Daily Archives: May 16, 2018

(ACNS) Anglican Church of Burundi helps improve rice growing techniques

The Anglican Church of Burundi has been training farmers to improve rice yields as part of efforts to combat food insecurity in the country. The two-year project has been run in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the overseas development agency of the US-based Episcopal Church. Growing rice has been the main activity for people living along side Lake Tanganyika for many years; but the lack of improved techniques and seeds has caused low production and farmers could not expect to gain much from it.

Through the project, farmers have been trained and equipped with agricultural techniques and materials to improve rice production. “Already the farmers are seeing changes in agricultural production and consequently in their daily lives,” the province said in its newsletter.

“Our situation has improved since we no longer cultivate the rice just for consumption,” farmer Esperance Ndayishimiye, said. “I’m now able to meet easily my family’s needs. I pay school fees for my children. I have bought lands and built houses.” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Burundi, Burundi, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Energy, Natural Resources, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Stewardship

(Vanguard) Anglican Bishop Justus Mogekwu calls for incessant prayers for Nigeria

Mogekwu stated: prayer is the key to surmount all challenges facing the country. God who answers prayers will never forsake the country if only the people will turn away from evil and do His will at all time. The Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency take decisive steps to put a stop to the spate of killings in the country and prosecute those found culpable.

Commending the governor of the state, he urged politicians not to heat up the polity, especially now that 2019 general elections is fast approaching, saying that all hands should be on deck to move the country forward so that she can take her pride of place once again in the comity of nations.

He called on Christians to uphold their faith and propagate the gospel of Christ, urging government to use federal establishments and institutions, especially the Armed Forces and the Police for national interest and wellbeing of all Nigerians and not for personal, sectional or political interests.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Spirituality/Prayer

A S Haley–The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese Goes to SCOTUS Conference

In their (non-linkable) respondents’ brief, ECSC and ECUSA took a gamble by resting their main opposition upon just a single ground: that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the case because the five divided justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court had decided the case below on independent state-law grounds, and did not rest their decision on any interpretation of federal law. (SCOTUS reviews only issues of federal law that are decided by either the state or federal courts.)

As the Diocese’s reply brief points out, this claim is far from accurate. Two of the justices below (Pleicones and Hearn) were clear that they viewed the 1979 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf as requiring them to give effect to the trust on church property imposed by the Dennis Canon, even if the documentation of that trust failed to pass muster under South Carolina law. In other words, Justices Pleicones and Hearn held that the First Amendment trumped state trust law — and that was obviously a federal ground of decision.

Even Chief Justice Beatty, who declined to articulate his reasoning, held that the Dennis Canon was sufficient to create a trust under South Carolina law so long as the individual parishes “acceded” in some way to that Canon. Since, as Justice Kittredge pointed out in dissent, any argument that a trust under South Carolina law could rest upon such a dim showing of assent was “laughable”, it is only fair to conclude that Chief Justice Beatty reached his result by relying upon the same (federal-law) reading of Jones v. Wolf that drove Justices Hearn and Pleicones.

In sum, the South Carolina case presents as good a reason as ever will arise for SCOTUS to grant review, in order to end the confusion over the meaning of Jones that divides some nineteen different state and federal courts below. (Those decisions are reviewed and discussed at pp. 21-29 of the Diocese’s petition.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

(Christian Today) Meg Warner–The church in crises: How national disasters reveal its surprising necessity

For the nation’s churches, the experience was a little more complicated. Many congregations, of course, were situated near the disaster sites and lost members or suffered as a result of these events in a whole range of ways. But something very positive for the churches happened over that period also. The nation suddenly discovered that churches were there, and that they had some quite valuable things to offer.

This was nowhere more apparent than in the devastating aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. The difference between the responses of the local council and the churches (together with synagogues and mosques) could hardly have been more marked. Those things that residents immediately looked to the secular authorities to provide – places to congregate, cups of tea, food, emergency supplies, venues for meetings and media conferences, collection and distribution points for donations, a caring word or a hug – were provided instead by the churches. Here was a network of buildings with on-site staff, catering facilities and willing armies of volunteers that could be mobilised at a moment’s notice, even in the middle of the night. Black and purple shirts became familiar, prominent, sights on the news reports in the days that followed – immediately recognisable.

That is not to suggest that the experience was different elsewhere. Following each one of these events churches played a significant role – sometimes observable and sometimes behind the scenes – and this was not lost on the secular authorities in each place. Most cities, towns or areas have disaster-response plans that are made by local authorities, together with policing, fire-fighting and other civic and community organisations. In the past churches have been sometimes consulted and sometimes not. That has changed. Religious leaders are now typically central partners in the making of such plans and religious buildings are being marked for key roles. And now when disasters occur, for the first time, clergy are being invited inside disaster cordons, to counsel and support victims and responders.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Christine Odone–There’s a modern case for marriage – so why isn’t the government making it?

Marriage may have changed over millennia, but it still offers partnership to two individuals. Given that loneliness is the scourge of our times would it not make sense to campaign for a relationship that counters isolation? Even uber-feminists might be reconciled to such a support network.

Then there are the health statistics. Married people are less likely to suffer strokes, stress or heart attacks, and more likely to adopt safer behaviour, like driving within the speed limit, and drinking the right number of units. Studies also continue to show that marriage is good for mental health – boosting confidence and communication skills. Think of the savings to the NHS, if our parliamentarians could fog-horn the benefits of getting hitched.

But it is children, most of all, who benefit from marriage. Children thrive when their biological parents stay together and marriage is almost twice as likely to survive a child’s birth than cohabitation. A recent study found that children of married couples did better on a vocabulary test than those of cohabiting or single parents. Marriage, especially now that it is being freed from expensive trappings like white weddings and Magaluf-bound hen parties, could emerge as the secret weapon in the battle for social mobility.

A social enterprise that promotes well-being normally has politicians rushing to champion it. What are you waiting for, Mrs May? Give us some policies that show marriage tops your agenda. Like the forthcoming Royal Wedding, this is a good news story. That’s a rare thing, these days: let’s celebrate it.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General

Diocese of South Carolina Canon Jim Lewis’ letter about Yesterday’s Supreme Court Filing

From there:

Dear Friends,

Today, the Diocese of South Carolina filed a Reply Brief with the U.S. Supreme Courtin response to last week’s Brief in Opposition by TEC.  The Reply succinctly addresses each of TEC’s legal objections to our Petition for Certiorari by the Court and reinforces the appropriateness of their granting review.

The Reply demonstrates that:

1. The State Court ruling does NOT rely strictly upon state law and precedent.
2. Four of the five justices in their opinions demonstrate their reliance upon the “hybrid” approach to neutral principles of law to reach their conclusion.
3. The TEC brief actually affirms the split in the lower courts on this issue, further reinforcing the need for the U.S. Supreme Court to grant our Petition.

The conclusive statement from the Argument is an apt summary.  “Respondents’ remaining arguments against certiorari all lack merit.  Four decades after Jones, the time has come for this Court to bring order out of chaos and resolve the meaning of  the “neutral principles” approach to church property disputes.”

This filing represents the final step before our case will be scheduled for Conference by the Court.  We anticipate that will come in the next several weeks, with a decision on our Petition soon thereafter.

As we now move to the conclusion of this critical process, I would encourage the intentional prayers of you and your parish for a timely conference, a favorable review and the opportunity to argue our case before the court in full.  And continue to pray God’s grace for our legal counsel, in the midst of the many demands of this litigation, to argue effectively in the defense of this Diocese and its congregations.

Easter blessings,

(The Rev.) Jim Lewis is Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Church History, History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Martyrs of Sudan

O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: As the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death, and so by their sacrifice brought forth a plenteous harvest, may we, too, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Sudan

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Mozarabic Sacramentary

O Christ, the King of Glory, who through the everlasting gates didst ascend to thy Father’s throne, and open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers: Grant that, whilst thou dost reign in heaven, we may not be bowed down to the things of earth, but that our hearts may be lifted up whither thou, our redemption, art gone before; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.

–Ephesians 4:1-16

Posted in Theology: Scripture