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The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese gets a Date for SCOTUS Conference

From there:

Friends,

Good news! Today the United States Supreme Court announced that our Petition for Certiorari has been distributed for Conference on Thursday, June 7.

As anticipated, the Eden Prairie case (which involves the same legal issues as our own case) has also been docketed for Conference that day.

Both cases raise the question of how courts interpret the Jones v. Wolf (1979) decision and its guidance on “neutral principles of law”. In Conference, the Justices will be discussing if these are cases they wish to review to resolve the conflicting interpretations.

The consequence is that we could hear as early as Monday, June 11th what the Court’s decision is regarding our Petition for Certiorari. If granted, our case would then be heard some time in the next session of the court, which begins this fall.

Please encourage your congregation to keep the Court’s deliberations that day in their prayers.

Blessings,

(The Rev. Canon) Jim Lewis

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

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

(Church Times) Want to know about God? Just ask Alexa

The Church of England has launched an “Alexa skill” that provides answers to questions about faith and prayer, and can find a church to attend on the basis of the user’s location.

Launched on Wednesday night, the skill is compatible with all Amazon Echo and Alexa devices. Users can ask questions such as “Who is God?” and “How do I become a Christian?” besides making the device read specific prayers or prayers for different situations or periods of the day.

The skill is similar to an app on a smartphone or tablet, and is one of the “first significant faith-based resources” for Alexa, the C of E’s head of digital, Adrian Harris, says.

It works alongside the website A Church Near You to help users find their nearest church events and services.

Users can launch the C of E skill on Alexa by saying “Alexa, open the Church of England.” A full list of commands is available online.

 

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence Calls for Day of Prayer and Fasting on June 7, 2018

From there:

Dear Friends in Christ,
“At the set time which I appoint I will judge with equity.
 When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.”
Psalm 7:2-3

On Tuesday of this week, we learned that the United States Supreme Court has scheduled a conference for Thursday, June 7, 2018 to consider our Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.  This conference will determine if they will hear our case during the next term. Though this is welcome news, only a small fraction of Petitions is granted each year by the Court.

Therefore, as your bishop, I am requesting that along with your congregational prayers, you will also include this matter in your personal and daily prayers.  I also ask that many of you, and particularly those with gifts of intercession, join me in setting aside the Thursday, of June 7th as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for the Court and for the Church.  

You will find below a general prayer to which you may add your petitions as God, the Holy Spirit, might lead you.  We are also providing a link to a list of the Justices of the Supreme Court, whom you may want to pray for individually.

Almighty God, Judge and Redeemer of the world, send upon all courts of justice, and especially the Supreme Court of the United States and its justices, a spirit of wisdom, understanding, and discernment; grant that they may rightly and impartially interpret and administer the law; through him who shall come to be our Judge, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Faithfully yours in Christ,
–(The Right Reverend) Mark J. Lawrence is 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina
Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Supreme Court

Friday Morning Mental Health Break–People Versus Birds

Posted in Animals, Humor / Trivia, Photos/Photography

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bede the Venerable

Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; 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 H. C. Cooksey

O Holy Spirit of God, Lord and Giver of life: Come into our hearts, we beseech thee; that enlightened by thy clear shining, and warmed by thine unselfish love, our souls may be revived to the worship of God, and our lives be dedicated anew to the service of our fellows: for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved….Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore

Psalm 16:7-8;11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CEN) [The Church of England Evangelical Council] CEEC–Why The Episcopal Church is on the brink

Three proposals before General Convention this year would significantly alter this situation and make it hard to see how there will be any ongoing place for this Communion witness within American Anglicanism. One would remove, with immediate effect, the diocesan bishop’s freedom to refuse trial use in their diocese (there is also a proposal to introduce a new transgender re-naming rite across all dioceses).

More serious still is a first reading to write the current trial same-sex marriage liturgies into the Prayer Book, which would require confirmation in 2021 before taking effect. Alongside this there would be a rewriting of the Church’s Prayer Book Catechism to state that “Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which two (2) people [replacing “the woman and man”] enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows”. Given that all those ordained in TEC have to “solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Episcopal Church” and that doctrine and worship is expressed in the Catechism and Prayer Book these proposals, if accepted, will make it practically impossible for clergy holding an orthodox Christian doctrine of marriage to remain with integrity in The Episcopal Church.

Finally, it is also noteworthy that the proposals coming to General Convention extend further TEC’s revision of traditional sexual ethics. There has for some time been a liturgy for “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant”, which was produced for same-sex unions before there was a marriage liturgy.

It is now proposed to add to this a liturgy for “The Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship” in response to “study of contemporary trends and the expressed experiences of Episcopalians who desire to form and formalise a lifelong, monogamous and unconditional relationship, other than marriage, in particular circumstances”.

This would be the first authorised Anglican liturgy to bless non-marital heterosexual unions. It is these very significant proposed developments eliminating the Christian doctrine of marriage from TEC’s doctrine and liturgy and effectively excluding its adherents from their church – which led to William Nye’s letter and for many Anglicans it is these, rather than the letter, which should be the headline news and real cause of serious concern within the Church of England.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

(ABC 7 Chicago) Hard to watch but important–Milwaukee police release Sterling Brown arrest body cam video

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized to Bucks guard Sterling Brown on Wednesday for a January arrest that started with a parking violation and escalated to include use of a stun gun, and said some officers had been disciplined.

Brown responded with a statement that described the incident as “an attempt at police intimidation” and said it “shouldn’t happen to anybody.”

Morales’ apology came as police released body-camera footage that showed how a simple interaction over an illegally parked car quickly escalated. City officials’ concern over the content of the video was apparent earlier this week when Mayor Tom Barrett said he found it concerning.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CT) John Perkins On The Day He Finally Understood The Bible

What would you say is your calling?

Well, when I started reading the Bible it was difficult for me to understand, because the Bible was not written in the everyday English language. In addition to that, I was an Ebonics speaker. I spoke within the context of my dialect in Mississippi. So the Bible was not that easy for me to read.

It didn’t have relevant meaning to me in Genesis. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, darkness…” I bet you I read over that without really understanding what it was. But as I began to read through the Bible, I came to Abraham’s calling; it was the twelfth chapter of Genesis. To me, that’s where Genesis began: the call of Abraham.God had said to Abraham, “Get thee out from among your family and from your father’s house, and I will make you, I will bless you. I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you. And through you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” It seemed like, what he was saying to Abraham, I heard it like he was talking to me. That’s when I really thought I was being called of God.

I heard that to say “I’m going to redeem your name.” Or better yet, I felt my name was so messed up, my heritage, my people and that I was such a sinner. That brought a conviction in my life. And I said to God, “God, would you redeem my name?”

Read it all.

Posted in Poverty, Theology: Scripture

(NBC) Former medical debt collectors using expertise to help the neediest patients

Craig Antico co-founded RIP Medical Debt, a non-profit that buys up batches of overdue medical bills, erasing $120 million in debt for 60,000 patients so far.

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance & Investing, Stewardship

(Christian Today) Church of England should be stripped from Prince Charles’ coronation vows, report suggests

The Church of England should be stripped from Prince Charles’ coronation service and replaced with an ‘oath to the people’ to reflect Britain’s religious diversity, a new report suggests.

Charles will inherit the Queen’s title of supreme governor of the Church of England when he takes the Crown. However the substantial changes to Britain’s religious and cultural outlook since the Queen’s coronation in 1953 have raised questions over whether the new king should continue to hold the title of Defender of the Faith – one adopted by all British monarchs since it was conferred on Henry VIII by Pope Leo X in 1521, before the Tudor king split from the Catholic church.

The UCL Constitution Unit, a respected think tank, has produced a raft of recommendations for the planning the Prince of Wales’ accession to the throne after the Queen, aged 92, dies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

All of the Teaching Resources for the Basic Christian Theology Class of the Diocese of South Carolina are online

For those interested, you may find the audio, outline and handout for the class there. There were seven classes in all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

For Jackson Kemper’s Feast Day–Gustaf Unonius’ Summary of [some of] his Work

In the course of time almost all the states and territories which at first had constituted a great missionary district under Bishop Kemper’s oversight became separate dioceses which for a time continued under his care but finally selected their own bishops. In this way, after a period of only a few years, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin–where, at the time I began my studies at Nashotah, there were only a few scattered churches and mission stations–and finally Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas–territories which at that time were hardly known even by name–have now churches and ministers enough to be organized into separate dioceses. In Wisconsin alone there are more than fifty ministers, and an equal number of churches without ministers, belonging to the Episcopal church. All of this, under the grace of God, may be ascribed to the tireless labors if Bishop Kemper and the excellent mission school at Nashotah.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, TEC Bishops

Greenough White–Jackson Kemper: An Apostle of the Western Church

In the same report a “Catholic feature” of the mission is noted,–classes of adult catechumens, conducted by the brethren; and an intention of having weekly communions, “according to primitive practice,” is recorded. To this end the brothers had sought to secure the services of the good missionary priest, Richard Cadle, and to convert him into the Father Superior of their order,–but the worthy man shied at the novel honor. With funds that Hobart had obtained at the East a beautiful tract of land was bought about Nashotah (signifying “Twin Lakes”), and thither, in August, the mission was moved. The following October, Adams and Breck were advanced to the priesthood, and the latter was made head of the religious house. A few theological students answered to the lay brothers of Vallombrosa; they supported themselves by farm work, etc., according to the primitive method at Gambier. The community rose at five o’clock, had services (lauds or prime) at six and nine in the morning, on Wednesdays and Fridays the litany and on Thursdays Holy Communion at noontide, and services at three and half-past six o’clock in the evening, answering to nones and vespers. Now at length, as Breck wrote home with glee, he began to feel that he was really in a monastery. But within a year from that hopeful start it seemed as if the community would be dissolved. Adams had a severe attack of pneumonia, felt unequal to bearing the business burdens of the house, and returned to the East; Hobart lingered a few months longer, and then followed; and Breck began to think of moving further west.
At this period Kenyon College was in such financial straits that it was in imminent danger of being lost to the church,–but a mighty effort was made, collections were taken for it on a large scale among congregations throughout the eastern dioceses, and it was saved; but the extraordinary exertion resulted in a deficit in the missionary treasury that reduced many a poor minister on the frontier to pinching poverty.

One is startled to hear that in 1843 a medical department was annexed to Kemper College and already boasted of the formidable number of seventy-five students. The attention of the church was called to this Protestant Episcopal University west of the Mississippi, which “promised a rich return for its fostering care,” and seemed destined to “hand down the name of its beloved founder to other ages.” There were but a score of students, however, in the collegiate department, at whose first commencement the bishop presided that summer.

The good example set by his young itinerants in Wisconsin moved him to urge the appointment of two or more missionaries of similar type to operate in Indiana. That diocese now made another attempt to perfect its organization, electing Thomas Atkinson of Virginia as its bishop,–but he declined. Its leading presbyter, Roosevelt Johnson, waived a like offer. Missouri diocese had similar aspirations and electoral difficulties, which it solved by throwing the onus upon the general convention, entreating it to choose a bishop. In 1843, Cicero Stephens Hawks accepted a call to the rectorate of Christ Church, St. Louis; and the favor with which he was received determined the choice of the convention. On the 2oth of October, 1844, (the day of Cobbs’ consecration), and in Christ Church, Philadelphia, he was consecrated bishop of Missouri by Philander Chase, now presiding bishop, assisted by Kemper, McCoskry, Polk, and DeLancey.

With this event terminated what is in one way the most interesting period of our hero’s life,–the dawn, or morning of his episcopate, with its wide and long vistas, its freshness and promise. Wonderful indeed was the accomplishment of those nine mystic years, especially when we consider that it was before the days of railroads,–that he had to toil painfully in wagons, on horseback or afoot along wretched roads over boundless tracts that the traveler now crosses smoothly, gliding at the rate of a mile a minute in a palace car.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Jackson Kemper

Lord God, in whose providence Jackson Kemper was chosen first missionary bishop in this land, that by his arduous labor and travel congregations might be established in scattered settlements of the West: Grant that the Church may always be faithful to its mission, and have the vision, courage, and perseverance to make known to all peoples the Good News of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops