Daily Archives: February 10, 2015

The Bishop of Sheffield Answers Question on David Porter's Comments

See also for background: Colin Coward’s Article: “David Porter Lays Out Justin Welby’s Sexual Immorality Plans for the CofE”
and Interview with David Porter and Malcolm Brown: Welby Scheme: ”˜It’s Not Necessarily About Sitting Down Arguing Over The Scriptures’ – Porter
and for comment on Facilited Conversations and Reconciliation CEEC: Martin Davie on ”˜Living Reconciliation’

Question 31 asked today:
The Revd Christopher Hobbs (London) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Question: Can the House confirm whether or not the report of the meeting between the LGBTI Coalition and David Porter concerning the Shared Conversations about sexuality which was posted on the Changing Attitude website on 23 January is accurate? If it is accurate, how is it compatible with what was said about the purpose of the Shared Conversations in GS Misc 1083?

The Bishop of Sheffield to reply on behalf of the Chair
Answer: Private Conversations have been offered and held with individuals and groups from a range of views and constituencies within the church to enable the process to move forward addressing the concerns that each have expressed. I am assured that what has been said at all of these private meetings is in keeping with the purposes of the conversations as set out in GS Misc 1083

From here

Update: there were two supplementary questions of which this a rough record:
Christopher Hobbs “in the light of that Changing Attitude Report which should” [not have been given] asked whether there were plans for a Synod debate on the results of the facilited conversations. The Bishop of Sheffield stated that it was planned to bring it to Synod in July 2016 but the the shape of that had not been determined.

Simon Butler asked about the safety of LGBT persons to disclose information in the facilitated conversations including their bishops not attending. The Bishop of Sheffield said there had not been agreement in the House of Bishops so it would be dealt with on a diocese by diocese basis, although the planning for the conversations had been designed for them to be as safe as possible, but it was for people attending to take responsibility for the extent they disclosed information.

More information will be provided when the audio is available.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address to CofE Synod

…the biggest hill to climb is that at every point in the church we might be so urged on by the love of Christ, the good news of salvation, that we break the historic pattern, which in many parts of our church goes back centuries, and become those who with all our faults, all our failings, all our divisions and sins and misunderstanding ”“ because, let us be clear, if we wait until we’re fit to witness, we will wait forever ”“ we become those who, with all those drawbacks, are nevertheless humble, gentle, transparent, hospitable witnesses to Jesus Christ, so that the world may know.

That is a challenge which takes us straight back to the life of the local church or chaplaincy, to the cathedral, to every point at which there is a Christian, because at every point at which there is a Christian there is a witness. And it takes us back here to be those who serve and love the witnesses, so that they are liberated to a joyful ministry of witness. All that we are doing here must be held in that context of the worship of God and the sharing of the good news.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil's Address to CofE Synod

..the persecution our community is enduring is doubly painful and severe. We are personally affected by need and by the reality that our vibrant church life is dissolving in front of our eyes. The massive immigration that is now occurring is leaving my church much weaker. When the Jews were exiled to what is now called Iraq, they wrote lines of text, now enshrined in our Old testament of a yearning to return to their true home ”“ Jerusalem; My people, who resided very recently in the same land as the exiled chosen people, are yearning for the opposite: they will go anywhere rather than return to their home. This is a deeply sorrowful reality. We who are part of the church hierarchy are very often tempted to encourage our parishioners to stay ”“ keep the presence of Christ alive in this special land. But truly I and my brother bishops and priests can do no more than to advise young mothers and fathers to take all the necessary considerations into account and to pray long and hard before taking such a momentous, and perhaps perilous, decision. The Church is unable to offer and guarantee the fundamental security that its members need to thrive. It is no secret that hatred of minorities has intensified in certain quarters over the past few years. It is difficult to understand this hate. We are hated because we persist in wanting to exist as Christians. In other words, we are hated because we persist in demanding a basic human right.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(BibleGateway Blog) On the Bible and Being Christian: An Interview with Dr. Rowan Williams

How did you decide to focus on baptism, the Bible, the Eucharist, and prayer as the four essential elements of the Christian life to write about?

Dr. Williams: Simply by looking at what Christians actually do to announce that they’re Christians, throughout the ages and throughout the world. It would be hard to recognize as Christian a body that had none of these practices. And all are mandated by Jesus in different ways: he tells his friends to evangelize and baptize, to search the Scriptures, to break bread in his memory, so as to receive his life into theirs, and to pray.

The Bible is a collection of books written over centuries. How do they all fit together in a cohesive message?

Dr. Williams: The cohesion comes through the fact that it is the set of texts read and accepted in a cohesive community””the community of those whose lives are being shaped by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Christ is the center of Scripture for the Christian and provides the perspective in which diversity can be held in the right kind of tension. And the church both gives Scripture its unity be treading it in the Spirit of Christ and receives its unity from Scripture as the book which provides a universal common language.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church of England (CoE), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Vat. Radio) EU Roman Catholic bishops call for greater political will to solve refugee crisis

European Bishops have deplored the “unacceptable loss of life” of at least 29 migrants by hypothermia in the Mediterranean Seaand and are calling for “greater clarity and greater political will among all of the EU member states on an acceptable resolution of the refugee crisis”.

Just over two months have gone by since Pope Francis appealed to European policy-makers not to allow the Mediterranean to become a vast graveyard. But migrants continue to die during the dangerous crossing as they seek to flee poverty and conflict.

In the latest tragedy of the sea 29 migrants have died of hypothermia and others are in serious condition after they were picked up from inflatable boats by Italian coastguard vessels.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

CofE General Synod 10th to 12th February 2015 Links

General Synod is now over. Reports and other links are below
â–  Press release about Agenda
â–  Timetable
â–  Full Daily Agenda and Timetable
â–  Brief Agenda and Papers
â–  Live Video Feed when in session or listen here for prior recordings
â–  Twitter: #synod and it may be worth following: CofE Official Synod tweets; and @C_of_E if interested.

Thursday Afternoon February 12th
Report on Thursday Afernoon Business
– Liturgical Business – Alternative Baptism Texts ”“ Revision Stage [new texts removing reference to the devil and evil] (GS 1958A Alternative Baptism Texts and GS 1958Y [item 600])
– Mission and Growth in Rural Multi-Parish Benefices: Take Note Debate from the Mission and Public Affairs Council (GS 1985) and GS Misc 1092 [item 16])
– Farewells and Prorogation

Thursday Morning February 12th
Report on Thursday Morning Business
– Legislative Business
– – Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure/Amending Canon No 34 ”“ Revision Stage
– – Petition to change the names of the suffragan sees of Knaresborough and Pontefract (if a debate is required)
– Standing Orders Debate
– Private Member’s Motion – Canon B38 [‘to allow those who have taken their own life, whatever the circumstances, to be buried in accordance with the rites of the Church of England’] (GS 1972A & GS 1972B)

Wednesday Afternoon February 11th
Report on Wednesday Afternoon Business
– Discipleship: Debate on a Motion from the Ministry Council
– Resourcing the Future and Resourcing Ministerial Education: Debate on a Motion from the Archbishops’ Council
– Simplification: Debate on a Motion
– Inter-generational Equity: Debate on a Motion from the Church Commissioners

Tuesday Afternoon February 10th
Report on Tuesday Afternoon Business and Audio [the media office have gone back to chopping the audio record into bits and pieces as they like]
Address by Archbishop Bashar M Warda, CSSR, the Archbishop of the Chaldean Diocese of Erbil (Eastern rite Catholic)
– Report by the Business Committee
– Report by the Business Committee on the Allocation of Seats in the 2015 General Elections
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address amd audio
– Report on Immersion Experience in India by Regional Representatives of House of Bishops
– Legislative Business
– – Enactment of Amending Canon No 32 (relating to GS elections)
– – Amending Canon No 35 ”“ Final Approval
– – Naming of Dioceses Measure ”“ Revision Stage
Questions and written Answers
– Presentation on the Task Groups and Discipleship Report [“The Synod’s engagement with the programme for Reform and Renewal”]

Links when in session:

Watch here at the following times:
Tuesday February 10th 8am to 2pm Eastern [1pm to 7pm GMT]
Wednesday February 11th 9.30am to 2 pm Eastern [2.30 pm to 7pm GMT]
Thursday February 12th 5.30am to noon Eastern [10.30am to 5pm GMT]
[This post will be updated from time to time]

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Featured (Sticky)

Next Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham announced

The Rt Revd Paul Williams has been announced as the next Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham on the 10 Downing Street website

Read it all.

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

Robert Munday, former Dean of Nashotah House-will The Episcopal Church "come to grips with reality"?

From here:

One might wish that the leadership of the Episcopal Church would come to grips with reality. The people of the Diocese of South Carolina voted by an overwhelming majority to leave the Episcopal Church. Any church bureaucracy that would try to force its will on a Diocese where the majority of people have said they no longer want to be affiliated is manifestly evil. They are just trying to suck the life out of the Diocese of South Carolina (and the other dioceses they are suing) by bleeding them dry through lawsuits. (That’s just my opinion, of course. But this kind of continued pernicious evil from the Episcopal Church’s leadership has been going on long enough that it just makes you wonder what it will take to finally drive a stake through the vampire’s heart.)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Commentary, Anthropology, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Military action needed in Iraq to help Christians, archbishop of Irbil says

Christians in Iraq “do not have much time left” without direct military action on the ground, the Archbishop of Irbil has told UK peers and MPs.

Archbishop Bashar Warda said air strikes were “not enough” to defeat Islamic State militants and “begged” for Western troops to be deployed.

He said Iraq’s Christian population was declining and that he would speak to the UK government about further action.

The government has said efforts to defeat IS were “comprehensive”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Pray for Nigeria–Boko Haram violence has now displaced about 3.3 million people

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

(Reuters) Boko Haram launches twin attacks in Niger+Cameroon

Boko Haram insurgents from Nigeria bombed a Niger border town, killing five people, and carried out attacks in neighbouring Cameroon, kidnapping a bus full of passengers, military and local sources said on Monday.

The jihadist sect has killed thousands of people and kidnapped hundreds in a bid to impose its rule in northeastern Nigeria, and stepped up cross-border incursions into Cameroon.

An intensification of attacks near Lake Chad, a crossroads between Nigeria, Chad, and Niger, has sent tens of thousands of Nigerians fleeing across the borders. The escalating crisis prompted Nigeria to postpone its 14 February presidential election.

With the Nigerian army struggling to contain the militants, bordering countries have launched a regional offensive against them, spurring a series of revenge attacks inside Niger and Cameroon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Cameroon, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Niger, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(RNS) Amid criticism, Nigeria postpones presidential election, citing ongoing violence by Boko Haram

Jonathan has been sharply criticized for his management of the Boko Haram crisis and some Western leaders suggested the postponement was a last-ditch effort to shore up his vote.

But church leaders in the war-hit regions welcomed the move.

“Many Christians here had not collected their voter cards and this may afford them time to do so,” said the Rev. John Bakeni, the secretary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri.

Bakeni said the Maiduguri region does not favor Jonathan but most people have accepted the electoral commission’s explanation of wanting to tackle insecurity in the northeast.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

(Gallup) Fewest Americans Satisfied With Abortion Policies Since 2001

In 2015, 34% of Americans say they are satisfied with current U.S. abortion policies. This is the lowest percentage since Gallup first asked the question in 2001.

In three of four years since 2012, less than 40% of Americans have been satisfied. Yet between 2001 and 2008, at least 40% were satisfied every year. Gallup asks Americans about their satisfaction with the nation’s policies regarding abortion as part of the annual Mood of the Nation Poll, conducted in January. The poll was not conducted from 2009-2011. Between 2001 and 2008, an average of 43% of Americans were satisfied with U.S. abortion policies; since 2012, the average has been 39%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Ferguson

O God, who hast sown in our hearts the precious seed of thy truth: Grant us to nourish it by meditation, prayer and obedience, that it may not only take root, but also bring forth fruit unto holiness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I remember you constantly in my prayers. As I remember your tears, I long night and day to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lo”²is and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you. Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control.

–2 Timothy 1:1-14

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Michael Pollan–Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results

When I asked Rick Doblin if he worries about another backlash, he suggested that the culture has made much progress since the nineteen-sixties. “That was a very different time,” he said. “People wouldn’t even talk about cancer or death then. Women were tranquillized to give birth; men weren’t allowed in the delivery room. Yoga and meditation were totally weird. Now mindfulness is mainstream and everyone does yoga, and there are birthing centers and hospices all over. We’ve integrated all these things into our culture. And now I think we’re ready to integrate psychedelics.” He also points out that many of the people in charge of our institutions today have personal experience with psychedelics and so feel less threatened by them.

Bossis would like to believe in Doblin’s sunny forecast, and he hopes that “the legacy of this work” will be the routine use of psychedelics in palliative care. But he also thinks that the medical use of psychedelics could easily run into resistance. “This culture has a fear of death, a fear of transcendence, and a fear of the unknown, all of which are embodied in this work.” Psychedelics may be too disruptive for our society and institutions ever to embrace them.

The first time I raised the idea of “the betterment of well people” with Roland Griffiths, he shifted in his chair and chose his words carefully. “Culturally, right now, that’s a dangerous idea to promote,” he said. And yet, as we talked, it became clear that he, too, feels that many of us stand to benefit from these molecules and, even more, from the spiritual experiences they can make available.

“We are all terminal,” Griffiths said. “We’re all dealing with death. This will be far too valuable to limit to sick people.” ♦

Read it all from the New Yorker.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Theology

(CT) InterVarsity Victory in Sex Discrimination Case Is Good News for All Parachurch Ministries

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) can set and enforce hiring practices based on its Christian faith, the Six Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday. Grounded heavily in the precedent set by the US Supreme Court’s significant Hosanna-Tabor decision in 2012, the verdict maintains that IVCF could legally fire an employee headed for divorce.

In 2013, Alyce Conlon, a former spiritual director at IVCF, filed a lawsuit challenging her firing. She was put on paid leave in 2011 after informing her supervisor she was considering divorce, and terminated that December for what she alleges was “failing to reconcile her marriage.” (Her husband filed for divorce the following month.) Conlon claimed that two of her male colleagues in similar situations had not received the same treatment.

“Because IVCF is a religious organization and Conlon was a ministerial employee, IVCF’s decision to terminate her employment cannot be challenged under federal or state employment discrimination laws,” ruled the court. “It matters not whether the plaintiff is claiming a specific violation under Title VII or any other employment discrimination statute.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Young Adults

(FT) UK credit union membership doubles to 1.5m in a decade

…Mr McKillop stresses that credit unions are only an alternative to payday lenders, not a competitor. “The model of very short-term lending is not good as a form of financial help. So though many credit unions can make instant loans, they will look at your finances and see if this is a one-off, a way for you to get back on top of your money.”

Last June, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, launched a scheme to promote credit unions in churches and train volunteers to give financial advice. Martin Groombridge, chief executive of London Capital Credit Union, said it “definitely raised our profile”. Piloted in London and Liverpool, the scheme is set to be introduced around the UK in about a year, potentially marketing credit unions to hundreds of thousands more people.

The Rev Paul Collier, vicar at Copleston church and community centre in Peckham, south London, said debt and payday loans came up as a big concern in his conversations with local organisations, schools and other faith communities. “The older members of our congregation were educated by their parents to avoid debt at all costs, but many have seen their children getting into deep trouble,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology