Monthly Archives: April 2017

(Church of England) What is the role of a Godparent?

Godparents are among the most important people at a christening, who make big promises to encourage their godchild to grow in faith and commit to helping them understand how to live their life in a Christian way.

Alongside your godchild’s parents, you will

Give your time to your godchild to talk to about the bigger questions of life – questions about hope, faith and love.
Model and encourage them to develop Christian values – being kind and compassionate towards others, being generous towards others in need with time or money and standing against things in the world that cause injustice and suffering.

Pray for your godchild through the ups and downs of their life and their faith journey….

Read it all.

Posted in Baptism, Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Sacramental Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Irish Prayer Book

Look, we beseech thee, O Lord, upon the people of this land who are called after thy holy name, that they may ever walk worthy of their Christian profession. Grant unto us all that, laying aside our divisions, we may be united in heart and mind to bear the burdens which are laid upon us, and be enabled by patient continuance in well-doing to glorify thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93:4-5

Posted in Theology: Scripture

A Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates to Members and Supporters After their just concluded Lagos Meeting

Many in our African provinces are confronted by the dual threats of insurgent Islamism and drought. The targeting of Christians and churches in northern Nigeria has been in the news, and the daily dangers there and elsewhere continue to be real. Combined with drought conditions, there is the potential for widespread famine in our Sub-Saharan provinces.

In our Global North provinces the challenges are different. With the increasing influence of materialism, secularism, and the loss of moral foundations, our people in these provinces face dangers that are subtle, but spiritually dangerous.

Please keep each of these concerns in your prayers, and consider what God might be calling you to do in response. Our provinces have borders, but our Church does not, and the sharing of material and spiritual resources has never been more needed.

A Missionary Bishop
During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.

Read it all.

Posted in GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates

A NY Times article on the Methodist High Court Rejecting its 1st Bishop married to someone of the same sex

Stephen Drachler, a spokesman for the Western Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops, called the Judicial Council’s decision a “mixed bag.” While it was “disappointing and disturbing” that Bishop Oliveto’s consecration was found to be in violation of church law, he said, “she remains a bishop of the church” for now.

He said that the bishops of the Western Jurisdiction, who were gathering in Dallas in advance of a larger meeting of Methodist bishops, would meet on Saturday to assess the decision and respond.

The country’s third-largest religious denomination, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church adopted language in 1972 declaring that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” may not be ordained because “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Methodists have debated that language every four years at meetings of the church’s top decision-making body, the General Conference.

Read it all.

Posted in Methodist, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

(Bloomberg) Why More Couples Are Signing Postnuptial Agreements

He cheats. She wants a divorce. He pleads for forgiveness. She’ll stay, for a price: If they ever do divorce, she wants the house, the car, and a hefty slice of their other assets.

That kind of deal is possible with a postnuptial agreement, a legal contract between spouses who intend to stay together on what happens if their marriage ends. Also known as a postmarital agreement, it’s an increasingly popular variant of the prenuptial agreements that engaged couples have been signing for decades.

Couples often have very different reasons for signing postnups than prenups. And because postnups are newer and less common, it’s harder to predict whether courts will enforce one.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family

(60 Minutes) A profile of Chobani Yogurt Founder Hamdi Ulukaya–Creating Jobs in America

Sensing an opportunity Hamdi set off to the small village of New Berlin, New York, to have a look. There he found the last employees of the last plant in the area closing it down.

Hamdi Ulukaya: I remember like yesterday. It’s like this sadness in this whole place. Like as if somebody died, like, somebody important died.

Steve Kroft: Two hundred jobs?

Hamdi Ulukaya: Two hundred jobs was gone.

Former employees Frank Price, Maria Wilcox and Rich Lake were among the mourners that day.

Rich Lake: Your whole livelihood’s gone. You don’t really know what you’re gonna do or where you’re gonna go….

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Immigration, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Turkey

(Wa Post) Ed Stetzer–If it doesn’t stem its decline, mainline Protestantism has just 23 Easters left

Recently released data from the General Social Survey, sorted by what is called the RelTrad, shows that mainline Protestants are in the midst of a decades-long decline, and it has intensified in its most recent survey.

The top line shows mainline Protestant identification, and fewer say they go to churches affiliated with mainline denominations. The bottom line shows attendance, and now less than one of 33 people you meet on the street regularly attends a mainline Protestant church.

Both markers, self-identification and regular attendance, are imperfect, as are the GSS and the RelTrad, but these are among the most widely cited and trusted tool researchers use to measure religious trends. Those trend lines into the future gives us a glimpse of what could happen if patterns don’t change.

If the data continues along the same pattern, mainline Protestants have an expiration date when both trend lines cross zero in 2039.

Read it all.”>Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

(UMNS) Review all clergy qualifications, court says

United Methodist boards of ordained ministry must look at all qualifications to determine whether a ministerial candidate is a fitting applicant — including adherence to the church’s position on homosexuality.

That is the ruling of the Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, in petitions related to the New York and Northern Illinois conferences, where those boards had publicly declared they would not consider issues of sexuality when evaluating a candidate.

In total, the nine-member Judicial Council deliberated on seven docket items during its April 25-28 spring session, including a petition challenging last year’s election of a lesbian bishop, Bishop Karen Oliveto, that drew attention from church members worldwide. About 200 people attended an April 25 oral hearing on the matter.

In that case, the court ruled that the consecration of a gay bishop violates church law, but said the bishop “remains in good standing” until an administrative or judicial process is completed.

One of the qualifications for candidacy and ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church — as stated in church law — is “fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness.”

Read it all.

Posted in Methodist, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Catherine of Siena

Everlasting God, who didst so kindle the flame of holy love in the heart of blessed Catherine of Siena, as she meditated on the passion of thy Son our Savior, that she devoted her life to the poor and the sick, and to the peace and unity of the Church: Grant that we also may share in the mystery of Christ’s death, and rejoice in the revelation of His Glory, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Lancelot Andrewes

O God our Father, let us find grace in thy sight so as to have grace to serve thee acceptably with reverence and godly fear; and further grace not to receive thy grace in vain, nor to neglect it and fall from it, but to stir it up and grow in it, and to persevere in it unto the end of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

–Psalm 20:6-9

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(UMNS)–Consecration of Methodist woman Bishop who is married 2 another woman is against church law

The consecration of a gay bishop violates church law, the top court of The United Methodist Church has ruled.

However, the bishop “remains in good standing,” the Judicial Council said in Decision 1341, until an administrative or judicial process is completed.

“Under the long-standing principle of legality, no individual member or entity may violate, ignore or negate church law,” said the decision, made public April 28. “It is not lawful for the college of bishops of any jurisdictional or central conference to consecrate a self-avowed practicing homosexual bishop.”

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in Methodist, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

(Vancouver Sun) British Columbia Polygamy trial now to include a constitutional challenge of the law involving questions of religious freedom

That reference case concluded in 2012 with the B.C. Supreme Court upholding the law on the basis that polygamy’s harms were sufficient to warrant a limit on religious freedom as well a freedom of association and expression.

Referring the law to the court was initially recommended a decade ago by the first special prosecutor, Richard Peck. He said a reference was preferable to a trial, which could be “a cumbersome and time-consuming process”.

Peck said “an authoritative statement from the courts” was needed because since the 1990s, the B.C. attorney general’s ministry had refused to press charges based on legal opinions suggesting that the law was invalid.

Peck disagreed and wrote that the harms of polygamy were extensive enough that they would likely be considered a reasonable limit on Charter-protected freedoms.

“Religious freedom in Canada is not absolute,” he said. “Rather it is subject to reasonable limits.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Mormons, Religion & Culture

(NPR) Why Religion Is More Durable Than Commonly Thought In Modern Society

A study released this week by the Pew Research Center on the relation in the United States between religiosity and educational attainment (one component of modernization, along with technological change and others) at first glance appears to support the secularization thesis: The more education people have, the less religious they are.

“College graduates are less likely to say they believe in God with absolute certainty,” noted the lead Pew researcher, Gregory Smith. “They are less likely to say that religion is very important in their lives. They are less likely to say they pray regularly, and college graduates are more likely than others to identify themselves as atheists and agnostics.”

A closer look at the data, however, offers a more nuanced picture. While highly educated Jews tend to be less observant than less educated Jews, the relation between education and religiosity is weaker among those Americans with a strong Christian identity.

“Highly educated [Christian] adherents are just as religious, in some cases more religious, than their fellow members who have might have less education,” Smith said. Among mainline Protestants, for example, college graduates were actually found to be more likely than noncollege graduates to report weekly church attendance. Regardless of their educational attainment, these Christians find meaning in their church experience.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Meir Soloveichik–The Jews Who Saved Monticello

Thomas Jefferson is buried at Monticello, his estate in Charlottesville, Va. The exact spot is marked by an obelisk bearing the date of his death: July 4, 1826—50 years to the day after the Second Continental Congress declared independence. Also close to the home lies a grave belonging to Rachel Phillips Levy. According to the inscription, she died on the 7 of Iyar, 5591, following a calendar used by traditional Jews.

How did a Jewish grave end up in Monticello? The answer lies in the history of a family whose own story is every bit as American as that of Jefferson himself.

In 1776 a Jewish patriot named Jonas Phillips fled to Philadelphia from New York with the arrival of the British fleet. A decade later, he was well-regarded in his new city, and his daughter Rachel was set to marry a Jewish gentleman named Levy….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Judaism, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

For Those of You in Lowcountry SC this weekend–Gloria Kwashi will B guest preacher on Sunday, Apr 30 at Christ St Pauls Yonges Island

Posted in * South Carolina, Church of Nigeria, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

The Rector of Saint Michael’s, Charleston’s 2017 Easter Sermon–The 9 Words That Changed Everything

Have you ever gone to an event with little or no expectation that anything good would come out of it? A football game? A family reunion? Lunch with a friend? Mary and Mary Magdalene on the first Easter go to the tomb of Jesus with zero expectation of anything positive happening. Yet they would be in for the shock of their life, a shock that would come from nine words spoken by an angel at the tomb. These nine words transformed not only their expectation but their entire lives and the future of humanity. These nine can do the same for us today, stay tuned.

Read it all or if you prefer audio the link may be found there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Easter, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

(Bloomberg) Champions League Final Police to Scan Soccer Fans’ Faces

Security at this year’s Champions League final will be aided by facial recognition technology.

Police will be able to match soccer fans’ faces against a database of known offenders in real-time, according to a contract worth 170,000 pounds ($210,000) posted on the U.K. government’s website.

“The UEFA Champions League finals in Cardiff give us a unique opportunity to test and prove the concept of this technology in a live operational environment,” South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Jon Edwards said in an emailed statement, adding that it should provide a basis for further use of the technology by police.

Read it all.

Posted in --Wales, Police/Fire, Sports, Terrorism

(Church Times) Death of cathedrals: reports ‘have been exaggerated’

Suggestions that as many as half the 42 Church of England cathedrals are in danger of closing as a result of continuing financial mismanagement have been dismissed by the Bishop of Stepney, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, called the stories “grossly erroneous”.

Dean Dorber was speaking during the three-day annual conference of deans, in London this week. “There are financial stresses but these are not new,” he said. “I am optimistic, but there is panic in high places, and we need calm rational discussion rather than public hand-wringing.”

Read it all.

Posted in Architecture, Art, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(BBC) Egyptian Christians living in fear for the future

At the ancient Monastery of St Mina in the desert sands of Egypt, a low concrete tomb holds the remains of Christians slaughtered for their faith – not in Roman times, but earlier this month.
They were among almost 50 people killed in co-ordinated attacks at two churches. The bombings – on Palm Sunday – were claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Priests at the monastery say persecution is as old as the faith.

“The history of the Christians is like this,” said Father Elijah Ava Mina, his flowing white beard contrasting with his black robes. “Jesus told us ‘narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way’.”

Read it all.

Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Leonine Sacramentary

We beseech Thee, O Lord, let our hearts be graciously enlightened by Thy holy radiance, that we may serve Thee without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; that so we may survive the storms of this world, and with Thee for our Pilot attain the haven of eternal brightness; through Thy mercy, O blessed Lord, Who dost live and govern all things, world without end. Amen.

—-James Manning,ed., Prayers of the Early Church (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1953)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved….Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore

Psalm 16: 7-8;11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

ACNA Bishop John Guernsey–a response to Truro Church on the Institute Announcement

Truro leaders have made clear to me that the heart of this initiative is evangelistic. They desire to build loving relationships and, through them, to win back to the truth of Scriptures those who have departed from the historic Christian faith. And they desire to lead to Christ those who do not know Jesus as the Crucified and Risen Lord, the only Savior of the world. I certainly support such goals and pray for even more fruit from Truro’s dynamic evangelism ministries.

At the same time, as I have been made aware of the vision of the Institute, I have repeatedly expressed to the Truro leadership my deep concerns over the possibility of their conducting this ministry in partnership with the Diocese of Virginia. Because of the false teaching of the Episcopal Church, I asked them not to enter into a joint ministry with the Episcopal Diocese. The issues that divide us are of first importance and to partner with the Episcopal Church is to give he mistaken impression that these concerns are merely secondary. If I thought that the issues that divide us were secondary, I would never have left the Episcopal Church.

The Truro leadership has chosen to proceed in joint ministry with the Episcopal Diocese in spite of my opposition. I am deeply grieved by this, and I hope Truro will reconsider.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Christology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Virginia TEC Bishop Shannon Johnston writes about Truro Institute

Read it all.

Posted in Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, Theology

Truro Church in Virginia Announces “A School of Peace and Reconciliation”

In this Easter season of rebirth and renewal, Truro Anglican Church is pleased to announce a new ministry of peace making and reconciliation called the Truro Institute: A School of Peace and Reconciliation. The Institute represents the continued fulfillment of God’s work at Truro over many decades and is consistent with our congregational history and DNA. It is also the culmination of our outreach to and discussions with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia with whom we are joining in this exciting initiative. Years after the costly litigation and sometimes on-going animosity with the EDV, we have arrived at a new era of community building and peacemaking.

This new ministry, formed by Truro Anglican, will have equal representation on its board from EDV and Truro, along with representation from the Dean of Coventry Cathedral and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The following is a quote from Archbishop Justin Welby, regarding this ministry:

“I am deeply moved by the establishment of the Peace Centre at Truro, not least because I have looked more closely at it in the days following the terrorism in Westminster, merely 400 yards from Lambeth Palace. The kingdom of God is proclaimed in practices that develop virtues. The Peace Centre will proclaim that reconciliation is the gospel, with God through Christ, but like the Temple in Ezekiel 47, releasing a flood of water that as a mighty river becomes the place of fruitfulness and healing for the nations. Thank you for your step of faith. We too will work with you as best we can.”
The ministry will work with seminarians and other young people to seed our respective denominations with a new generation of peace makers, by teaching them and letting them live into the challenging work of reconciliation. Just the fact of the joint involvement of EDV and Truro Anglican is a living testament to the work the Institute hopes to accomplish.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Christology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry

(UMNS) Methodist Church braces for ruling on Bishop married to a woman

The Rev. Jeffrey Greenway, a leader of the group, said the timing was coincidental. But he said the hearing is definitely on his mind and that of other WCA members. He’s praying for the various parties involved, but said he hopes the Judicial Council invalidates Oliveto’s election.

“She is a bishop of the whole United Methodist Church, while publicly embracing and advocating a lifestyle that is contrary to our polity in terms of licensing, ordination and appointment of clergy,” Greenway said. “For her to remain in her role would make (denominational) unity exponentially more difficult.”

The Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, another unofficial evangelical group, agreed.

“There would just be many evangelicals who could not live in a church that allows not just individuals, but one of our episcopal leaders, to adopt a lifestyle contrary to the scriptures,” he said.

Oliveto herself put out a video in an advance of the hearing, noting that many in the church are figuratively holding their breath until there’s an outcome.

Read it all and there is more there.

Posted in Methodist, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Kendall Harmon’s Maundy Thursday Sermon–Jesus and the Point of No Return (Luke 22: 39-46)

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in Uncategorized

(Lifeway F+T) America’s Complicated Religious Landscape

Not long after the presidential election, Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, admitted his paper has had a blind spot when it comes to faith. “We don’t get religion,” he told NPR’s Terri Gross. “We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives.”

One reason it’s difficult to get religion in America: The religious landscape changes dramatically, depending on where you live, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.

In New York, members of non-Christian faiths—including Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists—outnumber white evangelicals by a 6-to-1 margin. And Protestants of color outnumber white Protestants 3-to-1. Catholics are the largest religious group by far.

By contrast, in Nashville, white evangelicals are the largest faith group….

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

June Osborne appointed New Bishop of Llandaff

One of the most senior and experienced church leaders in the UK will be the next Bishop of Llandaff.

June Osborne, who has served as Dean of Salisbury for the past 13 years, has been chosen as the 72nd Bishop of Llandaff, a diocese which serves most of Cardiff, the South Wales Valleys and the Vale of Glamorgan.

A ground-breaking figure in the Church of England, Dean June was the first female Dean to be appointed to a medieval cathedral, having served as Salisbury Cathedral’s Canon Treasurer for nearly 10 years. She has been active in the national life of the Church of England, serving for many years on General Synod’s Standing Committee, including sitting on the Panel of Chairs.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Church of Wales, Ministry of the Ordained