Category : * Christian Life / Church Life

Prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Laity, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O Lord Jesus Christ, into whose death we have been baptized: Grant, we beseech thee, that like as thou wast raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we may walk in newness of life; that having been planted in the likeness of thy death, we may be also in the likeness of thy resurrection; for the glory of thy holy name.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(Local paper) Funeral arrangements announced for Molly Greene, South Carolina resident who helped bring clean water to millions

Local pastors who worked closely with Greene and her North Charleston nonprofit to extend foreign aid called Greene a missionary at heart.

The Rev. Isaac Holt, senior pastor of Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, partnered with Greene after the deadly Haiti earthquake in 2010 to finance water systems for the nation.

Holt described Greene as an international humanitarian who was loved by everyone.

“Molly was a missionary at heart,” Holt said. “She had a heart for people who she didn’t know. She was less known locally than she was globally. She knew people all over the world. She was a mover and influencer.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Energy, Natural Resources, Ministry of the Laity, Missions, Parish Ministry

William Reed Huntington for his Feast Day-‘Catholicity is what we are reaching after’

Dissatisfaction is the one word that best expresses the state of mind in which Christendom finds itself today. There is a wide-spread misgiving that we are on the eve of momentous changes. Unrest is everywhere. We hear about Roman Councils, and Anglican Conferences, and Evangelical Alliances, about the question of the Temporal Power, the dissolution of Church and State, and many other such like things. They all have one meaning. The party of the Papacy and the party of the Reformation, the party of orthodoxy and the party of liberalism, are all alike agitated by the consciousness that a spirit of change is in the air. No wonder that many imagine themselves listening to the rumbling of the chariot- wheels of the Son of Man. He Himself predicted that ” perplexity” should be one of the signs of His coining, and it is certain that the threads of the social order have seldom been more seriously entangled than they now are.

A calmer and perhaps truer inference is that we are about entering upon a new reach of Church history, and that the dissatisfaction and perplexity are only transient. There is always a tumult of waves at the meeting of the waters; but when the streams have mingled, the flow is smooth and still again. The plash and gurgle that we hear may mean something like this.

At all events the time is opportune for a discussion of the Church-Idea; for it is with this, hidden under a hundred disguises, that the world’s thoughts are busy. Men have become possessed with an unwonted longing for unity, and yet they are aware that they do not grapple successfully with the practical problem. Somehow they are grown persuaded that union is God’s work, and separation devil’s work ; but the persuasion only breeds the greater discontent. That is what lies at the root of our unquietness. There is a felt want and a felt inability to meet the want; and where these two things coexist there must be heat of friction.

Catholicity is what we are reaching after….

–William Reed Huntington The Church Idea (1870)

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Reed Huntington

O Lord our God, we thank thee for instilling in the heart of thy servant William Reed Huntington a fervent love for thy Church and its mission in the world; and we pray that, with unflagging faith in thy promises, we may make known to all peoples thy blessed gift of eternal life; 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 for the Day from the Primer of 1559

Glory, honour and praise be unto thee O God, who hast fed us from our tender age, and givest sustenance to every living thing. Replenish our hearts with joy and gladness, that we may be rich and plentiful in all good works; through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(NA Anglican) Fr. Patrick Malone–The Collar

God has been good to Holy Cross Anglican Church, the parish I serve in the Milwaukee area. We routinely have visitors who are looking and seeking a deeper walk with Jesus. We’ve even had a whole family who converted to the faith. Holy Cross used to be St. Edmund’s Episcopal and left the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee in 2008.[1] A recent visitor who used to be Roman Catholic, and then went through a few Protestant denominations, asked why I wear a collar. My normal response is that the collar is part of my uniform. I also tell people that I wear the collar to keep me in check and in line. Often the collar works!

Her husband and two adult sons love our church, but for the wife, it has been a hard transition. Many questions, many wounds, many hard issues. This family’s journey has left many question and fears. One fear is that we look too Roman, and all that Rome does is wrong including the collar.

I struggle sometimes about the collar, when I should wear it. When I am on my way home from church and going to the store, do I take the tab off? Or do I keep it in? I remember the first time I wore the collar the day I was ordained a deacon. It felt weird and I thought everyone was staring at me….

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(BBC) Choosing between God and the gang in El Salvador

A church deep in La Dina, San Salvador is holding a service with a difference: many of the men here used to be in a gang.

Eben-ezer is a functioning church but also runs a rehabilitation project for men who repent their past gang life.

Watch it all (about 3 3/4 minutes).

Posted in --El Salvador, Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Soteriology, Violence

(FT) Exploring churches with Diarmaid MacCulloch: ‘I love a locked door’

On a high-summer morning in Oxford city centre, entering the calm, cool interior of the church of St Michael at the North Gate offers relief from both the crowds and the heat. A moment later, through the tiny souvenir shop, comes Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of the history of the church at the University of Oxford and author of many books — most recently a biography of the nation’s favourite Tudor, Thomas Cromwell.

MacCulloch is a star in the history world, knighted in 2012 for services to scholarship. His is a familiar face from TV series including A History of Christianity (and its accompanying book) and Sex and the Church. But today he’s not talking about Cromwell, he’s introducing me to his favourite hobby: a “church crawl”.

For the uninitiated, this is like a pub crawl, but we are refreshing ourselves by visiting places of Anglican worship. It has been MacCulloch’s passion since his “very happy” childhood in rural Suffolk. His father was a village parson and would drive young Diarmaid around to look at churches. Now 67, MacCulloch reckons he has visited “6,000 or 7,000 so far — and several more than once”.

Oxford has an extraordinary number of churches. It is also home to St Cross, a postgraduate institution where MacCulloch has been a fellow for 25 years, and which is within an easy walk of them all. Today he has picked three for us, beginning with St Michael’s because it is the official city church of Oxford, and lies “at the North Gate”, one of the lost entrances to the early walled city.

Read it all (subscription).

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

(Church Times) Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) planned to persuade bishop ‘to take a less active role’ in claimant’s pastoral care

The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) planned to pressure a bishop to withdraw pastoral support from a survivor of abuse because it might prejudice a claim, redacted documents seen by the Church Times suggest.

The survivor, Julian Whiting, alleges that he was abused by a pupil and two housemasters of the Blue Coat School in Birmingham. Neither adult was a cleric. Several years later, in 2012, Mr Whiting approached the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, who is President of Blue Coat, for pastoral help.

In a letter to a redacted recipient dated April 2013, the casualty-claims employee for EIG in Manchester states: “I feel we may need you to help persuade the Bishop of Birmingham to take a less active role in his pastoral care of a claimant which we feel could have a knock-on effect to the current outstanding abuse claims we have for a Julian Whiting.”

He then says of the Blue Coat allegation: “Importantly, he [Julian Whiting] has never pursued a formal claim. There has been a lot of email traffic, but the position is that until the claimant properly formulates the claim, we have rightly shown little interest in the matter.

“What has recently complicated matters is that the Bishop of Birmingham in his role as Blue Coats [sic] School President has met with Whiting to hear his story. Whilst I fully understand the position taken that there is a pastoral care aspect here, my concern is that a continued dialogue with the Bishop and Whiting could prejudice the positioning we have taken in respect of the two claims.” (Mr Whiting was also pursuing a claim that, in 2009, he was groped by a church employee at a social event at Lambeth Palace.)

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

South Carolina Circuit Court Hears Arguments on Betterments Statute and Orders Mediation

From there:

St. Matthews, S.C. (July 23, 2019) – Immediately on the heels of The South Carolina Supreme Court on June 28,  denying the Petition for a Writ of Mandamus submitted by The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), Judge Edgar W. Dickson promptly resumed proceedings on the related legal matters.  The hearing on the Betterments Statute issues, which had been cancelled in March when the petition for Mandamus was filed, was held today in the Calhoun County Courthouse in St. Matthews, SC.

The Betterments Statute, under South Carolina law, provides the means for a party making good faith improvements to property they believe they own, to be compensated for the value of those improvements, if a court makes a final determination that another party is the true owner.   Many of the parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina can trace their unbroken history back to the colonial era of the state. During that entire time, there has never been any question of their unencumbered title to property or legal identity.  All have proceeded throughout their history with the maintenance and improvement of their properties with these assumptions.

The motion previously filed by TECSC asked for the dismissal of the case, primarily on the basis that it had not been filed in a timely fashion and that they were not actually taking ownership of the churches but merely exercising their trust interest in the property. The Diocese maintained that the court needed to decide which, if any, of the 29 parishes agreed (acceded) to the Dennis Canon before it could decide whether this case should proceed. As to the eight parishes that TEC and TECSC concede did not agree to the Dennis Canon, Judge Dickson asked Diocesan counsel to submit proposed orders making the finding that those parishes did not accede to the Denis Canon.

The five separate opinions that constitute the Supreme Court decision resulted in a fractured ruling whose interpretation is currently under consideration by Judge Dickson.  The effort to force a particular interpretation of that decision was the essential purpose of the recent Petition for Mandamus filed by TEC and TECSC which was denied by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2019.

Judge Dickson took the motion to dismiss the Betterments case under advisement. He also ordered the parties to mediate all the issues raised in the two state lawsuits referencing the relatively recent Supreme Court order which requires mandatory mediation in civil cases.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

Grant, O blessed Lord, that thy Church in this our day may hear anew thy call to launch out into the deep in the service of thy glorious gospel; that souls for whom thou hast died may be won for thee, to the increase of thy kingdom and the glory of thy holy name.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(Eastern Daily Press) A Profile of Jon Norman, Norwich City Football Club chaplain

However, being Norwich City chaplain is not his main job. Jon is full-time pastor of the huge Norwich Soul Church – which regularly welcomes 1,500 to its Sunday services on Mason Road, Catton Grove. And sometimes, sitting among the regular congregation, there are footballers there too.

Jon grew up in Taverham, near Norwich. A keen footballer, he played in goal for Taverham High School, for Mount Zion church in the Norfolk Christian Football League, and for Norwich United. A Christian from childhood he went on to train as a church leader with the Australian-based international Hillsong Church.

Six years ago Jon and his wife Chantel returned to Norwich after helping lead a large church in Cape Town, South Africa. They launched Soul Church, Norwich in 2014.

A friend had become club chaplain at Leeds and Jon wondered whether Norwich City had a chaplain. He discovered it did, but he was about to retire. Jon’s name was put forward by the national organisation in charge of sport chaplains and he is now about to start his fifth season as Norwich City chaplain.

Read it all.

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

(Church Society) Lee Gatiss–What is Spiritual Abuse?

The Church of England has some very helpful online resources for safeguarding. They even have some courses that can be taken by anyone involved in church at their Safeguarding Portal, and you can get “badges” and certificates to prove you’ve passed the course if that is of use in your context. I got a couple of foundational certificates and also did two very helpful and informative training courses on modern slavery and human trafficking, while looking into this recently.

Whilst checking out some of these very well-presented resources, I was struck by the definition given of “spiritual abuse” — something which has sadly become topical of late, and something which many of us are now wrestling with, and trying to understand or come to terms with. It starts by admitting that unlike physical abuse, sexual abuse, or modern slavery for example, “spiritual abuse” is not a category of abuse recognised in statutory guidance. It is a matter for great concern, however, both within and outside faith communities, including the Church of England. It was, for example, discussed and defined in Protecting All God’s Children (2010), a Church of England document which can be found online here. There it is said that:

“Within faith communities, harm can also be caused by the inappropriate use of religious belief or practice. This can include the misuse of the authority of leadership or penitential discipline, oppressive teaching, or intrusive healing and deliverance ministries. Any of these could result in children experiencing physical, emotional or sexual harm. If such inappropriate behaviour becomes harmful, it should be referred for investigation in co-operation with the appropriate statutory agencies. Careful teaching, supervision and mentoring of those entrusted with the pastoral care of children should help to prevent harm occurring in this way. Other forms of spiritual harm include the denial to children of the right to faith or the opportunity to grow in the knowledge and love of God.”

This I think was the working definition in the case of the Revd Tim Davis who, it was reported in 2018, subjected a 15 year old boy to intense prayer and Bible sessions in his bedroom. The teenager described the mentoring he received as “awful” and all-consuming, but never felt able to challenge the minister. Davis was found guilty of “conduct unbecoming to the office and work of a clerk of holy orders through the abuse of spiritual power and authority.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Sam Wells–Citizens of Heaven: Identity, Inclusion and the Church

I suggest second, that such an argument as this is won by the side that tells the more compelling story. It’s no use to protest that treatment of certain identities has been unjust, unfair, heartless, cruel and sometimes criminal and worse. This is true, but it has the truth of lament rather than of aspiration. It leads to authorities and those of diverging convictions making grudging acknowledgements, procedural claims and evasive promises. It seldom changes hearts and minds;on the contrary it often wearies and antagonises, as the phrase ‘Are you calling me a bigot?’ illustrates. I told the story of the dementia and faith evening because it’s one of the most inspiring and amazing things I’ve ever experienced in a lifetime of involvement with the church, and I want to make the case that these are the epiphanies you open yourself up to if you recognise that God is giving the church everything it needs but the church too often finds itself unable to receive that abundance. You just have to open your heart and transform your habits and you will find such miracles a regular occurrence. This is what I mean by a more compelling story.

And I suggest, third, as a combination of the first two points, that there’s an important role for personal narrative, the sharing of the pain of exclusion, the grief of talents wasted, identity scorned, gifts neglected and hurts endured. There’s a place for feelings of injustice, calling-to-account for thoughtless, prejudiced and inhuman remarks and actions, protests against inexcusable disrespect, wilful ignorance, wrongheaded doctrine and distorted exegesis, and campaigns for changing language, liturgy, rules and conventions. But in the end this has to be not so much about me and my need to be noticed, appreciated, valued and cherished, as about the church’s need to have a full and joyful understanding of God. The secular discourse of rights, justice and identity can be a good companion to Christians and can help clarify terminology and disentangle hurt from harm, difference from wrong. But it has no capacity for depicting a genuinely shared, glorious and worshipful future that we don’t achieve but God brings us as a gift. In the kingdom there can’t in the end be freedom for one that’s not freedom for all. In the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.’ The most convincing argument the inclusive movement has in the face of contrary views has to be, ‘My understanding of God has room for you; but your understanding of God doesn’t seem to have room for me.’ Such a view can go on to say, ‘Isn’t the tragedy of our human life that so much of the time we don’t have room for God; but yet the gift of the gospel is that, however difficult we make it and however reluctant we are, somehow God always has room for us.’

One day, we’ll look back on this debate in the church and realise that this was the moment when we truly discovered what lay in store for us in the kingdom of God, and how we had the precious invitation in the power of the Spirit to model that beloved community now. One day we’ll realise that this was the moment we finally recognised our calling as the church was to imitate the glorious breadth of the heart of God. One day we’ll appreciate that this was when our limited understanding was made to be swept up by the joy of God’s boundless imagination. May that day soon come.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint James the Apostle

O gracious God, we remember before thee this day thy servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that thou wilt pour out upon the leaders of thy Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among thy people; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, 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 Daily Prayer

Set a watch, O Lord, upon our tongue, that we may never speak the cruel word which is not true; or being true, is not the whole truth; or being wholly true, is merciless; for the love of 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

(Saint Philip’s Church) Penn Hagood–St. Philippian Greek Odyssey: Learning the Extraordinary Persistence of Paul

Traveling to Greece often evokes thoughts of an odyssey. Homer’s adventures of Odysseus’ decade spent “sailing the wine dark sea” longing to journey home to Ithaca remains a riveting tale. Odysseus endured storms and shipwrecks, encountered mythical gods and goddesses, monsters, witches, kings, and princesses.

Paul was treated monstrously in many places. He was driven out of cities, often barely escaping with his life. He was harassed by a woman possessed by a demon, a slave girl that some might have called a witch. As he recounted in his second letter to the church in Corinth: “Five times I received…the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” Paul suffered greatly, yet he endured. Paul persevered, holding fast to his single purpose, to share the good news of Jesus Christ and the hope of salvation.

Our St. Philippian jaunt, following in Paul’s footsteps, was tame by comparison. We certainly did not experience hunger as we feasted daily. Our only similarity was that a few of us were blown off course when someone opened Aeolus’ bag of winds, releasing raging storms, and diverting flights. Still, in spite of our modern conveniences and comforts, after two weeks, we were exhausted and sleep deprived, completely worn out. Our endurance was tested briefly. We gained an appreciation for Paul’s decades of endurance.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, Greece, History, Missions, Parish Ministry, Theology: Scripture

(Yorkshire Post) Canon Tony Macpherson talks about the changing face of the church as he leaves Wakefield after four decades

Tony recalls his first pastoral encounter in 1980 when he had been called to carry out a funeral for a twin that had lived less than two hours. “I remember accompanying her mum to the chapel of rest to look at her baby, and the raw grief of that situation was palpable.

“People might not be overtly Christian but they have suffered a massive trauma, and they just want you there to sit beside them, to listen, and to pray sometimes. Pastoral ministry is a great privilege. Whether it’s the closure of the pits or the day- to-day pastoral situations of visiting the sick or being alongside people who have had a tragedy. It’s all the same.

“People can come into the Cathedral with a great amount of brokenness, anxiety, pain. A lot of what I do is sit, listen and pray. Some will come back and some won’t ever come back. But so be it.”

The Church of England has come a long way in the last four decades – there have been undoubted improvements in people’s understanding of diversity and inclusivity.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Thomas a Kempis

Holy Father, who hast nourished and strengthened thy Church by the writings of thy servant Thomas a Kempis: Grant that we may learn from him to know what we ought to know, to love what we ought to love, to praise what highly pleaseth thee, and always to seek to know and follow thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Lionel Edmund Howard Stephens-Hodge (1914-2001)

O God, who in thy fatherly love hast called us that we should inherit a blessing: Give to us also, we pray thee, the blessing of wholesome speech and loving deed; that following always that which is good, we may do and suffer all that thou willest; in the name and strength of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Family Update on Molly Greene RIP from Water Missions International

From here: Dearest friends and family,

Last week, our family was devastated by the sudden loss of our precious Molly. The last few days have seemed like an eternity and have been the most difficult experience our family has ever faced. We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love from so many dear friends whose hearts are also broken. Molly was a beautiful soul who lived a life full of purpose and calling, and her sudden departure has broken many hearts.

As you may know, our family was in the Bahamas when this tragedy took Molly from us. The many requirements associated with bringing Molly’s body back to the United States are causing delays in being able to announce when the visitation and funeral will take place. Our understanding is that the earliest we will be able to move forward with these items would be this coming Sunday and Monday, but there could be additional delays. As soon as we have confirmation, we will share additional details.

Understanding that many people who would like to attend Molly’s funeral may not be able to join us on short notice, we plan to have a separate celebration of life event in the next four to six weeks. More details for this will follow soon as well.

In the interim, we (all Greene and Gardner family members) would welcome the opportunity to connect with close friends and family through phone or email. Additionally, we would welcome visitors at Water Mission, 1150 Kinzer Street, Bldg. 1605, North Charleston, SC 29405. All of us plan to be on hand during the following times:

  • Tuesday, July 23, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 24, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Friday, July 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Greene family has experienced a tragedy like this. While reliving this nightmare has been doubly heartbreaking, the Lord has been using our previous experience to help us walk through this dark night of the soul. We would like to share this with the broader public in the hopes that it might help others to also experience healing. Following are thoughts Molly wrote a few years ago on the death of our son, John Christian:

When the Worst Happens: Finding God’s Purpose Amidst the Pain – by Molly Greene and Pringle Franklin (with excerpts from George Greene, III)

We cannot thank you enough for covering our family in prayer during this challenging time. We need these prayers both now and as we look to the future, and we are so grateful for your love. Molly was deeply loved by many because she deeply loved many. Trying to understand what life looks like without her has revealed to us how heartbroken we actually are. Having expressed our grief, we know that this world is not our final resting place, and we take comfort in knowing that Molly has been welcomed into the presence of Jesus and has heard the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

With much love and gratitude,

George C Greene III, PE, PhD
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Energy, Natural Resources, Marriage & Family, Missions

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Cassian

Holy and Mighty One, whose beloved Son Jesus Christ blessed the pure in heart: We offer thanks for the life and teachings of John Cassian that draw us to a discipline of holy living for the sake of thy reign. Call us to turn the gaze of the eyes of our soul always toward thee, that we may abide in thy love, shown to us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit is one God, living and true, to the ages of ages. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

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

Lord, be thou within me, to strengthen me; without me, to keep me; above me, to protect me; beneath me, to uphold me; before me, to direct me; behind me, to keep me from straying; round about me, to defend me. Blessed be thou, our Father for ever and ever.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Secretary-General William Nye–We are neglecting mid-sized churches

Mid-sized churches — defined as worshipping communities of between 20 and 60 — have been overlooked by the national church institutions, the secretary-general, William Nye, said this month.

Speaking before a panel convened earlier this month to discuss the beauty and the challenges associated with the “middle third”, Mr Nye described how, “without meaning to, a lot of the time, we, the national church institutions, just default to thinking about bigger churches, because a lot of people’s picture of the norm of the church is a vicar and about 100 people on a Sunday morning.

“We have overlooked this middle third. Lots of staff at Church House, lots of bishops, come up through bigger churches, worship in bigger churches; bishops have led bigger churches.”

There was a need to think more about how national programmes might work in churches of this size, he said. Some did not connect “terribly well”, such as planting and the creation of resource churches. Others, such as digital campaigns, did. “We are trying to get away from the idea that we are interested only in planting and replicating churches of 300 people.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

(NYT) Tennessee Says Internet-Ordained Ministers and Marriage Don’t Mix

State Representative Ron Travis, a Republican, said it was impossible to determine online whether a person had the “care of souls,” as the law states.

“Just because you pay $50 and get a certificate doesn’t mean you’re an ordained minister,” Mr. Travis said, according to WATE-TV.

The opposition in Tennessee reflects a clash with a growing trend in the United States to privatize marriage and personalize weddings by distancing them from the state or established religions.

Ministers ordained online can officiate at weddings in 48 states, with the exception of Virginia and some parts of Pennsylvania, according to the Universal Life Church Monastery, which says it has ordained more than 20 million ministers nationwide. But rules can vary by county, as in New York State.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Religion & Culture, State Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Mary Magdalene

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by thy grace we may be healed of all our infirmities and know thee in the power of his endless life; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

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

O God, who through thy Son Jesus Christ hast promised a blessing to the meek upon earth, take from us all pride and vanity, boasting and forwardness; and give us the true courage that shows itself by gentleness, the true wisdom that shows itself by simplicity, and the true power that shows itself by modesty; for Christ’s sake.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

Food for Thought on a Sunday–Corrie Ten Boom on Worry

“Worry is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength — [It’s] carrying two days at once. It’s moving into tomorrow ahead of time….[quoting someone else] worrying does not take away tomorrow’s grief; it takes away today’s strength.”

-Corrie Ten Boom, Reflections of God’s Glory, pp. 36-37

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Theology

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

O God, who hast given us the grace to carry the sword of thy Kingdom of peace; who hast made us messengers of peace in a world of strife, and messengers of strife in a world of false peace: make strong our hand, make clear our voice, give us humility with firmness and insight with passion that we may fight not to conquer, but to redeem.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer