Daily Archives: June 9, 2015

A S Haley””The Episcopal Church is Making a Mishmash of Marriage (Part III)

The fundamental problem of adapting traditional Christian marriage (“Holy Matrimony”) to same-sex unions is that the theology of the former turns into blasphemy when the rite is carried over, holus-bolus, to the latter. Begin with St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians: [ ]
By undermining the orthodoxy of traditional marriage, by emphasizing the ability of couples to make cafeteria choices of how the Church (and, presumably, God) will bless and solemnize their relationships, the Church will knock out the very props that hold up the traditional family, by treating them as no more important than any other commitment that can be imagined between two people.

And in undermining the family, the Church will complete its own undermining, because it is the family that enables the very existence and support of the Church itself. As the percentage of families in a congregation drops, so does its ability to provide continuity from one generation to the next. And once it loses the ties that bind it to previous generations, the Church itself will no longer have reason to exist. (Remember that religio, the source for our “religion,” means “I bind again.”)

Thus the Episcopal Church 2015 is at a watershed, and the way it handles marriage will define its own future. It cannot remain true to St. Paul’s mystery of the marriage covenant while riding the bandwagon for same-sex blessings and marriages: the two are fundamentally and unalterably incompatible

Read it all and also Part I and Part II

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

[ACI] Excluding Your Enemy: A Comment on the Present State of the Episcopal Church

By Philip Turner and Ephraim Radner
We write to bring to the attention of the Bishops, Priest, Deacons and Lay Persons of The Episcopal Church (TEC) a matter of grave concern. It is a matter that, left unaddressed in the decision-making of General Convention, now threatens the integrity and public witness of everyone who calls him or herself an Episcopalian: is our church prepared to permit in its midst clergy and lay leaders who, however much they represent a minority opinion, are committed to a traditional reading of TEC’s Prayer Book and Constitution? Or will TEC instead seek to drive such persons out, by invective, discrimination, and abuse of the disciplinary canons?
in the build-up to the General Convention this July, other matters provide a new basis for the dynamics of vituperative exclusion. Calls are being made, for instance, that newly elected bishops actually be asked “are you or have you ever been associated with the ACI?”; a positive response being seen as grounds for refusal of consent. More intricately, formal proposals are being pressed at the upcoming General Convention to change TEC’s canons so that same-gender marriage and not just blessings are permitted. Should these efforts succeed, the General Convention by simple say-so will have rendered the stated doctrine of marriage in the Book of Common Prayer without binding authority. Anticipating this outcome many claim that Bishops will have to permit same gender blessings and marriages in their diocese or face discipline, just as did those who suggested that TEC’s Constitution be read in a way contrary to the current Presiding Bishop’s. There is good reason to believe that this change in doctrine and practice will become mandatory in all dioceses. Indeed, as we write, the blogs are filled with invective and statements to the effect that “It’s time for those who disagree to leave.”

Invective aside, we do not believe that TEC’s constitution, in respect to doctrine and worship, permits making obligatory for a Diocesan Bishop anything other than the Book of Common Prayer. Obviously, this is an arguable position, but the argument in support is powerful. It is based on a careful reading of TEC’s constitution. Any contrary opinion must be based on the same sort of close reading if it is to claim a serious right to be heard. This dispute touches the ecclesial fate of all, and it deserves better than name-calling and threats of discipline and deposition for those who disagree. Sadly, patience for careful reading and discussion has evaporated. Threats of discipline and legal action against questioners, no matter the care and rigor of their questioning, are now mounting in frequency and these threats have behind them a history of being carried out.

Read it all

See also for background:
Misrepresenting ACI’s Concerns About The Constitutionality of [New] Liturgical Material (Apr 21, 2015)
The Episcopal Church and the New Episcopal Church (Apr 20, 2015)
What Then Shall We Do? A Note on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church (April 30, 2015)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

[ENS] John Hall invites Presiding Bishop to 'preach' at Westminster Abbey

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori has been invited by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev. Dr. John Hall, to participate in a panel discussion and preach at London’s historic Westminster Abbey (link is external) on June 13 and 14.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to join in the ancient worship life of the Abbey and I am grateful to the Dean for his invitation to preach,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori commented. “I give thanks for the growing and lively relationships between our two provinces of the Anglican Communion.”

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Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Archbishop Mouneer Anis praises 'biblical' Archbishop of Canterbury

In the Middle East, Africa, and much of the non-Western world, extending honour is among the chief virtues. Our Anglican Communion is blessed to have a leader who embodies not only this cultural value, but also its Biblical roots.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Australia's Anglican leader seeks conscience safeguard on same-sex marriage

Dr Freier wrote to Mr Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten because Parliament may soon consider amending the Marriage Act. Mr Shorten is bringing a bill to introduce same-sex marriage, and two other bills are also planned.

“Should changes to the Marriage Act be legislated, I urge on behalf of the Anglican Church that there be provision made for decisions of conscience.

“Ministers of religion recognised by a church or other religious body must have the right to refuse to solemnise a marriage if in doing so that would contravene his or her religious beliefs or the religious beliefs of the church or other religious body,” Dr Freier wrote.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Bp of Croydon) Jonathan Clark–Reflecting on James Rebanks”˜ The Shepherd’s Life+parish ministry

I’ve just devoured James Rebanks”˜ The Shepherd’s Life, which is a fascinating and brilliantly written account of his life as a shepherd on the Cumbrian fells (with a little international consultancy on the side to help with the bills). As near as I can reckon, it tells us non-farmers what it really means to live with that connection to a place and to a way of life which is almost completely foreign to a market society. Looking at it from the outside, why would anyone work so incredibly hard for such little reward? But that question only makes sense when you’re thinking of ”˜work’ and ”˜life’ as two different things. You contract for work in order to have enough money to get on with the things you really want to do.

But for farmers ”“ or at least for Rebanks ”“ it’s not like that. The life and the living are one and the same thing. You have to make enough money to survive, so you work as cannily as you can to maximise your return. But that’s not the heart of it. Rebooks begins by talking about the way sheep on the fells are ”˜hefted’ to a specific area. Even though there aren’t any fences, they know their territory, and that’s where they stay. It’s their space. As a one-time walker on the Cumbrian fells, I can attest to the indignation of a Hardwick sheep when confronted by a stranger carrying a knapsack. One definitely gets the feeling that they’re thinking ”˜if I had proper teeth, I’d be after you ”¦’.

Rebooks leaves the reader to makes the connection with himself and his fellow farmers. But they too are hefted to their places. Not necessarily the individual farm, because people move from time to time. But to the area, the territory, they are inextricably linked. A lot of Church of England clergy feel just the same about their parishes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Animals, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CP) New report stresses need for outdoor play for kids

With Canadian children still failing to meet key physical activity targets, a new report is stressing the benefits of outdoor play and urging adults to give kids more freedom.

After a decade under the banner of Active Healthy Kids Canada, ParticipAction is spearheading the annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.

The latest findings, released Tuesday, paint a dire picture with Canadian kids assigned a D-minus for overall physical activity.

The report card found that 70 per cent of three-to-four-year-olds met early years guidelines of at least 180 minutes of daily physical activity at any intensity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Theology

Stronger economy, population growth brings new service to Port of Charleston SC

Foreign container shipping firms are taking advantage of the strong dollar ”” and its resulting boost in European exports to the U.S. ”” as well as population and manufacturing gains in the Southeast by adding new routes that will call at Charleston and other East Coast ports.

Dubai-based United Arab Shipping Co. recently launched its NEU-1 service that will have weekly sailings between five ports in Northern Europe and four U.S. ports: New York; Norfolk, Va.; Charleston; and Savannah. The largest container shipping company in the Middle East, United Arab also has ordered an additional 3,500 refrigerated units for the new service and recently expanded routes in a partnership with the France-based CMA CGM shipping line.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Globalization, Urban/City Life and Issues

(ACNS) Egyptian Archbishop to visit Lambeth Palace

The Bishop in Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, the Most Revd Dr Mouneer Anis will give a presentation on the situation in his vast diocese to members and invited guests of the Egypt Diocesan Association at Lambeth Palace on Friday 12 June by kind invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Archbishop of York, Patron of the Association, will be present at the meeting.

The occasion celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Egypt Diocesan Association (EDA) which has supported the mission and ministries of that diocese over six decades.

The region covered by the Episcopal Church in Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa includes no fewer than eight countries, and the Christian communities in many parts of the diocese face huge challenges. Dr Mouneer is also in his second term as Archbishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East and so in close touch with the situation of many throughout the Middle East and Arabic world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

(CC) Philip Jenkins–New churches, old Europe

European churches are currently engaged in an architectural culture war.

Cardinal Gian­franco Rav­asi declared the outbreak of hostilities in 2013 with a sweeping condemnation of many recently built churches in Italy, which, he said, were intended to win design prizes rather than to serve the needs of liturgy. Instead of seeking to create a suitable mood for celebration or meditation, architects have extolled ab­stract geometric form. Ig­noring religious needs, they “tend instead to focus on space, lines, light and sound.”

Nonsense, replied those pro­gressive architects. Con­cepts of the appropriate setting for Christian worship have changed enormously through the centuries. Throughout history reactionaries have condemned innovative buildings that over time come to be recognized as epochal masterpieces.

I can see both sides in this debate, although I do take Ravasi’s point that some recent structures seem deliberately intended to infuriate traditionalists. What is most startling is that such a debate is raging at a time when Europe’s mainstream churches have been so weakened by secularization and when the Roman Catholic Church in particular faces so many challenges. Yet, as in centuries past, these institutions are not only creating many new buildings but serving as key patrons of great architects.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Architecture, Europe, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

WCC mourns the loss of Anglican ecumenist Kodwo E. Ankrah

Dear Ms. Eleanor Maxine and the Family, Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It is with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of the Lay Canon Kodwo E. Ankrah of the Church of the Province of Uganda, a native of Anomabu, Ghana.

I write to express my sincere condolences as well as those of the World Council of Churches. The Canon was respected and beloved among you, the Church of the Province of Uganda and his childhood Methodist Church in Ghana but also within the ecumenical movement, through his leadership in the Christian Council of Ghana, the All Africa Conference of Churches and the World Council of Churches. A true “sojourner” in his own words in transit from Ghana to Uganda from 1970s to the time he was called to the eternal home on Friday 29th May 2015.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Ghana, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(CT) Getting a Handle on Boko Haram

To learn about the enigmatic group, CT editorial resident Morgan Lee spoke with Virginia Comolli, the author of Boko Haram: Nigeria’s Islamist Insurgency and a fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Why are the origins of Boko Haram so unclear?

During my research, I was struck by the amount of confusion and contrasting views among high-level politicians and members of the military. There are people who believe it is a group purely motivated by violent religious extremism. Other people say it is a political movement. Other people think it’s an opportunistic criminal entity.

However, if we look at the history of northern Nigeria in the post-colonial period, you’ll see the emergence of a number of groups framing their discourse in religious-revival terms, with people advocating a return to true Islam as a way of addressing societal evils. But although these critics were speaking in religious terms, they were all critical of the corrupt government. They also represented those from the north who were socioeconomically and politically marginalized.

Read it all.

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

New Bishop of Crediton to be Dame Sarah Mullally

The next Bishop of Crediton is to be the Revd Dame Sarah Mullally, Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral.

Dame Sarah, a former nurse, had a distinguished service in the NHS before ordination, culminating in her appointment as the government’s Chief Nursing Officer for England in 1999, when she was the youngest person to be appointed to the post.

She was ordained in 2001 and served her curacy in St Saviour’s Battersea Fields, initially as a self-supporting minister. She left her post as Chief Nursing Officer in 2004 to take up full time ministry becoming a Team Rector in Sutton, Surrey in 2006. In 2012 she was installed as Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral.

She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Columba

O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant Columba didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in Scotland: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness to thee by following the example of his zeal and patience; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Church History, England / UK, Scotland, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O God, who in thy blessed Son hast prepared for us a rich feast and dost invite us day by day to partake of thy bounties: Grant that neither the distractions of business nor the allurements of pleasure may cause us to turn a deaf ear to thy call, nor to neglect thy so great salvation, which thou hast given us in the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

A London Evening Standard profile of Mark Wahlberg–faith in God made him a 'better man'

US actor Mark Wahlberg has revealed that his faith in God has helped him to change his life around and achieve success.

Wahlberg, 43, earned himself the bad boy of Hollywood image following a string of misdemeanours which saw him arrested and detained multiple times as a teenager and addicted to cocaine aged 15.

He told Square Mile: “I pray every day and try to go to church every day. My faith in God is what makes me a better man.

“It’s the most important part of my life. I pray that I will live up to my intention to be the best husband and father that I can be. I never would have been able to change my life and have the success and love that I have in my world today without my faith.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Religion & Culture

(BBC) The day World War One came to Hull

The city of Hull was bombed several times by Zeppelin airships during World War One. Saturday marks the centenary of the first raid.

Civilians in Britain had been largely unaffected by the war but in January 1915 the first Zeppelin raids on other parts of the UK had shattered the illusion of safety.

On its way to Hull six months later, on June 6, Zeppelin L-9’s presence was first spotted just after 19:00 by intercepted wireless traffic when it was 100 miles away over the North Sea.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues