Daily Archives: May 26, 2016

[Christian Today] Church of Scotland passes landmark unity pact with Church of England

The Columba Declaration has been discussed for the past 15 years and officially ties the two churches, which have been seperate since the 16th century Reformation. It was passed at the Scottish Church’s general assembly on Wednesday. The CoE’s general synod passed the measure in February.

The Archbishop of Canterbury became the first CoE leader to join a debate at the general assembly and urged support for the report. Justin Welby acknowledged significant differences in the doctrines of the two churches but said the Columba Declaration provided a framework to affirm common ground.

Earlier in the assembly’s five day meeting the CoS agreed to accept ministers who are in same-sex marriages, something the CoE has not done.

“We won’t always necessarily find ourselves walking in step with one another, something I’ve been particularly conscious of, as, like you, we have been considering the issues around same-sex marriages, and following your earlier debate on ministers in same-sex marriages,” Welby said in his address.

“But what we believe we are providing in this report is a sound framework for us to affirm and build on the agreement we have, for the sake of our common witness to Christ.”

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

Jeffrey Miller's 2nd Sermon at St Philips (John 3): "Happy Birthday"

You can listen directly here or download it there,

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(ACNS) Primate of Uganda warns against syncretism

The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, has warned against syncretism ”“ the practice of merging different religious beliefs. The warning came after a prominent Christian politician made a public visit to her ancestral shrine to give thanks for her re-election ”“ a practice in line with the country’s traditional religions.

“We value our ancestors because we are connected to them by the relationship we have,” Archbishop Ntagali said. “But, we must always trust only in God. We no longer need to go through the spirits of the dead because Jesus is our hope and protector. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, as Jesus says in John 14:6.

“The Church of Uganda condemns syncretism,” he said, as he urged bishops and clergy to “use this opportunity to proclaim the sufficiency of Christ crucified to meet all our needs, and to work pastorally with Christians to apply this glorious truth practically in their lives.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of Uganda, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Theology, Uganda

[Hong Kong Economic Journal] Anglican Church drops Chung Chi to show loyalty to Beijing

..in the local Christian community, the parting of ways between the Anglican Church and Chung Chi College, the divinity college of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is seen as a profound political development.

Its roots can be traced to efforts by Beijing to penetrate Hong Kong churches to persuade them to focus on spiritual matters and support the administration in the fields of education and social welfare.
..the leadership of the Anglican Church appears to have lost its voice amid the political turmoil in society, shirking from its duty to speak up on sensitive political issues for fear of offending the powers that be.

Beijing has appointed [Archbishop] Paul Kwong, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, into the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, making the church a subject of the Communist Party’s rule.

In fact, the appointment implies that the Anglican Church is no longer an independent Christian church but a part of the Communist Party.

Many Hong Kong people lament that Sheng Kung Hui now belongs to the pro-Beijing camp, with its leader telling his congregation to “stay silent just like Jesus did on the cross” while the debate on the government’s political reform proposal was raging two years ago.

His position on the issue is that Hong Kong people should not go against the central government when it comes to its policies for the city.

Kwong also criticized those who joined the Occupy protests for trying to “force” central authorities to meet their demand for an election without Beijing intervention, adding that people should also try to look at the issue from the central government’s perspective.

He kept quiet when the authorities started condemning the Occupy protesters for “thinking only about their own interests and not considering the good of the public”.

It is somewhat unnerving that just weeks before the Anglican Church announced its decision on the breakup with Chung Chi College, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the latest round of restrictions on religions including Christianity..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council

Sudan: Massacre in Heiban as Nuba ”˜genocide’ enters its sixth year

By Elizabeth Kendal at Lapidomedia
At 6 pm on 1 May, two Sudanese Air Force MiG fighter jets attacked residential areas within Heiban town in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, killing six children, three from one family.

The dead children were named as: Nidal Abdolrahman Ibrahim (12), Ibrahim Abdolrahman Ibrahim (10), Jihan Abdolrahman Ibrahim (5), Hafez Mahmud (10) Kuku Dawli (4), and Yusif Yagoub (4).

Despite an almost complete news blackout, the ”˜Heiban Massacre’ is not an isolated incident.

The Government of Sudan’s genocidal jihad against the non-Arab and mostly non-Muslim peoples of Sudan’s ”˜New South’ ”“ Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile ”“ continues a campaign that has just entered its sixth year.

For the Christians of the Nuba Mountains, it is the second ‘genocide’ in a generation.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Religious Freedom / Persecution

[Mark Thompson] Professor John Bainbridge Webster FRSE (1955”“2016)

I first met John Webster in 1996 when he began as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity in the University of Oxford. He was, as a friend of mine and I observed at the time, ‘quite frankly the most impressive theological voice in Oxford today’. We went together to every one of his lectures that was advertised. His very first lecture series on Christology was full of insights that have served me well ever since. It was from John that I first heard the common sense observation ‘we can never talk about God behind his back: our thinking and speaking of God is always done in his presence’. Theology suddenly becomes an intensely serious matter when that simple truth is remembered. It must never be a guise for intellectual self-assertion or ecclesiastical control.

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Posted in Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Address to the Church of Scotland General Assembly

As a theologically very under-educated Archbishop, I am slowly learning a little..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

[Bp Bill Atwood] On the Election of the New Kenyan Archbishop

..Over the last few years, realizing that Archbishop Eliud would retire, I would watch the Kenyan House of Bishops. In particular, I watched to see how they handled disagreement and pursued peace. At one meeting after another, I kept noticing one relatively young Bishop. Any time he would report on his activities with the poor, it would be truly inspirational. The best part, however, would be in the midst of disagreements. Bishop Jackson would not say much as he listened to arguments. When he finally did speak to an issue I noticed two things. First, his comments were always measured and wise beyond his years. He never denigrated anyone, but always found ways to frame things so that others were interested in coming together. The second thing I noticed was that what he recommended was always what we wound up doing. Not from the standpoint of “Jackson says do this so we will”¦” but from the standpoint that he always seemed to identify a position that the group eventually decided to pursue. He is an extraordinary leader who leads with great humility but also great clarity about care for people (especially the poor), while never wavering from Biblical truth.

I believe that the selection of Jackson Ole Sapit as Archbishop of Kenya will prove to be a great move. I have loved Archbishops David Gitari, Benjamin Nzimbi, and Eliud Wabukala. Now I am thrilled to see the process work so wonderfully well in the selection of Jackson Ole Sapit..

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces

Needing to raise ten of millions, Washington National Cathedral picks a fundraiser for its new dean

One of Randy Hollerith’s earliest memories is of watching stonemasons at work at the Washington National Cathedral when his great-aunts took him there as a child. Now, as the nationally prominent institution’s next dean, Hollerith will be responsible for stabilizing the cathedral in a different way.

The cathedral, a huge, soaring hilltop church known for hosting presidential funerals and other major national worship events, announced Monday that the 52-year-old Richmond priest will take over in August.

Hollerith follows Gary Hall, a gregarious, Hollywood-bred activist who brought the Gothic cathedral into the news by hosting same-sex weddings, gun control events and Muslim prayer, among other things. Hollerith isn’t as widely known and describes himself as not driven by issues; he was picked out of a field of 32 candidates in good part because of his experience as a strategic fundraiser and manager. That’s considered essential at a time when the cathedral needs to raise tens of millions of dollars to get on stable financial footing because of a damaging earthquake and a culture that is largely deserting its commitment to religious institutions.

Read it all from the Washington Post.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes, Theology

The media are prophesying the end of Christianity in the UK. Here's why they're wrong

Today the media are reporting on yet another doomsday report that suggests Christianity is in decline.

Researchers at the St Mary’s Catholic University in Twickenham analysed data collected through the British Social Attitudes surveys over the last three decades. It found that in 2014, 48.5% of those asked said they had no religion, compared to 25% that fell into the ‘none’ category in the 2011 census.

Those who did define themselves as Christian ”“ from a variety of denominations ”“ made up 43.8% of the population. The report said churches in general were struggling to retain people brought up as Christians.

Read it all from the PC website.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(C Of E) Theological literacy boosted by new Christianity resource for schools

Teaching of Christianity in schools is set to be transformed by a new”¯resource from the Church of England, launched today. Understanding Christianity is”¯a”¯set of comprehensive materials”¯and training which will enable pupils”¯from age 4 to 14”¯to develop”¯their understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to making sense”¯of the world and their own experience within it.

Available to all schools across the country the resource was written by a team of RE advisers from RE Today Services, in collaboration with more than 30 expert teachers”¯and academics, and”¯has been trialled in over 50 schools.

Understanding Christianity was”¯commissioned by the Church of England Education Office with the generous support of Culham St Gabriels,”¯The Sir Halley Stewart Trust, the Jerusalem Trust and”¯an anonymous donor.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Augustine of Canterbury

O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy name for thy servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Scottish Prayer Book

O Almighty God, who on the day of Pentecost didst send the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to abide in thy Church unto the end: Bestow upon us, and upon all thy faithful people, his manifold gifts of grace; that with minds enlightened by his truth and hearts purified by his presence, we may day by day be strengthened with power in the inward man; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who, with thee and the same Spirit, liveth and reigneth one God world without end.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.

–Psalm 37:3-5

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Church of England House of Bishops Meeting May 2016

The House of Bishops of the Church of England met on 23-24 May 2016.

On its first day the Bishops received an update on the shared conversations process, received a report from the Faith and Order Commission and discussed the contribution and vision of the Church of England on Education. A substantial amount of time was spent on safeguarding including receiving the report of the Elliot Review from the Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally.

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

(UMNS) Methodist Delegates react to plan to defer human sexuality petitions

Love will keep us together, the Rev. Eli Sule Yakku of Central Nigeria said at the end of a long day filled with both kind and harsh words on the floor of the 2016 General Conference over lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and their role in The United Methodist Church.

The day started with a silent vigil by LGBTQ clergy and clergy candidates. Delegates walked past people wearing robes and holding crosses draped with “Shower of Stoles.” Many United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates came out as gay in the past two weeks.

During a particularly tense moment, a delegate rose and asked Bishop William T. McAlilly to step down as the presiding officer.

The decision to accept a recommendation from the Council of Bishops held all votes on human sexuality and referred all that legislation and the entire subject to a yet-to-be named special commission that will examine “every paragraph in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

PBS Religion+Ethics Newsweekly–Ethical Obligations to Displaced People

According to the United Nations, last year some eight million people around the world were displaced from their homes by conflict and social upheaval””the largest number ever recorded in a single year. This coming week (May 23-24), as the UN convenes the first World Humanitarian Summit, correspondent Kim Lawton talks with prominent Roman Catholic theologian and ethicist Rev. David Hollenbach SJ about the global refugee crisis and the moral obligations he believes the US government and individual Americans have to respond.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Travel