Daily Archives: February 24, 2016

(CEN) Archbishop of Ghana–We need our troops here in fight against Boko Haram

The Government of Ghana has been urged to bring its troops home to help fight the threat posed by Boko Haram.

The call came from the Archbishop of Ghana and Primate of West Africa, the Most Rev Daniel Sarfo, who urged the recall of troops serving in overseas peacekeeping missions.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Province of West Africa, Anglican Provinces, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ghana, Theology

(Diocese of Oxford) Responding to loneliness–The story of David, 21

David, 21, doesn’t do parties. The graduate from Reading University lip-reads because he lost his hearing when he had meningitis at the age of two. As it’s almost impossible to lip-read in a group, it makes parties a challenge. “If I’m in a group I tend to stay at the back because I can’t hear what’s going on at the centre. That makes me feel as though I’m on the outside looking in,” he says. “I told myself I didn’t mind not going to parties, but then I’d find I wasn’t invited and I’d think: ”˜Why wasn’t I invited?’ It would be nice to feel that someone was inviting me.”

On his first day at Reading, David discovered the chaplaincy, a homely place where you could go to be quiet or chat or just chill. “The kind of people you find at the chaplaincy are people who also feel on the outside of groups,” says David. “People go there to find a connection with somebody and that’s what I would find there. It’s where I met Mark [the Anglican Chaplain] who became my confidant and counsellor.”

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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, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

(WSJ) How ISIS' Secret Banking Network Prospers

More than a year of U.S.-led airstrikes and financial sanctions haven’t stopped Islamic State from ordering supplies for its fighters, importing food for its subjects or making quick profits in currency arbitrage.

This is because of men such as Abu Omar, one of the militant group’s de facto bankers. The Iraqi businessman is part of a network of financiers stretching across northern and central Iraq who for decades have provided money transfers and trade finance for the many local merchants who shun conventional banks.

When Islamic State seized control of the region in 2014, the world’s wealthiest terror group made him an offer he decided not to refuse: You can keep your business if you also handle our money.

“I don’t ask questions,” said Abu Omar, whose money-exchange offices in the Iraqi cities of Mosul, Sulimaniyah, Erbil and Hit charge as much as 10% to transfer cash in and out of militant territory””twice normal rates. “Islamic State is good for business.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Globalization, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Terrorism

Today in History–You have to smile

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

(USA Today) James KA Smith–Colleges should cut the Love Boat competition and focus on education

Here’s a radical idea: What if we contained the mission of our universities to education? The story behind the story of student debt inflation is the inflation of the university into an expanding behemoth of goods and services that have little to do with education and more to do with expectations of coddled comfort. Rather than being an institution centered on education, the university now aspires to be a total institution that meets every felt need. The campus is now a sprawling complex of fitness centers and cineplexes, food courts and gargantuan coliseums. Students aren’t taking out loans to pay for an education; they’re effectively borrowing money to pay exorbitant, short-lived taxes for the privilege of living in a scripted, cocooned city.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Theology, Young Adults

(G+M) Spy agencies see sharp rise in number of Canadians involved in terrorist activities abroad

Canada’s spy agencies have tracked 180 Canadians who are engaged with terrorist organizations abroad, while another 60 have returned home.

The latest figures mark a significant increase from the findings of the 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Can-ada, which identified about 130 people involved in terror-related activities overseas, including 30 taking an active role with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the Nusra Front in Syria.

“The total number of people overseas involved in threat-re-lated activities ”“ and I’m not just talking about Iraq and Syria ”“ is probably around 180,” Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Michel Coulombe told The Globe and Mail after testifying before the House of Commons public safety committee. “In Iraq and Syria, we are probably talking close to 100.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Terrorism, Theology

(C of E) Dame Moira Gibb announced as Chair of independent review into Peter Ball case

The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced the appointment of Dame Moira Gibb to be chair of the independent review into the way the Church of England responded to the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, who was jailed last year for sex offences.

Dame Moira has worked at a senior level in the statutory sector – she was Chief Executive of Camden Council until 2011 – and holds a range of non-executive roles. Most recently she was the chair of the Serious Case Review (published January 2016) into safeguarding at Southbank International School in the wake of the crimes committed by William Vahey.
She will be assisted in the review by Kevin Harrington JP, safeguarding consultant and lead reviewer on a range of Serious Case Reviews; James Reilly, former Chief Executive of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (until Feb 2016); Heather Schroeder MBE, currently vice chair of Action for Children and formerly held senior positions in social services and children’s services in a number of local authorities.

The review will be published once Dame Moira and her team have completed their work which is expected to be within a year. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) chaired by Justice Goddard will also be looking at the Peter Ball case but have made it clear that institutions should continue with their previous commitments on safeguarding and the Church is in ongoing touch with IICSA on this.

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

(BBC Mag.) The girl who said 'no' to marriage

Balkissa Chaibou dreamed of becoming a doctor, but when she was 12 she was shocked to learn she had been promised as a bride to her cousin. She decided to fight for her rights – even if that meant taking her own family to court.

“I came from school at around 18:00, and Mum called me,” Balkissa Chaibou recalls.

“She pointed to a group of visitors and said of one of them, ‘He is the one who will marry you.’

“I thought she was joking. And she told me, ‘Go unbraid, and wash your hair.’ That is when I realised she was serious.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Niger, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Women

(CTC) Green shoots of growth springing in an east London C of E parish

Last May, CTC embarked on a pioneering partnership with St George-in-the-East ”“ the church in whose crypt we are now based.

The parish was between priests and, owing to its declining congregation, the Bishop of Stepney decided to review its pattern and provision of ministry. St George’s shared some of our passions ”“ being a place of prayer; working with and for its neighbours, and growing numerically ”“ but the challenge of maintenance (of a Grade I listed building with a Sunday congregation sometimes under twenty) made it hard to engage in much mission.

CTC made a proposal to the parish, and to the Bishop ”“ for an experimental partnership, with a community of young people living in the Rectory helping to renew the mission of the church and the two CTC staff who are Anglican priests (The Revd Tim Clapton and me) being licensed to the parish. For the same level of resource as the diocese would usually invest in a parish (through providing a rectory and clergy stipend), St George’s would get a very different pattern of ministry.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthias

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Gordon Hewitt

O God, who through thy Son Jesus Christ hast promised help to man according to his faith: Grant us the freedom of the children to taste the food of eternal life, and to share with others what we ourselves receive; through the merits of the same thy Son, our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth! Amen and Amen!

–Psalm 72:18-19

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Church of Uganda: Archbishop’s Lenten Appeal to Pray for Uganda and the Anglican Communion

[Extracts are below, but read the whole letter]
..ANGLICAN COMMUNION. My second burden in prayer has been for our beloved Anglican Communion. As you know and have heard me and our leaders say many times, the fabric of the Anglican Communion was torn at its deepest level in 2003. The Episcopal Church in America (TEC) elected as Bishop a divorced father of two living in a same-sex relationship. Not only was this a direct violation of the Bible, but it violated Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998 which rejected “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture”¦and cannot advise the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

There was an emergency meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in October 2003 and our retired Archbishop Nkoyoyo attended that meeting in London. All the Primates in that meeting agreed that if TEC proceeded to consecrate this man as a Bishop, it would tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level, and that TEC should not proceed with the consecration. Even the Presiding Bishop (Archbishop) of TEC agreed to this resolution.

Yet, immediately after the meeting ended, the TEC Presiding Bishop held a press conference outside of Lambeth Palace and told the press that he would preside at the consecration scheduled to take place just a few weeks later.

We felt so betrayed. We wondered how the TEC Presiding Bishop could agree that their consecration should not proceed ”“ how he could agree that if he presided at that consecration that it would tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level ”“ and then immediately turn around and announce that he would do it anyway. It was a double betrayal ”“ betraying the clear message of the Bible and betraying an agreement the Primates had made unanimously.

Thirteen years later, the Primates of the Anglican Communion gathered last month in January 2016 in Canterbury to discuss what to do about the fact that not only had TEC torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level in 2003, but they have since changed the definition of marriage to no longer be a lifelong union between one man and one woman. There is a new Presiding Bishop in TEC and a new Archbishop of Canterbury. We were cautiously optimistic that the tear in the fabric of our communion could be repaired and betrayal healed.

The overwhelming majority of Primates voted that there should be relational consequences for TEC because they are officially promoting false teaching. They should, therefore, not be allowed to represent the Anglican Communion in ecumenical and interfaith dialogues. Likewise, they should not be allowed to vote on matters of doctrine and polity within the Anglican Communion.

This was an important, symbolic vote because it was a rebuke of TEC. It also enabled the Primates of the Anglican Communion to re-state their commitment to the doctrine of marriage as between one man and one woman.

But, it was only a symbolic vote; it was not a substantive vote. Recent statements from TEC and other leaders in the Anglican Communion have since made this clear. Let me highlight two:

1. The Presiding Bishop of TEC (The Episcopal Church) stated during the Primates Meeting that TEC would not change its position on offering “marriage” to same-sex couples, and he has repeated TEC’s commitment to a definition of marriage the Bible does not recognize. In other words, the Primates decision will have no impact on TEC.

2. TEC’s delegates to the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka have stated that they intend to go to the meeting, participate in the meeting, and vote during the meeting. The Chair of the ACC ”“ former Malawi Bishop James Tengatenga ”“ has announced that TEC will be part of the meeting and will vote during the meeting. He stated that the Primates do not have the authority to tell the ACC what to do. Since the ACC is governed by its own Articles of Association, it does not have to follow the resolution of the Primates Meeting.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is like we are back in 2003 where we continue to be betrayed by our leaders. The Primates voted to bring discipline to TEC and, yet, we now see that the leadership of the Anglican Communion does not have the will to follow through. This is another deep betrayal..
..As you know, the Church of Uganda’s Provincial Assembly has resolved that the Church of Uganda will not participate in meetings of the Anglican Communion until godly order is restored, including demonstrating that it is capable of restoring godly order. This has not yet happened. The Church of Uganda, therefore, will not be participating in the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka.

There will be a GAFCON Primates Council meeting in Chile in April, and we will discuss how to continue advancing the mission of GAFCON as a renewal movement within the Anglican Communion. As I have stated previously, we are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we are the Anglican Communion. We uphold the Biblical and historic faith of Anglicans and have come together in fellowship with other Provinces and national fellowships that have made the same decision…
I look at our beloved Anglican Communion and can only conclude that it needs a new “constitution” ”“ the way the so-called Instruments of Communion work together is broken. Our GAFCON Fellowship seeks to bring renewal to the Anglican Communion through the Jerusalem Declaration ”“ keeping the Word of God Incarnate and the Word of God written at the centre of our fellowship, upholding the historic Anglican confessions of faith, and using a conciliar model to order our common life.

I appeal to you, during this season of Lent, to please continue to pray for Uganda and for the Anglican Communion.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali


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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Ruth Gledhill–Durham is revealed as Church of England low point for Christians

Durham in the north of England is the diocese where Christians are least likely to go to a service of the Church of England, according to latest figures.

Church attendance data analysed by the Manchester Evening News shows just one in 81 Christians attended an Anglican church in Durham in 2014, a fall of nearly 10 per cent since 2009.

The figures indicate the continuing decline in church attendance over centuries but that has been particularly marked in the last few decades.

Read it all from Christian Today.

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

(GR) Covering the funeral of Antonin Scalia, while ignoring what the Mass was really about

To be blunt: The last thing this funeral Mass was about was “spirituality.” So search the [New York] Times story and look for the role that terms such as “Christian” and “Catholic” played in its contents. What about “Jesus,” you ask? Forget about it.

The strongest religious language in the [New York] Times piece linked a kind of vague, Americanized faith with a nod to current fights over religious liberty.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Christology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Marriage & Family, Media, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Soteriology, Theology