Daily Archives: January 8, 2013

(St. Mary's, Maidenhead) Sam Allberry–Christian Struggle and Standards in Daily Life

We were having lunch together and I was praying like mad. My friend had been in a committed same-sex relationship for about 15 years. He was interested in Jesus; attracted to his teaching and message. But he wanted to know what implications becoming a Christian might have on his practicing gay lifestyle.

I had explained, as carefully and graciously as I could, that Jesus upheld and expanded the wider biblical stance on sexuality: that the only context for sexual activity was heterosexual marriage. Following Jesus would mean seeking to live under his word, in this area as in any other.

He had been quiet for a moment, and then looked me in the eye and asked the billion-dollar question: ”˜What could possibly be worth giving up my partner for?’

I held his gaze for a moment while my brain raced for the answer. There was eternity, of course. There was heaven and hell. But I was conscious that these realities would seem other-worldly and intangible to him. In any case, surely following Jesus is worth it even for this life. He was asking about life here-and-now, so I prayed for a here-and-now Bible verse to point to. I wanted him to know that following Jesus really is worth it ”“ worth it in the life to come, but also worth it in this life now, no less so for those who have homosexual feelings. Yes, there would be a host of hardships and difficulties: unfulfilled longings, the distress of unwanted temptation, the struggles of long-term singleness.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Patrick McCloskey and Joseph Harris: Roman Catholic Education, in Need of Salvation

Catholic parochial education is in crisis. More than a third of parochial schools in the United States closed between 1965 and 1990, and enrollment fell by more than half. After stabilizing in the 1990s, enrollment has plunged despite strong demand from students and families.

Closings of elementary and middle schools have become a yearly ritual in the Northeast and Midwest, home to two-thirds of the nation’s Catholic schools. Last year, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia closed one-fifth of its elementary schools. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, is expected to decide soon whether to shut 26 elementary schools and one high school, less than three years after the latest closings. Catholic high schools have held on, but their long-term future is in question.

This isn’t for want of students….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Teens / Youth

Anglican Ink–Evangelical backlash follows England's decision to allow bishops in civil partnerships

A spokesman for the Church of England told Anglican Ink the decision to end the moratorium was not a reversal of policy, but an extension of the policy adopted in 2005 for the ordination of deacons and priests to now include episcopal appointments.

Liberal activists welcomed the announcement, seeing in the end of the moratorium a step forward towards the full inclusion of gays and lesbians into the life of the Church of England. The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement’s chief executive the Rev Sharon Ferguson noted that “removing the ban on bishops in civil partnerships is a positive measure but we must now see it come to fruition.”

However Dr. Philip Giddings and Canon Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream argued a “decision to move from the current position would be a grave departure from the Church’s doctrine and discipline it should be made by Bishops in Synod not by Bishops alone.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Last Communion Service at St. Paul's Episcopal church in Le Center, Minnesota, to be held this week

You can read the notice here and check some statistics there.

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

(ENS) Episcopal Church Conciliation meeting slated for Today and Tomorrow

A conciliation meeting concerning complaints involving the Episcopal Dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy will be held on January 8 and 9 in Richmond, VA…

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

Walter Russell Mead–Technology, Time and Space

On this first Sunday of 2013…we think it’s worth remembering where we are and where we’ve come from….

The fact that traveling from New York to California is now over a hundred times faster than it was 150 years ago is worth reflecting on. Between the invention of the wheel and that of the wheelbarrow, thousands of years passed; but between da Vinci’s drawings of flying machines and the Wright brothers’ first flight, only four centuries had gone by.

It’s in the nature of technological progress to accelerate, and the rate of acceleration has picked up in recent centuries. In 1900, automobiles weren’t yet being mass-produced, nor had the Wright brothers achieved flight yet. The century wasn’t seven decades in when car ownership reached a quarter-billion people worldwide, and men were traveling safely to and from the moon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Science & Technology

(ACNS) Anglican-Lutheran report on service and mission now available

At its meeting in Auckland, the Anglican Consultative Council commended the new report of the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission (ALIC III) to the whole Communion, for study and action.

To Love and Serve the Lord focusses on diakonia (the ministry of service and mission, common to all Christians). Jointly produced by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Anglican Communion for the third phase of their bilateral dialogue the publication offers a diverse array of stories about church ministries that are transforming relations between churches in both communions….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Lutheran, Other Churches, Theology

Justyn Terry–A Case for Evangelical Anglicanism

The word “evangelical” is used in many different ways these days, and there is much debate about its meaning. My preference is for J.I. Packer’s six distinctives of evangelicalism, which are endorsed by John Stott and Alister McGrath, all three of whom are prominent evangelical Anglicans.

The supreme authority of Scripture for knowledge of God and as guide to Christian living.
The majesty of Jesus Christ as incarnate God and Lord, and the saviour of sinful humanity.
The lordship of the Holy Spirit.
The need for personal conversion.
The priority of evangelism for both individual Christians and for the Church as a whole.
The importance of Christian community for spiritual nourishment, fellowship and growth.

(See Alister E. McGrath, Evangelicalism and the Future of Christianity, Leicester: IVP, 1995, p. 51.).

Here we see the evangelical commitment to the Bible as not only being the word of human authors but also the word of God; the unique person and work of Jesus Christ by which sinners may be justified before a holy God by putting their faith in him; the encounter with God’s Spirit who inspired the Scriptures and speaks through them; the call to personal (though not individualistic) repentance; the commission to proclaim the Gospel in all the world; and the commitment to the life of the Church. It is a set of short and simple statements but between them they define the movement well.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

(Globe and Mail) This Christmas, Egypt’s Coptic Christians are asking for respect

Jackline Nessim and Wael Sedrak, like many of Egypt’s Christians, long for a present that is unlikely to arrive before Coptic Christmas on Jan. 7. In fact, it may be a very long time in coming.

“We want an end to the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Mr. Sedrak, 34, an interior decorator, referring to the Islamist group that controls Egypt’s presidency, dominates its legislature and wrote the newly approved constitution. “Every day they get more and more fanatic and make our lives miserable.”

At St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in the affluent suburb of Maadi, many Christian parishioners ”“ long a minority in this Muslim country ”“ worry that the rise to power of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood will marginalize them as never before. Thousands of Egyptian Christians are said to have left the country ”“ an exodus of one of the world’s oldest Christian communities ”“ and families here at this charming marble church fret over whether they should go, too.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

From the Keep Things In Perspective Dept.–What is the Net Worth of those on an average city Street?

Check it out (Hat tip: KK).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Personal Finance, Psychology

An ENS Story on the Lawsuit Between the Diocese of South Carolina and TEC

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Dean of Charleston, South Carolina's, Cathedral discusses lawsuit against Episcopal Church

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast made known the incarnation of thy Son by the bright shining of a star, which when the wise men beheld they adored thy majesty and presented costly gifts: Grant that the star of thy righteousness may always shine in our hearts, and that for our treasure we may give to thy service ourselves and all that we have; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Praise the LORD!

–Psalm 117

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali Responds to Decision of C of E to Allow Bishops in Civil Partnerships

(Via email–KSH).

It is very discouraging to hear that the Church of England, which once brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Uganda, has taken such a significant step away from that very gospel that brought life, light, and hope to us.

The recent decision of the House of Bishops to allow clergy in civil partnerships to be eligible to become Bishops is really no different from allowing gay Bishops. This decision violates our Biblical faith and agreements within the Anglican Communion.

When the American Church made this decision in 2003 it tore the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level. This decision only makes the brokenness of the Communion worse and is particularly disheartening coming from the Mother Church.

We stand with those in the Church of England who continue to stand for the Biblical and historic faith and practice of the Church.

Our grief and sense of betrayal are beyond words.

(The Most Rev.) Stanley Ntagali is Archbishop, Church of Uganda

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Church of Uganda, CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Charleston, South Carolina, Cathedral Dean and his family lament Russian adoption ban

For many couples, the moment comes in a hospital when a newborn emerges red and wrinkly and, hopefully, screaming with gusto into the world.

For the Dickinsons of West Ashley, the moment came in a small room at a Russian orphanage when a caregiver delivered 7-month-old Mae into Jenny Dickinson’s eager arms.

The moment came again at another Russian orphanage when 3-year-old Ellen peeked through the sliver of an open door to see the American couple who traveled so far to meet her. Slowly, nerves of expectation palpable, Ellen stepped through the doorway….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Children, Europe, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Russia

Two Western Massachusetts Episcopal congregations band together to survive

Two long-established Episcopal congregations have become one in an effort to continue their South County ministries and eventually build a new church.

St. George’s Episcopal Church of Lee and St. James Episcopal Church of Great Barrington have merged, spiritually and financially, to become Grace Church.

The Rev. Frances A. Hill is the church rector, having been St. James’ rector for nearly five years and vicar of St. George’s for two years.

On Jan. 20, the newly formed 91-member congregation is scheduled to hold its inaugural meeting to elect lay leaders and conduct other church business.

Read it all.

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