Daily Archives: July 23, 2014

2nd Vicar and Congregation depart NZ Church following Synod Same-Sex Blessing Decision

The church’s perceived obsession with homosexuality has seen an Anglican pastor break camp and lead his flock into the religious wilderness and find a new home in the city.

Reverend Michael Hewat, the vicar of West Hamilton Anglican Parish on Rifle Range Rd, was the second high profile Anglican leader to leave the Anglican Church in opposition to Motion 30 – a national declaration by the governing body to bless same sex relationships.

He said homosexuality had dominated the church’s agenda for two decades and “it amounts to an obsession”, he said in a letter to Waikato Times.

His refusal to submit to General Synod on the motion passed in May that aimed to recognise same-sex relationships meant a forfeiture his licence to practice as an Anglican pastor.

In May, former Auckland pastor Charlie Hughes walked away with his congregation and Hewat said more would come.
A special general meeting was held earlier in the month where he received 94 per cent support from parishioners and a further postal vote brought that figure to greater than 95 per cent.

“It’s a family breakup and even though its only 5 per cent it still hurts,” he said.

There were about 250 members on the parish roll but children were too young to vote and some older members were unable to make it to the meeting.

A handful of churchgoers were expected to show up at the church next Sunday but the rest – more than 100 who voted and their families – were looking for new place to call home in Hamilton’s western suburbs. “We’re not pushing it too far and we’re not going to some promised land but we believe that our ministries will continue and that’s what is important.”

Motion 30 was an “unmitigated disaster” and illegal as it contravened the Church of England Empowering Act, he said.

Read it all and the story of the first departure is here and the Synod decision here and here

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

(NC Reporter) Bill Tammeus–Church membership is drooping, but the US is still profoundly religious

Right across from our hotel here on Thomas Circle (roughly 14th and Massachusetts Avenue Northwest) is Luther Place Memorial Church with a huge statue in front of Martin Luther, who almost on purpose started the Protestant Reformation. (You could look it up.)

And quite close to that church is National City Christian Church. Both structures are big, imposing and — by American standards — quite old.

Those descriptions also fit a church a few blocks away, New York Avenue Presbyterian, which Abraham Lincoln used to attend and which today houses, in its Lincoln Parlor, an early Emancipation Proclamation document, along with the Lincoln pew in the sanctuary.

In fact, as I recently wandered around our nation’s capital, I was struck over and over first by how many churches (to say nothing of synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship) help make up the structural and social fabric of Washington, and second, by how much this remains a reflection of the central role religion continues to play in this country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Church History, History, Religion & Culture

Answer to Kendall's Monday Morning quiz about Diocese of SC

Kendall has now posted his answer to the Monday Morning Quiz he posted about the history of the Diocese of South Carolina.

You can find the quiz here. And his response is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Economist) The C of E and 11th commandment–Thou shalt obey Parliament and public opinion?

The church got the message. Although it contained only nebulous safeguards for conservatives, the latest proposal was backed by a thumping majority of lay delegates to the Synod: 152 in favour and just 45 against. Even among the church’s growing contingent of evangelicals, a survival instinct prevailed. Survival as what, though? Some clergy, like Giles Fraser, an outspoken leftist, think the church should cut loose from the state and deliver hard truths from the margins of society.

In England, as in many historically Christian countries, the national church faces a choice. Either it can use its ancient privileges to cast a pale wash of religion over a secular society, making the necessary compromises; or it can morph into one or several minority subcultures, guided by their own particular lights, whose views are no business of politicians.

Over women bishops, the church stepped in the first direction. But if, as is expected, most bishops in the Lords vote against a forthcoming bill on assisted dying, it will swing the other way. Fresh questions may be asked about why bishops of one church, which attracts 2% of the population to its services, should vote at all.

Read it all.

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

[Lent & Beyond] Prayer for South Carolina Wednesday July 23rd

Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Our Father in heaven,
We cry out for Your purpose to stand in the litigation between the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina. Amen.

Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here. We are grateful to Lent and Beyond for these daily prayers.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(NYT) Corralling Carbon Before It Belches From Stack

So much soot belched from the old power plant here that Mike Zeleny would personally warn the neighbors.

“If the wind was blowing in a certain direction,” Mr. Zeleny said, “we’d call Mrs. Robinson down the street and tell her not to put out her laundry.”

That coal plant is long gone, replaced by a much larger and cleaner one along the vast Saskatchewan prairie. Sooty shirts and socks are a thing of the past.

But as with even the most modern coal plants, its smokestacks still emit enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, the invisible heat-trapping gas that is the main contributor to global warming. So this fall, a gleaming new maze of pipes and tanks ”” topped with what looks like the Tin Man’s hat ”” will suck up 90 percent of the carbon dioxide from one of the boilers so it can be shipped out for burial, deep underground.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Science & Technology, Theology

[London] Times–Liberating girls from FGM and forced marriage is a vital step to better lives

Across the globe there are believed to be 125 million victims in 29 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East living with the consequences of FGM. In most instances the girl involved will be under 15 when cut, and the elders of the community will consider that FGM bestows on her the pure femininity conducive to proper sexual conduct within marriage. In a world in which people travel constantly between cultures and continents, FGM has also become a domestic question. It is estimated that 137,000 women and girls living in England and Wales could have undergone the procedure even though it has been illegal since 1985.

The law is an important rebuke to intolerable practices and it is welcome that the first prosecutions under the 1985 law began this year. The government has also established training for teachers, doctors and social workers to help them to identify girls at risk. The law alone, though, will not prevent the abuse of women.

The importance of set-piece events such as the Girl Summit [in London] is also a marker of the importance of the question and of a standard of conduct that is expected in a developed nation.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology, Violence, Women

(WSJ) Three Mass Graves Discovered in Uganda

Ugandan authorities discovered three mass graves containing remains of victims of recent clashes over land rights in the oil-rich Lake Albertine Rift basin, threatening to escalate simmering tribal tensions in the region.

Police spokesman Fred Enanga told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that police investigators are preparing to start exhuming the graves discovered in Bundibugyo district, along Uganda’s western border with Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Local Bundibugyo district officials estimated that 10 to 12 people were secretly buried in each of the mass graves shortly after tribal uprisings over land rights in the three border districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Parish Ministry, Uganda, Violence

(Catholic Herald) Thousands of children traumatised amid Central African Republic violence

Among almost a million people displaced from their homes through conflict in the Central African Republic are 9,000 people who have found refuge at a seminary in the capital, Bangui.

An “unbelievable number of children” are among these refugees at St Mark’s Major Seminary, said Bishop Richard E Pates of Des Moines, in the United States.

“Everyone there has been traumatised. They have all witnessed atrocities,” he said, noting that the “generosity and kindness” of the Church authorities who keep the seminary’s gates open to those fleeing violence “serve as an example of how to react in a crisis.”

Bishop Pates, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, visited the conflict-ridden neighbours South Sudan and the Central African Republic from July 10 to 21.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Central African Republic, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Theology, Violence

A.S. Haley–Diocese of South Carolina Trial Day 11: a Waste of Time

ECUSA is acting as though the decision in All Saints Waccamaw resolved nothing in South Carolina. It does so at its peril, because all South Carolina trial and appellate courts are bound by its holdings: that religious corporations who have the unrestricted power to amend their governing documents may do so without regard to any “heirarchical” claims by a superior body that have not been reduced to writing; and that no declaration of any trust on religious property in South Carolina is effective to create an enforceable trust unless it is in a writing that is signed by the owner of the real property being placed into the trust.

ECUSA’s attorneys may think they are “making a record,” but the record of their hierarchical arguments and supposedly hierarchical documents will amount to nothing under South Carolina law””because ECUSA never made its hierarchy explicit in its governing documents.

Read it all (emphasis his).

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

Wednesday Brighten Your Day Story–Andrew McCutchen makes a wish come true for an ailing boy

With the Pirates looking to cut into the 2 1/2 games that they trail the division-leading Brewers and with commissioner Bud Selig in attendance, Tuesday was poised to be a big day for the team.

But for a few hours before taking the field at PNC Park, the organization had the chance to put all of these things aside as Andrew McCutchen and the front office helped turn the dreams of a 12-year-old boy from Colorado into reality.

Matthew Beichner, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., is battling a rare disease call germinoma, a cancerous germ cell tumor. The malignant tumor is fought using chemotherapy, a process that causes him to be in pain often.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Health & Medicine, Sports

Diocese of SC Trial Day 11-TEC Spends Day Making Arguments Judge Rules Irrelevant

For the second day in a row, the witness admitted that he had not been shown any documents on contributions by the Diocese to TEC for the same period that TEC was claiming it had made contributions to the Diocese and its parishes.

The rest of the day was spent reading the deposition of Thomas M. Rickenbaker from Spartanburg, South Carolina, who was interviewed for Bishop of South Carolina but did not make it to the second round of finalists. Rickenbaker was not present for his testimony.

Rickenbaker, who was baptized by Tom Tisdale, Sr., father of TECSC’s lead attorney, said that when he was interviewed for the job of bishop that the first question he was asked in his interview was “Can you lead us out of TEC?” Richkenbaker had never provided that information to anyone in five years and then only recalled the conversation after being contacted by a representative of TECSC. His statements are in dispute by those who interviewed Mr. Rickenbaker in 2006.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

(CC) Clint Schnekloth–Why we need clinical evangelistic education

At no time in my life have I felt more palpable anxiety than at the beginning of my experience of clinical pastoral education in seminary. My first visit with a hospital patient went something like this: I said, “Hi. I’m the chaplain on the floor today. What’s your name?” The patient said: “Oh””well, nice to meet you. I hope you have a wonderful day.” And then I hightailed it out of the room.

Thanks to clinical pastoral education, I did get better at this ministry. I learned how to sit in silence when necessary, how to offer prayers, how to be part of difficult conversations in fruitful ways.

Core to my learning was writing up and discussing verbatims””written records of conversations in the clinical setting that approximated the verbal back and forth of visits with patients. In reviewing verbatims, pastoral interns learn how to share and invite people into more meaningful conversations.

The helpfulness of that experience has inspired the idea of another sort of clinical endeavor. The type of conversation that frequently terrifies me now is a little different, but I am no less awkward and no less in need of something like a verbatim to help me with it. Call the course I need CEE: clinical evangelistic education.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(PI) Seattle prelate is early prospect for Episcopal Presiding Bishop

The bishops of America’s Episcopal Church will elect a new Presiding Bishop next July. Western Washington’s Bishop Greg Rickel is being sounded out as candidate for a top job that requires the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.

Rickel, 51, is an Arkansas native, a onetime hospital administrator who successfully built a multiethnic, multilingual congregation in fast-growing Austin, Texas, before being elected Episcopal Bishop of Olympia in 2007.

Rickel indicates he is willing to have his name put in nomination.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, heavenly Father, in whom is the fullness of light and wisdom: Enlighten our minds by thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive thy Word with reverence and humility, without which no man can understand thy truth; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–John Calvin

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean. If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats; it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves. But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

–Romans 14:13-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(FT) C of E's struggle to sell its Wonda Stake Illustrates 2ndary Market drawbacks

The Church of England’s prolonged struggle to sell its stake in Wonga, the payday lender, illustrates the problems that investors can encounter when they lock up their capital in illiquid private vehicles instead of buying publicly traded securities that offer a straightforward exit.

However, buying and selling positions in existing private equity funds in the secondary market is becoming increasingly popular, attracting growing interest from institutional investors.

Ardian, a Paris-based manager, raised $9bn earlier this year to create the largest private equity secondary market fund to date while Lexington Capital Partners is looking to raise $8bn to $10bn for its latest secondary vehicle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Stock Market, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Reuters) Iraq Catholic leader says Islamic State worse than Genghis Khan

The head of Iraq’s largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad.

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako led a wave of condemnation for the Sunni Islamists who demanded Christians either convert, submit to their radical rule and pay a religious levy or face death by the sword.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence