to invoke Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass on July 4th as they call for the U.S. to tackle racism and poverty.

The religious leaders are scheduled this weekend to frame their sermons around “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” on the 168th anniversary of that speech by Douglass. The former slave gave his speech at an Independence Day celebration on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. The address challenged the Founding Fathers and the hypocrisy of their ideals with the existence of slavery on American soil.

The initiative to remember Douglass is led by the Poor People’s Campaign, a coalition of religious leaders seeking to push the U.S. to address issues of poverty modeled after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last crusade.

“(The Declaration of Independence) was written mostly by Thomas Jefferson. Yet he owned hundreds of human beings, and enslaved them,” Rabbi Arthur Waskow plans to tell The Shalom Center in Philadelphia, according to prepared remarks. “The contradiction between his words and his actions has been repeated through all American history.”

Read it all.

Posted in History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for Independence Day from the 1928 BCP

Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners.

Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.

Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.

In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Thomas Bradwardine

My God, I love Thee Thyself above all else, and Thee I desire as my last end. Always and in all things, with my whole heart and strength, and with unceasing labour, I seek Thee. If Thou give not Thyself to me, Thou givest nothing: if I find not Thee, I find nothing. Grant to me, therefore, most loving God, that I may ever love Thee for Thyself above all things and seek Thee in all things in this life present, so that at last I may find Thee and keep Thee for ever in the world to come.

–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 Archbishop of Canterbury, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Lancelot Andrewes

Into Thy hands I commend my spirit, soul, body: Thou hast created, redeemed, regenerated them, O Lord of truth: and with me all mine and all things mine: Thou hast bestowed them upon me, O Lord, in Thy goodness. Preserve us from all evil, preserve our souls, I beseech Thee, O Lord: keep us from falling and present us faultless before the presence of Thy glory in that day. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be alway acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Brian McGreevy’s much-touted CS Lewis class on The Screwtape Letters now has 33 episodes available. Find them here.

Class participant, Libby Lewis says,

“First and foremost, Brian knows his CS Lewis, inside and out and his enthusiasm to communicate that knowledge in the manner of a Young Life meeting makes this class infectious, witty and fun. I love how he structures the class to meet everyone’s needs: from those who “sit on the beach“ and just soak it in to those who “snorkel” and initiate a bit more learning to providing extra material, readings, etc for those who want to go deeper and “scuba dive”. His guest appearance on the CS Lewis podcast “Pints with Jack” was loads of fun.”

Read it all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Moses the Black

Almighty God, whose blessed Son dost guide our footsteps into the way of peace: Deliver us from paths of hatred and violence, that we, following the example of thy servant Moses, may serve thee with singleness of heart and attain to the tranquility of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O Saviour Christ, whose compassion embraces all men, and who in the days of thy flesh didst welcome sinners: Graciously receive us who now come to thee, and who have nothing to plead but our own exceeding need, and thy exceeding love; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–The end of the road for C of E growth strategies?

At…[a recent] Diocesan Synod in Chelmsford Diocese, a paper was discussed which proposed a radical reduction of stipendiary clergy posts from 275 to 215 within the next 18 months, a reduction of 22%. (Since these papers are in the public domain, you can read it for yourself here.) Despite some of these positions already being vacant, this will almost certainly involve making actual clergy redundant, which I think must be unprecedented in the modern era. With our (appropriate) current pre-occupation with the question of racism in society and the church, this might get overlooked or thought of as a local issue—but in fact this could be a turning point, since its implications point to a radical rejection of a commitment to a strategy of growth for the Church of England.

The introduction to the paper sets out the paradoxical pressures that has faced both dioceses and the national Church for some time:

a. On the one hand, it was widely predicted that 40% of serving clergy would retire in the next ten years, creating a kind of ‘cliff edge’ for stipendiary ministry. In fact, this has not been realised, since dioceses cannot control exactly when clergy retire, and many have been staying on longer than expected.

b. On the other hand, the Church of England nationally has never consistently reached its giving target of 5% of net income of those attending, and dioceses across the country are reporting growing deficits.

c. This paradox has been brought to a head by a very significant change in the way that the Church Commissioners distribute their funding. Prior to 2015, the Commissioners distributed funds according to what was known as the ‘Darlow formula’, which paid attention to needs in the dioceses in different ways, but paid no attention to commitment to or potential for growth. John Spence was the leading voice in the 2015 report Resourcing the Future, which proposed that the Commissioners money was divided into two: the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), which would give grants for church planting and church growth initiatives, each of which would need to become self-sustaining over a five-year period; and the Lowest Income Communities Funding (LInC), continuing support for the poorest communities across the dioceses….

Read it all.

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

Brand New Episcopal Church (TEC) Diocese in South Carolina Asks Court to Reconsider its recent Ruling

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Harriet Beecher Stowe

Gracious God, we offer thanks for the witness of Harriett Beecher Stowe, whose fiction inspired thousands with compassion for the shame and sufferings of enslaved peoples, and who enriched her writings with the cadences of The Book of Common Prayer. Help us, like her, to strive for thy justice, that our eyes may see the glory of thy Son, Jesus Christ, when he comes to reign with thee and the Holy Spirit in reconciliation and peace, one God, now and always. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

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

A prayer for the Day from the Church of England

Almighty God,
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
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 for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Spirituality/Prayer

(CSP) Matthew Rivers teaches on Galatians 5–‘Fruit of the Spirit | Stories of Hope–Peace’

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Parish Ministry, Theology: Scripture

(Sun Times) Asian American churches hold march through Chinatown, calling for unity with Black communities

Chinatown’s Chinese Christian Union Church and Bronzeville’s Progressive Baptist Church have existed for more than a century just 1.5 miles apart on Wentworth Avenue.

But the two churches have rarely interacted or helped each other — until Sunday.

With coordination from the Asian American Christian Collaborative, leaders and members of the two churches — as well as many other Asian religious organizations in the area — marched through Chinatown to call for increased unity between the Asian and Black communities.

“For too long, the Asian American Christian church has been silent on tons of matters, especially when it comes to race,” said CCUC deacon Chris Javier, one of the organizers.

“This is the end of silence. This is us pledging to stop that, to start using our voice on behalf of those that are hurting, even if they don’t look like us.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ecumenical Relations, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

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

Bishop Stephen Cottrell: safeguarding statements

Statement from Bishop Stephen

“Ten years ago I was approached about a safeguarding allegation regarding a priest. I was able to see the survivor and begin to hear what was a difficult and harrowing story. However, I was moving between roles at the time and although I did speak with colleagues about the actions that needed to be taken, I failed to ensure that these were properly documented and followed through in the way I would expect. Now that I have discovered that this incident was not followed up as it should have been, I am deeply distressed and extremely sorry. Because this has recently come to light, I am both thankful that it is being addressed properly now, but also mindful that in my new position as Archbishop of York it is absolutely essential that I am open and transparent about the need for the whole of our church to be scrupulously honest with each other about any failings in safeguarding.

“In the past, the Church of England has been too quick to protect its own reputation and slow to admit its failings. This must change. Those in public office should be subject to scrutiny. Good safeguarding is an absolute priority for the Church of England and for me personally.

“In the diocese of Chelmsford where I have served for the past 10 years, I have been helped by survivors I have worked with as well as a first rate safeguarding team to have a much greater understanding of why safeguarding itself is so important and how we must be prepared to confront our failings and learn from them. Therefore, although I am embarrassed that I did not follow this up as scrupulously as I should have done 10 years ago, I want to go on the record about what has happened in order to demonstrate a new spirit of openness and transparency over how we ensure that the church is as safe as it can be, that survivors are listened to and dealt with honestly, and perpetrators brought to justice.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Monday Morning Encouragement–Michael Card sings Joy In The Journey

Lyrics:

There is a joy in the journey,
There’s a light we can love on the way.
There is a wonder and wildness to life,
And freedom for those who obey.
All those who seek it shall find it,
A pardon for all who believe.
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind
To all who’ve been born of the Spirit
And who share incarnation with him;
Who belong to eternity, stranded in time,
And weary of struggling with sin.
Forget not the hope
That’s before you,
And never stop counting the cost.
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost?

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture