Daily Archives: January 8, 2011

(AP) A man walks into a bar in Minnesota … to preach

It was a Sunday during Advent, and inside a small pub a few blocks up from the north shore of Lake Superior, 17 people gathered around four bar-top tables shoved into a ring.

Betsy Nelson, the bar’s cook, lit two candles with a cigarette lighter as Addison Houle strapped on an acoustic guitar and sang a slightly off-key rendition of “We Three Kings.” Curt “Fish” Anderson sipped a beer as TVs overhead flickered with NFL pregame shows.

“Father, thank you for this time we can share on Sunday morning with new friends,” prayed Chris Fletcher, an emergency medical technician, part-time bartender and seminary student who has led this service every Sunday morning at Dunnigan’s Pub & Grub since last summer. “We’re getting to know you, and getting to know each other better.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(VOA) Iran Arrests Dozens of Evangelical Christians

Iran has reportedly arrested dozens of Christians, many of them converts from Islam, in a crackdown that began around Christmas. An Iranian official is accusing Protestant evangelical groups of causing a cultural invasion.

Iranian opposition groups are reporting the arrests of dozens of evangelical Christians, many of whom are converts from Islam. Christian groups inside Iran say that the country’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance has also grilled dozens of Christians it accuses of proselytizing.

Armed security officers forcibly entered the homes of Christians, verbally and physically abused them, before handcuffing them and taking them for interrogation,” reports the Cyprus-based group Middle East Concern. It adds that some were released after intense questioning and forcibly coerced statements that they would no longer participate in Christian activities.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Iran, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

In Northwestern Pennsylvania a Downtown Episcopal church merges with two others

Three area Episcopal churches are spreading the word that they have merged to spread the Word.

Trinity Church of New Castle, The Church of the Redeemer of Hermitage and St. Clements of Greenville have combined their congregations, priests and resources to form St. Jude Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Canon Dennis Blauser, vicar and executive pastor, will lead a clergy team of priests and deacons for the new merger. Bishop Sean Rowe said the diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania is embracing the merger.

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

Closing ceremony marks the end of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Michigan

Toward the end of the service, the Bishop led Prayers for the Closing of a Congregation. Part of that prayer was, “God of our beginnings and endings, we celebrate all we have shared as people of St. Peter’s Church and as people of this Diocese and we ask your blessing as we continue on our journey apart from this place.”

As many in the pews remembered their own celebrations at St. Peter’s, the Bishop prayed, “For the works of ministry that have taken place on the blessed ground and within these sacred walls; for the baptisms and professions of faith, for weddings and for burials; for prayers offered and bread and wine offered; for holy food partaken and for the life of this community of faith now closing, we offer prayer and praise to God.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Parishes

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life–The Religious Composition of the 112th Congress

Many analysts described the November 2010 midterm elections as a sea change, with Republicans taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives and narrowing the Democratic majority in the Senate. But this political overhaul appears to have had little effect on the religious composition of Congress, which is similar to the religious makeup of the previous Congress and of the nation, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The 112th Congress, like the U.S. public, is majority Protestant and about a quarter Catholic. Baptists and Methodists are the largest Protestant denominations in the new Congress, just as they are in the country as a whole.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Senate

(BBC) South Sudan's Salva Kiir calls for peace on eve of vote

Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir says there is no alternative to peaceful co-existence with the north, on the eve of an independence vote.

Mr Kiir was speaking after meeting US Senator John Kerry, one of several international figures who have arrived for the vote beginning on Sunday.

The south Sudanese are expected endorse setting up the world’s newest country.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Sudan

(NY Times) Slow Job Growth Dims Expectation of Early Revival

Left unsaid [by the President], however, was the fact that job growth was not enough to absorb people entering the work force in the United States, much less to shrink the unemployment rolls.

R. Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia University’s business school and former chairman of the council of economic advisers for President Bush, remains a guarded optimist. He sees signs of the economy gaining speed.

“We could run as high as 200,000 per month this year, but keep in mind that might only bring the unemployment rate down to 9 percent,” Mr. Hubbard said. “That does very little for the person who is long-term unemployed.”

The so-called real unemployment rate, which includes those workers who are discouraged or have given up looking for work, stands at 16.7 percent.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Personal Finance, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Harriet Bedell

Holy God, thou didst choose thy faithful servant Harriet Bedell to exercise the ministry of deaconess and to be a missionary among indigenous peoples: Fill us with compassion and respect for all people, and empower us for the work of ministry throughout the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who hast manifested thy Son Jesus Christ to be a light to mankind: Grant that we thy people, being nourished by thy word and sacraments, may be strengthened to show forth to all men the unsearchable riches of Christ, so that he may be known, adored and obeyed, to the ends of the earth; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Church of South India

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Praise the LORD!

–Psalm 117

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Longtime Truro Church minister fired for accessing online pornography at work

A longtime minister at one of the country’s largest and most prominent conservative Anglican churches has been fired for repeatedly using a church computer to surf for pornography, an official at the Fairfax church said.

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

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Pornography, Theology

(ACNS) The Anglican Communion rallies in prayer and support behind Sudan

People across the Communion have stepped up to support of the people of Sudan as the country prepares for its historic referendum on Sunday (9th).

Online demonstrations of concern for the state of the country and for its pending vote include prayer walls, a Facebook campaign, videos and blogs.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams issued a statement on Friday calling the 9th January “an immensely important day for Sudan.” He urged everyone to stand with the Sudanese people “to ensure that the referendum takes place peacefully and that the process and the results are fully respected.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan

Archbishop Ademowo: Security in Nigeria Worrisome and Porous

The Dean of the Anglican Church in Nigeria said the attitude of sit down and look is not going to work urging everybody to be involved. In his opinion, members of the national assembly should be able to contribute their quota in serving this country sacrificially, and plough back from the huge sum of money they are earning for the development of this nation.

He urged them to use their constituency allowance for the utilisation of the purpose for which it is earmarked. He made a prophetic declaration concerning this country that it is well with her.
He however urged the president to intensify efforts at sorting out the problem of electricity adding that once that is sorted out every other thing would be put in place.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Notable and Quotable

America’s status as one of the least homicidal places on earth did not last. In the middle of the 19th century the murder rate started going up, and by the end of the century the modern pattern was set. From 1918 to the present America’s homicide rate has fluctuated between six and nine murders per 100,000 adults per year.

The contrast betwen the U.S. and the rest of the world’s affluent democracies is startling. Nearby Canada has had only one-quarter of America’s per capita killings since World War II; next in line is Australia, then Italy, then ten more nations, and then England, the Netherlands and Ireland, which have had approximately one-tenth America’s murder rate in the past 65 years. Even if one believes, as the media apparently do, that the only murders worth noting are those of Americans of European descent””who are actually “the least likely victims of homicide”””the U.S. remains “two and a half to eight times more homicidal than any other affluent democracy.”

Roth is not simply seeking to describe. He also wants to explain. In the book’s introduction he makes a convincing case that while standard (and wildly different) liberal and conservative explanations of America’s homicidal nature””endemic poverty, weak policing, alcohol and drug abuse, easy access to guns, a persistent frontier mentality, a highly patriarchal culture, an obsession with honor, the failure of “civilization” to take hold in America, the legacy of slavery””tell us something about the patterns of murder, they fail to do what historians must do: explain change over time. How did it come about that, America’s colonial and early Republic history notwithstanding, “two-thirds of the world’s people [now] live in nations that are less homicidal than the United States”?

–William Trollinger Jr., in a review of Randolph Roth’s new book “American Homicide”, Christian Century, December 28, 2010, page 26

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Violence