Monthly Archives: February 2022

(Yorkshire Post) New generation of worshippers finds faith through surge in online church services

Research by the Church of England has revealed that more than 9,000 churches – equating to 78 per cent of places of worship – offered Church at Home online, via email, post and telephone during the first lockdown between March and July 2020.

More than 8,000 churches offered livestreamed or pre-recorded services, while more than 5,000 places of worship provided services downloadable from a website or via email.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, claimed last year that the advent of online worship had led to a “digital coming of age”.

The Church of England’s head of digital, Amaris Cole, said: “Online services and worship have provided people with the chance to gather together, regardless of where they are in the country – or in the world – to experience the consoling message of the Christian faith at what has been a difficult and painful time for many.

Read it all.<

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(BBC Thought for the day) Archbishop Stephen Cottrell-How Shall we Respond to the Appalling War in Ukraine?

How should we respond?

Well here’s three things all of us can do –

Be prepared to make sacrifices ourselves. Sanctions on Russia will also affect us. We have to be ready to pay that price.
Offer generous humanitarian aid. Just think for a moment what it’s like to be a young family living in the middle of Kyiv at the moment, sheltering from bombs in metro stations, fearing for the future. We must offer help.
Be ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees into our country. And, make it easier for them to come.
And, for me, there’s a fourth. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I will be praying.

Yes, for an end to the madness of war and a withdrawal of Russian forces; but also because we people of faith believe prayer changes things, beginning with ourselves.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer, Ukraine

(FT) Russia launches fierce rocket attack on Ukrainian city of Kharkiv

Russian forces have launched a heavy bombardment of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, an assault that overshadowed the first direct talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials since President Vladimir Putin began his invasion five days ago.

Residents of the city said they had come under intense artillery and rocket fire from Russian positions. Video footage shared on social media showed high-rise apartment blocks in Kharkiv being hit by heavy shelling that shrouded the sky with plumes of dark smoke.

“Dozens of civilians are dying,” said regional governor Oleh Sinegubov. “It’s happening during the day when people go to pharmacies, for food, for drinking water. This is a crime.”

Read it all.

Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine

(Economist) Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threat shows how much is going wrong for him in Ukraine

It seems ever clearer that the Russian elite is appalled—and impoverished—by his paranoid adventurism. The worse his plans go in Ukraine, the sooner cracks will start to appear in his regime and the more the Russian people will take to the streets. If Mr Putin is to hold on to the Kremlin, he may be obliged to impose terror of a severity that Russia has not seen for decades.

Mr Putin’s first mistake was to underestimate his enemy. Perhaps he believed his own propaganda: that Ukraine is not a real country, but a fake erected by the cia and run by crooks who are despised by the people they govern. If he expected Ukraine to collapse at the first show of Russian force, he could not have been more wrong.

Mr Putin’s second mistake was to mismanage his own armed forces. His air force has so far failed to dominate the skies. He has laboured to reassure his people that Russia is not engaged in a war, but just what he calls a “denazification” operation. Soldiers, unsure of what they are supposed to be doing, have turned up in Ukraine expecting to be welcomed as liberators. If he orders troops to slaughter their Ukrainian kin in large numbers, they may not obey. If many of his troops die in the attempt to crush Ukrainian cities, as is likely, he will not be able to cover it up at home.

Read it all.

Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine

(CC) Samuel Wells–Two tough questions at the coffee shop

A month later I sat eight feet away in the same coffee shop with a different conversation partner who also knew I was busy. This time there was no pretending life was tidy, sane, and successful. After some introductory reflections on COVID and the season, we got to the point. “Why do you still bother with Christianity?”

I paused. I actually looked over my left shoulder to see if my previous conversation partner was still sitting there with a raised eyebrow. I considered referring to my previous dialogue—“Would you believe someone else asked me a very similar question in here just the other day?”—but thought better of it. I sensed that this may have sounded like the same question but was in fact very different. It seemed a much bigger, harder, and more challenging question—after all, God, the Trinity, and the universe seem rather bigger than the church. Yet in another way it felt like a much simpler question—an easier, one-coffee question—mostly because the person really wanted a reply, rather than needing to voice a lament.

I settled on a straight answer. “Because the alternatives are too terrible to contemplate.”

Read it all.

Posted in Parish Ministry, Theology

A Prayer to begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Help us this day, O God, to serve thee devoutly, and the world busily. May we do our work wisely, give succour secretly, go to our meat appetitely, sit thereat discreetly, arise temperately, please our friend duly, go to our bed merrily, and sleep surely; for the joy of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 1that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

–Philippians 2:5-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Also Remembering to Pray for the Anglican Diocese of SC Men’s Conference this weekend

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Men, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to begin the Day from The Church of England

Almighty Father,
whose Son was revealed in majesty
before he suffered death upon the cross:
give us grace to perceive his glory,
that we may be strengthened to suffer with him
and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them for ever and ever;
he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.

–Psalm 148:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Saturday Mental Health Break–Ben Rector – The Men That Drive Me Places

Mkes sure to listen to it all. More than once.

Posted in Anthropology, Language, Music, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Photini (the Woman at the Well in John 4)

O Almighty God, whose most blessed Son didst reveal to the Samaritan woman that He is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the World; grant us to drink of the well that springeth up to everlasting life that we may worship Thee in spirit and in truth through thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to begin the Day from the German Reformed Church

Almighty God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, who giveth power to the faint, and strength to them that have no might: Look mercifully, we beseech thee, on our low estate and cause thy grace to triumph in our weakness; that we may rise and follow in the way of righteousness those who by faith already inherit the promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa’ida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.

–John 12:20-26

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London) Lawrence Freedman–Why Putin may fail

For those of us who have long wondered why Putin would embark on an aggressive war the core puzzle has been what he could hope to achieve politically. A limited campaign in Eastern Ukraine made some sense as it would carve out an area that could be sustained and defended over time. The current scale of operations makes less sense because it essentially requires regime change in Kyiv. In Iraq and Afghanistan the US and the UK learned through bitter experience how difficult this can be. Put simply even relatively authentic leaders with strong local roots (and it is not obvious that Russia has any of those available) that have been put in place by foreigners have limited legitimacy and will soon be relying on the occupying force to sustain them in power.

Before this, Russian forces needs to find and deal with President Zelensky. He has so far performed with dignity and bravery as an unexpected war leader. Putin will want him out of the way. Zelensky is insisting for the moment that he must stay in Kyiv and direct the war effort, even while reporting that Russian saboteurs are in the city. At some point a hard decision might have to be taken about either relocating to Western Ukraine or even establishing a government in exile. So long as he can continue to operate in Ukraine his leadership serves as a rebuke to Putin.

Even if the government loses control of the capital and is forced to flee, and the command systems for Ukrainian forces start to break down, that does not mean that Russia has won the war. It is only a mind-set that fails to understand the wellsprings of Ukraine’s national identity that could believe that a compliant figure could be installed as Ukrainian president and expect to last for very long without the backing of an occupation force. Russia simply does not have the numbers and capacity to sustain such a force for any length of time. One would have thought that with the memories of the Orange Revolution of 2004-5 and the Euromaidan of 2013-14 that Putin would have some appreciation of the role that ‘people power’ can play in this country, unless again he believes his own propaganda that these movements were manipulated into existence by the Americans and their allies. Ukraine shares a land border with NATO and equipment can pass through to Ukrainian regular forces so long as they are fighting – and then to an anti-Russian insurgency should this conflict move to that stage. This is why it is important not to focus solely on whether Russia achieves it military objectives. It is how it holds what it can seize against civilian resistance and insurgency.

The point about wars (and I have studied many) is that they rarely go according to plan. Chance events or poorly executed operations can require sudden shifts in strategy. The unintended consequences can be as important as the intended. These are the pitfalls surrounding all wars and why they should only be embarked upon with good reason (of which the most compelling is an act of self-defence).

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, History, Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine

(Church Times) Ukraine invasion is ‘a call to action’, Archbp Stephen Cottrell tells Lords

Speaking in an emergency debate in the House of Lords on Friday morning, Archbishop Cottrell condemned Vladimir Putin’s “flagrant disregard of the Ukrainian people’s legitimate right to self-determination”.

“Jesus urged his followers to be ‘peacemakers’, not simply peace-lovers,” he told peers. “This is an important distinction, because it is a call to action.

“The horrors being visited on Ukraine must must be a wake-up call for us that peace is something you need to work at.”

Archbishop Cottrell continued: “We must use all our diplomatic muscle and energy, stringent economic sanctions, and focused political will to force Russia to step back from this aggression, withdraw its troops and silence the guns, not least because effective sanctions will mean many innocent Russians suffer as well. Our actions must be swift and cohesive if they are to be decisive.”

Lasting peace “requires a new commitment to international instruments of law and order, accountability and investment so that we make peace and choose peace, not just hope to keep it.”

Read it all (registration or subscription) and you may find his speech in full there.

Posted in Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine

(Economist) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

“There will be no escalation in the coming week either, or in the week after that, or in the coming month,” declared Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s envoy to the European Union, on February 16th. “Wars in Europe rarely start on a Wednesday.” And indeed it was early on Thursday, February 24th, as dawn broke over Ukraine, that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, took to television to declare war on Ukraine in the form of a “special military operation” to “denazify” the country.

Within minutes explosions were heard near Kyiv’s main airport, as well as in many other cities. Video footage taken in Ukraine showed cruise missiles slicing through the air and slamming into buildings. Mr Putin had launched what is sure to be Europe’s most intense war in a generation—possibly its largest since the second world war. It will shake his regime to its foundations, debilitate Russia’s economy and fracture Russian society. It will shatter existing assumptions about European security. It could well send shock waves through the global economy.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

An Article on some of John Roberts’ Ministry

John Roberts was born on March 31, 1853, in Wales. His interest was serving the church in the missionary field, and he was sent to Nassau in the Bahama Islands. It was there that he was ordained to the priesthood. However, Roberts yearned for a greater challenge. His opportunity came when he met Episcopal Bishop John F. Spalding who served Colorado and Wyoming. Spalding assigned him to work with the Shoshone in Wyoming.

Roberts’s trip there was a memorable one. He took the train to Green River and then traveled the last 150 miles by stage. . This journey came in the midst of a blizzard with temperatures nearing 60 degrees below zero. The journey took eight days; on February 10, 1883, he finally arrived at his new home. While serving in the Bahamas, Roberts had become engaged to a young church organist named Laura Brown. They kept up their relationship by exchanging letters until she was able to come to Wyoming. She arrived by train in Rawlins on December 24, 1884. Roberts met her there. They were married on Christmas Day at Saint Thomas Episcopal Church. They would raise five children during their years together.

At Fort Washakie, on the reservation, Roberts quickly went to work serving the people. He became the first superintendent of the government school. School attendance was compulsory for Indian children. Many attended against their will. In 1885, Roberts established The Church of the Redeemer that would serve the Shoshone people and other area residents.

The reservation wasn’t the only place where an Episcopal presence was needed. Roberts proceeded to organize congregations in Lander, Dubois, Crowheart, Riverton, Thermopolis, Milford, Hudson and Shoshoni. All but the latter three have active congregations at the present time. “Father Roberts,” as he became known, spent countless hours visiting those fledgling churches, traveling by horseback in all kinds of weather. He officiated at numerous baptisms, communion services, weddings and burials.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Roberts

Almighty God, who didst raise up thy servant John Roberts to be a witness among the Shoshone and Arapahoe peoples: May we, inspired by his example and prayers, invite all people to the riches of thy grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

O God, renew our spirits by thy Holy Spirit, and draw our hearts this morning unto thyself, that our work may not be a burden, but a delight; and give us such a mighty love to thee as may sweeten all our obedience. Let us not serve with the spirit of bondage as slaves, but with cheerfulness and gladness, as children, delighting ourselves in thee and rejoicing in thy wishes for the sake of Jesus Christ.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to thy name; the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

–Psalm 140:13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Ukraine invasion: Church leaders and charities react with horror and dismay

Earlier on Thursday morning, the Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, wrote on Twitter: “We wake this morning to the sickening sights and sounds of war. Praying for all in Ukraine, for all who are fearful of what lies ahead and for the minimum possible bloodshed.

“At a time of international crisis, please join me in praying fervently for peace in Ukraine and especially for the wellbeing of our little Anglican community of Christ Church, Kyiv (which meets in the German Evangelical Church of St. Catherine’s).”

Bishop Robert co-ordinated an online prayer vigil on Thursday evening, including the Anglican chaplain in Moscow, the Revd Malcolm Rogers, and members of the Anglican community in Kyiv if it safe for them to do so. A further vigil is being organised by the Diocese in Europe on Shrove Tuesday (1 March) at 6 p.m.

On Thursday afternoon, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, said: “This act of aggression impacts very harmfully on a free, democratic European state and on all the nations of Europe. I exhort you to pray for peace with justice for the people of Ukraine.”

In their statement, the Archbishops invited Christians to “make this Sunday a day for prayer for Ukraine, Russia, and for peace”, and also endorsed Pope Francis’s call to make Ash Wednesday (2 March) a global day of fasting and peace for Ukraine.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Ecumenical Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer, Ukraine, Violence

Archbishop Justin Welby’s Thought for the Day today

To wake up to the news of war is terrible.

To wake up to its reality is orders of magnitude worse.

Shakespeare refers to war as chaos – the loosing of the dogs of war – and calls for one of his characters to cry out the warning about what it means.

Those in the Ukraine will be thinking about their relatives on the front lines, or the friends on the front lines. We are thinking, where is it going to go next? Politicians are thinking, what do we do?

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(WSJ) Ukrainian Refugees Head to Poland, Seeking Safety in EU

Hundreds of Ukrainians poured across this usually sleepy border post on Poland’s edge on Thursday, dragging suitcases and bearing looks of disbelief in what European officials described as the first arrivals of a coming wave of refugees.

The crowd, a procession of mostly young parents with small children in tow, was crossing at a border post that ordinarily attracts a trickle of people stepping into the European Union. On Thursday, buses and minivans were crammed into the small parking lot to pick up Ukrainians who described waiting hours to cross the border and find onward transportation.

“It’s pure chaos here. All our buses are full,” said a bus driver, loading up his vehicle, as an argument broke out between two other drivers managing the throng of customers. “This is just the beginning. People are panicking. Most of our customers are women with children and they are very afraid.”

Poland is already home to between one million and two million Ukrainians. In coming weeks, government officials here expect an additional one million Ukrainians to follow.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Violence, Women

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York Appeal for Prayer

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Matthias

O Almighty God, who into the place of Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the Twelve: Grant that thy Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

O Saviour, who in the completeness of Thy manhood art still Babe of Bethlehem and Child of Nazareth, restore in me the simplicity I have tampered with, the transparency I have obscured, the childlikeness I have lost, that the shattered fragments of my innocence may be assembled anew in the beauty of Thy sanctity; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost art God forever and ever.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

CH Spurgeon on Psalm 131

In Psalm 121 David lifted up his eyes to the hills; but here he declares that they were not lifted up in any other sense. When the heart is right, and the eyes are right, the whole man is on the road to a healthy and happy condition. Let us take care that we do not use the language of this Psalm unless, indeed, it be true as to ourselves; for there is no worse pride than that which claims humility when it does not possess it.

–Treasury of David

Posted in Church History, Theology

From the Morning Scripture Readings

A Song of Ascents. Of David. O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.

–Psalm 131 (my favourite Psalm)

Posted in Theology: Scripture