Daily Archives: March 10, 2014

Marion's Christ Episcopal Church to offer program exploring end-of-life issues

Christ Episcopal Church in Marion is inviting the public to attend a special Lenten season program on end-of-life issues and celebrate Holy Week with a symbolic meal.

“This is a season when we think about our own mortality and look at Christ’s last days on Earth,” said the Rev. Emily Edmondson. “On Ash Wednesday, we remember that we were created from dust and to dust we will return.”

Discussions will be held on Wednesday evenings from March 12 through April 9 with different topics each week led by an expert in the field. Each evening begins with a prayer and soup and sandwich dinner at 5:30 p.m. with the program following the meal.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Theology

Chicago-area Clergy Call on Sen. Mark Kirk to Help Illinois’ Unemployed

More than 40 religious leaders from the North Shore and elsewhere in the Chicago area have sent a letter to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), calling on him to help families struggling with unemployment. The clergy have asked Sen. Kirk to support the extension of emergency unemployment compensation (EUC), a federal program that provides unemployment aid after state benefits have been exhausted. This aid helps families pay bills and put food on the table, while they seek work in a difficult job market. EUC expired last December, and Congress has so far been unable to reinstate it, causing more than 2 million people to lose this vital assistance, including more than 110,000 from Illinois.

Sen. Kirk has twice voted against reinstating EUC, even though the unemployment rate in Illinois is 8.9 percent””the third highest in the nation. The last vote, which happened in February, fell one vote short of passage. Sen. Kirk’s “no” is widely seen as decisive in killing that bill, and he will hold the key vote when the Senate again considers the bill, which may be as early as next week. The letter follows….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(C of E) New advice for “critical” role of Training Incumbents published

A new good practice document on the appointment and training of clergy who manage curates and readers – training incumbents – has been published by the Church of England. The “critical” role of training incumbents is to look after the continuing development of more than 1500 clergy and readers who are training each year as part of their ministry to the church.

The report Good practice in the appointment and training of training incumbents was showcased at an event held in Sheffield for Diocesan representatives with a presentation by the Bishop of Doncaster, Peter Burrow.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(CC) Ministerial group seeks to bridges left-right political divide

In 2009 the Richland County Ministerial Association was on the skids. Only six or eight pastors were showing up at the monthly meeting, a number that represented less than a third of the churches in this southwestern Wisconsin county. All but two of them were mainline pastors. Fifteen years earlier the evangelical pastors had split off and formed their own association. The culture wars were hot at the time, with Christians clashing over abortion laws, homosexuality, the inerrancy of scripture, gender roles, creationism, and politics.

One of the two conservative evangelicals who still attended the RCMA was Mike Breininger, pastor of the largest nondenominational church in the county. Liberals called Richland Center Fellowship “the flag-waving church.” RCF had a group that used flags in choreographed presentations and parades. For many years the church also performed a Passion play called The Keys, which drew some 40,000 people over the years. Breininger had been a wrestler at the University of Wisconsin, and he was known as a tough, no-nonsense leader. No one knew why he was still attending what most of his peers regarded as the liberal RCMA.

It wasn’t because he loved liberals or the RCMA. “My faithful attendance had nothing to do with a desire to see the association prosper,” said Breininger. “I was deeply concerned that the differences between the theological liberals and conservatives, and the ranting of those wanting everyone else to adopt their agenda, were a disgrace to the name of Christ. I didn’t want to lead the association. I wanted to silence it.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

(Telegraph) Top German body calls for QE blitz to avert deflation trap in Europe

A leading German institute has called for full-blown quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) to head off a deflation spiral, marking a radical shift in thinking among the German policy elites.

Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin, demanded €60bn (£50bn) of bond purchases each month to halt the contraction of credit and avert a Japanese-style trap.

“It is high time for the ECB to act. Otherwise Europe risks falling into a dangerous downward spiral of sliding prices and declining demand”, he wrote in Die Welt.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

A.S. Haley– U. S. Supreme Court Denies Falls Church Petition

The order list published this morning by the United States Supreme Court shows that, after relisting the case for its conferences four times, it has denied certiorari (review) in No. 13-449, The Falls Church v. Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, et al. Under its rules, the Court grants certiorari when at least four of the nine justices are interested in a given case; it takes five justices to make a majority.

Read it all and and there is a Washington Post article there.

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

Rosemary Anderson–New Bishop Offers Promise to Anglicans

Robed in a flowing, full-length purple cassock, the Rev. Canon Melissa Skelton stood with her back to the crowd of over a thousand people in Vancouver’s Convention Centre last Saturday and faced her inquisitors: fifteen bishops of the Anglican Church. She answered each of their questions in a clear, confident voice.

The slim, grey-haired grandmother was about to be ordained as Vancouver’s first female Anglican bishop. Formerly a brand manager for Procter & Gamble, Skelton is also the first businessperson — and first American — to be made Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, headquartered at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Vancouver.

As a Roman Catholic, I attended Melissa Skelton’s investiture partly out of curiosity and partly in solidarity. It was the first time I’d participated in an Anglican service and I was struck by the similarities with my own tradition; the prayers and responses were practically identical.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Rebecca Taylor–Genetically Modified Food: Bad; Genetically Modified Humans: Good

In the November 2012 elections, voters of Washington state had to decide on Initiative 522. I-522 would require food sold in the state to be labeled if any of its components were produced by genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Proponents made a necessary distinction between selectively bred plants and animals and those that are GMOs. Selective breeding has been standard practice in agriculture since man began herding animals and growing crops. GMO plants and animals are those that have a genetic makeup that would not occur naturally through normal breeding. For example, a plant that has had a gene inserted that gives it resistance to weed killer and a cow that has been cloned so it is immune to mad-cow disease are GMOs.

It was a contentious battle, with supporters of I-522 telling consumers that genetic engineering has unintended consequences and that ingesting GMO products may make us sick. Proponents insisted that we have a right to know what is in our food.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who willest not the death of a sinner: We beseech thee to aid and protect those who are exposed to grievous temptations; and grant that in obeying thy commandments they may be strengthened and supported by thy grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gregorian Sacramentary

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sos’thenes, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge– even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you– so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

–1 Corinthians 1:1-8

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

[Times of India] First Crimean War: The Indian connection & parallels with current Crimea conflict

…Some answers might lie in the Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula which Vladimir Putin has just grabbed for Russia, but where in 1850s a British-led coalition scored a rather battered win over Russia, partly due to the new rifles.

That may now be called the First Crimean War and today it is mainly remembered for the nursing of Florence Nightingale and the suicidal charge of the Light Brigade. Yet despite the 160-year gap, there are interesting parallels between the two Crimean conflicts. Just as Putin claims he only stepped in to protect Russians in the Crimea from fascist Ukrainians, the tsar of Russia then claimed to be acting only to protect Orthodox Christians from the Muslim Ottomans who controlled the Black Sea coast.

Russian Bear Hug

In both cases the ostensible reasons covered something more basic: Russia’s determination to extend its influence and the determination of European (now Western) powers to resist this. Caught between them was a hapless local state, Ukraine now, Ottoman then. And where the earlier crisis brought together a curious British-French-Turkish-Sardinian (yes, really) coalition, we may yet see a curious coalition come together against Russia now. India, like most of the world, will be an anxious observer, but it was deeply linked to the earlier war, and may even have been partly its cause.

Through the 19th century Russia and Britain fought over Asia. This has been called the Great Game, since it was mostly covert and done through spies, with Crimea being the rare time it actually came to battle. The Game’s big prize was India, where after decades of battling both Indian and other European powers, the British were now in control and extracting considerable riches.

For the Russians India was a rich, warm target far more tempting than the bleak and chilly interiors of Asia that lay between them. And geography suggested a short-cut, sidestepping the barrier of the Himalayas. If they could control the Black Sea, then the Bosphorus gave them a sea road which was only guarded by the tottering Ottoman regime.

And if they could gain that, then the whole eastern Mediterranean was in their grasp and so the approach to Arabia and India. The British knew this and worried about Russia much as we do about China today….

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe, Ukraine

(FT) Church of England defends plans to boost hedge fund investments

The man responsible for the Church of England’s £6bn endowment has defended plans to increase its investment in hedge funds, arguing that not all of the industry has “devil’s horns”.

Andreas Whittam Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, told the Financial Times that the Church’s own ethical watchdog sanctioned short selling, providing it was done in a responsible way.

He added that the group “does not have ethical concerns about short selling per se as an investment practice,” and “did not make an ethical distinction between seeking to profit from a rise in the value of a security as against seeking to profit from a fall.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Stock Market

(Ind. Star) Indiana couples file federal lawsuit to recognize same-sex marriage

Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriages and the recognition of such unions legally performed in other states is the latest to come under attack in federal court.

Four Indiana same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana challenging the state law, hoping to catch a recent wave of successful challenges to similar state laws.

Two of the couples ”” Melissa Love and Erin Brock of Jeffersonville, and Michael Drury and Lane Stumler of New Albany ”” want to get married in Indiana.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality

AnglicanTV interviews Fr. David Ould

about developments in the Diocese of Grafton in Australia

Watch it all.

David Ould’s related article
Membership of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion
ACL Statement
60 Theses on Real Integrity

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary

(SMH) An Alarming snapshot of the mental health of Australian HS students

[A recent study]…has found one in three girls and a quarter of boys are depressed, with many turning to violence, alcohol and unwanted sex to cope with problems.

The study of almost 4500 year 7 to 12 students, also revealed that 34 per cent of girls and 30 per cent of boys felt constantly under strain and unable to overcome difficulties.

More than half had low levels of resilience and of those, 43 per cent felt violence was an appropriate way to solve relationship issues.

A third were drinking at dangerous levels, and one in four lacked the confidence to say no to unwanted sexual experiences, while 16 per cent feel it necessary to carry a weapon.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Education, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Teens / Youth

(RNS) Study: Protestant work ethic isn’t just Protestant anymore

America’s vaunted Protestant work ethic is getting a makeover: Now it might be more of an atheist work ethic.

A new study has found an inverse relationship between the religiosity of a state’s population and its “productive entrepreneurship.” That’s professor-speak for “entrepreneurial investment responsible for real economic growth.”

In other words, the less religious a state’s population, the more likely it is to have a healthy economy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

C of E provides New resources to commemorate the Centenary of World War One

The Chair of the Commission, Bishop Stephen Platten said:

“It is hard to underestimate the significance of the First World War for our national life. The Liturgical Commission is conscious that people will wish to commemorate its centenary in a number of ways. There will of course be national events such as the planned Vigil Service in Westminster Abbey on the evening of Monday 4 August, but many will want to hold local commemorations in a range of contexts. It is with these in mind that the Commission has prepared these resources, specifically with parish clergy and other worship leaders in mind. It is timely to launch them on the eve of the official commemoration of the Revd Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy (‘Woodbine Willie’), remembered for his outstanding service as a military chaplain in the First World War.”

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces, Spirituality/Prayer