Daily Archives: January 3, 2013

(Liv. Church) Prudence Dailey on the Church of England and Women Bishops–How Did We Get Here?

During an emotional debate in July 2008, however, every one of those proposals was in turn rejected by the Synod in favour of a simple Code of Practice, as supporters of women bishops expressed fears that the proposals for greater accommodation, enshrined in legislation, would result in women becoming “second-class” bishops, and assured the Synod that legislative provision should not be required if only we would all “trust the bishops.”

The Rt. Rev. Stephen Venner, then Bishop of Dover, a supporter of women as bishops, and generally regarded as a liberal, was in tears as he said that

for the first time in my life I feel ashamed. We have talked for hours about wanting to give an honourable place to those who disagree; we have been given opportunities for both views to flourish; we have turned down almost every realistic opportunity for the views of those who are opposed to flourish; … and we still talk the talk of being inclusive and generous.

Both archbishops were clearly dismayed; at the end of the debate, the Archbishop of Canterbury abstained on the motion to proceed to the next stage.

In July 2010, the archbishops attempted to salvage the situation by bringing forward an amendment to introduce “coordinate jurisdiction.” Whilst an overall majority of Synod members supported the amendment, it fell in the House of Clergy by just five votes.

Read it all.

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

Charles McGrath–A Careful Writer Stalks the Truth About Scientology

Mr. Wright insists that he did not set out to write an exposé. “Why would I bother to do that?” he said. “Scientology is probably the most stigmatized religion in America already. But I’m fascinated by it and by what drives people to Scientology, especially given its image.”

He added: “There are many countries where you can only believe more or you can believe less. But in the United States we have this incredible smorgasbord, and it really interests me why people are drawn to one faith rather than another, especially to a system of belief that to an outsider seems absurd or dangerous.”

Mr. Wright, whose previous book, “The Looming Tower:” Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, is no stranger to writing about secretive organizations. In the case of Scientology, he said, he had been looking for what he calls a “donkey” ”” a character strong and sympathetic enough to carry a complicated story. “I don’t mean it in a disparaging way,” he explained. “A donkey is a very useful beast of burden.” In 2010 he finally found one in Paul Haggis, the winner of back-to-back Oscars for “Million Dollar Baby,” which he wrote, and “Crash,” which he wrote and directed, who defected from Scientology in 2009, after 34 years in the church, during which he rose to one of its highest ranks.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

A Chattanoogan Profile of the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Anniston, Alabama

While the Anniston church is a local architectural and historical treasure and it has some endowment money for help with the upkeep and preservation, the church’s spiritual presence faces a more challenging future.

Not only are mainline denominations like the Episcopal church facing declining attendance numbers, but the Anniston church is located in a secluded and not as fashionable location away from suburban growth or a main downtown street.

Dr. [Hugh] Jones said the church averages about 80 in attendance on an average Sunday, although it had a good crowd on Christmas Eve. Besides catering to its regular worshipers, the church also has some outreach ministries that involve even better its immediate neighbors who may be struggling financially or in other ways.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Architecture, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

(Union Leader) Incoming Episcopal Bishop of NH doesn't expect to attract media glare

he stage is sizzling. The crowd is howling and stamping its feet. The energy makes your skin crawl.

What do you do when your act follows that of a rock star? If Robert Hirschfeld knows one thing, he knows not to imitate the last act.

Hirschfeld becomes the full-fledged 10th Episcopal Bishop for the state of New Hampshire on Saturday in an investiture ceremony that will include several Episcopal bishops, including his predecessor, outgoing Bishop Gene Robinson.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops

Anglican Bishop of Upper Shire in Malawi under fire for participation in a prayer function

The Right Reverend Brighton Vitta Malasa, the Anglican Bishop of the Upper Shire Diocese has come under intense fire from his flock for being among the ”˜officiating clergy’ at ”˜New Year Prayers’ held at Mulli Brothers Limited Headquarters in Chigumula, Blantyre “without appropriate justification”.

There were ”˜New Year Prayers’ at Mulli Brothers premises on Wednesday “to pray for blessings in 2013” and according to an Anglican Christian who attended the function, “it was all politics and not prayers.”

“It was all politics where the officiating clergy that also included former president late Bingu wa Mutharika’s advisor, Reverend Bill Gama and Reverend Misheck Nasiyaya, both of the Blantyre Synod, kept on referring to the former DPP regime in their sermons….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa, Malawi, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(CNN) David Rothkopf–The Fiscal Cliff deal is a Hollow Victory for American people

While many in Washington are breathing a sigh of relief and some are trying to spin the outcome as a win for the president, those who characterize this bill as a genuine victory for anyone at all have clearly lost perspective. The deal brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does make good on President Obama’s promise to bring a little more equity to the tax code by raising rates on wealthier Americans, and it temporarily averts the most draconian “sequestration” cuts. But the list of what it does not do, and what it does wrong, is long.

By midday Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office had concluded that the Biden-McConnell package would add nearly $4 trillion to federal deficits over the next 10 years. This was largely because it actually extends and makes permanent more than 80% of the Bush tax cuts. So much for the idea that this whole struggle was supposed to help America get its financial house in order.

Just as bad, or perhaps worse in terms of the day-to-day lives of average people, the bill only postpones the forced cuts of sequestration by two months, to precisely the moment the country will be engaged in another ruinous debate about lifting our national debt ceiling to ensure the country can pay its bills. It thus creates a new, even more dangerous fiscal cliff….

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Update: George Will has also written on this I see–Perils Of The Entitlement State And Our Decadent Democracy.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology

(BBC) German medicine rocked by Leipzig organ donor scandal

Prosecutors are investigating an organ donor scandal in the east German city of Leipzig in which doctors allegedly manipulated an organ waiting list.

Three doctors have been suspended at the Leipzig University Clinic’s organ transplant centre.

German media report that 38 patients with liver problems were falsely listed as dialysis cases in order to shorten their wait for a transplant.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Germany, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, Theology

(UM Reporter) Laurie Haller–Websites:The new front door for every church

It’s Friday night, I’m on vacation, and I’m trying to decide where to attend church on Sunday morning. I ask Siri on my iPhone, “Find Grace United Methodist Church, Any City, U.S.A.” Before I can even blink, I’m on the website and know that Grace UMC has worship services at 8:00, 9:15 and 10:45 a.m.

Then I click the “I’m New” button where I read a welcome from Pastor Mike Adams and have my most important questions answered before I choose to walk through the door for the first time: “Who are you guys? What’s really important to you? When do you get together? Is there anything for my kids? How do I find you guys? How do I get ahold of you?”

I’m feeling comfortable about what to expect when I arrive, a map is right there on the home page, I like what I read about the church’s ministries, and I already feel connected with the pastor. I’m sold. I’m heading to Grace UMC on Sunday morning.

Every congregation in the United Methodist Church has a new front door. It’s the Internet. People don’t use the Yellow Pages to find a church anymore, nor do they glance at the church ads in Saturday’s newspaper….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Media, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Cardinal George–Legislation creating "same-sex" marriage: What's at stake?

At the beginning of the New Year, 2013, a law is being proposed in the General Assembly to change the legal definition of marriage in Illinois to accommodate those of the same sex who wish to “marry” one another. In this discussion, the Church will be portrayed as “anti-gay,” which is a difficult position to be in, particularly when families and the Church herself love those of their members who are same-sex oriented. What’s at stake in this legislative proposal and in the Church’s teaching on marriage?

Basically, the nature of marriage is not a religious question. Marriage comes to us from nature. Christ sanctifies marriage as a sacrament for the baptized, giving it significance beyond its natural reality; the State protects marriage because it is essential to family and to the common good of society. But neither Church nor State invented marriage, and neither can change its nature.

Nature and Nature’s God, to use the expression in the Declaration of Independence of our country, give the human species two mutually complementary sexes, able to transmit life through what the law has hitherto recognized as a marital union. Consummated sexual relations between a man and a woman are ideally based on mutual love and must always be based on mutual consent, if they are genuinely human actions. But no matter how strong a friendship or deep a love between persons of the same sex might be, it is physically impossible for two men, or two women, to consummate a marital union. Even in civil law, non-consummation of a marriage is reason for annulment.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology, Women

(Law & Religion UK) 2012 and 2013: retrospect and prospect

2012 proved to be a very busy year for students of law and religion in the UK ”“ busier, indeed, than we might have expected.

Same-sex marriage

The dominant issue was same-sex marriage, both in England and Wales and in Scotland ”“ a proposal which provoked a reactions ranging from a warm welcome from the Unitarians and the Quakers to bitter opposition by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, who lambasted the proposal both in his Christmas sermon and in an interview with the BBC, in which he complained that

“There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen’s Speech. And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation. From a democratic point of view it’s a shambles. George Orwell would be proud of that manoeuvre. I think the process is shambolic.”

Ministers also managed to upset the Church in Wales by including it in the “quadruple lock” proposals without, it appeared, having consulted it first….

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who hast revealed the glory of thy love in the in the face of Jesus Christ, and called us by him to live as thy children: Fill our hearts, as we remember his nativity, with the gladness of this great redemption; that we may join in the heavenly song of glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and goodwill towards men; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

O God, when thou didst go forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness, the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, at the presence of God; yon Sinai quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

–Psalm 68:7-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Bishop of West Malaysia's New Year Message

‘Optimizing God’s Vineyard’ – Another excellent annual video message from Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

(Allafrica) In Rwanda Clerics Urge Renewed Commitment to God

Clerics have urged Rwandans to renew their commitment to God in the New Year.

They delivered the message at different churches during prayers to usher in the New Year.

During the church service at St Etienne Anglican Cathedral in Giporoso yesterday, Pastor Antoine Rutayisire urged Christians to walk with God this year and to make it a priority among their commitments.

He said this was the only way that would save them from many of life’s troubles.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Religion & Culture, Rwanda

AP Analysis: Cliff deal is another pain-free punt

Congress’ hectic resolution of the “fiscal cliff” crisis is the latest in a long series of decisions by lawmakers and the White House to do less than promised ”” and to ask Americans for little sacrifice ”” in confronting the nation’s burgeoning debt.

The deal will generate $600 billion in new revenue over 10 years, less than half the amount President Barack Obama first called for. It will raise income tax rates only on the very rich, despite Obama’s campaign for broader increases.

It puts off the toughest decisions about spending cuts for military and domestic programs, including Medicare and Social Security. And it does nothing to mitigate the looming partisan showdown on the debt ceiling, which must rise soon to avoid default on U.S. loans.

In short, the deal reached between Obama and congressional Republicans continues to let Americans enjoy relatively high levels of government service at low levels of taxation. The only way that’s possible, of course, is through heavy borrowing, which future generations will inherit.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

Parishioners, friends say farewell to St. George's Spesutia, Oldest Episcopal church in Maryland

The parishioners at St. George’s Spesutia Church were not celebrating Christmas on Sunday morning, the Rev. Bill Smith told them amid poinsettias and holiday decorations, but rather The Incarnation.

“We tell it over and over and over again for one reason: so we can become part of the story,” he said about the tale of Christmas.

But for those gathered at the Perryman church, the oldest Episcopal parish in Maryland, Sunday’s service was the end of one part of their story.

The Eucharist service is expected to be the last one to be held at St. George’s, after The Right Rev. Eugene Sutton, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, ordered an end to the parish’s services earlier this year.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes