Category : * Christian Life / Church Life

A Prayer for the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O Almighty God, who hast fulfilled thy word of promise, and from thy heavenly throne hast poured out upon thy Church the gift of the Holy Spirit: Open our hearts, we pray thee, to receive the fullness of his grace and power; that our lives may be strengthened for the service of thy kingdom, and our souls be conformed more and more to the image of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

The Reverend Dr. Clive Calver ‘s sunday sermon for Pentecost 2023

Listen to it all.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Mozambique, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of thine incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer, Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Gelasian Sacramentary

O God, who didst graciously send on thy disciples the Holy Spirit in the burning fire of thy love: Grant to thy people to be fervent in the unity of faith; that abiding in thee evermore, they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for Pentecost from the Church of England

God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon for Pentecost 2023–What can we Learn from the Great Beginning of the Church (Acts 2:1-21)?

There is also downloadable option there. Those interested in suffering through the video may find the link there.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joan of Arc

Holy God, whose power is made perfect in weakness: we honor thy calling of Jeanne d’Arc, who, though young, rose up in valor to bear thy standard for her country, and endured with grace and fortitude both victory and defeat; and we pray that we, like Jeanne, may bear witness to the truth that is in us to friends and enemies alike, and, encouraged by the companionship of thy saints, give ourselves bravely to the struggle for justice in our time; through Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, France, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the day Adapted from St. Nerses of Clajes

O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

More Poetry for Memorial Day–Laurence Binyon’s For the Fallen

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

In Flanders Fields for Memorial Day 2023

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve; KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.” The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: “The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.” Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.

Posted in Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

A Prayer for Memorial Day

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give thee thanks for all thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence; and give us such a lively sense of thy righteous will, that the work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the First Book of Common Prayer

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, did restore the language of the people in the prayers of thy Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Church History

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Holy Ghost, giver of light and life, impart to us thoughts higher than our own thoughts, and prayers better than our own prayers, and powers beyond our own powers, that we may spend and be spent in the ways of love and goodness, after the perfect image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

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

A Prayer for Pentecost from the ACNA Prayerbook

O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Queen Bertha and King Ethelbert

God our ruler and guide, we honor thee for Queen Bertha and King Ethelbert of Kent who, gently persuaded by the truth of thy Gospel, encouraged others by their godly example to follow freely the path of discipleship; and we pray that we, like them, may show the goodness of thy Word not only by our words but in our lives; through Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)

O Holy Spirit the Comforter, Who art everywhere present and finest all things, treasury of blessings and giver of life: descend and remain upon me, most blessed One, and cleanse me from all that is impure within.

–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

(Church Times) Questions remain as Launde Minster Community is launched in Leicester

A “PERFECT STORM” of declining church attendance, reduced giving, and stretched church leaders means that “we cannot, in good conscience, put our heads in the sand and hope that more of the same is the answer,” the director of parish transition and ministry development in the diocese of Leicester, said this week.

Canon Stuart Burns was speaking in response to questions about the formation of Minster Communities in the diocese, the first of which was launched at the end of last month….

The Launde Minster Community (MC), the first of three areas in a pilot of the scheme, was officially launched on 30 April at a service at St Peter’s, Tilton on the Hill, at which the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, commissioned the Community’s Oversight Minister, Canon Jonathan Dowman. The Community brings together eight benefices comprising 24 parishes (35 churches) that have committed to collaborate in mission and to offer their resources.

Feedback from PCCs in the area has highlighted a tension between parishes’ desire for the answers to practical questions around provision of the eucharist and the allocation of stipendiary posts and the diocese’s position that MCs “aren’t chiefly about deployment” but “an issue of local discipleship, faith and vision”. In Launde, many decisions remain to be taken, including the deployment of ordained ministry, the identification of appointed ministers for each church, and how governance will work (the original diocesan framework envisaged a move to Joint Church Councils). PCCs have raised concerns about whether a proposed doubling of giving, necessary to fund four stipendiary posts, can be achieved, given small congregations.

Read it all.”>Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, Parish Ministry

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–The Church of England’s financial imbalance

Last year I identified four areas where greater funding is need now, and these have become no less urgent in the last 12 months.

First, with the cutting of stipendiary ministry we are facing the real possibility of the C of E withdrawing from large parts of the country. Perhaps that needs to happen, in order for new and effective ministry to be re-established at a later date—but we cannot just ignore this reality.

Secondly, clergy stipends have been in long-term decline, and there is a real sense of hardship amongst those clergy with children and without a second income. Given the overall financial situation, including the Commissioners’ assets, I think this is a scandal.

Thirdly, in 2015 the clergy pension was unilaterally reduced by a third, by what I regard as a sleight of hand. Questions in Synod have confirmed that this would cost a mere £25m per annum to rectify. (I say ‘mere’ in the light of the numbers above). This must surely be put right, and better provision made for housing for clergy in retirement who were not able to buy their own property during ministry. If you are a member of General Synod, please sign my Private Members’ Motion proposing that we address this.

Fourthly, our residential theological colleges are under threat and financial pressure, for a range of reasons, but principally because of the disaster of the RME changes, and because of the unmanaged growth of other forms of training. Historically, these have been vital sources of theological learning; we have already lost what was the largest college, and it would be a tragedy to lose another. These are assets which can never be regained once they are lost.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Augustine of Canterbury

O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy name for thy servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Mozarabic Sacramentary

O Christ, the King of Glory, who through the everlasting gates didst ascend to thy Father’s throne, and open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers: Grant that, whilst thou dost reign in heaven, we may not be bowed down to the things of earth, but that our hearts may be lifted up whither thou, our redemption, art gone before; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(WSJ) Kate Odell–The Many Paradoxes of Timothy J. Keller

A second paradox: Keller was a popular pastor who was allergic to the celebrity he attracted. His books, such as “The Prodigal God” and “The Meaning of Marriage,” among many others, have sold millions of copies. But he was enigmatic and avoided the spotlight. An editor of the Christian magazine World once quipped that he could organize an interview with Keller “as easily as I can set one up with Vladimir Putin.”

Keller “was not that great showman preacher,” says Collin Hansen, editor of the Gospel Coalition, a network of Presbyterian and Reformed churches. He was introverted and cerebral in a way that Billy Graham, for all his strengths, never was. But Keller’s “sense of irony,” his “professorial approach,” appealed to New Yorkers.

Keller insisted that Christian evangelism be winsome, which made him polarizing—perhaps the third paradox. “I fear that anxious evangelicals hope that if they can just be grace-centered enough” and “serve the community, and make clear that they are not Republicans, then unbelievers will turn to Christ,” Kevin DeYoung, a fellow Reformed pastor, recently wrote of Keller’s bent.

It’s a fair point. Keller warned that Christians shouldn’t be politically monolithic. He worried about American evangelicalism’s association with the political right. But there is also the risk, which Keller realized, that Christian believers become entangled with the obsessions of the political left: sexual identity, racial grievance, Marxian redistributionism and so on. Progressive Christianity is the mirror image of the moral majoritarianism of the 1980s, and it will end no better for the church’s public witness.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Apologetics, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Eleanor Parker) An eyewitness account of the death of Bede

Cuthbert was present at Bede’s deathbed, and this is how he describes his death.

For nearly a fortnight before the Feast of our Lord’s Resurrection he was troubled by weakness and breathed with great difficulty, although he suffered little pain. Thenceforward until Ascension Day he remained cheerful and happy, giving thanks to God each hour day and night. He gave daily lessons to us his students, and spent the rest of the day in singing the psalms so far as his strength allowed. He passed the whole night in joyful prayer and thanksgiving to God, except when slumber overcame him; but directly he awoke, he continued to meditate on spiritual themes, and never failed to thank God with hands outstretched. I can truthfully affirm that I have never seen or heard of anyone who gave thanks so unceasingly to the living God as he.

O truly blessed man! He used to repeat the saying of the holy Apostle Paul, ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’, and many other sayings from holy scripture, and in this manner he used to arouse our souls by the consideration of our last hour. Being well-versed in our native songs, he described to us the dread departure of the soul from the body by a verse in our own tongue, which translated means: ‘Before setting forth on that inevitable journey, none is wiser than the man who considers – before his soul departs hence – what good or evil he has done, and what judgement his soul will receive after its passing’.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bede the Venerable

Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Books, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Prayer Manual

Almighty God, who after thy Son had ascended on high didst send forth thy Spirit in the Church to draw all men unto thee; Fulfill, we beseech thee, this thy gracious purpose, and in the fullness of time gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him, who is the head over all things in the Church which is his body, 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

South Carolina Supreme Court Final Order: Two More Anglican Parishes Have Property Rights Affirmed

From there:

Columbia, S.C. (May 24, 2023) – Today, in a unanimous order, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled on the pending petitions and motions before it regarding the remaining three parish properties still in dispute. Today’s order denied all such actions, returning to its earlier decision from August 17, 2022. Two will remain with the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina and one will be returned to the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

In response to the August ruling, the Church of the Good Shepherd (Charleston) had filed a petition for rehearing, asking the Court to reconsider facts in the case that had resulted in the Court ruling that the Episcopal Church (TEC) maintained a trust interest in their property. That determination has now been affirmed by the Court and the parish will enter into settlement discussions with TEC to resolve the transfer of property and all other remaining issues.

The Episcopal Church on its part had also filed both petitions for rehearing and motions for relief from judgement regarding Old St. Andrews (Charleston) and Holy Cross (Stateburg). The August 17 ruling had affirmed Anglican parish control of those properties. Today’s decision affirmed that outcome for both those congregations. In today’s order, the Court said, “After careful consideration of both petitions for rehearing, the court is unable to discover that any material fault of principle of law has been either overlooked or disregarded, and hence, there is no basis for granting a rehearing.” The court on similar grounds denied the motion for relief of judgement as well.

The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina is grateful to see the final legal issues in these property disputes resolved and the rights of Old St. Andrews and Holy Cross affirmed. They join the other twenty-five parishes whose property rights were confirmed by the earlier rulings. To come to the conclusion of all litigation is a welcome blessing.

While grateful for these good gifts, we mourn the loss of property for Good Shepherd that this order dictates. Like the other seven congregations who received adverse rulings, Good Shepherd will continue on in faith.

The Bishop of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, the Rt Revd Chip Edgar, said, “As we have seen with our other parishes whose properties were taken from them, I am confident that the Church of the Good Shepherd will recover from this blow and prosper in the new place to which the Lord will lead them. As we have with our other parishes, the Diocese stands ready to encourage and assist them.”

The Rector of Good Shepherd, the Rev. Will Klauber, assured his congregation today, “The Lord will provide for us a community. He will provide facilities and space for his ministry to continue. We rest assured that Jesus is still seated at the right hand of the Father, and his Spirit is still with us as we navigate these uncharted waters.”

This coming Sunday, we, as a Diocese, will celebrate Pentecost and the outpouring of God’s Spirit to build his Church. We remain confident that his work will continue apace through the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina and its 54 parishes and missions.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry

(Biologos) Francis Collins–A Tribute to my Friend, Tim Keller

A year ago the cancer was advancing very rapidly and Tim’s chance of surviving past the summer of 2022 looked slim. But prayers were answered: given appropriate instruction, the well-schooled immune cells found and demolished their target. That experience was grueling for Tim and Kathy, but we were all gifted with another stretch of many months for Tim to be with us. He used that time well—writing a particularly powerful and convicting article on “The Decline and Renewal of the American Church”, an essay that all who care about the future of our faith should read and reflect on.

The cancer returned around Christmas, but this time there was no dramatic response from a new immunotherapy protocol, re-engineered and delivered on Good Friday. I prayed fervently that God would heal Tim—either miraculously or through the tools of science. But this time, God had another plan.

It was a Sunday afternoon in mid-April when I was last with Tim and Kathy. His final admission to the NIH Clinical Center was coming to a close after three intense weeks. I thought a chance to sing some hymns together might provide an opportunity to share our faith and confidence in God’s love and grace. I made the suggestion to Tim and Kathy, and Tim immediately engaged as only the Reverend Keller would do. Yes, he said, let’s do this—but let me propose six hymns that will lay out the full foundation of the Christian faith, from the Creation, to our confidence in joining the saints at the end of our days. I reached out to about ten other believers who dropped everything to join, and there in the atrium of the world’s largest research hospital, we gathered around the grand piano to sing and pray. It was incredibly sweet and poignant. Kathy said this was the first time she and Tim had been able to worship in-person with others in three years.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Jackson Kemper

Lord God, in whose providence Jackson Kemper was chosen first missionary bishop in this land, that by his arduous labor and travel congregations might be established in scattered settlements of the West: Grant that the Church may always be faithful to its mission, and have the vision, courage, and perseverance to make known to all peoples the Good News of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Leonine Sacramentary

Almighty and merciful God, into whose gracious presence we ascend, not by the frailty of the flesh but by the activity of the soul: Make us ever by thy inspiration to seek after the courts of the heavenly city, whither our Saviour Christ hath ascended, and by thy mercy confidently to enter them, both now and hereafter; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(NYT Op-ed) David Brooks–Tim Keller Taught Me About Joy

[Tim]…offered a radically different way. He pointed people to Jesus, and through Jesus’ example to a life of self-sacrificial service. That may seem unrealistic; doesn’t the world run on self-interest? But Tim and his wife, Kathy, wrote a wonderful book, “The Meaning of Marriage,” which in effect argued that self-sacrificial love is actually the only practical way to get what you really hunger for.

After some time in marriage, they counseled, you’re going to realize that the wonderful person you married is actually kind of selfish. And as you realize this about him, he is realizing this about you.

The only way forward is to recognize that your own selfishness is the only selfishness you can control; your self-centeredness is the problem here. Love is an action, not just an emotion, and the marriage will only thrive if both people in it make daily sacrificial commitments to each other, learning to serve and, harder still, be served. “Whether we are husband or wife,” the Kellers wrote, “we are not to live for ourselves but for the other. And that is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife in marriage.”

Tim’s happy and generous manner was based on the conviction that we are born wired to seek delight, and we can find it. “Anybody who has tasted the reality of God knows anything is worth losing for this,” Tim preached, “and nothing is worth keeping if I’m going to lose this.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture