Category : Ministry of the Laity

(CT) Joy Beth Smith reviews Gina Dalfonzo’s book providing an insider’s perspective on the frustrations of long-term singleness in the Church

Somehow, despite many friends getting married, the single among us are still here, clinging to a community that seems to view us as more of a nuisance than a necessity. And we long for a place in the church—besides standing up at the altar while other people’s vows are being exchanged.

Gina Dalfonzo has lived this storyline as well, but a bit longer and with more grace than I have. As a lifelong single, she’s endured passive-aggressive advice, negligent married friends, hurtful generalizations, and the inevitable shaming that comes with prolonged singleness. The path just wide enough for one is familiar to her feet, though not always welcome. But bitterness has no place in Dalfonzo’s journey, and that alone is refreshing.

Her book, One by One: Welcoming the Singles in Your Church, is the result of extensive interviews, hours of research, and years of living the harsh realities the book describes. Dalfonzo highlights the experiences of others as she discusses the state of singleness, touching on everything from the stereotypes and stigmas of the unmarried to the hope we have for a unified church that seeks to celebrate every phase of life.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Young Adults

(The Goodbook) Vaughan Roberts on assisted dying, dignity and dependence

How should Christians bring our perspective into the public debates about assisted dying?

Well for a start, we need to make sure that we are involved in these discussions, even if it’s just closer to home—in our offices, in our communities, among our friends, as well as in the national debate. We’ve got good news to share—so let’s get engaged. So much of this discussion assumes that some lives are just not worth living—and Christians need to say, no, every life has dignity.

Second, we’ve also got something important to say about suffering. Our culture can’t cope with suffering—it wants to reduce suffering as much as possible and at all costs. Christians say suffering is bad—it’s a result of the fall—but God can be wonderfully at work in and through it.

And third, I think one key assumption underlying the argument for assisted suicide is that there’s just nothing worse than being dependent on others. But a Christian worldview says that actually our dependence on God and on one another is fundamental to our humanity. It’s a good thing! Illnesses brings that dependence to the fore, and that can be mutually very uplifting—for the carer and the one being cared for—even in the midst of very hard times. My father found the loss of independence the hardest aspect of his illness to cope with. At the very end of his life he was paralysed and unable to speak. Those last few days were intensely sad and yet also, in a strange way, profoundly beautiful. He had given so much to us and now we in the family had the privilege of caring for him, stroking and kissing him, singing his favourite hymns and praying. Such dependence is not undignified. This is being human.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Books, Children, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Theology

For Those of You in Lowcountry SC this weekend–Gloria Kwashi will B guest preacher on Sunday, Apr 30 at Christ St Pauls Yonges Island

Posted in * South Carolina, Church of Nigeria, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

Church of England Synod–GS2055 case studies to be discussed today by working groups released

Read it all the links are at the bottom of the page (p 1-7).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

C of E Presentation from the Bp of Norwich+Bp of Willesden this morning

The Bishop of Willesden concluded by saying:

“We lack a consensus on what we mean by “good disagreement” – is it about process or is it about outcomes? I think that many who want change believe that it’s possible, on the basis of good disagreement, to have pluriformity of practice in the Church. Others don’t believe that it’s possible to live in that way because of the canonical and legal constraints of uniformity that exist in our Church.

We will find this debate a continuing source of disagreement because we haven’t coalesced around an end point. When we legislated for women to be bishops, even those opposed came to the view that the Church of England had to make it possible for women to be bishops in the Church of God according to our canons and formularies. In this debate, we haven’t even begun to find a place where we can coalesce. The Bishops’ Report acknowledges a place of starting. More conversation is needed. We don’t yet know the next stage – nor yet when and whether we can bring any further report to Synod. Please make the fullest possible use of the groups and the debate to enable those deliberations.”

Read it all and the presentations are below.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Tel) Bp David Walker warns of pain ahead of discussion of Report on Marriage+Same Sex Reltnshps

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, The Right Reverend David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, warned changes to the church’s authorised blessings are highly unlikely.

He said: “We know those numbers are just not there at the moment to change the law. We have a liturgy for marriage, we can’t change that without the majorities that would be required.”

However, The Right Reverend added: “What we have said is that we are committed to maximum freedom and I and many of the other bishops are very keen to explore the full extent of what that means. If we don’t change the law but everything else is up for grabs, everything else is up for conversation.

“There is an awful lot we can do which doesn’t actually require a change in the law and that is what I want to explore.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Phil Ashey–Church of England Bishop's Report–More Questions than Answers

The implication would seem to be that whatever might “directly and publicly” undermine the doctrine of marriage may be perfectly admissible if done “indirectly and privately.” The progressive wing of the Episcopal Church used that ploy for years, surreptitiously establishing facts on the ground, until it couldn’t be ignored any longer.”

Two years after TEC was threatened with discipline by the Primates at Dar Es Salaam in 2007, General Convention 2009 came up with an end run that did not directly change the teaching of Christian marriage as between one man and one woman. Instead, they enacted Resolution C056 which circumvented those boundaries in practice by authorizing bishops and clergy to provide a “generous pastoral approach to meet the needs of [LGBT] members of this Church.”

Within a mere six years the foundations of the Church’s teaching on marriage were so compromised by “facts on the ground” that TEC General Convention 2015 effectively revised the Prayer Book by simply passing a “marriage equality” canon eliminating any language limiting marriage as between one man and one woman. In fact, those “generous pastoral provisions” evolved into the liturgies of the Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(C of E Comm Blog) From Zumba to singing: combatting loneliness amongst older people

Monday morning and it’s a Zumba class for the over 50s at St Stephen’s Church, Westminster. This class is part of St Stephen’s Second Half Club, a weekly day of classes that looks to build community, keep people active in mind, body and spirit, and ultimately combat social isolation. St Stephen’s is one of two London churches, the other being St Paul’s, North Marylebone running a pilot of this programme.

It is well-known that loneliness is a serious concern, with over half of adults in England saying they experience feelings of loneliness.

Although there are many different ways Anglican churches are addressing loneliness in their communities, what is truly exciting about the Second Half Clubs is the partnership that they can create with other organisations looking to achieve the same goals.

Read it all from Joseph Friedrich.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Music, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme Segment on the House of Bps Report on marriage+same-sex reltnshps

On Friday the House of Bishops released a report saying the Church of England shouldn’t change its teaching on marriage but recommending that it reviews other aspects of how it treats LGBTI+ clergy and laity. The Rev Rachel Mann is critical of elements of the report and gives Martin Bashir her reaction to it….

([The Rev.] Canon Andy Lines is also interviewed about his perspective on the report).

The Bishops of Manchester and Maidstone respond to criticism that the Church has come up with a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ solution.

Listen to it all (begins approximately at 21:58 and ends about 35:42).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

The Diocese of South Carolina Contingent at the 2017 March for Life

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) L. Gail Irwin-Can retiring pastors mentor their own successors?

Judicatory leaders may feel either overjoyed or overwhelmed by an expanding corps of retired clergy who bring a wide range of needs and gifts to the wider church’s table. Moyer hopes that the future will bring a fruitful convergence of older clergy who need more relaxed schedules and a supplement to their pensions with congregations that can no longer support full-time salaries.

Whatever happens, judicatories will have to stay focused on the leadership needs of churches. Congregations, for their part, might be wise to find roles for retirees who are creative and flexible””and who can support new pastors in a time when the demands of leadership are changing.

“My guess is that no matter how the transitions happen, a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate,” said Moore-Nokes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Paul Cartwright responds to the paper in the previous post, "”˜Setting God’s People Free’

Each congregation member has been encouraged to pray “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will”, and to further discern God’s call upon their lives, including those who are retired. This has resulted in some using their vocational skills as teachers to become School Governors, as well as an increase in outreach events in the Community.

St Peter’s has joined with other Catholic Parishes in the Barnsley area to deliver teaching and encouragement, through short courses designed to give those who attend a greater depth of understanding of the faith, as well as running a Fan the Flame mission to encourage personal development within the parishes, and the Clergy and People have studied together and been ministered to by one another during this time.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

The C of E needs to undergo a major "culture shift" to mobilise lay members to share their faith

The Church of England needs to undergo a major “culture shift” to mobilise lay members to spread the gospel in their everyday lives, a new report being presented to members of the General Synod argues.

The report, entitled “Setting God’s People Free”, calls for Christians to be equipped to live out their faith in every sphere – from the factory or office, to the gym or shop – to help increase numbers of Christians and their influence in all areas of life.

Laity and clergy should view themselves as equal partners in the task of evangelising the nation, it insists. The paper is a key element of the lay leadership strand of Renewal and Reform, an initiative from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, to help grow the Church.

Read it all and follow the link provded for more.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Report from the January 2017 meeting of the College of Bishops of the ACNA

We received an update from The Rev. Dr. Joel Scandrett and The Rev. Art Going, members of the Committee for Catechesis. The work of the committee is to encourage the whole church to embrace catechesis as a critical means of discipling; to be a church investing and engaging in lifelong disciple-making.

The College adopted a revision to Parts 1 and 2 of the Catechism, with the goal of producing a final version of the Catechism in the coming year. The Bishops approved changes that were presented, and endorsed the plan to place pastoral prayers formerly in the introduction in the relevant sections of the text, and to add prayers for pastoral application to other sections.

The Committee continues to focus its work on three audiences and three challenges:

Outsiders becoming insiders – learning from the ancient church how to do catechetical evangelism through patterned practices in an environment of warm, evangelical hospitality.
Forgetters becoming rememberers – renewing our commitment to lifelong catechesis””laying the foundation for all other ventures in discipleship; completing the revision of To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism.
Beloved children becoming belief-ful adults – rediscovering the crucial role of family for discipling our children for Christian life and mission.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Young Adults