Daily Archives: February 6, 2012

Two Venerable Protestant churches In Buffalo discuss uniting

Two of Buffalo’s most venerable mainline Protestant churches are in discussions to share space, staff and ministries — with one of the congregations possibly selling off its buildings and moving into the landmark structure of the other congregation.

Leadership of Trinity Episcopal Church on Delaware Avenue revealed the surprising proposal, which also involves First Presbyterian Church, in a letter this past weekend to Trinity church members.

The proposal calls for First Presbyterian, the city’s first congregation, dating from before the War of 1812, to sell its buildings on Symphony Circle and move to the Delaware campus of Trinity, which was formed in 1836.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, TEC Parishes, Urban/City Life and Issues

South Carolina's Voorhees College to celebrate 1st black Episcopal priest

Voorhees College will celebrate Absalom Jones, the first African-American priest in the Episcopal Church, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, in St. Philip’s Chapel on campus.

The Annual Absalom Jones Feast Day will feature the Right Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, as chief celebrant, and the Right Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, as preacher.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, Young Adults

(Zenit) Father John Flynn–Low Fertility and the Economic Crisis

A combination of fewer people in the workforce and high levels of indebtedness leads to a very adverse economic environment, [Ajay] Kapur warned.

The aging population means that a serious reform of the social security and tax systems will be needed in Japan, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura at a press conference held Monday, according to a Feb. 1 report by the Daily Yomiuri Online.

In 1960 one retiree was supported by 11.2 workers. In 2010, one retiree was supported by only 2.8 workers. By 2060, it is expected there will be just 1.3 workers per retiree.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Economy, Japan, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate Issues his First Pastoral Letter

Currently our focus and priority is on the identification and creation of stable Ordinariate communities. However, we are also aware that there are individuals or single families who will want to join the Ordinariate. Assigning individuals to the various local communities is going to take time; we first have to see where our communities are going to be located and get them established before we can begin connecting more isolated individuals/families to our existing communities. This mean that our individuals are going to need to be patient with us as these communities are created. We do not want anyone feeling neglected, however with limited time and resources our priority must be getting our communities established and our clergy ordained before we can turn our attention to our individual members. Nevertheless, we are maintaining a database of everyone who desires to join the Ordinariate to keep track of the names and locations of our members so that we will eventually be able to connect individuals with communities in their geographic area.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(BBC) Anglicans to march in support of women bishops

Anglican women clergy are to rally in Westminster later at a march supporting plans to introduce women bishops.

The Church of England’s ruling body, the General Synod, is to discuss legislation on women bishops this week.

It will consider a proposal that women bishops should accept intervention in their dioceses by male alternatives if called in by traditionalist parishes.

Progressive Anglicans fiercely oppose the plans, claiming it would make women second-class bishops.

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

Diocese of Blackburn Launches 'Fit for Purpose' Debate

The Church of England in Lancashire has launched a county wide debate to make it ‘fit for purpose’ in a decade of decreasing clergy.

Paid parish priests are set to fall to 106 by 2019, compared with 250 in 2000 and 156 currently. Numbers of unpaid clergy are rising, from 44 to 59 between 2006 and 2011, but such continuing growth cannot be guaranteed.

‘We cannot have fewer clergy and continue as we are,’ said the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Rev John Goddard, who chaired the year-long, 15 member task force that drafted a report on the Church’s future.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Paul Domowitch: Giants' Manning super in win over Patriots

There were a lot of snickers last summer when Eli Manning had the audacity to inform us that he thought he was an elite quarterback.

It’s not like he beat his chest and issued a proclamation. Somebody asked him whether he thought he was an elite quarterback and he responded with a truthful answer.

“What do you expect the guy to say?” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said last night after Eli led New York to its second Super Bowl title in five seasons and also collected his second Super Bowl MVP award with a 30-for-40, 296-yard, one-touchdown performance in a 21-17, come-from-behind win over the Patriots.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

(NY Times Op-Ed) Frank Bruni–Mitt Romney’s Muffled Soul

Last week he did it again, wading into a discussion of money ”” or, rather, of the “very poor” who lack it ”” and succumbing to yet another pink slip of the tongue. Mitt Romney is forever being tripped up this election cycle by the topic of wealth.

Not, interestingly, religion. That was the angst last time around, and the extent to which the dynamic has changed, with mammon supplanting Mormon as the bejeweled albatross around his neck, was reflected in another recent comment of his, one that prompted less notice and was interpreted in a particular and highly revealing way….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Mormons, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Syria crisis: Army steps up shelling in Homs

Heavy artillery fire has been rocking Homs, as Syrian troops step up an assault on the restive city.

A BBC correspondent there says attacks resumed early on Monday with almost constant explosions.

Rebels say a clinic is being targeted in one of the fiercest assaults on the city in the 11-month uprising.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

(LA Times) Charlotte Allen–An affront Roman Catholics agree on

Not surprisingly, the American Catholic bishops have presented a nearly united front in opposition to the rule, scheduled to go into effect in 2013. The website CatholicVote.org lists 140 bishops, more than 70% of the 198 heads of U.S. Catholic dioceses, who have either issued or intend to issue statements opposing the mandate. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York accused the Obama administration of treating pregnancy and women’s fertility “as a disease.”

What is surprising is that prominent liberal Catholics ”” people who don’t even agree with the church’s position on contraception ”” have joined their voices in protest. One of them was E.J. Dionne, a widely syndicated columnist for the Washington Post. Dionne, who has been an Obama enthusiast since well before the 2008 election, accused the president in a recent column of having “utterly botched” the issue of contraceptive services. Dionne admitted that he wished “the church would show more flexibility on this question,” but he also pointed out that the sweeping mandate “encroached upon the church’s legitimate prerogatives” to ensure that its employment policies reflected its moral values.

This represents a breakthrough in the long-simmering animosity between conservative and liberal Catholics over how much the church should have changed in the wake of Vatican II….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Christian Century Blogs) Amy Frykholm–The morning communion rush

Since the New Year, I’ve been stopping at the Chicago Temple on Wednesday mornings for communion. For at least 40 years, this downtown United Methodist church has offered communion to city dwellers and commuters during the morning rush. At 7:30, Phil Blackwell–who inherited the tradition–consecrates the elements with whomever happens to be in the room at the moment. For the next 90 minutes, communion and a simple prayer are offered for anyone who walks in.

The communion, offered without a traditional liturgy, could very well have an “express lane” feel. When I first heard about this communal rite, I wondered: theologically, what is communion absent community? Culturally, why do I and others imagine we don’t have time for liturgy? Ecclesiastically, what is communion that is all take (on my part) and no give?

But Blackwell and associate pastors Claude King and Wendy Witt all say the early-morning communion is a personal highlight of their ministries….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Eucharist, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Japan

O God our Father, who art the source of strength to all thy saints, and who didst bring the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of life eternal: Grant that we, being encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith that we profess, even unto death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, Japan, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who hast sown in our hearts the precious seed of thy truth: Grant us to nourish it by meditation, prayer and obedience, that it may not only take root, but also bring forth fruit unto holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Hebrews 13:14-16

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to the New York Giants who Win the Super Bowl

It was a very good and evenly matched game that went all the way down to the wire.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

(Jerusalem Post) Archbishop of Canterbury meets with chief rabbis

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams met with Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar on Thursday during a week-long personal pilgrimage to Israel and the West Bank.

The office of the Diocese of Jerusalem of the Anglican Church said that during Williams’ visit he emphasized “the importance of constructive dialogue and co-existence between all religions,” and the need to “consolidate the peace process between the people of this region.”

Invited by the head of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem Bishop Suheil Dawani, Williams was on a private tour and so did not make any public statements.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths

Nick Bryant–American Declinism redux in 2012 and the race for the Presidency

In what still remains a determinedly optimistic country, no serious presidential candidate would proffer an entirely negative view. Bleak assessments of the American present invariably come with morale-boosting promises about the American future. Clinton believed in a place called Hope, while Obama vouched for its audacity. From the troughs of the valley, Reagan promised a return to the shining city on a hill.

This kind of rhetoric serves a purpose. Elections, after all, are a diagnostic exercise, where problems are identified and remedies proposed. Had it not been for Eisenhower’s fears about the Soviet threat, he might not have pushed so hard for what turned out to be the greatest landmark of his presidency: an interstate highway system.

Problems have arisen, however, when the prognosis has been too grave, at which point a candidate’s exaggerated sense of US decline can lead to exaggerated policy responses in office. Kennedy’s fears about being bested by the Soviets led in part to the disaster of the Bay of Pigs within months of him taking office. He became a victim of the Cold War machismo that only a short time before had made him look so muscular against Nixon. Pessimism can also nurture isolationism, and a reluctance to project American power abroad.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, History, Office of the President, Politics in General, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Recent Statistics for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

(Note that I decided to research these numbers based on the preceding post about the bishop of the diocese–KSH).

According to the U.S.Census Bureau’s figures, Springfield, the see city of the diocese, has grown in population from 152,082 in 2000 to 153,060 in 2010. This represents a population growth of approximately 0.6% in this time frame.

According to Episcopal Church statistics, the Diocese of Western Massachusetts went from Average Sunday Attendance (or ASA) of 7,295 in 2000 to 5,208 in 2010. This represents a decline of 28.6% during this decade.

Please note that if you go to the link toward the end of this sentence and enter “Western Massachusetts” as the name of the diocese and then “View Diocese Chart” underneath on the left you can see in pictorial form some of the data from 2000-2010.

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

(WWLP) Western Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop holds last Mass

A heartfelt goodbye Sunday as the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church congregation in Springfield held its last high mass with their Bishop Gordon Scruton.

The Episcopal Bishop plans to retire at the end of this year after 16 years as spiritual leader of the Western Massachusetts Diocese made up of 65 churches.

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

Daniel Treisman–Why Russia protects Syria's Assad

Western commentators typically attribute such behavior to Putin’s personal paranoia or to attempts to rekindle the nation’s wounded pride and assert Russia’s superpower status. Look a little closer, however, and Russia’s actions seem motivated more by calculated — albeit sometimes miscalculated — realpolitik than by psychological impulses.

First, strategic interests are at stake. In Tartus, Syria hosts the sole remaining Russian naval base on the Mediterranean, currently being refurbished by 600 Russian technicians after long disuse. To have to give up this Middle Eastern beachhead would be a shame, as far as the Russians are concerned.

Second, although limited, Russia has real commercial interests in Syria.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Russia, Syria

William Cavanaugh–The "Wars of Religion" and Other Fairy Tales

[Russell] Blackford’s argument is based on a familiar “Just So” story about European history: once upon a time Catholics and Protestants started killing each other over religion. The secular state saved the day by making religion a private matter. Locke is the hero here for conceptualizing this amicable division: the church would stay out of politics, and the state would stay out of religion. And they all lived happily ever after.

Unfortunately, this tale does not become more true simply by being repeated. It is a favourite of liberal political theorists – John Rawls, Richard Rorty and many others – but it can’t be found in the work of any respected historian of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, History, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Washington Post) Egypt to prosecute Americans, including Sam LaHood, in NGO probe

The Egyptian government intends to prosecute at least 40 people, including some U.S. citizens, as part of an investigation into nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign funding, state media reported Sunday.

The announcement came a day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned the Egyptian Foreign Ministry that failure to quickly resolve the probe could jeopardize the more than $1.3 billion Egypt expects to get this year in U.S. aid.

“We are very clear that there are problems that arise from this situation that can impact all the rest of our relationship in Egypt,” Clinton told reporters while attending an international conference in Munich in which she met with her Egyptian counterpart. “We don’t want that.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Egypt, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General

A Sensational Man. United Comeback enables them to draw Chelse at 3-3 having been down 3-0

Two penalties from Wayne Rooney brought Manchester United back from the dead to draw 3-3 with Chelsea in a pulsating game at Stamford Bridge.

The hosts were riding high on a three-goal lead shortly before the hour mark, with an own goals from Jonny Evans and a David Luiz header either side of a Juan Mata stunner giving the Blues the advantage.

But United unleashed a second-half onslaught to rescue a point at the Bridge, with Rooney and Javier Hernandez the heroes for the Red Devils.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Men, Sports