Daily Archives: July 25, 2016

[Christian Times] China shuts 'unofficial' Christian churches ahead of G20 summit

Chinese authorities are banning “illegal” and “unofficial” churches in preparation for the G20 summit, which will be held in Hangzhou.

Many heads of state will arrive in the city for a two-day meeting in September. Authorities say closing the churches in Hangzhou was meant for safety purposes.
One unofficial Protestant church that has existed for 40 years in the city’s Jianghan district and has around 2,000 members received a warning about the “illegal gatherings” they were apparently holding. The religious affairs bureau instructed it to “reform its illegal gathering activities,” according to Radio Free Asia.

Along with the notice came officials who took down a large cross on a church wall.

The church, which has since then been prohibited from meeting together, sought counsel from lawyer Li Guisheng.

Li said authorities have attempted to convince the church to become part of the Three-Self church, but they continually refused. Their refusal could be the reason behind the ban on church meetings, Li said.

Read it all

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

[Jeff Walton] Episcopal Seminary Succumbs to “Unsustainable” Spending

The Episcopal Church has dropped from 3.6 million to 1.8 million members in a generation; this historic decline will have continued consequences for institutions that seek to serve the denomination
A menu of recycled 1960s-era liberation theology themes garnished with radical sexuality and gender studies proved unappealing to prospective seminarians. If a seminary is to survive, it has to provide something the secular culture isn’t already promoting ”“ in this case, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC)

[Roger Bootle] The Brexit pill has not choked us as expected

Contrary to President Obama’s warning that “the UK would go to the back of the queue”, it seems the US is embracing the prospect of a trade deal with the UK. There is also enthusiasm from Canada, Australia, India, China, Japan, Brazil and New Zealand.

Of course, the really big question concerns our trade relationship with the EU, and on that we still know very little. But at least the penny has begun to drop for many people that being outside the single market does not mean being unable to trade with it.

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, England / UK

[Liam Halligan] The Brexit vote is over and the UK is fine – let’s stop the negativity

..The major danger facing the UK economy now isn’t Brexit, but a systemic meltdown on European bond markets sparked by Italy. For months, this column has warned about the danger posed by the vast swathe of non-performing loans harbored by Italian banks ”“ amounting to over 15pc of all loans outstanding, close to a jaw-dropping 20pc of GDP.

Italy is in this mess partly due to financial mismanagement but mainly because, since adopting the single currency in 1999, the country’s GDP has barely grown. Constrained by a high-currency euro strait-jacket, Italy has stagnated, causing even responsibly extended loans to go bad.

With the cost of recapitalizing Italy’s main banks standing at around €50bn, this crisis should be manageable. Yet EU rules prevent any state bail-out prior to a “bail-in” ”“ that is, shareholders and bondholders taking a hit before any taxpayer backing. But that would mean millions of innocent Italian households lose considerable sums ”“ as uninsured depositors or owners of widely-held retail bank bonds.

Were that to happen, Italy’s Five Star movement, which has recently overtaken the ruling centre-Left party in opinion polls, could easily take power. Having just clinched mayoral seats in Turin and Rome, Five Star is resurgent ”“ not least due to its pledge to hold a referendum on Italian euro membership..

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, England / UK

Mendelssohn – I waited for the Lord

Académie Vocale de Paris [13-18 year-olds]

I waited for the Lord, he inclined unto me, he heard my complaint.
O bless’d are they that hope and trust in the Lord. [see Psalm 40:1-5]

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint James the Apostle

O gracious God, we remember before thee this day thy servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that thou wilt pour out upon the leaders of thy Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among thy people; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and 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 the American Prayer Book

Almighty God, whose loving hand hath given us all that we possess: Grant us grace that we may honour thee with our substance, and, remembering the account which we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of thy bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

–Psalm 56:3-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Bishop of Sodor and Man Robert Paterson to retire

The Right Reverend Robert Paterson, 67, has served the Diocese of Sodor and Man since 2008, as well as holding a seat on the island’s Legislative Council.

He told Manx Radio his decision to retire on 11 November was motivated “purely by age”.

Sodor and Man is the smallest diocese in the Church of England, overseeing 45 churches and 27 parishes.

Read it all.

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

(Sunday [London] Times) C of E priest Clive Larsen has resigned so he can marry his male partner

A notice on a church website, which was removed after The Sunday Times began making inquiries, read: “A ceremony of commitment and blessing . . . Clive will be resigning his post in the church from the day before.”

The notice requested that guests “make a bit of an effort” by bringing “your favourite savoury or sweet dish to share” and suggested bringing “enough [drink] for yourself and maybe a bit extra just in case”.

The service included a blessing from a liturgy originally intended for civil partnerships, beginning: “God the giver of life, God the bearer of pain, God the maker of love, bless, preserve and keep you.”

Larsen said he did not want to embarrass either the Church of England or David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, by discussing the details of his departure…

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture