Daily Archives: May 10, 2013

(WSJ) Mollie Ziegler Hemingway: The Pentagon's Problem with Proselytizing

So is the case about Pentagon policy closed? Not at all, say some religious-liberty advocates.

For one thing, the Pentagon statement clarifying that military personnel would not be court-martialed if they “evangelize” also said that “proselytization” is considered a Uniform Code of Military Justice offense. Yet the definitions of those two words are almost identical: Merriam-Webster defines proselytization as “to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause” and evangelize as “to preach the gospel to or to convert to Christianity.”

In response to the Pentagon statement, two Southern Baptist leaders issued their own statement on May 6 voicing concern about religious freedom, even while cautioning Christians to refrain from jumping to conclusions. “What incidents have taken place, we wonder, that would call for this seemingly arbitrary distinction between ‘evangelizing’ and ‘proselytizing’?” asked the Rev. Russell Moore, president-elect of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Rev. Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board. “With a subjective interpretation and adjudication of such cases, we need reassurance that such would not restrict the free exercise of religion for our chaplains and military personnel.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Religion & Culture

A Living Church Article About a Bishop Lindsay Urwin Address on Mary

The annual Mass and meeting of the Society of Mary/American Region welcomed Bishop Lindsay Urwin as guest speaker and marked a transition in the society’s leadership. The society met May 3 and 4 at St. Stephen’s Church in Providence, Rhode Island, attracting visitors from across the East Coast and as far away as Wisconsin.

The Rt. Rev. Lindsay Urwin, OGS, administrator of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England, spoke on “One Faith, Two Shrines: The Challenges and Joy of Life in Walsingham.” Bishop Urwin described the existence of two separate shrines at Walsingham ”” one for Anglicans and one for Roman Catholics ”” as a sign of the scandal of divisions within Christianity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times) Horror Sufferers Separated by Age and by Continent, but United by Spirit to Survive

The two men grew up on separate continents, speaking their own languages. One was not yet 20; the other was bearing down on 100.

Yet within half an hour of meeting each other this week for the first time, Henry Kabiyona and Sol Rosenkranz knew each other’s stories before the words reached their lips.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Europe, History, Judaism, Other Faiths, Poland, Religion & Culture, Rwanda, Violence

Proposed Diocesan Reorganisation Scheme To Be Referred To General Synod

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has announced that the Dioceses Commission Draft Reorganisation Scheme for the Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield will be put to General Synod.

Following in depth consultation with Dioceses affected by the proposals, the matter will now be voted on by General Synod.

Each Diocese affected has voted individually on whether they support the scheme being implemented. Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, Sheffield and Blackburn Dioceses all voted in favour of the draft scheme progressing ”“ Wakefield Diocese voted against.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Welby to speak at Holy Trinity Brompton leadership conference

The Archbishop of Canterbury will address thousands of international Christian leaders in London on Monday next week.

Archbishop Justin will speak on the opening morning of the annual HTB leadership conference, which returns to the Royal Albert Hall for the second year running.

The two-day event, which will be live streamed, will bring together 5,500 Christian leaders from 89 countries.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Former Archbishop of York David Hope ”˜covered up’ sex abuse scandal

The former Archbishop of York stood accused last night of covering up allegations that a senior Church of England clergyman had abused choirboys and school pupils.

Lord Hope of Thornes was made aware of the accusations against the Very Rev Robert Waddington, a former Dean of Manchester Cathedral and once the cleric in overall charge of Church schools, in 1999 and again in 2003. Waddington was stripped of his right to conduct church services but the archbishop did not report concerns about alleged past abuse or a potential continuing threat to children to police or child protection agencies.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(London Times) Same-Sex Partnered Dean is in the running to become Bishop of Durham

The prominent gay cleric Dr Jeffrey John has been long-listed as a candidate to succeed Archbishop Justin Welby as Bishop of Durham.

If appointed Dr John, the Dean of St Albans, who is in a civil partnership with his partner the Rev Grant Holmes, would become the first openly gay bishop in the Church of England.

He has been long-listed before and blocked for dioceses such as Southwark, but this is the first time his name has been put forward since the Church dropped its ban on clergy in civil partnerships becoming bishops.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Trevor Grundy on the recent C of E Statistics–attendance stabilizes after years of decline

The number of people attending Sunday services at Britain’s Anglican churches is continuing to drop, but church officials say there are signs that the decline is starting to stabilize.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said Tuesday (May 7) that average weekly attendance at the nation’s 16,247 Anglican parishes was 1.1 million in 2011, representing a drop of just 0.3 percent from the previous year’s figures.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Organists confess to tune-smuggling

the secret, says Jeffrey Makinson, sub-organist of Manchester Cathedral, is to clothe the theme in a different harmony, tempo, or rhythmic metre. Even then, there is a risk that your mischief will make at least a few ears prick up.

Half of churchgoers have heard of an organist slipping unexpected tunes into a service, suggests a new survey from Christian Research, which has been published to coincide with the Christian Resources Exhibition International next week.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Pope Francis on the Meaning of the Ascension

I would like to note two elements in the account [of Saint Luke]. First of all, during the Ascension Jesus made the priestly gesture of blessing, and the disciples certainly expressed their faith with prostration, they knelt with bowed heads, this is a first important point: Jesus is the one eternal High Priest who with his Passion passed through death and the tomb and ascended into heaven. He is with God the Father where he intercedes for ever in our favour (cf. Heb 9:24). As St John says in his First Letter, he is our Advocate: How beautiful it is to hear this! When someone is summoned by the judge or is involved in legal proceedings, the first thing he does is to seek a lawyer to defend him. We have One who always defends us, who defends us from the snares of devil, who defends us from ourselves and from our sins!

Dear brothers and sisters, we have this Advocate; let us not be afraid to turn to him to ask forgiveness, to ask for a blessing, to ask for mercy! He always pardons us, he is our Advocate: he always defends us! Don’t forget this! The Ascension of Jesus into heaven acquaints us with this deeply consoling reality on our journey : in Christ, true God and true man, our humanity was taken to God. Christ opened the path to us. He is like a roped guide climbing a mountain who, on reaching the summit, pulls us up to him and leads us to God. If we entrust our life to him, if we let ourselves be guided by him, we are certain to be in safe hands, in the hands of our Saviour, of our Advocate.

A second element: St Luke says that having seen Jesus ascending into heaven, the Apostles returned to Jerusalem “with great joy”.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ascension, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Nicolaus von Zinzendorf

God of life made new in Christ, who dost call thy Church to keep on rising from the dead: We remember before thee the bold witness of thy servant Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, through whom thy Spirit moved to draw many in Europe and the American colonies to faith and conversion of life; and we pray that we, like him, may rejoice to sing thy praise, live thy love and rest secure in the safekeeping of the Lord; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Germany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer of Thanksgiving to begin the Day

O Lord, our heavenly Father, we thank thee for all thy gifts so freely bestowed upon us. For life and health, for home and friends, for power to work and leisure to rest; for all that enriches thought, or ennobles character; for all that is beautiful in creation, or in the lives of men; we praise and magnify thy holy name. But above all, we thank thee for our spiritual mercies in Christ Jesus our Lord; for the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. Fill our hearts with all joy and peace in believing, and help us to show forth thy praise not only with our lips but in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people,
to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
Yea, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him,
and make his footsteps a way.

–Psalm 85:8-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Robert Munday on Ascension Day–He ascended into heaven…

This coming Thursday is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, and parishes around the world have a vital decision to make: Do we extinguish the Paschal Candle on Ascension Day or on Pentecost?

This question may sound like a liturgist’s version of the game, Trivial Pursuit, but there is an important biblical and theological lesson to be learned….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology

(Telegraph) Lord Falconer begins parliamentary bid to legalise 'assisted dying'

The former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, will present a bill to the House of Lords next week which would introduce a system similar to that in place in the US state of Oregon.

It would allow doctors to provide a fatal dose of drugs to patients judged to have less than six months to live….The bill, which will be tabled on May 15, is based on the conclusions of Lord Falconer’s Commission on Assisted Dying, a group of peers and academics which held hearings in the style of a royal commission.

The Commission was dismissed by critics, including the Church of England, as a “self appointed” group of euthanasia supporters.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Suicide, Theology

(AP) Battered and bullied, Pakistan’s religious minorities say they have little faith in democracy

In majority Muslim Pakistan, religious minorities say democracy is killing them.

Intolerance has been on the rise for the past five years under Pakistan’s democratically elected government because of the growing violence of Islamic radicals, who are then courted by political parties, say many in the country’s communities of Shiite Muslims, Christians, Hindus and other minorities….

More than a dozen representatives of Pakistan’s minorities interviewed by The Associated Press expressed fears the vote will only hand more influence to extremists. Since the 2008 elections, under the outgoing government led by the left-leaning Pakistan People’s Party, sectarian attacks have been relentless and minorities have found themselves increasingly targeted by radical Islamic militants. Minorities have little faith the new election will change that.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology