Daily Archives: September 7, 2011

(RNS) Poll: Americans Are Tolerant of Other Faiths””Except Islam

Americans consider religious freedom a cornerstone of society, but fall short in their tolerance of Muslims, according to a poll released Tuesday (Sept. 6) that probes Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants and the nation’s safety 10 years after 9/11.
The “What It Means to Be American” poll found that a small majority (53 percent) say the country is safer now than before the 9/11 attacks. Attitudes toward Muslims, however, are far less straightforward.

More than 8 in 10 Americans say that self-proclaimed Christians who commit violence in the name of Christianity are not really Christians. By contrast, less than half (48 percent) say that self-proclaimed Muslims who commit acts of violence in the name of Islam are not really Muslims.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Medal of Honor recipient saved 36 lives during six-hour battle

Inside the narrow valley, Taliban insurgents were dug into the high ground and hidden inside a village, pouring down deadly fire at Afghan forces and their American advisers. Armed militants swarmed the low ground to try to finish off the troops.

[Marine Cpl. Dakota] Meyer’s team was pinned down near the village. He wasn’t going to wait and see whether they would get out. Defying orders to stay put, Meyer set himself in the turret of a Humvee and rode straight into the firefight, taking fire from all directions. He went in not once, but five times, trying to rescue his comrades.

During about six hours of chaotic fighting, he killed eight Taliban militants and provided cover for Afghan and U.S. servicemen to escape the ambush, according to a Marine Corps account of the events.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Military / Armed Forces, The U.S. Government, War in Afghanistan

Social Security pays millions to dead people

While many Americans worry that the Social Security Administration won’t have enough money left to pay their benefits when they retire, the agency is doling out millions of dollars to people who aren’t even alive.

The Social Security inspector general estimates that the agency has made $40.3 million in erroneous payments to deceased beneficiaries — even though the administration had already recorded their deaths in its records. The estimate is based on a sample tested during its most recent audit in January 2008, the watchdog agency said.

One man told CNNMoney that he notified Social Security four years ago that his mother had passed away, but he still can’t get the agency to stop sending her checks every month.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Economy, Parish Ministry, Social Security, The U.S. Government

Local paper–Earthquake damage closes historic Grace Episcopal Church

The sanctuary of Grace Episcopal Church, a historic downtown parish, is off limits for at least a few weeks because of damage caused by the Aug. 23 Virginia earthquake and its aftershocks.

An electronic sensor in the west clerestory wall “showed significant movement” over a seven-hour period on Friday. Technically, five different wythes of brick inside the wall were “delaminating,” or separating from one another, according to Craig Bennett of 4SE Structural Engineers, the firm overseeing the church’s ongoing “Saving Grace” building reinforcement program.

Additional electronic sensors recorded slight movement on two occasions since, church officials said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., TEC Parishes

(NPR) Faith Community Helps Steady National Cathedral After Quake

Standing in the nave of the Cathedral, Alonso, the head stonemason, watches as crews begin attaching the nets to the 100-foot vaulted ceiling. He jingles the chips in his hand ”” the same hands that 20 years ago helped put the final touches on the gothic-style cathedral.

“It’s heartbreaking to me, because I know what went into building this building. When I look at a piece of stone, I can tell you what that stone went through, from [when] it was designed by the architect, sculpted, carved [and] laid in place by the stonemason,” Alonso says. “This is a handmade building.”

Construction on the Episcopal cathedral began in 1907, after Congress granted a charter, and it took 83 years to finish.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, Episcopal Church (TEC), Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., TEC Parishes

Switzerland tops WEF World Competitiveness rankings, US slips to no. 4

Switzerland is once again at the top of the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Report, followed by Singapore, which has overtaken Sweden, then Finland with the US now in fifth place, slipping two slots since last year.

The report was published Wednesday morning 7 September by the Geneva-based organization that organizes an annual meeting of world business and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland every January. The full report is available online.

Japan remains the top Asian country, at number 9 and China has advanced one place to number 26. Slovenia and Montenegro had steep falls of more than 10 places, while Sri Lanka rose by an impressive 13.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Europe, Globalization, Psychology, Switzerland

Court Rejects Challenges to German Euro Bailouts

The decision seemed to place fewer restrictions than some had expected on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ability to react to the European debt crisis, while the high public standing of the court should lend broader legitimacy to government efforts to shore up the European currency. But, some analysts said, the ruling could hamper Mrs. Merkel’s power to take quick measures.

The court’s president, Andreas Vosskuhle, said the ruling did not represent a “blank check for additional rescue packages.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Germany, Law & Legal Issues

Anglican Pastor Beth Tash is 'pioneering minister' to the night-time economy in Leeds

Six years after clubbing the night away in Leeds as a student, a young Anglican pastor is returning to her former haunts ”“ as “pioneering minister” to the night-time economy.

Beth Tash, 27, is taking on hundreds of after-dark venues in the Yorkshire city as a new form of parish, as part of a scheme already serving the local business community and residents of city centre flats.

The archdeacon of Leeds, the Ven Peter Burrows, said: “If you go into Leeds on any Friday or Saturday night and see the huge number of young people coming into the city, it is obvious that the church isn’t engaging with the club culture. Because of that, this is a very significant and exciting appointment.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Anglican Taonga) Auckland sees no bar to ordination for those in Same Sex Relationships

The Auckland Diocesan Synod has decided that people in same-sex relationships should not be excluded from ordination.

After a debate lasting much of yesterday, Synod also agreed that sexual orientation should not be an impediment to ordination or any other offices in the church.

The mover was Rev Glynn Cardy, and the seconder Margaret Bedggood.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Electric cars and hybrids could represent as much as 15% of the new car market by 2020

To dissuade the owners of electric cars from recharging their vehicles at peak times, and encourage them to do so in the wee, small hours of the morning instead, some electricity companies are introducing off-peak pricing for electric cars. Off-peak pricing is a common way of persuading people to run appliances such as washing machines at times of low demand. It is, though, a rigid arrangement that cannot respond to fluctuations in the requirement for power. Far better, reckon Alex Rogers and his colleagues at Southampton University, in England, for car owners to be represented in their interactions with the local power supplier by agents that can negotiate a deal on their behalf. These agents would bargain with one another, and with the power company, to charge the cars in an area in the most efficient way. The twist is that the agents Dr Rogers proposes to recruit for the task are not people, but computer programs.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Globalization, Science & Technology

New General Secretary appointed for the Anglican Church of Canada

[Archdeacon Michael] Thompson succeeds Archdeacon Michael Pollesel as chief operating officer for General Synod on Nov. 1. The Council of General Synod (CoGS) ratified Thompson’s appointment by an e-mail vote on Sept. 2.

“Michael brings a lot of gifts to the ministry,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz when he announced the appointment to Church House staff in Toronto on Sept. 6. The primate of the Anglican Church of Canada then went on to describe Thompson as a gifted communicator and noted his contribution as the principal author of Vision 2019, the church’s strategic plan. In tandem with the primate, the General Secretary “represents the heart and the voice of the church,” Archbishop Hiltz told the Anglican Journal.

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

Michael Wright's Hymn for 9/11 written this year for the tenth anniversary

Two numbers are forever etched
Into our hearts this day.
Lord, 9/11 marks us still
As wounded and dismayed.
The number nine,
perfection’s sign
That points us to above.
To One who hears our every cry
And answers, then, with love.

Eleven, Lord, a sign of loss,
Betrayal and betrayed;
Revealing sin, the lies and hate,
That scar us day by day.
As towers fall, as terror strikes
We feel our cross of pain.
As heroes rush,
your healing brings
A gift from Easter’s reign.

Ten years have passed
and now we mark
The depths of that dark day,
As we draw closer to the One
Who promises the way
To move beyond
our brokenness,
Of days like 9/11;
To build twin towers
of peace and love
And make earth more
like heaven.

J.M.A. Wright+ 2011
Tune: Kingsfold, arr. Vaughan Williams

–The Rev. Michael Wright is rector, Grace Church, Charleston, S.C.; those of you doing services this week or weekend I commend this to you for your consideration

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, TEC Parishes, Terrorism

Exeter Cathedral bellringers to ring in commemoration for 9/11

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11, a recital of John Lennon’s famous anti war song ”˜Imagine’ will be performed on the bells of Exeter Cathedral and broadcast online. The recital will be preceded by a peace walk from Exeter Mosque to Exeter Cathedral.

Everyone is welcome to join the peace walk, which starts at Exeter Mosque York Road, at 8pm, and finishes at the Cathedral in time to hear the bells peal ”˜Imagine’.

Rehearsals are progressing well according to the man tasked with arranging and ”˜conducting’ the performance. Ian Avery is a member of the Exeter Cathedral Society of Bellringers, and has been change ringing for fifty years. He says the team of six volunteer bell ringers has now graduated from playing the melody on hand-bells to the Cathedral’s church bells.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Terrorism

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst drive forth from the temple those who profaned the holy place, saying to them, My house shall be called the house of prayer: Make us so to love the habitation of thy house and the place where thy honour dwelleth, that with humility and godly fear we may draw near to worship thee; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–W. E. Scudamore

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 1that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

–Philippians 2:5-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Grace Episcopal Church ( Charleston, S.C.) Building Destablized by Virginia Earthquake

When Grace Church finished the most recent phase of work on the Saving Grace project, a decision was made to leave more than 20 electronic monitors embedded in the walls to measure and record any movement. Our engineers felt that, barring a seismic event, the building would be stable and safe to occupy until the next phase of work could begin to address the structural issues in the clerestory walls ”“ the walls supported by the columns that run down both sides of the nave. Unfortunately, a seismic event in Virginia on August 23 appears to have affected the building.

On Friday, September 2, one of the electronic monitors showed significant movement. Monitor No. 19 is positioned to measure the thickness of the clerestory wall. Over a period of about 7 hours, the wall became measurably thicker. What this indicates is that the bricks that make up the wall are separating from each other, or “delaminating.” Should that process continue or speed up, it could cause the wall to fail.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * General Interest, Episcopal Church (TEC), Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., TEC Parishes

Bishop Alistair Magowan (Hereford): Talk Love not Terror on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

This month sees the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. The term 9.11 is now a part of the global vocabulary. Most of us can remember where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day. None of us can deny the shock and horror as we watched film footage of the impact of the aircraft and the consequent collapse of the buildings. The resultant loss of life was something few would have expected in an urban context far removed from a conventional war zone. For many families caught up in the events of that day the anniversary will no doubt be a difficult day. Memories will be stirred and emotions once again brought to the fore. Solidarity with those who lost loved ones and remembering all those who worked with courage to save others will be important….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, History, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Annistor Star) A ”˜trying decade’: Alabama’s new bishop looks to future of Episcopal Church

Q: What are your thoughts on gay clergy and same-sex marriages, as the issue continues to rage within other denominations?

A: That’s one of the real challenges of our time. The church is not ”¦ we don’t know. We have not made a decision about that. It’s something we’re still praying about, and that’s frustrating for some people. There are people who are frustrated that we are talking about this at all; they wish it would go away. There are others who wish we would get moving, that it’s something we shouldn’t be dragging our feet about. It’s a difficult, thorny issue.

We do have a diversity of theological positions in the church, which is the nature of our faith ”“ that people have different ideas that are not lightly held. When they disagree ”¦ what do you do?….

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

(CSM) Can 'super committee' play fair as it tries to control national debt?

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, aka super Congress or super committee, is Congress’s answer to its own inability to break the hold of partisan gridlock that took America to the brink of default on Aug. 2, prompting the first-ever downgrade of the nation’s credit rating.

The panel, which on Thursday holds an organizational meeting open to the public, has a sweeping mandate to propose cuts to spending and entitlements and recommend tax reform by Nov. 23. Congress must vote the package up or down ”“ no amendments or filibuster ”“ by Dec. 23, or trigger a $1.2 trillion package of automatic spending cuts, equally divided between defense and domestic spending.

“Never has Washington had an all-or-nothing panel that is empowered and backed by a firm timeline like this one is,” says John Ullyot, a public-affairs consultant in Washington and former GOP Senate staffer. “The starter pistol will fire right after Labor Day.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Globalization, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)