Monthly Archives: April 2013

(Scotsman) Anglican minister to take Free Church congregation

A Church of England minister will make history this weekend when he becomes the head of a Free Church of Scotland congregation in St Andrews.

The Rev Paul Clarke has been appointed to a three-year placement with St Andrews Free Church, whose congregation has been without a minister since 2012.

Mr Clarke, widely regarded in Anglican circles as one of its most promising preachers, previously served at one of the biggest congregations in England ”“ St Helen’s Bishopsgate in inner city London.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Scotland

(ACNS) Christians and churches urged to pray for the media on Sunday May 12th

Churches and Christians are being urged to mark Sunday 12th May 2013 as a special day of prayer for the media ”“ and to contact their local newspaper, radio and TV station to find out what they would like prayer for.

The call comes from Christian charity the Church and Media Network which works to promote links between the church and the media.

The Day of Prayer is being supported by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and the Bishop of Bradford, Nick Baines, who have both provided prayers for the event.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Media, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(WSJ) American GDP First-Quarter Growth, at 2.5%, Misses Expectations

The U.S. economy expanded in the first quarter but failed to gather as much steam as expected, raising concerns of another year of sluggish growth.

Consumer spending advanced during the first quarter despite tax increases, but those gains were held in check by slowing business investment and government cutbacks.

The nation’s gross domestic product, a measure of all goods and services produced in the economy, advanced at a 2.5% annual rate between January and March, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists had forecast a 3.2% expansion.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(WSJ) Jennifer Graham: Faith at the Finish Line in Boston

The Rev. John Wykes, director of the St. Francis Chapel at Boston’s soaring Prudential Center, and the Rev. Tom Carzon, rector of Our Lady of Grace Seminary, were among the priests who were turned away right after the bombings. It was jarring for Father Wykes, who, as a hospital chaplain in Illinois a decade ago, was never denied access to crime or accident scenes.

“I was allowed to go anywhere. In Boston, I don’t have that access,” he says.

But Father Wykes says he has noticed a shift in the societal role of clergy over the past few decades: “In the Bing Crosby era””in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s””a priest with a collar could get in anywhere. That’s changed. Priests are no longer considered to be emergency responders.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Sports, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Anglican Journal) Bishop Mark MacDonald–Kneeling before God

In recent years, I often recall the first time I saw my dad pray. It was unsettling. I came upon him in church, where he was kneeling, his hands shading his eyes. He had a type of intensity that, at three or four years old, I had never seen before. Nor had I had ever seen him kneel before his God””or anyone else, for that matter.

My mind drifts back, because what I witness today in times of worship is such a contrast. My father was spiritual, as we might say today, but he was not very religious. It is not the memory of his posture that remains vividly with me; it was the demonstration of an aspect of his heart””a spiritual point of view””that captured my budding spiritual imagination. Today, we may kneel, but so many of us, I fear, have strayed far from the reverence of heart that our elders knew, not so long ago.

Our worship has been deeply influenced by a culture that is immersed in the consumption of media. We bring that point of view to our worship. What will it give me? What will I learn? Is it helpful? The focus has shifted from deity to the consumer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Canada, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Ottawa Citizen) New national Holocaust monument to be erected near Canadian War Museum

A national Holocaust monument is to be erected near the Canadian War Museum on LeBreton Flats, the government announced Tuesday.

The memorial, on federal land at Wellington and Booth streets, will honour the approximately six million Jews and others persecuted and murdered by Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War.

It “will be a testament to the importance of ensuring that the memory of the Holocaust is never lost,” Tim Uppal, minister of state for democratic reform, said in a statement after announcing the location during a ceremony at the neighbouring Canadian War Museum. The monument will go across the street, on the northeast corner of Booth Street.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Twitter on the trail of Syria hackers who crashed Wall Street

Security experts at Twitter were fighting a seemingly losing battle yesterday against the Syrian Electronic Army, a shadowy group that sparked panic on financial markets this week by faking a news report about an bomb attack on the White House.

The group, which purports to support the regime in Damascus, hacked the Associated Press news agency’s Twitter account and reported that explosions in the White House had injured President Obama, sending markets into a tailspin, and wiping $136 billion (£89 billion) off the [value of the top 500 U.S. stocks in seconds]….

Read it all (requires subscription) and there is a lot more there from the WSJ.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Economy, Media, Middle East, Science & Technology, Stock Market, Syria

(BBC News Magazine) From Belgian school to Syrian battleground

Hundreds of Europeans are fighting with rebel forces in Syria and intelligence agencies are concerned some could return home to launch terrorist attacks. One Belgian family says their son has joined rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

A camera shakily films a group of rebel fighters preparing to pray, lined up in rows, their weapons at their feet. A young man walks into shot and takes off his rifle before briefly turning towards the camera.

“That’s Brian,” says Ingrid de Mulder, pointing at her nephew in the online video on her computer. “I’m 100% sure. That’s him. No doubt.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Belgium, Children, Europe, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence, Young Adults

(CEN) Barbados clergyman elected suffragan bishop of Toronto

A Barbados native has been elected suffragan Bishop of the diocese of Toronto. On 6 April 2013, the Ven. Peter Fenty, archdeacon of York and the executive officer to the Bishop of Toronto, was elected on the seventh ballot. Bishop-elect Fenty, (61) who was born and raised in Barbados and came to Canada in 1992, will be the first person of African descent to be a bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

(ACNS) Mozambique Bishop Mark Van Koevering calls for peace

“We are all saddened by the deaths of innocent people during the recent violence that took place in Muxungue, Mozambique,” said the Bishop. “We call on all to follow in the way of peace, creating space and opportunity for all voices to be heard in a transparent process that renounces violence and serves the common good.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Mozambique, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Church Times) Clergy: angels or enforcers?

The clergy’s is one of the few professions to show a higher level of care at work than in their personal lives, the findings of a psychometric test completed online by more than 80,000 people worldwide suggests. The drive to be obedient, however, is even stronger than the drive to care.

The MoralDNA test asks people to what extent they agree with a series of statements describing how they make decisions. For example: “I won’t take the easy option if it’s the wrong thing to do.” Some of these questions relate to the workplace. The answers are used to create a “Moral DNA profile” that reflects the user’s “decision-making preferences”: the ethics of obedience, care, and reason….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbishop John Sentamu: Twenty years on, the lessons of love from the killing of Stephen Lawrence

Let me begin by telling you about Stephen, a mature intelligent man of 38, a successful architect, with a wife and children of whom he is very proud. A man loved and respected by his wider family and the community where he lives and in which he is a blessing to many.

This is one of the real possibilities that the future held for Stephen Lawrence who was murdered 20 years ago this Monday in an unprovoked racist attack by a gang of white youths in Eltham. An attack whose devastating effect not only tragically denied Stephen a future, but also reverberated through many lives, causing pain which cannot be calculated this side of the grave.

As we remember Stephen’s death at this time, we need to renew our determination to rid our communities of racism, hatred, fear, ignorance, stereotyping, and the advantaging or disadvantaging of others because of their colour or ethnic origin.

Read it all from the Yorkshire Post.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, History, Race/Race Relations

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, who resisteth the proud and givest grace to the humble: Grant, we beseech thee, that we may not exalt ourselves and provoke thy indignation, but bow down to receive the gifts of thy mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Temple (1881-1944)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

The South Carolina House passes a bill to protect children against parental abuse

A state House bill aimed at giving S.C. courts clearer guidelines on when to terminate parental rights, especially in cases where parents or guardians have a history of child or drug abuse, passed a key vote in the House Thursday.

The House voted 104-0 to give second reading to the bill, named Jaidon’s Law after a toddler who died from a drug overdose a week after the state returned him to his parents, who had prior drug charges.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, State Government, Violence

A Joint statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster on Syria

Since the very first days of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, we have prayed as we watched in horror and sorrow the escalating violence that has rent this country apart. We have grieved with all Syrians – with the families of each and every human life lost and with all communities whose neighbourhoods and livelihoods have suffered from escalating and pervasive violence.

And today, our prayers also go with the ancient communities of our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria. The kidnapping this week of two Metropolitan bishops of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, and the killing of their driver while they were carrying out a humanitarian mission, is another telling sign of the terrible circumstances that continue to engulf all Syrians.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Defense, National Security, Military, Ecumenical Relations, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Syria, Violence

The Curt Jester on Peter Kreeft's new book "Jacob’s Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth"

Like some of his previous books it is set around a dialogue between two characters. This time both characters are fully fictional and set in the year 1977. Libby Rawls is a young women that is a nominal Christian and a skeptic. The other is “Mother” an older mixed-race women who is willing to lead Libby along these steps of a Jacob’s Ladder. Each day they discuss a subject where the subjects build on each other leading to further truth. These two characters are also involved in his novel “An Ocean Full of Angels.”

This book takes a building block approach to understanding the faith and starts at what might seem to be an odd first step of “passion.” While common philosophical ideas are discussed it is also not standard apologetic fare and mostly deals with natural theology. The conversational dialogue mostly adds to the book and the back and forth between the two women helps to illustrate points. Some of the use of coincidences in the book are a bit heavy-handed at times. Also evident is Kreeft’s playful humor which was used at times and contributed to the banter between the two women.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Apologetics, Books, Other Churches, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

Mollie Hemingway–Questions abound in stories about Katherine Tsarnaeva, wife of the older Brother

We’d been learning so much about how the Tsarnaev brothers became more interested in radical Islam. I was curious about the spouse’s religious background and was fascinated to learn she “grew up Christian.” I know that can mean about a million different things so I read the story looking forward to additional details.

But those three words in the lede are all we have. I’d love even to know how we know this. She “grew up Christian” according to whom? I’d read elsewhere on the internet that she in fact hadn’t grown up in a family that was religious. It had better sourcing than this story but came from a site that is outside mainstream media.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Marriage & Family, Media, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

U.S. Says It Suspects Assad Used Chemical Weapons

The White House said on Thursday that American intelligence agencies now believed, with “varying degrees of confidence,” that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons, but it said it needed conclusive proof before President Obama would take action.

The disclosure, in letters to Congressional leaders, takes the administration a step closer to acknowledging that President Bashar al-Assad has crossed a red line established by Mr. Obama last summer, when he said the United States would take unspecified action against Syria if there was evidence that chemical weapons had been used in the civil war.

The White House emphasized that, “given the stakes involved,” the United States still needed “credible and corroborated facts” before deciding on a course of action. The letter, signed by the president’s director of legislative affairs, Miguel E. Rodriguez, said the United States was pressing for a “comprehensive United Nations investigation that can credibly evaluate the evidence and establish what happened.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Syria, Theology

David Murrow–Why traditional churches should stick with traditional worship

It’s an article of faith these days that contemporary worship is the way to go if you want your church to grow. Thousands of churches will be planted this year ”“ and every one will offer contemporary worship. Hymns are out ”“ love songs to Jesus are in.

Traditional churches have seen young believers flocking to megachurches, so naturally they want to get in on the growth. But this is foolish. Traditional churches lack the musical depth, computer controlled lighting and sound equipment that are needed to generate the “praise-gasm” that young believers associate with God. Rock music seems out of place in a brightly lit chapel with a communion table and stained glass.

People come to church to encounter God. A good worship service is transcendent; it helps people detach from this present world to connect with the divine. But when traditional churches try to be contemporary it usually comes across as forced, stilted or artificial. This dissonance jerks people back into the mundane world. Worshippers focus on the distraction instead of the Lord.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

At 105, Minneapolis AME Pastor Has No Plans To Retire

Sunday mornings at Wayman AME Church in Minneapolis brings a faithful crowd. But it’s quite likely no one there has said as many prayers as Noah Smith. It’s not just because he’s a preacher, it’s because he’s had more time to worship ”“ over a century in fact.

At 105, Smith is still hard at work, preaching at Wayman.

“My life is so busy with church and things now. I don’t even get to read the paper sometimes,” said Smith.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry

NYC's Trinity Church Split on How to Manage the $2 Billion Legacy of a Queen

There has never been any doubt that Trinity Church is wealthy. But the extent of its wealth has long been a mystery; guessed at by many, known by few.

Now, however, after a lawsuit filed by a disenchanted parishioner, the church has offered an estimate of the value of its assets: more than $2 billion.

The Episcopal parish, known as Trinity Wall Street, traces its holdings to a gift of 215 acres of prime Manhattan farmland donated in 1705 by Queen Anne of England. Since then, the church has parlayed that gift into a rich portfolio of office buildings, stock investments and, soon, mixed-use residential development.

Read it all from today’s New York Times.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market, TEC Parishes, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

CIA pushed to add Boston bomber to terror watch list

The CIA pushed to have one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers placed on a U.S. counterterrorism watch list more than a year before the attacks, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Russian authorities contacted the CIA in the fall of 2011 and raised concerns that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed last week in a confrontation with police, was seen as an increasingly radical Islamist who could be planning to travel overseas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Politics in General, Terrorism, The U.S. Government, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

(STV) Scotland's first purpose-built Sikh temple prepares for opening

Scotland’s first purpose-built Sikh temple is preparing to open in Glasgow this weekend.

The £4m Gurdwara includes a prayer hall, language school and kitchen, which aims to provide free vegetarian meals to thousands of people every week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Scotland

South Carolina honoring firefighting recruit who has moved forward after family killed in 2006

When Christan Rainey joined other firefighter recruits on an orientation tour of North Charleston, he grew silent as they passed by the mobile home where his family once lived.

Rainey, 28, had not laid eyes on the old homestead in Ferndale in seven years. Not since his mother and four siblings, ages 6 to 16, were slaughtered there in a burst of inexplicable violence attributed to his stepfather.

“Looking at it made me feel like it was Day One all over again,” he said softly. “It gave me one of the most eerie spiritual feelings ever.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

(RNS) Boston amputees face a long spiritual struggle ahead

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings that left three dead and more than 260 injured, perhaps none face more significant adjustments or a longer road ahead than the 14 amputees who lost a limb.

For these victims, the path forward involves relearning almost everything, from getting out of bed to getting in a car. Whether they go on to lead satisfying lives depends largely on how they handle the spiritual challenges at hand, according to amputees and researchers.

Losing a limb is like losing a family member: It involves grief and mourning, according to Jack Richmond, a Chattanooga, Tenn., amputee who leads education efforts for the Manassas, Va.-based Amputee Coalition. When one’s body and abilities are radically changed, questions of meaning are suddenly urgent: Why did this happen? Why am I here?

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports, Terrorism, Theodicy, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence, Young Adults

Hard to believe, but yes, is it the Harmon's 26th Wedding Anniversary Today

I deny any knowledge whatsoever of the people in this photograph.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, Harmon Family, History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Mark

Almighty God, who by the hand of Mark the evangelist hast given to thy Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank thee for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do; that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright

Posted in Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.
For I want you to know how greatly I strive for you, and for those at Laodice”²a, and for all who have not seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

–Colossians 1:24-2:7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture