Category : Marriage & Family

(Tish Warren via NYT) Tim Keller for Holy Week–How a Cancer Diagnosis Makes Jesus’ Death and Resurrection Mean More

How has cancer and this encounter with your own mortality changed how you see your life and how you see death?

On an emotional level, we really do deny the fact that we’re mortal and our time is limited. The day after my diagnosis, one of the words I put down in my journal was “focus.” What are the most important things for you to be spending your time doing? I had not been focused.

The second change was you realize that there’s one sense in which if you believe in God, it’s a mental abstraction. You believe with your head. I came to realize that the experiential side of my faith really needed to strengthen or I wasn’t going to be able to handle this.

It’s one thing to believe God loves you, another thing to actually feel his love. It’s one thing to believe he’s present with you. It’s another to actually experience his presence. So the two things I wrote down in my journal: one was focus and the other one was “Know the Lord.” My experience of his presence and his love was going to have to double, triple, quintuple or I wouldn’t make it.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Easter, Eschatology, Health & Medicine, Holy Week, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(FT Magazine) ‘We packed fast’: those who left Ukraine, in their own words

Anastasia and Sonia arrived from Dnipro in central Ukraine. Hosted by the Świderski family

Anastasia says:
“My sister called me at 6am, February 24, and asked me if I am alive. I was shocked because I didn’t know what was happening at all, I didn’t listen to the news. My daughter was supposed to have a concert in the kindergarten that day, and she’d just woken up. We never watch the news on television, but after she called we turned it on to see what she was talking about. We saw that they started shooting and bombing all over Ukraine. I was shocked and didn’t know how to react. I started crying. We called a relative that has connections with the army and asked what to do, and she said that we have to leave the city.”

Marcin says:
“It was mostly my wife’s initiative [and] when Anastasia came to us, she asked why we are doing this, and it’s hard to explain. It’s something that feels so natural to us. Maybe because of ­historical reasons, that we thought that in the past, as a nation, we were abandoned during the war. So right now we feel this natural solidarity with this other country that is kind of in the same position — that there is an aggressor, and the rest of the world can’t really intervene, or they don’t want to. And I think that this is something that we as Polish people feel quite familiar with . . . There was no calculation. We didn’t even think it through that well.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Pastoral Theology, Poland, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

Ad Clerum on Retirement from Pittsburgh interim ACNA Bishop Martyn Minns

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

Retirement is a serious business in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), in a country in which there are minimal or non-existent pensions and inadequate healthcare for senior citizens. It is a particular challenge for clergy, who must often fend for themselves. Mandatory retirement age is 70, and to be sure that everyone was fully aware, and birth certificates have not been lost, each bishop’s retirement date is published every year. Shortly before my 70th birthday, Angela and I were called forward at a meeting of the Provincial Synod and we were each given a one-time cash payment of $1000 as our pension. I tried to object, knowing that for many of the poorer bishops this was a substantial amount of money. I was sure they could make better use of it than I could, but I was told, quite firmly, that was not an option. We expressed our heartfelt thanks and thought again about the importance of preparation for retirement.

The first and perhaps most important question is, “What are we retiring to?” Not “What are we retiring from?” Bishop Dave Bena, a dear friend and mentor, has retired a number of times. He retired from military service (he served with distinction as a Marine and then in the US Air Force), and he retired as the suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, as my suffragan bishop in CANA, and most recently as the assistant bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word. He is something of an expert on retirement! But he spells it “retire-ment,” declaring that it is an opportunity to change tires and start a new journey.

One of the great blessings of ordained ministry is that while our particular place of service may change, our call to Gospel ministry remains unchanged – it is a lifelong call.

Read it all (quoted by yours truly at the conclusion to my Lenten teaching on a Christian theology of vocation, KSH).

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Church of Nigeria, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Joseph

O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Marriage & Family, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon shares a lovely story about an event that brought her (and others) joy

Listen to it all (just under 2 minutes).

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Marriage & Family, Theology

Congratulation to, and prayers for, Chip and Beth Edgar

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

(Local Paper front page) Domestic violence in South Carolina cost nearly $360M in 2020 – or $1M a day, study says

The financial cost of domestic violence in South Carolina runs to nearly $1 million a day when you add up the burden put on families, courts, law enforcement and the economy, a study conducted by researchers at the University of South Carolina says.

USC economist Dr. Joseph Von Nessen said the spread of domestic violence cost the state approximately $358.4 million in 2020 alone, a sum that victim advocates describe as leaving a “staggering” toll on the state’s health care facilities, businesses, nonprofits and the judicial system.

“Domestic violence does occur in every county in our state,” Von Nessen said Feb. 15 at a Statehouse press conference to discuss details of the findings. “So it is critical for us to make sure that there’s sufficient resources for intervention and support services within reach of all South Carolinians.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, State Government, Violence

(GR) Cooper Kupp’s spiritual vision: Well, it’s hard not to pay attention to the Super Bowl MVP

It’s hard not to pay attention to what the winner of the Most Valuable Player award has to say after the Super Bowl.

Thus, a few mainstream media features after the Los Angeles Rams’ victory focused on a bit of very personal testimony by superstar wide receiver Cooper Kupp. In a way, what he said resembled the kind of stereotypical Godtalk that filters into the news when believers are asked to express their first reactions after a major event — glorious or tragic — in their lives.

Long ago (pre-Internet), I interviewed the late, great Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry about all of this. People tend to think that believers pray to win football Games and either God hears them or not, he said. The reality is more complex than that and, most of the time, players and coaches are trying to make sense of these events — wins and loses — in the context of how God is working in their lives.

In the case of Kupp, this win in The Big Game linked into what he claimed was a vision after a Super Bowl loss. Here is the top of a story from The Athletic: “How the Rams’ Cooper Kupp’s quiet vision became reality in front of the whole world.”

Read it all.

Posted in Marriage & Family, Media, Religion & Culture, Sports

(CT) Don’t Diss the Early-Marrieds

Most single American adults aspire to be married. But for many now, marriage is supposed to be a capstone achievement rather than a cornerstone of young adult life. The “capstone model” says you are supposed to have all your ducks in a row—education, some professional success, and a clear adult identity—before you marry.

The median age at first marriage has increased over the past 50 years in the United States—from 23 in 1970 to about 30 in 2021 for men, and from 21 in 1970 to 28 in 2021 for women—with no sign of this upward trend leveling off.

Indeed, a recent national survey of millennials (ages 18–33) found the vast majority of respondents agree that marrying later means both people will be more mature, more likely to have achieved important personal goals, and more likely to have personal finances in order. Moreover, these young adults believe that later marriages will be more stable and of higher quality. That is the widely accepted cultural narrative.

Do later unions consistently provide better prospects for marital success than earlier ones? We often hear about the advantages of capstone marriage, but there has been little empirical investigation of those supposed benefits.

In a new State of Our Unions: 2022 report published by the National Marriage Project, the Wheatley Institution, and the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, Alan Hawkins’s team of researchers reports on an empirical investigation of potential differences and similarities between two groups: early-marrieds (ages 20–24), who are more aligned with a “cornerstone marriage” model, and later-marrieds (25-plus), who are more aligned with a capstone marriage model. The study analyzes a wide range of marital outcomes.

Read it all.

Posted in Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(Pzephizo) Andrew Goddard–Can the C of E ever bridge its differences on sexuality?

We could, like the Methodist Church has recently done, simply extend our current practical incoherence into our teaching. We could move to a position where, as a church, we state that we uphold and support contradictory teachings. This would also fail to address either problem and appears to ignore Jesus’ stark warning later in Matthew (and also in Mark and Luke) that “if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand”.

We could, and should, through the LLF discernment process, make one more attempt to see whether we really can find some agreement as to what would be the rock on which we should be building, whether something that has not previously been recognised by the church as rock might nevertheless be a solid foundation we can all recognise as faithful to Jesus.

It may though be that, lamenting our lack of common mind, and renewing our commitment to keep seeking such a common mind, we have to begin to consider seriously what changes our collective double-mindedness renders necessary in how we structure our common life. How can we create sufficient space or distance to enable each view to find expression in an episcopal structure which has some form of agreed teaching that in turn authorises consistent practice and so has intellectual and moral integrity without generating the level of conflict now sadly so common? How can we allow each group of Anglicans to build on what they believe to be the rock and to avoid building on what they believe to be sand?

Because we are here dealing with competing and contradictory visions of faithfulness to Christ, of the holiness to which we are called in Christ, of our created human nature, and of the ground on which we are to build communities of disciples, this is a much greater challenge than that we have faced and struggled with in relation to women priests and bishops. And because our received ecclesial structures are those of episcopacy within a geographically ordered national church and a global Communion this is a much greater challenge than the ecclesial questions faced by the URC and Baptists and others with a different church structure. The sad history of Anglican provinces and the Anglican Communion over the last 20 years confirms how great a challenge it is. But it is a challenge which we must perhaps now face and, as far as possible, face and seek to resolve together, across our differences.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Moms in Middle Age: Rarely Alone, Often Online and Increasingly Lonely

Middle age is a crowded time. It’s also a lonely one. Work and family demands leave little time for nurturing friendships, particularly for women.

Pre-pandemic, conversations about loneliness often centered on men, with talk of a “loneliness epidemic.” But during lockdown, Generation X women, who range in age from 41 to 57 years old, reported the sharpest rise in loneliness, according to a survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted in the spring of 2020 by the Roots of Loneliness Project, a research organization. And the increase in social isolation reported by women living with children was also greatest among those from Gen X, according to an unpublished portion of the survey shared with The Wall Street Journal.

For women feeling burned out from holding family life and work together, social media has typically been the most convenient place to vent and seek connection. But going online has surfaced feelings of inadequacy and loneliness, many say.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Women

(BBC) Kenya’s River Yala: The Mystery and heartbreak of the dead bodies

“I have just seen my brother’s face. Our faces are alike, even the mouth. I have also seen the legs, those are my brother’s. I have no doubt it’s him.”

A distressed Irene Waheto has just stepped out of the hospital mortuary in Yala, western Kenya.

At least 19 unclaimed bodies have been waiting for identification. They were retrieved over the past two years from the nearby River Yala in different stages of decomposition.

Ms Waheto is making frantic calls to her family in Nyeri, a town nearly 300km (185 miles) to the east.

“It is Ndirangu, I am sure it is him,” she cries down the phone.

But how his body ended up in a river so far from home is not clear.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Kenya, Marriage & Family

(BBC) Stanwick man uses 72-year-old toaster every day

A man who uses his 72-year-old toaster every day said he was embracing the spirit of the wartime generation.

Jimmy James, from Stanwick, in Northamptonshire, said the toaster was manufactured in December 1949 and given to his parents as a wedding present.

The 69-year-old said it only needed repairing once every six or seven years.

Mr James said: “I was brought up by the wartime generation and encouraged to repair things and not throw them away.”

He inherited the Morphy Richards pop-up toaster after his father’s death in 1993.

The machine generally needs repairing “once every six or seven years”, he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, History, Marriage & Family

(Economist) China’s birth rate continues to fall

Despite the recent efforts of its government, China’s birth rate is falling. According to data released on January 18th by the National Bureau of Statistics, there were 10.6m births in 2021, 1.4m fewer than the previous year. For five consecutive years population growth has slowed, and last year the number of deaths, at 10.1m, approached the number of births, suggesting that the population may soon start to shrink.

This is a headache for the Chinese Communist Party. Its leaders worry that an ageing population and shrinking workforce will dent the country’s economic growth. After decades of a one-child policy designed to limit population growth, the government has tried to change gear. In 2016 couples were allowed to have a second child for the first time in more than 35 years—and last year the limit was upped to three. The government now tells its people, particularly women, that it is their patriotic duty to have more children. There are plenty of inducements to encourage more energetic procreation, too, including more state-funded childcare and better protection against workplace discrimination for women. Employers often illegally ask women about their childbearing plans in job interviews; some even force female recruits to sign contracts promising not to have children for several years.

Read it all (registration).

Posted in Children, China, Marriage & Family

(Plough) Erika J. Ahern–Divorce Wrecks Children’s Lives Too

Just after Christmas 2021, Honor Jones, a senior editor at the Atlantic, published “How I Demolished My Life: A Home-Improvement Story.” It’s a self-portrait of a mother who, while wrangling with kitchen renovation plans, decides she doesn’t want a new kitchen.

She wants a divorce.

Jones spends the next three thousand perfectly manicured words trying to justify her decision to break up her family. She displays all the self-congratulatory bravado of middle-aged white women who read Henrik Ibsen’s Doll’s House or Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Gray for a high school literature class and then imagine themselves forever in the role of Brave Protestor of Victorian Oppression.

Jones describes her marriage, which produced three children who are still young, as her cage. Her imperfect suburban home is, to her, an icon of her imprisonment.

She doesn’t like the “chaos” of her house and, even with the help of sensible Luba, her hired cleaning woman, she finds the lived-in quality of a home with children irksome.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(Gallup) Is Marriage Becoming Irrelevant?

Americans are less inclined now than in recent years to see marriage as critical for couples who have children together or for couples who plan to spend the rest of their lives together. Most U.S. adults have been married at some point in their lives, but those figures are declining. Still, the vast majority of adults who have never been married remain interested in getting married someday.

Fewer U.S. adults now than in past years believe it is “very important” for couples who have children together to be married. Currently, 29% say it is very important that such a couple legally marry, down from 38% who held this view in 2013 and 49% in 2006.

Another 31% of U.S. adults currently say it is “somewhat important” for couples with children to be married, bringing the total to 60% who consider it important to some degree. Meanwhile, four in 10 say it is not too (18%) or not at all (22%) important.

In 2006, Americans were more than twice as likely to say it is very important (49%) for couples with children to wed as to say it is not important (23%).

Read it all.

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

(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.”

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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).

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