Daily Archives: January 27, 2014

A Statement from the C of E College of Bishops on the Pilling Report

The College of Bishops met on 27th January, 2014 to begin a process of reflection on the issues raised by the Pilling Report (GS 1929). The College expressed appreciation to Sir Joseph Pilling and to all members of the working party for the work they have done on behalf of the Church.

We are united in welcoming and affirming the presence and ministry within the Church of gay and lesbian people, both lay and ordained. We are united in acknowledging the need for the Church to repent for the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke and affirming the need to stand firmly against homophobia wherever and whenever it is to be found.

We are united in seeking to be faithful to the Scriptures and the tradition of the Church and in seeking to make a loving, compassionate and respectful response to gay men and women within Church and society.

We recognise the very significant change in social attitudes to sexuality in the United Kingdom in recent years.

Read it all.

Recent Featured Entries on the Pilling Report and Responses
Links to recent posts about alternative baptism liturgy for the Church of England

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Prayer for the Church of England – Matthew 22:15-22

Thanks to Lent and Beyond

Matthew 22:15-22 (ESV)
“Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.
Dear Jesus, there are plots within the Church of England to confuse the truth. Defeat all the clever arguments of those who by human reasoning desire to confuse the truth of the gospel. Shut the mouths of the hypocrites who profess one thing and do another.

Good Shepherd, just as You have mercy on the lost sheep entangled in the brush, have mercy on the leaders who have been enticed by ideas that are not of You and have strayed away. They are entangled in ungodly teaching and the generational dysfunction of the Church of England. They have become easy prey for predators.

Jesus, seek them out. You are the Truth. Grab hold of them, just as You would grab hold of the sheep in the brush. May they renounce these false beliefs and place their guilt on Your shoulders. Bring them to a broad place.

They are stamped with Your image. May the leaders of the Church of England render to You the things that are Yours. The Church is Yours. May Your kingdom be established in the Church of England as it is in heaven.

Read it all – more prayers are here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(RNS) Cathy Grossman–Why do we buy into pop stars’ pubescent piety?

[Justin Bieber is..] 19 and peeling rubber in a rented yellow Lamborghini, drag racing in Miami Beach before dawn Thursday and flunking a street-side sobriety test, according to a police report.

Are his global followers, the Beliebers, still around to read this and weep? Do they even care or have they moved on to other idols of self-expression? (Miley, anyone?) Maybe they have found Bono, who once said, as Falsani noted: “There’s nothing worse than a rock star with a cause ”¦ But celebrity is currency and we want to spend it this way.”

It’s certainly not easy to be a celebrity in popular culture and still be taken seriously as a person who practices a religion ”” Christian or any other faith ”” in word and deed.
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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Movies & Television, Music, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Observer) Tony Blair–Religious difference, not ideology, will fuel this century's epic battles

The last weeks have seen a ghastly roll call of terror attacks in the obvious places: Syria, Libya, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Pakistan. Also suffering are places where we have only in recent years seen such violence: Nigeria, and in many parts of central Africa, in Russia and across central Asia, and in Burma, Thailand and the Philippines. We can either see all of these acts of killing as separate ”“ produced by various political contexts ”“ or we can start to see the clear common theme and start to produce a genuine global strategy to deal with it.

The fact is that, though of course there are individual grievances or reasons for the violence in each country, there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith. But there is no doubt that those who commit the violence often do so by reference to their faith and the sectarian nature of the conflict is a sectarianism based on religion. There is no doubt either that this phenomenon is growing, not abating.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

Abp Welby to visit South Sudan and Great Lakes Region

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will visit South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet Primates of the Anglican Communion, in a five-day visit to the region starting on Thursday this week.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, --South Sudan, Africa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan

Dr. Denis Alexander's sermon from yesterday "Science and Faith – Friends or Foes?" (Psalm 104)

Listen to it all should you wish to and also note that there is an option to download it there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Apologetics, History, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(C of E) Research reveals churchgoers support for Archbishop's Credit Union proposals

Research by Church Urban Fund reveals Churchgoers are twice as likely to support credit unions than others.

The research also shows many of those that attend church on a regular basis agree that churches should actively support credit unions, in order to strengthen alternatives to payday loans.

More than four in five of those surveyed agreed that payday loans exploit people without access to cheaper forms of credit and almost half believed that churches should raise awareness of credit unions in their local communities, allow them to use church premises, and encourage church members to volunteer their professional skills.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Telegraph) Cristina Odone–Living together apart? It may be good for work but it's not love

…it’s not to fuel their love that today’s couples don’t live under the same roof. It’s in order to work. Long hours in the office make some commuters think about renting accommodation close to HQ rather than stay with their spouse. The effect this must have on marriage, not to mention children, is huge ”“ and negative. Marriage works ”“ and every piece of research confirms that it does ”“ because it is an emotional and physical bond between two people, tested and strengthened on a daily basis. It’s not a serial dating relationship, where man and woman have a bit of fun and then retreat into their autonomous zones.

Incredibly, until very recently, as Iain Duncan Smith reminded us in the interview he has given me, the government promoted precisely this mad model of marriage. The welfare system was set up to give more money to single parents (or those living on their own) than to couples. Spouses would either pretend to, or genuinely, split up in order to claim more in benefits. The model, called “Living Apart Together”, was based on the Government’s fear that giving less to lone parents would amount to “persecuting” them. It wouldn’t look good ”“ even if it did harm.

Thankfully, the Coalition has decided to come out in favour of old-fashioned marriage, and will give a tax break to married couples.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology

(SMH) Stuart Gregor–It's the drugs, not booze, fuelling violence

I just Googled “alcohol-fuelled violence” and got 1.5 million results. Yep, 1.5 million. I’ve been truly gobsmacked as much by the barbaric acts that have been perpetrated in Sydney as the hysteria and poor nomenclature used to describe them.

Because, unless I am out of my head on some sort of weird psychedelic myself, these acts are not merely alcohol fuelled. They are fuelled by the epidemic in Sydney of amphetamines, uppers and steroids, as well as too much alcohol. In many circumstances, the former simply enables the latter.

Virtually no one can go on a 10-hour drinking binge and be capable of throwing much of a punch. They are more at risk of falling in front of a cab, spewing in the very same vehicle or walking into a wall.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Alcohol/Drinking, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Violence

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Saints Lydia, Dorcas and Phoebe

Filled with thy Holy Spirit, gracious God, thine earliest disciples served thee with the gifts each had been given: Lydia in business and stewardship, Dorcas in a life of charity and Phoebe as a deacon who served many. Inspire us today to build up thy Church with our gifts in hospitality, charity and bold witness to the Gospel of Christ; who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Jesus, who in thy tender love didst stretch forth thy hand and touch the leper who came to thee for cleansing: Grant us a like compassion for all who claim our help, and a willingness to identify ourselves with them in their need; for thy sake who wast made sin for us, and who art our righteousness and our salvation, now and for ever.

–Frank Colquhoun

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Blessed is he who considers the poor!
The Lord delivers him in the day of trouble;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
thou dost not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness thou healest all his infirmities.

–Psalm 41:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Lent and Beyond: A Prayer for the Church of England College of Bishops

The College meets January 27th
Dear Heavenly Father,
Dare we despise the day of small beginnings? We thank You for inauspicious beginnings. We thank You that there is no tragedy You cannot redeem. We are grateful that Your thoughts are not our thoughts and Your ways are not our ways. We look to you in glad expectation. We look to You in joy.
We know that You have saved and that You will continue to save. We claim the salvation, the healing, and the love of Your Son Jesus. He is the balm of Gilead. May He so completely fill the hearts of the College of Bishops of the Church of England that His light will blaze forth across England.
Don’t pass them by, Lord. Show Yourself strong on behalf of the church. Take their small beginnings and bless them.

Read it all and there are more prayers here

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Bishop Mouneer Anis–Please pray for Egypt as We Fight Terrorism

As the Egyptian people were preparing for the celebration of the 3rd anniversary of the 25 January 2011 Revolution, and rejoicing after the passing of the new Constitution, the Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood and other groups) threatened that they would demonstrate, yet again, in protest of the removal of former President Mursi.

This morning Egypt woke up hearing the news of several bombs in Cairo; 12 people were killed and dozens injured. It is clear that the terrorist groups are now targeting the police and the army. The day before, six police were shot dead by a group of terrorists at a check-point in Upper Egypt. The Egyptian Security is doing its best to bring security within the streets of Egypt, yet, as you know, terrorist attacks are very difficult to predict and not easy to avoid. The question that needs to be answered is: why have these terrorist attacks happened throughout Egypt only after the removal of former President Mursi? What is the link?
Many Egyptians believe that during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, many extremist groups flourished. Many members of these extremists were pardoned by Mursi and released from prisons. They immediately became involved in the political life in Egypt. Under the current interim government, there is no space for such extremist groups.

These terrorist attacks stirred both anger and determination within the Egyptian people. After the attacks, people gathered from everywhere at the site of the bombing to shout against those groups who committed these criminal and savage acts, and also against the Muslim Brotherhood who supported these groups. Many have expressed their determination to support the police and the army in their war against terrorism.

All churches in Egypt condemned these attacks, including the Anglican Church, and encouraged the Egyptian people to fight terrorism and do their best to build the country.

My hope and prayer is that the international community would stand in solidarity with the current Egyptian Government in its fight against terrorism. I know that most countries have condemned these bombings, but condemnation needs to be accompanied by more practical actions.

Please continue to pray for our beloved country Egypt.

–The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis is Bishop of Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa and President Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Middle East, Spirituality/Prayer, Terrorism, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Violence

(Bloomberg) Ukrainian Crisis Deepens as Power-Share Proposal Fails

Ukraine’s political crisis deepened over the weekend as President Viktor Yanukovych’s offer to share power with the opposition failed to end anti-government unrest, raising the stakes for a special parliament session tomorrow.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnybok on Jan. 25 urged demonstrators to keep pushing for Yanukovych’s resignation and snap elections after the president offered to hand over top cabinet jobs. Lawmakers will interrupt their winter break to vote on a no-confidence motion in the government and a bid to repeal anti-protest laws passed this month.

The country of 45 million, a key route for Russian energy toward Europe, is enduring the first deadly political crisis in its 22 years of independence. Yanukovych, struggling to tame demonstrations claimed the first lives last week as anti-protest laws triggered riots, offered his biggest concessions yet on Jan. 25. Clashes in Kiev resumed that night, while attempts to seize regional government offices widened.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Politics in General, Ukraine

(Time) South Sudan Faces An Uphill Struggle for a Longer-Term Peace

The temporary truce signed on Thursday by South Sudanese politicians may have halted hostilities that, according to United Nations and humanitarian estimates, have resulted in the deaths of more than 10,000 people ”“ and displaced half a million more ”“since fighting began in December, but a sustainable peace remains far off, diplomats and experts say. “The country can fall apart; it’s sort of half unglued now. Even if there’s a ceasefire, who knows if that’s going to stick as it doesn’t resolve any the underlining problems,” said Tom McDonald, who worked on Sudan issues as U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe during the Clinton presidency. “A lot is at stake because we have invested time and diplomatic capital and lots of money there to stand up this country.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Sudan, Violence

(FT) Delphine Strauss reviews Alan Wheatley's book on Currencies and Power

Frustrations with the dollar’s dominance are growing. The global fallout from the Federal Reserve’s stimulus policies, followed by Washington’s willingness to take budget talks to the brink of default last year, have made many governments reassess their reliance on US economic policy.

There is a general wish to stop the dollar being, as Richard Nixon’s Treasury secretary once told anxious Europeans, “our currency, your problem”. But it is far from clear what the alternative will be.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Books, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Politics in General, Theology

(Economist) China loses its allure for foreign companies

According to the late Roberto Goizueta, a former boss of The Coca-Cola Company, April 15th 1981 was “one of the most important days”¦in the history of the world.” That date marked the opening of the first Coke bottling plant to be built in China since the Communist revolution.

The claim was over the top, but not absurd. Mao Zedong’s disastrous policies had left the economy in tatters. The height of popular aspiration was the “four things that go round”: bicycles, sewing machines, fans and watches. The welcome that Deng Xiaoping, China’s then leader, gave to foreign firms was part of a series of changes that turned China into one of the biggest and fastest-growing markets in the world.

For the past three decades, multinationals have poured in. After the financial crisis, many companies looked to China for salvation. Now it looks as though the gold rush may be over.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Inoculation Ethics

[DEBORAH] POTTER: At this pediatric practice in Amherst, Massachusetts, most children get all their vaccines on time. But Dr. John Snyder sees a growing number who insist on delaying vaccinations or flatly refuse them.

DR. JOHN SNYDER (Amherst Pediatrics): These are not bad parents. These are parents who do want to do the best thing, and unfortunately they are misinformed, and there’s an enormous amount of misinformation out there. You have parents who are certain that vaccines are the cause of maybe autism or autoimmune diseases or whatever else they may have heard, and they know because they’ve done their “research,” and they know the answers, and I’m just part of the problem.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Theology