Category : * South Carolina

Peter Moore’s Sermon from this past Sunday at Saint Michael’s, Charleston–Are We at Liberty to Change Jesus?

So, the first thing he said to them was: “You are wrong.” He didn’t say, let’s discuss this further. He didn’t offer to organize a seminar on differing visions of the afterlife. He didn’t decide to have a conversation on the subject. He simply said: “You are wrong.” Kind of blunt. Kind of direct. But, friends, this is the only Jesus we know. This is the canonical Jesus. He used strong terms. And he did not suffer fools gladly. It’s kind of refreshing – certainly different from the “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” that many of us were brought up on in Sunday School. I’m not saying that Jesus isn’t loving. He’s incredibly loving. But like C. S. Lewis’ Lion Aslan, he is good; but he is not tame.

The second thing that Jesus said to them was “you are ignorant of the Scriptures.” “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (v.29) This was like waving a red flag before a bull. They were the scholars, the elites, the educated ones. They had been to seminary. And they had degrees after their names. And who was he? Somebody from a nowhere place up north….

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Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Charleston, South Carolina, Named as the South’s Best City by Southern Living

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Posted in * South Carolina, Urban/City Life and Issues

Politico Profiles the most prominent African-American Republican in America, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina

The exchange crystallized the central dilemma of Scott’s political existence. Concerned about narrowing his brand, the senator long has tried to downplay his ethnic exceptionalism and avoid the role of race-relations ambassador for the GOP. And yet Scott, now more than ever, cannot seem to escape being perceived as such. He is not just a generic black Republican in a generic period of history; he is the most powerful and prominent black elected official in America, serving at a time of heightened racial tension and widespread accusations of xenophobia against his own party and the president who leads it. This ensures that Scott wears a target on his back regardless of the issue or crisis at hand. When race is involved, the stakes are even higher, forcing upon him decisions of personal and political identity: Scott can choose to stay silent and be accused of selling out his heritage, or speak out and be defined by his blackness.

“God made me black on purpose. For a specific reason. It has helped me to help others who have been locked out of opportunity in many ways,” Scott tells me over lunch at a Subway sandwich shop near his home, after the barber visit and a game of pickup basketball. “I am not pretending that this characteristic, this Earth suit that I’m in”—he pinches the skin of his arm—“isn’t being evaluated. It requires a response, or a reaction, to the situations at my level of government. I am fully aware of that. I just don’t want to play a game with it.”

“People are fixated on my color,” Scott says. “I’m just not.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Politics in General, Senate

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Can we Learn to understand repetance as a gift of God’s grace (Psalm 51)

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT) The world is changing. This South Carolina Trappist abbey isn’t. Can it last?

 “A year and a half ago, I could do anything — run the chain saw, cut up trees, use a backhoe.”

Brother Joseph Swedo was bent forward in his chair, his rugged hands folded delicately in his lap. As a monk at Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist monastery in South Carolina, he maintains that Roman Catholic order’s code of prayer, work, seclusion, poverty and chastity. And for the last 73 years — since he joined the order at age 17, answering a call from God, he said — physical labor has been an integral part of his daily routine.

Lately, though, Brother Joseph’s health has taken a turn for the worse, narrowing the scope of his monastic life. He is no longer strong enough, he said, to regularly attend the first or last of Mepkin’s seven daily prayer services — vigils at 3:20 a.m., and compline at 7:35 p.m. Nor can he fully participate during the roughly five hours set aside each day for agricultural work and the upkeep of the monastery’s grounds.

“Right now, it’s a bleak situation,” he said. “We’re all getting old.”

Mepkin Abbey — part of a global network of Trappist monasteries that for nearly 1,000 years have provided their communities with reliable sources of prayer, learning and hospitality — is edging toward a potential crisis.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Roman Catholic, Spirituality/Prayer

Historic Diocese of South Carolina Case before the US Supreme Court is featured on the Prestigious Scotus Blog

You can find it there along with important links to material you may or may not have already seen.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, * Theology, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

Saint Helena’s, Beaufort, reports on last week’s South Carolina Diocesan Convention

From Rev. Todd Simonis, Senior Associate: I very much appreciated Bishop Lawrence calling local churches to have a mission mindset. It was great to have conversations about the changing demographics of the Lowcountry and how we, as the church, must be ready to reach out to those demographics. As always, it was an encouraging time to be with others from the diocese.
From Rion Salley, Senior Warden and Delegate: Bishop Lawrence shared how a little intentionality can go a long way for the Kingdom of God. First, as sowers of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ we can take more time to familiarize ourselves with the people in our community and build deeper relationships with those God has put in our midst by walking through life together as Jesus did.
From Rev. Chuck Pollak, Priest Associate: For me a highlight was the sermon by Bishop Lowenfield, who described his difficult decision to leave the Episcopal Church, and the joy he now feels as a member of ACNA. His journey is similar to one that many of us have experienced, and we know how wrecking that decision has been to us and to others as well. His message is one of hope.
From Jane Manos, Delegate: It was great to be with the Parish Church of St. Helena at the convention – a true honor! From Bishop Lawrence’s address, what stood out to me: “Uncertainty is WHY we need to sow the seed (of the Gospel).”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

South Carolina Diocese Urged to Go Out to Sow Seeds of the Gospel at 227th Diocesan Convention – A Convention Wrap-Up

Through his refrain, [Bishop] Lawrence seemed to sum up the theme of the Convention urging church members to “go out to sow”– beyond their church walls to engage their communities for Christ.

“So what would it look like for the diocese and our congregations to step out more fully in mission?” he asked. “First, I believe we would seek to engage our local communities in relevant, sensitive witness and evangelism; secondly, that Matthew 25 ministries (those reaching the poor and neglected) would proliferate among us; and thirdly, we would partner with one another to plant churches that plant churches.”

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

Bishop Mark Lawrence Addresses the 227th South Carolina Diocesan Convention

Before I go any further with my purpose, let me get something out of the way. Call it litigation—legal updates—the financial challenges it brings. You may think it is the elephant in the room. I suggest to you it is not. Certainly, the most recent legal volley from The Episcopal Church is an attempt to bring every congregation of the diocese (and even those outside the diocese) into their crosshairs. But, it is not the elephant in the room. An elephant in the room is a metaphor for what many fear is a problem that is do not acknowledge openly. Frankly, the legal battle is acknowledged everywhere I go. Whether at Bishop’s forums, coffee hours, vestry meetings, church door handshakes, evening phone calls, or casual dinners. Then there is the related question, such as, “If we should we lose, who will stay with the building and who will not?” All I will say of this for now is what I hear in my quiet moments from the Lord that now is no time to lose my resolve! Therefore, by God’s grace, I shall not. I suggest the same for you. But if your congregation needs a refresher course about the theological issues that led to our dissociation from TEC may I suggest you get a copy of the video that Al Zadig and Kendall Harmon are making at St. Michael’s entitled: “Why the Battle? Different God and Gospel.” Thank you, Al and Kendall.

So that said, I want to address what I believe is the real elephant in the room. I have been your bishop now for ten years. The first five years were in the context of theological and ecclesiastical struggles to remain “intact and in TEC”: the last five in litigation to be “intact and out of TEC”. As I reflect on this decade—just a mere one thirty-fourth of the time Anglicanism has been in Charleston and one twenty-third of the time the Diocese of South Carolina has been in existence, I realize I am sojourner among you. If the years that Anglicanism has been here were measured as one hour my years with you would be considerably less than two minutes. And in that hour there has been wars and rumors of wars. There have been rectors removed from their pulpits in the midst of British occupation and reinstated after the Revolution. There have been Union soldiers housed in our churches and surgeries performed on Southern gravestones. A Confederate submarine sunk in Charleston harbor and German submarines lurked off the Carolina coast. There have been fires and floods, earthquakes and plagues. The ironies abound. One of my predecessors in his Bishop’s Address in the late 19th Century wondered what could be done about the declining churches along the coast, for some of the parishes could hardly stay open—all the growth was inland. Parishes in the Low Country were languishing. Now the Low Country and the coastal regions are so bursting with people moving in from elsewhere one can hardly navigate the roadways. Instead, we ask what we should do about our congregations in the small towns of the Midlands and the Pee Dee. It is they who struggle to keep their church doors open. The hymn writer, Issac Watts might well have had them in mind when he wrote:

“Time like an every rolling stream bears all our years away; /they fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day. /O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, /be thou our guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.”

Indeed, are we not all sojourners? An ever-changing environment is the normal backdrop to life; change is the real constant. Hence there are always “good reasons” for the sower not to go out. This I believe is the elephant in the room. It is the main theme of this address. Jesus said, “A sower went out to sow.” It did not matter to our Lord that there was uncertainty—he went out to sow. Uncertainty is arguably, why we need to go out to sow. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” so must we go out into the field. I have spoken about this in one way or another at almost every diocesan convention. It seems always to lose out to other pressing concerns. Sadly, I have let it.

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

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon from Saint Michael’s, Charleston–What is the Gospel (John 3, Ephesians 2)?

The link is there and you can listen live or download the audio depending on your preference.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Soteriology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Theology: Scripture

A Kendall Harmon Teaching–Saint Stephen as a profile of Courage

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

Prayers requested for the historic diocese of South Carolina Diocesan Convention which meets beginning Friday

You can find an overview of information there, including links for the workshops and a schedule for both days.

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

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–What is the Gospel (Exodus 20; John 2:13-22; 1 Cor.1:18-25)

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

U of South Carolina current men’s basketball coach Frank Martin’s miraculous journey to a new life

Watch and enjoy it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer, Sports

Brian McGreevey’s Sunday Sermon at St Philip’s, Charleston: The Word of the Cross–Folly or Wisdom?

You can listen directly here or download it there. Listen carefully for a statistic on shoplifting, a CS Lewis reference, a C H Spurgeon citation, and a Tolkien Lord of the Rings mention.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture