Category :

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

O true light, which lightenest every man that cometh into this world, lighten my eyes that I sleep not in death.
O fire that ever burnest and never failest, I am lukewarm, yes, cold: kindle my heart that it may be on fire with love of thee.
O King of heaven and earth, rich in mercy, I am poor and needy; then help me, O my God, and out of the treasury of thy goodness enrich my soul.

–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

So he led forth his people with joy,
his chosen ones with singing.
And he gave them the lands of the nations;
and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples’ toil,
to the end that they should keep his statutes,
and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord!

–Psalm 105:43-45

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CT Gleanings) Remembering Bob Buford, the Christian Leader’s Leader

A businessman, philanthropist, management coach, and inspirational author, the late Bob Buford worked behind the scenes to build a legacy that quietly extends to some of the most prominent figures, organizations, and megachurches in American Christianity today.

Buford, who died Wednesday at age 78, was a leader’s leader. It’s no wonder that he founded an organization simply called Leadership Network, designed to bring together Christian leaders and help them make their ministries more effective and innovative.

Buford was a friend to Peter Drucker and helped introduce the famous management guru’s thinking to the church. A Texas native and former cable TV executive, Buford was committed to serving fellow Christians in ministry, always asking, “What can we do to be more useful to you?” and happy to have his fruit “grow on other people’s trees.”

Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, explains on his CT blog the impact of one of the most influential but least known chuch leaders.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Two Brownswood Parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Fort Worth are merging this Sunday

Sunday will mark the first meeting of a new congregation in Brownwood, but not a new church. The Church of the Good Shepherd and St John’s Anglican Church will unite as a single congregation at the St John’s location on Main Street.

The move has been discussed several times by both parishes, and now seemed only right, according to Good Shepherd representative Bonnie Dillard. “We contacted St John’s to try to work out merging, because we are two smaller churches, and we would have always liked to have been bigger.” Dillard also said “We are ready to have more people to work with, and more money to do things with in our community.”

St John’s Senior Warden Jimmy Henry said the move was “not only something that was needed, but desired and people are excited about it.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry

(CC) Samuel Wells–A pastor’s job isn’t to make bad things seem better

Years ago I was asked to do the funeral of a woman whom I hadn’t known but who’d lived in the parish where I was vicar. It was a sad story. The woman, who was in her seventies, had a particularly painful wasting disease. The pain became so great that one night she stepped out of bed, put on slippers and a dressing gown, let herself into the back garden, climbed the fence, walked into the local lake, and drowned herself.

I listened to her widower tell me the story, and at the funeral I talked about the things we knew and the things we didn’t know. I said we didn’t know what anguish was going through her mind, but we did know how deeply she was loved and will be missed. I said we didn’t know what could bring her to such despair, but we did know that her life was beautiful and that those who knew her loved her and would always cherish what she meant to them.

A week later I paid a visit to the widower to see how he was doing and show him I was thinking of him. I was fully prepared for him to say how beautiful the funeral was, and there was always a chance he might say how well I’d spoken.

He didn’t. He looked straight at me, head still and unblinking, and told me, “What you said was completely wrong. You said, ‘We don’t know what was going through her head when she got out of bed and walked down to the lake.’ That’s not true. I know exactly what she was thinking. She’d tried before, and afterwards she told me what it was like. I know what she was thinking. I told you that when you came to see me last time. But you weren’t listening, were you? Maybe you didn’t want to listen.” His tone was more weary than angry, as if I was just one of a series of people who hadn’t really listened, either to her or to him.

I learned something that day that’s stayed with me. If something is awful for somebody else—if I’m in a conversation with a person who is considering suicide, or doesn’t know how they can go on, or is living in the aftermath of a loved one taking their own life—my role is not to make things better.

Read it all.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(Wash Post) I have no fear of death’: Barbara Bush on faith and finality

Barbara Bush had spent an hour talking about legacy and family — about the Christmas dance where she met the man who’d become her husband, about being “the enforcer” of a family that included two former U.S. presidents.

Then, in a flash, she was talking about death.

It was 2013 and Bush was 88 at the time of the interview, part of a C-Span series focusing on first ladies. She wore a pink blazer and her trademark faux pearls — and spoke with a mixture of grace and bluntness that her family and the American people had come to instantly recognize over the past four decades.

“I’m a huge believer in a loving God,” she said. “And I have no fear of death, which is a huge comfort because we’re getting darned close.

“And I don’t have a fear of death for my precious George or for myself because I know that there is a great God.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Religion & Culture

(Terry Mattingly) Billy Graham’s advice to newspaper editors on covering religion

[Billy] Graham gave the editors four pieces of advice that still ring true, even in today’s embattled journalism marketplace.

1. Increase local, national and global religion news coverage — period. Look for “street-level” religion and don’t be afraid to put these stories on page one.

2. Dig deeper than the “bare facts,” probing the ethical and moral angles of issues in medicine, science, business, academia and law.

3. “Build bridges” to religious leaders through face-to-face contacts, just like media leaders do with business people and politicians. Also, help religious leaders understand the realities of the news business.

4. There’s no way around it: Hire experienced religion reporters who have demonstrated excellence on that beat. Isn’t that, Graham said, the way you hire sports reporters?

…one truth cannot be denied.

“Religion often sways whole societies,” Graham said, “and can even change the course of history.”

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Media, Religion & Culture

(Local paper) Can ‘restorative practices’ in schools get at the root of bad behavior? The idea is being tested in Charleston, South Carolina, area Schools

The two boys were play-fighting, until suddenly they weren’t. The slap rang out at Northwoods Middle School.

Students at Northwoods are bound by the same rules and consequences as anyone else in the Charleston County School District. But thanks to a pilot program that started at their school and four others last year, the students also have a unique opportunity to face one another and make amends for their mistakes.

The pilot program is known as “restorative practices,” an approach to resolving conflicts that emphasizes personal responsibility and healing relationships. The approach was developed by Australian police to work with juvenile offenders in the 1990s, and it has since spread to schools worldwide.

Read it all.”>Read it all and note the important previous background article there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture

(DP) At Princeton, Prominent South Baptist Russell Moore argues politics has altered US evangelicalism

“God does not need the evangelical movement; the evangelical movement desperately needs God,” Moore said.

Moore explained that there is conflation between the evangelical church and politics in modern America.

“So often in 2018 America, evangelicalism is associated more with Iowa caucuses than the good news of Jesus Christ,” Moore said.

He defined evangelicalism as “the link of renewal and revival movements which unite historic, conventional orthodoxy with the necessity of personal conversion and evangelism.”

Additionally, Moore said he believes that any true evangelical movement must be focused upon the Cross.

“An emphasis on the Cross is one of the hardest thing to maintain in any Christian group, and that includes American evangelicalism,” Moore said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, President Donald Trump, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)

(Diocese of SC) Tyler Prescott–Is Your Church Reaching the Community That Actually Surrounds It?

Tell me if this description fits: You’re a centuries (or maybe only decades) old congregation in a rapidly changing community of the coastal plain or Pee Dee area of South Carolina. For years you’ve been trying to “reach young families” or, more recently, “engage millennials,” but you aren’t really sure where to begin. Does that sound familiar? It could be the constant refrain of many a church in South Carolina and certainly for many in our Diocese! Where is one even to begin?

An important starting place is by asking ourselves a few questions:

Who are we?
Who are our neighbors?
How can we be better neighbors in our community?” (see Romans 15:1-2 for but one Scriptural imperative).
Such questions allow us to thoughtfully consider how our congregations both reflect and diverge from the communities they serve. Further, these questions invite us to consider how our congregations may then bring the Gospel into these communities in a way that showers their particular concerns, particular fears, particular shame, and particular guilt with the all-encompassing love of Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Alphege

O loving God, whose martyr bishop Alphege of Canterbury suffered violent death because he refused to permit a ransom to be extorted from his people: Grant, we pray thee, that all pastors of thy flock may pattern themselves on the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep; through him who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

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

Jesus, our Master, do thou meet us while we walk in the way and long to reach the heavenly country; so that, following thy light, we may keep the way of righteousness, and never wander away into the darkness of this world’s night, while thou, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Light art shining within us; for thy mercy’s sake.

–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

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.

–Psalm 37:3-5

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Guardian) App faith: how religions are embracing technology

As part of an effort to reduce noise in Ghana’s capital, Accra, the environment minister has suggested that the Muslim call to prayer, normally broadcast over loudspeakers across the city, should instead be sent out on WhatsApp. The notion has proved immensely unpopular – not least because it equates the call to prayer with noise pollution. But it also highlights religion’s growing, if sometimes uneasy, reliance on tech.

Contactless collection Catholic and Protestant churches in the UK have begun using contactless card readers for donations and other payments, hoping to make life easier for parishioners who may not be carrying cash. A contactless collection plate is being trialled by the Church of England, but it is being held up because it is feared the technology might slow things down.

The confession app Confession (version 2.1) walks sinners through the business of confession, pings you push notifications when it’s time for your next shriving and includes a handy sin checklist in case you have forgotten what you’ve done wrong. What it doesn’t do is offer absolution. You still need a priest for that.

Read it all.

Posted in Religion & Culture, Science & Technology