Daily Archives: December 9, 2010

RNS–Ground Zero Church Starts Legal Action in Bid to Rebuild

Nearly two years after negotiations abruptly ended over where a Greek Orthodox church destroyed on 9/11 may rebuild, legal action has begun against several agencies and officials involved in the Ground Zero land dispute.

Until talks broke off in early 2008, leaders from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Ground Zero developers had reached a preliminary agreement to rebuild on a larger piece of property at 130 Liberty Street, allowing the original 155 Cedar Street lot to be used for a vehicle security center.

Under the deal””either binding or tentative, depending on which side you ask””the church would also get $20 million towards its rebuilding costs, which include enhanced security requirements for the Ground Zero area.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

(Western Catholic Reporter) Calgary Anglican parish crosses the Tiber

A year ago, Pope Benedict invited traditionalist Anglicans to return to the fold of Roman Catholicism. Calgary’s St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church is the first parish in Canada to accept his offer.

The 70-member congregation held meetings for 10 months, conducted research, prayed, and discerned about the decision. A vote was held Nov. 21, with 90 per cent in favour of rejoining the Catholic Church.

“The pressures to leave have always been there within the Anglo-Catholic movement,” said Father Lee Kenyon, pastor at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Parish.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

South African Archbishop to help in Controversy over the Provision of Flush Toilets

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has offered to mediate in the Makhaza toilet saga, which has pitted the ANC Youth League against the Democratic Alliance-led provincial government.

“The important issue is the provision of humane living conditions for the people of Makhaza who are directly affected. It should not be a political battle ”” it’s about the health and safety of our fellow citizens,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“Anything I can do to resolve this conflict I will do gladly.” He said “attempts to improve consultation” should be made first before a recent court order on the matter be implemented.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Health & Medicine

An Advent Reflection from the Episcopal Bishop of Virginia

The season of Advent is a challenging time for Christian people. In the span of only four weeks, we are presented with several (huge) themes and messages: the Second Coming of Christ, God’s judgment, our own preparations for those events and the record of God’s direct intervention into human life through the miraculous conception of Jesus in the Blessed Virgin Mary. Furthermore, Advent also uniquely fuses our experience of past, present and future. This is the time when we look at what God has done in the past, what God is doing and saying to us today and what God promises about the future through a single lens, making all of that inseparable ”“ a single, living reality that directs our lives….

What does Advent offer? The famous biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann gets at it best: “A past without gifts, and a future without hope, gives us a present filled with anxiety.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(Washington Post) Robert Samuelson: Supersized government?

People who wonder what America’s budget problem is ultimately about should look to Europe. In the streets of Dublin, Athens and London, angry citizens are protesting government plans to cut programs and raise taxes. The social contract is being broken. People are furious; they feel betrayed.

Modern democracies have created a new morality. Government benefits, once conferred, cannot be revoked. People expect them and consider them property rights. Just as government cannot randomly confiscate property, it cannot withdraw benefits without violating a moral code. The old-fashioned idea that government policies should serve the “national interest” has given way to inertia and squatters’ rights.

One task of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ”” co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson ”” was to discredit this self-serving morality. Otherwise, changing the budget will be hard, maybe impossible. If everyone feels morally entitled to existing benefits and tax breaks, public opinion will remain hopelessly muddled: desirous in the abstract of curbing budget deficits but adamant about keeping all of Social Security, Medicare and everything else. Politicians will be scared to make tough decisions for fear of voter reprisals.

Unfortunately, Bowles and Simpson ducked this political challenge….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Europe, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Local paper Front Page–Overnight cold straining shelter

The lower the temperature, the longer the line out Crisis Ministries’ door.

The 124-bed Charleston homeless shelter already is inching toward its overflow capacity, although winter does not start officially for another week. Lows this week have reached the 20s, and even chillier temperatures are forecast for next week.

“We typically don’t see this kind of weather until January,” said Amy Zeigler, grants manager for the shelter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Poverty

(BBC) World is getting more corrupt, says transparency poll

The world is considered a more corrupt place now than it was three years ago, a poll suggests.

Some 56% of people interviewed by Transparency International said their country had become more corrupt.

The organisation put Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iraq and India in the most corrupt category, followed by China, Russia and much of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, a BBC poll suggests that corruption is the world’s most talked about problem.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Theology

Episcopal Diocese of Texas Parish Unrest Warrants Bishop’s Intercession

During a recent visitation at Trinity, Houston, the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle confronted the vestry for continued attempts by some to undermine the rector’s authority. The congregation worked with a mediator during the spring and summer to address dissention between the rector, staff and parishioners.

The bishop assured the rector, the Rev. Hannah Atkins, of his support noting her commitment to follow recommendations of the mediator, along with numerous lay leaders who were “setting about the corrective measures called for.” Bishop Doyle said however, he was “saddened” by the continued destructive behavior of some and promised to remove current or future vestry members unwilling to work with the rector in good faith.

Read it all and please note there are two accompanying documents that also should be considered.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

An Episcopal Priest in Oregon brings an unconventional approach

Nearly 60 years ago, a young boy from Salt Lake City moved to the mirage-inducing heat of southern Florida streets.

He learned much from segregated fountains and two influential women in Miami, and now the Rev. Dan Lediard has arrived in Hermiston and become the priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Lediard, a former insurance salesman who was ordained four years ago, said his upbringing in the Florida city ”” especially coming from the mostly singular skin shades of Utah ”” quickly made him notice the way people of color were treated.

“It didn’t make any sense,” Lediard said, adding that he was grateful for influences from level-headed folks in his home….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

CSM–In plan to attack Maryland Recruiting Center, echoes of Christmas tree bombing plot

Another would-be jihad car bomber has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of an undercover sting operation.

Antonio Martinez, 21, of Baltimore appeared in federal court on Wednesday and was charged with attempting to explode a car bomb at a military recruiting station in Catonsville, Md.

There was no real bomb. It was all a setup arranged by undercover FBI sources and operatives posing as militant Muslims.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Law & Legal Issues, Terrorism

From the Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously Department: What Happened one Sunday Morning

One Sunday morning an elderly woman walked into a local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door, “Good morning, ma’am. Where would you like to sit?”

“The front row, please,” she replied.

The usher said, “You don’t want to do that. We have a visiting preacher today who is really boring.”

The woman[,] bristling at the comment, asked, “Do you know who I am?”

The usher said, “No, ma’am, who are you?”

She replied “I am the preacher’s mother!”

The usher asked, “Do you know who I am?”

She said, “No.”

He said, “Good.”

–William J. Carl III, The Lord’s Prayer Today (Westminister: John Knox Press, 2006), p.85

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

–Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626)

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.

–Psalm 37:4-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Larry Summers: Recession risk without tax deal

Failure by the U.S. Congress to pass a tax cut deal soon would “materially increase” the risk of the economy stalling and a double dip recession, White House economic adviser Larry Summers said on Wednesday.

Summers, who is leaving his post as Obama’s top economic adviser this month, said Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class and the wealthiest Americans would provide more fiscal support for the economy than most observers expected only weeks ago.

“Failure to pass this bill in the next couple weeks would materially increase the risk that the economy would stall out and we would have a double-dip,” Summers told reporters at the White House.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, President George Bush, Senate, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

(RNS) Cleveland Catholic Bishop Makes Few friends and Many Enemies in Diocesan Down-sizing

Even before he was officially installed as the Roman Catholic bishop of Cleveland in 2006, Richard G. Lennon was already talking about the need to close churches.

“As painful as a funeral is, it’s there that you commend your loved one to God,” Lennon told reporters just weeks before his installation.

Those words, coming from an auxiliary bishop who had just closed scores of churches in Boston, sounded a death knell for dozens more in Northeast Ohio””and unleashed a small but shrill backlash across Lennon’s new flock.

The extensive downsizing is essentially over, although some of the closings remain under appeal with the Vatican. In the end, 50 parishes were closed. Vacant churches are up for sale, merged parishes are moving forward.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Roman Catholic, Theology

(CNA) Christian leaders show solidarity with those impacted by Mount Carmel blaze

The delegation included Melkite Bishop Elias Shacour, Latin Rite Vicar of Jerusalem Msgr. Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, and Anglican Bishop Emeritus Riah Abu al Assal, reported Vatican Radio. The group traveled to the city of Haifa Dec. 4 to receive an update on the damage from the Mount Carmel fire.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Middle East, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Religion & Culture

Americans expect happier holidays, researchers say

It looks like Scrooge will have time on his hands this Christmas.

At least, that is the word from Consumer Reports, which reports that the holidays are getting happier.

Indeed, 40 percent of adults say they expect the coming holiday season to be “happier” than last year’s, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, a unit of Consumers Union, a watchdog organization.

In 2009, 33 percent of adults thought their holidays would be happier than the year before.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Economy, Psychology, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Buster Brown–Funerals and Spiritual Vitality

In a recent article in Christianity Today, a pastor is quoted as saying, “A funeral is like a North Star in the sky, by which a navigator knows where his ship is and how to adjust its direction and get to the destination. At a funeral, you get these coordinates to position yourself in life.” I wholeheartedly agree.

We live in a culture that has forgotten the concept of the brevity of life. Many of us can go for months and even years without attending a funeral and being faced with ultimate issues. But the church is the community of the resurrected Christ- therefore; we say loudly that while death is a reality for all people, it does not triumph because Christ has overcome the grave. Therefore, the understanding of eternity in Christ should teach us how to live well and how to die well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology