Daily Archives: March 18, 2015

(Church Times) Canon Goddard apologises for Muslim prayers in his church

A priest in the diocese of Southwark who opened us his church for Muslim prayers has apologised after being told that this was not permitted within a consecrated building.

The Vicar of St John’s, Waterloo, the Canon Giles Goddard, said on Tuesday that the event had caused “great consternation”, and he apologised for “the offence caused and any infringement of Church of England’s framework and guidelines”.

The prayers were held on 6 March as part of the Inclusive Mosque Initiative, in the run-up to International Women’s Day. They were led by Dr Amina Wadud who campaigns for gender justice in Islam. Men and women sat alongside one another in the church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Anglican Ink) Cross and Christ covered up as Muslims worship in Southwark parish

Complaints about the service prompted a meeting on 10 March 2015 between Canon Goddard and the Bishop of Kingston-on-Thames, the Rt. Rev. Richard Cheetham — who also services as Anglican president of the Christian Muslim Forum. After the meeting Canon Goddard gave an interview to Ruth Gledhill of Christian Today stating everything his church did was legal and within bishops’ guidelines.

He added: ”˜It is very much about St John’s being a place of welcome. We understand God as a generous God, a God who celebrates love and celebrates life.”

”˜We try and make sure we live that out. In that sense we feel very properly Anglican.’

However, Dr. Gerald Bray, director of research at the Latimer Trust at Oak Hill Theological College in London questioned Canon Goddard’s views about Islam and Christianity. Writing on Facebook he said: “The simple truth is that Islam is the only major world religion that is explicitly anti-Christian. The Buddha, for example, could not have known anything about Jesus and did not develop his ideas in contrast to Christ. Muhammad, on the other hand, knew about Christians and Jews and could easily have become one or the other himself. Instead, he concocted his own religion based on elements of Judaism and Christianity and regarded it is the culmination (perfection) of both. You could say that Islam is related to Christianity in much the same way as Mormonism is, but this does not constitute ‘a common tradition’.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Opinionator) Barbara Coombs Lee–A NY Times Profile of an Assisted Suicide Pioneer

More than two decades before Brittany Maynard’s public advocacy for death with dignity inspired lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and at least 16 states to introduce legislation authorizing the medical practice of aid in dying for the terminally ill, Senator Frank Roberts of Oregon sponsored one of the nation’s first death-with-dignity bills.

Had he lived longer, Frank might have been able to benefit from Oregon’s becoming a state that allowed death with dignity. But he died too soon. I had spent 25 years as an emergency room and intensive care nurse and a physician assistant in cardiology. I witnessed many people’s deaths. But Frank’s was the one that truly ignited my conviction to help change the way Americans die. Frank served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1966 to 1970 and the Oregon State Senate from 1974 until terminal cancer forced his retirement in September 1993. I was privileged to meet him when I staffed the Health Care and Bioethics Committee on which he served. He was one of the few politicians I ever called a “statesman.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry

(RNS) College freshmen less religious than ever–just like their parents

Over a quarter of college freshmen say that they have no religion. This makes them the least religious cohort in four decades of the surveys conducted by UCLA.

Researchers at the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA survey college freshmen each year on a range of topics, including religion. The 2014 survey results were released last month (read more here). They show that college freshmen in 2014 had the highest percentage of students identifying with no religion and the lowest percentage who saw themselves as spiritual.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Young Adults

(Fortune) A robot that talks to you like a doctor and makes a diagnosis

Odds are you’ve interacted with a robot in the past few days, whether you realized it or not.

Maybe it’s the Roomba that automatically vacuumed your floors or perhaps you talked to the digital assistant on your smartphone. Whatever that interaction, the robotic age is becoming more woven into the fabric of society. But instead of simply being tools (like automated factory machinery) modern robots are becoming more interactive ”“ and more social.

“I think this is the year we embrace social robots,” says Andrea Keay, managing director of Silicon Valley Robotics and founder of Robot Launchpad, speaking at a panel at South By Southwest Interactive conference. “We’re starting to see robots interact with people. Earlier robots didn’t interact as much as perform.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(AP) Presbyterians give approval to same-sex marriage in church constitution

The Presbyterian Church approved redefining marriage in the church constitution Tuesday to include a “commitment between two people,” becoming the largest US Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.

The new definition was endorsed last year by the church General Assembly, or top legislative body, but required approval from a majority of the denomination’s 171 regional districts, or presbyteries. The critical 86th “yes” vote came Tuesday night from the Palisades Presbytery in New Jersey.

After all regional bodies vote and top Presbyterian leaders officially accept the results, the change will take effect on June 21. The denomination has nearly 1.8 million members and about 10,000 congregations.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Justin Welby makes St Patrick’s Day visit to Northern Ireland

In his sermon the Archbishop said: “The world needs the witness of those who have made the journey from enemy to friend, who are no longer strangers and aliens, who are being built together into an altogether different community in the household of God. And if there is any community who knows this, not simply in heads but in hearts, it is here in Northern Ireland.

“There remain huge challenges, because reconciliation is a fragile flower that always finds itself in the cold climate of the human heart, and can only be nurtured by the warmth of love, of fellowship, of mutuality, of the Spirit of God from whom it comes.

“Despite those challenges you have embarked with enormous courage on the long road to reconciliation and you are the symbol of hope for so many around the world. Don’t give up. Make it work. It is a gift of God toyouforthe world. It is held in your hands as a treasure. It is something that comes from the peace of God.”

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

(AP) Activists accuse Syrian military of deadly poison gas attack

Syrian activists and the Western-backed opposition have accused the government of carrying out a chlorine gas attack against a rebel-held town that killed at least six people and left dozens, including children, choking and gasping for breath.

The purported use of poison gas on the town of Sarmin in northwestern Idlib province is the first alleged chemical attack since the UN Security Council approved a US-drafted resolution this month that condemns the use of toxic chemicals such as chlorine in Syria.

That measure also threatens military action in case of further violations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Middle East, Syria, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Cyril of Jerusalem

Strengthen, O Lord, we beseech thee, the bishops of thy Church in their special calling to be teachers and ministers of the Sacraments, that they, like thy servant Cyril of Jerusalem, may effectively instruct thy people in Christian faith and practice; and that we, taught by them, may enter more fully into celebration of the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Gordon Hewitt

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst feed the multitude by the lakeside, using the humble gifts of a boy’s generous impulse, and a disciple’s faith in thy power: Help us in thy Church to call forth such generosity in others, and strengthen our faith that the hungry millions can be fed; for thy name’s sake.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

–Romans 8:1-11

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Reuters) Nigeria says has pushed Boko Haram out of all but three areas

The Nigerian army said on Tuesday it had repelled Boko Haram from all but three local government districts in the northeast, claiming victory for its offensive against the Islamist insurgents less than two weeks before a presidential election.

At the start of this year, Boko Haram controlled around 20 local government areas, a territory the size of Belgium, in its bloody six-year-old campaign to carve out an Islamic state in religiously mixed Nigeria.

But a concerted push by Nigeria’s military and neighbors Chad, Cameroon and Niger has regained considerable ground. At the weekend, Nigerian government forces recaptured the city of Bama, the second biggest in northeasterly Borno state.

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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, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(ENS) TEC House of Bishops conclude spring meeting with eye towards Convention

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