Daily Archives: November 23, 2012
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has told the nation’s only blended Catholic and Episcopal parish it must change its worship services so Catholics and non-Catholics meet in separate rooms for Holy Communion.
The parish, Church of the Holy Apostles, is led by Catholic and Episcopal co-pastors and has worshipped together for more than 30 years.
It’s an arrangement, parishioners say, that over the years has allowed families in mixed marriages to worship side by side and has helped build bonds that transcend denominational boundaries.
Persuading the Archbishops and prolocutors to permit the re-introduction of legislation will be the easy part. More difficult, as we have said before, will be the task of lighting on a formula that has a greater chance of success. Tuesday’s debate was full optimistic assurances that this could be done. History suggests otherwise. There are no new arguments to be found. What must change is the habit of demanding that concessions are made solely by the other side. The one straw at which to grasp is the pledge heard in the Synod from those opposed to women bishops that they will engage in discussions more willingly. There are also signs of this outside: for example, when someone emailed “Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia” to her contacts, a recipient, another opponent, gently upbraided her: “I honestly do not take any joy in what some will call a ‘victory’. . . Somehow, out of this mess – for that is what it is – there could well be a chance for both traditions to sit round a table and find some sort of agreement.” This must be the urgent prayer of all.
Although it was carried in the House of Bishops by 44 to 3, with two abstentions, and in the House of Clergy by 148 to 45, with no abstentions, it was lost in the House of Laity. Here, there were 132 votes in favour, 74 against, with no abstentions; the Measure thus fell by six votes. Across all three Houses, 72.6 per cent of Synod members voted in favour of the legislation.
This result came despite strong support for the Measure from the Archbishop of Canterbury and his designated successor, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby.
Congressional negotiators, trying to avert a fiscal crisis in January, are examining ideas that would allow effective tax rates to rise for the wealthy without technically raising the top tax rate of 35 percent. They hope the proposals will advance negotiations by allowing both parties to claim they stood their ground.
One possible change would tax the entire salary earned by those making more than a certain level ”” $400,000 or so ”” at the top rate of 35 percent rather than allowing them to pay lower rates before they reach the target, as is the standard formula. That plan would allow Republicans to say they did not back down in their opposition to raising marginal tax rates and Democrats to say they prevailed by increasing effective tax rates on the rich. At the same time, it would provide an initial effort to reduce the deficit, which the negotiators call a down payment, as Congressional tax-writing committees hash out a broad overhaul of the tax code.
That idea could be combined with the reinstatement of tax code provisions that once prevented the rich from taking personal exemptions or itemizing deductions. Those rules were eliminated by the tax cut of 2001. Reinstating them would tack an additional one to two percentage points onto the effective tax rates of high-income households without raising the 35 percent rate, but which households would be affected has not been decided. In all, tax experts say, families in the top tax bracket would find their effective tax rate jump to 41 percent, even though the top statutory rate would remain 35 percent.
Lord Sacks has described religion as “the redemption of our solitude” during a parliamentary debate on the role of faith in society.
The chief rabbi, who will retire from his post in less than a year, suggested that while in secular times religion was often misunderstood as “a strange set of beliefs and idiosyncratic rituals”, it could be better understood for its teachings about “making sacrifices for the sake of others, through charity”.
“Long before these functions were taken over by the state, religious groups, here and elsewhere, were building schools and hospitals and networks of support,” he said, referring to Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam’s research on the role of faith groups in society.
Meanwhile, two bishop advisers are in Charleston to address pastoral concerns of the rectors and the congregations, Waldo said.
“They are not provisional bishops. They are just advisers,” Waldo said. “Right now with Mark’s restriction on ministry and the lack of recognition of the (diocesan) standing committee, there is a vacuum in ecclesiastical authority from the perspective of the Episcopal Church. I think pastoral care is being provided as best they can as they try to discern what’s next.”
In the Upper Diocese, Waldo said, “We have been calling to prayer over this for some time and will continue to do so.”
“I recognized there are many in our congregations who have relatives or friends or who attend affected churches in the lower diocese at various times of the year who are deeply concerned and in quite a bit of spiritual pain over what has happened and the brokenness.”
Here’s a peculiarly American paradox: We are the most affluent country in the history of the world, with an elaborate education system and expansive legal guarantees for free expression.
Yet many citizens are afraid of talking. Outside of the political/media circus in which people disagree theatrically, many people — right, left and center — avoid thoughtful conversation with those who might disagree.
So, for anyone heading to a Thanksgiving gathering where there will be a variety of people, including some you know you disagree with, a bit of advice: Make sure you talk about religion and politics.
Almighty God, who didst choose thy servant Clement of Rome to recall the Church in Corinth to obedience and stability: Grant that thy Church may be grounded and settled in thy truth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and may evermore be kept blameless in thy service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
O God, fountain of love, pour thy love into our souls, that we may love those whom thou lovest with the love thou givest us, and think and speak of them tenderly, meekly, lovingly; and so loving our brethren and sisters for thy sake, may grow in thy love, and dwelling in love may dwell in thee; for Jesus Christ’s sake.
–E. B. Pusey (1800-1882)
“Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? “For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.”For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How are we robbing thee?’ In your tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me; the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house; and thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.
Lyrics:Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
It was Army Sgt. Keith Wells’ first Thanksgiving Day away from his family and despite a cornucopia of food provided for the troops, his taste buds were craving his wife’s macaroni and cheese back home.
“My wife’s a foodie ”” you know, the Food Network, cooking shows. Everything she makes is golden,” Wells of Charlotte, N.C., said Thursday at a large international military base in the Afghan capital.
The dining hall served up mac-and-cheese along with traditional Thanksgiving Day fixings. Wells was thankful for the good food, but he still missed his wife’s home-cooking.
Miss Thompson [a teacher I had when I was young] reached into her desk drawer and pulled out a piece of paper containing a quote attributed to Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. I listened intently as she read: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans, aim high in hope and work. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us.”
More than 30 years later, I gave a speech in which I said that Frances Thompson had given me a desperately needed belief in myself. A newspaper printed the story, and someone mailed the clipping to my beloved teacher. She wrote me: “You have no idea what that newspaper story meant to me. For years, I endured my brother’s arguments that I had wasted my life. That I should have married and had a family. When I read that you gave me credit for helping to launch a marvelous career, I put the clipping in front of my brother. After he’d read it, I said, ‘You see, I didn’t really waste my life, did I?'”
–Carl Rowan, Breaking Barriers
One day near the middle of the last century a minister in a prison camp in Germany conducted a service for the other prisoners. One of those prisoners, an English officer who survived, wrote these words:
“Dietrich Bonhoeffer always seemed to me to spread an atmosphere of happiness and joy over the least incident, and profound gratitude for the mere fact that he was alive”¦ He was one of the very few persons I have ever met for whom God was real and always near”¦ On Sunday, April 8, 1945, Pastor Bonhoeffer conducted a little service of worship and spoke to us in a way that went to the heart of all of us. He found just the right words to express the spirit of our imprisonment, and the thoughts and resolutions it had brought us. He had hardly ended his last prayer when the door opened and two civilians entered. They said, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer, come with us.” That had only one meaning for all prisoners”“the gallows. We said good-bye to him. He took me aside: “This is the end; but for me it is the beginning of life.” The next day he was hanged in Flossenburg.”
I read it every year on this day and every year it (still) brings me to tears–KSH.
The singers are Quire Cleveland under the direction of Peter Bennett.
It is hard to imagine America’s favorite holiday as a source of political controversy. But that was the case in 1789, the year of our first Thanksgiving as a nation.
The controversy began on Sept. 25 in New York City, then the seat of government. The inaugural session of the first Congress was about to recess when Rep. Elias Boudinot of New Jersey rose to introduce a resolution. He asked the House to create a joint committee with the Senate to “wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God.”