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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Agnes

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost choose those whom the world deemeth powerless to put the powerful to shame: Grant us so to cherish the memory of thy youthful martyr Agnes, that we may share her pure and steadfast faith in thee; 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 William Knight

O Thou, who givest to thy children liberally and upbraidest not: Preserve us from all envy at the good of our neighbour, and from every form of jealousy. Teach us to rejoice in what others have and we have not, to delight in what they achieve and we cannot accomplish, to be glad in all that they enjoy and we do not experience; and so fill us daily more completely with love; through him in whom thou hast promised to supply all our need, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

–Hebrews 5:7-14

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Prison/Prison Ministry, Race/Race Relations

Richard John Neuhaus: Remembering, and Misremembering, Martin Luther King Jr.

As Abernathy tells it—and I believe he is right—he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.

“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama—in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream

You can find the full text here.

I find it always is really worth the time to listen to and read and ponder it all on this day–KSH.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Language, Race/Race Relations

A Prayer for the Feast day of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

Almighty God, the giver of strength and joy: Change, we beseech thee, our bondage into liberty, and the poverty of our nature into the riches of thy grace; that by the transformation of our lives thy glory may be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:1-4

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Woodstock, Virginia, Pictures

Posted in Harmon Family, Photos/Photography

Patricia Hamill “Pat” (Teale) French (1926 – 2020) RIP

Patricia “Pat” Hamill Teale French, 93, of Woodstock, Virginia died Friday, January 10, 2020 at her home.

Pat was born October 17, 1926, in Baltimore, Maryland, the first of two children of the late Gladys Adelaide Hamill Teale and Edward Painter Teale. She was a member of the Class of 1943 of Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, Virginia and attended Harcum Junior College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. After college, she worked in a division office of AT&T Long Lines in Washington, DC, where she met her future husband Warren Ballinger French, Jr.

Pat’s greatest pride was her family. She married Warren on September 17, 1949 in Silver Spring, Maryland. In the fall of 2019, they celebrated their 70th year of marriage. They were the parents of four children. Pat was predeceased by her son Warren Ballinger French, III, who passed away April 19, 1981. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her three remaining children and their spouses: Anne Elizabeth French Dalke and Jeffrey Alan Dalke of Philadelphia and Edinburg; Cynthia Ellen French Mullen and Wesley Grigg Mullen, Jr. of Rockbridge Baths; and Christopher Edward French and Rhonda Harris French of Woodstock. Pat is also survived by her grandchildren and their spouses: Lena French Dalke and Sameer Gupta of Brooklyn; Lillian Stover Dalke and Angelina Lim of Brooklyn; Samuel Shaffer Dalke and Katharine Baratz Dalke of Harrisburg; Marian Ballinger Dalke and Elizabeth Nadia Pisarczyk of Philadelphia; Wesley Grigg Mullen, III and Accacia Max Mullen of Rockbridge Baths; Andrew French Mullen and Melissa Ann Falkenstern of Albuquerque; Rebecca Blythe French of Harrisonburg; Warren Ballinger French, II of Woodstock; and Stuart Teale French and Tiffany Marie French of Harrisonburg. Five great grandchildren also survive her: Naima Belle Dalke Gupta, Mahalia Vati Dalke Gupta, Andy Bo Tian Dalke-Lim, Julia Baratz Dalke, and Audrey French Dalke. She is also survived by her brother Robert “Bob” Edward Teale and his wife Carol Rogers Teale of Lincoln, Nebraska; her sisters-in-law Doris French, Emma Randel, Marian French, Ellen Fuller, Joyce French and Sally Weber; and her brother-in-law John Weber, and many, many nieces and nephews.

In addition to being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Pat was an active supporter of her church and an advocate for her local community. She became a member of the Woodstock United Methodist Church in 1954, later served as a member of its Board of Trustees and the Administrative Council, and was active in the church’s Tape Ministry, Food Pantry, and Clothes Closet. She was a member of the Shenandoah Garden Club, where she served as corresponding secretary.
Pat’s love of children and reading led to her involvement in and support of libraries at the town, county, and state levels. She served on the Board of the Woodstock Library and was appointed by Virginia Governors Godwin and Dalton for five-year terms on the State Library Board of the Virginia State Library, serving as chairman for one year. Pat also worked to gain support of the Shenandoah County Supervisors for the creation of the Shenandoah County Library, which opened in 1985 and led to the creation of the Shenandoah County Library System. She served two terms on that board. Pat was also involved in the founding of the Shenandoah Community Foundation in 1999.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Harmon Family

A Prayer to Begin the Day from H J Wotherspoon

Almighty God, who hast set in thy Church some with gifts to teach and help and administer, in diversity of operation but of the same Spirit: Grant to all such, we beseech thee, grace to wait on the ministry which they have received in the body of Christ with simplicity, diligence, and cheerfulness; that none may think of himself more highly than he ought to think, and none may seek another man’s calling, but rather to be found faithful in his own work; to the glory of thy name in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–The Rev. H. J. Wotherspoon [1850-1930], Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”): A Manual of Private Prayers (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1905)

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

On our Way to a Family Funeral in Virginia this Weekend

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Harmon Family

A Prayer for the Confession of St. Peter

Almighty Father, who didst inspire Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the Living God: Keep thy Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O Blessed Lord, who in the days of thy earthly childhood didst earnestly desire to be about thy Father’s business: Give us the grace of thy Holy Spirit early to seek thee and evermore to follow thee; that being continuously aided by thy grace, we may be exercised in thy service; who livest and reignest with the Holy Spirit, world without end.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

–Psalm 20:6-9

Posted in Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Antony

O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst enable thy servant Antony to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil: Give us grace, with pure hearts and minds, to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst sit lowly in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions: Give unto thy servants that humility of heart, and willingness to learn, without which no man can find wisdom; to the glory of thy holy Name.

—-Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end, while it is said,

“Today, when you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Who were they that heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? And with whom was he provoked forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they should never enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

–Hebrews 3:12-19

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Thinking Strategically About Book Choices; An Interview with Bishop Mark Lawrence

Bishop, I sense you’re a voracious reader. Would you use that term to describe yourself?

I would say as a parish priest I was, but as a Bishop less so, because the schedule and demands – which are voracious – have truncated that.

How many books do you read a month?

Far less than I wish, unfortunately. About two a month.

What are you reading right now?

This summer I’m rereading Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth. I’m also listening to two lecture series on the tragedies of Shakespeare and looking for opportunities to attend performances of those plays. Remarkably, we’ll be at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in August, and they’re performing Hamlet and Macbeth. There’s also a haunting performance of Lear by Anthony Hopkins in a movie version.

I’m also reading Landscape and Inscape: Vision and Inspiration in Hopkins’s Poetry by Peter Milward and The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R.S. Thomas by Byron Rogers. (Thomas was a Welsh Poet and Anglican Priest). So I’ll reread his poems along with this recent biography.

How do you go about deciding what to read?

Often I will choose a reading project. When I was in parish ministry, I did this all the time. I’d read books in three areas: preaching and teaching, leadership, and pastoral ministry.

For preaching and teaching I would read 8 to12 books per year in theology, commentaries on the scriptures, homiletics or preaching. For leadership I’d read books from the secular world whether it be a book by Stephen Covey, Warren Bennis, Peter Drucker, James Burns, John Maxwell, etc., as well as in the Christian world and certainly biographies of leaders in various walks of life. The other arena was books on pastoral care, what’s known as pastoralia. That was for many years what I did in terms of my calling or vocational reading.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Books, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(AJ) Orvin Lao–Recapturing our lost virtues—mission and evangelism

We need to recapture and embody our lost and forgotten Anglican virtue of mission and evangelism.

Our church’s biblical convictions have cooled, and most of our parishes are theologically confused, malnourished and erroneous, and have lost creedal confidence in the supernatural power of God’s Word, in God’s Holy Spirit, and in the historic person of Jesus—his virgin birth, his theanthropic life, death, bodily resurrection, bodily ascension, and bodily return. Our church does not need to be more culturally relevant or to be “with the times.” We need to “hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” God’s Word. We need to take seriously and be especially convinced of Jesus’s death on the cross as our only means of being reconciled to God and to each other. We need to take seriously and be especially convinced of Jesus’s bodily resurrection as our only means towards cosmic justice and transformation. Clergy need to preach and teach these things in their homilies and sermons. Parents must teach these things to their children who are baptised in the church. We are not God’s people if we are not people who believe and trust His Word.

I am hopeful that the Anglican Church of Canada will persist 20 years from now. God has granted us still the management of enormous resources, assets, materials and real estate. But those are not our most treasured possessions. We have the creeds, our Bible, our common prayer, our history of missionary and theological enterprise, our liturgical heritage, the beauty of biblical language and sacred music, our global presence and ecumenical relationships, our sacramental conviction and participation—these are our Anglican conduits through which the Holy Spirit still chooses to work. Let us therefore step up, stand up and live up to the historic, apostolic, and catholic richness of our Anglican heritage to declare Christ crucified, to make Jesus known and glorified, to call all people to repent and believe His Holy Gospel, first in our parishes and throughout the places that we are in.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Canada

(Sightings) Martin Marty–Are traditional holy days still something more than just any other day?

“Sunday Is Not the New Monday” shouted the headline of the “Success” section in a recent edition of our Chicago Tribune (Monday, December 30, 2019). Having many reasons—cultural, theological, traditional, personal, etc.—to care about Sunday (or analogues to it in Judaism, Adventism, Islam, and more) I took the bait and read on. Author John Boitnott opens the article with a description of what Sunday used to mean—or what he thinks it used to mean—and how it served: “Sunday used to be for relaxing, spending time with family and friends and catching up on personal tasks.” Boitnott says that he associates with “entrepreneurs” and authors of advice columns who encourage their readers to “stay available for work outside traditional business hours.”

Boitnott offers four clusters of advice in settings where “work” casts its shadow on Sundays: “Stop the guilt,” “Remove yourself from the work environment,” “Set limits and retrain those around you,” and “Plan for Monday on Friday.” So far, so good, if “workism” or “workaholism” is your problem. But is that all that is at stake and all that is to be offered to face the problem? We Sightings columnists are charged to notice those overlookable stories wherein religion or the religious may in fact be significant. Reread the Boitnott sentence again, the one about how “Sunday used to be for relaxing, spending time with family and friends and catching up on personal tasks.” Yes, but for tens of millions of North Americans, among others, Sundays (for Christians; Fridays for Muslims; Shabbat for Jews; etc.) were also for helping people tend to general and specific matters of the spirit and the soulful flourishing of life….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Media, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(CT) For Christian Women, Persecution Looks Like Rape

Dali’s work serves but a tiny number of the millions of women around the world who suffer from persecution. Of the 245 million Christians attacked for their faith last year, many are women and girls who are specifically and most frequently targeted through forced marriage, rape, and other forms of sexual violence. These are the findings of Gendered Persecution, an Open Doors report that examined the differences in persecution by gender in 33 countries for women and 30 countries for men. (An updated report will be released this March.)

While forced marriage is the “most regularly reported means of putting pressure on Christian women” and “remains largely invisible,” when analyzing the data on female persecution, researchers Helene Fisher and Elizabeth Miller found that

Among all forms of violence… the one most often noted [for women] was rape. The research found it to be a common characteristic of persecution of Christian women in 17 countries, with other forms of sexual assault being listed for exactly half of countries with available data. There are no mentions of this form of violence against men, nor is domestic violence one of the pressures mentioned as a tactic used against Christian men.

Not only must Christian women like the Boko Haram captives deal with their own trauma, they often can’t find sanctuary within their faith communities when they come home.

“Unfortunately, it is all too common that Christian communities do not distinguish themselves from their surrounding cultures and, as a result, will stigmatize their women and girls who have been victims of violence,” Fisher and Miller, the authors of the report, wrote in a statement to CT.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Sexuality, Violence, Women

(NYT) Is the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme the apex of the cheating era? Or is it acknowledgement that it is just the way things are now in sports.

But the rules are there, and F. Clark Power worries that by flouting them, more is being lost than a sense of fair play. Power is the founder of the Play Like a Champion program, which promotes character education through sports and focuses on proper coaching instruction in youth sports, especially for at-risk children.

He likes to reference what he sees when he witnesses the joy of 7-year-olds playing hide-and-seek.

“Every one of them knows that to have a fair game, you’ve got to keep your eyes closed while you count,” said Power, who has taught at the University of Notre Dame since 1982.

“We need to understand, if we are going to endorse cheating as a means to an end, the children are watching,” he said. “So it becomes a question of how do you want to raise your kids? We can’t get much lower as a culture if cheating is no longer a moral issue but a form of coping. We need to change the conversation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Sports

A Great Theological Resource–Audio of Some Lectures from past gatherings at the Anglican Leadership Institute

If you do not know about this, you should–check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Resources & Links, * South Carolina, Theology

(Church Times) Bishops shamed by BBC documentary

The two-part programme, Exposed: The Church’s dark secret, was shown on BBC2 on Monday and Tuesday nights after the watershed. The documentary, which has been well-received by reviewers, included testimonies from victims, police, lawyers, and church officers, as well as dramatic reconstructions.

On Wednesday, the independent chair of the National Safeguarding Panel, Meg Munn, praised survivors of Ball and their families. “The BBC documentary showed the devastating and lifelong impact of abuse,” she said. “Those who spoke out, showed incredible bravery.

“The failure to stop Peter Ball and other abusers, and the failure to bring them promptly to justice, compound the hurt and damage to victims and survivors. Failure to co-operate with police by high-ranking clergy, including a former Archbishop, is truly shocking. Those who failed victims should consider their position.”

Speaking about the changes in the Church’s hierarchy and culture that she has witnessed, she said: “These are necessary, but not sufficient.

“Within the church structure, each diocese is effectively a fiefdom, and significant power rests with diocesan bishops. Last year, one diocese refused to share safeguarding information with another diocese. It took a number of months to resolve the issue, possibly exposing people to risk.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, Violence

(Local Paper) Senator posts racist email from a constituent to show bigotry is ‘alive and well’ in South Carolina

A routine campaign email turned into a teaching moment on race for a South Carolina senator.

Columbia Democrat Mia McLeod posted on social media a screenshot of a constituent’s email that referred to her by using a racial epithet and expletive. The constituent was responding to her “save the date” invitation to a Jan. 28 fundraiser.

“I was a bit taken aback, but not totally shocked,” McLeod, who is black, told The Post and Courier on Wednesday….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Race/Race Relations, State Government

A Prayer to Begin the Day from William Knight

O Thou, in whom we live and move and have our being: We offer and present unto thee ourselves, all that we are and have, our thoughts and our desires, our words and our deeds, to be a living and continual sacrifice. We are not our own; therefore we would glorify thee in our bodies and our spirits, which are thine; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. He was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in God’s house. Yet Jesus has been counted worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house has more honor than the house. (For every house is built by some one, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ was faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope.

–Hebrews 3:1-6

Posted in Theology: Scripture