Daily Archives: May 4, 2012

Naomi Schaefer Riley: Pastors Call a Truce on 'Sheep-Stealing'

…the mostly single professionals and students were brought here by Charlotte ONE, a collaboration of 40 or so area churches trying to reach this demographic. Such regular and extensive cooperation of mainline and evangelical Protestant churches from every major denomination is not a typical feature of American religious life. They are more likely to be competing for each other’s members. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

Many of the more than 700 churches in this area (and all over the country, for that matter) have tried to run so-called young-adult ministries””but with little success. James Michael Smith, a co-founder of Charlotte ONE, tells me that a common problem is the return on investment: “Young adults are the least reliable, the most mobile and they don’t give financially either.” In order even to get them in the door, he adds, churches have to offer “the wow factor.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Young Adults

Thoughts from Methodist Bishop William R. Cannon–Receiving the Scripture

From here:

God’s revelation of himself and the deeds he performed are narrated in the Bible, which is the single source of our Christian faith. The so-called Wesleyan quadrilateral is not Wesleyan at all. It ought to be named the Albert Outler quadrilateral, naming as it does the source of our religion as the Bible, reason, tradition, and experience. The latter three are really interpretive tools to help us understand the contents of the Bible. They supply no revelatory material themselves. John Wesley, in the preface to his sermons, said that God gave us a book which provides us with his plan for our salvation. The Bible tells us all we need to know, indeed, can possibly know about how to be saved and win a place in heaven. He, therefore, called himself a man of one book.

The Bible then is God’s gift to us, not a book humans have composed for themselves and given to themselves for their own edification. It is his chart for their happiness and satisfaction here, and their blessedness in heaven. Therefore, to change one jot or one tittle of it, to try to make it conform to some human interest, concern, or cause is to risk damnation. We are to receive it as it is written, with open hearts and eager minds, and through it to be instructed in the ways of God. To attempt to rewrite it or in any way modify it from a racist, feminist, liberationist, liberal, conservative, or any other perspective not its own is the most dangerous of all heresies and an abomination of desolation too awful to conceive.

It is time we heed Saint Augustine’s warning against the juggling and misuse of Scripture to suit our own predisposition. “If you believe what you like in the Gospel and reject what you dislike, it is not the Gospel you believe but yourselves.”

”“Bishop William R. Cannon served from 1968 to 1984 as a UM Bishop of the Raleigh, Richmond (Virginia) and Atlanta Areas.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Methodist, Other Churches, Theology, Theology: Scripture

New Material on the settlement between Truro Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

Read it all–note there are many links to be explored.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Virginia, TEC Departing Parishes

Nigerian Roman Catholic Bishops Call for Better Government Response to Radicals

The leader of Nigeria’s bishops is criticizing the government’s response to the growing threat from radical Islamist groups, saying Christians are increasingly at risk of attack.

Archbishops Ignatius Kaigama, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, along with Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja spoke with Aid to the Church in Need about the plight of Christians in the country, and how the government is handling the situation.

The statement came after at least 21 people were killed and more than 20 others were injured last Sunday in coordinated attacks targeting worship services at a university campus in Kano, and a chapel in Maiduguri belonging to the Church of Christ in Nigeria.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Albert Mohler: "Undisguised intellectual dishonesty" in the NY Times' Advocacy of Same Sex Marriage

Many of the nation’s leading newspapers serve as advocacy agents for the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage. Leading this charge for some time, The New York Times regularly promotes same-sex marriage in its editorials and news coverage. Even so, the paper’s latest editorial serves as a display of how the argument for homosexual marriage is often pressed with what can only be described as undisguised intellectual dishonesty….

We are living in an age marked by what philosopher John Haldane calls “erotic entitlements.” Those promoting these entitlements now demand marriage as the ultimate recognition and normalization of their relationships.

The New York Times has the right to press the case for same-sex marriage, but it does bear the responsibility to make its arguments with intellectual honesty. Just where would the paper draw the lines of rightful discrimination in marriage law, and for how long will it be willing to hold those lines?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Media, Sexuality, Theology

United Methodist News Service Articles on Yesterday's Vote and Discussion

Read them all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

(RNS) Methodists uphold policy that calls same sex practice 'incompatible with Christian teaching'

The delegates defeated another compromise proposal by an even wider margin: 61 to 39 percent. The resolution would have acknowledged a “limited understanding” of human sexuality and called on the church to “refrain from judgment regarding homosexual persons and practices until the Spirit leads us to new insight.”

The Rev. Steve Wendy of Texas argued that the compromise would cause confusion and lead the church to “stumble in our witness.”

“If you look at our largest congregations, and crunch the numbers, they are all reaching young adults successfully,” Wendy said. “And, overwhelmingly, they teach and proclaim God’s truth without compromise.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

(AP) Methodists vote to keep stand upholding Christian Sexual standards for their Leaders

After an emotional debate, Methodists at a national legislative meeting Thursday upheld the denomination’s policy that same-sex relationships are “incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Delegates at the General Conference voted by about 60% to 40% against softening the language on homosexuality in their Book of Discipline, which contains church laws and doctrine. The meeting is held once every four years, which means the policy won’t come up for a conference vote again until 2016.

Advocates for gay and lesbian Methodists gathered in the convention hall wearing rainbow stoles and protested the vote by singing and interrupting the meeting. Some cried when the vote tally was announced. Methodist leaders briefly shut down business in response to the protest.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Church Times art. on FCA Meeting–”˜We are a Communion: we are together’ says Wabukala

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) is not trying to estab­lish a shadow Anglican Com­munion, the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, said at the end of a meeting in London last Friday.

Speaking to the press after a conference at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, in London (News, 27 April), Dr Wabukala said: “We are a Com­munion: we are together. What we are doing is that we are in a Com­munion and spiritu­ally recognising the need for us to be scriptural, to uphold the tenets the Bible has taught us, and wanting to make them louder, and to possibly help to form and help others. We are helping ourselves within the Com­munion to hear more about what God is saying.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, FCA Meeting in London April 2012, Global South Churches & Primates

(Telegraph) Nicolas Sarkozy closes gap on Francois Hollande in final polls

The final polls before France’s presidential election on Sunday show President Nicolas Sarkozy making up ground on Socialist challenger Francois Hollande – but still predict a Hollande victory.

Mr Sarkozy on Friday predicted a “surprise” and Mr Hollande urged his voters to avoid complacency as the bitter campaign neared its climax, driven by fears about joblessness, immigration and France’s economic future.

A poll by the BVA agency shows 52.5 percent support for Hollande and 47.5 percent for Sarkozy. A poll by the agency CSA shows 53 percent for Hollande and 47 percent for Sarkozy.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, France

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Monnica

O Lord, who through spiritual discipline didst strengthen thy servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we beseech thee, and use us in accordance with thy will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who knowest that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but that all our sufficiency is of thee: Assist us with thy grace in all the work which we are to undertake this day. Direct us in it by thy wisdom, support us by thy power; that doing our duty diligently, we may bring it to a good end, so that it may tend to the greater glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in the gospel of Christ, to establish you in your faith and to exhort you, that no one be moved by these afflictions. You yourselves know that this is to be our lot. For when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction; just as it has come to pass, and as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent that I might know your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor would be in vain. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you– for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith; for now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.

–1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Martin Warner Announced to be New Bishop of Chichester

Downing Street have announced that The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, currently Suffragan Bishop of Whitby in the Diocese of York, is to be the next Bishop of Chichester.

Dr Warner, 53, succeeds The Right Reverend John Hind who retired last month.

Dr Warner studied at St Chad’s College in Durham before completing his theological training at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. He was ordained deacon (1984) and priest (1985) in Exeter Cathedral whilst working as Curate of St Peter’s Plymouth.

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

(Zenit) A Different Falling in Love Leads to Holiness

Jeronimo de Castro Abreu Magalhaes was born in Mage, and Zelia Pedreira Abreu Magalhaes in Niteroi. They were married on July 27, 1876, in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

He was a civil engineer and she was a lawyer, with a fine artistic, literary and scientific formation, so that at 14 she translated the work of Cesare Cantu Il Giovinetto from Italian to Portuguese.

From the moment they met, Jeronimo and Zelia always wanted to please God, when in their exchange of looks it was already clear that their falling in love would be different, said Father Roberto Lopes, who is in charge of the processes of canonization of the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Brazil, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, South America

GCon. 2012 Methodist Delegates cannot agree that they disagree on sexuality issue

The United Methodist Church cannot agree that it disagrees over the issue of homosexuality.

After more than an hour of passionate debate and clear disagreement, two items stating Christians have different opinions about homosexuality were not approved by the 2012 General Conference, leaving the original language in the Book of Discipline intact.

The Book of Discipline, Paragraph 161F states: “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

Christ Church (Anglican) Savannah Announces Settlement

(Via email–KSH):

Christ Church Anglican (CCA) in Savannah, GA has agreed to settle a 4 ½ year legal battle with The Episcopal Church (TEC), and The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. At the heart of the dispute was a lawsuit against CCA, the Senior Pastor and fourteen members of the 2007 Vestry (Board) including money damage claims by the Diocese against these individuals in excess of $1million. “While we never agreed that our people had any personal liability, we are pleased to see these claims dropped as this threat of personal financial loss has hung over our people for more than four years. These parishioners served as volunteer directors on a non-profit 501-C3 board and made decisions to try to stand for their beliefs and fulfill their duty to protect the non-profit corporation they served,” said John Albert, CCA Senior Warden.
In 2007, Christ Church Anglican, established in 1733 and predating the formation of TEC by 56 years and the TEC Diocese of Georgia by 90 years, conducted a congregational vote by which 87% of the congregation supported the Vestry’s decision to disaffiliate from TEC over core theological differences. Subsequently, TEC sued Christ Church Anglican, its pastor, and the 14 individual members of the 2007 board. After the Georgia Supreme Court ruling on November 21, 2011, CCA turned over possession of its three buildings (including the church building on Johnson Square) and the parking lot, all worth in excess of $6 million.

As set forth in the settlement agreement, the Church will adopt the title “Christ Church Anglican.” “We see the addition of ”˜Anglican’ to our name as a way of identifying our roots going back to our beginnings in Savannah as a Mission of the Church of England in 1733. God has given us the privilege of living out a truth we have always believed, that the Church is not the building but the people of God. God has blessed us in this struggle, as we have maintained the vast majority of our congregation while adding new members who are excited to be part of a church that seeks to live out its beliefs. Orthodox Anglicanism is alive and well in Savannah and we look forward to a bright future,” commented The Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson, Christ Church Anglican’s senior pastor.

Also included in the agreement, is a requirement that all litigation be dropped including CCA’s appeal to the US Supreme Court which asked the Court to decide whether the “neutral principles”doctrine embodied in the First Amendment permits imposition of a trust on church property when the creation of that trust contradicts the state’s property and trust laws. “It was a hard decision to give up our appeal as we are aware of the pain many other Anglican Churches which are being sued by TEC are experiencing, but we are encouraged by the fact that two other strong cases, (Timberridge Presbyterian Church, McDonough, GA and Bishop Seabury, an Anglican parish in Groton, Conn.) are going forward and feel we have supported their effort with our appeal. However, at this time we feel our primary call is to build a stronger Anglican presence in Savannah,” stated Albert.

Judge Michael Karp’s 2008 decision declared that all church property “was held in trust for the Diocese and the national church”, so other aspects of the settlement provide that CCA will relinquish any claim to the Endowment Funds worth some $2.3 million and return $33,000 of operating funds pursuant to an accounting of funds at the time of disaffiliation. The Diocese however agreed to assume a $33,000 debt obligation from CCA. “We have left all our material possessions on Johnson Square, but that which we have taken with us is far more valuable: our people, the historic faith and the Holy Spirit. We have no regrets,” said CCA senior pastor, Marc Robertson.

On December 11, 2011, two weeks before they were required to vacate, Christ Church held its final service in its historic building on Johnson Square. Following that service, the entire congregation of more than 400 people processed down Bull Street to Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC), where they were welcomed by 500 IPC members and Pastor Terry Johnson who stated “our faith is your faith and our buildings are your buildings.” Christ Church now holds Sunday services at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 9 p.m. at IPC and Wednesday and Friday noon services at St. Andrew’s Reformed Episcopal Church.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia, TEC Departing Parishes