Category : T19 Categories

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Coleridge Patteson

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servants John Coleridge Patteson and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia, and by their labors and sufferings didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many, thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; 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 the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose grace thy servants are enabled to fight the good fight of faith, and ever to prove victorious, I humbly beseech thee to strengthen me by thy mighty power for the battle of life; that in thy strength I may fight my sins and temptations and overcome them. Inspire me with thy Holy Spirit that I may think wisely, speak rightly, resolve bravely, act kindly, live purely. Bless me in body and soul and make me a blessing to others. May my chief aim always be to do my duty faithfully to thee, and to my fellow men. Let the assurance of thy Presence strengthen me in life and comfort me in death, O Lord my God, for Jesus Christ’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

(AP) Episcopalians struggle with history of Confederate symbols

“You do have an identifiable connection to the Confederacy,” said Doug Thompson, history professor at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He said Episcopal churches prayed for the president of the Confederacy, not the Union, during the war. “Episcopalians have built into their very structure an attachment to this national identity.”

Just steps away from the Statehouse, the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral is wrestling with Confederate ghosts. The South’s Gen. Wade Hampton and its poet laureate, Henry Timrod, are buried on the parish’s grounds. A plaque in its sanctuary honors members who died in the Civil War. However, the church doesn’t allow the display of Confederate flags, and the Very Rev. Dean Timothy Jones said Confederate flags recently placed on soldiers’ graves were removed.

“I care deeply about how historical symbols can create hurt and communicate a message of discrimination,” Jones said. “We believe in redressing the terrible wrongs of slavery and affirming the dignity of every human being.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Historic Diocese of South Carolina responds to the New TEC Diocese’s Motion on the Rehearing

Today The Episcopal Church (TEC) filed their reply, as requested by the Court, to the motions by the Diocese of South Carolina and 28 parish churches for recusal and rehearing in the South Carolina Supreme Court, regarding its recent ruling in Appellate Case No. 2015-000622.

On behalf of the Diocese of South Carolina, Rev. Canon Jim Lewis issued the following statement:

“Today’s filing by The Episcopal Church argues in essence, that the Diocese and its parishes waived their right to recusal, by not requesting it earlier, and that the Constitutional issues raised in their motions are negligible or mistaken.  The facts in this ruling, as it presently stands however, will not yield to such arguments.  Justice Hearn’s bias and conflict of interest is clear to any impartial observer.  The Constitutional issues for Freedom of Religion remain.  As our petition for rehearing stated: “These are serious issues for Respondents, Appellants and for all religious organizations in South Carolina. This Court should grant a rehearing.”  That continues to be our hope and Constitutional expectation from the Court.”


The Diocese is also providing the following background information and details:

•    In 2012, the Diocese of South Carolina, along with 50 of its congregations voted by an 80% margin to disassociate from The Episcopal Church.  In a complicated and sharply divided ruling consisting of five separate opinions, the S.C. Supreme Court appeared to rule on August 2 this year that parishes which had “acceded” to the national church are subject to a trust interest in their property by (TEC).

•    The Constitutional due process requirements of the 14th Amendment are clear.  No member of government should make decisions in matters in which they have a vested interest in the outcome.  The Justice in this ruling who provided the deciding vote is a member of a TEC parish, Diocese and its national church.  Under South Carolina law, that Justice is a legal party to this litigation.  The bodies to which this Justice belongs as a member would be the beneficiaries of a nearly $500 million property windfall if this ruling stands.  That is a massive conflict of interest.  And it is the responsibility of the judge, under the South Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct, to reveal that issue, not for a party in the case to challenge the propriety of their actions.

•    The expert affidavit testimonies of Nathan M. Crystal, Professor and Adjunct Professor of Ethics at the University of South Carolina and NYU Schools of Law and Lawrence J. Fox, Professor of Ethics at Yale University are unanimous in their conclusions.  The due process rights of the Diocese of South Carolina have been violated by these actions and the only appropriate response is for this Justice to be recused from further participation in this case and their opinion vacated.  As Lawrence Fox observes in his analysis, “This is not a close case.”  The violations of due process here are not subtle.  They are profound….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

New Episcopal Church in South Carolina Diocese Files its Motion with the South Carolina Supreme Court on the Rehearing Request

You may find the 32 page pdf document here and the press release about it there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

([London] Times) A Robotic ‘muscle’ developed by American engineers can perform human tasks

A soft robotic “muscle” that can lift a thousand times its own weight has been developed by American engineers in a step towards machines that can perform tasks with human-like dexterity.

Over recent years the physical capabilities of robots have lagged some way behind the sophisticated software that drives them.

While some of the creations have mastered manual tricks such as bartending and cooking pizza, the rigid structure of most designs means they struggle to replicate the breadth of skills that even a four-year-old human child can pick up intuitively.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(CT) Go Where The Humans Are: What One Movement’s Small Town Task Force Has Learned about Church Planting So Far

“Is Vineyard committed to planting churches in small town America?” Five years later, I still can’t believe I asked the question. It was directed to Michael Gatlin, national coordinator of Multiply Vineyard, Vineyard’s church planting arm. The occasion was the Q&A session at our first Small Town USA conference. We had only met once before this conference. I braced for his answer and he answered in classic Gatlin style: “I thought we were supposed to go where the humans are. If there are humans in small towns, then they need churches. And if there are humans in metro areas, then we need to plant there.”

Go where the humans are. That answer has propelled us these past five years. So what have we learned?

Planters are hungry for someone to talk about small town planting.

Over the past five years, the Small Town USA team has written scores of blog articlesproduced 4-6 webinars annually, and led seminars in places as diverse as Mechanic Falls, Maine; Tomahawk, Wisconsin; and San Luis Obispo, California. We’ve hosted two national conferences. While attendance has been modest (75-100), we’ve been amazed that people flew from places like Colorado and drove from places like Minnesota and Missouri just to attend a conference in Ohio dedicated to planting in small towns. We’ve had at least 11 states represented at these events.

The conversation around small town planting took off enough in our movement that one concerned leader asked if Vineyard still cared about planting in large cities. Of course we do! Remember we “go where the humans are.” But so much of the church multiplication discussion has been from the large church and large city perspective (we’re talking to you, Atlanta, NYC, Chicago, and San Diego) that our small town planters have been left out.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Rural/Town Life, Theology

(PewF FactTank) 5 facts about Millennial households

Millennials are the largest living generationby population size (79.8 million in 2016), but they trail Baby Boomers and Generation Xers when it comes to the number of households they head. Many Millennials still live under their parents’ roof or are in a college dorm or some other shared living situation. As of 2016, Millennials (ages 18 to 35 in 2016) headed only 28 million households, many fewer than were headed by Generation X (ages 36 to 51 in 2016) or Baby Boomers (ages 52 to 70).

Even so, the latest available Census Bureau data indicate that Millennial-run households represent the largest group in some key categories, such as the number of households living in poverty.

Looking at households is important because many economic and spending decisions, such as whether to own or rent a home, tend to revolve around the household rather than the individual adult. Here are five facts about Millennial households….

Read it all.

Posted in Young Adults

FIF-NA Statement on the recent women clergy decision from the ACNA bishops

As the Council of Forward in Faith, North America we have discussed with the six FiF NA bishops who have just returned from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where they met in Conclave, the implications of the Message from the College of Bishops. They have been very clear that the agreement of the College is that individual statements, and, in particular, attributing to individual bishops, their comments cannot occur. Moreover, any comments that would appear to suggest some form of “victory” would be highly inappropriate. The College understands that the January meeting in Melbourne Florida will be the next opportunity for them to meet and prayerfully proceed. We acknowledge that the College of Bishops met, often in Silence, for the purpose of receiving the excellent Report of the Task Force on Holy Orders. We give thanks that one of our FiF NA bishops served on the Task Force, and that one of our bishops served on the four-man team which produced the Statement. We also acknowledge that the Statement was unanimously endorsed, but that this endorsement does not imply that Traditionalist Bishops have reached any conclusion other than the one that has been articulated for 2000 years. By now we are certain that everyone has read both the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America and also the Task Force Report, and that with these in mind, have evaluated the Statement from the College of Bishops. This Conclave was designed and reported to be the very first time that serious theological conversation has occurred regarding the nature of Holy Orders as an innovation in the Episcopal Church in 1976. Since the formation of ACNA, we have endeavored to study and discuss the Three-Fold Ministry as a Received reality and mystery, and then to study and discuss the reality of who may be ordained, based on their sex, their marital status, and their moral character among other considerations. We must add that Forward in Faith, North America is comprised of numerous Anglican jurisdictions, with the ACNA representing the largest percentage of membership. We note that, with the exception of the Episcopal Church, none of our other jurisdictions ordain women. Forward in Faith is comprised of numerous jurisdictions, all of whom have signed our Declaration which maintains all elements of the Historic Faith.

Read it all.

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Theodore of Tarsus

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and didst give him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in thy Church, we pray, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; 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 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

60 Minutes latest story on the opiod crisis–Heroin in the Heartland

Federal and local authorities nationwide now consider heroin to be the biggest drug epidemic in the country. Not methamphetamines or cocaine, heroin.

Dealers, connected to Mexican drug cartels, are making huge profits pushing their poison into suburbs and small towns across the country. It’s basic economics: the dealers are going where the money is. And they’re cultivating a broad set of consumers: high school students, college athletes, teachers and professionals.

Heroin is showing up everywhere — in places like Columbus Ohio. The area has long been viewed as so typically Middle American that, for years, many companies have gone there to test their new products. A few years ago when we started reporting this story we went to the Columbus suburbs to see how heroin is taking hold in the heartland….

Read or watch it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine

Forward in Faith UK Responds to the Sheffield Review

Forward in Faith welcomes the report on the nomination to the See of Sheffield and related concerns by the Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer, and his recommendations. As the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said, the report is ‘detailed, thoughtful and authoritative’. Like them, we shall read it carefully. We look forward to the more detailed response that the Archbishops promise.

We welcome Sir Philip’s statement that ‘there is no doubt that Bishop North’s nomination was consistent with the House of Bishops’ Declaration and the Five Guiding Principles’ (para. 130).

Sir Philip finds that ‘not nearly enough’ has been done to inform and educate clergy and laity about the 2014 Settlement (190). We welcome his recommendation that the House of Bishops provide resources to help dioceses, deaneries, parishes and training institutions to engage in further consideration of the issues and to ensure that ‘mutual flourishing’ is achieved (191).

We note that Sir Philip does not believe that Professor Percy’s ‘view of what constitutes “mutual flourishing” is consistent with what the House and the Synod had in mind in espousing the Declaration and the Five Guiding Principles’ (167). He comments, ‘The challenge posed by Professor Percy and some others… is in effect a fundamental challenge to the 2014 Settlement’ (132). We welcome Sir Philip’s recommendation that the House of Bishops give further attention to this theological challenge to the Settlement (198). It is the House of Bishops’ Declaration, so the House of Bishops needs to defend it.

As Sir Philip says, the Settlement was a package. We note that the Measure and Canon which permit the ordination of women to the episcopate form part of that package. As Sir Philip comments: ‘Try to unpick the package and the basis for the settlement is immediately called into question’ (16b)….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Theology

(C of E) Independent Reviewer’s report on See of Sheffield published

A report of the review of nomination to the See of Sheffield by the independent reviewer Sir Philip Mawer has been…[recently] published….

The report and appendices set out the findings of a review requested by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in March this year following the announcement that the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, was to withdraw from nomination to the Diocese of Sheffield….

Summary of findings and conclusions:

Sir Philip finds that Bishop Philip North’s nomination to the See of Sheffield was entirely consistent with the terms of the 2014 Settlement which enabled the consecration of women as bishops in the Church of England.  However:

  • The nomination of Bishop North – a bishop who would not ordain women as priests – came as a surprise to many, indicating a failure to inform and educate people that such a nomination was possible under the terms of the Settlement.
  • There is scope for improvement in the processes leading to the nomination of candidates to the Crown for appointment as diocesan bishops.
  • Events surrounding the nomination also raise some fundamental theological and pastoral issues relating to the 2014 Settlement and its operation.
  • They also point to a failure to anticipate the likely reaction to Bishop North’s nomination and to plan for handling it.

Read it all.

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

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks–The Challenge of Jewish Repentance

The Jewish drama is less about character and fate than about will and choice. To the monotheistic mind, the real battles are not “out there,” against external forces of darkness, but “in here,” between the bad and better angels of our nature. As the religion writer Jack Miles once pointed out, you can see the difference in the contrast between Sophocles and Shakespeare. For Sophocles, Oedipus must battle against blind, inexorable fate. For Shakespeare, writing in a monotheistic age, the drama of “Hamlet” lies within, between “the native hue of resolution” and “the pale cast of thought.”

The trouble is, of course, that faced with choice, we often make the wrong one. Given a second chance, Adam and Eve would probably pass on the fruit. Cain might work a little harder on his anger management. And there is a straight line from these biblical episodes to the destruction left by Homo sapiens: war, murder, human devastation and environmental destruction.

That is still our world today. The key fact about us, according to the Bible, is that uniquely in an otherwise law-governed universe, we are able to break the law—a power that we too often relish exercising.

This raises an acute theological dilemma. How are we to reconcile God’s high hopes for humanity with our shabby and threadbare moral record? The short answer is forgiveness.

God wrote forgiveness into the script. He always gives us a second chance, and more.

Read it all.

Posted in Judaism, Theology