Daily Archives: July 17, 2012

Churches shifting to Wednesday worship

As New England sweltered in early July, Sunday mornings came and went without a single soul showing up for worship in the hot, stuffy sanctuary of First Congregational Church of Salem, N.H. Even the pastor stayed home.

But God wasn’t forgotten. Worship just waited until Wednesday evenings, when the cool comfort of the basement fellowship hall drew as many as 40 to sing and pray. That’s 50 percent more than the church attracted when it met on summer Sundays.

“If people take a break from worshipping, they sometimes don’t pick that habit back up,” said Owen Williams, a longtime deacon at First Congregational, a United Church of Christ congregation. But because Wednesdays keep people coming, “we have a depth of commitment throughout the year.”

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

London's churches throw open their doors to welcome visitors to the Olympics

Visitors to the 2012 Olympics will be able to escape one of the busiest periods the capital has ever seen by exploring its rich Christian heritage. The Diocese of London has published a guide to walking tours of the city’s places of tranquillity, prayer and historic interest. All over London, churches will open their doors to visitors throughout the Games.

Available both as a free download and as a full colour booklet available free of charge from participating churches, ‘Faith Walks’ comprise six trails starting out from Olympic venues. More than 40 churches are participating and will be open to the public all day throughout the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Some of them are famous London sights in tourist hotspots, such as St Martin-in-the-Fields and St James, Piccadilly. Others are hidden jewels that have never been open regularly before; they will surprise and delight even Londoners who think they know their city well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CNS) General Convention 2012 Decisions "a huge obstacle on the path to Christian unity"

In a decision that could strain relations with the Catholic Church and within its own Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church has approved liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The church’s House of Bishops voted 111-41 July 9 in favor of provisional use of the resources until the next General Convention, held every three years. About 80 percent of the church’s House of Deputies gave their approval July 10.

The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity called the decision “a huge obstacle on the path to Christian unity,” saying it would affect the Catholic-Episcopal dialogue in the United States.

Read it all. I trust everyone reading the blog to keep up with some basic aspects of General Convention. The phrase “not being on the floor during the vote” is not accurate in reference to the “vote” in question. The majority of the South Carolina deputation and the bishop left General Convention on the second to last day–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Gen. Con. 2012, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Getting Lost in the Labyrinth of Medical Bills

Ask Jean Poole, a medical billing advocate, about her work helping people navigate the bewildering world of medical bills and insurance claims, and the stories pour out. There’s the client who was billed almost $11,000 for an 11-minute hand surgery. The cancer patient who was charged $9,550.40 for a round of chemotherapy he never received.

And then, there’s the tale of the woman who came to Ms. Poole with a large rolling suitcase stuffed with bills for her 68-year-old husband, who had gone to the emergency room after he fell getting out of bed. The hospital’s doctors discovered a series of problems ”” kidney failure, blood and urinary tract infections, and a blood clot. Ultimately, he ended up staying in the hospital for two months and being transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation.

Though the couple had two insurance policies ”” one through Medicare and a secondary policy at Blue Cross Blue Shield ”” they still received more than $25,000 in medical bills and another $65,000 from the nursing home. And some of them threatened collections if they weren’t paid within days….

Read it all (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William White

O Lord, who in a time of turmoil and confusion didst raise up thy servant William White, and didst endow him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might lead thy Church into ways of stability and peace: Hear our prayer, we beseech thee, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that through their ministry thy people may be blessed and thy will be done; 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, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who in thy Son Jesus Christ hast called us in from the bondage of sin to be servants of righteousness: Give us grace to yield our lives wholly to thine obedience; that, being made free from sin, we may have our fruit unto holiness, and hereafter may be made partakers of the life everlasting; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’

–Matthew 25:24-30

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Western Mass. Episcopal clergy to bless, but not wed, same-sex couples

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts will allow its clergy to bless same-sex couples, beginning the first Sunday of Advent.

Bishop Gordon P. Scruton and Bishop Elect Douglas J. Fisher made the announcement in a recent letter to clergy and laity.

“Our church has prayed, debated, and sought guidance for this decision for a number of years,” wrote the two bishops. “Same gender couples, committed in love, may now be blessed to enter into a lifelong covenant of fidelity with one another and the living God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, --Gen. Con. 2012, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Parishes

(USA Today) Tom Krattenmaker– Learning to tolerate the tension

Feel the tension? There’s a lot of it out there in the body politic this season. We have tension between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama supporters, between Republicans and Democrats, between religious conservatives and secular liberals.

“Tense” is not the state in which most of us are looking to spend our summer vacations. Yet as two of our best politics-and-culture commentators remind us in their recent books, there’s a different and healthy kind of tension we should respect in this age of narrow-sighted, all-in commitment to our pet idea or philosophy, as if it were the only valid thing out there.

Government is killing free enterprise. Government must protect our benefits. The religious nuts will run the country off a cliff. We need to turn back to God. So go the competing battle cries. Yet as Ross Douthat and E.J. Dionne argue in Bad Religion and Our Divided Political Heart, respectively, our religious and political life has always benefited from healthy tension between competing principles. This tension is inevitable but, more than that, a key to our renewed success ””if only we can learn to appreciate it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture