Daily Archives: December 11, 2015

The Episcopal Church removes 3 top administrators who face qtns over "possible misconduct"

I need to inform you that on Wednesday I placed on administrative leave Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer, Samuel McDonald, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission, and Alex Baumgarten, Director of Public Engagement. This is a result of concerns that have been raised about possible misconduct in carrying out their duties as members of senior management of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

I want to be clear. My decision should not be confused with a finding of fault, but is necessary to allow us to find clarity. We are taking these allegations seriously and there will be a full and fair examination of the concerns that have been raised to be conducted expeditiously by an independent investigator. To protect the integrity of that process, we will not be able to say more about the concerns at this time.

I ask that you pray for all who are involved and who are impacted by this situation.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, Theology

(NYT) Pentagon Seeks to Knit Foreign Bases Into ISIS-Foiling Network

As American intelligence agencies grapple with the expansion of the Islamic State beyond its headquarters in Syria, the Pentagon has proposed a new plan to the White House to build up a string of military bases in Africa, Southwest Asia and the Middle East.

The bases could be used for collecting intelligence and carrying out strikes against the terrorist group’s far-flung affiliates.

The growth of the Islamic State’s franchises ”” at least eight militant groups have pledged loyalty to the network’s leaders so far ”” has forced a debate within the Obama administration about how to distinguish between the affiliates that pose the most immediate threat to the United States and Europe and others that are more regionally focused. The regional groups, some officials say, may have opportunistically adopted the Islamic State’s brand to bolster their local clout and global stature.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Anglican Diocese to give City of Guelph two-month extension before sale of former church property

The Anglican Diocese of Niagara is giving community groups a two-month window to come up with a revised development proposal for the patch of land at 171 Kortright Rd. W.

The Diocese made the announcement in a news release on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, HIP Developments made a conditional offer on the property that was formerly the St. Matthias Anglican Church. When residents and community groups complained about the proposed six-storey, 325-resident condominium geared toward student housing, the developers offered a plan for stacked townhouses instead.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, City Government, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Conway South Carolina Anglican church’s members remain faithful after flood and fire

When Larry Biddle’s Bible study group talked about holding on to faith amid hardship Wednesday night, he wasn’t expecting a firsthand lesson on the subject the following morning.

But as he examined the blackened portico of the office at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the longtime member recalled the previous night’s message.

“There’s strength in struggle,” said Biddle, who has attended the church since the 1980s. “And trials and tribulations is where you find the Lord’s blessings.”

The 200 members of St. Paul’s hope the blessings come soon.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry

David Ould–The Diocese of Bathurst Loses Major Court Case and Faces Possible Bankruptcy

The court found that the Bank had a contract with the Diocese, as represented by the Bishop in Council and that there was a real guarantee made to honour the loan. Further, the court found that the BiC has an obligation to promote the necessary ordinances to levy the funds required (i.e. general diocesan assets including, if necessary, church buildings and properties should be sold to make good the debt).

This obviously puts the diocese in a dire position. It is widely acknowledged that it will be unable to meet these debts and continue to function in any general sense as it currently does. So where to from here?

It’s less than 24 hours since the judgement was passed down but I’ve been able to canvas a range of responses from senior and informed figures in the Anglican Church of Australia.

Amongst many there is a genuine sorrow for the diocese which is now facing a major crisis, and also for Bishop Ian Palmer who is not in perfect health. But options are limited. This will now be a test of the national church’s understanding of its own mutuality. To what extent should other dioceses get involved to help out? What role should the Primate or the General Synod take? When the crisis first developed a financial advisory group went to meet with then Bishop Hurford. They were, it’s fair to say, sent packing. More recently at a General Synod Standing Committee meeting one member urged the Standing Committee to “either send a condolence card or stand shoulder to shoulder”. But which will it be?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Church Times) Butler-Sloss Report–”˜New settlement needed to overhaul public life’

Imams and rabbis in the House of Lords; non-Anglican representation at the next coronation ceremony; the abolition of the requirement for schools to hold an act of worship; less selection of pupils by religion for faith schools; and humanists on Thought for the Day are among the recommendations in a new report on religion in public life, published on Monday.

The 104-page document Living With Difference: Community, diversity and the common good makes dozens of recommendations, and suggests an overhaul of British institutions and culture, from the BBC to counter-terrorism strategy, to ensure that the diversity of religious belief in the UK is properly represented.

The report is the result of two years’ work by the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, which was set up by the interfaith Woolf Institute. It has heard more than 200 submissions since summer last year

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

(NYT) A Carved Stone Block Upends Assumptions About Ancient Judaism

Known as the Magdala Stone, the block was unearthed in 2009 near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, where a resort and center for Christian pilgrims was going to be built. Government archaeologists are routinely called in to check for anything old and important that might be destroyed by a project, and in this case they discovered the well-preserved ruins of a first-century synagogue and began excavating.

The site turned out to be the presumed hometown of Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’s most faithful followers. The dig also revealed an ancient marketplace and fishermen’s quarters along with the synagogue.

Experts have raised the tantalizing possibility that Jesus may have taught in the synagogue when he was in Galilee. A local coin found in a side room was minted in A.D. 29, when Jesus is thought to have been alive.

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Posted in Christology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Jeff Walton on the Real Reason the TEC Diocese of New Hampshire Claims a membership Increase

New Hampshire Episcopalians just reported a banner year. After a decade of consistent losses under now-retired Bishop Gene Robinson, the small diocese reported a nearly 23 percent jump in attendance.

What is the secret to New Hampshire’s sudden reversal of fortune? The diocese, which Bishop Robert Hirschfeld assumed leadership of in 2013, changed whom it is counting in a practice that has been advocated by some in the dwindling denomination.

A sudden influx of worshipers would seem counter-intuitive: ever since Robinson was consecrated the denomination’s first openly-partnered homosexual bishop in 2003, diocesan membership declined nearly 16 percent, marriages down 37 percent, receptions down 51 percent, children’s baptisms down 57 percent, and adult baptisms down 75 percent. In short, it’s been a tough decade, not only in New Hampshire, but in all New England Episcopal dioceses….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Data, Theology

David Steinmetz RIP

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the United Lutheran Church

O Lord God, heavenly Father, who through thy Son hast revealed to us that heaven and earth shall pass away: We beseech thee to keep us steadfast in thy Word and in true faith; graciously guard us from all sin and preserve us amid all temptations, so that our hearts may not be overcharged with the cares of this life, but at all times in watchfulness and prayer we may await the return of thy Son and joyfully cherish the expectation of our eternal salvation; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerub’babel the son of She-al’ti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehoz’adak, the high priest, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: This people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?

–Haggai 1:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Pew Research) The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground

After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it. In early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined, a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

In at least one sense, the shift represents economic progress: While the share of U.S. adults living in both upper- and lower-income households rose alongside the declining share in the middle from 1971 to 2015, the share in the upper-income tier grew more.

Over the same period, however, the nation’s aggregate household income has substantially shifted from middle-income to upper-income households, driven by the growing size of the upper-income tier and more rapid gains in income at the top. Fully 49% of U.S. aggregate income went to upper-income households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially from 62% in 1970.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Politics in General, Sociology, Theology

(NPR) Utah Reduced Chronic Homelessness By 91 Percent. Here's How.

The chronically homeless, on the other hand, are a subset of the homeless population that is often the most vulnerable. These are people who have been living on the streets for more than a year, or four times in the last three years, and who have a “disabling condition” ”” that includes serious mental illness, an addiction or a physical disability or illness.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, that represents about 20 percent of the national homeless population.

By implementing a model known as Housing First, Utah has reduced that number from nearly 2,000 people in 2005, to fewer than 200 now.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Mormons, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Poverty, State Government, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Canadian Archbp Hiltz hopes to discuss upcoming Primates’ Meeting with Archbp Justin Welby

“There’s no question in my mind that on the agenda will be the subject of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), and its place in the life of the communion, the place of Archbishop Foley [Beach] with the primates,” Hiltz said in an interview.

Beach, head of the breakaway conservative group ACNA, has been invited to attend the first day of the gathering, but Hiltz said some primates might insist on his full attendance.

“I have a sense, though, that there will be some that will exert some pressure on [Welby] with respect to wanting to have Archbishop Foley continue to stay for the meeting,” Hiltz said. “I am hoping to get a clearer picture”¦of what he [Welby] sees as the dynamics around our actual gathering, and our actual staying together for the course of the whole meeting.”

Hiltz said he had heard “rumblings here and there” that some of the more conservative primates might refuse to participate in the meeting if Beach is not allowed to attend. He said, however, that he believes it is still possible for a good meeting to be had if it is organized properly.

Read it all from the Anglican Journal.

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