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A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Mott

O God, the shepherd of all, we offer thanks for the lifelong commitment of thy servant John Raleigh Mott to the Christian nurture of students in many parts of the world; and we pray that, after his example, we may strive for the weaving together of all peoples in friendship, fellowship and cooperation, and while life lasts be evangelists for Jesus Christ, in whom alone is our peace; and who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to begin the day from Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever! Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or show forth all his praise? Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!

–Psalm 106:1-3

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Bloomberg) Chief Putin Critic Clinches Key Election Victory in Latvia

Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, a staunch critic of Vladimir Putin, won a decisive victory in general elections as voters punished a party backed by ethnic Russians.

Bolstered by its vocal opposition of the Russian president’s invasion of Ukraine, Karins’s New Unity won 19% of the vote, according to a final results released by the central election commission.

Harmony, a group that won the last three elections with support of many Russians who make up about a quarter of Latvia’s 1.9 million population, failed to make it into parliament for the first time since its inception in 2010.

Read it all.

Posted in Foreign Relations, Latvia, Politics in General, Russia

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of England

Lord of creation,
whose glory is around and within us:
by your Spirit open our eyes to your wonders,
that we may serve you with reverence
and know your peace at our lives’ end,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen (slightly edited-KSH).

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because John said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Hero′di-as danced before the company, and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.

–Matthew 14:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(NBC) Heroic Reporter Reunited With Woman He Saved From Flooded Car During Hurricane Ian

Watch the whole very encouraging piece.

Posted in * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Therese of Lisieux

O Gracious Father, who didst call thy servant Therese to a life of fervent prayer; Give unto us the spirit of prayer and zeal for the ministry of the Gospel, that the love of Christ may be known throughout all the world; through the same, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Ba’als, and burning incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught E’phraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one, who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them in their fortresses. My people are bent on turning away from me; so they are appointed to the yoke, and none shall remove it. How can I give you up, O E’phraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! How can I make you like Admah! How can I treat you like Zeboi’im! My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy E’phraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come to destroy.

–Hosea 11:1-9

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Terry Mattingly) Faith, family and the dropping number of marriages

“There’s a whole class of young men who are not flourishing personally and professionally. … The systems have broken down that help raise up attractive, successful men. Churches used to be one of those support systems,”…[Brad Wilcox] said, reached by telephone.

“The future of the church runs through solid marriages and happy families. The churches that find ways to help men and women prepare for marriage and then encourage them to start families are the churches that will have a future.”

The crisis is larger than lonely, underemployed and internet-addicted men. Rising numbers of young women are anxious, depressed and even choosing self-harm and suicide.

The coronavirus pandemic made things worse, but researchers were already seeing dangerous signs, noted San Diego State psychology professor Jean Twenge, in a recent Institute for Family Studies essay. She is the author of the book “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means for the Rest of Us.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Men, Theology, Young Adults

The Latest Edition of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Walking Together With Those who Are Leaving their Property

Give to the Jerusalem Fund

In the new season that lies before us, working together as the Body of Christ calls for a new task: providing assistance in replanting the eight congregations required to leave their historic properties….

To that end we would like to raise $1,000,000 to be used exclusively for this initial work. To date, $250,000 has already been committed. We plan to raise the balance (and hopefully more) through generous individual donations from parishioners, through grant and foundation applications, through tithing from planned parish capital campaigns and through a planned Diocesan Ingathering scheduled for early in 2023.

Read it all.

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

(Economist) Markets are reeling from higher rates. The world economy is next

The world’s financial markets are going through their most painful adjustment since the global financial crisis. Adapting to the prospect of higher American interest rates, the ten-year Treasury yield briefly hit 4% this week, its highest level since 2010. Global stock markets have sold off sharply, and bond portfolios have lost an astonishing 21% this year.

The dollar is crushing all comers. The greenback is up by 5.5% since mid-August on a trade-weighted basis, partly because the Fed is raising rates but also because investors are backing away from risk. Across Asia, governments are intervening to resist the depreciation of their currencies. In Europe Britain has poured the fuel of reckless fiscal policy on the fire, causing it to lose the confidence of investors. And as bond yields surge, the euro zone’s indebted economies are looking their most fragile since the sovereign-debt crisis a decade ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, European Central Bank, Federal Reserve, Globalization, Stock Market

Pope Benedict XV on Jerome and Scripture for Jerome’s Feast Day

From there:

“If we ask how we are to explain this power and action of God, the principal cause, on the sacred writers we shall find that St. Jerome in no wise differs from the common teaching of the Catholic Church. For he holds that God, through His grace, illumines the writer’s mind regarding the particular truth which, ‘in the person of God,’ he is to set before men; he holds, moreover, that God moves the writer’s will—nay, even impels it— to write; finally, that God abides with him unceasingly, in unique fashion, until his task is accomplished. Whence the Saint infers the supreme excellence and dignity of Scripture, and declares that knowledge of it is to be likened to the ‘treasure’and the ‘pearl beyond price,’ since in them are to be found the riches of Christ and ‘silver wherewith to adorn God’s house….’

“Delay not, Venerable Brethren [i.e. bishops], to impart to your people and clergy what on the fifteenth centenary of the death of ‘the Greatest Doctor’ we have here set before you. . . . Our one desire for all the Church’s children is that, being saturated with the Bible, they may arrive at the all surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ. In testimony of which desire and of our fatherly feeling for you we impart to you and all your flocks the Apostolic blessing.”

Posted in Church History, Roman Catholic, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Jerome

O Lord, thou God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give thee thanks for thy servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we beseech thee that thy Holy Spirit may overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, may transform us according to thy righteous will; through the same 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 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 Scripture Readings

For the Lord will build up Zion,
he will appear in his glory;
he will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their supplication.

–Psalm 105:16-17

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(TLS) Cultivating his garden: Re-reading The Lord of the Rings at a time of crisis

Over the next thirty years I thought little of Tolkien’s trilogy, until one day, in the middle of the pandemic, I received a phone call. I had a sudden foreboding and only when I saw that it was from my mother in Derry did I answer. Both of my parents had tested positive for Covid-19. I tried to reassure her with clichés and statistics, but she was having none of it. “Your father is very ill. I’m worried. He doesn’t sound right. He’s lying upstairs with a fever. He won’t close the window and the curtains are blowing out over the street for everyone to see.” My father was a former bodybuilder who still went to the gym. He had no underlying conditions. He was in good health and several years from retirement. He worked outside as a gardener-groundsman for the council. In the pit of my stomach I knew he would never be well again.

The first time my mother took him to the hospital, they sent him away with a mild painkiller. The second time he was raced off to a high-dependency unit, then intensive care. I received an ominous “come home” message. Heathrow airport was virtually empty. I grabbed a copy of The Lord of the Rings, thinking he might need distraction. The hospital doors were locked, however. As it turned out, he was well past the point of being able to read anything.

The first time they induced a coma, it almost felt like a relief. My father’s constitution was “as strong as an ox”, but he suffered complications (stroke, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia). They talked about using him as a case study. Feeling powerless and bereft, I tried to colour his dreams, which appeared troubled, convulsive. I made playlists of his favourite music. I read, and recorded, long passages from literature – tales of sea voyages, the poetry of the Romantics, explorations of the wilds – for the nurses to play to him, in the hope that this would take him out of his confinement or ease his mind. At some point I turned to The Lord of the Rings. It was a different book to the one I’d read in childhood. Then I had skipped past the interminable journey scenes to get to the battles. Now I found myself doing the opposite, leaving out the orcs and dragons, and enjoying the scenes on foot with their wayfaring human tempo. Forced to excise the orcs, battles and much of the dialogue in my recordings, I focused on the hobbits’ progress from forest to mountain, marsh and cavern, and rediscovered some of the best nature writing of the midcentury….

Tolkien’s epic began as bedtime stories for his children, so it feels appropriate that I should now be reading The Lord of the Rings to my own son, who is as taken with the endpapers as I was, and stares enchanted at Middle-earth. You share these experiences with your children to help them make a map of their own world: neither to escape it nor, as I once feared, to lose it altogether, but to inhabit it more imaginatively, and fully.

Read it all.

Posted in Language, Poetry & Literature, Theology

The Church of England calls on big tech companies to commit to verifiable transparency, industry standards and enhanced protection for children and other vulnerable groups

The Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group (“EIAG”) today published a report advising investors with Christian values how to approach investing in big technology companies. The Church’s National Investing Bodies (NIBs), which received the advice, have published a new policy in line with this guidance.

The report recommends technology companies make public commitments including:

  • a commitment to verifiable transparency
  • a commitment to promote human-centred design
  • a commitment to enable the flourishing of children and other vulnerable groups
  • a commitment to foster a tech eco-system that serves the common good.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Local paper front page) Columbia elementary school’s reading test scores soar through pandemic, past state expectations

Alexis Temple started teaching English and Language Arts in Columbia at the height of a pandemic.

Her third grade students had fallen far below the S.C. Department of Education’s academic standards. The Greenville native said she was in survival mode.

In the capital city’s historic Waverly district, Carver-Lyon Elementary School serves nearly 400 students. Over 95 percent of the students are minorities and all come from low-income households, two groups whose academic progress was disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. School administrators anticipated that their students’ learning was likely to suffer during remote learning. The school had to figure out a way to use what little resources they had to their full potential.

Carver-Lyon came up with a game plan. School administrators knew that by third grade, standardized tests look at whether students could read, but on how well they understood the material. They decided to help students with their reading comprehension through a combination of collaborative group exercises, freedom of choice in literature and the acceptance of toggling between dialects.

This combination ultimately raised their third grade students’ English Language Arts test scores by 78 percent over three years ending in 2021….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Education

(Economist Cover) How not to run a country: Liz Truss’s new government may already be dead in the water

It was meant to usher in an era of economic growth. Instead the 25-minute statement that Kwasi Kwarteng, Britain’s new chancellor of the exchequer, gave on September 23rd kickstarted a crisis. By unveiling £45bn ($48bn) of unfunded tax cuts, alongside temporary measures to help with energy bills, Mr Kwarteng spooked financial markets in spectacular fashion. Most of the tax cuts and emergency spending had been signalled, but the vaunted supply-side reforms needed to pay for them were vague and the new government’s approach to the public finances was cavalier. Worse, the backdrop to Mr Kwarteng’s epic budget-busting was a slump in bond markets that raised borrowing costs for even the most creditworthy governments.

As investors took fright, gilt yields surged, prompting the Bank of England to say on September 28th that it was ready to buy unlimited quantities of long-dated bonds to restore order to financial markets. Earlier, the pound had crashed to its lowest level ever against the dollar. Although sterling has since rebounded, markets still imply a 40% chance that it will reach parity with the dollar. Comparisons between Britain and emerging markets swirled; the imf slammed Mr Kwarteng’s plan. After the worst start to a new administration in memory, people are already asking how long the new prime minister, Liz Truss, may last.

Yet another Conservative leadership contest would be ridiculous rather than ruthless. And Mr Kwarteng’s budget is unlikely to lead to a balance-of-payments crisis. Britain has a flexible exchange rate, it has minimal debt denominated in foreign currencies and its central bank is independent from the government. Even so, the economic and political damage from the past week is immense—and immensely frustrating.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, England / UK, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Michael and All Angels

O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the ministries of angels and men in a wonderful order: Mercifully grant that, as thy holy angels always serve and worship thee in heaven, so by thy appointment they may help and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Austrian Church Order of 1571

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who dost feed the birds and clothe the flowers, and who carest for us as a father for his children: We beseech thee of thy tender goodness to save us from distrust and vain self-concern; that with unwavering faith we may cast our every care on thee, and live in daily obedience to thy will; through thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually!

–Psalm 105:1-4

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Food for Thought from Tom Holland–‘To live in a Western country is to live in a society still utterly saturated by Christian concepts and assumptions’

Today, at a time of seismic geopolitical realignment, when our values are proving to be not nearly as universal as some of us had assumed them to be, the need to recognize just how culturally contingent they are is more pressing than ever. To live in a Western country is to live in a society still utterly saturated by Christian concepts and assumptions. This is no less true for Jews or Muslims than it is for Catholics or Protestants. Two thousand years on from the birth of Christ, it does not require a belief that He rose from the dead to be stamped by the formidable – indeed the inescapable – influence of Christianity. Whether it be the conviction that the workings of conscience are the surest determinants of good law, or that Church and state exist as distinct entities, or that polygamy is unacceptable, its trace elements are to be found everywhere in the West. Even to write about it in a Western language is to use words shot through with Christian connotations. “Religion,” “secular,” “atheist”: none of these are neutral. All, though they derive from the classical past, come freighted with the legacy of Christendom. Fail to appreciate this, and the risk is always of anachronism. The West, increasingly empty though the pews may be, remains firmly moored to its Christian past.

–Tom Holland, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World (New York, NY: BasicBooks, 2019)

Posted in Uncategorized

(FT) India bans leading Muslim group over terrorism accusations

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has outlawed a leading Muslim group and its affiliates for five years, accusing it of links to terrorist organisations, in a move that is likely to foment the country’s deepening communal tensions.

The banning of the Popular Front of India on Wednesday followed the arrests in recent days of more than 200 of its members and searches of top leaders’ houses and offices.

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs said the PFI was involved in “serious offences, including terrorism and its financing, targeted gruesome killings, disregarding the constitutional set up of the country [and] disturbing public order”. 

The ban extended to eight other groups that work on behalf of the Muslim minority population, which makes up about 200mn of India’s almost 1.4bn people. Those organisations included the Rehab India Foundation, the Campus Front of India, the All India Imams Council, the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, and the National Women’s Front.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Islam, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(Bloomberg) Nord Stream Hit Adds to Europe’s Economic Woes in 2009 Echo

The economic damage from the shutdown of Russian gas flows is piling up fast in Europe and risks eventually eclipsing the impact of the global financial crisis.

With a continent-wide recession now seemingly inevitable, a harsh winter is coming for chemical producers, steel plants and car manufacturers starved of essential raw materials who’ve joined households in sounding the alarm over rocketing energy bills. The suspected sabotage of Germany’s main pipeline for gas from Russia underlined that Europe will have to survive without any significant Russian flows.

Building on a model of the European energy market and economy, the Bloomberg Economics base case is now a 1% drop in gross domestic product, with the downturn starting in the fourth quarter. If the coming months turn especially icy and the 27 members of the European Union fail to efficiently share scarce fuel supplies, the contraction could be as much as 5%.

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ecology, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Russia

(ACNA) Husch Blackwell released its redacted report on the handling of abuse allegations in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest

Read the report here.

As we’ve stated before, receipt of this report is only one step toward resolution in this matter. Read more on the process here: https://anglicanchurch.net/an-update-on-the-matters-in-the-diocese-of-the-upper-midwest/

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Paula and Eustochium

Compel us, O God, to attend diligently to thy Word, as didst thy faithful servants Paula and Eustochium, that, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, we may find it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness; and that thereby we may be made wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Women