Daily Archives: August 4, 2013

Interesting Documents Department–the 2009 TEC Church Planting Initiatives Survey Report

Few dioceses, only 12% of the full sample, report that any congregation they started within the last five years is now self-supporting, although another 16% expect that they will have at least one new start independent within three years. On the other extreme, nearly a fourth (23%) of the dioceses responding report that they have at least one new start they do not anticipate will be self-supporting within even ten years. Three dioceses describe a congregation established within the last five years that has already been closed. Given this diversity in projections of financial independence, it is further understandable why dioceses are going the renting route in addition to or instead of buying much property.

Read it all. Readers may also be interested to note that according to TEC’s own statistics the number of parishes has gone from 7,055 in 2007 to 6,736 in 2011.

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

A Profile of a new TEC priest coming to Emporia, Kansas

“We just moved here from Kentucky,” Arnold said. “I was there for three years as part of the Network for Congregational Development and Pastoral Leadership. It’s designed to bring newly ordained clergy from all over the country to serve historically under served churches in Appalachia and the bluegrass regions of Kentucky.

The areas are fairly remote and often have trouble recruiting clergy especially for what is usually a very small salary.”

After three years of service it was time to start looking for a new home.

The couple each took a map of the United States and color-coded it with their ideas of where to live: red, yellow and green. When they compared the two, there was plenty of green to choose from, and that included Emporia ”“ something that caught Williams’ eye.

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Posted in Uncategorized

A 5 Year Old Cancer Patient Scores a Touchdown At Family Night with the Cleveland Browns

Watch it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Huff. Post) Divorce Study Shows Infants' Attachment to Caregivers Affected by Joint Custody

Can joint custody inhibit an infant’s attachment to his or her parents?

According to a new study from researchers at the University of Virginia, infants who spent at least one night a week apart from their mothers formed less secure attachments to them, compared to babies who had fewer overnights away from home or stayed with their father only during the day.

The researchers looked at data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a national longitudinal study of about 5,000 children born in large U.S. cities from 1998 to 2000. The data consisted of interviews with the children’s parents at the time of birth and at ages 1 and 3.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Psychology

(NY Times Beliefs) At Christian Companies, Religious Principles Complement Business Practices

In June, a federal court ruled that Hobby Lobby, the art-supply chain, could not be fined for refusing to offer its employees morning-after contraception coverage. This challenge to the Affordable Care Act will surely go to the Supreme Court, where Hobby Lobby’s lawyers will argue that a commercial company can, legally speaking, be Christian ”” with the same rights to religious freedom that a person has.

Hobby Lobby is not alone in identifying itself as a Christian business. In-N-Out Burger, Chick-fil-A, the trucking company Covenant Transport, and the clothing store Forever 21 all call or market themselves as Christian or faith-based.

But what does that mean? To promote a conservative agenda? To insist on certain music in their stores or to print Bible verses on their wrappers? What about bigger questions, like how management treats ”” and how much it pays ”” its workers?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Choral Evensong from the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival

with the choirs of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford Cathedrals
Listen here if you wish and there is more Sunday Worship here

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Economist) Liberty’s lost decade–Security v freedom in the United States

This newspaper is a wholehearted supporter of the United States and its commitment to individual freedom. At the same time we acknowledge that any government’s first responsibility is to protect its own citizens. It made sense to adjust the balance between liberty and security after September 11th. But America’s values ought not to have become casualties of Mr Bush’s war on terror.

The indefinite incarceration of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay without trial was a denial of due process. It was legal casuistry to redefine the torture of prisoners with waterboarding and stress positions as “enhanced interrogation”. The degradation of Iraqi criminals in Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, extraordinary rendition and the rest of it were the result of a culture, led by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, that was both unAmerican and a recruiting sergeant for its enemies. Mr Obama has stopped the torture, but Guantánamo remains open and the old system of retribution has often been reinforced.

Neither Mr Snowden nor Mr Manning is a perfect ambassador for a more liberal approach.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, Politics in General, President George Bush, Science & Technology, Terrorism

(Local Paper) Pope Francis’ comments stir debate over Church's Standards for Sexual Morality

“His comments only further reflect his desire to reach out to all Catholics and individuals who are marginalized,” said [Marcus] Cox, a history professor and associate dean at The Citadel. “His unassuming leadership style and his message of love and tolerance gives him the ability to connect with individuals seeking a place in the Catholic church.”

Francis might have struck a more conciliatory tone for some, but he surely did not suggest that noncelibate gays and lesbians should escape the church’s judgment, said Warren Redman-Gress, executive director of Alliance for Full Acceptance, a Charleston-based gay-rights advocacy group.

“Pope Francis’ recent ”˜Who am I to judge?’ remark regarding gay clergy has been called an ”˜outstretched hand’ and a shift toward greater understanding,” wrote Redman-Gress in an email. “I don’t believe it is either. When a person, even a pope, uses the ”˜who am I to judge?’ phrase, he is saying, ”˜I won’t judge because I am a sinner as well; I am going to leave the judgment of that person’s sexual orientation to God.’ ”

But this implies that a sexually active gay person nevertheless is subject to God’s reckoning (and, by extention, the church’s), Redman-Gress wrote.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Der Spiegel) Birth Rate Boon? Germany Promises Daycare for All

When Irena Schauk learned that her 14-month-old son would not be receiving a place in a daycare center in Berlin’s central Mitte district, the news disappointed the mother, but came as little surprise. The struggle to find slots at the Kita — short for Kindertagesstätte, the German word for a nursery — can be Sisyphean for working parents in some parts of the country. Schauk, 29, says she’d been hearing Kita war stories for years.

“I had heard about parents outbidding one another and offering extravagant gifts to nursery managers,” Schauk says. She adds that several other acquaintances also received rejection letters — with one family finding a slot in an inconveniently located daycare center and another mother instead opting to stay home to care for her child.

A new law in Germany that went into effect on Thursday seeks to improve the situation for working parents like Schauk. Under the new rules, all parents with a child aged 12 months or older have the right to a slot in a daycare center. Previously, the rule applied only to parents with children aged three or older. It also provides any parent whose child is denied a slot with a legal provision to challenge the decision, though some have warned the option could prove expensive and might not make a difference anyway — especially if there literally is no daycare option available in a community.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Children, Economy, Europe, Germany, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

(Star Tribune) Bill Doherty: Marriage Comes Out of Its Closet

As gay couples prepare to legally marry in Minnesota, public divisions remain on the definition of marriage, with many liberal Minnesotans celebrating what they see as a milestone in America’s journey toward justice and equality for all, and many conservatives dismayed at this argument for undermining a core social institution. No surprise at these different responses. But something unexpected has also happened: the beginning of a consensus that the social institution of marriage is important for adults, children and society.

What happened? Until recently, liberals have been reluctant to speak in the public domain about the unique value of marriage, lest divorced people and single parents feel devalued, and lest gay people feel excluded from a privileged club. Therapists stopped calling themselves marriage counselors and became couples counselors. The Bush administration programs to strengthen marriage in low-income communities were dismissed as a way to discredit nontraditional families. Marriage became the “M word.”

But something shifted among liberals during the advocacy movement for gay marriage. Colleagues who used to wince when I talked about the unique value of committed, lifelong marriage (not generic couplehood) began to tout the special cultural significance of marriage as an institution whereby society gives approval and support, both legal and moral, for lifelong relationships. Civil unions seemed too watered down for them. And people who once feared offending single parents are more comfortable with asserting the benefits of stable, two-parent families. In a striking shift, it’s now safe for liberals to extol marriage and two-parent families without denigrating people in other family forms.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Marriage & Family

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou, from whom to be turned is to fall, to whom to be turned is to rise, and in whom to stand is to abide for ever: Grant us in all our duties thy help, in all our perplexities thy guidance, in all our dangers thy protection, and in all our sorrows thy peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Augustine (354–430)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength. Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved; thy throne is established from of old; thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice, the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

All Saints' (Delaware TEC parish) Summer Spirituality Series Covers the topic 'What Did Jesus Eat?'

The speakers are Anthony Chiffolo, author and publisher, and Rayner “Rusty” Hesse, a chef and Episcopal priest. They are coauthors of “Cooking with the Bible: Recipes for Biblical Meals” and, most recently, “Cooking with the Movies: Meals on Reels.”

“Food connects us to one another,” Chiffolo says. “Since biblical times, the Judeo-Christian lifestyle has centered on meals. Extending hospitality to both friends and strangers was a divine command, and an invitation to dine was sacred.” Hesse adds, “The Judeo-Christian Bible is peppered with stories of meals; these range from simple meals put together quickly in order to feed a few unexpected guests to elaborate feasts carefully prepared to please dozens of partygoers for many days. In the Middle East, eating was not and is not for daily sustenance alone – it is a way of life.”

The book, which was the product of three years of research into what people actually ate in the times recounted in the Bible, provides more than modern adaptations or interpretations of biblical fare; it is as well a discovery of the daily lives of the peoples who inhabited the crossroads of civilization and a lesson about the exchange of foods across vast distances, from Egypt in the west to Persia in the east.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

(Wash. Post) Florence, Dante’s home town, is still proud of its native son

In the Hall of Five Hundred at the Palazzo Vecchio, the city hall of Florence, tourists are craning their necks and staring upward. They’re trying to spot the words “cerca trova” ”” “seek and you shall find” ”” on a Vasari mural that figures in the plot of “Inferno,” the latest bestseller by Dan Brown. (Hint: You need binoculars.) In his latest book, Brown has art historian Robert Langdon racing across Florence in pursuit of a bad guy who’s obsessed with Dante Alighieri, the author of the original “Inferno.”

The hall is magnificent, but I’m in Florence on a different mission: to seek out what’s left of Dante’s medieval world. Would the great poet recognize anything in this city so dominated by Renaissance art and architecture if he were to return? The last time he walked these streets, after all, was 700 years ago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, History, Italy, Travel

'We're not 'the frozen chosen'' Trinity Episcopal Church in Central Florida makes changes

When Father Chris Rodriguez brought his family here from New Jersey last September becoming Trinity Episcopal Church’s new rector, he discovered a congregation that was hurting and needed help.

A little over two years ago, a doctrinal split within the congregation prompted approximately three-fourths of its members to leave. Most followed the former Reverend Loren Coyle, the church’s rector at the time, creating the breakaway, Christ Church at K-Mart Plaza. Soon after, Coyle left the ministry.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Central Florida, TEC Departing Parishes

(Columbus Dispatch) St. Matthew’s Episcopal must sell church after split

A Westerville congregation that lost about two-thirds of its members in 2007 after a rift within the Episcopal Church is selling its building and worshipping in a temporary space as it tries to redefine itself as “a church without walls,” its presiding priest said this week.

A “For Sale” is posted in front of the 23,995-square-foot St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church at 233 S. State St., where congregants held their final service on July 7. Their first service in borrowed space at a respite-care center drew about 100 people the following week, said the Rev. Joseph Kovitch, who oversees the congregation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes