Category : * Christian Life / Church Life

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Daily Service

God our Father, who hast created us in thine own image, with a mind to understand thy works, a heart to love thee, and a will to serve thee: Increase in us that knowledge, that love and that obedience, that we may grow daily in thy likeness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–W. E. Orchard, The Daily Service (Revised Edition); A Book of Public Worship; Divine Service (OUP, 1919 original)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

An Ad Clerum on Missions from Interim Pittsburgh ACNA Bishop Martyn Minns

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

It was 1985, and our 18-year-old daughter Helen was transferring through Miami International Airport on her way back home to Lafayette, Louisiana, from a short-term mission trip to the Dominican Republic. She had been there leading a team of young people from our church, including our 16-year-old daughter Catherine and our 14-year-old son Jon, as part of a World Servants project. They had worked in a remote village with dirt roads and no running water. In two weeks they had built a simple church structure using concrete block and had also led a Vacation Bible School for the children of the community. It had been hard work, but they were thrilled by all that they had accomplished, and the villagers were overjoyed.

As she walked through the busy airport, Helen spotted “Charlotte” and a group of her old friends from high school. After the usual squeals of delight, Charlotte explained that they were on their way home from a week in Paris, where they had visited various museums and enjoyed many of the delights of that wonderful city. She asked Helen what she had been doing and looked appalled when our daughter described her two weeks of manual labor in the Dominican Republic.

“Why would you ever do such a thing?” Charlotte asked.

Short-term missions are not exactly new, but they have always been somewhat controversial….

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Missions

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, Spain, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory

O Christ, to whom all authority is given both in heaven and earth: Transform our wills, cleanse our hearts, and enlighten our minds; that all our thoughts and desires being made obedient to thy pure and holy law, we may grow up in all things unto thee, and present ourselves a living sacrifice, to the praise and glory of thy name; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever.

The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: Services of Praise and Prayer for Occasional Use in Churches (New York: Oxford University Press, 1933)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

The Church of England restricts investment in climate laggards

The Church of England’s National Investing Bodies (NIBs) are delivering on their 2018 commitment to General Synod to engage with and disinvest from high carbon emitting companies that are not making progress to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2023.

Twenty companies have made climate-related changes to stay off the Church’s restricted list since 2020.
Following extensive engagement efforts by the NIBs, nine companies made changes to meet the 2021 hurdles. As a result they stayed off the restricted list for a further year, while 28 companies that did not meet the latest climate hurdles were restricted.

These actions are part of the NIBs’ commitment to transitioning their portfolios away from companies that are unwilling to act and align their businesses with the Goals of the Paris Agreement. The climate hurdles were set by the NIBs using Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) data. Additional exacting hurdles will come into force in 2022 and 2023.

The NIBs are founding members of TPI and are investor engagement leads in the Climate Action 100+ (CA100+) global engagement initiative. As long-term investors, the NIBs will continue to engage with companies to meet their climate objectives and build alliances with like-minded investors to engage with company boards and executives.

Read it all.

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

A nifty London Times profile on Diocesan Registrar for Chester and Blackburn, Lisa Moncur

On Boxing Day Lisa Moncur received a call from a vicar asking for help to arrange a special marriage licence for someone who was terminally ill. She has also been called on to deal with a badger whose industrious digging had uncovered human remains in a churchyard.

It was all part of her varied work as the Church of England’s diocesan registrar for both Chester and Blackburn. Registrars are personally appointed by the diocesan bishop and must be a qualified solicitor and a communicant in the Church of England.

Moncur was appointed to the diocese in Chester in 2016, and in Blackburn last year, after 20 years working as a commercial property solicitor. In that previous role, Moncur says, “I got up and knew what each day would look like” — but as a diocesan registrar she never knows what to expect and “there is never a dull day”.

Her job is to provide advice and support on ordinations, consecrations, confirmations, baptisms, marriages and burials as well as general legal advice to clergy and parishes, maintaining diocesan and parochial records, and advising on parish trusts.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

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 Bright

We beseech thee, O Lord, to perfect within us the work of grace which thou hast begun; grant us always to think, speak and do what is pleasing to thee; and keep us from falling back into the sins we have repented of; that we may live as in thy presence, and finish our lives in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) ‘Eco dioceses’ all round in race to reach 2030 goal

All 42 dioceses in the Church of England have signed up to become “eco dioceses” as part of their commitment to reaching carbon net zero by 2030.

Under the Eco Dioceses scheme, developed by the charity A Rocha UK, churches and dioceses are awarded bronze, silver, or gold status, depending on actions taken to improve their environmental footprint.

The development was welcomed by the Bishop of Norwich and lead bishop on the environment, the Rt Revd Graham Usher. He said: “Having every diocese sign up is a statement of intent from all of us as we take seriously the need to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss today.

“A Rocha UK’s Eco Church and Diocese scheme is a great tool, which enables local churches at every level of their climate justice journey to engage with environmental issues. We know that climate change and biodiversity loss impact us all — especially the world’s poorest countries….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Fabian

Almighty God, who didst call Fabian to be a faithful pastor and servant of thy people, and to lay down his life in witness to thy Son: Grant that we, strengthened by his example and aided by his prayers, may in times of trial and persecution remain steadfast in faith and endurance, for the sake of him who laid down his life for us all, Jesus Christ our Savior; 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 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 Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Wulfstan

Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son hath led captivity captive and given gifts to thy people: Multiply among us faithful pastors, who, like thy holy bishop Wulfstan, will give courage to those who are oppressed and held in bondage; and bring us all, we pray, into the true freedom of thy kingdom; 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, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bill Braviner

Make us adept, Lord,
at reading the signs
of your working among us;
help us to be unencumbered
by the priorities and possessions
of the world;
rather help us to be free
for the purposes and promises
of your kingdom,
that we may always be ready
to follow your call.

–The Rev. Bill Braviner is a Vicar and Diocesan Disability Adviser in the Diocese of Durham, UK

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

(ACNA) Firm Hired To Investigate Allegations Of Misconduct In Upper Midwest

Husch Blackwell LLP has been elected to serve as the firm contracted to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct and mishandling in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. Husch Blackwell is a national firm and the team engaged for this investigation is based out of their Chicago, Illinois office.

In late June 2021, the Anglican Church in North America was notified that there had been an erosion of trust in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest due to allegations that the Diocese mishandled accusations of sexual misconduct. On July 10, Archbishop Foley Beach announced the Province’s acceptance of a request from the Diocese to take on oversight of the investigation and called for the formation of a Provincial Response Team. The Province is a separate legal entity from the Diocese of the Upper Midwest.

The Provincial Response Team (PRT) of experienced men and women, laity and clergy, began building a process to contract a third-party investigative firm that is trauma-informed, properly experienced, and capable of competently investigating this matter.

The PRT developed a set of criteria, with input from some of the alleged survivors, to vet potential firms. The PRT then began the process of engaging potential investigators based upon those criteria, contacting eleven firms. Out of those contacted, the PRT determined two firms sufficiently met the selection criteria. All alleged survivors known to us were sent the names of these two firms and a summary description of each and were asked to vote or to indicate no preference. These votes, along with the vote of each member of the PRT, resulted in the selection and subsequent engagement of Husch Blackwell. The Province is grateful for the time and energy the other firms gave to us as the PRT considered them.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(CT) Evangelical churchgoers are pretty happy with how things are going at their churches

At a time when pastors feel particularly under pressure, here’s some good news from the pews: Evangelical churchgoers are pretty happy with how things are going at their churches.

Most don’t think the sermons are too long; if anything, they’d like to see more in-depth teaching from leaders. They aren’t bothered by too many messages about giving. They don’t think social issues and politics play an outsized role in the teaching.

That’s according to a new survey of evangelical churchgoers in the US, the Congregational Scorecard conducted by Grey Matter Research and Consulting and Infinity Concepts.

Around three-quarters are satisfied with their congregation approach to various areas of church life and wouldn’t want it to change, the survey found.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

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 History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of England

Almighty God,
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
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 Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

Martin Luther King Jr. in the Christian Century how I changed my Mind series in 1960–My Pilgrimage to nonviolence

I also came to see that liberalism’s superficial optimism concerning human nature caused it to overlook the fact that reason is darkened by sin. The more I thought about human nature the more I saw how our tragic inclination for sin causes us to use our minds to rationalize our actions. Liberalism failed to see that reason by itself is little more than an instrument to justify man’s defensive ways of thinking. Reason, devoid of the purifying power of faith, can never free itself from distortions and rationalizations.

In spite of the fact that I had to reject some aspects of liberalism, I never came to an all-out acceptance of neo-orthodoxy. While I saw neo-orthodoxy as a helpful corrective for a liberalism that had become all too sentimental, I never felt that it provided an adequate answer to the basic questions. If liberalism was too optimistic concerning human nature, neo-orthodoxy was too pessimistic. Not only on the question of man but also on other vital issues, neo-orthodoxy went too far in its revolt. In its attempt to preserve the transcendence of God, which had been neglected by liberalism’s overstress of his immanence, neo-orthodoxy went to the extreme of stressing a God who was hidden, unknown and “wholly other.” In its revolt against liberalism’s overemphasis on the power of reason, neo-orthodoxy fell into a mood of antirationalism and semifundamentalism, stressing a narrow, uncritical biblicism. This approach, I felt, was inadequate both for the church and for personal life.

So although liberalism left me unsatisfied on the question of the nature of man, I found no refuge in neo-orthodoxy. I am now convinced that the truth about man is found neither in liberalism nor in neo-orthodoxy. Each represents a partial truth. A large segment of Protestant liberalism defined man only in terms of his essential nature, his capacity for good. Neo-orthodoxy tended to define man only in terms of his existential nature, his capacity for evil. An adequate understanding of man is found neither in the thesis of liberalism nor in the antithesis of neo-orthodoxy, but in a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(1st Things) Richard John Neuhaus: Remembering, and Misremembering, Martin Luther King Jr.

As Abernathy tells it—and I believe he is right—he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.

“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama—in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Read it all.

Posted in History, Language, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Prison/Prison Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper) The needed Voice of a local Hero—The Rev. Anthony Thompson’s message of forgiveness shaped by tragedy, MLK

‘“It’s ‘You can’t destroy my spirit,’” Cone told the magazine. ”‘I have a forgiving spirit because that’s what God created me to be.’”

Thompson’s message doesn’t let Whites off the hook. White people must repent, he said. Though today’s White Americans haven’t participated in slavery, they reap the benefits, which are seen in today’s social and economic inequities, Thompson said.

Thompson, who was the speaker for this year’s MLK ecumenical service at Greater St. Luke AME on Jan. 16, sees a connection between his message and King’s philosophy of nonviolence. In his sermon “The Meaning of Forgiveness,” King preached that he saw forgiveness as the solution to the nation’s “race problem.” King saw forgiveness as a “weapon of social redemption.”

Similar to King, Thompson feels that forgiveness can bring about racial healing.

“Martin Luther King Jr. once said: ‘We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love,’” Thompson said at the service.’

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream

You can find the full text here.

I find it always is really worth the time to listen to and read and ponder it all on this day especially–KSH.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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 America/U.S.A., History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, 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 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 Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the ACNA Prayer Book

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick B. Macnutt

Almighty God, who to wise men who sought him didst manifest the Incarnation of thy Son by the bright shining of a star: Grant that, as they presented unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh, so we also out of our treasures may offer to him ourselves, a living sacrifice acceptable in thy sight; through him who for our sakes was born on earth as a little child, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

More Music for Epiphany–Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning [Thrupp]

Words: Bishop Reginald Heber
Tune: ‘Epiphany’ – Joseph Thrupp

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(LR) Your Pastor Cares When You Don’t Care

Pastors face unique difficulties inherent in their career, but what are their greatest needs? Pastors themselves say they’re most concerned about seeing their churchgoers grow spiritually and making connections with those outside of their churches.

After speaking directly with pastors to gather their perspectives on their ministry and personal challenges, Lifeway Research surveyed 1,000 US pastors for the 2022 Greatest Needs of Pastors study to discover what they see as their most pressing issues.

“The pre-existing challenges of ministry were amplified by COVID, and it’s important we lean in and listen closely to pastors,” said Ben Mandrell, president of Lifeway Christian Resources. “This project has shed light on critical needs they have and will point the way forward in how we partner with them to fuel their ministries and improve their health in multiple areas.”

Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said his team began the study by speaking with more than 200 pastors, asking them to think beyond the current pandemic-related struggles and share some of the enduring needs of pastors and their churches today.

Read it all.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Richard Meux Benson and Charles Gore

Gracious God, who hast inspired a rich variety of ministries in thy Church: We offer thanks for Richard Meux Benson and Charles Gore, instruments in the revival of Anglican monasticism. Grant that we, following their example, may call for perennial renewal in thy Church through conscious union with Christ, witnessing to the social justice that is a mark of the reign of our Savior Jesus, who is the light of the world; and who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer