Daily Archives: February 16, 2011

(Living Church) Episcopalians, Moravians Celebrate Common Cup

About 500 people gathered at Central Moravian Feb. 10 to celebrate the full communion of the Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church. The Episcopal Church approved the full-communion agreement at General Convention in 2009, and the two Moravian provinces approved it in 2010. The churches had practiced interim eucharistic sharing since 2003.

This historic occasion featured a prelude with music by the Central Moravian Brass Ensemble, and opened with a procession of nearly a dozen Episcopal and Moravian bishops. For this event, the Central Moravian choir merged with those of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity and Trinity Church, Bethlehem.

Yet for all its importance, the service was less than two hours long, including the singing of 11 hymns. The service honored both churches’ traditions on the elements of Communion, offering worshipers a choice between wine or grape juice. Recitations were short but heartfelt, stressing fellowship and unity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Eucharist, Other Churches, Sacramental Theology, Theology

(WSJ) Banks Push Home Buyers to Put Down More Cash

The down payments demanded by banks to buy homes have ballooned since the housing bust, forcing many people to rethink what they can afford and potentially shrinking the pool of eligible buyers.
Last week, the Obama administration called for gradually raising down payments to a minimum of 10% on conventional loans, meaning those that can be bought or guaranteed by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And mortgage data show that private lenders are already pushing sharply higher the required down payments, mainly to mitigate their risk as home prices continue to fall.

The median down payment in nine major U.S. cities rose to 22% last year on properties purchased through conventional mortgages, according to an analysis for The Wall Street Journal by real-estate portal Zillow.com. That percentage doubled in three years and represents the highest median down payment since the data were first tracked in 1997.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Egypt's Leaders Found the ”˜Off’ Switch for the Internet

Epitaphs for the Mubarak government all note that the mobilizing power of the Internet was one of the Egyptian opposition’s most potent weapons. But quickly lost in the swirl of revolution was the government’s ferocious counterattack, a dark achievement that many had thought impossible in the age of global connectedness. In a span of minutes just after midnight on Jan. 28, a technologically advanced, densely wired country with more than 20 million people online was essentially severed from the global Internet.

The blackout was lifted after just five days, and it did not save President Hosni Mubarak. But it has mesmerized the worldwide technical community and raised concerns that with unrest coursing through the Middle East, other autocratic governments ”” many of them already known to interfere with and filter specific Web sites and e-mails ”” may also possess what is essentially a kill switch for the Internet.

Because the Internet’s legendary robustness and ability to route around blockages are part of its basic design, even the world’s most renowned network and telecommunications engineers have been perplexed that the Mubarak government succeeded in pulling the maneuver off.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Egypt, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Local Paper Front Page–Valued school district workers face uncertainty

John Wright could make more money doing something else, but he’s found his calling as a custodial worker at James Simons Elementary….

Co-workers can’t imagine the school without his uplifting presence. Cafeteria manager Karen Brown has known him for 10 years, and she’s watched him develop relationships with students to help keep them out of trouble. Wright does the jobs that no one else wants to do, but he never complains.

“It’s the little things you don’t even think about,” she said. “It would be a struggle without him.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Church of England–Education is about the whole person

Education is about the whole person not just the economy and should be more than just learning facts, say the Archbishop of Canterbury and church leaders in the run up to Education Sunday – February 20 – which this year takes the theme of ‘Firm Foundations’.

“Education is not just a process of learning facts or even skills. It should be a joyful and rich passing-on of the treasures God has given. Education Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to give thanks for this responsibility to enrich lives, and to renew our commitment to it, “said Dr Rowan Williams.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

BBC Radio Four Today Programme Audio Segment–Are we all in debt to the Devil?

Herewith the BBC blurb:

The Devil is the personification of evil. But he has inspired great writers down the ages. That is the theme of a new book – the Devil As Muse – by a Cambridge academic Dr Fred Parker. He discusses the cultural significance of Lucifer with Peter Owen-Jones, who is now a vicar now but was an advertising executive in another life.

Listen to it all (5 3/4 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology

(New Statesman) Olivier Roy–This is not an Islamic revolution

In Europe, the popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have been interpreted using a model that is more than 30 years old: the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. Commentators have been expecting to see Islamist groups – the Muslim Brotherhood and their local equivalents – either at the head of the movement or lying in wait, ready to seize power. But the discretion of the Muslim Brotherhood has surprised and disconcerted them: where have the Islamists gone?

Look at those involved in the uprisings, and it is clear that we are dealing with a post-Islamist generation. For them, the great revolutionary movements of the 1970s and 1980s are ancient history, their parents’ affair. The members of this young generation aren’t interested in ideology: their slogans are pragmatic and concrete – “Erhal!” or “Go now!”. Unlike their predecessors in Algeria in the 1980s, they make no appeal to Islam; rather, they are rejecting corrupt dictatorships and calling for democracy. This is not to say that the demonstrators are secular; but they are operating in a secular political space, and they do not see in Islam an ideology capable of creating a better world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Egypt, Middle East, Religion & Culture

(NY Times) Police Departments Downsize, From 4 Legs to 2

(Charleston, South Carolina) He was a 10-year veteran of the Charleston Police Department, specializing in patrolling this city’s palmetto-lined streets, improving community relations and keeping big crowds in check ”” until his unit was disbanded, a victim of budget cuts.

So this month he was put out to pasture, quite literally.

Napoleon lost his policing job, along with the other five police horses here, as Charleston joined the growing number of cities that have retired their horses and closed their stables to save money. The Great Recession is proving to be the greatest threat to police mounted units since departments embraced the horseless carriage.

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s paper.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Animals, City Government, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(LA Times) 787 Dreamliner teaches Boeing costly lesson on outsourcing

The next-generation airliner is billions of dollars over budget and about three years late; the first paying passengers won’t be boarding until this fall, if then. Some of the delay stems from the plane’s advances in design, engineering and material, which made it harder to build. A two-month machinists strike in 2008 didn’t help.

But much of the blame belongs to the company’s quantum leap in farming out the design and manufacture of crucial components to suppliers around the nation and in foreign countries such as Italy, Sweden, China, and South Korea. Boeing’s dream was to save money. The reality is that it would have been cheaper to keep a lot of this work in-house.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

Patrick Gossage–Why I am an Anglican

I am a happy returnee to Anglicanism after many years away. My reconnection occurred while going to the magnificent Washington National Cathedral to hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu preach. His message of peace and reconciliation was truly inspiring.

During the service, I found myself praying for the first time in 20 years ”” for my sick, aged father, languishing in a veterans’ hospital in far-off Toronto. I returned to the cathedral weekly, finding that praying for him gave me a connection to him that was very real.And, of course, the Episcopal liturgy and worship was as familiar and appealing as it was when I was a young parishioner at St. Simon the Apostle in Toronto.

Read it all (page 5).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces

Budget battle waged over sliver of the pie

When Congress takes up President Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget, the debate will center on just a fraction of the overall $3.7 trillion budget: his proposals on spending and how to pay for them.

Not counting what the government spends on national security and social safety-net programs such as Medicare and Social Security, spending on other domestic programs accounts for just 12% of the overall budget.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, whose sovereign purpose none can make void: Give us faith to stand calm and undismayed amid the tumults of the world, knowing that thy kingdom shall come and thy will be done; to the eternal glory of thy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Daily Prayer

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

There is no one that calls upon thy name, that bestirs himself to take hold of thee; for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast delivered us into the hand of our iniquities. Yet, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand. Be not exceedingly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity for ever. Behold, consider, we are all thy people.

–Isaiah 64:7-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(USA Today) For the Middle Class, a Slow Climb Back

Business is picking up for retailer Renee Charlton in this small manufacturing city on Lake Michigan, but that may not be a good omen for residents. She sells secondhand clothes.

Residents who waved flags as President Obama sped through their eastern Wisconsin community last month have been shopping at consignment and thrift shops out of necessity, says Charlton, owner of On Second Thought, which sells women’s clothes, purses, shoes and jewelry. Her sales rose 20% in 2010.

She’s glad to have the business but concerned that middle-class folks in Manitowoc have yet to recover from the worst recession in decades, despite Obama’s efforts during his first two years. Her 27-year-old son, a computer whiz, is a prime example: Unable to find full-time work, he has enrolled in a two-year criminal justice program at a nearby technical college.

“People are still cutting back,” Charlton says. “They’re still watching what they spend.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(Boston Globe) Roxbury convent for sale as Episcopal Order’s focus shifts

Since the late 19th century, the Society of St. Margaret, an order of Episcopal nuns, has maintained a quiet but steady presence in Boston, nursing the sick, caring for the poor, and welcoming travelers in need of a quiet place to stay, all while keeping a rigorous schedule of prayer and silent contemplation.

For more than 100 years, the nuns lived in four brownstones in Beacon Hill’s Louisburg Square, worshiping at the nearby Church of the Advent and the Church of St. John the Evangelist. In 1992, they sold their quarters ”” one of the buildings is now home to Senator John F. Kerry ”” and converted a nursing home they had previously run on Fort Hill in Roxbury into their convent.

But in recent years, the sprawling 35,000-square-foot convent has become too expensive and difficult to maintain for the 17 women who live there, many of them elderly, and the order has decided it is time to move again ”” to a retreat center the sisters operate in Duxbury.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, Women

(Orlando Sentinel) Bishop John Howe retiring in his own time ”” on his own terms

A somewhat subdued, intellectual man, [John] Howe is known as an inspirational teacher and preacher. But the brand of Episcopal evangelism he preaches is increasingly rare within the church. Howe never left the church, but in many ways it has left him behind, said Randall Balmer, an Episcopal priest and professor of religion at Columbia University.

“There is progressively less room for someone like Bishop Howe than there was 20 years ago,” Balmer said.

Howe said he’s ready to spend more time writing books and traveling with his wife, Karen. They have three children and five grandchildren. There are Clive Cussler novels to read, Benihana meals to eat and lakes to be explored on his boat.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(RNS) Report: Churches, Charities not in Competition for Dollars

Houses of worship and other charities often aren’t in competition for dollars but instead tend to reap donations from similar donors, a new study shows.

Slightly more than 50 percent of people who financially supported congregations also gave to at least one charitable organization in the last year, according to a study conducted by Phoenix-based Grey Matter Research Consulting.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship