Daily Archives: June 12, 2015

Report from Morning Session of the SEC General Synod

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane and Primus spoke of the Scottish Episcopal Church’s relationships and role within the world wide Church saying “Within our membership of the Anglican Communion, one of our most important and historic relationships is with The Episcopal Church of the United States. It’s historic because their first bishop, Samuel Seabury was consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish Bishops. In ten days time I shall go to Salt Lake City for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. It would be an exaggeration to say that I am greeted like one of the Pilgrim Fathers. But the feeling that we are an important and valued part of their history is very much alive today. When I go there on your behalf, I am greeted and honoured in that spirit.” Bishop David spoke about the role and responsibilities of the Office of Primus and highlighted a conference he attended earlier this year in explaining “in March this year, I responded to an invitation from Archbishop Thabo, Primate of Southern Africa, to attend what became known as the Eco-Bishops Conference in Hermanus, South Africa. We have had a tentative relationship around ecological/environmental issues with South Africa. I went partly to foster that link. Most of those attending came from parts of the developing world where climate change isn’t just a matter of debate but is a daily reality of life. I was particularly impressed by the contribution of those representing the indigenous people of the world ”“ particularly the indigenous people of Northern Canada. They have a way of seeing themselves in God’s creation which is revelatory for us ”“ but which also calls us back to explore again our roots in Celtic spirituality.”

In conclusion Bishop David said “I have also been serving as Chair of the Reference Group for the Continuing Indaba movement which attempts to develop a culture of ”˜honest conversation across difference’ right across the Communion. Continuing Indaba has attempted to foster conversation between provinces ”“ more recently it has moved towards conversation within provinces. We recognise that while ”˜headline’ disagreements in the Communion are often seen as inter-provincial, every province experiences and must work with its own diversity. Our own Cascade Conversations are part of that broader movement. That movement in turn is linked to reconciliation as one of four ministry priorities of the present Archbishop of Canterbury.”

The Rt Rev Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh, followed by speaking about the link of friendship and partnership between the Diocese of Edinburgh and Cape Coast, Ghana

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Scottish Episcopal Church

Primus David Chillingworth's Charge to the SEC General Synod

I have often said that there are two, or indeed more than two, dialogues involved here.

There is a dialogue with our diversity. We weave together in our lives and the make-up of our Church different strands of theological and church tradition. But it is the complex of issues around human sexuality above all which have the potential to turn that diversity from enrichment into division. Our Cascade process of dialogue shaped a space in which our diversity might be spoken and heard. It was a space for the kind of speech which is tentative because it is sincere and speaks of the deepest things in our lives.

There is a dialogue with our tradition – with our reading of scripture, with our theology and with our social and moral teaching. We created another kind of space in the report of the Doctrine Committee – conceptual space for consideration of our tradition. We shall discuss that during this meeting.

We are not yet in a legislative space – one in which we make canonical decisions. But we might say that this year we enter into a deliberative space when we decide whether or not we wish to consider change and what kind of change that might be.

Most of all we need to discern what the spirit may be saying to us at this time – speaking to us through one another, speaking to us through scripture and our tradition of faith, speaking to us and challenging us through the extraordinary social changes taking place around us.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Scottish Episcopal Church

(ABC Aus.) Tasmania's Anglican Church vows to do more to stop domestic violence

Tasmania’s Anglican Church is the latest organisation to ramp up its focus on domestic violence.

Members of the church will be trained to recognise the signs of domestic violence and how to respond.

Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, John Harrower, said the Church wanted to deal with the issue head on.

“What we would like to do is better equip our people, both our ministers and our lay people, so that when they are in contact with people who are suffering domestic or family violence, and also with the people who are committing the violence, [they are] wise and trained,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Violence, Women

David Chillingworth–Why our church is facing the challenge of same-sex marriage

We are living through a period of extraordinarily rapid social change. I was in Dublin two weeks ago. It is the city of my birth. It was a remarkable experience to be there in the immediate aftermath of the Constitutional Referendum on same-sex marriage. One of the most conservative and Catholic countries in Europe voted decisively in favour of this change. No wonder the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin reflected that this called for a “reality check” among the churches.

A number of factors have brought that change about. Ireland’s young population certainly made its presence felt. It is clear that people’s views are being changed by their life experience. Irish Times journalist Fintan O’Toole referred to the “riveting eloquence” of the passionate advocacy of many. But he also described another kind of articulacy and said this: “What actually changed Ireland over the last two decades is hundreds of thousands of painful, stammered conversations that began with the dreaded words, ‘I have something to tell you.’ It’s all those moments of coming out around kitchen tables, tentative words punctuated by sobs and sighs, by cold silences and fearful hesitations.”

So people have been changed by the way in which gay relationships have begun to be in the best sense ordinary. They find it hard to do other than accept those relationships among people whom they love and care deeply about.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Gadget Vicar: SEC General Synod – Moving the Boundary Stones


[Twitter and Livestream here when in session]

Judah’s leaders are like those
who move boundary stones.
I will pour out my wrath on them
like a flood of water. Hosea 5:10
To some people’s surprise, an amendment was put that would have allowed people who wanted to marry two people of the same sex to do so, but we’d keep the doctrine of marriage as being between a man and a woman. This would have put us in a similar situation to that of the Church of Scotland.

However, this gracious compromise was roundly rejected by around two thirds of the Synod.

I don’t know that people understood just how costly this amendment would have been if it had been accepted..
Read it all and for background read here

Update latest from GadgetVicar on Twitter and SEC:

General Synod 2015: Motion passed to proceed to debate the options for canonical change in relation to Marriage. Vote was 92 for, 35 against

Synod now discussing the options for change to Canon 31 relating to Marriage. Motion passed to proceed to vote on its preferred options. voting on Motion 20B to include a conscience clause in the options before Synod.

Synod Members now voting on options for change to Canon 31 relating to Marriage.

Motion passed to include a conscience clause in the option before Synod.

Option A has been passed by Synod. [Votes: Option A 88 out of 125 voting including 6 abstentions]

[Option A: Removal of section 1 of Canon 31
This option would remove section 1 from Canon 31 in its entirety so that the Canon was silent on the question of a doctrine of marriage. Page 46

The SEC’s official teaching on marriage is enshrined in Canon 31:1.
”˜The Doctrine of the Church is that Marriage is a physical, spiritual and mystical
union of one man and one woman created by their mutual consent of heart,
mind and will thereto, and is a holy and lifelong estate instituted of God.’ – page 50 of above link]

Motion 23 instructing Canonical Committee to prepare the necessary canonical changes to effect this deletion passed on ballot 110 to 9

Motion 24 on religious registration of civil partnerships in church failed 30 to 82

Further Update: Report on SEC vote to leave the Anglican Faith

Even Further Update: GadgetVicar – The General Synod Votes For Equal Marriage

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Scottish Episcopal Church

(Time) Twitter’s Strategy Remains Unclear Even After CEO Resigns

So what’s going on?

Twitter is at a crossroads when it comes to its evolution. While it aspires to be as big as Facebook, connecting fans to celebrities, sports fanatics to game information, and the media to, well, the media via short 140-character bursts can only grow this social media company so large.

With 300 million users, Twitter is still more than a billion shy of Facebook. And with ad revenue growth now slowing, investors want to know if there’s an actual plan in place or if all of this Facebook talk is just wishful thinking.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy

(Local Paper) Vietnam veterans have heartfelt reunion after 46 years apart

When Ed Britt saw Bob Robinson coming out of the terminal exit at the Charleston International Airport on Thursday, there was nothing that could stop him from running into the arms of the man that he fondly called his big brother, even if it meant running past the “Do not enter” sign that guarded the exit.

“Forty-six years!” That was all Britt could get out as the pair stood hugging and weeping.

“All this time looking,” Robinson said.

Read it all and you have to love the picture.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Military / Armed Forces

An AP story on the NC Law on Same-sex Marriages that provides for religiously based exemptions

Under a law that took effect Thursday in North Carolina, employees who issue marriage licenses can refuse to complete paperwork for gay couples by invoking their religious beliefs ”” a move that could mean longer waits at courthouses for all those who want to wed, especially in rural counties with small staffs.

Gay rights groups and some Democrats said legal challenges were likely to come soon for the new law, the second of its kind nationwide. Utah passed one this year.

North Carolina’s law took effect as the state House voted to override Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s earlier veto. The Senate already had voted for the override. McCrory said though he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, no state employee should be able to break his or her government oath. His position puts him at odds with social conservatives aligned with his party.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government

([London] Times) More medical than surgical abortions were carried out in England+Wales

Of more than 190,000 abortions, 51 per cent were medical, where a pill is taken to end a pregnancy. Ten years ago medical abortions made up only 20 per cent of procedures, while in 2013 the number was 49 per cent.

The total number of abortions last year was down slightly from 190,800 in 2013, and has fallen every year since 2007. Ninety-two per cent of abortions were performed at less than 13 weeks, and 80 per cent were carried out at less than ten weeks, compared with 60 per cent a decade ago.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Science & Technology, Theology, Wales, Women

(Church Times) Reports of Anglican decline ”˜have been greatly exaggerated’

Thinking of oneself as “Church of England” or “Anglican” is increasingly irrelevant, clergy have suggested, responding to last week’s statistical analysis indicating that Anglicans were in steep decline in the UK….

The Dean of Chelmsford, the Very Revd Nicholas Henshall, writes (Letters) that parish priests and deans are leading “increasingly post-denominational” communities.

He points to the decline in confirmations, even in churches that are growing, as “a version of the same story. . .

“Confirmation suggests an ownership of a specific denominational identity, which is simply not part of the deal for most people. I would suggest that even most people of my generation, and certainly those of my children’s, find denominational identity increasingly irrelevant.”

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

(Huff. Po) The horrific story of the fall of Mosul as told by an Iraqi Bishop

The Iraqi city of Mosul fell to the Islamic State on June 10, 2014. When the militants laid out an ultimatum — convert, pay a tax or be killed — thousands of Christians and other religious minorities fled to neighboring cities, like the northern city of Erbil.

Even though it’s been more than a year, Erbil’s Chaldean Catholic leader, Bishop Bashar Warda, still vividly remembers what it was like to watch the streams of refugees enter his city.

“It was [a] really sad occasion,” Warda said in an interview with Vatican Radio. “The memories that we have is the queue of thousands of people arriving, tired, crying and leaving behind everything, memories and properties.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christian von Bunsen

Blessed Lord, grant us thy Holy Spirit to work in us daily a true and lasting repentance, and keep us ever, as contrite Christian people, willing to acknowledge and lament our sins; yet also keep us ever, O Lord, steadfast and strong in our faith in the forgiveness of our sins, and in our purpose to amend our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.

–Psalm 69:1-2

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

N.C. allows officials w/ a “sincerely held religious objctn” to refuse to do same-sex Marriages

Defying the governor, lawmakers here enacted a law on Thursday that allows state court officials to refuse to perform a marriage if they have a “sincerely held religious objection,” a measure aimed at curtailing same-sex unions.

The Republican-controlled House voted 69-41 on Thursday to override a veto by Gov. Pat McCrory, also a Republican, who refused to sign the marriage bill in May. Mr. McCrory said at the time that although he believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman, he vetoed the bill because “no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath.”

The State Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans, voted to override Mr. McCrory’s veto on June 1.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government, Theology

(FT) Battling Isis: A long campaign ahead

When jihadi forces over-ran Iraq’s strategic city of Ramadi last month, officials and analysts rushed to explain how militants could claim a major win nine months after the world’s most powerful military set out to destroy them. But for residents, the only surprise was how such a predictable attack caught everyone off guard.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis) used the same playbook it employed when it shocked the world with its capture of Iraq’s second city Mosul last summer: it set up sleeper cells and assassinated security officials months before it blitzed across Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

“We knew they were coming,” says resident Abu Abbas. “Everybody in Ramadi knew where they were, and we warned security forces for months, but it was useless. Eventually they spread messages to civilians saying ”˜Isis is coming to save you from the apostates’, and then the blasts came.” He fled Ramadi as at least five trucks driven into the city by suicide bombers exploded, and amid reports of the army retreating.

“Isis hasn’t changed at all,” Abu Abbas says, almost in disbelief. “They don’t need to.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Globalization, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Violence

(W Sussex County Times) In a shift, Horsham Bishop will support women bishops

The Bishop of Horsham announced today (June 10) that he has stepped down from a traditionalists’ committee following a period of strenuous theological reflection over the issue of women bishops.

The Rt Rev Mark Sowerby has resigned from the Society’s Council of Bishops, a Church of England body whose members will generally ordain women as deacons, but for theological reasons and as a matter of personal conscience are unable to accept women as priests and bishops.

Bishop Mark said today that he now wishes to accept women into all these roles and as a consequence he has written a personal letter to the Bishop of Wakefield, chair of the council.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(NPR) A Poet Can Indeed Be Trouble In 'Set Fire To The Stars'

“How much trouble can one poet be?” That’s literature professor John Malcolm Brinnin’s rhetorical response to his buttoned-way-down colleagues’ fears about a writer’s proposed visit to New York in 1950. Today, the query can’t be heard as anything other than an inside joke. For the poet is Dylan Thomas, who was trouble for most of his 39 years.

Set Fire to the Stars takes its title from a line written by Thomas, who’s played by Celyn Jones, the movie’s co-writer. But the story is just as much about Brinnin, impersonated by Elijah Wood, the film’s most marketable performer and its co-producer. The script was fictionalized from a section of Dylan Thomas in America, a 1955 memoir by Brinnin, who facilitated several tours by the poet ”” including the 1953 one on which he died.

As portrayed here, Thomas and Brinnin shared two enthusiasms: poetry and cigarettes. While the visiting Welshman drinks heavily, womanizes compulsively and offends promiscuously, the bow-tied, slick-haired Brinnin channels all his frustration into chain smoking.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Poetry & Literature, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(Telegraph) Empty pews not the end of the world, says C of E’s newest bishop

Declining numbers at services should not necessarily be a cause of despair for churches because people will still “encounter God” without ever taking their place in a pew, the Church of England’s newest bishop designate has insisted.

Dame Sarah Mullally, the former NHS Chief Nurse for England who has been named as the next Bishop of Crediton, said clerics must recognise that young people are as likely to hear the Christian message through social media sites such as Facebook or in cafés as in a church.

In a remarkably varied career, the 53-year-old mother-of-two has now risen to the top of two very different professions.

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