Category :

Blessed Pentecost 2018 to all Blog Readers

Posted in Pentecost

A S Haley–The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese Goes to SCOTUS Conference

In their (non-linkable) respondents’ brief, ECSC and ECUSA took a gamble by resting their main opposition upon just a single ground: that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the case because the five divided justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court had decided the case below on independent state-law grounds, and did not rest their decision on any interpretation of federal law. (SCOTUS reviews only issues of federal law that are decided by either the state or federal courts.)

As the Diocese’s reply brief points out, this claim is far from accurate. Two of the justices below (Pleicones and Hearn) were clear that they viewed the 1979 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf as requiring them to give effect to the trust on church property imposed by the Dennis Canon, even if the documentation of that trust failed to pass muster under South Carolina law. In other words, Justices Pleicones and Hearn held that the First Amendment trumped state trust law — and that was obviously a federal ground of decision.

Even Chief Justice Beatty, who declined to articulate his reasoning, held that the Dennis Canon was sufficient to create a trust under South Carolina law so long as the individual parishes “acceded” in some way to that Canon. Since, as Justice Kittredge pointed out in dissent, any argument that a trust under South Carolina law could rest upon such a dim showing of assent was “laughable”, it is only fair to conclude that Chief Justice Beatty reached his result by relying upon the same (federal-law) reading of Jones v. Wolf that drove Justices Hearn and Pleicones.

In sum, the South Carolina case presents as good a reason as ever will arise for SCOTUS to grant review, in order to end the confusion over the meaning of Jones that divides some nineteen different state and federal courts below. (Those decisions are reviewed and discussed at pp. 21-29 of the Diocese’s petition.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

In the Diocese of SC Supreme Court Case–The Diocese has now filed its response to TEC and the new TEC Diocese

You can find the full 17 page pdf here–read it carefully and read it all. Please do continue to note that you can follow all the documents as they become available there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, State Government

(Economist Erasmus Blog) Followers of Jesus fail to agree about his homeland

Hundreds of millions of followers of Jesus Christ are about to celebrate the annual feast of Pentecost, which celebrates an event in Jerusalem roughly 2,000 years ago, when it is believed that cultural and ethnic barriers were miraculously overcome. The festival, which falls on May 20th in this year’s western Christian calendar and a week later in the Orthodox one, commemorates what many regard as the establishment of the Christian church. A new kind of divine inspiration, including the ability to communicate with speakers of any language, is said to have come over the disciples who had gathered in the holy city for the Jewish festival of Shavuot, which falls seven weeks after Passover.

So there is sad irony in the fact that people who cherish that sacred story seem more divided than ever, with some rejoicing in Jerusalem’s rising earthly status and others expressing the very opposite view.

Read it all.

Posted in Israel, Middle East, Religion & Culture

(Stuff) Same-sex blessing vote could split Anglican church in New Zealand

Behan is chair of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand (FCANZ), a conservative group within the church that opposes same-sex blessings. A statement on the FCANZ website greeted the synod vote with “deep sadness”.

“We are ready to support people and parishes that cannot remain within this changed Anglican structure. We will work together nationally and internationally to provide fellowship and support as we look towards new ways and structures of ministering the unchanging good news of Jesus,” it stated.

Drye said he did not know if he would leave the Anglican church.

“We don’t really have anything to say because we are in the middle of negotiations and we need to deal with our own churches.

“This is quite a big deal for us and we need to work out what we are going to do. If the church goes pear shaped who knows what will happen from here. Nobody knows what is happening from here.”

Behan did not return calls for comment.

Vicar Helen Jacobi, of St Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland, said it was “pathetic” Canterbury vicars were considering leaving the church.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology: Scripture

The Church of Scotland has moved a step closer to allowing some Ministers and Deacons to conduct same-sex marriages

The General Assembly voted 345 by 170 to instruct the Legal Questions Committee to prepare legislation with safeguards in accordance with Section 9 (1A) of the Marriage Scotland Act.

But commissioners agreed that the committee should only act if, in its opinion, said safeguards “sufficiently protect against the risks they identify”.

The committee will report its findings to the General Assembly of 2020.

The motion calling for legislation to be prepared was put forward by Rev Bryan Kerr, minister of Greyfriars Parish Church in Lanark.

It was amended to ensure the committee had the power to recommend withdrawal following a call from Rev Peter White of Sandyford Henderson Memorial Church in Glasgow.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT Op-ed) Rob Henderson–lesson from my life as a foster child

One piece of inherited wisdom is the value of the two-parent family. It’s not fashionable to talk about this. How people raise their children is a matter of preference. But it is not really up for debate that the two-parent home is, on average, better for children.

First, two parents can provide more resources to children, including emotional support, encouragement and help with homework. One conscientious parent, no matter how heroic, cannot do the work of two. Second, single-parent households have a lower standard of living, which is associated with lower school grades and test scores.

Here is an example of the success of intact families from one of my psychology classes. The professor asked students to anonymously respond to a question about parental background. Out of 25 students, only one other student besides me did not grow up in a traditional two-parent family. It’s no accident that most of my peers at Yale come from intact families.

Outcomes are worse for foster children. Ten percent of foster children enroll in college, and only 3 percent graduate. To my knowledge, among more than 5,000 undergraduates at Yale in the current school year, the number of former foster children is under 10.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Marriage & Family

(NYT) ‘Please Pray’: Santa Fe, Texas, Is a Town That Has Long Found Comfort in Faith

“Please pray,” began one text message sent to a mothers’ prayer list. “My niece is not accounted for. Was in art when shooting took place.”

“URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!!” read another. “I don’t have details but was just informed that there is an active shooting going on at Santa Fe high school.”

Their requests were heeded. “Prayers lifted for the Santa Fe schools right now,” someone wrote.

There have been prayers sent from Nigeria and from Grapevine, Tex., from Virginia and São Paulo. Vice President Mike Pence offered prayers from the White House. They are words that, however sincere, have come to seem routine — even cynically so, to some Americans who see in them an evasion of the gun-control debate — when American communities find themselves plunged into grief.

But in Santa Fe, where football players appeal to the Lord before Friday night games, where church on Sunday is all but a given, where the school district once went all the way to the Supreme Court to preserve the right to sponsor prayer, these expressions of faith are not mere words, but salves.

On Friday, inside the high school, the students turned to prayers for protection. As gunfire roared through the hallways, several students hid in a classroom, forming a prayer circle.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Violence

The Rev. Creighton Evans RIP

Please keep the family and loved ones of the Rev. Creighton Evans in your prayers. Creighton died on May 17, 2018 following a year-long illness. Funeral arrangements are still being made. We will send out another notice when they have been announced.

Born June 17, 1953 in Charleston, S.C., he holds a B.S. in Psychology from the College of Charleston and an M. Div. from Trinity School of Ministry. He married his wife, Nina Evans, on July 1, 1978. He was ordained a deacon on June 18, 1994 in the Diocese of South Carolina and a priest Jan. 4, 1995.

From 1994 – 1998 he served at St. Matthias, Summerton. From 1998 until 2008 he served at All Souls in North Fort Myers, FL. Between 2008 and 2013, he served as interim rector in both South Carolina and Florida. In 2013 he accepted a call to serve as the Rector of All Souls Episcopal Church in Okinawa. He had intended to retire from that position later this summer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(WKTV) Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Whitesboro, New York, closes its Doors

The atmosphere inside St. John’s Episcopal Church was bittersweet Sunday, as it closed its doors for the final time. It was a day to celebrate Pentecost, but also a day to call it quits at 135 Main St. in Whitesboro.

“I will remember this church as a gather of people I knew throughout my life,” said John Groves, a member of St. John’s. “It will be a sad time.”

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

A Guardian Interview with Archbishop Justin Welby–“Would…[disestablishment] be a disaster? No.”

Disestablishment – separating the church from the state – is mooted from time to time. “Would it be a disaster? No,” he says, adding, “Nothing is a disaster with God.” Establishment is “a conglomeration of different bits of history. There’s no Establishment of the Church of England Act that you could repeal – it’s a complicated process. And if you mean, by privilege, that the archbishop of Canterbury is often involved in royal weddings, or crowns the monarch, or whatever, that’s really a decision for parliament and the people.”

But neither would disestablishment be liberating for the church. “It wouldn’t make any of that [the grassroots social action] easier, as far as I can tell, because that’s all done at a local level. We’re an incredibly delegated, dispersed organisation. All of those things happen because local Christians reach out to those around them, with other faith communities, with those of no faith; they do all that because they follow Christ. So I don’t think [disestablishment] would make it easier, and I don’t think it would make it more difficult.”

A consequence of establishment is that the UK is one of only two countries in the world that reserve seats in their legislature for clerics, the other being Iran – a fact relayed with some relish by Welby to a group of business leaders at Warwick University. But in contrast to the Iranian parliament, the 26 Lords Spiritual in the UK’s upper house now include two (soon to be three) women, who are among more than a dozen appointed as bishops since the church made a historic change to canon law in 2014 – a move championed by Welby.

“If I look back over the past five years, at what’s been achieved in the Church of England, the most significant would clearly be the ordination of women to the episcopate. Am I delighted it’s happened? I’m more than delighted, and I’m even more delighted that, since it became possible in law, about half the bishops that have been appointed are women.” He would like to see a woman take over as archbishop of Canterbury at some point, he says.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

A Prayer to Begin the Day from George Edward Lynch Cotton

O God, who hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and didst send thy blessed Son Jesus Christ to preach peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh: Grant that all the peoples of the world may feel after thee and find thee; and hasten, O Lord, the fulfillment of thy promise to pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

–Psalm 1:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke on the Surprises of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

From there:

And we would therefore do well to remind ourselves that all our planning and all our strategising is of little avail if we do not also place ourselves at the disposal of the Holy Spirit. Cardinal Leo Suenens, one of the great Roman Catholic proponents of the modern charismatic movement memorably commented that he would have liked to add a phrase to the creeds. Not only do we believe in the Holy Spirit, he suggested, but we should also express belief in ‘the surprises of the Holy Spirit’. I might perhaps suggest an addition to Cardinal Suenens’ phrase. We should believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit, and our belief should be as much in the surprises of the Holy Spirit that are unwelcome, as in those surprises that we might welcome! In the Church of Ireland, we are not keenly attuned to the possibility of surprises, not even welcome surprises. But if we truly believe in the Holy Spirit, we must believe in surprises, and certainly General Synod and our participation in this Synod can never be all about us, but rather centred and focussed on the glory of God

(and, you guessed it–also quoted in the morning sermon)

Posted in Church History, Church of Ireland, Pentecost, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Food for Thought for A Sunday from a man who wrote his own Epitaph

‘Anthony Benezet was a poor creature, and through divine favour was enabled to know it’–from an honest man who wrote an epitaph for his own tombstone, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Soteriology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Pentecost (II)

O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Nerses of Clajes (4th century Persian Bishop and Martyr)

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

John Stott on the Spirit-Filled Christian for Pentecost

Our attitude to our fallen nature should be one of ruthless repudiation. For ”˜those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires’ (Gal. 5:24). That is, we have taken this evil, slimy, slippery thing called ”˜the flesh’ and nailed it to the cross. This was our initial repentance. Crucifixion is dramatic imagery for our uncompromising rejection of all known evil. Crucifixion does not lead to a quick or easy death; it is an execution of lingering pain. Yet it is decisive; there is no possibility of escaping from it.

Our attitude to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is to be one of unconditional surrender. Paul uses several expressions for this. We are to ”˜live by the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:16, 18. 25). That is, we are to allow him his rightful sovereignty over us, and follow his righteous promptings.

Thus both our repudiation of the flesh and our surrender to the Spirit need to be repeated daily, however decisive our original repudiation and surrender may have been. In Jesus’ words, we are to ”˜take up (our) cross daily’ and follow him (Lk 9:23). We are also to go on being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), as we open our personality to him daily. Both our repudiation and our surrender are also to be worked out in disciplined habits of life. It is those who ”˜sow to the Spirit’ (Gal. 6:8) who reap the fruit of the Spirit. And to ”˜sow to the Spirit’ means to cultivate the things of the Spirit, for example, by our wise use of the Lord’s Day, the discipline of our daily prayer and Bible reading, our regular worship and attendance at the Lord’s Supper, our Christian friendships and our involvement in Christian service. An inflexible principle of all God’s dealings, both in the material and in the moral realm, is that we reap what we sow. The rule is invariable. It cannot be changed, for ”˜God cannot be mocked’ (Gal. 6:7). We must not therefore be surprised if we do not reap the fruit of the Spirit when all the time we are sowing to the flesh. Did we think we could cheat or fool God?

Authentic Christianity (Nottingham, IVP, 1995)

Posted in Pentecost, Theology: Scripture

Charles H Spurgeon on Pentecost–‘How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit!’

How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! It is not possible for us to promote the glory of God or to bless the souls of men, unless the Holy Ghost shall be in us and with us. Those who were assembled on that memorable day of Pentecost, were all men of prayer and faith; but even these precious gifts are only available when the celestial fire sets them on a blaze. They were all men of experience; most of them had been preachers of the Word and workers of miracles; they had endured trials and troubles in company with their Lord, and had been with him in his temptation. Yet even experienced Christians, without the Spirit of God, are weak as water. Among them were the apostles and the seventy evangelists, and with them were those honoured women in whose houses the Lord had often been entertained, and who had ministered to him of their substance; yet even these favoured and honoured saints can do nothing without the breath of God the Holy Ghost. Apostles and evangelists dare not even attempt anything alone; they must tarry at Jerusalem till power be given them from on high. It was not a want of education; they had been for three years in the college of Christ, with perfect wisdom as their tutor, matchless eloquence as their instructor, and immaculate perfection as their example; yet they must not venture to open their mouths to testify of the mystery of Jesus, until the anointing Spirit has come with blessed unction from above. Surely, my brethren, if so it was with them, much more must it be the case with us.

–From a sermon in 1863, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in Church History, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture