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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 Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Prayer Manual

Almighty God, give us grace to do the work to which Thou hast called us with reverence and Godly fear, not with eye-service as pleasers of men, but in singleness of heart as in Thy sight. Direct, we beseech Thee, all our thoughts, words, and deeds, with the help of Thy Holy Spirit; that we may set Thy will ever before us, and turn away from vanity and self-seeking, and give ourselves wholly unto Thee to spend and be spent in Thy service; through Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up; but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another…

Psalm 75:6-7

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(The State) South Carolina areas that adopted mask ordinances first see biggest COVID-19 declines

South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control has released data before touting declines in coronavirus cases in areas where local governments have required residents to wear face masks. Now, the agency is saying that the earlier such ordinances were implemented, the better.

In its daily COVID-19 update Friday, DHEC broke down the 11 counties and 61 cities and towns where masks are currently required, splitting them into five groups according to the weeks that they implemented their mask ordinances.

In the earliest group, between June 23 and 29, cases decreased 66.5% more over the following month than in areas without ordinances. The latest group to implement ordinances, in the week of July 21-27, recorded no greater decrease in cases than those without them, DHEC reported.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Telegraph) Pandemic response is too centralised, say Archbishop Welby and Bishop Mullally

When the coronavirus pandemic began and lockdown took force across the country – shuttering shops and pubs, closing schools and barring places of worship – much of what we saw, heard and experienced was dictated and driven by “the centre”. Ministers and officials commanded our attention and determined the daily details of our lives. Few of us have experienced the sheer power of government like that in our lifetimes.

It makes sense to instinctively look for central direction in such an acute crisis, and we’re indebted to the roles many played in doing so, especially those who organised the NHS to cope with the increased demand. Within the Church there are lessons to be learnt about the role and importance of central guidance, and its crucial interplay with government rules that exist for the benefit of all.

But with a vaccine still far from certain, infection rates rising and winter on the horizon, the new normal of living with Covid-19 will only be sustainable – or even endurable – if we challenge our addiction to centralisation and go back to an age-old principle: only do centrally what must be done centrally.

As a country, this principle is in our DNA. In the Church of England, we have been committed to localism for centuries.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Choral Worship back at Hereford and Lincoln Cathedrals

Hereford and Lincoln cathedrals are the latest to reintroduce choral worship upholding a tradition that goes to the heart of our mission and ministry – thanks to the support of the Church Commissioners.

Tonight (Friday) will mark the first time the full choir of Lincoln Cathedral will return for Choral Evensong since our cathedrals were closed last March.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

An EB Pusey Sermon for his Feast Day–“Patience and Confidence the Strength of the Church” (1837)

The general conduct of our Church has been true to her first principles, to render to Caesar the things that were Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s; to do nothing against the command of God, but to suffer every thing which the Caesar may require. It was thus that the seven Bishops mainly checked James’s tyranny, refusing to do, but submitting to suffer, what was unlawful; it was thus that even in the Great Rebellion men cheerfully took the spoiling of their goods; it was thus that in events familiar to us, the members of this place, at different periods, suffered what was un lawful, rather than compromise their principles;–and we cherish their memories.

The two events, for which we keep this day as an annual thanksgiving to God, together, strikingly illustrate these principles. 1. That we may safely leave things to God. 2. That there is great risk, that man, by any impatience of his, will mar the blessing which God designs for His Church.

In the plot, from which this day is named, God had permitted things to come to the uttermost; every preparation was made, every scruple removed; a Roman priest had solemnly given the answer, that, for so great a benefit to the Church, their own people too might be sacrificed; the innocent might be slain, so that the guilty majority escaped not. The secret was entrusted to but few, was guarded by the most solemn oaths and by the participation of the Holy Eucharist, had been kept for a year and a half although all of the Roman Communion in England knew that some great plot was being carried on, and were praying for its success; inferior plots had been forbidden by Rome, lest they should mar this great one; no suspicion had been excited, and there was nothing left to excite suspicion, when God employed means, in man’s sight, the [28/29] most unlikely. He awoke, at the last, one lurking feeling of pity for one person in the breast of but one, so that a dark hint was given to that one: and He caused him who gave it, to miscalculate the character of his own brother-in-law, or entrust him with more than he was aware; then He placed fear in that other’s breast, so that, through another and distant fear, he shewed the letter which contained this dark hint; then, when the councillors despised the anonymous hint, as an idle tale, He enlightened the mind of the monarch, to discover the dark saying, which to us it seems strange that any beforehand should have unravelled; and when even then the councillors had surveyed the very spot, and discovered nothing, He caused the monarch to persevere, undeterred, until He had brought the whole to light. Yet to see more of this mystery of God’s Providence, and how He weaves together the intricate web of human affairs, and places long before the hidden springs of things, we must think also, how He ordered that one of these few conspirators should be intermarried with one of the few Roman peers, and so desired to save him; and by the conspiracy from which God had shielded the monarch’s early life, He quickened his sense of the present danger; so that while men were marrying, and giving in marriage, and strengthening themselves by alliances, God was preparing the means whereby this kingdom should be saved against the will of those so employed; and while men were plotting against a sacred life, God was laying up in the monarch’s soul the thought, which Himself should hereafter kindle to save it. Verily, “a man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.” “The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings; own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” The words of the Psalmist, selected for this day’s service, find a striking completion in this history. “God hid him from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity–they encourage themselves in an evil matter; they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? they search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search; the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep: but God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded; so they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves.”

But it yet more illustrates the teaching, and is an argument of encouragement to our Church, how God in two neighbouring countries permitted similar plots to be accomplished.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Preaching / Homiletics

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Edward Bouverie Pusey

Grant unto us, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know thy presence and obey thy will; that, following the example of thy servant Edward Bouverie Pusey, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what thou givest us to do, and endure what thou givest us to bear; 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 Daily Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sake didst endure the cross, and hast bidden us to follow thee: Take away from us all fear, all coldness of heart, all unwillingness to suffer; that we, glorying in thy cross, may glory also that thou hast called us to bear it with thee; for thy name’s sake.

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

On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehu′man, Biztha, Harbo′na, Bigtha and Abag′tha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served King Ahasu-e′rus as chamberlains, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty; for she was fair to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command conveyed by the eunuchs. At this the king was enraged, and his anger burned within him.

Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times—for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, the men next to him being Carshe′na, Shethar, Adma′tha, Tarshish, Meres, Marse′na, and Memu′can, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom—: “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasu-e′rus conveyed by the eunuchs?” Then Memu′can said in presence of the king and the princes, “Not only to the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also to all the princes and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasu-e′rus. For this deed of the queen will be made known to all women, causing them to look with contempt upon their husbands, since they will say, ‘King Ahasu-e′rus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ This very day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will be telling it to all the king’s princes, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. If it please the king, let a royal order go forth from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be altered, that Vashti is to come no more before King Ahasu-e′rus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.

–Esther 1:10-19

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Local Paper) Mask rules draw heated debate in Summerville and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Summerville and Mount Pleasant became the recent centers of the COVID-19 debate in the Lowcountry as they updated their mask ordinances.

Residents gathered at council meetings in both towns over the past two weeks to voice their objections to government-enforced mask mandates. Some residents cited religious concerns about wearing masks and others questioned the effectiveness of mask usage in general.

Officials in both communities had to decide whether to listen to science or to a vocal group of mask opponents.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Anthropology, City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

Caitrin Keiper remembers Amy A. Kass, 1940-2015, “The Greatest of Teachers”

Born in New York in 1940, she was a bright light at the University of Chicago for 34 years, also teaching at St. John’s College in Annapolis and in various programs of the Hudson Institute in Washington. Notwithstanding these elite affiliations, she was democratic in her means and aims, a defender of the liberal arts as a heritage that belongs to and benefits everyone, with a sneakily elemental way of bringing them to life.

When I met Amy—then “Mrs. Kass”—I was a freshman who had crept into her class on King Lear where I did not belong, hoping she would sign my registration slip. She sternly admonished me that this was a class meant for experienced students who would all be held to the same high standard, as I turned myself inside out promising to make every effort to meet it. She peered down her nose at me, her face impassive but her eyes dancing. “I believe you,” she said.

What followed was a transformative experience. Her standards were indeed high, enforced by a finely calibrated nonsense detector, but raised by an even more finely calibrated radar for a promising line of thought. “Another sentence, please,” was her frequent rejoinder: You haven’t made your case yet, but I sense you have one in you. All the same, you needed both humility and pluck to make it. Naming no names, I knew one cowering student who always made a point of sitting next to her so as to avoid her penetrating stare from across the room. That stare could plow the earth out from under you if ever directed that way with disgust. But it never was—at most, with disbelief, and a pointer back to solid ground. Indeed, although she might be said to “never suffer fools,” she was always suffering fools, driven by a bottomless ambition that we could think and be so much better than we knew. Her eyes lit up with a kind of knowing surprise every time that faith was rewarded, as if she expected no less but still marveled at what was said.

As for the course’s content? That one tragedy, just the one, mined for all the treasure it holds. Is there even enough to go on, you may ask, twice a week for months in a single Shakespeare play? Oh yes.

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Posted in Education, Young Adults

Mark Lawrence’s Sermon from last Night at Christ Saint Paul’s–Confirmed by the Holy Spirit in the Love of the Father

The sermon starts about 19:30 in.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Stewardship, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hildegard of Bingen

O God, by whose grace thy servant Hildegard, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Euchologium Anglicanum

Almighty God, only giver of all mercies, whose Son, Jesus Christ, has taught us how to pray aright: Save us, we beseech thee, from all presumption in our prayer, and grant unto us the grace of humility and contrition; that we may, sharing the vision of thine apostle Saint Paul, know that it is by the grace of God alone that we are what we are, and that we can do nothing but through the strengthening of thy Son, Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

“But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know the way to it,
and it is not found in the land of the living.

–Job 28:12-13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(BN) Class Of COVID-19: The Horrifying Sadness Of Sending My Kids To College During A Pandemic

All four people have been isolated and are being cared for. They are being contact-traced. The school is on point, and I appreciate the transparency. That said, the miasma of anxiety the news summons is overwhelming.

But it’s also a good reminder to finish up our extraction plan. Both schools have told us that we need one in the event a COVID-19 surge on campus requires us to evacuate our daughters.

I don’t know how that will work. Honestly, I’m not sure how any of this will work.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

A Wonderful NBC piece about the Power of Music to Help People Cope with the Coronavirus in New York

‘The New York Philharmonic is taking their new season to the streets. Travelling by pickup truck, members of the iconic orchestra make surprise stops around New York City to perform for the public.’

Posted in Uncategorized

(C of E) ‘They could hear the sound of the women singing in their cells’ how online prison services brought hope

The Covid-19 pandemic has made us think creatively and this was the first time that we had done anything like this. We wanted different prisons to take part and the service was broadcast from HMP Stocken in Rutland, HMP Low Newton in Durham – all women – and HMP Pentonville in London, a men’s prison.

We wanted the voices of the people who work in prison to be heard and for people to be given some idea of their largely hidden ministry. Prison staff, including chaplains, are Hidden Heroes and we must take every chance to celebrate them, like through this service, and the upcoming Hidden Heroes day on September 29.

During the service, there were readings by staff inside Pentonville prison and you could hear the background noise of prison life. The service heard reflections written by two prisoners, read by chaplains on their behalf.

Prisoners spoke of their joy at knowing their families had been watching and listening to what they had written. It was hugely exciting for them to feel heard. There was prisoners’ art displayed throughout the service and prayers were read that had been written by the women in Low Newton.

Read it all.

Posted in Prison/Prison Ministry, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Ninian of Galloway

O God, who by the preaching of thy blessed servant and bishop Ninian didst cause the light of the Gospel to shine in the land of Britain: Grant, we beseech thee, that, having his life and labors in remembrance, we may show forth our thankfulness by following the example of his zeal and patience; 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 Henry Alford

O God, who hast commanded us to walk in the Spirit and not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh: Perfect us, we pray thee, in love, that we may conquer our natural selfishness and give ourselves to others. Fill our hearts with thy joy, and garrison them with thy peace; make us longsuffering and gentle, and thus subdue our hasty and angry tempers; give us faithfulness, meekness and self-control; that so crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts, we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit to thy praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I know that thou canst do all things,
and that no purpose of thine can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you declare to me.’
I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees thee;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

–Job 42:1-6

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(York Press) The Making of two new bishops to be livestreamed from York Minster

Two new Bishops will be consecrated in separate services taking place at York Minster on Monday 21 September.

The Revd Canon Sophie Jelley, former Director of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry in the Diocese of Durham and Canon Missioner at Durham Cathedral, will be consecrated as Bishop of Doncaster in the Diocese of Sheffield. Sophie will be consecrated in the morning by The Archbishop of York, The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, assisted by the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler and the Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox.

In the afternoon, the Revd Dr Andrew Emerton, former Dean of St Mellitus College, will be consecrated as Bishop of Sherwood in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. Andrew will be consecrated by the Bishop of Durham, the Revd Paul Butler, assisted by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally and the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Paul Williams. The Archbishop of York will preside at both services.

The consecration services will take place in the context of the Eucharist and will include readings, prayers, music and a sermon.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(PRC) U.S. Image Plummets Internationally as Most Say Country Has Handled Coronavirus Badly

Since Donald Trump took office as president, the image of the United States has suffered across many regions of the globe. As a new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey illustrates, America’s reputation has declined further over the past year among many key allies and partners. In several countries, the share of the public with a favorable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago.

For instance, just 41% in the United Kingdom express a favorable opinion of the U.S., the lowest percentage registered in any Pew Research Center survey there. In France, only 31% see the U.S. positively, matching the grim ratings from March 2003, at the height of U.S.-France tensions over the Iraq War. Germans give the U.S. particularly low marks on the survey: 26% rate the U.S. favorably, similar to the 25% in the same March 2003 poll.

Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the U.S. had handled the coronavirus pandemic. Across the 13 nations surveyed, a median of just 15% say the U.S. has done a good job of dealing with the outbreak. In contrast, most say the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union have done a good job, and in nearly all nations people give their own country positive marks for dealing with the crisis (the U.S. and UK are notable exceptions). Relatively few think China has handled the pandemic well, although it still receives considerably better reviews than the U.S. response.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Globalization, Sociology

(The State) COVID-19 absentee expansion bill clears SC House, heads to Gov. McMaster

A bill that would expand absentee voting to all registered South Carolina voters in the Nov. 3 general election as a pandemic-related safety measure is headed to the governor’s desk after clearing the House Tuesday.

The bill, which passed 115-1, allows “no-excuse” absentee voting, but retains the requirement that absentee voters get a witness to watch them sign their absentee ballot envelope — a requirement that a federal judge suspended for the June primary, citing the risk of COVID-19 transmission — and scraps plans to add more ballot drop boxes.

Gov. Henry McMaster has yet to weigh in on the absentee expansion bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate last week, but signed a similar bill the Legislature approved ahead of the June primary.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government

(Stat News) CDC study: Covid-19 complications killed 121 Americans under age 21 through July

A true saving grace of the pandemic is that Covid-19 poses far less risk to children than to adults, particularly older adults. But in rare cases, it has made children and young adults severely sick or even been fatal.

In a new report that analyzed fatal Covid-19 cases in Americans under age 20, researchers found that some of the same patterns of deaths in older populations carried over to younger populations: There was a disproportionate burden among children and young adults with underlying health conditions and those who were Latinx, Black, or American Indian or Alaska Native.

The report also found that 18- to 20-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the 121 deaths in the group during the time period studied — mid-February to the end of July — adding to the evidence that younger children generally are less likely to get seriously ill from Covid-19. Still, 10% of fatal cases occurred in children under 1 year old.

Read it all.

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

(CNN) The unlikely rise of Yoshihide Suga, the son of a farmer who is expected to become Japan’s next Prime Minister

Suga is the son of a farmer, and he’s known as a pragmatic, behind-the-scenes deal maker. He grew up in the rural Akita prefecture, and moved to Tokyo after high school. He then worked a series of odd jobs — including one at a cardboard factory and another at the famed Tsukiji fish market — to save money for university, which he went on to attend part time while working.

Suga entered the fast-paced, punishing world of Japan’s salary men after graduation, but it didn’t last. Politics was what shaped and impacted the world, and that’s what he wanted to do.

So he decided to run for city council in Yokohama. Though he lacked connections and political experience, he made up for it with gumption and hard work. He campaigned door-to-door, visiting about 300 houses a day and 30,000 in total, according to the LDP. By the time the election rolled around, he had worn out six pairs of shoes.

Read it all.

Posted in Japan, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Chisolm

Merciful God, who didst call thy priest James Chisholm to sacrifice his life while working amid great suffering and death: Help us, like him, to live by the faith we profess, following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ our Lord; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O Eternal Lord God, without whose aid we cannot do the things that we would: Look mercifully upon the waywardness of our hearts, and strengthen us against evil; that as citizens of thy holy kingdom we may walk henceforth in the power of the Spirit, and bring forth fruit to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I; for thou art my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in thy tent for ever! Oh to be safe under the shelter of thy wings!

–Psalm 61:1-4

Posted in Theology: Scripture