Daily Archives: October 9, 2014

Deborah Arca interviews Jon Sweeney on When Saint Francis Saved the Church

In what ways did St. Francis revolutionize and transform the Church?

Six””detailed in my book: through a high view of friendship, by embracing the other, through personal poverty, by developing a new spirituality, through gentleness and care for creatures, and by embracing death.

For many of us, a favorite image of St. Francis is that of him delivering a spirited sermon to the birds. Did that really happen, and why did that particular story become so central to his legacy?

Sure, it happened, but it wasn’t cute. Our iconography has made it seem just cute””you know? Instead, as with many of the iconic moments in his life, it happened at a time of personal crisis and uncertainty.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Church History, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

In Connectivut, Grace Episcopal Church shows off new organ, with digitized sounds

The more you know about the organ, the more you can appreciate it,” said Mark Child, organist at Grace Episcopal Church in Windsor. “This is Organ 101.”

Child gave a special concert and presentation about the church’s new organ, a Hauptwerk Virtual Pipe Organ, on Saturday, Oct. 4. The old pipe organ broke and needs to be fixed, but the church is low on funds and the roof needs to be repaired.

The new device does not have actual pipes, but uses digitized recordings of a pipe organ. Child has loaded the tones of two different organs, one German and one French, to create different kinds of sounds. He used works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Gottfried Walther, Louis-Nicolas Clerambault and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to illustrate the differences.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

(Christian Today) Linda Woodhead: The Church of England is on its last chance

The Church of England is on its “last chance” and must make some hard decisions about clergy and parishes if it is to have a future, according to a leading academic.

Linda Woodhead, professor in sociology of religion at Lancaster University, said: “What my and other people’s research shows is that people of my age are the last generation who in large numbers care about the Church of England.”

Prof Woodhead, aged 50, told Christian Today: “I am of the very last generation that has any interest in investing in the Church and to think about its future.” She doubted that the Church would die out completely, but warned it was in danger of shrinking into small enclaves dominated by the white middle classes.

Read it all.

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

(F Things) Betsy Childs–The Church of England and Moral Hazard

I doubt anyone in the Church of England who knows Rev. Stephen Sizer was surprised that he would attend a conference critical of Israel. Sizer, the Vicar of Christ Church in Virginia Water, Surrey, is an outspoken critic of what he calls Christian Zionism, that is, Christian support for the nation-state of Israel on theological grounds.

What is surprising is that a vicar of the Church of England would attend a conference in Iran to speak to a group of anti-Semites on the subject of the Zionist lobby in England. Other attendees of the New Horizon conference in Tehran include a long list of Holocaust deniers and 9/11 truthers. The conference included a panel discussion called “Mossad’s Role in the 9/11 Coup d’Etat” with the subheading “9/11 and the Holocaust as pro-Zionist ”˜Public Myths.’”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Iran, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Theology

Melbourne council joins divestment ranks

Around 30 cities and counties internationally have made similar commitments, including Seattle, Dunedin, and Oxford. The announcement also comes hot on the heels of similar divestment commitments made by Local Government Super and the Anglican Diocese of Perth.

The decision affects millions of dollars in council investments – a May report showed the council had cash and investments of 36 million dollars. Moreland’s principal bank is the Commonwealth Bank, which like each of the ‘Big 4’ is a major lender to fossil fuel projects around the country, including controversial coal projects on the east coast.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Stock Market, Theology

The Investiture of Foley Beach as new ACNA leader on Thursday Evening

At 7 pm Eastern Time, Midnight London Time

With many thanks to Anglican TV

Read it all and note the livestream link. Also, a brief Atlanta Journal-Constitution article is there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

BBC composer Steven Faux celebrates five years of the Psalms Project

Having spent most of his career writing original music for TV and film scores, as well as orchestral-choral / filmic music for commercial release and live performance, Steven wanted to do some composing that would bring together his two vocations: composing music for media and being an ordained minister in the Anglican Church.

The result was the Psalms Project, a contemporary journey through the vivid landscape of the Psalms, told in the musical language of feature films.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Media, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(FP Blog) You Can’t Understand How Beleaguered Kobani Is Until You See These Maps

Turkey is warning that the city of Kobani, which sits on the Syria-Turkey border, could at any moment fall to fighters affiliated with the Islamic State. That development would represent a huge setback for the U.S.-led air campaign in Syria and could portend a humanitarian catastrophe. Kurdish forces are warning of a possible massacre if Kobani falls to the Islamic State, which would solidify the group’s control of a large chunk of territory along Syria’s border with Turkey.

Kobani is now the sole remaining Kurdish-controlled town along a huge stretch of the Syrian border. To understand how isolated it is from the rest of the country, consider the map below. Syrian Kurds have in recent weeks been battling with Islamic State militants elsewhere in Syria, but it is in Kobani where that fighting has entered a key phase, as the militant group attempts to consolidate its rule in the north. Kobani is the small blot of yellow due east from where the Euphrates crosses into Syria.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Terrorism, Theology, Turkey, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Pew R Facttank) For many Americans, a ”˜meh’ midterm

Midterm elections rarely excite the general public, but 2014 is shaping up to be an especially underwhelming cycle for many Americans. With about a month remaining in the congressional races, 15% are very closely following news about the midterms ”” down from similar periods before the elections in 2010 (25%) and 2006 (21%).

Our new survey, which was fielded Oct. 2-5, found that an additional 22% of the public said they are following the midterm election news fairly closely, 25% said not too closely, and 39% said not at all.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, House of Representatives, Politics in General, Senate, Sociology

Food For Thought from C H Spurgeon on Hope to Begin the Day

Hope..is like a star””not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.

–C. H. Spurgeon, 1859

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Christology, Church History, Eschatology, Theology

(RNS) Stanley Hauerwas drops out of General Theological Seminary lecture series after controversy

“I was looking forward to going because I’ve known of General for my whole academic life, but I had never been there. At one time, it represented a commitment to an Anglo-Catholic tradition with which I’m very sympathetic,” said Hauerwas, who attends an Episcopal church in Chapel Hill, N.C. “I think the situation is one of deep pathos; it’s just pathetic. I’m sorry that I’ve gotten caught in it.”

GTS, the flagship seminary that has produced generations of bishops and noted theologians, is the only Episcopal seminary overseen by the national church.

“It’s been the seminary of record for the national church,” Hauerwas said. “Symbolically what’s happening there has reverberations throughout the church. I think that’s the primary reason people are taken aback by the fact that in some ways what has happened is the death toll of General Seminary. What student is going to go there?”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Theology

(CT) Amy Julia Becker–Hanging out with Christian scientists taught me even more about God

…as I sat through presentations that explored the height and breadth and width and age of the cosmos, explanations of the expansiveness of time and space–all knowable only because of modern technology and learning–I was struck by a number of ancient truths.

First, as Richard Mouw (former President of Fuller Seminary) reminded us, God is slow. The universe is 13.4 billion years old (I think I’m remembering that correctly!). It took billions of years for life on earth to exist, much less for humans to populate it. That’s how much time God has. That’s how long God is willing to work in order to create and ultimately recreate this world. As we read in 2 Peter: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Second, God is faithful.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord Jesus, my Saviour, let me now come to thee:

My heart is cold; O Lord, warm it with thy selfless love.

My heart is sinful; cleanse it by thy precious blood.

My heart is weak; strengthen it by thy joyous Spirit.

My heart is empty; fill it with thy divine presence.

Lord Jesus, my heart is thine; possess it always and only for thyself.

–after the thought of Saint Augustine

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 131

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Things One still Misses–That Awesome New England Fall at Bowdoin

Posted in Uncategorized

(CSM) How much do you know about the ISIS? Take our quiz.

The self-proclaimed caliphate of Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is fighting across Syria and Iraq, pushing back larger armies and capturing entire cities. It is also waging an increasingly sophisticated media campaign: The militant group has recruited disillusioned youth as it tries to extend its reach across the Muslim world and beyond. How much do you know about the Islamic State? Test your knowledge.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Other Faiths, Terrorism

Phil Ashey: Anglican Identity? Canterbury’s loss, not ours

Once upon a time that recognition and authentication occurred through the meetings of the Primates, the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, churches of the Anglican Communion and resolutions of the Anglican Consultative Council “with the Primates assenting.”

But, the Archbishop of Canterbury never makes that decision alone.

Tomorrow in Atlanta, Georgia, eight Primates and other bishops representing the majority of practicing Anglicans worldwide will gather around the new Archbishop of the ACNA to lay hands on him and recognize him as a fellow Primate, and reaffirm the ACNA as a full member of the Communion of Anglican Churches. Canterbury’s absence from that future””without even an official representative””will be noted.

The Rev. Dr Mark Thompson of Sydney, Australia has written an excellent analysis of Canterbury’s statements in the light of Anglican polity and history. I encourage you to read his analysis below. In it, Dr Thompson pinpoints a major concern with Archbishop Welby’s interview. The Archbishop of Canterbury is assuming powers that rightfully belong to the Primates:

“ACNA could be, and perhaps already is [according to ++Welby], an ecumenical partner with the Anglican Communion but it cannot be considered a member of the Anglican Communion because (and this last bit is the implication of what he said rather than his own words) it is not in communion with Canterbury, it has not been recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself.

“This is a gigantic slap in the face to the Primates who represent the vast bulk of practicing Anglicans around the world and who, meeting in London in April 2009, recognized the Anglican Church in North America ”˜as genuinely Anglican’”¦” (Emphasis added)

That “slap in the face” stings worse when those who have already recognized the ACNA read more of what the Archbishop of Canterbury had to say:

“Virtually everywhere I’ve gone, the analysis is that the definition of being part of the Anglican Communion is being in communion with Canterbury. And I haven’t prompted that. I was quite surprised to hear that.” ”“ Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland Gazette

It has always been the role of the Primates to decide who is in the Communion of Anglican Churches”“ working together in their Primates’ meetings, through their Provinces[1], at the decennial Lambeth Conference of Bishops, and by prior assent to resolutions of the Anglican Consultative Council[2]. This authority is recognized in Section 7.2 of the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council (revised 2010), which provides that the “Member Churches of the [Anglican Consultative] Council shall be those bodies listed in the Schedule”¦ with the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion.” (Emphasis added).

How is it possible that the Archbishop of Canterbury overlooked the polity of the Anglican Communion, its Instruments, and its documented history in granting membership to Churches?

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity

Mark Thompson: Who or what defines the Anglican Communion?

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s insistence on communion with his office as a””if not the””defining characteristic of Anglicanism ought to come as no surprise. It is an institutional and process-driven answer to the question of Anglican identity from one who has shown himself to be more comfortable thinking in those categories than in theological ones. It makes the matter a simple one, one which can avoid divisive questions about whether a particular group has remained faithful to the confessional formularies (the 39 Articles and the books of Homilies, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal) or obedient to the Scriptures in matters of theology and Christian discipleship. Of course, it is not hard to see why avoiding those questions is desirable, especially to someone committed to maintaining some semblance of unity in a global institution which has been tearing itself apart for the past thirty years or more. Archbishop Welby has an impressive record in dispute resolution and he knows that institutional inclusiveness is a more achievable goal than theological agreement and a common commitment to biblical patterns of discipleship.

We must deny categorically and in the strongest possible terms that communion with the see of Canterbury is the determining factor when it comes to Anglican identity. It is not and never can be. A church, diocese or national body does not have to be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury in order to be a legitimate member of the Anglican Communion, especially if a majority of other Anglicans around the world recognise it as part of our fellowship. Anglican identity is fundamentally a matter of certain theological commitments, anchored ultimately in the authority of Scripture as God’s word written (Article 20), together with an agreement to operate with a common pattern of church government (the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons). The Anglican Church has always been confessional in nature, as witnessed by the history of subscription to the Articles, which began in the time of Cranmer and continues around the world today.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity

All About Canterbury

Ref: Original Interview with Archbishop Welby – Audio items 1 and 2

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity

(BBC) Archbishop Welby's daughter Katharine Welby-Roberts on mental health stigma

Katharine Welby-Roberts, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s daughter, has lived with depression since she was a teenager and says the stigma she has faced as a result has been as damaging as the illness itself.

Read it all and watch the whole video.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology