Daily Archives: May 29, 2014

New Zealand Herald: Vicar exits Anglican Church in same-sex row

An Anglican pastor has quit the church and is taking his congregation with him after the governing body moved ahead with plans to bless same-sex relationships.

Charlie Hughes, the former vicar of St Michael’s in Henderson, says he cannot reconcile the decision of the church to recognise same sex relationships with his ordination vows.

He said the vows were a pledge to uphold the constitution of the Anglican Church. The constitution states it is “not lawful to ordain anything contrary to God’s word written”.

“It’s not because we have a problem with people who are in a same sex relationship but because of the commitment we have to shaping our lives around the teachings of the Bible,” Mr Hughes said.
Mr Hughes said he knew of other churches in which rifts had formed.

“There is a large body of Anglican clergy who are convinced this is the wrong way to go.”

There was also a group of lawyers ”” including two QCs ”” who were working on a legal challenge to the church’s move.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces

Please pray for Bishop Greg and Sylvia Venables

Bishop Venables reports that he was beaten by the thieves and his wife was bound, but both came through the ordeal. Writing on Facebook, Bishop Venables said:

“Just to share what happened…we arrived home from church on Sunday afternoon and disturbed thieves in the house. They beat and tied me up but didn’t hurt Sylvia. Having spent an hour ransacking the house and removing everything of value they left. It could have been much worse and God’s presence was unmistakable and tangible to us, to them and to the multitude of police who came afterwards. Sylvia was magnificent as those who know her can imagine. Thanks for your prayers.”

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone]

Anglican Rural Training Center in Melanesia now lights up with Solar power

An Anglican owned Rural Training Center in Kolaero, in the Hograno district in the Diocese of Ysabel (DOY) is now fully light up with solar [power].

Following its year planned activities, ACoM Solar Project Officer Mr. Holland Sikou installed 400 watts Solar system with 2,400 watts Inverter for the school’s classrooms and administration department and three (3) other thirty (30) watts for three (3) dormitories.

This is a big development and an achievement in the history of the School.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Melanesia, Anglican Provinces, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology

(NYT Sunday Review) The decentralization of Islamic extremism

[The split off of ISIS]… was the first time in the history of the world’s most notorious terrorist organization that one of the affiliates had publicly broken with the international leadership, and the news sent shock waves through the online forums where jihadists meet. In no uncertain terms, ISIS had gone rogue.

That split, in June, was a watershed moment in the vast decentralization of Al Qaeda and its ideology since 9/11. As the power of the central leadership created by Osama bin Laden has declined, the vanguard of violent jihad has been taken up by an array of groups in a dozen countries across Africa and the Middle East, attacking Western interests in Algeria and Libya, training bombers in Yemen, seizing territory in Syria and Iraq, and gunning down shoppers in Kenya.

What links these groups, experts say, is no longer a centralized organization but a loose ideology that any group can appropriate and apply as it sees fit while gaining the mystique of a recognized brand name. In short, Al Qaeda today is less a corporation than a vision driving a diverse spread of militant groups.

Read it all and there is more on this today there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Psychology, Science & Technology, Sociology, Terrorism, Theology

[Suffragan] Bishop [of Swindon] Lee Rayfield–Being an evangelist when the going gets tough

In response to almost the last of Cole [Moreton]’s questions I remembered Simpson’s experience and reflected that mine had been the reverse: facing my own mortality and possible death I discovered just how deep the well of hope is within me. Whether I lived or died that hope could not be disappointed.

If the gospel is truly the good news we proclaim it to be, then it is during times of adversity that it will be especially true. Our hope in Christ does not confer immunity from suffering, grief and loss but has the capacity to transform our experience of them. Going through difficult times ”“ financially, relationally, or on the health front ”“ effectively act as a refining process reminding us, sometimes painfully, where our security and confidence ultimately lie.

No one in their right mind would wish themselves to have cancer yet paradoxically I have found my journey with lymphoma to be a season of blessing and spiritual growth.

Becoming aware of my own mortality has proved to be a gift and caused me to perceive life through a more richly coloured lens
– See more at: http://www.bristol.anglican.org/2014/being-an-evangelist-when-the-going-gets-tough/#sthash.tXwM9BGg.dpufRead it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Theology

(BBC) Egypt election: Sisi secures crushing win

Former military chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has won an overwhelming victory in Egypt’s presidential election, according to provisional results.

He gained over 93% of the vote with ballots from most polling stations counted, state media say.

Turnout is expected to be about 46% despite a massive push to get more people to polling stations. Many groups boycotted the vote.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, History, Middle East, Politics in General

(Reuters) Nigeria's president orders full scale offensive on Boko Haram

Nigeria’s president said on Thursday he had ordered “a full-scale operation” against Boko Haram Islamist militants and sought to reassure the parents of 219 schoolgirls being held by the group that their children would be freed.

Speaking on Nigeria’s Democracy Day, Goodluck Jonathan said he had authorised security forces to use any means necessary under the law to ensure that Boko Haram, which operates in the country’s northeast is defeated.

“I am determined to protect our democracy, our national unity and our political stability, by waging a total war against terrorism,” Jonathan said in a TV speech.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

Bishop Nick Baines– When reflecting on capitalism, we need to dare to ask: who is money for?

One of the phrases quoted a good deal in relation to this conference ”“ including on this programme yesterday ”“ was Jesus’s remark in what we often call ‘The Sermon on the Mount’: “You cannot serve both God and Mammon.” But, it seems to me that Jesus is polarising to make a point. In fact, he precedes this statement with: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

This is a very powerful way of putting the question raised earlier: who is money for? If you love people ”“ and not just in a generic way, but in the detail of the real people who come uninvited across your path (think Good Samaritan, for example) ”“ then money is a means of enabling people to thrive ”¦ or, maybe in the short term, just survive. But, what if you assume that money and wealth exist for their own sake ”“ and for the sole good of the person who accumulates both? It is not hard to see what sort of an economist Jesus might have been”¦

Undoubtedly, the system we have grown in the last century has brought massive benefits. But, we are now responsible for how we hand this on to our grandchildren. So, we are still left with the question that the conference began with yesterday: does the economy serve people or do people serve the economy? The answer will tell us what sort of people we have chosen to be.

Read it all and the BBC link is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Saint John's, Johns Island,SC to start a voyage of discovery looking at the Anglican Church ovr time

This Anglican Church allows for a breadth of belief and understanding while holding fast to the deposit of faith handed down by the apostles and martyrs and, indeed, by Christ Himself. Our own bishop, Mark Lawrence, has cast a vision for this diocese of “Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age.” We adhere to this vision, although many of you may still ask, what does it mean to be Anglican?

So, this Fall we will be embarking on a voyage of discovery which will look at the Anglican Church over the ages and from several different viewpoints. We will be engaging in bible studies and a sermon series which will hopefully allow us t
o fully embrace our Anglican heritage and seethe merits of worshipping and living in the Anglican way.

Read it all (page 1).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Church History, Parish Ministry, Theology

(America) Terrance Klein–Why Celebrate the Ascension?

If the Ascension means the departure of the Lord Jesus, why celebrate it? Who rejoices over the loss of a loved one? Clearly this is not a day to remember what was lost. We celebrate what was gained.

For the first time, our humanity, the nature assumed by Christ, has been taken into the Godhead. This is a coming of age for the human race, something akin to the removal of training wheels.

Here, the sainted scholars of the Church diverge a bit. It’s not clear whether we were created to enjoy the very life of God, or if this is the gladsome result of the Incarnation. Put another way, we don’t know whether the Incarnation, and the resultant glorification of our humanity, happened because of sin, or despite it. Either way, as it did happen, Christ took on our humanity so that we might share his divinity. Today, in him, our humanity is first raised to that height.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ascension, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Theology

N.T. Wright on the Ascension and Second Coming of Jesus

Additionally, early Christians were not, as is commonly assumed, bound to a three-tier vision of the universe, i.e., heaven, hell, and earth.

[W]hen the Bible speaks of heaven and earth it is not talking about two localities related to each other within the same space-time continuum or about a nonphysical world contrasted with a physical one but about two different kinds of what we call space, two different kinds of what we call matter, and also quite possibly (though this does not necessarily follow from the other two) two different kinds of what we call time.

So heaven and earth, understood in this way, are two dimensions of the same reality. They “interlock and intersect in a whole variety of ways even while they retain, for the moment at least, their separate identities and roles.” Combine this with the doctrine of the ascension and we do not have a Jesus who floats up into a heaven “up there” but disappears into a reality we cannot yet see. Because heaven and earth are not yet joined Jesus is physically absent from us. At the same time he is present with us through the Holy Spirit and the sacraments, linkages where the two realities meet in the present age.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ascension, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Bishop Mark Lawrence Sermon on the Ascension of Jesus

Listen to it all (It begins with the reading of the gospel) [It is an MP3 file]. It occurred on the occasion of the Bishop’s confirmation visit to Saint Paul’s in Summerville, South Carolina in times past.

He speaks of a memory from 1960 and later there comes this quote to whet your appetite:

“What is astonishing to me I suppose is that we in the church make so little of the Ascension of our Lord.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Ascension, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Douglas Farrow on the Meaning of the Ascension for Ascension Day

Ascension theology turns at this point to the Eucharist, for in celebrating the eucharist the church professes to know how the divine presents itself in our time, and how the question of faithfulness is posed. Eucharistically, the church acknowledges that Jesus has heard and has answered the upward call; that, like Moses, he has ascended into that impenetrable cloud overhanging the mountain. Down below, rumours of glory emanate from the elders, but the master himself is nowhere to be seen. He is no longer with his people in the same way he used to be. Yet he is with them, in the Spirit.

–Douglas Farrow, Ascension Theology (New York: T and T Clark, 2011), p. 64

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ascension, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Eucharist, Sacramental Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast of the Ascension (II)

O Lord Jesus Christ, who after thy resurrection didst manifestly appear to thine apostles, and in their sight didst ascend into heaven to prepare a place for us: Grant that, being risen with thee, we may lift up our hearts continually to seek thee where thou art, and never cease to serve thee faithfully here on earth; until at last, when thou comest again, thou shalt receive us unto thyself; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Frederick B. Macnutt

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

A Prayer for the Feast of the Ascension (I)

O Thou merciful and loving High Priest, who hast passed within the veil and art in the presence of the Father: Help us with thy mighty intercession, that, our unworthiness being clothed upon with thy perfect righteousness, we may stand accepted in the day of thy coming; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Henry Alford

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

–Matthew 28:16-20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Presbyterians plan to buy Lutheran church in Charleston, West Virginia

Although parishioners at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church held their last service there in November, hymns might be heard again from the nearly 100-year-old church as soon as this fall. Riverview Presbyterian Church, now on Kanawha Boulevard, plans to buy the church building and move in.

“It had always been the hope of folks from St. Paul and Trinity [Evangelical Lutheran Church] that it would be purchased by a church or a community organization, so this is a real godsend,” said Trinity Lutheran’s Rev. Randy Richardson.

The Trinity and St. Paul congregations joined last year because of St. Paul’s dwindling membership. There were only about 40 voting members when the church closed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Telegraph City Diary) Church faces revolt over allegedly immoral retail deal

…the ministry will today face further revolt over its decision to let developers turn 7 acres of church land near Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire into an out-of-town retail park.

Campaigners, who will march on Westminster Abbey at lunchtime, say the £15m development, in conjunction with Claymore Group, will “go against Christian beliefs” by damaging trade for small businesses in the town centre.

But the church is keeping faith in the controversial project, despite the fact it has been put on hold due to an ongoing legal challenge by protester Victoria Harvey.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(SMH) Robert Willson–Inspector Morse revisited through books

A number of the thirteen Inspector Morse novels that Dexter wrote include a strong religious theme. Morse has no time for the church, though his Sunday School background is mentioned. The novel Service of All the Dead is set in a fictitious Oxford church named St Frideswide. There is in fact no such church but as St Frideswide is the patron saint of Oxford visitors might expect one. Dexter makes that church the scene of no less than four murders and finally on the tower the murderer is cornered and Morse is saved from almost certain death by Lewis.

The description of every part of this High Anglican or Anglo-Catholic Parish is remarkably authentic. The little details of music and vestments and ritual and architecture, even the smell of the incense at High Mass, and the appearance of the hymn books and prayer books, rings true for those who have been regular worshippers in such parishes, as I have. The author certainly knows the Church of England. Morse loves the sacred music and sometimes sings in church choirs. He questions formal Christian doctrine but admits the continuing fascination he has for the person of Jesus Christ, as so many do in the modern world.

Read it all.

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