Daily Archives: November 4, 2013

(BBC) Church-goers get heated cushions for winter services

The prayers of parishioners at two cold and damp churches have been answered after the Diocese of Exeter agreed to trial re-heatable cushions on the pews.

One hundred cushions are being trialled in Broadclyst and South Tawton’s Anglican churches for three months.

Designed for use by sports fans, the cushions are part of a campaign to cut carbon emissions and look at new heating systems for church buildings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(Citizen-Times) Rob Neufeld looks start of churches in Western North Carolina

“In the western section of the diocese,” the Rev. John Stark Ravenscroft told North Carolina Episcopalians in 1825, “the prospect (of advancing the faith) is very discouraging, though not without hope.”

“Spiritual destitution” is how Bishop Levi Silliman Ives characterized our region’s religious landscape 19 years later, though the physical landscape was “beautiful and striking, far beyond my powers of description.”

Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians had made great spiritual progress in Western North Carolina as early as the 18th century. Samuel Edney, head of the Methodist church’s Swannanoa circuit, established the first camp meeting west of the Blue Ridge in what is now Edneyvillle in the 1790s; in 1797, the Rev. George Newton turned Asheville’s Union Hill Academy into a Presbyterian school named after him. The French Broad Baptist Church was organized in Henderson County in 1780, and regional churches formed the French Broad Baptist Association in 1807.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lutheran, Methodist, Other Churches, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ

Bolz-Weber’s liberal, foulmouthed articulation of Christianity speaks to fed-up believers

Nadia Bolz-Weber bounds into the University United Methodist Church sanctuary like a superhero from Planet Alternative Christian. Her 6-foot-1 frame is plastered with tattoos, her arms are sculpted by competitive weightlifting and, to show it all off, this pastor is wearing a tight tank top and jeans.

Looking out at the hundreds of people crowded into the pews to hear her present the gospel of Jesus Christ, she sees: Dockers and blazers. Sensible shoes. Grandmothers and soccer moms. Nary a facial piercing.

To Bolz-Weber’s bafflement, this is now her congregation: mainstream America.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

World Council of Churches hears about attacks on Egyptian Christians

“’God of life, lead us to justice and peace’ has become a prayer around the world.” These were words of Dr Wedad Abbas Tawfik about the theme of the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly. She shared her experiences and hopes for social and political stability as a Coptic Christian in her country, Egypt.

Tawfik, who was one of the speakers at the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea, made special reference to the situation of Christians in the Middle East, Egypt and Syria in particular, inviting prayers for peace for the region.

Tawfik was addressing a plenary session of the WCC assembly on 31 October.

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

Warm NYC greetings from this All Saints/All Souls Weekend to all Blog readers

Elizabeth and I at the new 9/11 memorial this past Saturday morning–KSH.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Harmon Family, History, Photos/Photography, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(RNS) Oprah interview stirs debate: What is an atheist?

What was supposed to be a touchy-feely, one-on-one interview by Oprah Winfrey with long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad has morphed into a broader, sometimes angry exchange about what it means to be an atheist.

Earlier this month Winfrey, 59, hosted Nyad on “Super Soul Sunday,” her weekly talk program on cable’s Oprah Winfrey Network. Nyad, 64, recently completed a 53-hour solo swim from Cuba to Florida.

During the hourlong segment, Nyad declared herself an atheist. She then explained, “I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity. All the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt and suffered. So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Atheism, Media, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(World) Marvin Olasky–Good reporting: Moving from suite-level to street-level

How do you accumulate material? You pound the pavement and always carry a pen. You describe what they saw, not what you inferred from the situation. Example: If you have seen the front of a house, do not say, “The house is blue.” Say, “The front of the house is blue.” Only after substantial reporting can we sit at a desk and put into practice the advice of novelist/historian Shelby Foote, who once said, “When you have enough specific detail, grit it out.”

To go from grand to gritty, a reporter needs to observe specific detail and then give readers a sense of those observations. David Halberstam, a celebrated journalist who visited my college four decades ago and convinced me to go into journalism, won awards for his street-level reporting in Vietnam and at home. (In 2007 he died in an auto accident at age 73 while visiting a college to talk with students about journalism.) In a terrific book published in 2007, Telling True Stories, Mark Kramer and Wendy Call quote Halberstam saying, “The more reporting””the more anecdotes, perceptions, and windows on a subject””the better. The more views of any subject that you get, the better.”

Telling True Stories and one other book, Robert Boynton’s The New New Journalism (2005), contain great advice on how to report and interview. Other veteran journalists told Kramer and Call that they did not take words too seriously, since deeds speak louder. Katherine Boo recommends that if an interviewee says, “Now I’ve got to go and pick up my kids from day care and go to the grocery store,” the reporter should seize the opportunity to go along and see not just how a subject talks but how she lives.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Media

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant, O Lord, that we may cleave to thee without parting, worship thee without wearying, serve thee without failing; faithfully seek thee, happily find thee, and for ever possess thee, the one only God, blessed, world without end.

–Saint Anselm

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

–Psalm 56:3-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Church stampede in Anambra, Nigeria, 'kills 17'

At least 17 people have been killed and many more injured in a stampede at the end of a religious vigil in eastern Nigeria, officials say.

More than 100,000 people were said to have gathered at the venue of the incident, the Holy Ghost Adoration Ground in Anambra State.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria, Religion & Culture

(CT) Kirsten Powers–Fox News' Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower

I grew up in the Episcopal Church in Alaska, but my belief was superficial and flimsy. It was borrowed from my archaeologist father, who was so brilliant he taught himself to speak and read Russian. When I encountered doubt, I would fall back on the fact that he believed.

Leaning on my father’s faith got me through high school. But by college it wasn’t enough, especially because as I grew older he began to confide in me his own doubts. What little faith I had couldn’t withstand this revelation. From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real.

After college I worked as an appointee in the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998. The White House surrounded me with intellectual people who, if they had any deep faith in God, never expressed it. Later, when I moved to New York, where I worked in Democratic politics, my world became aggressively secular. Everyone I knew was politically left-leaning, and my group of friends was overwhelmingly atheist.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelicals, Media, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

([London] Sunday Times) Does your Last Name have a lot to do with the Job you end up with?

It has long been known that people are attracted to jobs which match their names. As examples may we present Lord Judge, a former lord chief justice, a New York lawyer called Sue Yoo and the late Cardinal Sin. Now research carried out by Cambridge University has established that people with names such as Prince and King are more likely to find themselves in positions of power.

The study examined the names and occupations of 222,924 people in Germany and discovered that people called Kaiser (Emperor) and König (King) were more likely to be managers. Would Mervyn King have become governor of the Bank of England if his name had been Higginbottom?

So it’s all the more remarkable that Nick Clegg has enjoyed such a successful career despite having a surname that means “horsefly”….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology

The Episcopal Diocese of NJ consecrates its new bishop William Stokes

On Sunday, Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m., Stokes will be formally welcomed into the cathedral and seated in his church, the release said.

The Episcopal diocese that Stokes will oversee is the sixth largest in the nation. It served 47,092 baptized members as of June, and has a 227-year history in New Jersey. Tomorrow’s service is expected to draw more than 1,500 visitors, the release said.

A block party-style reception will take place following the service in and outside of the church, said Jonathan Elliot, the diocese’s director of communication.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

'Out of the pulpit, onto the pavement': New pastor at Methodist church looks to help Trenton's poor

At Turning Point United Methodist Church, there are hot meals for the hungry, roundtables for women and after-school programs for children ”” and for the downtrodden there is hope.

Led by their newly installed pastor, the Rev. Annie Allen, the church has taken on an increasingly involved role in reaching out to the city’s poor in spirit.

Allen has called on her background in social services and government for her new mission. She has worked by a favorite, oft-repeated statement: “Out of the pulpit, onto the pavement.”

“I love the cities, and I’m not afraid to be in the cities,” Allen said. “I want to nurture our community and be seen to be part of downtown Trenton.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Methodist, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AP) Chris Yaw connects faith communities online

In recent years, Chris Yaw noticed a trend among acquaintances in construction and engineering as well as members joining his church, St. David’s Episcopal in Southfield: They went online for education and career advancement.

Society’s increasing reliance on computer-based interactions coupled with the changing habits of Metro Detroit churchgoers inspired Yaw to explore creating an educational platform that would connect communities.

After developing the idea with a design team and partnering with Forward Movement, a Cincinnati-based publisher, the website he envisioned, www.churchnext.tv, debuted in August.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology