Daily Archives: May 17, 2015

(CBC) Keeping faith: The changing face of religion in Canada

University of Lethbridge sociologist Reginald W. Bibby has spent several decades surveying Canadians about their attitudes on faith.

He isn’t optimistic about a Protestant turnaround anytime soon.

“The United Church, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians and the Lutherans were all being fed with these wonderful immigration pipelines for an awfully long time with people coming from Europe.”

“What’s happened,” says Bibby, “is those pipelines have been shut down. And the reality is unless those groups do some proselytizing, they are going to continue to decline rapidly as far as numbers.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(Telegraph) Baroness Shields to be made internet security minister

Baroness Shields, the former head of Facebook in Europe, is to become the UK’s minister for internet safety and security in the new Conservative government.

The Telegraph understands the American-born entrepreneur turned technology evangelist is to lead the Government’s effort to improve online safety in its war against child pornography.

She will also be involved in the UK’s war on cybercrime and hacking, including the vital area of cybersecurity, with the aim of keeping the general public safe online.

Her appointment, as a Parliamentary under secretary in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is part of a push by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, to tackle the problem of illegal child porn online, and to ensure that images of abuse are blocked.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Pornography, Science & Technology, Theology

(Local paper) South American Anglican presiding bishop to visit Episcopal diocese of S. Car.

The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, bishop of Chile and presiding bishop of the Anglican Province of South America, will visit the Diocese of South Carolina on Wednesday for a 10 a.m. meeting at St. Matthias Church in Summerton and a 5:30 p.m. meeting at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston.

Zavala is the leader presiding over Anglican churches in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. He is the Diocese of South Carolina’s liaison to the Global South Primates Steering Committee. As one of 40 primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Zavala will be in South Carolina to support the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, clergy and lay people of the local diocese.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Chile, Parish Ministry, South America

A Look Back to January 2013–Anglican Church faces falling membership, deep divisions

The contrast between then and now was placed in sharp relief this week as Anglicans gathered to discuss the significance of the 1963 Congress and the future of the church. A crowd of 150 or so, respectable by 2013 standards, turned up at Wycliffe College on the campus of the University of Toronto to hear a list of speakers that included several prominent bishops from Africa. “We’re interested in [the Congress of 1963] as a symbol of how different our world is now,” said George Sumner, principal of Wycliffe College. He chuckles at the thought: “Fifteen thousand people and the front page of The Globe is not our world any more.”

As Dr. Sumner left campus with a journalist in tow this week, his route highlighted the influence the church once held. He left the Anglican college where he works only to see another, Trinity College, across the road. He cut through Queen’s Park Circle, named for Her Majesty, Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church, and headed across the city to Church Street, named when there was only one church in town and it was Anglican.

He stopped at St. Paul’s Church on Bloor Street where he introduced a speaker who holds one of the church’s grandest titles. The Most Reverend Dr. Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, President Bishop of the Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, is a smiling, compact man with greying hair and the hurried gait of a former physician.

Read it all from the globe and Mail.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Christian Today) 1 year since Meriam Ibrahim's sentence, religious persecution is increasing

This week marks one year since Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to 40 lashes for adultery, and death for apostasy. The campaign for her release was joined by thousands across the globe, including David Cameron, but although Ibrahim is now free, the situation for Sudan’s religious minorities continues to worsen.

When the Court of Appeal declared Ibrahim innocent of all charges and released her from prison on 25 June 2014, there was cautious hope that the campaign would lead to wider respect for freedom of religion or belief in Sudan. But just five days after her acquittal, on 30 June, the Church of Christ in Thiba Al Hamyida, North Khartoum, was demolished after being given 24 hours’ verbal notice.

As 2014 came to an end, religious minorities faced further restrictions. In particular, the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination (SEPC) has been embroiled in a legal battle to maintain ownership of its properties, which began with a court order to seize parts of the Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology

Christopher Esget–This day in the church year is an in-between Sunday

This day in the church year””the Sunday in-between the Ascension and Pentecost””is given to us as a reminder of what it means to be a Spirit-filled disciple of Jesus: our life as Spirit-filled disciples is a life of (1) clinging to the Spirit’s testimony about what Christ has accomplished, (2) a life of suffering in the world, and (3) a life of doing good to our neighbors.

First, we cling to the Spirit’s testimony. Today’s prayer anticipates Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit: “Leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth.” The Holy Spirit’s consolation is precisely in testifying about Jesus.

What are the specifics of the Holy Spirit’s comfort (or, consolation)? The devil and your own conscience will frighten you because of your sins; the world will hate your confession of the faith, your morals and your piety. That you must expect. But the Holy Spirit comforts us by pointing us to Christ. He won’t make your wallet fat, but He will enable you to say, “When I have lost everything””spouse, children, house, car, possessions, reputation, even my own life””yes, when all that is gone, still Jesus Christ for my sake was made man, died and rose again, and ascended into heaven. He is coming at the last day for me. If God’s Son suffered for me, He will certainly not be my enemy. Since He loves me and has given me such great promises, then I have everything” [Adapted from Luther].

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Ascension, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Burundi is rocked by fears of civil war

Fear of civil war have gripped parts of the country, the Bishop of Gitega, the Rt Revd John Nduwayo, said this week.

More than 15 people have died since the demonstrations began on 26 April, and some of the 200 people injured are not being well treated because of the lack of medical fees, he has reported. More than 400 protesters are being jailed in “very harsh conditions”, and a shut-down of private and social media by the government is preventing the population from getting “balanced information and reality of what is happening on the ground”.

The UN reports that 105,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, including Rwanda.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Burundi, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

O God, whose blessed Son, our great High Priest, has entered once for all into the holy place, and ever liveth to intercede on our behalf: Grant that we, sanctified by the offering of his body, may draw near with full assurance of faith by the way which he has dedicated for us, and evermore serve thee, the living God; through the same thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God–not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

–Ephesians 2:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Poem at the end of the day–The Evening Star by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Lo! in the painted oriel of the West,
Whose panes the sunken sun incarnadines,
Like a fair lady at her casement, shines
The evening star, the star of love and rest!

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Poetry & Literature

(FS) Alysse ElHage–For Kids, Parental Cohabitation and Marriage Are Not Interchangeable

While some cohabiting adults seem happy enough to live together without marriage, what about their children? It is an important question considering that about one in four American children today are born to cohabiting parents. According to Child Trends, the number of cohabiting couples with children under 18 has nearly tripled since the late 1990s””increasing from 1.2 million in 1996 to 3.1 million in 2014. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that the majority of recent non-marital births (58 percent) are to unmarried women living with their child’s father.

On the surface, the trend away from divorced or unwed mothers raising kids on their own, toward more children living with both of their parents, seems like a positive one for children raised outside of marriage. However, when it comes to child well-being, cohabiting unions more closely resemble single motherhood than marriage. As eighteen noted family scholars stated in a 2011 report from the National Marriage Project, “cohabitation is not the functional equivalent of marriage,” and it is “the largely unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s lives today.”

For children, the differences between cohabiting and married parents extend far beyond the lack of a marriage license. Compared to children of married parents, those with cohabiting parents are more likely to experience the breakup of their families, be exposed to “complex” family forms, live in poverty, suffer abuse, and have negative psychological and educational outcomes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sociology, Theology

(BBC) Burundi crackdown after failed coup against Nkurunziza

Eighteen people have appeared in court in Burundi accused of helping to organise last week’s failed coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza.

It comes amid what appears to be a crackdown against those suspected of involvement in the plot.

The BBC has seen evidence of retaliatory attacks, after a hospital where soldiers involved in the coup were being treated was attacked.

The alleged coup ringleader, Godefroid Niyombare, is still on the run.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Burundi, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Theology

(NYT Beliefs) More Married Couples, Same-Sex and Straight, Are Sharing the Job of Pastor

Cathy Rion Starr and Heather Rion Starr, the ministers of the Unitarian Society of Hartford since last summer, were reminiscing recently about a conversation early in their friendship, before they had become either romantic partners or co-workers.

“We had some colleagues in common, who were a same-sex couple serving a congregation in California,” Heather Rion Starr said on Tuesday in the office they share at the church. “And I think I said something about, ”˜So-and-so and so-and-so are starting a co-ministry ”” what do you think about that?’ And you said, ”˜Oh I would never want to do that. I would never want to spend that much time with someone.’ ”

“And now here we are,” Cathy Rion Starr said of the church, which will hold the couple’s installation ceremony on Sunday.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology