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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Constance and her Companions

We give thee thanks and praise, O God of compassion, for the heroic witness of Constance and her companions, who, in a time of plague and pestilence, were steadfast in their care for the sick and the dying, and loved not their own lives, even unto death. Inspire in us a like love and commitment to those in need, following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and 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 the Euchologium Anglicanum

O Gracious God, whose blessed Son set forth thy love towards mankind, in his miracles of healing and mercy, making both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak: Grant that our ears may be opened to thy Word, and our tongues loosed to proclaim it to others, and to further the spreading of thy gospel among all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel thus about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

–Philippians 1:1-11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CT) Susan Pfeil–Laying My Church to Rest

A year after my brother’s death, I returned as a guest to our family home. I stayed in my childhood bedroom, but my relationship to this room and my old house had begun to change. From the bedroom window, I looked out over the front fields and gardens and realized that it was just a matter of time before the maintenance of this house and grounds would require too much expense and sheer physical labor for my sister-in-law to manage. Eventually she would be forced to sell it, probably to developers. We dreaded the idea that they would probably tear it down, divide up the land, and build houses one after another on this special spot. Now memories of growing up in this home feel more precious than ever, as I am conscious of how my separation from this family home has begun.

I also returned as a guest to another building: the church sanctuary in which I once served. Returning after eight months, I was still in a fallow time, waiting for a new season in which to balance my vocational gifts. Faith leaders from the past 15 years were invited to join together for community worship and thanksgiving. Their new pastor graciously invited me to speak at the service.

This was the first time I had returned to the pulpit since Christmas Day 2016. I felt close to tears as I looked out over a large gathering. As I spoke, I sensed that I was beginning to let go of a deep sense of loss of my role in this church. While my role had changed, my pastoral identity was still alive and strong. I remembered in those moments that pastoral identity was not limited to a role or roles in a church, but rather, it is a way of life, a way of thinking about life.

I felt as if I were standing with Moses before a burning bush, with my shoes off, when Moses asked, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11). God replied, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on the mountain” (v. 12). Moses was promised God’s presence through whatever trials he might encounter, but he was not exempt from the changes and separations that he would have to endure. Could I ask for more than Moses? After eight long months, it was time to put on my shoes again.

Read it all.

Posted in Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology

Prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

Charleston is No. 1 moving destination in U.S., study says; Columbia, Greenville in top 10

A new study shows South Carolina’s three major metro areas are among the top 10 moving destinations in the U.S. with Charleston coming in at No. 1.

Realtor.com’s “Top Moving Destinations” analysis shows people from Charlotte, Atlanta and New York are flocking to or are interested in moving to the Lowcountry, based on metro areas that received the most out-of-state views on the real estate website during the April through June quarter of 2019.

The study found that people are moving from larger metro areas that cost a lot more to medium-size markets where housing is relatively more affordable, has plenty of jobs and large baby boomer populations are present.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Economy

(SL) Arrest and prosecute xenophobia cases: South Africa Anglican archbishop

Anglican archbishop Thabo Makgoba said on Sunday he was “appalled and ashamed” at the violent attacks on foreigners in South Africa last week, as well as the ongoing attacks on truckers.

Preaching at church services in Cape Town, the archbishop urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to “demand that the responsible branches of government act firmly, and especially that those who attacked people and looted their homes and businesses will be arrested and prosecuted”.

“We [in the church] are deeply disturbed by the recent orchestrated attacks on citizens from outside our country – sadly called foreign nationals – for no one is foreign, all are God’s people and all are Africans. I am appalled and ashamed by the violence meted out against them, especially against truck drivers, and at the prejudice voiced against these vulnerable people who come from beyond our borders.”

He voiced his shock that South Africans could inflict the same pain on others as they had experienced in apartheid’s forced removals.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, South Africa, South Africa

A Prayer to Begin the Day from W. M. Clow

O Almighty God, who hast revealed thyself in him who veiled his Godhead that he might unveil thy glory, and hast made him the eternal sacrifice and only priest of men: Grant that by the power of thy Holy Spirit the veil on our hearts may be taken away, and we may look on him who loved us and gave himself for us, and so be changed into the same image from glory to glory, until at last we shall see him with unveiled face, for evermore.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for all men praised God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

When they were released they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit,

‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth set themselves in array,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

–Acts 4:18-31

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to Bianca Andreescu, Winner of the 2019 Women’s US Open Tennis Tournament

Posted in America/U.S.A., Canada, Sports, Teens / Youth, Women

Saturday Afternoon Food for Thought from CS Lewis

Posted in Eschatology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Anxiety Looks Different in Men

When a man explodes in anger over something seemingly insignificant, he may appear like just a jerk. But he could be anxious.

Anxiety problems can look different in men. When people think of anxiety, they may picture the excessive worry and avoidance of frightening situations that often plague those who suffer. These afflict men, too. But there’s a growing recognition among psychologists that men are more likely to complain of headaches, difficulty sleeping and muscle aches and pains. They are more likely to use alcohol and drugs to cope with anxiety, so what looks like a drinking problem may actually be an underlying anxiety disorder. And anxiety in men often manifests as anger and irritability.

Anxious “men may present as loose cannons, but they are worriers,” says Kevin Chapman, a clinical psychologist in Louisville, Ky. “Aggression tends to be more socially acceptable to many men than anxiety.”

Studies have found that about one in five men (and about one in three women) will have an anxiety disorder during their lifetime. But psychologists are increasingly concerned that those numbers underreport male cases.

This is particularly worrisome now that more research is finding a link between anxiety and suicide.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Men, Psychology, Theology

GAFCON Tanzania Launches 7th Branch

WE, THEREFORE, HEREBY STATE AS FOLLOWS:
1. That today, we have inaugurated a Gafcon Branch and those who attended the meeting are hereby constituted as an Interim Branch Council.

2. That, we re-affirm the position of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, that marriage is between one man and one woman in a life-long commitment, in accordance with Scripture and as affirmed by the Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution I.10.

3. That, we re-affirm our subscription to the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration. We further commit to uphold the orthodox view of Scripture as the inspired Word of God, fully and finally authoritative for all matters of faith and conduct, and to faithfully maintain biblical doctrine, particularly as found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer…

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of ‘the beautiful-sounding nightengale of the church’ Kassiani

O God the Father of boundless mercy, whose handmaiden Kassiani brought forth poetry and song: Inspire in thy church a new song, that following her most excellent example, we may boldly proclaim the truth of thy Word, even Jesus Christ, our Savior and Deliverer, who with the Holy Spirit lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen (slightly ed.).

Posted in Church History, Orthodox Church, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop William Walsham How

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst humble Thyself to become man, and to be born into the world for our salvation: teach us the grace of humility, root out of our hearts all pride and haughtiness, and so fashion us after Thy holy likeness in this world, that in the world to come we may be made like unto Thee; for Thine own Name’s and mercies’ sake.

–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 Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;

To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

–Psalm 30:11-12 (KJV)

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) Allan Ripp–The Life of a Rabbi With ALS

Using the same eye-gazing program, Yitzi painstakingly writes his weekly Torah commentaries. It sometimes requires a day to complete a column that once would have taken two hours. One recent piece addressed whether someone can be commanded to love another in the same way as loving God. “To be loved, is to be understood,” Yitzi concludes. While he has rabbinical dispensation to use his computer on Shabbat, Yitzi often refrains and rests his strained eyes from the intense workouts. “He communicates differently on Shabbat, looking at everyone’s faces directly; it’s more pleasant,” Dina says. She adds that she still detects the mischief and happiness of the man she married in 1996.

Shlomo Bistritzky —a fellow Chabad rabbi in Westlake Village, Calif.—grew up in Brooklyn with Yitzi. “If you want to see what a beautiful soul looks like, go meet Rabbi Yitzi,” he says. “Everyone who visits approaches nervously with acid reflux but leaves feeling uplifted. As his body has failed him, his joyous spirit shines through.”

When his symptoms first appeared in 2012, Yitzi and Dina were living in the California desert town of Temecula. They had moved there in 1999 to establish a Chabad house, which grew from their living room to a storefront serving a growing Jewish community. Yitzi was an active pulpit rabbi—overseeing Hebrew school and adult education, along with weddings, births, funerals and daily prayer services. He composed songs on guitar and was usually the last one dancing on holidays. He counseled families during the financial crisis and took extra jobs to support his own brood. This included work as a chaplain in a state hospital for the criminally insane and as a supervisor of kosher operations at a dairy farm a half-hour up the road.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Judaism, Religion & Culture

(FE USA) Where is the Church in North America Heading and What are the Implications?

Last month, I was in a room in Central Pennsylvania with North American leaders and kingdom practitioners from around the country for a retreat. After lunch we centered our conversation around this question:

“Where is the Church in North America heading and what are the implications?”

For those who know me, you know I am passionate about discussing a great question. And this certainly is a significant one.

Many missiologists, theologians and scholars believe the Global Church is becoming more diverse and moving south (that is, the center of Christianity is no longer in North America, but its greatest movement is in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly South America and the southern part of the continent of Africa.)

But what about North America? What does the future of the Church look like here? Well, we don’t know for sure, but we are seeing it become more diverse (ethnic, racial, gender, etc.), more urban, and more post-Christian/postmodern. With all this as the foundation, we dug deeper. We broke down our answers into three categories:

  • Sociological (what does this mean for how we interact with others)

  • Ecclesiological (what does this mean for the Church and localized churches)

  • Missiological (what does this mean in how we join with God and His mission)

Here is what we surmised for each category….:

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Some After Hurricane Dorian Pictures from the Local Community

Look through them all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Photos/Photography, Weather

(Guardian) Hundreds of clergy facing hardship despite vast C of E wealth

Hundreds of clergy are in financial hardship, with some resorting to credit cards or even a high-interest payday lender, despite the Church of England sitting on a multibillion-pound investment fund.

Some vicars are tens of thousands of pounds in debt, with many struggling to survive – especially those supporting families – and relying on charity handouts to make ends meet, the Guardian has learned.

Clergy Support Trust – a centuries-old charity which supports destitute Anglican vicars, assistant or associate priests, curates-in-training and chaplains – gave £1.8m worth of grants to 459 clergy last year.

Analysis last year found that 217 individuals who had applied to the charity for help had personal unsecured debts of £5,000 or more, totalling nearly £3m. The figures, based on a combination of grant application data over a 20-month period, do not include mortgages or student loans. Of the 217, 41% had debts of between £5,000 and £10,000, 44% between £10,000 and £20,000, and 15% over £20,000. Four applicants had debts in excess of £50,000.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance & Investing, Stewardship

For her Feast Day–(CT) Hannah More: Powerhouse in a Petticoat

Imagine yourself seated at a fashionable London dinner party in 1789.

The women are wearing hoops several feet wide, their hair dressed nearly as high and adorned with fruit or feathers. In between hips and hair, bosoms overspill. The men sport powdered hair, ruffled shirts, embroidered waistcoats, wool stockings, and buckled shoes. Politeness and manners reign around a table laden with delicate, savory dishes.

As guests wait for the after-dinner wine to arrive, a handsome but demure woman pulls a pamphlet from the folds of her dress. “Have you ever seen the inside of a slave ship?” she asks the natty gentleman seated next to her. She proceeds to spread open a print depicting the cargo hold of the Brookes slave ship. With meticulous detail, the print shows African slaves laid like sardines on the ship’s decks, each in a space so narrow, they can’t lay their arms at their sides. The print will become the most haunting image of the transatlantic slave trade””as well as a key rhetorical device used to stop it.

The woman sharing it is Hannah More.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hannah More

Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son led captivity captive: Multiply among us faithful witnesses like thy servant Hannah More, who will fight for all who are oppressed or held in bondage; and bring us all, we pray, into the glorious liberty that thou hast promised to all thy children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

O God, who hast taught us the joy of serving thee and hast given us an earnest of the peace that passeth understanding, fill us also with righteous discontent, that we may never be perfectly at rest while injustice is done to thy people and thy children cry out in anguish; grant us so to desire thy Kingdom, as a pearl of great price, that the signs of its coming may be seen upon earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!

–Psalm 31:15-16

Posted in Theology: Scripture

As you no Doubt Guessed, We are in Full Hurricane Dorian Recovery Mode Here

Posted in * South Carolina, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Photos/Photography

(BBC) Pope Francis in Africa: Is the continent the Catholic Church’s great hope?

Pope Francis begins a three-nation visit to Africa later on Wednesday.

It will be his fourth visit to the continent since he became the head of the Roman Catholic Church in 2013, compared to the two his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made during his eight-year papacy.

The importance of Africa to the Catholic Church can be summed up in a word – growth.

Africa has the fastest growing Catholic population in the world, while Western Europe, once regarded as the heartland of Christianity, has become one of the world’s most secular regions, according to the US-based Pew Research Center.

And many of those who do identify themselves as Christian in Western Europe do not regularly attend church.

In contrast, Christianity, in its different denominations, is growing across Africa. The Pew Research Center predicts that by 2060 more than four in 10 Christians will be in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Globalization, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Falls Church Anglican Prepares for Consecration Day on September 8th

A Welcome Message about Consecration Day on Sept. 8 from The Falls Church Anglican on Vimeo.

Watch it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry

The Episcopal Church Releases its Latest Statistics

Read it all and make sure to look at all the accompanying data sets there also.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Data

ACNA Assembly “Flawless” says “Accidental Delegate” Suzanne Schwank

I was an accidental delegate to Assembly 2019, and if I’d had my way, wouldn’t have been there at all. Although I hadn’t investigated Assembly, I declined nomination as a delegate because I don’t like “cast of thousands” events. Plus, it meant going to Texas—in July. There I was, anyway, having been sent as an alternate to the prior Provincial Council meeting that coincided with the biennial Assembly. When flight cancellations kept the South Carolina Assembly delegates in South Carolina, those of us already in Texas were quickly deputized.

I’m confessing my self-serving spirit to emphasize that I was prepared to be underwhelmed by Assembly, but I was wrong. It was a tiny bit of business that gives way to a surfeit of ministry equipping and inspiration with the 2019 theme of Renewing the Call to the Great Commission. I was unprepared (see “hadn’t investigated”) for the quality and variety of the speakers and offerings. The execution of events and meals was flawless for a cast of one thousand, both North American Anglicans (anyone can register and attend all of Assembly) and global guests.

The Plenary session videos are posted on the ACNA app Media Center and two of these are among the best of their kind I have ever encountered….

Read it all (pages 1,7).

Posted in * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry, Theology

(WSJ) Parents Know Better Than Standardized Tests

Thanks to private-school choice—vouchers, tax-credit scholarships and education savings accounts—this year nearly half a million children in 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia will attend schools their parents selected.

Critics of school choice often argue that low-income families lack the knowledge or ability to choose meaningfully between schools. Worrying that parents will be taken advantage of or make poor decisions, they oppose choice programs or favor onerous testing requirements to prove they are effective.

New studies on school choice in Colombia and Barbados, however, suggest families know something that tests can’t detect. These two countries, with per capita incomes a quarter and a third of America’s, respectively, can teach us a lot about how the most economically disadvantaged families choose schools.

Stanford’s Eric Bettinger and his research team found that students who won a lottery for a voucher in Colombia were 17% more likely to complete high school on time than students who lost the lottery. The study, released in July, used a method of random assignment to compare apples to apples. So it isn’t because of selection bias that lottery winners earned 8% more than lottery losers by the time they turned 33. It’s because their parents were allowed to choose schools that were better fits for their children.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Marriage & Family