The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and the entire Church received with delight, relief and optimism the news of the release of 21 of the Chibok girls that we had long been praying for in the last two years. This was particularly heartening at a time when hope was almost fading about whether these girls would return again. And while the release of these 21 girls is heartwarming, one hopes that it is an indication that the rest will be released in due course at which time the joy of the entire nation can be full.
Daily Archives: October 17, 2016
The Church of England is at a crossroads in her calling to bring hope and transformation to our nation. The presenting issue is that of human sexuality, in particular whether or not the Church is able to affirm sexual relationships beyond opposite sex marriage. But the tectonic issues beneath, and driving, this specific question include what it means to be faithful to our apostolic inheritance, the Church’s relationship with wider culture, and the nature of the biblical call to holiness in the 21st Century. ”¦
We do not believe ”¦ that it is within our gift to consider human sexual relationships and what constitutes and enables our flourishing as sexual beings to be of ”˜secondary importance’. What is at stake goes far beyond the immediate pastoral challenges of human bisexual and same-sex sexual behaviour: it is a choice between alternative and radically different visions of what it means to be human, to honour God in our bodies, and to order our lives in line with God’s holy will.
At this crucial juncture, as our bishops pray and discern together regarding how the Church of England should walk forward at this time, we urge them not to depart from the apostolic inheritance with which they have been entrusted. ”¦”
The Anglican Diocese of Calabar on Monday pointed out that the practice of true federalism in Nigeria is the only panacea to Nigeria’s multifaceted problems.
Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Tunde Adeleye, who stated this at a press briefing to mark the 2nd session of 9th Synod of the Diocese in Calabar, averred that states should be given more powers to manage some pressing local affairs, while the Federal Government should maintain its roles on national security and diplomatic matters.
In the historic Parish Church of St. Helena Sunday morning, clergy delivered a message of gratitude in the calm following Hurricane Matthew’s storm.
“The question for us today is ”˜are you thankful?’” Rev. Shay Gaillard asked during his sermon taken from the New Testament book of Luke.
Residents who stayed in town to ride out the storm might have felt alone, Gaillard said, and those who evacuated might have felt vulnerable without their normal support system.
The human tragedy that is the Calais ”˜jungle’ camp has been a constant cause for concern and prayer in the Diocese. Being but a few miles from our own coastline, its devastating impact on those that live and volunteer there, the local French community, lorry drivers and port workers, holiday-makers and security staff, has been impossible to ignore.
Although clearly an intolerable situation, news of its imminent dismantling does little to dispel concern for everyone involved. Our prayer now is that the clearance process be carried out with humanity and in the recognition of the human dignity of each person present. We acknowledge too the need for swift and urgent protection for the many unaccompanied young people and children present in the camp who are now faced with increased danger.
The appeal to pastoral accommodation as a way forward has now been analysed both in principle and in relation to three examples. This has shown there are major problems with appealing to pastoral accommodation to justify commonly proposed developments affirming of sexual same-sex unions without either changing the church’s teaching or demonstrating and getting agreement that the developments are in principle consistent with that teaching. This does not rule out such developments as clergy in same-sex sexual unions (including marriages) or the liturgical recognition of such unions. It does though mean that if they are to be proposed (by the bishops or anyone else) then some other justifications than simply an appeal to pastoral accommodation are needed and these other rationales will need to be developed and weighed by the church. An appeal to pastoral accommodation properly understood and as we have used it in the past simply will not work.
Ignatius offers a fascinating insight into the heart of a true man of God given over to His will. It is tempting to want to leap from his example and vision of episcopacy to its practice within our own Church at this time, but such a leap needs great care. A bishop in the first decade of the second century cannot fairly be compared even to one of 250 years later let alone in the Church of today. The three-fold ministry was still in an early stage of its development. Even though Lightfoot has cogently argued that a case can be made for regarding episcopacy as being of Apostolic direction, and therefore possessing Divine sanction, long years of evolution and growth lay before it. At this stage too the Church across the Roman Empire faced the daily possibility of considerable persecution and martyrdom. That demanded a particular kind of shepherding and witness.
On the other hand a bishop at the beginning of the third millennium might profitably and properly ask (or be asked) whether endless committees and synods are really the way in which their lives are to be laid down for their flock? An institution requires administration, but in the New Testament list of charisms, administrators are quite low in the order of priorities, and of its pastors at this time the Church has other, more pressing, needs. Rather than imposing upon an already disheartened clergy systems of appraisal (mostly copied from secular models of management) it would be good for parish priests to experience bishops as those who were around so much that they could afford regularly to ”˜drop in’ and just be with them. It is hard to expect the parish clergy to make visiting a priority if their fathers in God do not set an example.
In some dioceses the more obviously pastoral role has sometimes been exercised by a suffragan but as more and more diocesan bishops, at least within the Church of England, are being selected from the ranks of the suffragans the temptation is for those who are ambitious to prove their worth more as potential managers than those given to the ”˜Word of God and prayer’ (Acts 6.2). If the communities within which the bishops are to exercise their ministry of unity and care are too large for them to do their work has not the time come to press for smaller dioceses and for bishops to strip themselves of the remnants of the grandeur their office once held and be found, above all, with their clergy and amongst the people, drawing them together into the unity for which Christ gave himself?
I have just returned from participating in the Sixth Global South “South-to-South” Encounter of Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy, theologians and other leaders from 16 Provinces in the Global South (plus other orthodox Anglican representatives from Bangladesh, USA, Canada, and Australia). It was a privilege to represent the Province of North America (Anglican Church in North America) and to serve on the team that helped to draft the Communique from Cairo October 6, 2016.
With everything still fresh in mind, I’d like to point out seven (7) take-aways from the Global South Communique…
..then the Communique turns its attention to the Mother Church itself, the Church of England (COE). In the context of just condemning those Provinces so closely linked, geographically and historically, to England, the Communique goes on to say “We are deeply concerned that there appears to be a potential move towards the acceptance of blessing of same sex union by COE.” (para. 31). The Global South is watching the Mother Church closely. In typically gracious fashion, the Global South cites the “potential move.” It hasn’t happened, yet. But it is on the table; the recommendations of the Pilling Report are before the COE General Synod. With grace, the Communique notes the unique role of the COE in the life of the Communion: how its decisions as the Mother Church impact the Communion more deeply, how its Primate (the ABC) is “first among equals.” But the Global South is watching nonetheless. And then it concludes with a not-so-subtle warning: the acceptance of the blessing of same sex union by COE “would have serious implications for us should it occur.” (para. 31).
What are those implications? How should we imagine them in the context of the statement about the role of the ABC as “first among equals”? The presence of the Bishops of Winchester and Durham, the next most senior Sees in the COE after Canterbury and York, highlights the gravity of the situation in the COE. The Global South is watching, and waiting.
Almighty God, we praise thy name for thy bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch, who offered himself as grain to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that he might present unto thee the pure bread of sacrifice. Accept, we pray thee, the willing tribute of our lives, and give us a share in the pure and spotless offering of thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Ah, ohlala, que je souffre, oh, c'est terrible !
Cesare Fracanzano – Martyrdom of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. N.d., XVIIth century pic.twitter.com/qbVbKSFkrg
— Corentin (@Atogadp) September 28, 2016
Grant us, O Lord, so to enter on the service of our Christian warfare, that, putting on the whole armour of God, we may endure hardness and fight against the spiritual powers of darkness, and be more than conquerors through him that loved us, Jesus Christ our Lord.
To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.
Three Christian converts each facing 80 lashes for drinking alcohol during Holy Communion are due before an Iranian court to challenge their sentences.
They were arrested on 13th May 2016 and charged with “acting against national security”, alongside Youcef Nadarkhani, a pastor once sentenced to death for apostasy.
Miles Windsor from Middle East Concern, an organisation which defends the religious freedoms of Christians, told Premier Christian Radio: “Do be praying that these men would be acquitted, that they will be freed.
..When things fall apart, people are destroyed. It’s not something to be wished for. The integrity of Christianity””along with most forms of human decency””was not strengthened by the demise of the Roman Empire, nor by the collapse of the corrupted Weimar Republic. As a conservative, I believe that continuities, even twisted ones, form a more trustworthy basis for radical renewal than do the apocalyptic cataclysms of social chaos.
Christians should see the present nadir of American politics and its enabling of a hollowed-out culture as a summons to deeper catechesis, more persuasive apologetics, fuller evangelical communion, brighter martyrdoms. Nor does this does preclude Christian engagement in public life, however difficult that may be in our present culture of “liberal” intolerance, precisely if our engagement is sustained by the renewal of a common witness of faith. As Christians, we bear terrible responsibilities, in our complicities and acquiescence, for a past that has brought us to this condition. We now bear even heavier constructive ones for the future. It is a venerable penance and vocation, that stands independent of the political parties of our era.
The hobbits are worthy opponents of the allurement of the Ring exactly because their life-aims are so very modest. Wanting nothing more than to preserve the freedom of their own peaceable Shire, they have no grandiose ambitions. Their meekness uniquely qualifies them to destroy the Ring in the Cracks of Doom. Theirs is a Quest that can be accomplished by the small even more aptly than by the great – by ordinary folks far more than conventional heroes. In fact, the figure who gradually emerges as the rightful successor to Frodo is the least likely hobbit of them all, the comically inept, grammar-slaughtering, xenophobic – but also name-fulfilling creature – Samwise Gamgee.
Precisely in the unlikely heroism of the small but doughty does Tolkien’s pre-Christian world become most Christian and joyful. Whether in the ancient Nordic and Germanic, or else in the Greek and Roman worlds, only the strong and extraordinary are capable of heroism. The great man stands apart from his mediocre kith. He outdistances them in every way, whether in courage or knowledge.
It is not so in Middle-earth. The greatness of the Nine Walkers lies in the modesty of both their abilities and accomplishments. Their strength lies in their weakness, in their solidarity as a company unwilling to wield controlling power over others.
Why do you think the cross, its image and message, is so captivating?
It seems as though the world knows in its bones that the cross of Jesus was the ultimate revelation of true power and true love. Most people for some of their lives, and some people for most of their lives, nurse sorrows and wounds whether secret or open; and the thought or sight of Jesus on the cross, perhaps particularly when it’s painted beautifully or set to wonderful and appropriate music, speaks of the true God not as a distant, faceless bureaucrat, nor as a bullying boss, but as the one who has strangely come into the middle of the pains and sorrows of the world and taken their full force on himself. In a sense, all of Christian theology, certainly theology of the cross, is the attempt to explain, to give a wise and scriptural account of, that very immediate, personal, visceral impact.
Vocation is seen largely in terms of callings to ordination and lay ministries. The new section of the C of E website on Renewal and Reform includes vocation under the heading of Renewing Discipleship & Ministry. Other catagories under this heading are Discipleship (nurturing the call and teaching the faith), Resourcing Ministerial Education (the recruitment and funding of ministry, lay and ordained), and Lay Ministry (increasing lay ministers, and bettering their relationship with the clergy).
Resourcing Ministerial Education (RME) concentrates on tackling the task of increasing the number entering ordained in the C of E by 50 per cent by 2020, and predicts that this will be best achieved by diversifying the range of candidates put forward for ordination, targeting, in particular, young women and ethnic-minority candidates.
“A 50-per-cent increase sounds massive, but, translated into actual numbers for a typical diocese, this means an increase from eight to 12 per year, which seems highly realistic,” the director of the Archbishops’ Council’s Ministry Division, the Ven. Julian Hubbard, said. “On that basis, I am confident that the overall increase is achievable. Different dioceses will contribute in different ways, and our research suggests that some dioceses have significant scope for increase, especially among younger people.”
In the Shubra al-Kheima neighborhood of Cairo, Sharouk, 20, has had two engagements broken off by her prospective grooms’ families. The reason: She couldn’t afford to buy kitchen appliances.
In Sharouk’s working-class community, the groom is responsible for the apartment and furniture, while the bride provides a refrigerator, stove and washing machine. The engagement is sealed with a gift of gold jewelry from the groom to the bride.
The soft-spoken young woman has worked in a nearby factory since she was 12. But Sharouk’s earnings of about $50 a month are buying less and less. And she is still helping her widowed mother, Samiha, pay off debts from money they borrowed for the marriages of her sister and brother.