Daily Archives: March 16, 2014

A Devoted Chinese father who carries his disabled son 18 miles to school every day

A devoted Chinese father who carries his disabled son 18 miles to school every day will be provided with government-funded accommodation nearby.

Yu Xukang walks the huge distance with his son, Xiao Qiang, strapped to his back in a specially constructed basket.

The 40-year-old, from Fengyi township in Yibin county in southwest China’s Sichuan province – 2,000 miles west of Shanghai – refused to give up on the boy now aged 12, despite the fact that both his arms and legs are twisted and his back is hunched.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Children, China, Education, Marriage & Family, Travel

C of E Bishops underline importance of teaching to improve social mobility

The Bishops of Newcastle and Winchester have championed the importance of excellent teachers for pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. They were involved in a debate in the House of Lords about the role of schools in improving social mobility on the 13th March.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Education, Religion & Culture

(Independent) Peter Sanford–10 more Commandments: How to save the Anglican church

The first ordination of female vicars in the Church of England, 20 years ago this month by the Bishop of Bristol, was arguably the most-hyped of these recent New Jerusalems. It came after a long, and bitter via dolorosa that caused a small but high-profile group of dissenters (Ann Widdecombe, John Gummer, Charles Moore) to decamp to Roman Catholicism. But the first pioneers of women’s ordination were in no doubt that their Church was finally marching on the high road. “We are a people reformed, remade and renewed,” proclaimed Katharine Rumens, ordained a priest in April 1994. “I look to the future with great excitement.”

But yet again, this great reform hasn’t quite lived up to its billing. Many of the problems of disunity remain, notably over what is essentially the same issue: women bishops. So how to save the Church of England from a slow drift into oblivion?

Having had a ringside seat at the events of the past two decades, and more broadly as a fellow traveller (albeit at one pew removed as a Catholic), who sees so much that is good and needed about our national church as its goes about its daily, non-headline-making parish life, here are a few suggestions ”“ more 10 conversation-starters than 10 commandments ”“ assembled with the help of Anglican friends.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Israel to Phase Out Religious Exemptions for Military Service

After years of heated public debate and political wrangling, Israel’s Parliament on Wednesday approved landmark legislation that will eventually eliminate exemptions from compulsory military service for many ultra-Orthodox students enrolled in seminaries.

The issue has become a social and political lightning rod in a country where most Jewish 18-year-olds are subjected to compulsory military service for up to three years. Many Israelis, who see conscription as part of a deeper culture war between the secular and modern Orthodox Jews and the ultra-Orthodox, have been demanding a more equitable sharing of the responsibilities of citizenship and voted in last year’s elections on that basis.

Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid, one of the parties that promoted the new legislation in the governing coalition, wrote on his Facebook page soon after the vote, “To the 543,458 citizens of Israel who elected Yesh Atid: Today you have passed the equal sharing of the burden.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(NPR) Tiny Italian Town Thumbs Its Nose At Lenten Abstinence

On the first Sunday of Lent in Poggio Mirteto, a priest in the town’s cathedral recalls the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

He admonishes parishioners in this hilltop hamlet just outside Vatican City to resist earthly delights during the time of penance and self-denial leading up to Easter.

“We must remember we are weak before evil, because the devil is very tricky,” he says.

Just outside the doors, the warning goes unheeded as a parade of revelers passes.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Europe, History, Italy, Lent, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life

(Gleanings) Terry Fullam RIP at 82, renowned Episcopal pastor featured in 'Miracle at Darien'

Everett L. “Terry” Fullam, who served as rector of St. Paul’s, Darien, Conn., famous as tall steeple parish in the mainline Protestant renewal movement, died today. He was 82.

News of his passing came as a result of Bishop Gregory Brewer, Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, who tweeted this afternoon, “Just heard that Terry Fullam passed away. A generation ago he was a hero.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

(Journal-Sentinel) UW-La Crosse professor's email that went viral in October still reverberates

Professors on University of Wisconsin System campuses occasionally get into trouble for what they say in class, on social media or on the Internet.

Rachel Slocum, a UW-La Crosse assistant professor of geography, urged 18 students in an online course last October to do whatever they could, despite limited access to data for an assignment, because the federal government had partially shut down as a result of a budget impasse.

The message didn’t get her into trouble. The way she said it did.

“Hi everyone,” she emailed the students “Some of the data gathering assignment will be impossible to complete until the Republican/Tea Party controlled House of Representatives agrees to fund the government.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Media, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology, Young Adults

(Local paper) Diocese of South Carolina accepts provisional oversight from Global South primates

“This will give us gracious oversight from one of the largest ecclesiastical body in the (Anglican) Communion,” Bishop Mark Lawrence said in his address to the annual diocesan convention.

Lawrence and most local Episcopal parishes separated from the national church because of long-standing administrative and theological disputes. However, the Episcopal Church is a North American province of the Anglican Communion, so the separation left the diocese without a formal connection to the seat of global Anglicanism, the See of Canterbury.

Since then, the Diocese of South Carolina and others around the U.S. have sought ways to remain in communion with global Anglicans outside of the Episcopal Church umbrella.

“This measure of oversight allows us to be involved in the larger conversations that take place in the communion in a more direct fashion,” the Rev. Canon James Lewis said. “We’ll have a more direct connection.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Egypt, Global South Churches & Primates, Middle East, Theology

The Diocese of South Carolina Formalizes Wordwide Anglican Ties at 2014 Convention

On Saturday, March 15, the Diocese’s 223rd Annual Convention unanimously accepted an invitation to join the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) and temporarily enter into a formal ecclesiastical relationship known as provisional primatial oversight from bishops in the Global South.

The convention’s nearly 400 delegates also voted to create a task force to explore more permanent affiliation options for the diocese. The task force will offer recommendations at the next Convention, which will be held next March.

Local critics of the Diocese’s 2012 separation from The Episcopal Church had said the disassociation would isolate the Diocese from the Global Anglican Communion. While the Diocese has maintained many informal relationships with organizations that are part of the communion, this formal primatial oversight arrangement makes clear that the Diocese is officially part of the greater Anglican Church.

“There’s an African proverb that wisely states ”˜If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together,’ said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese, in his address to the Convention. “This will give us gracious oversight from one of the largest Ecclesial entities within in the Communion; one which includes Anglicans from a diverse body of believers from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, the Indian Ocean and many, many others.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Global South Churches & Primates, Parish Ministry

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Write deeply upon our minds, O Lord God, the lesson of thy holy Word, that only the pure in heart can see thee. Leave us not in the bondage of any sinful inclination. May we neither deceive ourselves with the thought that we have no sin, nor acquiesce idly in aught of which our conscience accuses us. Strengthen us by thy Holy Spirit to fight the good fight of faith, and grant that no day may pass without its victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–C. J. Vaughan

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!

–Psalm 24:7-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Address to the 223rd Diocese of South Carolina Convention

“The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning.” So wrote the Swiss theologian, Emil Brunner, several generations ago. And it was clearly under the burning fire of the Holy Spirit that the apostles moved out to engage the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. For what God had done in Jesus Christ for the world must be made known to the world. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?” wrote St. Paul. “And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ”˜How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!’ ”¦ faith comes through hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10: 14-17) So these early Christians sent out and so they went out. Pressing on, as one missionary statesman has written, “”¦ going from city to city as heralds of the King, not staying to argue with gainsayers”¦.” We spend too much time arguing with those within the church who do not believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be proclaimed to all people while we remain in guilty silence about the Gospel in the presence of its many cultured despisers. It was not so for the early disciples. Inflamed as they were with a saving message and filled with an unspeakable joy they brushed off the dust of those who had rejected their message and moved on looking for the next opportunity. The Holy Spirit never allowed them to let the need to consolidate what they had gained to replace the need to advance. In fact advancement became the method of consolidation. I am gripped by these words from Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, writing about the church’s need to press forward “”¦ both to the ends of the earth and the ends of the world, rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God.” Of the Church’s need to press on in the strength of the Holy Spirit, living by grace, turning outward to engage the world, resisting the constant temptation to play it safe, he writes:

“When she (the church) becomes settled, when she becomes so much at home in this world that she is no longer content to be forever striking her tents and moving forward, above all when she forgets that she lives simply by God’s mercy and begins to think that she has some claim on God’s grace which the rest of the world has not, when in other words she thinks of her election in terms of spiritual privilege rather than missionary responsibility, then she comes under His merciful judgment (of God) as Israel did.” (p. 132)

Pressing forward in mission and rejoicing in hope: that is the glorious calling which we need to rediscover at the heart of our common life. One profound characteristic of the exploding growth of Anglicans in many parts of the Global South is their joy””joy in the midst of deprivation; joy in midst of persecution; joy in the midst of temporal uncertainty; joy that is rooted in the new life in Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. I yearn to see such unspeakable, irrepressible, iridescent joy within the life of our congregations, and frankly in my own life as well.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Theology

The Top 10 Most Popular Languages on Twitter

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization

Who Pays for Public Education?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education