Daily Archives: October 8, 2015

(America Faith in Focus) Gregory Hillis–Life between Catholic and Episcopal churches

My parish is a short drive from the house. Every Sunday I see the same people at 8:30 a.m.: the older couples whose children are grown, the many young families with their children, the teenagers who came with their parents but who would rather be in bed. This is the Mass I almost always attend alone. There are a few others who are also alone, though not many.

I serve as an acolyte twice a month, and on these Sundays I sit up at the front beside the priest. On other Sundays, I sit near the front of the church with a family I know. Apart from them, I know the director of music and worship, the deacons and the priests. Others in the parish are mainly just familiar faces, although they are the people with whom I take Communion each and every week.

At the end of Mass, I drive home to pick up my wife, Kim, and our three boys for the 10 a.m. liturgy at the Episcopal parish we attend as a family. Like my Catholic parish, this church is thriving, filled with young and old from a variety of backgrounds. There are cradle Episcopalians, ex-evangelicals who found life in the beauty of Episcopal liturgy and disaffected Roman Catholics. Because this is my family’s parish, I know these parishioners more deeply than the ones at my Catholic parish. My children play with their children, and our families regularly hang out together. During the liturgy I sit with Kim and my oldest son while his two brothers are downstairs for Sunday school. When it comes time for the Communion, we process to the altar rail where my wife and my son take Communion together. I cross my arms and am blessed by the priest. Apart from a few children, I’m the only person who does this.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Children, Ecumenical Relations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Marriage & Family, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

Karen Jackson–About That Time My Child Very Nearly Lit the Church on Fire

“Mommy, can I get some candy?”

“Yes,” I replied, undaunted in my attempt to preach the Word. My almost four year-old daughter had recently discovered two things: 1)There is a bowl of hard candy in the church office and 2) Mommy isn’t really interested in teaching a lesson about nutrition or risking a meltdown in the middle of a sermon.

This was not the first time I received such a request, but when I saw a usually placid face on the front row contort with shock and fear, I knew something was terribly wrong.

I whipped around to find my little girl balancing on tip-toe at the communion table. One hand gripped the table cloth laden with lit votives, while her brown curls and pudgy fingers trembled as she attempted to set her own candle aflame.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

In Sumter County, S. Carolina, 1 family starts the rebuilding process

[Tiffany Wilson]..and her family had to be rescued from their home near Swan Lake Sunday. Her woke up to her dog wimpering in the back yard, where she say he was under water.

“I panicked because I have a six week old baby, and I have an eight-year-old son. Plus, I have a disabled Dad. So, my thought was to get everybody out.”

Walking back into her new reality, Wilson says it was tough to see.

“I cried,” stated Wilson.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * South Carolina, Children, Marriage & Family, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Weather

God Has a Church for His Mission, Anglican Mission Conference Hears

Almost 400 people jammed into the arena which is at the heart of King’s College Otahuhu on Tuesday for the powhiri [Māori welcoming ceremony] that launched the 2015 Common Life Missions Conference.

They came from all walks, and from all corners – including Africa, Australia, England and the Middle East – to reaffirm their convictions that mission involving every person in the Communion, is at the heart of Anglicanism.

Or, as the conference’s keynote speaker, the Revd Dr Chris Wright, later put it: “It’s not so much the case that God has a mission for the church, to be carried out by a few church-paid professionals – as that God has a church for his mission.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Missions, Theology

New Toronto Area Anglican priest left advertising to go into ordained ministry

At the agency, “I was fascinated by the creative guys,” he said, especially the copywriters. While there was a lot of interesting characters to be seen at such a firm, there were less savoury aspects of the job that he, as a Christian, had to learn to contend with.
“I went to the cathedral at the time,” he remembered. “I was the only person in the agency who went to church”¦I was always perplexed by people my age who had no ethical qualms about how we did our business and who we represented.”
Around this time, the United Church of Canada was taking part in a boycott of Nestle, the chocolate maker, for their role in milk formula sales to Third World countries. Nestle was one of his clients and a friend asked a co-worker of his, “ “”˜Doesn’t that bother you?’ She said, ”˜No, this was business.’”
He began to question his direction in life, wondering: “Maybe it’s not possible to live in this world and be a Christian.” (He now believes it is so.)
It was at this time that “God moved me to look somewhere else.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(CBC) Regina Anglican priest wears hijab for a day

Concerned with what she calls the “increasing rhetoric about the wearing of the niqab by Muslim women,” an Anglican priest in Regina decided to take matters into her own hands. She wore a hijab for a day to see what’s like.

In a post on Facebook, Cheryl Toth said she’s “uncomfortable with the way the debate focuses on what women wear (or decide not to wear). I am afraid that [the rhetoric] will increase hostility towards women who choose to wear a hijab, a niqab or a burka.”

She said she sees her trial run with the hijab as a way “to contribute to the conversation.”

She wore it around Regina including on campus at Luther College, walking around her neighbourhood, at a public lecture and while shopping at a mall.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Ministry of the Ordained, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Women

(Telegraph) Disgraced former Bishop of Lewes jailed for sexually abusing young priests

A disgraced Bishop evaded prosecution for decades after intervention by a member of the Royal family, Cabinet Ministers and a Lord Chief Justice, a court heard yesterday.

The former Bishop of Gloucester, now aged 83, groomed and abused 18 aspiring young priests over a period spanning 15 years.

Mr Justice Wilkie, sitting at the Old Bailey, jailed Ball for two years and eight months for his offending on Wednesday.

But, before being sentenced, the court heard how Ball escaped justice over the same charges years earlier after he was given support by a member of the Royal family and Establishment figures.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The C of E Statement on the sentencing of Bishop Peter Ball

“It is a matter of deep shame and regret that a Bishop in the Church of England has today been sentenced for a series of offences over 15 years against 18 young men known to him. There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over decades.

We apologise unreservedly to those survivors of Peter Ball’s abuse and pay tribute to their bravery in coming forward and also the long wait for justice that they have endured. We note that there are those whose cases remain on file for whom today will be a difficult day, not least in the light of the courage and persistence that they have demonstrated in pressing for the truth to be revealed. We also remember Neil Todd, whose bravery in 1992 enabled others to come forward but who took his own life before Peter Ball’s conviction or sentencing.

As the Police have noted Peter Ball systematically abused the trust of the victims, many of whom who were aspiring priests, whilst others were simply seeking to explore their spirituality. He also abused the trust placed in him by the Church and others, maintaining a campaign of innocence for decades until his final guilty plea only weeks ago. Since that plea was made processes in the Church have begun to initiate formal internal disciplinary procedures against Peter Ball.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(Chicago Tribune) Fearless Cubs quickly serve notice they're in this for the long haul

After second baseman Starlin Castro squeezed the line drive for the final out in the Cubs’ 4-0 victory Wednesday over the Pirates, teammates danced around the field like the kids they still are.

In the middle of the mania, first baseman Anthony Rizzo lifted Jake Arrieta and put the pitcher over his shoulder for a few steps of frolicking. The man who had carried the Cubs this far was getting a well-deserved ride.

“Three cheers for Jake Arrieta!” a voice in a jubilant Cubs clubhouse yelled.

Three collective claps later, bedlam ensued. Rookie star Kris Bryant sprayed champagne and President Theo Epstein chugged it as teammates hugged and music blared. The pleasure easily exceeded the pressure.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Men, Sports

A look Back to 2011–JI Packer's Sermon in thanksgiving for the life and ministry of John Stott

the other thing that John was concerned about was to banish apathy from the hearts of those to whom he ministered. Starting with his own congregation at All Souls, Langham Place in London and extending to all the congregations to whom he ministered quite literally all around the world.

Banishing apathy, what did that mean in positive terms? It meant that John summoned us to learn our faith and not be sloppy in terms of our doctrine, and equally not to be sloppy and casual in terms of our service of the Lord whom we love and honour as our Saviour.

John himself as we all know was, well, I call him a 15-talent man of God. 10 the number in our Lord’s parable really doesn’t seem enough. John Stott one sometimes felt could do anything and everything in ministry. He had all the gifts that make up a teacher and a carer and a unifier. He lived in a way which displayed the freedom of self-discipline. I am thinking there of the kind of freedom which in a different department of life a solo pianist or violinist will display. He or she has accepted the self-discipline of learning to master the instrument. Now he or she is able, if one may put it this way, to relax with the instrument and with the sort of inner ease to make it sound and sing out all the music that is there in the notes and which as a soloist the musician wants to convey.

Well, that is a picture an illustration of what I mean by freedom with self-discipline at its heart and you saw that in John as a preacher and teacher and influence in the church. And the self-discipline that lay at the heart of it was a discipline of constant Bible study, constant prayer, constant self-watch and constant refusal to go wild – John never went wild. John observed his own discipline so that he might always be at his best for ministry. And well we know, all of us I am sure, know something about the quality of that ministry, marked as it always was by love and wisdom in whatever form the situation demanded.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Reminder–Please Pray for the South Carolina recovery Process

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * South Carolina, City Government, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer, State Government, Weather

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

Hear us, O Lord, as we come to thee burdened with our guilt, and bow in faith at thy feet. Speak to us thy word of absolution; say to our souls, Thy sins be forgiven thee; that with good courage we may rise up and go forth to serve thee, now and all our days, to the glory of thy holy name.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 131

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Diana Butler Bass+The spiritual revolution taking place away from church pews

Americans’ search for the divine is alive and well, although it looks different than it has in the past, according to Diana Butler Bass, a prominent commentator on religion and culture, and author of nine books about American Christianity.

Her latest book, “Grounded: Finding God in the World ”” A Spiritual Revolution,” published Oct. 6, explores how people are finding God in nature and fellowship with friends and neighbors, whether or not they attend church.

Nearly 23 percent of U.S. adults did not identify with any organized religion in 2014, a 7 percentage-point increase from 2007, Pew Research Center reported in May. However, only 3 percent of Americans say they don’t believe in God, The Associated Press noted earlier this year.

In “Grounded,” Bass, who holds a doctorate in religion from Duke University and identifies as Episcopalian, investigates the spiritual lives of contemporary believers, questioning what happens when people expand their search for God beyond church buildings to the world around them.

Read it all from the Deseret News.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

Food for the Soul–Louie Giglio on Psalm 148, Stars, Whales+ Worship

Enjoy it all (hat tip: SH).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * Religion News & Commentary, Animals, Energy, Natural Resources, Evangelicals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Science & Technology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT Op-ed) Ross Douthat–Ghosts in a Secular Age

But the Elle essay suggests yet another understanding of how secularism interacts with spiritual experience. In this scenario, the key feature of the secular world-picture isn’t that it requires people to reinterpret their numinous experiences as strictly psychological events; it’s simply that it discourages people who have such experiences from embracing any kind of systematic (that is, religious/theological) interpretation of what’s happened to them, and then as a corollary discourages them from seeking out a permanent communal space (that is, a religious body) in which to further interact with these ultimate realities. Under secularism, in other words, most people who see a ghost or have a vision or otherwise step into the supernatural are still likely to believe in the essential reality of their encounter with the otherworldly or transcendent; they’re just schooled to isolate the experience, to embrace it as an interesting (and often hopeful) mystery without letting it call them to the larger conversion of life that most religious traditions claim that the capital-S Supernatural asks of us in return.

What secularism really teaches people, in this interpretation, isn’t that spiritual realities don’t exist or that spiritual experiences are unreal. It just privatizes the spiritual, in a kind of theological/sociological extension of church-state separation, and discourages people from organizing either intellectual systems (those are for scientists) or communities of purpose (that’s what politics is for) around their sense, or direct experience, that Something More exists.

This interpretation ”“ which I think is clearly part of the truth of our time ”” has interesting implications for the future of religion in the West….what you see in the Elle piece is that in the absence of strong institutions and theological systems dedicated to the Mysteries, human beings and human society can still make sense of these experiences through informal networks, private channels, personalized interpreters. And to the extent that these informal networks succeed in satisfying the human hunger for interpretation, understanding and reassurance ”” as they seem to have partially satisfied Peter Kaplan’s widow ”” then secularism might be more resilient, more capable of dealing effectively with the incorrigibility of the spiritual impulse, than its more arid and strictly materialist manifestations might suggest.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, History, Marriage & Family, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Secularism, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology