Daily Archives: October 19, 2014

Presbyterian church in Milwaukee with roots in 1800s to close

A struggling Presbyterian congregation with roots going back more than a century has decided to close its doors.

Beset by financial problems ”” brought on in part by a for-profit day care center it opened ”” New Life Presbyterian Church at 3410 W. Silver Spring Drive voted last month to dissolve itself. The church is the latest iteration of a Milwaukee congregation founded as Newminster Presbyterian in the late 1800s.

Now, the Presbytery of Milwaukee will take up the issue at a special meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Greenfield Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1455 S. 97th St., in West Allis. The presbytery, which has contributed some $250,000 to New Life over the years, will spend an additional $60,000 to get its financial affairs in order.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

Meditation apps gaining popularity in tech hubs

In an age of smartphones, instant messaging and 24/7 availability, it’s increasingly hard to find time to step away and reconnect with one’s self, especially in fast-paced tech hubs like Silicon Valley.

But before you lock your smartphone in a closet for an hour a day, check out some of the apps and websites available for learning and practicing the ancient art of meditation and the more contemporary mindfulness-based stress reduction.

You don’t need a new gadget to meditate ”” all the equipment necessary comes installed in the product.

But some meditation and mindfulness trainers are using technology in interesting ways. They range from simple meditation timers to complete courses.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

Local paper–Same-sex marriage bombshell lands in church pews and clergy laps

The Rev. Don Flowers was at breakfast with a group of minister friends in New York City when he heard news of the U.S. Supreme Court decision not to review a case overturning Virginia’s gay marriage ban.

The pastors sat stunned, unsure what it meant, shocked at the speed things could start moving. Talk swiftly turned to ramifications ahead.

Flowers, pastor of Providence Baptist Church on Daniel Island, realized what it could mean back home: Gay marriage could become legal – and soon.

“A grenade has just been thrown down our aisles,” Flowers said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Anglican Journal) Restoring hope for historic Quebec church

The tiny parish of St. George’s, Clarenceville, Que. is preparing for the 200th anniversary of its church building in 2018 by doing some restoration work.

Erected between 1818 and 1820, the church is the oldest wooden church in Quebec, but the Rev. Thora Chadwick, who serves as the rector in a three-point parish with two nearby other churches, said the wood on the exterior of the building is in very bad shape and is in need of some urgent restoration. “The paint has been peeling…. Because [the church] was registered as historic, it couldn’t just be painted, and each winter that goes by makes the problem much worse.”

The cost of restoring the foundation and exterior is estimated to be about $300,000. Fortunately, the Quebec government has approved a grant to cover 70% of the costs. Work on the foundation, which cost more than $100,000, has already been completed, using some funds from a trust fund with money remaining from the sale of the rectory in Clarenceville. The next phase of the government grant will cover $138,000, leaving the parish to find funding for the remainder.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

(NC Register) Donald Demarco–The Naturalness of Marriage

“The friendship between man and wife,” wrote Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, “seems inherently in us by nature. For man is by nature more inclined to live in couples than to live as a social and political being.”

The essential point he is making here, which is in danger of being lost in the modern world, is that marriage is fundamentally natural rather than political. In his Politics, Aristotle reinforces this statement when he states that “man is an animal more inclined by nature to connubial than political society.”

Aristotle was a meticulous student of nature. And as a philosopher, he knew how to place things in their proper order. He understood, therefore, that marriage ”” with its personal satisfactions, its intimacy, its security and its potential for generating offspring ”” is naturally superior to the more tenuous and far less personal relationships that are political and social. For much of the same reasons, Aquinas could state that the best of all friendships is that between a loving husband and wife.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Theology

Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana Convention is held in Monroe

The 35th annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana continue Saturday with the central theme of how God calls his followers to be “fishers of people” in a mission-oriented church.

More than 300 members of the Episcopal Church from 41 parishes in Louisiana are expected to attend the event, which began Friday. Originally planned for Grace Episcopal Church and School, the convention was moved to Bayou DeSiard Country Club because of Monday’s tornado. Grace is located in the hardest-hit Garden District.

“It is a gathering where we seek to sharpen our understanding of and commitment to God’s mission, and a time to strengthen the bonds of affection among us,” said the Rt. Rev. Jake Owensby, Ph.D., D.D., who as bishop of the diocese is presiding over the meetings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

NZ Anglicans asked to keep up focus on child poverty

A call to reflect, pray and take action on child poverty, from the bishops of the Anglican Church.

In a new booklet, they’re asking Anglicans to keep up the focus on child poverty, even with the election done and dusted.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Children, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan urges pilgrims pray for Chibok schoolgirls release

If you thought Nigeria had the release of the 219 Chibok schoolgirls sealed up in Friday’s ceasefire agreement with Danladi Ahmadu, Boko Haram’s self-styled secretary-general, President Goodluck Jonathan has thrown another twist into the whole matter.

In a message to Nigeria’s intending Christian Pilgrims, he urged them to pray not just for a peaceful, successful conduct of the 2015 election, but also the safe return of the abducted Chibok girls.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who hast bestowed thy grace upon thy people by thy Son Jesus Christ: Grant us, we beseech thee, to be enriched with his manifold gifts; that patiently enduring through the darkness of this world, we may be found shining like lamps in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he cometh in his kingdom; to whom be praise and glory for ever and ever.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.

–Psalm 148:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CBC) 24% of formerly homeless youth end up back on the streets within a year

Sean Kidd, a co-author of the report and a clinical psychologist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said 24 per cent of those involved in the study lost stable housing and cycled back into homelessness over the course of the year.

“I think what it has to do with is a number of points of adversity. It takes a tremendous amount of resilience and strength and support to exit the streets in the first place, but you’ve got many, many years of homelessness, the adversity therein, the challenges that led to becoming homeless,” he said in an interview on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.

“These are often young people that have never in any way managed a home and all that goes into that, so there’s a lot of skills to learn ”¦ and what we found over the course of the year is for most they experienced declining hope ”” they weren’t engaging in communities that they had access to and mental health was faltering.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Poverty, Teens / Youth, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

Adelaide Anglican Church synod supports priests breaching confessional to report crimes

The Anglican Church in Adelaide has backed an earlier move by the church nationally to let its priests break the confidentiality of confessions.

Earlier this year, the national synod met in Adelaide and voted for an historic change to let priests ignore the privacy of the confessional in cases of serious crimes, such as child abuse.

That national meeting said it would be up to individual dioceses to adopt the policy, a vote the Adelaide diocese has taken this weekend.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CC) Heidi Haverkamp reviews Verlee+Dale Copeland's "Sex and the Spirit:The Romance of Heaven+Earth"

“Sex and the Altar” was the title our campus minister gave to a series on sexuality, hoping students might mistake it for a similar, more blasphemous phrase. (You have to be creative to get the attention of the 18”“22 set.) It worked. The campus ministry house was full to bursting for those talks. In one session, two married clergy of differing orientations and races led a discussion about premarital sex. With passion and emotion, students discussed how to live a life in Christ while being in committed, sexually intimate relationships. After an hour or so, the clergy shared their beliefs, stating that they agreed with the position of our denomination: sex belongs only within the sanctity of marriage. Engaged discussion turned to silence, then anger and fear. One young woman broke down in tears. The students had made themselves vulnerable, and their church had shut the door in their faces. Later the two ministers recanted and explained that they’d wanted to show this contrast.

Mainline churches have struggled to express a theology, ethics, or spirituality of sexuality. The liberal church I attended while growing up was silent on the issue despite being quite vocal on many others. In my twenties I turned a few times to evangelical websites, looking for any kind of theology of singleness and sexuality that I could relate to.

Verlee Copeland and Dale Ro­sen­berger seek to fill that mainline gap, countering both “society’s prevailing affirmation of sex as entertainment” and the “painful chasm between our spiritual and physical natures” in traditional church teaching.

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Posted in Uncategorized

2 Promotional Videos for the C of E's Pilgrim: A Course for the Christian Journey

Check them both out and see what you think.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Adult Education, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A fascinating interview w/ Duke Div School's Jeremie Begbie on the intersection of Jazz+Christianity

All About Jazz: What would you say is the connection between the deep pathos found within jazz music and the biblical notion of the seat of emotion?

Jeremy Begbie: A great deal of jazz has a streak of pathos, a kind of dark color to it, however joyful or celebratory the piece as a whole may be. A part of that is the pervasiveness of the blues, the blues scale, which brings a tinge of lament and restlessness to the music. Moreover, the blues brings to us the awareness of the fragility and sometimes the injustice of life. Jazz at its best faces up to these things, and actually incorporates those darker tones into a “bigger picture.” That’s the real miracle of this music: the way it can take up dissonance into a dynamic of hope. I think that’s what the best kinds of jazz are doing.

AAJ: How can we relate this idea to the Gospel?

JB: Well, this is very basic to the Gospel, in that, injustice, suffering, and evil are not ignored but are faced and through the cross taken up into God’s purposes. So there are very strong resonances here between jazz and the Christian faith.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History, Music, Religion & Culture, Theology