Daily Archives: June 3, 2011

(RNS) Canadian Parents Sue over Religion in Daycare Centers

A group of Catholic and Jewish parents is taking the province of Quebec to court to challenge a government ban on religious teachings at subsidized daycare centers.

The parents say a Quebec policy that prohibits religious instruction in government subsidized daycare centers contravenes the federal and provincial charters of rights, according to a lawsuit filed [last] Tuesday.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(USA Today) In many neighborhoods, kids are only a memory

Kathy Bachman felt like an oddity when her family moved to Cherry Lane in the Crabtree section of Levittown [Pennsylvania] when she was 5. She was an only child, and “everybody had five or six kids in every house.”

Fast-forward to 2011.

Bachman, now 64, still lives in her childhood home. She brought up her kids there, but they’re grown and gone. The house next door is vacant. Few driveways are cluttered with scooters and tricycles.

“Out of 75 houses on the street, I’d say maybe 15 might have kids,” Bachman says.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family

Hiring in the U.S. Slows Significantly in May

After several months of strong job growth, hiring slowed sharply in May, raising concerns once again about the underlying strength of the economic recovery.

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the United States added 54,000 nonfarm payroll jobs last month, following an increase of 232,000 jobs in April. May’s job gain was about a third of what economists had been forecasting.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent from 9.0 percent in April.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, City Government, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, State Government, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government

Investor's Business Daily Front Page–10-Year Real Wage Growth Worse Than In Depression

Over the past decade, real private-sector wage growth has scraped bottom at 4%, just below the 5% increase from 1929 to 1939, government data show.

To put that in perspective, since the Great Depression, 10-year gains in real private wages had always exceeded 25% with one exception: the period ended in 1982-83, when the jobless rate spiked above 10% and wage gains briefly decelerated to 16%.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Notable and Quotable

One assumption [of this new model of ministry advocated by David Heywood] is that the church has ”˜fuzzy edges’, that there is an increasing spiritual awareness in the population at large, and that if people see the church engaged in worth-while activities (like cleaning up a pond at the heart of an estate) and offering meaningful worship they will want to get involved. Belonging, we are told, precedes believing.

Unfortunately I know many people who value the contribution the church makes to their community but simply do not believe the creed it teaches. On the odd occasion they do attend a service they are not impressed by the explanation offered for the Christian faith. Members of an established, national Church have difficulty accepting that they hold the creed of a minority.

”˜Back to church Sunday’ and other initiatives directed towards people on the fringes of the church or people who retain some kind of vestigial Christian faith are certainly important but serious involvement in mission demands an honest acceptance of the fact that millions of people in Britain do not believe the Christian faith. This means giving more attention to theology and philosophy and to the serious study of the culture. One of the dangers of the new model of ministry..is that it underestimates the importance of theology.

–Paul Richardson in this week’s Church of England Newspaper (requires subscription)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

A Church Times Article on ARCIC III

In a statement issued during the meeting, the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, who chairs the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity and is a member of ARCIC III, said: “The commission is looking at how the Church makes important decisions; do we make local decisions, or do we await a wider global consensus? There are varied views on all sides. We are tak­ing very seriously how the Churches receive each other and our mutual gifts.”

Archbishop Longley said that the Commission was “beginning to get a better idea about the shape of the work”. He expected ARCIC III not to take as long as ARCIC II. “The brief we have is focused and fairly precise; we hope to be able to accomplish it in a more modest time.”

Read it all.

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

Americans' Expectations for Better Finances One Year from Now at 25 year Low

Squeezed on both sides by stagnant wages and rising prices, consumers believe the chances of bringing home more money one year from now are at their lowest in 25 years, according to analysis of survey data by Goldman Sachs.

Goldman’s economist Jan Hatzius looked at the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters poll, which asks consumers whether they believe their family income will rise more than inflation in the next 12 months. Hatzius applied a six-month moving average to smooth out the data and found that wage pessimism is at its lowest in more than two decades.

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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

(CEN) Anglican ”˜no’ to Sharia banking in Nigeria

Church leaders in Nigeria have denounced the introduction of Sharia banking in the West African nation, saying the introduction of religion into the financial services sector violates the law and will further divide the country along sectarian lines.

On May 8 the Diocese of Ughelli released a statement calling for the government to force the Central Bank of Nigeria to back down from its proposal to issue licences to Sharia banks.

The Ughelli synod noted “with suspicion the haste with which approval was granted for the issuance of a licence for Islamic banking in Nigeria, without any known or overt legislative support from the National Assembly.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Economy, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Onion) Report: Life Put In Hands Of 2,000 Complete Strangers Every Single Day

According to a new report from the National Institute for Safety Management, on any given day, the average American’s life is entrusted to more than 2,000 different people who are complete strangers.

The report, which shows how any one of these anonymous individuals making a single mistake can easily cause another person’s death, concluded that it is only through sheer luck that anyone ever makes it through a 24-hour period alive.

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Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

(National Post) Barbara Kay: The dumbing down of due diligence at Huron College

For various reasons, some good, many Western universities are keen to establish Islamic Studies programs. And for various other reasons, the same is true of Islamist organizations ”” which tend toward a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. To this end, with a professed goal of fostering “understanding” of Islam, the latter offer hefty financial endowments to universities.

Some critics worry that such a scenario may be in progress at Huron University College, an affiliate of University of Western Ontario (UWO). Huron offers post-baccalaureate and professional degree programs in theology. The College recently accepted a $2-million endowment for a new Chair in Islamic Studies within the College’s historically Anglican Faculty of Theology. About half the money is to come via fundraising facilitated by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), and the other, matching half from the Virginia-based International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). A cofounder of the latter group was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007-2008 trial of Sami al-Arian, an Islamist academic linked to jihadism….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Economy, Education, Religion & Culture

(NC Reporter) With a thousand Anglican converts, ordinariate gets going

Not for nothing has the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome been known as the “Suprema.” It does not specialize in consultation with other bodies, whether within the Vatican or elsewhere. This mindset was spectacularly exhibited with the abrupt unveiling of a new supra-territorial Roman Catholic church structure titled a “Personal Ordinariate,” with its doors open to groups of disaffected Anglicans throughout the world who were invited to move collectively to Rome, bringing their Anglican patrimony with them. This explosive device had been secretly laid below the surface of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations by a small party of doctrinal congregation sappers, encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI. In press conferences on Oct. 20, 2009, it was detonated.

The debris from the explosion is now settling. In England, the only country so far where the ordinariate is up and running, almost a thousand ex-Anglicans, composed of groups of laity with 64 of their pastors, of whom 54 have applied to become Catholic priests, have come over in the first wave. The ordination of the former Anglican clergy is being fast-tracked for Pentecost. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is calling the shots, for the local Roman Catholic bishops had wanted these clergy to undergo a year’s preparation.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Uganda

O God, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: Grant that we who remember before thee the blessed martyrs of Uganda, may, like them, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ, to whom they gave obedience even unto death, and by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of Uganda, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Uganda

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, who by thy holy apostle hast taught us to set our affection on things above: Grant us so to labour in this life as ever to be mindful of our citizenship in those heavenly places whither our Saviour Christ is gone before; to whom with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end.

–The South African Prayer Book

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ascension, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel 1:28

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Diocese of Fort Worth asks state Supreme Court to hear appeal

From here:

On Wednesday, June 1, attorneys for the Diocese initiated our direct appeal to the Texas State Supreme Court, arguing that the high court should review the trial court’s Feb. 8 judgment in favor of local Episcopal Church (TEC) parties without the delay of an intermediate appeal.

The Statement of Jurisdiction asks for the Supreme Court’s immediate attention to what it describes as ”the largest church property dispute in Texas history,” involving ”60 churches and over $100 million in property.”

The Statement shows that the case meets all the statutory requirements for a direct appeal. Foremost among these is the requirement that the lower court’s decision challenges “the constitutionality of a state statute.” It explains that the trial court order, if allowed to stand, would overturn trust law in the state and set a precedent against the use of neutral principles to decide church property cases. The neutral principles approach has been established in Texas and most other states since 1979 and has been upheld in five Texas courts of appeal, as well as the state Supreme Court, as recently as 2007. The effect on trust law would extend to virtually every non-profit organization in the state, making it difficult or impossible for them to hold bank accounts, take loans, or conduct other business anywhere in Texas.

TEC supporters have 10 days in which to respond to the filing. Diocesan attorney Scott Brister explains that “the Court holds conference and takes votes every Monday in June; thereafter, it does not convene again until August.” Attorneys for the Diocese hope the court will accept the appeal before its summer recess and set a hearing date for early fall.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth, TEC Parishes

(Church of England) New Bishop Designate of Durham is announced

The new Bishop Designate of Durham was announced today – on Ascension Day, one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.

The Very Revd Justin Welby is currently Dean of Liverpool where he was appointed in December 2007.

Justin Welby is very much looking forward to being part of the continuing renewal of the ministry of the diocese of Durham and joining those that are strong advocates of the North East.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Some Illinois Churches opening doors to same-sex unions

Illinois’ civil union law not only empowers clergy to officiate same-sex civil unions, it has inspired a long-awaited formal rite in Chicago’s Episcopal Church and now compels many clergy in committed same-sex relationships to make them legal.

Chicago’s Episcopal and Lutheran bishops this week unveiled new policies for openly gay pastors in committed relationships and those who want to officiate same-sex civil unions. Many clergy already informally blessed same-gender partnerships.

“Now with the possibility of civil recognition of lifelong unions, the blessing of unions from a Christian perspective will have a different character, where before it has been purely a pastoral matter,” said Chicago Episcopal Bishop Jeffrey Lee.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), TEC Bishops, Theology

Brain Injuries Are Seen in New Scans of Veterans

A new study may help explain why some military personnel exposed to blasts have symptoms of brain injury even though their CT and M.R.I. scans look normal.

Using a highly sensitive type of magnetic resonance imaging, researchers studied 63 servicemen wounded by explosions in Iraq or Afghanistan and found evidence of brain injuries in some that were too subtle to be detected by standard scans. All the men already had a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury (synonymous with concussion), based on symptoms like having lost consciousness in the blast, having no memory of it or feeling dazed immediately afterward.

About 320,000 American troops have sustained traumatic brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of them mild, according to a 2008 report by the RAND Corporation. The injuries are poorly understood, and sometimes produce lasting mental, physical and emotional problems.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Health & Medicine, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, Science & Technology, War in Afghanistan