Daily Archives: March 14, 2011

Allentown Catholic Diocese anticipates new structure to welcome Anglicans

[Karen] Brynildsen, her husband, Martin, and a half-dozen other area Episcopalians are among thousands worldwide entering or planning to enter the Roman Catholic Church in expectation that the Vatican will establish an Anglican “ordinariate” in the United States. The canonical structure would allow them to retain their reverent, hymn-rich liturgy and other sacred traditions after conversion.

One impetus of the movement, though not the only one, is the progressive-traditionalist divide playing out across Christendom. Dismayed by the drift of mainstream Anglicanism on some social and theological issues ”” including women’s ordination and the sanctioning of homosexuality ”” conservatives have turned to Rome, where teaching and practice are unchanged.

The local group has been meeting at Sacred Heart, in Bath, to undergo religious instruction and look forward to the day when the church will offer the liturgy that has nourished their Christian faith these many years. Pope Benedict XVI set the stage for that possibility in November 2009 in a document called Anglicanorum Coetibus, which the Vatican said was a response to persistent requests from Anglican groups for a process whereby they could be accepted into the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

(ACNS) A statement from the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion in Japan

On the 11th of March at 2:46pm, the biggest earthquake ever to hit Japan struck just off the coast of the Tohoku region. This caused a tsunami and fires that brought massive devastation to a very wide area. This unimaginably strong earthquake triggered an explosion at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear reactor. The people living in the area around that and the No. 2 reactor have been evacuated. The stories and images constantly broadcast by the media have left people lost for words, unable to describe the sheer scale of the unbelievable devastation caused by the earthquake, tsunami and fires.

We see homes devastated, whole towns that were swallowed by the tsunami, and houses that continue to burn because fire fighters are unable to reach both the properties and the people who were the victims of this catastrophe. With hearts filled with grief and helplessness we see people who are mourning their lost loved ones and others who search tirelessly for missing family members. There are so many who have lost their homes and possessions. Towns and villages were obliterated by the tsunami, everything was gone in a second.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Asia, Japan

(CDN) Pakistani Officials Sanction Stealing Land from Christians

Christians in south Punjab Province are accusing senior district officials of supporting local Muslims who allegedly demolished 150 Christian graves and desecrated holy relics ”“ and are now threatening Christians seeking legal redress.

In the Kot Addu area of Muzaffargarh district, Waseem Shakir told Compass by telephone that an influential Muslim group last Nov. 6 took illegal possession of a 1,210-square yard piece of land designated as a Christian cemetery and set up shops on it. Official records state that the portion of land was allotted as a Christian cemetery, he said.

“Local Muslims demolished 150 Christians’ graves and desecrated the cross and biblical inscriptions on the graves in a bid to construct shops on the property,” said Shakir, a resident of Chak (Village) 518, Peer Jaggi Morr, Kot Addu. “Only five marlas [151.25 square yards] are all that is left for the Christians to bury their dead now.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

Money, pastoral care at heart of conflict at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Marti Fritz has put her heart and soul into St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for 30 years.

She sings in the choir, served twice on the lay board, raised her children in the congregation. Her husband is the church archivist. The ashes of Fritz’s mother and sister are in the church’s memorial wall.

“It’s really my home,” Fritz said of the church.

Right now, it’s a home in turmoil.

Read it all.

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

(Saint Louis Post-Dispatch) Episcopal cleric tries Islamic rituals for Lent

The Rev. Steve Lawler should have just given up chocolate or television for Lent.

Instead, Lawler, of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson, decided to adopt the rituals of Islam for 40 days to gain a deeper understanding of the faith.

On Friday, he faced being defrocked if he continued in those endeavors.

“He can’t be both a Christian and a Muslim,” said Bishop George Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. “If he chooses to practice as Muslim, then he would, by default, give up his Christian identity and priesthood in the church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Islam, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, Theology

(McClatchy) Some are choosing to stay off Facebook as a Lenten sacrifice

People used to give up food for Lent, usually something they needed to cut back on like sweets.

These days, people are vowing to give up Facebook.

It makes sense, says Lisa Hendey, webmaster at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Fresno’s largest Roman Catholic congregation.

“In the past, it might have been giving up the extras, like chocolate or TV, but Facebook has become such a big part of people’s daily lives, they’re contemplating giving it up, praying about it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

In Wisconsin, A former Episcopal clergyman to be ordained a Catholic priest

Russell Arnett remembers the day he proposed to his wife.

The Burlington-area resident made a reservation at a nice restaurant and he had roses and a card waiting for her.

It’s a story many people tell about their lives, but it’s not a story most Catholic priests ever have the chance to tell because most Catholic priests are not allowed to marry.

But Arnett will soon become one of very few married Catholic priests able to tell that story.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba sends his condolences to Archbishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu of Japan

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, of Cape Town, said that he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the natural disaster that struck Japan on Friday, in a letter to his counterpart Archbishop Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu.

“I have been stunned by the pictures which are reaching us with the images of human tragedy, displacement and the physical damage to so many structures in many communities,” Makgoba said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Japan

(ACNS) Bishop of Tsunami-hit diocese is safe, but uncontactable

The bishop of a diocese in northern part of Japan devastated by yesteday’s earthquake and tsunami, is said to be safe but uncontactable.

Bishop Hiromichi Kato managed to get a message out to say that he is OK, but according Rikkyo University professor Rev.Prof. Renta Nishihara no one has managed to contact him directly.

Prof. Nishihara added that Bp Kato had revealed many churches of Tohoku , including the cathedral suffered the heavy damage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan

(C of I Gazette) Dermot O’Callaghan Chimes in on the recent Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin

Two clear messages have gone out from Dublin.

First, the authorities in Dublin Diocese were happy to showcase TEC despite its promotion of same-sex marriage. They have hammered in a wedge that may split our Church in two.

Second, the Primates’ meeting may have finally demolished the proposed Anglican Covenant, section 4.1.1 of which describes a Communion of national Churches “in which each recognises in the others the bonds of a common loyalty to Christ expressed through a common faith and order, a shared inheritance in worship, life and mission, and a readiness to live in an interdependent life”.

TEC’s breaches of that common faith and order are one thing; the failure of the Primates’ meeting to address them is quite another….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland, Episcopal Church (TEC), Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

(CantonRep) In Ohio, a Revival aimed at re-engaging Christian males

So, why are men the minorities in church?

“There’s quite a few reasons behind that,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, church has gotten a (reputation) of being a gathering place for women. That’s not biblical; the church is about everyone.

“There definitely are roles for men and for women in the church and also in the family. What’s happening in families is a direct result of inactivity of men in church.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Men, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Christian Post) New NIV Bible to Debut amid Ongoing Concern

Say good-bye to the NIV Bible as we know it and say hello to the updated, gender-inclusive NIV Bible which debuts in stores this month.

Mega-publisher Zondervan printed 1.9 million copies of the updated NIV Bible in this first run, up from the original 1.4 million.

“This laydown of the NIV update is bigger than we imagined,” said Chip Brown, senior vice president of Bibles for Zondervan, to The Christian Post. “A couple of retailers came in a little higher after seeing the marketing and products.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

An Interesting Look Back to 1994–William Saletan: Marriage, The Peculiar Institution

In short, marriage has evolved, usually in ways that prove so congenial we forget it was ever otherwise. Extending marriage to same-sex couples would be just one more step. For some advocates of gay marriage, this is the end of the argument. But others sense the need to clarify something further: not just that change is part of the tradition, but that tradition will be part of the change. Chauncey chronicles three stages of the debate. In the 1950’s, gay spokesmen stressed conformity and ”their desire to restrain the public behavior of other homosexuals who did not share their assimilationist intentions.” In the 1960’s and 1970’s, gay liberationists turned toward promiscuity as a means of pleasure and ”self-exploration.” In the 1980’s and 1990’s, AIDS inspired a movement back to monogamy, with conservative writers like Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch preaching marriage as a way to mainstream gay culture.

The conservative faction offers a broadly persuasive case for same-sex unions. Most Americans think family law should favor permanent, monogamous commitments. They also oppose discrimination on the basis of immutable characteristics like race. The path of least resistance, then, is to persuade them that gay marriage is a permanent, monogamous commitment and that sexual orientation is immutable. Among Americans who think sexual orientation can be changed, fewer than one in five supports gay marriage. Among those who think orientation can’t be changed, a plurality supports it. This strongly suggests that the most effective way to change beliefs about gay marriage is to change beliefs about immutability.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., History, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

In Pictures–The Japan Earthquake: before and after

Simply amazing–check them out.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Heavenly Father, subdue in us whatever is contrary to thy holy will, that we may know how to please thee. Grant, O God, that we may never run into those temptations which in our prayers we desire to avoid. Lord, never permit our trials to be above our strength; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

–Thomas Wilson

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.

–Hewbrews 2:14-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Thomas Nagel reviews David Brooks' New Book "the Social Animal"

[David] Brooks is right to insist that emotional ties, social interaction and the communal transmission of norms are essential in forming individuals for a decent life, and that habit, perception and instinct form a large part of the individual character. But there is moral and intellectual laziness in his sentimental devaluation of conscious reasoning, which is what we have to rely on when our emotions or our inherited norms give unclear or poorly grounded instructions.

Life, morality and politics are not science, but their improvement requires thought ”” not only thought about the most effective means of shaping people, which is Brooks’s concern, but thought about what our ends should be. Such questions don’t appeal to him, since they cannot be settled by empirical evidence of the kind he feels comfortable with. Brooks is out to expose the superficiality of an overly rational view of human nature, but there is more than one kind of superficiality.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(ELCA News) ELCA Missionaries Returning to Egypt

Six missionaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will return to the ministries they serve in Egypt by the end of March. The six were among 10 missionaries temporarily evacuated from Cairo Feb. 1 on flights arranged by the U.S. government, because of protests against the government of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The ELCA missionaries, along with one missionary from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), flew to Istanbul, Turkey, and eventually arrived in St. Paul, Minn. Most have been staying in ELCA apartments reserved for missionaries on home assignment while in the United States.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, Lutheran, Middle East, Missions, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Death Toll Estimate in Japan Soars as Relief Efforts Intensify

Japan faced mounting humanitarian and nuclear emergencies Sunday as the death toll from Friday’s earthquake and tsunami climbed astronomically, partial meltdowns occurred at two crippled plants and cooling problems struck four more reactors.

In one town alone, the port of Minamisanriku, a senior police official said the number of dead would “certainly be more than 10,000.” The overall number is also certain to climb as searchers began to reach coastal villages that essentially vanished under the first muddy surge of the tsunami, which struck the nation’s northern Pacific coast. Prime Minister Naoto Kan told a news conference late Sunday: “I think that the earthquake, tsunami and the situation at our nuclear reactors makes up the worst crisis in the 65 years since the war. If the nation works together, we will overcome.”

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Japan

(Independent) Gaddafi's men poised to strike at Benghazi

A strategic town is lost in the east with another expected to follow soon. In the west, a symbolic centre of resistance is about to suffer an onslaught that it is unlikely to survive. With no international action to stop Muammar Gaddafi’s fierce offensive, the survival of Libya’s revolution hangs in a precarious balance.

Just four days ago the picture was very different: the rebel fighters were seemingly on a march to the capital, Tripoli, and the enemy was in disarray and retreat. But a series of misjudgements, and chronic lack of planning and organisation, have resulted in a dramatic reversal. The regime’s troops are poised to strike at Benghazi, the capital of “Free Libya”.

By yesterday afternoon, the opposition had abandoned Ras Lanuf, an oil port on the key coastal route. They withdrew to Aghala, outside Brega, another petrochemical complex. Control of the two locations would provide the regime with the reserves of fuel needed for the tanks and armoured cars arriving in increasing numbers on the frontline. It would also put Tripoli in a position to shut down power supplies to Benghazi.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Libya, Politics in General, Violence

(SMH) Til death do us part: weddings with a difference

Wedding photos in a cemetery, a reception in a courtroom or a rickshaw for transport.

These are just some of the unique touches arranged by Sydney brides and grooms to make their weddings unique….

At the historic St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Newtown, couples can walk down the aisle in the sandstone church, then have afternoon tea or wedding photos among the gravestones.

Read it all and make sure to note the average cost of an Australian wedding at the moment (guess before you look).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(LA Times) A day of rest enters the Digital Age

Television writer-producer Jill Soloway turned off her electronic devices for 24 hours last Saturday and spent the morning playing with her 2-year-old son in her yard in Silver Lake.

“It was excruciating and kind of wonderful. I struggled with a feeling of anxiety that there was something in my inbox I needed to tend to,” she said. “Then came a moment when it felt like a holiday. Holiday means holy day. What a huge gift.”

Soloway, executive producer of the Showtime series “United States of Tara,” and a self-described smartphone junkie, was taking part in the “National Day of Unplugging,” organized by Reboot, a group of urban media professionals who try to reconnect with Jewish tradition in a way that is meaningful to their hectic lives.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Judaism, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology