Daily Archives: January 9, 2011

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Seamen’s Church Institute

GONZALEZ: SCI’s executive director is the Reverend David Rider

RIDER: We serve the spiritual and humanitarian needs of seafarers through worship, through practical support like connecting the family back home, occasional human rights violations, occasional illness or death””those types of crises ministries we’re involved with to ease the burden on seafarers.

GONZALEZ: SCI has been part of life on New York’s waterfront since its founding in 1834, when it soon established a floating dockside chapel. It was a time when sailors’ lives at sea could be brutal and their earnings while ashore quickly blown on booze and brothels.

RIDER: The average lifespan of a seafarer from the day he started was 12 years. The natural calamities at sea and disease in the nineteenth century and dangers ashore did not bode well for a typical seafarer.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Army Faces Questions over Spiritual Fitness Test

The Army is facing questions over a “spiritual fitness” portion of a mandatory questionnaire, with some atheists calling it “invidious and not inclusive” of soldiers who are nonbelievers.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation learned in December that soldiers were being asked to respond to statements such as “I am a spiritual person” and “I believe there is a purpose for my life.”

If soldiers received a low score on their spiritual fitness questions, they received an assessment that said “Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. … Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture

Peggy Noonan: The Captain and the King

At a time of new beginnings in Washington, and as a new year starts, some thoughts on leadership that begin with two questions. First, why is it a good thing that the captain of the USS Enterprise was this week relieved of his duties? Second, why is the movie “The King’s Speech” so popular and admired? The questions are united by a theme. It is that no one knows how to act anymore, and people miss people who knew how to act.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Military / Armed Forces, Movies & Television

Down Under Anglicans put faith in Generation Next

Move over the Vicar of Dibley – it’s time to recruit a new generation of priests and they don’t want stereotypes.

That’s the message from the Anglican Church, which is tackling a widespread priest shortage. With the number of priests dwindling and many rural parishes forced to share vicars, the Brisbane Diocese is doing all it can to attract younger people to the profession.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

New Episcopal priest brings spike in Bridgewater, Mass., Episcopal Church numbers

Former congregants are returning after a divisive few years in the parish, and new congregants, mostly young families, are drawn in by the new priest, a bubbly 32-year-old mom who smiles easily, cracks jokes and is apt to talk about iPods or pop culture during sermons.

“I wasn’t very happy with the way things were and found myself going to the Whitman church,” said parishioner Suzanne O’Connor, who left the Bridgewater church for three years and returned shortly after [Natasha] Stewart arrived.

O’Connor says personality clashes between congregants and the former head priest were to blame and says most complaints stemmed from discomfort by parishioners who couldn’t afford to donate large sums of money to the church.

Since arriving about two and a half years ago in Bridgewater, Stewart says she has devoted great energy to welcoming all parishioners, regardless of social status and wealth.

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

San Joaquin Anglicans begin search for new bishop

The area’s Anglican community is taking steps to find a new bishop for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. The current bishop, John-David Schofield, announced in 2009 that he plans to retire in October this year

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

A Prayer to Begin the Day

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

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power.

–Hebrews 11:1-3a

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Scarred South Sudan Sees Its Dream of Freedom at Hand

On Sunday, after decades of war and more than two million lives lost, southern Sudan will get the moment it has been yearning for, a referendum on independence. All signs point to the people here voting overwhelmingly for secession, and the largest country on the continent will then begin the delicate process of splitting in two.

The United States government has played a pivotal role in bringing this moment to fruition, pushing the northern and southern Sudanese to sign a peace treaty in 2005 that set the referendum in motion. A proud, new African country is about to be born, but it will step onto the world stage with shaky legs. As it stands now, southern Sudan is one of the poorest places on earth.

Most people here scrape by on less than 75 cents a day. More than three-quarters of adults cannot read. Decades of civil war and marginalization have left the economy so crushed that just about everything is imported, down to eggs. According to Oxfam, a teenage girl has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than finishing elementary school.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Politics in General, Sudan, Violence

Anglicans heading to Rome told they can't stay in their churches

As traditionalist clergy threatened to leave over their opposition to women bishops, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said the Church of England would seek a system of sharing buildings so that defecting worshippers could continue meeting in familiar surroundings.

Yet the decision over whether to permit Catholic congregations to share Anglican church buildings was ultimately left to individual bishops, with the policy varying from diocese to diocese. The ruling that any defectors would have to leave St Barnabas was conveyed to its vicar by the Ven Clive Mansell, Archdeacon of Tonbridge and a senior clergyman in the diocese of Rochester.

“How sad that the Ordinariate seekers, good people who have contributed so much to this parish and its fabric over so many years, were plainly told they should leave with nothing,” added Fr Tomlinson.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Bishop Peter Walker RIP

The Right Reverend Peter Walker, who died on December 28 aged 91, was Bishop of Ely from 1977 to 1989, having previously been Suffragan Bishop of Dorchester and before that Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge.

Walker was a model Church of England bishop ”“ devout, scholarly and pastoral ”“ and had a multitude of friends and admirers. Among these was WH Auden, who once observed: “Friendship with Peter Walker was one of the best things about coming to England.”

Walker was of liberal outlook, and his thinking was much influenced by the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran theologian who was executed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945 and who, during the years of his imprisonment, asked some radical questions about traditional doctrine. But Walker was no extremist, and the title of his only book, The Anglican Church Today: rediscovering the middle way, written in retirement, faithfully reflected his lifelong outlook.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry

Gary Jenkins: Athanasius contra Ecclesiam Anglicanae

From its birth in 1559, the Church of England trumpeted latitudinarianism in the early church as the basis for its existence, and now for the more catholic minded among them they all wonder why ”˜Anglicanism’ has become, like mystery Babylon the great, the “hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”

There are many good, loyal, God loving people within Anglicanism, both those still looking to Canterbury, and those who have abandoned those in communion with ++Rowan Cantaur for putatively more pure forms. Ultimately, however, the anti-Catholic notions of 1559 will catch up to them. Why? Because allowing or accepting anything means holding to nothing. Kinsman can have the final word: “In the Episcopal Church, some of the most conspicuous examples of applied individualism in ministerial free-lances are to be found in ”˜Catholic parishes.’ This is inevitable. Those who believe they possess the Catholic priesthood and the Catholic episcopate are bound, by conditions of the Episcopalian system, to act as priests-at-random and bishops-at-large . . . . Congregational methods seemed ”¦ a travesty on the true work of Bishops and Priests in the Church of God, to illustrate the effort to ”˜raise an altar on one’s own centre of gravity’ and to be ”˜a little Holy Catholic Church, all by one’s self.’ I could never view every minority of one as an Athanasius, or feel that the one criterion of Catholic truth was that it should be held by only one person! I was never on of those Anglo-Catholics who can think of themselves each as Athanasius contra ”“ Ecclesiam. Ego contra: ergo Athanasius!”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Theology

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, 6 Others, Shot at close range By Gunman in Arizona

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and six others were shot after a gunman opened fire at a public event on Saturday, the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s office confirms.

The 40-year-old Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

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Update: There is now more there.

Another update: A White House statement is here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Politics in General, Violence