Daily Archives: August 9, 2013

(Diocese of SC) Judge Houck Hears Arguments in Motion to Dismiss

On August 8, U.S. District Court Judge Weston C. Houck heard arguments on Bishop Lawrence’s motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by Bishop Charles vonRosenberg….

Judge Houck indicated that he hopes to rule on the motion shortly. He may dismiss the case, stay it or allow it to move forward in federal court.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Friday Fun–Fort Worth Zoo's Baby Elephant Plays in Pool

Watch it all (hat tip SH).

Posted in * General Interest, Animals

(WSJ) Ari Schulman: Does Faith Make You Healthier?

A ream of recent scientific research has given the faithful reason to rejoice: Belief is good for you.

Consider a study of nearly two million Twitter messages sent by prominent Christians and atheists, published in June in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science. It found that Christians were more content, if not happier. The authors came to this conclusion by analyzing the language tweeters used: Christian tweeters used positive words more often than atheists, and negative words less often.

In 2012, researchers led by a group at Yeshiva University analyzed the health outcomes of more than 90,000 women over an eight-year period and found that those who frequently attended religious services were 56% more likely than non-attending women to report high rates of optimism, and 27% less likely to report depression. Other studies of the same group found a 20% lower mortality rate.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(ABC Aus. News) New Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies to fight for asylum seekers

Sydney’s first new Anglican Archbishop in more than a decade says he will use the role to lobby the Federal Government to treat asylum seekers with more dignity and humanity.

Bishop Glenn Davies was elected as the Anglican Church’s 12th Archbishop of Sydney last night by the church’s synod, or governing body.

The synod is make up of 800 members from 280 churches around the diocese.

Read it all.

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

(NPR) In Southwest Albuquerque, New Mexico, A Proper Burial For The Poor

Right now the remains of about 100 people are lined up neatly in small white boxes, waiting for their turn to be buried. Finegan says it’s basic, but it helps to keep costs down, allowing his funeral home and the county to afford the things they think are far more important, like the grave site and the memorial service. This is something Pamela Hirst, who couldn’t pay for a friend’s burial, says she doesn’t take for granted.

“It is a great burden when you can’t properly do what you want to do in your heart for someone that you’ve loved so much,” she says.

For Hirst, that someone was Joe Speer. He was a poet who lived his life performing and traveling the country in a green Volkswagen van. Hirst still has trouble talking about Speer. Two years ago, he died from pancreatic cancer. And for a while, Hirst says she carried around a lot of guilt because she couldn’t afford to give him a proper burial.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, City Government, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Angelo Haddad–St. Paul's (Bakersfield, Ca.) is collateral damage from Episcopal Church theology

In its passion to pursue a progressive theological paradigm embracing cultural sensitivity (inclusiveness) and intellectual freedom, TEC cast aside fundamental Christian doctrines, professing, among other things:

* Jesus was not born of a virgin, was not God incarnate, and his resurrection is questionable at best;

* Man needs enlightenment, not salvation; we are to reconcile ourselves with one another, not with God;

* Scripture is not authoritative nor the revealed word of God, but rather metaphorical.

Simply put, Anglicans left TEC because of their faithfulness to the fundamental and historical Christian foundation that the Holy Scriptures are the final authority of its faith.

The tragic fallout of this split is multifaceted. A lady I have known and worshipped with for 30 years approached me, saying homosexuals were not welcome at St. Paul’s. I was taken aback by her misconception. I reminded her that on every Sunday, the priest who is celebrating Holy Communion invites “all baptized Christians as being welcome here at the Lord’s table.” Not blessing same sex unions is an unrelated issue.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AP) Judge again weighs issues in South Carolina Episcopal schism

For the second time in recent months, U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck is weighing whether issues arising from the acrimonious Episcopal schism in eastern South Carolina belong in federal court.

As two bishops sat with their attorneys on either side of his Charleston courtroom, Houck heard about an hour of arguments Thursday on one bishop’s request for an injunction against the other.

Charles vonRosenberg, the bishop of parishes remaining with the national Episcopal Church, wants the court to block Mark Lawrence, the bishop of churches that left last year, from using the name and the symbols of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

Read it all.

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

(CEN) The Anglican Church of Canada asks for extra time to tackle pension problem

The Anglican Church of Canada has asked clergy for its support in a plea to Ontario pension fund regulators to give it a three year extension of time to address a cash crunch in the church’s pension plan.

In a July 2013 letter to the 1,600 active members and 2,600 retirees covered by the church pension programme the plan administrators told the clergy their approval was needed before the government would grant the plea for more time. “With funding relief, we will have three years to try to improve our plan’s funding level,” they wrote. “At the end of three years, we will do another valuation of the plan. If there is still a solvency funding shortfall, we will likely have no choice but to cut benefits.”

The average age of plan participants is 52.5….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pensions, Personal Finance, Stewardship, Theology

(Church Times) Archbishop Welby ”˜uplifted by all traditions’

The Archbishop of Canterbury said this week that he felt “encouraged and uplifted by all traditions” in the Church. He was speaking after a week-long tour of the country, during which he spoke to Pentecostal, Evangelical, and Anglo-Catholic gatherings.

Archbishop Welby spoke at Hillsong, a Pentecostal Church, at the O2 Arena, in London; HTB Focus, a week away for members of Holy Trinity, Brompton, and its plants, in Lincolnshire; New Wine, a Charismatic Evangelical festival in Somerset…and the Youth Pilgrimage to the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Writing on his blog on Sunday, Archbishop Welby admitted that, during mass and Benediction at Walsingham, on Wednesday of last week, “My first thought was ‘What a contrast with the past few days.’ But my next thought was: ‘What’s the problem?'”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

(AP) Egypt's coup puts fearful Christians in a corner

It was nighttime and 10,000 Islamists were marching down the most heavily Christian street in this ancient Egyptian city, chanting “Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians.” A half-dozen kids were spray-painting “Boycott the Christians” on walls, supervised by an adult.

While Islamists are on the defensive in Cairo following the military coup that ousted President Mohammed Morsi, in Assiut and elsewhere in Egypt’s deep south they are waging a stepped-up hate campaign, claiming the country’s Christian minority somehow engineered Morsi’s downfall.

“Tawadros is a dog,” says a spray-painted insult, referring to Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Copts, as Egypt’s Christians are called. Christian homes, stores and places of worship have been marked with large painted crosses.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(WSJ) Heroin Makes a Comeback, Especially in Small Towns

Heroin use in the U.S. is soaring, especially in rural areas, amid ample supply and a shift away from costlier prescription narcotics that are becoming tougher to acquire. The number of people who say they have used heroin in the past year jumped 53.5% to 620,000 between 2002 to 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. There were 3,094 overdose deaths in 2010, a 55% increase from 2000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Much of the heroin that reaches smaller towns such as Ellensburg, [Washington,] comes from Mexico, where producers have ramped up production in recent years, drug officials say. Heroin seizures at the Southwest border, from Texas to California, ballooned to 1,989 kilograms in fiscal 2012 from 487 kilograms in 2008, according to figures from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The heroin scourge has been driven largely by a law-enforcement crackdown on illicit use of prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and drug-company reformulations that make the pills harder to crush and snort, drug officials say.

Read it all (or if necessary another link is there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Law & Legal Issues, Rural/Town Life

Thomas Wilson consecrated as the Third Bishop of the Diocese of Freetown this past Weekend

The Anglican Communion on Sunday 4th August 2013 finally completed the processes of “Ordaining and Consecrating a new Episcopal Bishop in the person of His Grace the Rt. Rev. Thomas Arnold Ikunika Wilson as the 3rd Bishop of the Diocese of Freetown, (which also includes the North and interestingly, Bonthe) as successor to His Grace the Rt. Rev. Julius O P Lynch, whose 17 years Episcopacy ended on 24th July sharp, upon his attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

It was all pomp and pageantry complimented by four and half hours of High Mass at the Cathedral of St George in Freetown, second in perfection perhaps just perhaps ”“ to an Episcopal Ordination at the West Minister Abbey, whence the tradition originated. It was a well attended service that saw worshippers overflowing into nearby streets as far as blocks away from the Church premises, thus belying the previously discomforting perception that our Anglican Communion was dying.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Sierra Leone

A Prayer of Thanksgiving to Begin the Day

We give thee humble and hearty thanks, O most merciful Father, for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men, for the blessings of this life and for the promise of everlasting happiness. And as we are bound, we especially thank thee for the mercies which we have received: for health and strength and the manifold enjoyments of our daily life; for the opportunities of learning, for the knowledge of thy will, for the means of serving thee in thy Church, and for the love thou hast revealed to us in thy Son, our Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be praise and glory for ever and ever.

–B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Dost thou work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise thee?…Is thy steadfast love declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in Abaddon? Are thy wonders known in the darkness, or thy saving help in the land of forgetfulness?

–Psalm 88:10-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A. Larry Ross–Billy Graham's Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Whatever the future outcome for Protestant Christianity in America””and no matter how murky the present landscape””one would be remiss to overlook the unique legacy of evangelist Billy Graham, whom Scheussler invokes to illustrate the mobilization of evangelicals against mainline-endorsed leftist causes in the 1950s; Graham comes off the page as little more than a firebrand polemicist.

Quite to the contrary, Graham’s impact on American Protestantism has been one of inclusion””building bridges of understanding to unite ecumenicals and evangelicals and, in latter years even Catholics””in evangelism. Using a football metaphor, if leaders of diverse Christian confessions were perceived to be playing between the ten-yard-line and the goal at either end of the field, Graham brought them mid-field between the two forties.

Read it all.

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

(KC Star) Serving others brings St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Olathe, Kansas, together

St. Aidan’s used to be looked down upon. Just 10 years ago it was in danger of having its doors shut for good, and now it’s being lauded as an example of what’s possible.

“We proved that we could do it,” Wheeler said. “The bishop kept our doors open, and we are thriving now.”

That focus on volunteering and service has grown from seeds planted by Sifers almost nine years ago. Now, service is the cornerstone of the St. Aidan’s community.

Read it all. For those interested, a graph of some of the statistics for this parish over the last decade may be found there.

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

(DMN) A Dallas heart surgeon uses medicine as ministry

At 83, Carl Smith found himself facing quadruple-bypass surgery and the real possibility that he might not survive.

Within hours on this spring morning, Dr. Mark Pool would temporarily bring Smith’s heart to a stop in an attempt to circumvent its blocked passages.

And to help his patient confront the uncertainty, Pool did something unusual in his profession: He prayed with him.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer