Category : Marriage & Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

(NYT front page) No Shots, No Day Care: Parents of Kids Under 5 Stuck in Grueling Limbo

Twice last year, Margaret Schulte and her husband, Jason Abercrombie, traveled 11 hours round-trip to Louisiana from their home in Tulsa, Okla., in the hopes of vaccinating their children, who were 2 and 4, against the coronavirus.

The only way they could get shots for their children — among the more than 19 million Americans under 5 years old who are not yet eligible for vaccinations — was to take part in a clinical trial. So they signed up, hoping a successful vaccine would mean that by now, or at least sometime very soon, a semblance of prepandemic life would be on the horizon.

It has not worked out that way.

The Pfizer trial that their children participated in did not produce promising results, the company said last month. Nor have vaccines emerged from other corners. Moderna has yet to release results of its pediatric trials.

Now Ms. Schulte and Mr. Abercrombie are among the millions of parents stuck in an excruciating limbo during a surge of Omicron cases, forced to wrestle with day care closures and child care crises as the rest of the world appears eager to move on.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Stress, Travel

(Telegraph) Mother gives up baby for adoption over dishonest sperm donor

A Japanese woman has given up her baby for adoption after discovering the sperm donor lied about his education and ethnicity.

The woman, identified only as a Tokyo resident in her 30s, is suing the man in a case that has cast light on Japan’s widely unregulated sperm donation industry.

She is seeking around 330 million yen (£2m) for emotional distress, claiming he lied in order to have sex with her, in the first legal case of its kind, according to Japanese media.

The woman and her husband reportedly came into contact with the man, who is in his 20s, via a social media sperm donation account while trying to conceive their second child.

Read it all (registration).

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Japan, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology

One of the best stories from this week for your encouragement–(NBC) UPS Driver Delivers Touching Tribute To New Mom

“New mom Jessica Kitchel was still recovering from a c-section and feeling a little down when a U.P.S. driver delivered a package to her Georgia home. Dallen Harrell, a new dad himself, left a simple, heartfelt message wishing them well with their newborn.”

Take the time to watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Anthropology, Children, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology

The Queen’s Christmas message for 2021

And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year.

They teach us all a lesson – just as the Christmas story does – that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.

It is this simplicity of the Christmas story that makes it so universally appealing: simple happenings that formed the starting point of the life of Jesus — a man whose teachings have been handed down from generation to generation, and have been the bedrock of my faith. His birth marked a new beginning. As the carol says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Read it all.

Posted in Christmas, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) NYU Is Top-Ranked—In Loans That Alumni and Parents Struggle to Repay

Five months after Kassandra Jones earned her master’s in public health from New York University in May 2019, she still hadn’t landed a job in the field. She was staring down a six-figure student-loan balance and had to pay for rent and food.

So she sold her eggs. Again.

Ms. Jones first harvested her eggs before starting at NYU in 2017 to help pay for moving to the city, she said. She received a $12,500 annual scholarship and relied on $131,000 in federal loans to cover the rest of her tuition and expenses. She has given her eggs five times, including to an NYU fertility clinic, earning $50,000.

Now 28 years old, Ms. Jones is working freelance on public-health campaigns for nonprofits making about $1,500 a month, which isn’t covering her living expenses, she said. She is applying for new jobs and considering leaving the field. “There are definitely moments where that number just looms as this tunnel that doesn’t have a light at the end of it,” she said of her debt. “It feels like I’m kind of trapped.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing, Women, Young Adults

An Ad Clerum on Domestic Violence from Bishop Martyn Minns

It all began with a knock at the kitchen door at the Truro rectory. Standing there were two women. I recognized one of them as “Karen,” a long-time, active member of the congregation, but I didn’t know the other woman standing with her. I did notice, however, that she looked as if she had been crying.

“Angela, it’s for you!” I called, and invited them in. After a few more brief words, I retreated upstairs to my study, while Angela listened to their story.

They were next-door neighbors in a nearby apartment complex. “Maria” was a recent immigrant, she and her husband both refugees from Eastern Europe. He was an angry and abusive man, and Karen had heard their arguments through the walls of the apartments. Sometimes she heard the sounds of violence. She had knocked on their door a couple of times to ask if all was well, and they had reassured her that it was. Karen had thought about speaking to the police, but she knew that Maria would have been alarmed at that, so she kept quiet and kept praying. But this night was different. The sounds of violence were more intense and the screams more piercing, and then their door slammed and there was silence and muffled sobs. Karen went to their door and this time Maria couldn’t hide the nightmare. Her husband had stormed out, carrying a gun, and she was terrified. Unsure about the best way forward, Karen had brought Maria to us. We would know what to do!

Angela listened and prayed and then invited them both to spend the night in our guest room. We would deal with next steps in the morning.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence, Women

(Deseret News) ‘We can change the air that abusers breathe’: How faith communities are addressing domestic violence

They looked like the poster couple for faith and family. He was a successful professional, who provided for his wife and children and led them in prayer. She was a stay-at-home mom with a leadership position in their religious community. They seemed to exemplify how great a life rooted in belief could be.

But behind closed doors, Amy, who asked to be identified by a pseudonym, endured years of spiritual abuse as her husband turned aspects of her faith against her.

Shortly after they married, Amy says, her husband became obsessed with the idea that she wasn’t telling him the truth about her past. He forced her to pray with him about it. Constantly. He insisted she share with him every detail of her unmarried life.

After these discussions, he would manipulate and coerce his physically and emotionally exhausted wife into having sex. Only later did she realize the pattern amounted to sexual abuse, though he claimed he was driven by love and a desire to make their relationship perfect and eternal.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Islam, Judaism, Marriage & Family, Men, Mormons, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(NYT front page) The Woman on the Bridge Police and prosecutors spent five years chasing a domestic violence case. Would it be enough?

Frustration was nothing new, not for any of them. Ms. Burns, who specializes in domestic violence, describes the criminal justice response to these crimes as ineffectual, like “putting Band-Aids on bullet wounds.” She spends much of her time scraping for evidence that can be admitted in court, but so many of the assaults she prosecutes take place behind closed doors, she said, that not guilty verdicts are common.

Ms. Neal’s suicide — the way she had slipped away from them — made this failure different, more agonizing.

“From the criminal justice side of it, we had a piece of paper telling Nelson not to contact her, that’s what we had,” Ms. Burns said. In domestic violence cases, she added, “the dynamics and the history are too deep” to be altered by “a piece of paper from a judge.”

Domestic violence cases are so challenging that some experts, like Rachel Teicher of John Jay College’s National Network for Safe Communities, argue that arrests and prosecutions are simply inadequate as a response, and should be supplemented with other kinds of interventions.

Perpetrators and victims become accustomed to a cycle — charges dismissed or reduced, restraining orders violated — and conclude, she said, that “these are systems I don’t have to take all that seriously.”

“The folks at the front lines are often using every tool they can,” she said. “Sometimes our tool kit isn’t big enough.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Police/Fire, Psychology, Suicide, Violence, Women

(C of E) Church opens “baby bank” lifeline as new parents struggle to make ends meet

A vital service offering support to new parents who are struggling to afford essentials for their babies is being run by a church.

The North Shields Baby Bank, based at St John’s Church Percy Main, in North Tyneside, has helped more than 60 families since its launch in the summer with items including nappies, wipes, clothing and baby formula.

Revd Lee Cleminson, Vicar of St John’s, said: “We’ve all heard of food banks and know what a valuable lifeline they are for people struggling.

“However, as a result of parents discreetly contacting the vicarage, asking for help, there was a clear need for a similar scheme which supplied basic baby items.

“One mother who came to the church for help explained that she was having to choose between charging her electric meter and buying nappies for her beautiful newborn baby boy.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(NPR) Parents are scrambling after schools suddenly cancel class over staffing and burnout

Two weeks’ notice: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina voted on Oct. 28 to close schools on Nov. 12 for a “day of kindness, community and connection.”

Five days’ notice: On the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 17, Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan announced that schools would be closed the following Monday and Tuesday, extending Thanksgiving break for a full week. The district cited rising COVID-19 cases and staff shortages.

Three and even two days’ notice: On Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 9 and 10, three different districts in Washington state — in Seattle, Bellevue and Kent — announced schools would be closed that same Friday, the day after Veterans Day, due to staff shortages.

Schools and districts around the country have been canceling classes on short notice. The cancellations aren’t directly for COVID-19 quarantines; instead schools are citing staff shortages, staff fatigue, mental health and sometimes even student fights.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(Wash. Post) More Americans say they’re not planning to have a child, new poll says, as U.S. birthrate declines

More U.S. adults who do not already have children are saying they are unlikely to ever have them, a new Pew Research Center survey finds — findings that could draw renewed attention to the risks of declining birthrates for industrialized nations.

Experts are concerned that the U.S. birthrate, which has declined for the sixth straight year, may not fuel enough population growth on its own to keep the future economy afloat and fund social programs.

Women between the ages of 18 to 49 and men between 18 and 59 who said they are not parents were asked the question, “Thinking about the future, how likely is it that you will have children someday?”

In October, 26 percent of them said it is “very likely,” a six-point drop from 2018, when 32 percent answered “very likely.” Meanwhile, the share of Americans who answered “not too likely” in 2021 grew to 21 percent, compared to 16 percent in 2018.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family, Sociology

(AP) Thousands of military families struggle with food insecurity

It’s a hidden crisis that has existed for years inside one of the most well-funded institutions on the planet and has only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. As many as 160,000 active-duty military members are having trouble feeding their families.

That estimate by Feeding America, which coordinates the work of more than 200 food banks around the country, underscores how long-term food insecurity has extended into every aspect of American life, including the military.

The exact scope of the problem is a topic of debate, due to a lack of formal study. But activists say it has existed for years and primarily affects junior-level enlisted service members — ranks E1 to E4 in military parlance — with children.

“It’s a shocking truth that’s known to many food banks across the United States,” said Vince Hall, Feeding America’s government relations officer. “This should be the cause of deep embarrassment.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing

The Archbishop of York’s Sermon for White Ribbon Sunday

And, of course, we don’t need to look far. Jesus models for us a very different attitude to women. The way he treated women and responded to them was radically different to the prevailing culture of his day and deeply shocking to many who encountered him.

It is likely that many women travelled with him in the wider band of his disciples.

Martha and Mary were his friends and he was a welcome guest in their house.

When he was thirsty, he asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. We can’t realise how scandalous this was. Not only was he approaching a woman in a way that was unacceptable in his time, it was a Samaritan woman, whose religious beliefs were anathema to the Jews. In this way, Jesus crossed boundaries and broke, and challenged those cultural and religious traditions that not only excluded women, but also enabled them to be treated as property and dealt with in the same negligent and wilfully violent way.

Then, we have this beautiful story of Jesus honouring and receiving the kindness of the woman who anoints him, shaming the men who had welcomed him in by her profound care born. I suppose, of her thankfulness to him and her recognition of what she saw in him, nothing less than a different way of being human – a different way of being a man (see Mark 14. 3-9).

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sexuality, Violence

(NYT) Election Results Provide a Stark Warning to Democrats

Mr. Youngkin had campaigned heavily on education and seized on Mr. McAuliffe’s remark that he didn’t “believe parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Mr. Youngkin used the comment, made during a debate, as an entryway to hammer his rival on issues like race and transgender rights in schools. The issues simultaneously motivated the G.O.P. base while casting the matter to moderates as an issue of parental rights.

“This is no longer a campaign,” Mr. Youngkin said. “It is a movement being led by Virginia’s parents.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Joe Biden, State Government

(CBS) Saturday Morning encouragement–Some Louisiana Fathers transform life at a local school

‘When an SOS went up at a troubled Louisiana high school, who answered the call? A bunch of dads. Steve Hartman shares the story in “On the Road.”‘

Watch it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Men, Violence

(IFS) Aaron Renn–Is the Pandemic Changing the Nature of Home Life for Many for the better?

Most white-collar workers in America were forced to work at home during the pandemic. Many of them discovered they liked it and want to keep doing it. Many companies, especially in the tech industry, have responded with policies allowing work from home permanently. This includes firms like Twitter and Spotify. Nationwide Insurance is closing several offices and allowing companies in those locations to work remotely. Others like Ford are embracing a hybrid model with a mix of in office and remote work. Pre-pandemic, the share of people working from home was already rising, going from 3.3% in 2000 to 5.7% in 2019. Even if only a small share of workers stays fully remote, this will be millions of additional workers. While work from home is not the same as a home-based business, it still represents a radical reorientation of the location where work is performed. It’s as if the textile business reverted from factory-centered back to the putting-out system.

Add it together, and this is a radical shift for many families. They are now working from home, caring for children at home, schooling their children at home, doing their own yard work, cooking at home, and improving their home themselves.

This may not be a reversion to pre-industrial homesteading, but it does represent a significant re-functionalization of the home within a post-industrial context for millions of families. Whether this will persist for the long term is yet to be seen, but with inflation and shortages continuing to squeeze the economy, the Do-It-Yourself family will likely be with us for at least a while longer. By choice or under duress, some Americans are going to have to start saying goodbye to their servants.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

(CLJ) Joshua Hren–The Uneven Race Between Work and Marriage

Although the unalloyed logo (a “childlike cartoon face of indeterminate ethnicity”) possesses a facial affect that almost forces the onlooker to smile with satisfaction, when Schmidt mingles it with his own face he sours. Wallace’s image does not sugar the icon’s awful truth. Men who yearn for marriage but are consumed by the competing demands of work are innately dissatisfied: cut off from the daily demands, the “domestic discipline,” the saving need to sacrifice for family, their identification with work becomes overwhelming. The atomized “self” is an extraordinarily powerful invention, and it frees us from inherited obligations and forms, institutions and norms. But there is always a catch. The self, if sometimes experienced as expansive and massive, is intrinsically small.

“What is love?” asks Nietzsche’s Last Man: “What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?’ thus asks the last man, and blinks. The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small . . . One still loves one’s neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth.” Notice the dynamic at play: the last man, who makes everything small, blinks at the biggest things, but his pusillanimous state does not leave him unsettled. Schmidt, on the contrary, recognizes and balks at his own smallness—he has eyes for the sacred and yearns to be transcended but does not know how; gazing at the distant dots of the cosmos and even using them as guides, he instantiates one of the riddling problems of our age: marriage remains a lodestar for many, but exemplary (if flawed) marriages—which mix sacramental mysteries with utter practicalities—are declining with terrible speed, a phenomenon exacerbated by an excessive identification of self and work.

David Foster Wallace’s story smokes our minds with the mushrooming loneliness of his atomic protagonist. Schmidt’s “self” has lost and has been remade in the image of his abstracted and sophistic workplace. Chesterton was fundamentally worried that capitalism’s logic would wear away at the deep roots of the family. In “Mister Squishy,” we watch not the atoms being smashed, but the progeny of this fission, circling his job in an earthbound orbit, unable to bond, bouncing off the walls of his condo. A conscientious employee, exemplary even. A smashed man, sickly squishy, hard to digest.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

(Deseret News) Perspective: The group that’s happiest in the pandemic may surprise you

There is only one problem with this handwringing: It no longer fits the data.

While it is true that parents once were more likely to report they were less happy than their childless peers, today that is most definitely not true. Recent research by Chris Herbst and James McQuivey suggests the happiness tide has turned in toward parents, especially those who are married.

This finding is also evident in a new YouGov survey, conducted this summer by the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution. The survey shows that in the wake of COVID-19, childless Americans are now more likely to report their lives are lonely, and less likely to report they are meaningful and happy. A clear majority of men and women (nearly 60%) ages 18-55 who do not have kids say they are lonely some, most, or all of the time.

Only a minority of their peers with children, 45%, report this kind of loneliness.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology

Elizabeth Seitz RIP

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, France, Marriage & Family

(GR) Lisa Beamer on the hard spiritual lessons learned in a media spotlight after 9/11

After the press blitz, Beamer tried to withdraw from the spotlight. It was especially painful, she said, that critics called her a hypocrite who was seeking fame, while some believers put her “on a pedestal as God’s chosen woman for such a time as this.”

Nevertheless, “Todd was gone,” she said. “I was called a ‘widow’ and a ‘single parent,’ titles that literally made me sick to my stomach. My sweet husband had become a mythic figure to the public, an idealized version of manhood who died valiantly defending his country.”

In the end, Beamer said it was crucial to strengthen her “core identity,” focusing on her faith and trust in “God’s goodness and his greatness.” She was convinced that, facing the crisis aboard Flight 93, her husband had managed to do that.

That’s the final lesson, she told the students in chapel: “If God is bigger than we can image, we are wasting our time to chase after something or someone lesser. … We must place our ultimate identity not in who we are, but in who we know God to be. That’s it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, History, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(Guardian) Four in 10 young people fear having children due to climate crisis

Four in 10 young people around the world are hesitant to have children as a result of the climate crisis, and fear that governments are doing too little to prevent climate catastrophe, a poll in 10 countries has found.

Nearly six in 10 young people, aged 16 to 25, were very or extremely worried about climate change, according to the biggest scientific study yet on climate anxiety and young people, published on Tuesday. A similar number said governments were not protecting them, the planet, or future generations, and felt betrayed by the older generation and governments.

Three-quarters agreed with the statement “the future is frightening”, and more than half felt they would have fewer opportunities than their parents. Nearly half reported feeling distressed or anxious about the climate in a way that was affecting their daily lives and functioning.

The poll of about 10,000 young people covered Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Portugal, the UK and the US. It was paid for by the campaigning organisation Avaaz.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

Must not Miss 9/11 Video: Welles Crowther, The Man Behind the Red Bandana

The Man Behind the Red Bandana from Drew Gallagher on Vimeo.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Sports, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Debating the Church and same-sex marriage

When I was invited to speak, I began by enumerating the points I wanted to make. I have learnt that this makes it harder for a presenter to cut me off before I have made all the comments that I plan to!

My first point was to note that our current approach in society is a novelty, and is the result of some fundamental changes in the way we think about our bodies, sex, and relationships. I have noticed that the debate often starts with the assumption that belief in same-sex marriage is obvious, natural, and is the final end goal for our thinking about relationships. A little bit of cultural and historical awareness, though, shows that, in comparison with most cultures in most of history, we are very odd; I also want to point out that we have faced very rapid changes in attitudes, and changes are likely to continue in one direction or another. I noticed that Andrew nodded his agreement on this point.

My second point was that the C of E is rooted in the 1662 BCP and the 39 Articles; if we are to change our doctrine of marriage then we will need to redefine the C of E. I went on to make the point I have made previously in various places, that there is a strong consensus of what the Bible says, and to introduce change we do (as Francis Spufford does with honesty) need simply to say that, on this, the Bible is wrong. Andrew seemed to agree with the first of these two, but shook his head on the second.

Read it all and please do watch the debate via the links provided.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology: Scripture

Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Finalist Candidates Introduction Videos

Dear Clergy and Delegates,

To help you get to know the candidates for Bishop Coadjutor of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina before our upcoming walkabouts and election, we are providing individual videos which we hope will give you a more personal introduction to each candidate.   Please view these in their entirety before the walkabouts. If you have not yet registered for a walkabout you may do so here.

You may read the candidates’ spiritual autobiographies and view their resumes here.

Take the time to go through all three.

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

(America) ‘When does it end?’ Parents on the most stressful back-to-school season of the pandemic

In my sister’s case, as in many others, the school board delayed its decision about mask wearing until the very last minute. It also reversed course: After saying two weeks ago masks would be encouraged but optional, the board held a 4.5 hour public meeting this week, which ended with the announcement that they would require them.

And then, said my sister, “People flipped out.” Those opposed to masks are now promising boycotts, walkouts and protests in front of the school. Threats being made online suggest even worse. My sister looks on, feeling helpless as she thinks about her three children, two of whom have had to endure this seemingly endless combat for most of high school. “It’s just, when does it end?” she said to me.

The question is particularly acute for parents of younger children. They have spent most of the last 18 months trying to negotiate the changing needs of their children’s education and well-being while also managing their own jobs and health. And while teenagers and adults have been able to enjoy much greater freedom since getting vaccinated, there is no vaccine yet for children under 12.

I spoke to 10 parents from across the country to hear how they are doing in the midst of it all. While their situations varied greatly—sometimes to the point that it seemed like they lived in different countries—what I found were people wanting to be hopeful, trying to keep perspective and yet also in many cases anxious, frustrated and exhausted by their schools, states, fellow parents and our current reality….

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(NPR: Storycorps) A Family Remembers The 1st U.S. Soldier Killed In The War In Afghanistan

The last conversation Keith Chapman had with his younger brother Nathan Chapman was on Christmas Day 2001. Nathan had called up his family from Afghanistan.

Although the 31-year-old, a sergeant first class with the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Group, couldn’t disclose his location, his family put it together based on what time Nathan said it was where he was calling from.

“I don’t remember that we said very much,” Keith said during a StoryCorps interview in Frederick, Md., last week with their mother, Lynn Chapman.

That wasn’t so unusual. The brothers, just 2 1/2 years apart in age, had always had a complicated dynamic that was born from their two very different personalities.

A couple weeks after that phone call, Keith heard on his car radio that an American soldier had been killed in Afghanistan. He thought, “Well, yes, Nathan is there, but he’s one of who knows how many? So, I put it out of my mind.”

That is, until he got home that evening.

“My wife greets me at the door and says, ‘I have bad news,’ ” he said.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan

Author and Beloved Anglican Pastor Thomas McKenzie and one of His 2 Children Have Been Killed in a Car Accident

On Monday, [the] Rev. Thomas McKenzie and his 22-year-old child Charlie were killed in a car crash. The two were en route to New Mexico where Charlie, who had recently changed their legal name, was set to start their senior year at college.

“It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you that this morning, Thomas and his 22-year-old daughter Ella died in an accident on Interstate 40 west of Nashville,” wrote Church of the Redeemer’s associate pastor Rev. Kenny Benge in an email.

“They were driving to Santa Fe, New Mexico where Ella was to continue her studies at St. John’s College. Thomas was just beginning his well-deserved sabbatical.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

(RNS) With more than a million children orphaned by COVID19, faith-based groups look to mobilize support

More than a million children around the world may have been orphaned by COVID-19, losing one or both parents to the disease or related causes.

Another estimated 500,000 lost a grandparent or another relative who cared for them.

The numbers are from a new study by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others that highlight another grim reality in the sweeping devastation caused by the ongoing pandemic.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Care

(GR) Terry Mattingly–Story worth covering? Life and death challenges tested faith of Suns coach Monty Williams

“I tell every new player … that the essence of my coaching is to serve,” said Williams, the National Basketball Coaches Association’s 2021 coach of the year. “As a believer in Christ, that’s what I’m here for. … I tell them all the time, if I get on you, I’m not calling you out – I’m calling you up.”

That message meshes well with what superstar Chris Paul writes on his sneakers game after game: “Can’t Give Up Now.” That’s a popular Gospel song with this chorus: “I just can’t give up now. I’ve come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me the road would be easy and I don’t believe He’s brought me this far to leave me.”

Williams and Paul have known each other for a decade, with professional and personal ties strengthened by pain and frustration. While Paul’s on-court struggles are well documented, it’s impossible to understand their bond without knowing the details of his coach’s life as a Christian, husband and father of five children.

“The real reason to watch” the playoffs this year, said former ESPN commentator Jason Whitlock, in his “Fearless” podcast, is “that God has placed a messenger inside the NBA’s secular madness. Monty Williams might be the most important man in sports. The 49-year-old former Notre Dame and NBA player is the leader and example that America needs right now.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sports