Daily Archives: November 1, 2014

(Diocese of Chelmsford) Evangelism is top priority says the church

Sharing the life-giving good news of Christ has been affirmed as a top priority for the Church of England in east London and Essex.

The Synod, or church regional assembly, of Chelmsford Diocese has heard heart-warming stories from some of the many hundreds of parishes which put on evangelistic and mission weekends and other events in 2014, the centenary year of the diocese.

All parishes have been urged by the Synod to embed this good practice in parish life in 2015 and beyond so that more people can hear the good news. Each deanery, benefice, Bishop’s Mission Order and Fresh Expression of Church is also called on to make plans for evangelism.

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

(AFP) Boko Haram says kidnapped schoolgirls 'married off'

Boko Haram has claimed that the 219 schoolgirls it kidnapped more than six months ago have converted to Islam and been “married off”, shocking their families and confirming their suspicions about a supposed ceasefire and deal for their release.

The Islamist group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, made the claim in a new video obtained by AFP on Friday in which he also denied government assertions of an agreement to end hostilities and peace talks.

The mention of the girls, who were abducted from the remote northeastern town of Chibok on April 14, is the first by Shekau since May 5, when about 100 of the teenagers were shown on camera.

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

Pope Francis in his Angelus on All Saints Day 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
the first two days of November are for all of us an intense moment of faith, prayer and reflection on the “last things” of life. In fact in celebrating all the saints and commemorating all the faithful departed, in the Liturgy the pilgrim Church on earth lives and expresses the spiritual bond which unites her to the Church in heaven. Today we praise God for the countless host of holy men and women of all ages: simple men and women, who sometimes were the “last” for the world, but “first” for God. At the same time we already remember our departed loved ones by visiting cemeteries: It is a source of great consolation to think that they are in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles, the martyrs and all the saints of Heaven!

Today’s Solemnity thus helps us to consider a fundamental truth of the Christian faith that we profess in the “Creed”: the communion of saints. It is the communion that comes from faith and unites all those who belong to Christ by Baptism. It is a spiritual union that is not broken by death, but continues in the next life. In fact there is an unbreakable bond between us living in this world and those who have crossed the threshold of death. We here on earth, along with those who have entered into eternity, form one great family.

This beautiful communion between heaven and earth takes place in the highest and most intense way in the Liturgy, and especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, which expresses and fulfills the deepest union between the members of the Church.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Eucharist, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NP) Rex Murphy–The Canadian soldier once again returns to a place of highest esteem

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Terrorism

A New Vision Profile Article on Uganda Christian University

Every magnificent establishment you talk of must have at one point had its small start that evolved into what is perceivable in the present.

The same can be said of Uganda Christian University, which evolved from a small, but powerful Bishop Tucker Theological College to one of the prestigious private universities in Uganda.

With the main campus in Mukono and subordinate campuses in Mbale, Kabale, Arua and Kampala, it is undeniable that the university has not taken higher education to the people, but has in the same breath etched out a permanent presence in the country’s higher education domain.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Education, Theology, Uganda, Young Adults

Rebecca Miller “A Mighty Fortress”: Hope from the Midst of an Infectious Disease Epidemic

[As in Martin Luther’s time]..today the world seems similarly fearful. We have terror attacks that are incredibly visceral and personal: soldiers being gunned down, humanitarians and journalists being beheaded before a watching world, police officers being attacked by a hatchet. Mass shootings occur at schools and other public gathering places. Terror seems to reign around the world as children are kidnapped and women are raped as instruments of war. Ebola has now infected over 10,000 people and killed about half of that number; globalization means that it is a threat not only to one region of the world but to all regions of an interconnected world. The world is changing fast and people of faith are increasingly wondering if they will be irrelevant in a postmodern era. The world is a fearful place”“particularly for those who live outside the privileged borders of wealthy Western democracies.

But is the world really a scarier place than it was in Martin Luther’s day? Frightening things are par for the course in a broken world. As we face up to the fear of violence, death, disease, and even irrelevance and as we face our own personal dark nights of the soul, we can turn to the robust hope that sustained the Reformers. A great musical treasure of the Reformation still speaks to us today. The treasure of which I speak is Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.” This hymn was written sometime between 1527-1529, but most likely in October of 1527, as the plague was approaching Wittenberg. It can give us hope in the fear we face today, whether the nebulous kind or the kind that comes from actual, real-world threats.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Christology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology

(CT) Derek Rishmawy–Is Gospel Amnesia Creating a Third Great Schism?

Historically, schisms have been rather public, bloody things. This was clearly the case when the church split between East and West. Even though some hope of reconciliation was on the table at various points, excommunications had been traded, Crusades had happened, and everybody knew the two or three theological disputes that needed settling. Roughly the same thing could be said of the split between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Following a number of bloody wars, mutual persecutions, and martyrdoms, the results were different communions, confessional documents, and other marks of separation.

In their recent book Deep Church Rising: The Third Schism and the Recovery of Christian Orthodoxy, Andrew Walker and Robin Parry argue that, unbeknownst to many, the Western church is in the midst of a third great schism. Unlike the last two, though, the split hasn’t resulted in a clear line between new denominations and old ones, but runs right through the various churches of the West. On one side stand those who affirm a broadly supernaturalist Christian orthodoxy embodied in the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. And on the other, you find those who can at best recite the creeds with their fingers crossed. Having embraced the various presuppositions of Enlightenment and postmodern thinking, they are skeptical of supernatural claims and often doubt the very idea of objective truth.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Church History, Ecclesiology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

Galway Kinnell, Plain-Spoken Poet, RIP

Galway Kinnell, who was recognized with both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for a body of poetry that pushed deep into the heart of human experience in the decades after World War II, died on Tuesday at his home in Sheffield, Vt. He was 87.

The cause was leukemia, his wife, Barbara K. Bristol, said.

Mr. Kinnell came of age among a generation of poets who were trying to get past the modernism of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound and write verses that, as he said, could be understood without a graduate degree. He succeeded well enough that all of the volumes of poems he published from 1960 to 2008 ”” evocations of urban streetscapes, pastoral odes, meditations on mortality and frank explorations of sex ”” are still in print.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature

A Prayer for All Saints Day (II)

Almighty and Everlasting God,
who dost enkindle the flame of Thy love in the hearts of the saints,
grant unto us the same faith and power of love;
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs
we may profit by their examples, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

A Prayer for All Saints Day (I)

Almighty God,
who hast knit together thine elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of Your Son, Christ our Lord:
Give us grace so to follow Your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living,
that we may come
to those ineffable joys
that thou hast prepared for those
who unfeignedly love thee;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

O Lord God of time and eternity, who makest us creatures of time that, when time is over, we may attain thy blessed eternity: With time, thy gift, give us also wisdom to redeem the time, lest our day of grace be lost; for our Lord Jesus’ sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

But I call upon God; and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice. He will deliver my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

–Psalm 55:16-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CBC) Ebola: Canada suspending visas for residents of outbreak countries

Canada is following in Australia’s footsteps and has suspended, effectively immediately, the issuance of visas to residents of the West African countries battling Ebola.

In a move that puts Canada at odds with the World Health Organization, the federal government said Friday it is suspending visa applications for residents and nationals of countries with “widespread and persistent-intense transmission” of Ebola virus disease.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(LC) Patrick Hayes–Ebola Ravages Sierra Leone

For average Sierra Leoneans, the timing of the Ebola crisis could not be worse. It is the rainy season and, thanks to government-sanctioned quarantines, crop harvests are at a low. The price of food has skyrocketed and forced people to go into the bush for food and firewood. Quarantined areas such as Waterloo, about 20 miles east of Freetown, have seen severe food shortages, and the United Nations Food Program has had to step in to provide rice to thousands of residents there, many of whom were queuing up shoulder-to-shoulder in public areas ”” precisely the kind of gathering a quarantine is meant to prevent. Add to this the further dependence on the world community for survival and the demoralization of the people takes deeper root.

Economic forces are also jeopardizing national stability. Growth rates ”” in some sectors topping 15 percent in investments in the last few years ”” have been obliterated. London Mining, one of the key contracts secured by the Sierra Leonean government during this period, has announced it will be going into bankruptcy. The extractives industry is not what it used to be and stock for the London-based company tumbled dramatically in the last year as the price of iron ore declined. As a result, the company is reneging on a covenant with the people of Sierra Leone for thousands of jobs at its mine in Marampa and a needed injection of tax revenue.

When young people are unemployed and desperate, mischief occurs. In the southeastern city of Bo, for instance, crime ”” too often violent crime ”” has been rising. With police now occupied in responding to calls from infected households or keeping the curious away from dead bodies, they cannot monitor the city as before.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Foreign Relations, Health & Medicine, Liberia, Politics in General, Poverty, Science & Technology

(FT) Burkina Faso coup threatens western campaign against Islamists

The protests that on Friday ended the rule of Burkina Faso’s long-serving president may have seemed like another African drama in an isolated corner of the continent. However, they have created a possible problem for the US and France, which rely heavily on the west African nation in their fight against Islamic extremism in the semi-desert south of the Sahara.

Much as the Arab spring toppled western allies in north Africa such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, what demonstrators called Burkina’s “black spring” led to the resignation of President Blaise Compaoré. His departure removes an important regional supporter of both Washington and Paris, the former colonial power, in the volatile Sahel, where the jihadist threat is growing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Burkina Faso, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Theology, Violence