Daily Archives: January 28, 2020

(Yorkshire Post) Anonymous donor gives nearly £6million to church next to York Minster for urgent repairs

An anonymous donor has gifted a York church almost £6million to go towards essential repairs.

The mystery benefactor has given £5.9million to St Michael le Belfrey, which is the parish church next to York Minster where Guy Fawkes was baptised.

The money will be used specifically to fund a major repair project to preserve the 16th-century building for future generations.

The Church of England also hope to turn St Michael be Belfrey into a ‘stunning city centre venue that benefits York’s residents and businesses.’

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(BBC) Welsh bishop in a same-sex partnership will not push for same-sex marriage

Wales’ first bishop in a same-sex civil partnership has said she will not campaign for same-sex marriage in the Church in Wales.

Cherry Vann, who was consecrated as the Bishop of Monmouth on Sunday, said the church still had “a lot of thinking to do” about marriage.

Ms Vann, 60, said she hoped LGBT people would be able to see her appointment as a sign of hope.

She will be enthroned at Newport Cathedral on 1 February.

The Church in Wales does not conduct same sex marriages, but same-sex couples are permitted to be married in places of worship in Wales.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Wales

(Christian Today) C of E’s clergy discipline process ‘leading to suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder

…no-one in the official Church hierarchy has a proper overview of what is happening, according to the investigation by the Sheldon Hub – part of a charity supporting those in Christian ministry. And Bishops are operating “irregular discipline” over clergy which is ‘even less accountable’, the report adds.

The Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) was introduced in 2003 and is supposed to deal “efficiently and fairly with formal complaints of serious misconduct against members of the clergy” – according to the Church of England website.

However, the CDM has been subjected to scathing criticism – and even the Church’s own explanatory diagram of the processes involved reveals a highly complex and confusing structure.

The report from the Sheldon Hub says: “We started two years ago with the assumption that the likely outcome of our project should be better training for those tasked with implementation of the existing CDM, plus some repairs to the Measure.

“The process so far has convinced us that the Measure is so fundamentally flawed that starting over from first principles and completely replacing the Measure is essential.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(VMN) Canon Mandy Ford–What the C of E House of Bishops Could have said

The problem, which many of us might argue is of their own making, has its roots is the House of Bishops decision to approve the legislation that introduced Civil Partnerships instead of equal marriage back in 2004. The pace of change was such that compromise was inevitable and so bishops offered limited support to civil partnerships for same sex couples because civil partnership looked different from marriage, on the spurious argument that since penetrative sexual intercourse was not a condition of fulfilment of the contract of civil partnership, a civil partnership could be a celibate relationship.

The Church has chosen to imagine that the defining difference between a Civil Partnership and Marriage is the place of sexual activity within them. There was a bit of bluster over the weekend about the place of vows, but this simply doesn’t hold in the case of civil marriage. But this is not the way the world beyond the Church understands what is going on here, and as a result we are losing the opportunity to offer purpose and meaning to both marriage and civil partnerships.

If the purpose of marriage is reduced to that of sexual intercourse which is open to the procreation of children, we loose the beauty of marriage in later life, as well as the marriage that embraces people with disabilities or infertility as the result of illness, never mind the possibility of marriage between people whose sexual activity is not procreative because of their gender or gender realignment.

If the House of Bishops persists in the illusion that civil partnerships are a legal mechanism for protecting inheritance rights in celibate friendships, they are losing the opportunity to support a step that could provide much needed stability and protection for the millions of children living in households with parents who are not married.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

The prolocutors of Canterbury and York in the General Synod write the Bishops about the H of Bps recent Guidance

We are concerned for the integrity of the Living in Love and Faith process. While some will argue that the House’s Statement last week is but an extension of its current position on Civil Partnerships, the timing of this statement is a serious failure of the House and its staff to commit to proper process, and a notable failure to demonstrate “a radical new Christian inclusion etc etc”, which has to be about process as much as it is about content. We would note that since February 2017, when the House of Clergy defeated the motion of the Bishops after the Shared Conversations, most people in the Church of England have exercised a degree of restraint in the field of human sexuality. Repeatedly, when bishops have addressed the concerns and anxieties of progressives and conservatives, we have agreed to the request to “wait for the publication of LLF”. We ourselves have both urged this approach on more impatient colleagues too as this was, we were repeatedly told, to be a new step in the life of the Church. Regrettably, and not for the first time, such self-restraint has not been seen in the House. We can only imagine what those closer to the process than we are might think of this intervention by the House, after so much costly work. It feels like a significant betrayal.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(IVP blog) Ollie Lansdowne–We need to Recover Isaiah’s View of God

Maybe I’m the product of overexposure, but at this point I’m willing to argue it out with anyone: Isaiah is the greatest piece of literature that has ever been written.

More pointedly, Isaiah has what British evangelicalism needs: a thoroughly classical doctrine of God, which undergirds a vision of salvation that’s as sweeping as creation and would stop us putting our faith in powerful men.

Unique By His Very Nature

Isaiah’s doctrine of God is breathtaking, presenting us with a God who is genuinely incomparable. Here’s an example: “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?” ─Isaiah 40v25.

This isn’t just an attack on the number of gods in paganism, it’s an attack on the nature of the gods in paganism. The gods of paganism are many, but that isn’t the deepest problem that Isaiah identifies. The deepest problem with the gods of paganism is that it’s possible to compare them with one another: they are relative. Pagan gods are comparable and relative because these ‘gods’ can exist in varieties: you could tweak and change any of them─add some grace and power, remove some wisdom─and they’d become different gods, but they’d still be ‘gods’. No pagan god exists in a category uniquely its own, truly and totally independent from everything else, absolute and unchangeable by definition.

Here’s where the rubber hits the road: if no pagan god is truly and totally independent, that means that no pagan god could ever be truly and totally dependable. If you throw the weight of your life at one of these gods, you’ll quickly find that they are themselves leaning on something else: whoever or whatever has been determining how much grace and power and wisdom they have.

Not so the God of Isaiah.

Isaiah’s God is unique by his very nature.

There are two categories: God, and everything that God created. He isn’t relative, a variation on a theme. As Steven J. Duby puts it in God In Himself, “There is no impersonal form of life, wisdom, or love “out there” from which God must draw in order to be what he is.” If it was even possible for this God to change, He would cease to be God. He isn’t ‘the most’, He is ‘the only’. Isaiah’s doctrine of God isn’t that “the most powerful” also─fortunately─happens to be “the most gracious”. It’s that God is incomparable and unchanging, truly and totally independent and therefore truly and totally dependable.

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Posted in Evangelicals, Theology: Scripture

For Thomas Aquinas’ Feast Day– Archbishop Michael Miller Speaks on Aquinas and Universities

Authentic Christian faith does not fear reason “but seeks it out and has trust in it”. Faith presupposes reason and perfects it. Nor does human reason lose anything by opening itself to the content of faith. When reason is illumined by faith, it “is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God”. The Holy Father observes that St Thomas thinks that human reason, as it were, “breathes” by moving within a vast horizon open to transcendence. If, instead, “a person reduces himself to thinking only of material objects or those that can be proven, he closes himself to the great questions about life, himself and God and is impoverished”. Such a person has far too summarily divorced reason from faith, rendering asunder the very dynamic of the intellect.

What does this mean for Catholic universities today? Pope Benedict answers in this way: “The Catholic university is [therefore] a vast laboratory where, in accordance with the different disciplines, ever new areas of research are developed in a stimulating confrontation between faith and reason that aims to recover the harmonious synthesis achieved by Thomas Aquinas and other great Christian thinkers”. When firmly grounded in St Thomas’ understanding of faith and reason, Catholic institutions of higher learning can confidently face every new challenge on the horizon, since the truths discovered by any genuine science can never contradict the one Truth, who is God himself.

Read it all from 2010.

Posted in Church History, Education, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Almighty God, who hast enriched thy Church with the singular learning and holiness of thy servant Thomas Aquinas: Enlighten us more and more, we pray thee, by the disciplined thinking and teaching of Christian scholars, and deepen our devotion by the example of saintly lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, 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 James Mountain

Almighty God, we beseech thee of thy mercy to endue us with the spirit of meekness and patience; so that no evil we may suffer from others may move us to do evil to them, and that we may strive ever to live peaceably with all men; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

–The Rev. James Mountain (1844-1933)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

Lord Jesus, who in thy tender love didst stretch forth thy hand and touch the leper who came to thee for cleansing: Grant us a like compassion for all who claim our help, and a willingness to identify ourselves with them in their need; for thy sake who wast made sin for us, and who art our righteousness and our salvation, now and for ever.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

–Hebrews 9:1-14

Posted in Theology: Scripture