Category : Baptism

Roseanne Gudzan–How a Jury Summons led to a very unexpected Outcome

In July of 2018, a summons ordered me to report to Charleston Municipal Court for jury duty in early August. After reading the very limited exemptions from duty, I realized that resistance was futile and reported on the required Monday morning to fulfill my civic duty.

As it turned out, a priest named Ryan Streett and 40-some other Charlestonians had been summoned for this same jury duty, and we all sat in the courtroom that Monday waiting to see if we would be selected. Later, those of us who were not chosen for the first case lined the walls of the hallway outside the courtroom waiting for the next case to be called. The week progressed this way and with a great deal of waiting outside the courtroom in the hallway.

During a particularly long recess, I spotted Father Ryan and I nervously approached him, introduced myself, and asked if he ever performed baptisms for people other than those in his congregation….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Baptism, Evangelism and Church Growth, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(DM) Just one in ten babies is baptised into the Church of England with the numbers even lower in London at three in every 100, figures reveal

Only one in ten babies is baptised into the Church of England – and in London, the figure is even lower at three in every 100, a national breakdown of the Church’s strength has revealed.

The tiny minority of infants who are introduced to Christianity by the CofE in London is mirrored in other major cities.

In Birmingham, only 5 per cent of babies are christened by the Anglican church; in Bristol it’s 6 per cent; in Manchester 8 per cent; and in Nottingham 9 per cent.

Read it all.

Posted in Baptism, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

He attended last year’s deadly Charlottesville rally. Then a black pastor changed his life.

One year ago, Ken Parker attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has made a significant transformation after accepting an invitation to a black church. His story is featured in part in the Emmy-nominated Fuuse film ‘White Right: Meeting the Enemy’ on Netflix.

You need to take the time to watch it all.

Posted in Baptism, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Soteriology

(Church of England) What is the role of a Godparent?

Godparents are among the most important people at a christening, who make big promises to encourage their godchild to grow in faith and commit to helping them understand how to live their life in a Christian way.

Alongside your godchild’s parents, you will

Give your time to your godchild to talk to about the bigger questions of life – questions about hope, faith and love.
Model and encourage them to develop Christian values – being kind and compassionate towards others, being generous towards others in need with time or money and standing against things in the world that cause injustice and suffering.

Pray for your godchild through the ups and downs of their life and their faith journey….

Read it all.

Posted in Baptism, Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Sacramental Theology

Jeffrey Miller's 2017 Sermon on the Baptism of Jesus: The King will Never Leave

You can listen directly here or download it there. Watch for a very important reference to an incident in London in WW II.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Baptism of Jesus from the Church of South India

Lord Jesus Christ, who didst humble thyself to take the baptism of sinful men, and wast forthwith declared to be the Son of God: Grant that we who have been baptized into thee may rejoice to be the sons of God, and servants of all; for thy name’s sake, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest ever one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Sacramental Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Baptism of Jesus from the Scottish Prayer Book

Almighty God, who at the baptism of thy blessed Son Jesus Christ in the river Jordan didst manifest his glorious Godhead: Grant, we beseech thee, that the brightness of his presence may shine in our hearts, and his glory be set forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Sacramental Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes–Infant Baptism: An Anglican Model for Same Sex Blessings?

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Baptism, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Christopher Howse on 1 word in the liturgy– the return of the dew that we hardly knew we'd lost

One word has been reintroduced into one of the Eucharistic prayers in the Mass which had previously been omitted by the translators. I’m glad to see it.

When I say one word, I mean it was one word in the Latin original. In the so-called Second Eucharistic Prayer the word is rore, which is now translated as “like the dewfall”. I find it not only poetic but very expressive of the way that God seems to work.

This is the sentence where it occurs: “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Church History, Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(WSJ) Dr. E. Wesley Ely on a Dying Patient in the ICU requesting Baptism

With antibiotics and fluids, Bennie improved dramatically and was taken off the ventilator several days later. That same night, though, a massive stroke paralyzed his entire left side, and he went back on life support. We quickly administered clot-busting medicine, and he rallied again, remarkably regaining movement of his left arm and leg. The following day, the intern reported, “His delirium has cleared, and he’s mouthing words around the endotracheal tube despite his wicked aspiration pneumonia.”

I sensed an unexpected window of opportunity. We revisited Bennie’s life goals in light of what had happened and spoke directly about the big picture. With his children looking on, I held Bennie’s hand and looked him in the eyes. Choosing my words based on what I knew about his background and the family’s expectation of miracles, I said, “Bennie, just like tobacco plants eventually wither and wilt, so do we. You have improved in some ways, but overall you are very weak. How can we serve you best?”

The next morning, Laura and Len were upbeat, which confused me since Bennie looked weaker than ever. They pointed to words on a whiteboard in the room, explaining they were Bennie’s goals, “Stable vital signs. Baptism.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Baptism, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter


Picture: River baptisms at Church of the Holy Cross, Bluffton SC
Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Baptism, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Should a “transgender” person be allowed a ceremony of “re-baptism” at their local church?

Should a “transgender” person be allowed a ceremony of “re-baptism” at their local church? That is what a parishioner requested from the Rev Chris Newlands, Vicar of Lancaster.

“I said we don’t do that, but we did offer him, and then carry out, a service,” Mr Newlands told the Lancaster Guardian. “He was originally baptised as a baby girl, and to him it was about God knowing him by name.”

Mr Newlands mobilised his Deanery and put a motion on the House of Bishops’ agenda for the General Synod of the Church of England: “That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.”

That was earlier this year, but such services are already being performed.

Read it all from Christopher Howse at the Telegraph.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sacramental Theology, Sexuality, Theology

(B+C) Jonathan Reimer–Ambrose, Augustine, and the "lived experience" of 4th-century baptism

Early on the morning of Easter 387, just after dawn, the man whom history would come to know as “Augustine of Hippo” was baptized, along with a small group of fellow catechumens, in the large, octagonal baptistery behind Milan’s imposing Basilica Nova. The baptism itself, as well as the extensive instruction preceding and following it, was performed by another memorable historical figure: the tenacious and formidable bishop “Ambrose of Milan.” The relationship between these two towering figures of church history is the subject of Garry Wills’ Font of Life. Curiously, the relationship he describes was not based on personal affinity or compatibility of belief. Rather, according to Wills, the story of Ambrose and Augustine was “a tangled one, full of surprises,” a strange admixture of mystagogical initiation and retrospective invocation, deeply rooted in the nuances of early Christian liturgical practice and the conflicts of ecclesiastical politics. In this truly foreign context, Wills masterfully steers his historical reconstruction, artfully avoiding the twin shoals of reductive simplicity and overwhelming complexity by anchoring his narrative in the “sacred drama” of 4th-century baptism. In this, Wills does his readers a great service, bringing to life much of the ritual and symbolism surrounding the practice of late antique Christian initiation.
James J. O’Donnell has noted””at the outset of his three-volume commentary on Augustine’s Confessions””the lamentable tendency of most modern readers to anachronistically undervalue the “visceral reverence for cult that all late antique men and women felt.”[1] We undervalue cult, liturgy, and ritual, O’Donnell argues, both because of the prejudice of our time, which tends to purge these foreign elements from the beliefs of our spiritual forebears, and because of the paucity of remaining evidence for the specifics of these highly guarded practices. In the late 4th century, it was customary for the central liturgical act of Christian worship (the Eucharist) as well as for key pieces of Christian teaching (the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer) to be withheld from both non-Christians and catechumens, through a practice known as the disciplina arcani, the “discipline of the secret.” Even Augustine, recounting his own baptismal experience in the 9th book of his Confessions, avoids describing the rite itself, preferring instead to comment on how he was moved by the singing of hymns. As there is clear attestation that much of late antique Christian teaching and practice relied heavily upon these “oral” and “performative” traditions of liturgy and sacrament, all too often veiled in silence, the church historian is faced with the dilemma of trying to reconstruct the Christianity of this period while missing key pieces of the puzzle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Baptism, Books, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury's homily at baptism of HRH Princess Charlotte

Amongst Princess Charlotte’s own ancestors, now buried in the Holy Land, is a saint, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, whose life was one of transparent beauty and death one of beautiful courage and service. In her life she forgave the man who killed her husband. At her cruel murder she continued to care for those suffering with her. It is of such beauty that Jesus speaks when he talks of being great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Such beauty of character begins with baptism, and is established in the habits of following and loving Jesus Christ, habits to be learned from parents and God parents, and the whole community of the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Baptism, Children, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(DM) Mother's fury at vicar who refused to baptise her baby son because she isn't married

A Christian mother has slammed a vicar who refused to baptise her nine-month-old son because she is not married to the baby’s father.

Heather Lawrence and her partner Jonathan, tried to arrange a service with Reverend Tim Hayes at St John’s Church in Dunkinfield, Manchester, but were told they could only have a blessing.

The couple, who have been in a relationship for four years, were shocked by the vicar’s refusal on the grounds that were not married.

The 30-year-old says the only reason they haven’t had a wedding is because they cannot afford one but had hoped to have baby Roman christened in order to be accepted into the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Baptism, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Central Florida

Update: Note this letter has been updated with an addendum on May 12th
..Some will say that it is impossible for gay couples to fully assent to the baptismal covenant, especially the question “do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?” I wrestle with that as well. But I also know that the baptismal covenant is written in language so demanding that I am still discovering places in my life where I live below its demands. The renunciation of sinful desire is a daily discipline. The call for justice forces me not only to care about the plight of the least of these, but it also challenges me to face the places where injustice works to my economic and social advantage.

I know that for some, saying yes to this baptism feels like nothing more than pastoral logic, particularly when one starts with the spiritual needs of the child, regardless of the child’s family situation, and especially if the church is willing to take up her responsibility for spiritual formation. For others it feels like a betrayal of the Gospel and a capitulation on my part in my opposition to gay marriage in the church. Please know, for those on both sides of the gay marriage issue, that I have not changed- at all- my opposition to the church’s recognition of gay marriage as Holy Matrimony. I still believe, strongly, that civil gay unions do not conform to the Biblical definition of Holy Matrimony nor do they conform to the definition of Holy Matrimony found in our Book of Common Prayer.

Given our own brokenness as a people, it seems to me that none of us has the right to cast the first stone…

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Theology

[ACI] Dr Ephraim Radner: Infant Baptism For A Modern Age

Having gay parents does not automatically preclude such a baptism at all. There are reasons a priest might decide to go forward with it, and I do not necessarily question colleagues who would come to this conclusion. However, it is also possible that discernment regarding the integrity of this baptismal act might yield another decision ”“ and that too must be acknowledged. But the new, thinner view of baptism, buttressed now by an ideological notion of baptism as an instrument of social legitimation for gay couples, seems to have made it morally inexcusable even to suggest that the church has an obligation to discern whether the child’s parents or sponsors properly understand and consent to the teaching of the church on behalf of the child, or whether there is a reasonable expectation that the child himself will be raised into a proper understanding of this faith and practice. This is deeply unfortunate, for it basically rules out reasoned commitment related to the doctrinal context of the church as essential elements of Christian existence. And it does so just at the time when these aspects are more important than ever as necessary aspects of Christian witness in the face of a rapidly expanding secular culture. Put another way: in our era of beleaguered Christian witness in the West, the practice of infant baptism bereft of a robust commitment to self-conscious discipleship and its formation is a recipe for ecclesial collapse.

Read it all

Posted in Baptism, Sacramental Theology, Theology

[ACI] Same Sex Marriage and Infant Baptism

Under the Anglican concept of “lex orandi, lex credendi” (the rule of prayer is the rule of faith) the public worship of the church is the teaching of the church. When a same sex couple (or an unmarried couple) present their child for baptism they are required to answer publicly the following question:

“Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God?

I renounce them.”

This question and answer, as well as others in the baptismal covenant, unavoidably present the question of what the church’s teaching on sex outside traditional marriage really is. If the same sex or unmarried couple answers this question affirmatively, they and the officiant are publicly proclaiming that the teaching of the church does not consider their relationship sinful. Under the lex orandi standard, that is the teaching of the church.

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Posted in Baptism, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Statements Regarding the Resolution of the Situation in The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

[We ask that commenters respect the request of the Dean that “We ask that you respect the dignity of this process and refrain from destructive and inflammatory commentary” – The Elves]

[Update: The Rev Gary L’Hommedieu’s sermon on point ‘Love One Another As I Have Loved You’ [1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17] may be listened to here – from Sunday, May 10th]

Received via email from the Diocese of Central Florida

Please find attached statements from Bishop Brewer, the McCaffrey family and The Cathedral of St. Luke regarding the recent controversy surrounding the delayed baptism of Jackson McCaffrey, the infant adopted son of Rich and Eric McCaffrey.

There has been a lot of misinformation and speculation since this issue became public last Sunday. We hope these statements will largely put that to rest while healing and reconciliation move forward.

This is, at heart, a matter for the McCaffrey family, Dean Tony Clark and Bishop Brewer to resolve and reconcile. They are well along the way to doing just that.

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE CATHEDRAL

In recent days, the Cathedral Church of St. Luke has become embroiled in a media controversy regarding the baptism of a child of a gay couple.

The conjecture and speculation being circulated has contained inaccurate and false information regarding the series of events and interaction with the family.

It is with great care and concern that the Cathedral and the Diocese of Central Florida mutually address this situation with all dignity and respect for the family, the child and the congregation.

Baptism is a rite of new birth and new life in Christ. Parents, godparents and sponsors promise the child will be “brought up in the Christian faith and life” – taught the Gospel – so that the grace of baptism may be nurtured and strengthened by the faith of the family and by proper Christian instruction provided by the Church and at home.

It is important to note that the Dean and Cathedral have always intended to baptize this child. No one, including the Bishop, “denied” this baptism. We regret the delay, apologize for it and are working with his family on a revised date that will accommodate their schedule and respect the sacrament of Holy Baptism of their child. The family and the Dean are committed to restoring their pastoral relationship and their welcome into the life of the Cathedral with support from the Bishop. We ask that you respect the dignity of this process and refrain from destructive and inflammatory commentary.

In the meantime, the Cathedral is open and welcoming to all with the ultimate mission of leading people to Christ and transforming lives. We will continue to provide timeless truths to a changing world through the teachings and interpretation of the Gospel as Jesus instructed in the Great Commission. As a congregation we will support this family in their desire to raise their child in the Christian faith.

We ask for your prayers for the family, the child, the Cathedral and the congregation as we navigate through this process.

In Christ we stand united,

The Cathedral Church of St. Luke

Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

BISHOP BREWER’S STATEMENT ON HIS MEETING WITH THE McCAFFREYS

On the evening of May 7th, I met with Rich and Eric McCaffrey in my office. Our purpose was to get to know each other and talk through the events that occurred surrounding Dean Tony Clark’s decision to postpone the baptism of their son, Jack.

This was the first time the three of us had met. The conversation was open, warm, and frank. I prayed with and for the McCaffreys at the conclusion of our time together.

The McCaffreys indicated that they wanted to move forward with the baptism and for that baptism to take place at the Cathedral. They said they wanted to set a date for the baptism later in the summer “after the dust settles” so that the focus would be on the baptism and nothing else.

As I had just left a meeting of the leadership of the Cathedral, I brought to them the Cathedral’s desire for the McCaffreys to continue worshipping at the Cathedral and for the baptism to proceed there.

We talked about my being a part of the baptism and I told them I would be happy to do so. We look forward to celebrating Jack’s baptism at the Cathedral in the near future.

Blessings,
The Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer
Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

A STATEMENT FROM RICH AND ERIC McCAFFREY

Dear friends,

Less than a week ago I shared a very personal story about our son Jack’s baptism. Since then we have received an overwhelming response. Many have expressed disappointment, anger, and a lack of understanding about the situation that unfolded. However, the common thread is one of support from the community, including members of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke. Know that the support has been reaffirming and sustaining for both Eric and me as we contemplated how we want to proceed with the central issue, baptizing Jack.

Bishop Brewer extended an invitation to meet with us and we had the opportunity to speak with him yesterday evening. We spoke frankly and openly about the chain of events. The Bishop acknowledged he learned the Cathedral set a firm date of April 19 for the baptism, but did not support postponing the baptism. He genuinely wanted to learn about us and expressed his apologies for how it had been handled. Most importantly, he was clear he is supportive of Eric and I, two dads, baptizing our son at the Cathedral and offered to be a part of it.

We are appreciative and are looking forward to the baptism to take place this summer. At the same time we know on many fronts there is healing to be done which will take time. Some may question why we are choosing to return to the Cathedral. We are returning because we still have faith in the goodness of people, and we trust people have good intent and ultimately will do the right thing. This is not to say faith or trust should be given blindly, but there are moments when you must choose to rise above the fray and acknowledge you are part of something bigger.

I close with one more lesson for Jack ”“ Aspire to live your life with grace and forgiveness. You will be better for it.

Change is seldom easy. I thank each of you for listening to us, supporting us, and engaging in the conversation.

Rich McCaffrey

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Baptism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(Guardian) Giles Fraser–I regret that the devil is being made redundant. He’ll be much missed

It’s one of the most famous scenes in cinema. “Michael Francis Rizzi, do you renounce Satan?” asks the priest. “I do renounce him,” replies Michael, straight-faced, knowing full well that his orders to murder Moe Greene, Emilio Barzini, Philip Tattaglia, Victor Stracci and Carmine Cuneo are being carried out at that very moment. A particularly over-the-top organ piece by Bach reaches its climax. “And all his works?” asks the priest. Michael repeats: “I do renounce them.” Brilliant stuff. And a perfect rendition of the moral/existential drama of baptism. It’s not just a little bit of genteel water-sprinkling. It’s not just a chance to get out that floral patterned dress and drink lukewarm cava with a few select friends. It’s a scary participatory drama of death and new life.

Unfortunately, however, the Church of England has just agreed to take the devil out of the baptism liturgy. “Those who work with young people give constant advice that references to the devil are likely to be misunderstood in today’s culture,” the Bishop of Truro told the Church of England’s General Synod this week. What a pity. I’m going to miss the devil and all his works. I always thought those passages rather importantly referenced that little bit of Michael Corleone in all of us. And by their omission, we are being taken still further along the road from baptism as an expression of the big themes of death and resurrection to baptism as a polite middle-class naming ceremony….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theodicy, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Chr Today) Sin but no devil: Church of England debates its baptismal liturgy

A new baptism service without mention of the devil was debated by members of the Church of England General Synod today

The synod, which sent the texts through to the next stage of the authorisation process, heard that the new texts are needed because the world has changed so much, even in the last 15 years.

Parents are turning up to have children baptised who have lost the language of Church, if they ever had it in the first place.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Children, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(JE) Jeff Walton–Episcopal Church Baptisms Dry Up

The report reveals that in U.S. dioceses, baptisms are down five percent from 27,140 in 2012 to 25,822 in 2013. Similarly, marriages are down four percent from 10,366 to 9,933 (the denomination has seen a 40 percent decline in children baptized since 2003 and a 46 percent decline in marriages over the same period). The losses are not evenly distributed, with some dioceses performing worse than others: in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, where an ordained Buddhist was elected (and later failed to gain consent from other dioceses) to be bishop in 2009, zero children were confirmed in 2013.

Episcopal “renewing” dioceses in San Joaquin and Fort Worth are also continuing to struggle: Fort Worth closed five parishes in 2013 (from 22 to 17), with San Joaquin closing two (21 to 19). Pittsburgh added one new parish (36 to 37). Other diocese closing parishes include Maryland (4) and Massachusetts (3), with most of the dioceses in Northeastern Province 1 seeing the closure of at least one parish.

Despite continuing to claim over 70 parishes and 28,000 members following the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (DioSC) and the vast majority of its parishes ending their affiliation with the Episcopal Church, the renewing Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC) has posted updated information on baptisms and weddings, showing a drop from 388 children’s baptisms in 2012 to only 135 in 2013. South Carolina reported 170 children and 143 adults confirmed in 2012, dropping to 54 children and 37 adults in 2013.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, America/U.S.A., Baptism, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Data, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes, Theology

(ACNS) Despite ISIS threat, Baghdad Christians are still seeking baptism

Christians in Baghdad are still being baptised despite the threat of execution by the radical Islamist group Islamic State* (IS) which is currently fighting to get to the Iraqi capital.

The Anglican priest who has served the beleaguered city for more than a decade, Canon Andrew White, today told ACNS he thought the threat posed by IS was actually one reason the believers wanted to be undergo baptism.

“People really wanted to demonstrate their faith and that’s good,” he said. Publicly identifying oneself as a Christian is a particularly courageous move in a country where IS has been intentionally targeting religious minorities.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Baptism, Iraq, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(CT) Roger Olson–Water Works: Why Baptism Is Essential

To be sure, there is no one simple way forward. But both sides must be willing to compromise if they want to see unity. Credobaptists should work to assure paedobaptists, especially those in the evangelical vein, that they do consider them fellow Christians, insofar as they have accepted Christ by faith. And it helps for credobaptists to go one step further and reconsider infant baptism, performed within a context of genuine faith, as valid if imperfect. They can still require would-be members who were baptized as infants to undergo a “completion” of baptism””perhaps immersion upon making a public confession of faith.

Meanwhile, paedobaptists could work harder to understand credobaptist concerns and consider re-baptism as completing infant baptism rather than totally rejecting it. And they would do well to emphasize more strenuously that baptism itself does not save the infant. Similarly, they should not relegate children of credobaptist believers to the status of covenantal outsiders.

Both groups should look beyond their differences and focus on a bigger problem: the growing neglect of baptism among people who call themselves Christians. As followers of Jesus, we must prevent Christ’s call to follow him fully from being drowned out.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Baptism, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CEN) Yes to new Baptismal service

A simplified baptism service could soon be rolled out across the Church of England, in a move away from the ”˜wordy’ traditional liturgy. The Additional Texts for Holy Baptism was before Synod for First Consideration, having been changed since it was introduced by the Diocese of Liverpool, following criticisms of it ”˜dumbing down’ the service. The Bishop of Sodor and Man moved the motion, explaining the need stemming from the ”˜wordy and complex’ nature of the current provision. It is now to be considered by the Revision Committee. The new text shortens the service by omitting elements that are not obligatory. “When a child is brought for baptism he or she comes with empty hands,” Robert Paterson said, “Simply the most precious thing in God’s sight is a child of his creation.” Feedback from families who have taken part in baptism show they remember the symbols of the service more than words. “This is a specific request to draft liturgy to meet pastoral need,” he continued. The Group believed the word ”˜submit’, seen in the current text, ”˜seemed to some like bullying’. All of these texts in their authorised form would be additional, not to replace Common Worship texts, the Bishop promised, and is subject to yet more synodical processes. He alluded to the backlash over the absence of the devil in the new baptism service. “We all know that, for many people, the devil has been turned into a cartoon-like character of no particular malevolence. “We have no quarrel with standing up to the devil: the problem is helping people with little doctrinal appreciation to understand what we mean by affirming that the devil is a defeated power.” The press was heavily criticised by many speakers in the debate highlighting the omission of the devil and sin from the first trial draft. “Wherever possible, the final ”˜Commission’ should be expressed simply and directly, eye-to-eye, and not read from a prepared text.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(RNS) Church of England kicks the devil out of baptism rite

In the traditional service, godparents are asked whether they are ready to renounce the devil and all his works for the sake of the child being baptized.

The new wording, approved Sunday (July 13), only asks whether parents and godparents will “turn away from sin” and “reject evil.”

Speaking after the new wording was overwhelmingly approved, Bishop Robert Paterson denied that the baptism service had been watered down.

“We all know that for many people, the devil has been turned into a cartoonlike character of no particular malevolence,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(RNS) Italian archbishop calls for 10-year ban on godparents to stop Mafia infiltration

After a pledge by Pope Francis to “excommunicate” mobsters from the Catholic Church, an archbishop in southern Italy has proposed a 10-year ban on naming godparents at baptisms and confirmations as a way to stop the Mafia from spreading its influence.

Monsignor Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini, the archbishop of Reggio Calabria, wrote to Francis some time ago with his suggestion “to prevent the exploitation of the church,” in particular by the powerful Calabrian Mafia known as ’Ndrangheta, and discussed his proposal with the pope at the Vatican last weekend.

Mobsters taking part in the baptisms of newborns as a godfather, or “padrino,” help the mob establish a special bond with future generations of potential criminals.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Italy, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Anne Hendershott–No apology necessary from Church of England on baptisms

Declaring that the devil has departed from the Church of England’s baptism service, The Guardian reported on June 20 that “a simplified baptism which omits mention of the devil” is now favored by the clergy who have test-marketed it throughout the United Kingdom. Claiming that the traditional rejection of the devil and all rebellion against God “put off people who are offended to be addressed as sinners,” clergy claimed that they found it much easier to ask parents and godparents to make vows that do not mention Satan.

Responding to a population “which sees no pressing reason to spend Sunday mornings or any other time in Church,” the Guardian reports, the new and improved baptism service also deletes the instruction to the godparents that the child will keep God’s commandments, and learn what a Christian “ought to know and believe to his soul’s health” ”” promising only that the church “shall do all that we can to ensure that there is a welcoming place for you. We will play our part in helping you guide these children along the way of faith.”

The decision to delete the devil from the ritual reveals that the Church of England may be losing its sense of sin ”” and its need for salvation. More than 60 years ago, T.S. Eliot wrote about the sense of alienation that occurred when social regulators ”” like the church ”” began to splinter and the controlling moral authority of a society is no longer effective. He suggested that a “sense of sin” was beginning to disappear. In his play “The Cocktail Party,” a troubled young woman confides in her psychiatrist that she feels “sinful” because of her relationship with a married man. She is distressed not so much by the illicit relationship, but rather, by the strange sense of sin. Eliot writes that “having a sense of sin seems abnormal she believed that she had become ill.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Soteriology, Theology

A Tom Wright Pentecost sermon

Pause on Ascension for a moment. The Ascension, frustratingly, is often radically misunderstood. The Ascension is not about Jesus going away and encouraging his followers to look forward to the time when they, too, will leave this sad old earth and follow him to heaven. The angels do not say to the watching disciples, ”˜This same Jesus, whom you have seen going into heaven, will look forward to welcoming you when you go to join him there,’ but ”˜this same Jesus, whom you have seen going into heaven, will come again in the same way as you saw him go into heaven’. And the point of that so-called ”˜second coming’, or ”˜reappearance’ as several New Testament writers put it, is not that he will then scoop us up and take us away from earth to heaven, but that he will celebrate the great party, the great banquet, the marriage of heaven and earth, establishing once and for all his rescuing, ransoming, restoring sovereignty over the whole creation. ”˜The kingdom of this world,’ says John the Seer, ”˜has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he shall reign for ever and ever.’ Amen, we say at the Ascension. This is the real Feast of Christ the King, and the sooner we abolish the fake one that has recently been inserted into our calendar in late November the more likely we shall be to get our political theology sorted out. And, boy, do we need to sort it out right now. If at a time like this we cannot think and speak and act Christianly and wisely and clearly and sharply into the mess and muddle of the rulers of the world we really should be ashamed of ourselves. Jesus is already reigning, is already in charge of this world. ”˜All authority,’ he says at the end of Matthew’s gospel, ”˜has been given to me in heaven and on earth.’ When he returns he will complete that work of transformative, restorative justice; but it has already begun, despite the sneers of the sceptics and the scorn of the powerful, and we celebrate it with every Eucharist but especially today at Pentecost.

Why especially today? Because at Pentecost we discover, as in last week’s Collect, that the Holy Spirit comes to strengthen or comfort us and exalt us to the same place where our saviour Christ has gone before. In other words, the Spirit is the power of heaven come to earth, or to put it the other way the Spirit is the power that enables surprised earthlings to share in the life of heaven. And, to say it once more, the point about heaven is that heaven is the control room for earth. The claim of Pentecost, from Acts 2 and Ephesians 4 and Romans 8 and all those other great Spirit-texts in the New Testament, especially John 13””16, is precisely that the rule which the ascended Lord Jesus exercises on earth is exercised through his Spirit-filled people. No doubt we do need ”˜comforting’ in the modern sense of that word, cheering up when we’re sad. But we need, far more do we need, ”˜comforting’ in the older sense of ”˜strengthening’, strengthening-by-coming-alongside. Just as, in human ”˜comfort’, a strange thing happens, that the sheer presence, even the silent presence, alongside us of a friend gives us fresh courage and hope, how much more will the presence alongside us and within us of the Spirit of Jesus himself give us courage and hope not simply to cheer up in ourselves but to be strong to witness to his Lordship, his sovereign rule, over the world where human rulers mess it up and ignorant armies clash by night.

So being ”˜exalted to the place where Jesus has gone before’ is precisely not about being snatched away from this wicked world and its concerns. On the contrary, it is to be taken in the power of the Spirit to the place from which the world is run.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Eucharist, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Theology: Scripture

(Wash. Post) Pope picks one of dueling baptism sites in visit to Holy Land

Christians believe that Jesus was immersed in the waters of the Jordan River by John the Baptist, who wore a cloak of camel’s hair and lived on locusts and honey in the desert wilderness.

But the Gospels are not precise about which side of the river the baptism took place on ”” the east bank or the west.

Although it might not matter much to a half-million annual visitors who come to the river for sightseeing or a renewal of faith, it matters very much to tourism officials in Israel and Jordan, who maintain dueling baptism sites, one smack-dab across from the other, with the shallow, narrow, muddy stream serving as international boundary.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptism, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Israel, Jordan, Judaism, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology