Daily Archives: September 26, 2011

Sunday worship service will be last in new church for St. Mark's Episcopal in Michigan

A victim of the struggling economy, the congregation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Paw Paw, will gather Sunday, Sept. 25, for one last service from their church at 201 W. Michigan Ave.

The sermon, ‘”The Celebration of Promise,” will focus on all the good things that have happened in this building,”‘ said The Very Rev. Rebecca Crise, who has served as St Mark’s Church Rector for the past four years.

Just over six years ago, the congregation gathered to consecrate the site. Now, they prepare to leave the building.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

What's in a name? A lot, for Southern Baptist Convention

What’s in a name? As Shakespeare has it, a rose by any other name smells the same. But in the case of America’s largest Protestant denomination, changing the name could change everything.

A week ago, Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright told his organization’s executive committee in Nashville that he had appointed a task force to study a possible name change. Abandoning the 166-year-old identifier, he argued, would help the group thrive both in America and internationally.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Baptists, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Charles Baldwin–“Beautifully Made, Dealer’s Pick, Unlimited Warranty”

One of the most important things a parent can do is BLESS the children. The Blessing is a powerful way to change a person’s life.

In the TV series “Coming Home”, the producers create exciting and very emotional homecoming scenarios when a soldier comes home from Iraq or Afghanistan. My favorite reunion happened when a senior in high school, a star football player, was about to announce his choice of which college he would attend; it is called “Signing Night.” His greatest fan was his father who is deployed to Afghanistan. His father appeared in the videos of his high school football career. You can hear his father yelling as his son scores a touchdown, “That’s my boy! That’s my boy!” On this evening, the son does not know his father Army Sgt Jerry Rutledge has returned home from Afghanisgtan a week early in order to be with his son on Signing Night. As the young man says, “I have decided to go to the US Naval Academy”, his father comes from behind the curtain and yells, “That’s my boy!” The father and son hug each other. That room full of big football players and families cheered, and some eyes begin to “sweat.” (There is no crying in football.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, TEC Parishes, Theology

Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi's Sermon on World Mission Sunday at All Soul's Langham Place

Listen to it all (a little under 28 1/2 minutes).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church of Nigeria, Islam, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Violence

Peter Mullen on the status of Christianity in the Modern World

Christianity is booming not just in China, but worldwide ”“ with a singular exception, that I will come to in due course. Christianity is doing especially well in Africa where, thanks be to God, it seems to have escaped the influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The faith is doing well particularly in places where it is under the most cruel persecution ”“ as Our Lord promised it would: Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Coptic Christians in Egypt and indeed across the whole of North Africa.

My friend Professor David Martin has written a gigantic study of Christianity in Central and South America where he sees the rise of Pentecostal Christianity as a great force for good. Individual men and women’s direct experience of the Holy Spirit in their personal lives and public worship have turned many away from drugs, crime and prostitution and returned them to responsible lives of work and thrift, personal pride and family belonging ”“ the very virtues which, of course, are despised by our atheistic intelligentsia (headquarters, the BBC) as “Victorian” ”“ or, worst of all, “Thatcherite”

The only region, in fact, where Christianity is in decline is Europe, controlled as the continent is by an atheistic bureaucracy and the satanic creed of political correctness.

Read it all.

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

(CEN) Broken communion for the Church of Ireland

The outcry over the Bishop of Cashel & Ossory’s support for an Irish dean’s gay civil union has forced the bishop to skip the consecration of the Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry.

Church leaders in Northern Ireland told The Church of England Newspaper that the Rt. Rev. Michael Burrows had been advised to stay away from the Sept 8 consecration of Bishop Patrick Rooke at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh. The bishop had been told his support for clergy gay civil unions had broken the collegiality of the church and his presence would cause some participants in the ceremony to refrain from receiving the Eucharist with him.

Bishop Burrow’s office did not respond to questions from CEN, but the Church of Ireland’s press officer did confirm that the bishop “did not attend and that this was his own decision. I have no knowledge of any advice from anyone about staying away or concern with regard to receiving communion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ethics / Moral Theology, Eucharist, Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Local Paper front page– Politics from the Pulpit: A good idea or a bad mix?

Where to draw the line?

It probably wasn’t illegal, but some concerned churchgoers and pastors are questioning the wisdom of U.S. Rep. Tim Scott’s recent sermon at Seacoast Church during which he criticized national economic policy.

In the 40-minute sermon, devoted to faith, life and politics in roughly equal measure, the Charleston Republican took aim at the federal government’s deficit spending, comparing it to a personal household budget that relies on “a credit card drawer.”

The message contained no explicit reference to individual policy makers or political parties in Washington, but advanced a perspective often heard from Republicans and right-leaning pundits — that government spending is out of control.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Evangelicals, Office of the President, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

Episcopal House of Bishops Issues Pastoral Teaching

One of the most dangerous and daunting challenges we face is global climate change. This is, at least in part, a direct result of our burning of fossil fuels. Such human activities could raise worldwide average temperatures by three to eleven degrees Fahrenheit in this century. Rising average temperatures are already wreaking environmental havoc, and, if unchecked, portend devastating consequences for every aspect of life on earth.

The Church has always had as one of its priorities a concern for the poor and the suffering. Therefore, we need not agree on the fundamental causes of human devastation of the environment, or on what standard of living will allow sustainable development, or on the roots of poverty in any particular culture, in order to work to minimize the impact of climate change. It is the poor and the disadvantaged who suffer most from callous environmental irresponsibility. Poverty is both a local and a global reality. A healthy economy depends absolutely on a healthy environment.

The wealthier nations whose industries have exploited the environment, and who are now calling for developing nations to reduce their impact on the environment, seem to have forgotten that those who consume most of the world’s resources also have contributed the most pollution to the world’s rivers and oceans, have stripped the world’s forests of healing trees, have destroyed both numerous species and their habitats, and have added the most poison to the earth’s atmosphere. We cannot avoid the conclusion that our irresponsible industrial production and consumption-driven economy lie at the heart of the current environmental crisis.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Ecuador, Energy, Natural Resources, Episcopal Church (TEC), South America, TEC Bishops, Theology

Local Paper–Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel holds hope for future

‘I love beginnings,’ Elie Wiesel told a panel of eight students on stage and about 700 in the audience during a Sunday appearance at the College of Charleston’s Sottile Theatre.

That’s because he thought Auschwitz signified the end of history, he said. And because much of human endeavor tends to end badly, with injustice, terror and death. Though the meaning of life can be elusive, it is the obligation of human beings to act in ways that make a better world.

‘When one person suffers, you have to do something,’ he said later, at an evening lecture that filled the Sottile for a second time. ‘The opposite of hate is not love, but indifference. Indifference is the opposite of everything that’s created, everything that’s noble in human experience. The opposite of indifference is commitment, education.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Education, Europe, History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

Learn the lingo says Bishop of Bradford on the 20th anniversary of Meissen Agreement

We should embrace other languages and cultures, particularly those of our European neighbours, says the Bishop of Bradford the Rt Revd Nick Baines in a Church of England podcast, published today, to celebrate 20 years of Anglo-German ecumenical links. Both in business and in the classroom we need to broaden our horizons, he adds, or we are in danger of missing out.

The Meissen Agreement was published in 1988, before Germany was re-united, between the Church of England and the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the German Democratic Republic (DDR) and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). A signing service followed in 1991 in Westminster Abbey.

Read it all and see what you make of the podcast.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Europe, Germany, Other Churches

Pope Benedict XVI's Homily at Mass in Erfurt

Dear Brothers and Sisters, here in Thuringia and in the former German Democratic Republic, you have had to endure first a brown and then a red dictatorship, which acted on the Christian faith like acid rain. Many late consequences of that period are still having to be worked through, above all in the intellectual and religious fields. Most people in this country since that time have spent their lives far removed from faith in Christ and from the communion of the Church. Yet the last two decades have also brought good experiences: a broader horizon, an exchange that reaches beyond borders, a faithful confidence that God does not abandon us and that he leads us along new paths. “Where God is, there is a future.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, History, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

The Church of England's Back to Church Sunday Website

See what you make of it.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

Lancelot Andrewes on the Incarnation

This sure is matter of love; but came there any good to us by it? There did. For our conception being the root as it were, the very groundsill of our nature; that He might go to the root and repair of our nature from the very foundation, thither He went; that what had been there defiled and decayed by the first Adam, might by the Second be cleansed and set right again. That had our conception been stained, by Him therefore, primum ante omnia,to be restored again. He was not idle all the time He was an embyro all the nine months He was in the womb; but then and there He even ate out the core of corruption that cleft to our nature and us, and made both us and it an unpleasing object in the sight of God.

And what came of this? We who were abhorred by God, filii irae was our title, were by this means made beloved in Him. He cannot, we may be sure, account evil of that nature, that is now become the nature of His own SonNHis now no less than ours. Nay farther, given this privilege to the children of such as are in Him, though but of one parent believing, that they are not as the seed of two infidels, but are in a degree holy, eo ipso; and have a farther right to the laver of regeneration, to sanctify them throughout by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. This honour is to us by the dishonour of Him; this the good by Christ an embyro.

–From a sermon preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Sunday, the Twenty-fifth of December, 1614

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Lancelot Andrewes

Almighty God, who gavest thy servant Lancelot Andrewes the gift of thy holy Spirit and made him a man of prayer and a faithful pastor of thy people: Perfect in us what is lacking of thy gifts, of faith, to increase it, of hope, to establish it, of love, to kindle it, that we may live in the life of thy grace and glory; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast gone to the Father to prepare a place for us: Grant us so to live in communion with thee here on earth, that hereafter we may enjoy the fullness of thy presence; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.

–Matthew 6:31-34

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Pope Benedict XVI's Message to the German Laity

We see that in our affluent western world much is lacking. Many people lack experience of God’s goodness. They no longer find any point of contact with the mainstream churches and their traditional structures. But why is this? I think this is a question on which we must reflect very seriously. Addressing it is the principal task of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. But naturally it is something that concerns us all. Allow me to refer here to an aspect of Germany’s particular situation. The Church in Germany is superbly organized. But behind the structures, is there also a corresponding spiritual strength, the strength of faith in the living God? We must honestly admit that we have more than enough by way of structure but not enough by way of Spirit. I would add: the real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith. If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Allafrica: An interview with Nigerian Bishop Emmanuel Olisa Chukwuma

What is your opinion on the Federal Government directive that the Minister of Defence should take over security in Jos?

I think it is a better step in the right direction that the Minister of Defence should take over because the way we see the whole thing, it seems that the security in Plateau State has collapsed. And this is the failure of the Inspector-General of Police. The police is to protect lives and secure the lives and property of people but since all these days, these killings have continued and we wonder when it would stop and so, I think, we have lost confidence in the police. I think, therefore, the IG (Inspector-General of Police) should be retired with immediate effect because this was what happened when there was kidnapping in the East….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Part of Bishop Stephen Cottrell's sermon for today (back to Church Sunday)

I want you to know that God loves you and goes on loving you whether you come to church or not. To get God to love you is not the object of the exercise. As St Paul makes clear in his letter to the church in Rome, there is nothing you can do that will separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8. 31-39). No. The reason we come to church is not so that God might love us, but that we might learn to love God and that we might learn to live God’s way; not just us, but all the world. So if you are here for the first time, or for the first time for a long time, welcome. Please don’t walk away. Because God is all merciful and all loving, and the rest of us are here, not because we are so good or so faithful or so generous, but because we are also learners in the school of God’s love, trying to find out how we can best respond to the challenges of Jesus, and knowing that whatever we do, or don’t do, he goes on loving us.

Read it all.

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

A Look Back to 1964–Episcopal Bishops Vote to drop the word "Protestant"

Note the reference to the denominational membership–3.5 million–and note that the vote was 79 to 56

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

Worried Greeks Fear Collapse of Middle Class Welfare State

Sitting in the modest living room of the home she shares with her parents, husband and two teenage children, Stella Firigou fretted about how the family would cope with the uncertainties of an economy crashing all around them. But she was adamant about one thing: she would not pay a new property tax that was the centerpiece of a new austerity package announced this month by the Greek government.

“I’m not going to pay it,” Ms. Firigou, 50, said matter-of-factly, as she lighted a cigarette and checked her ringing cellphone to avoid calls from her bank about late payments on a loan. “I can’t afford to pay it. They can take me to jail.”

While banks and European leaders hold abstract talks in foreign capitals about the impact of a potential Greek default on the euro and the world economy, something frighteningly concrete is under way in Greece: the dismantling of a middle-class welfare state in real time ”” with nothing to replace it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Greece, History, Personal Finance, Taxes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

A Washington Post Obituary on Episcopal Priest James Adams

James R. Adams, an Episcopal priest who was rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill from 1966 until he retired in 1996, was skeptical of religious dogma. He interpreted miracle stories in the Bible as more metaphorical than historically factual, and he shared these thoughts from his pulpit.

He followed the traditions and liturgies of the established Episcopal Church, but he was also open to innovation and experimentation.

Read it all.

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

(ENS) Restructuring discussions continue after Episcopal House of Bishops meeting

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

(CSM) From the man who discovered Stuxnet, dire warnings one year later

In the end, Stuxnet may have set back Iran’s nuclear ambitions by years. But it also could prove a Pyrrhic victory for its still-unknown creator ”“ a sophisticated cyberweapons nation state that [ Ralph] Langner argues could be the US or Israel. Like the Hiroshima bomb, Stuxnet demonstrated for the first time a dangerous capability ”“ in this case to hackers, cybercrime gangs, and new cyberweapons states, he says in an interview.

With Stuxnet as a “blueprint” downloadable from the Internet, he says, “any dumb hacker” can now figure out how to build and sell cyberweapons to any hacktivist or terrorist who wants “to put the lights out” in a US city or “release a toxic gas cloud.”

What follows are excerpts of Langner’s comments from an extended interview:

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(WSJ) Europe Split Threatens Rescue Plan

After a weekend of tense meetings among world finance officials here, euro-zone leaders were weighing options to maximize the size of their bailout fund by borrowing against it. The move could provide trillions of dollars of firepower to rescue governments and banks””-but only if all 17 euro-zone legislatures approve a two-month-old agreement to broaden the bailout fund.

Highly public opposition from Germany, the largest and most powerful euro-zone economy, could block the plan.

Policy makers are “focused on their own internal restraints, so that we don’t have the outcome that we need,” Antonio Borges, head of the International Monetary Fund’s Europe department, said Sunday. While key players were understandably acting in self-interest, he said, it was generating “disastrous” collective results.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, G20, Germany, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Geithner Plan for Europe is last chance to avoid global catastrophe

The reserve powers would be well advised to pull out all the stops to save Europe and its banking system. Together they hold $10 trillion in foreign bonds. If they agreed to rotate just 4pc of these holdings ($400bn) into Spanish, Italian, and Belgian debt over the next two years, they could offer a soothing balm. None has yet risen to the challenge. It is `sauve qui peut’, with no evidence of G20 leadership in sight.

Once again, the US has had to take charge. The multi-trillion package now taking shape for Euroland was largely concocted in Washington, in cahoots with the European Commission, and is being imposed on Germany by the full force of American diplomacy.

It is an ugly and twisted set of proposals, devised to accomodate Berlin’s refusal to accept fiscal union, Eurobonds, and an EU treasury. But at least it is big.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, England / UK, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, G20, Germany, Globalization, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Politics in General, Spain, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The U.S. Government, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner