Blogroll Category: Christian Resources
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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Malaga has censored one its clergy for permitting a female Anglican priest to concelebrate the Eucharist at an All Saints Day service in Alora. On 1 Nov 2019 Fr., Juan de Jesus Baez, pastor of Iglesia de la Encarnacion in the Andalusian town of Alora, invited an English ex-pat, the Rev. Jenny Lancaster, a retired Church of England priest who holds a permission to officiate from the Diocese of Newcastle to assist at the altar.
After photographs appeared on the internet of Ms. Lancaster holding aloft the chalice next to Fr Baez, the diocese reprimanded Fr. Baez and issued a statement reminding Catholics that non-Catholics were not permitted to receive the sacraments, nor were Ms Lancaster’s orders recognized as licit.
Allowing the English priest to serve at the altar was an “ambiguous gesture” the diocesan statement said, noting:“Eucharistic communion and the possibility of concelebration is only contemplated among the faithful who are in full ecclesial communion. Catholic priests and ministers of churches or non-Catholic Christian communities cannot participate jointly in a Eucharistic concelebration.”
The statement went on to say: “The Diocese of Malaga feels very much the damage that this gesture may have caused to those who do not know the doctrine on the matter and to whom it may have created confusion.”
“May our prayer and ecumenical commitment help us to overcome our differences, until one day we can celebrate together the sacrament of communion,” the state said.
Fr. Baez accepted full responsibility for the incident, saying:” I am very fond of Reverend Jenny. She is a woman of God.”
However he added: “I am very repentant. I ask for forgiveness from God and the Church. I am surprised by all the upset it has caused; I have unwittingly sinned.”
The post Catholic priest reprimanded for allowing an Anglican woman priest to concelebrate the Eucharist appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
For many people, the Christmas season brings the pain of childlessness into sharper focus. In this extract from his Advent devotional, Repeat the Sounding Joy, Christopher Ash shows how the Christmas story speaks to those who are feeling the loss of, or longing for, children to share this season with:
They are four of the saddest words in Luke’s Christmas story: “But they were childless.”
Luke writes them, of course, of Zechariah and Elizabeth:
“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.” Luke 1 v 5-7
It’s worth quietly pausing at these sad words. For some, to do so will cause terrible personal pain. And all of us, perhaps, will feel keenly the sorrow of those whom we love and who are childless: those who have never married, but who would love to have married; others who are married, but for whom the birth of a child has never been given by God. Childless.
It is, as one childless couple has said, “that strange grief which has no focus for its tears and no object for its love.'' There is no anniversary of childlessness on which friends might send a card of condolence, no grave to visit and remember, no photograph or name or memory of the child who never came. It is just an emptiness, a not-ness, a joy that didn’t come, a hope for ever dashed.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were married. They hoped and prayed for a child, for they valued highly such a wonderful gift of God. But the child never came. The months went by, but there was no conception. Gradually the biological clock ticked on to the years when it seemed unlikely to happen, and finally into that stage of life when it was most definitely not going to happen. Many tears, much quiet grieving. And no hope. Childless.
Yet however painful it might be to consider these words, it is important to do so. For it will deepen our grasp of the nature and the wonder of the gospel of the Lord Jesus. And that depth of wonder will more than compensate for the tears we may shed.From “dis-grace” to grace
Childlessness is a poignant motif in the story of the Bible. Abraham and Sarah are childless—until Isaac is given; Isaac and Rebecca are childless—until Esau and Jacob are born; Jacob and Rachel are childless—until Joseph is given; and there were others. And now Zechariah and Elizabeth, this godly priest and his pious wife, are added to the list.
It is clear that for none of these couples was their childlessness a punishment from God for their sin. And yet, after her son, John, is conceived, Elizabeth describes her former childlessness as a “disgrace” among her people: “‘The Lord has done this for me,’ she said. ‘In these days he has shown his favour and taken away my disgrace among the people’” (1 v 25).
Some would have considered Elizabeth’s childlessness to be a disgrace because they thought it was a punishment from God for her sin. (The friends who come to “comfort” the Old Testament character Job in his misery think like this.) Such people would have been wrong. Luke describes Zechariah and Elizabeth in glowing terms as profoundly righteous people who keep the law of God because they believe all the promises of God.
And yet there is a sense in which their childlessness is a “dis-grace”; for it is a peculiarly vivid example of the misery of living in a world under sin and the righteous judgment of God. Every sickness, every sadness, every disability is—in this sense—visible evidence that we live in a world under the righteous judgement of God. Whether you have children or not, no doubt there are marks in your life at the moment that show you too are living in a world under judgment; we are all marked in some way with what Elizabeth calls “disgrace”.
Use today quietly to pin your hopes not upon a change in your circumstances but upon the great hope for the future
And therefore—and this is the wonderful significance of what happens—the removal of this “disgrace” is a sign of the kindness and mercy of God, as “dis-grace” is swept away by grace. Again and again in the Bible story this is what the birth of an unexpected child means—from Isaac onwards. It is a sign of the gospel. A world with no new children would be a sad and forever ageing world, a world without hope. Every child is a sign of hope for the future, a bundle of unknown possibilities, a sign of what we call God’s “common grace”—his kindness to all humankind. And this unexpected child, John the Baptist, is a sign not just of God’s common grace to all, but specifically of God’s particular kindness in what he is about to do in the gospel of Jesus.
The conception and birth of John the Baptist does not mean that every yearning of a childless couple will issue in a happy birth. Far from it. There have always been, and will be to the end of time, godly, prayerful couples who long for children and are not given them.
None of us can know, when we get married, whether or not God will grant us this precious gift.
But we can all know that the conception and birth of John the Baptist points forward to a much greater gift. The particularly painful “dis-grace” experienced by Elizabeth and Zechariah is vividly replaced by a gift of grace. That boy will be the herald of a deeper and more wonderful grace. So whether your present experience is of sadness or joy, use today quietly to pin your hopes not upon a change in your circumstances but upon the great hope for the future to which this baby, John the Baptist, points so clearly. Think about your marks of “disgrace”; thank God that in Christ they are not a punishment for your personal sins; and rejoice that when Jesus returns, every one of those painful marks will be taken away.
In Repeat the Sounding Joy, Christopher Ash brings the familiar passages of Luke 1 & 2 to life with fresh insight, colour and depth.To get your own copy of Repeat the Sounding Joy, click here.
30 Oct 2019
We are not oblivious to what is happening in our country. And it is inevitable that we will encounter a variety of feelings like sadness and uncertainty. Nor are we indifferent to the episodes of violence, abuse and injustice. But, just as Jesus did, we hurt with the people who suffer. We understand that the root of these situations is not in an economic model or in a form of government, but the heart of the human being who has rejected God and the message of Jesus Christ as well as the call to repent and turn to our creator God. Our hope is in the righteousness of God manifested in the cross, and our confidence is in the eternal reign of Christ.
As a church we shall act as follows:
We will ask God for forgiveness for our sins as a country, recognizing that we truly need it.
We will pray for our authorities, asking God to give them wisdom in every action they take (1 Tim 2:1-3)
We will serve with love and humility in our environment, showing compassion, caring for the orphan and the widow, as God has taken care of us.
We will reject violence in any form. We act in fear of God, renouncing sin, even in situations of injustice
We will work as peacemakers at all times following the call of Jesus Christ (Mat 5:)
We shall continue to pray that the perfect will of God will be manifested in our country and that we shall remain in love and charity and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in every opportunity.
By: The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Chile
Translated from the Spanish original by Anglican Ink.
The post Statement by the Chilean House of Bishops on the unrest in their country appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
Once upon a time I fell deep in affection with Carl Gustav Jung. It turned out to be a dreadful mistake. It took me up a very attractive blind alley with only a nicely camouflagedblack hole at the very end.
My reasons for befriending Jung were good ones. It was the mid 1980’s and the great enemy of faith was Freud. Reductionist, atheist and pseudo-scientific psychologist, as Freud was, Jung was a great antidote to his aggressive anti-religious scientism.
But, Jung was a trap. He used the language of God and spirituality but he was really peddling an idolatry of the Self. His work was the fusion of the intuitive, the psychic and the occult, reconfigured in an organisational schema that mimicked science.
One of the reasons he was attractive was the psychological maps he drew combined with the categories he created which allowed his audience to feel they had a real handle on reality through the pretence of the adoption of scientific language.
There is no doubt that many of Jung’s categories ‘work’ to give us a topographical map of the psyche that brings order and some level of insight. But every time you test them, rigorously, they fail to convince. And the real danger with him is the anti-Christian Gnosticism that his whole world is predicated on.
It seems the Bible Society has discovered Jung. They have adopted part of his schema of individuation, the ‘persona’ and cut and pasted it rather lamely onto a survey they have taken.
The survey fails to impress on two grounds. Instead of mis-using Jungian typology they could just as easily have placed personalities in categories rather than personas (but it doesn’t sound quite so authoritative); and like all surveys, everything depends on what kind of questions you ask and what people take them to mean.
The great flaw of surveys is that by a careful juxtaposition of question and the massaging of language you can get them to present almost any conclusion you like.
Rather charmingly, this study in personas has 40% of the UK claiming to be ‘Christian’ with only 18% having any sense that the Bible might be something they turn to and recognise as being useful or significant. So it may be there is something a little less than robust about how they chose to present the category Christian, or if people self-identified, it may be that all it tells us is that the word has a wide variety of different meanings to different people, some of which conflict with each other.
The survey succeeds in giving a snapshot of the rapidly changing proportion of religious allegiance in our society between practicing Christians, sub-Christians, post- Christians and atheists.
Slowly but surely the number who know Jesus and follow Him has diminished to 5%. Slowly but surely the group who seriously dislike Christianity and the Church, the DAwkinites and the Pullmanites, have grown to 49% of the population, greatly outnumbering the 38% of vague theists (including committed Christians) who think there is or might be a God.
The sliding scale of belief between the 5% of believers and the 49% of atheists have been given the equivalent of psychological profiles to make it easier to evangelise them.
This may be nothing more than the difference between an exercise which wants to see the glass has half full (the Bible Society) and critics (me) who think it is half empty. I take the darker view because I observe a stark and rapid melting down of faith, and the culture that it was associated, giving wayinexorably before a movement of secular antagonism to faith, (not unlike that which characterised Marxism 1.0), with no evidence of it slowing down, let alone being reversed.
The Bible Society has set out to re-motivate its followers and has used this rather sub-scientific faux–Jungian approach to suggest that there are lots of people who range from under-informed about the faith to ignorant of it, rather than just antagonistic as an increasing number are. And that these diminishing group who are more vacuous than hostile are willing to say so a survey. No doubt it is good news of a sort that they are not closed off to knowing more about it.
But this is not really a very profound discovery. We knew it already. However the Bible Society have spent a bit of money and used some fresh technology to tart it up a bit. They have given it a lick of psychological paint and re-packaged it in a format heavy with breathy and knowing consultants. adept at suggesting they know much more than they do, in order to cheer along their followers into a more intrepid evangelism.
I’m very much in favour of all and every kind of evangelism. But decades of watching evangelistic fads and enterprises come and go, (the Church growth movement was one of them for a couple of glorious decades) has left me wary of systems and fashions.
On top of that I think things are too serious in the West to worry over much about psychological profiling to spur us into praying, acting and sharing our faith with any neighbours we have. We are rapidly losing freedom of speech at the hands of an aggressive secular culture. And once by 2050, we find 50% of the UK population practising Islam, we may find that the opportunities for evangelism, are as long gone in the UK as they have been in Syria and Turkey.
If the Bible Society’s profiling of personas has encouraged anyone to be a little more courageous in standing up for and representing Jesus in the public space and private friendship, all well and good. But in those places where the Gospel is growing fast, notable China, Russia and parts of Africa, they seem to be managing quite well without it.
The post The primacy of Evangelism, the shiftiness of Jung and the disappearance of freedom of speech…. appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
At Diocesan Council on Thursday [7 Nov 2019], Suffragan Bishop R. Charles Gillin was elected the next Bishop Ordinary of our diocese. This election must be ratified by the ACNA College of Bishops in January, after which an installation service will be scheduled, probably in March. Pray for our new leader, and for plans for the future of our Diocese
The post New bishop elected for the REC Diocese of the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
Ambridge, PA, November 2019 – In the small town of Ambridge, PA, a renewal is taking place. Storefronts are being updated, old buildings are being refurbished to house new tenants, and new sidewalks have been poured. Trinity School for Ministry has a desire to support this renewal in a way that is helpful to the town and also helps to build community. To that end, Trinity School for Ministry is thrilled to announce that we have just purchased the Presbyterian Church of Ambridge, located just a few blocks from Trinity’s campus. “When the pastor from the church approached me to inquire whether we would be interested in buying the church, I knew that I had to explore this option,” stated the Very Rev. Dr. Henry L. Thompson, III (Laurie), Dean and President of Trinity School for Ministry. “We knew we needed a larger chapel/meeting space and we had been praying that God would help us to discern whether or not to build a brand new building,” Thompson added. “We received our answer— not surprisingly, this existing church met every one of my criteria that I had identified for a new building. God has given us such a tremendous gift.”
Opened in 1976, Trinity has a long history of working with the Ambridge and surrounding communities. Of interest is the fact that Trinity’s current chapel was a Presbyterian church, and when Trinity purchased it, half of the congregation began attending down the street at the church that was just purchased. “We feel like God has taken us full circle,” said Thompson, “and once again we are able to put new life into an older building.”
The recently purchased building will allow Trinity to move forward into the future as its residential student population continues to grow and its partnerships reach even further globally. Trinity now has the ability to:
- welcome local churches and neighborhood groups who need a larger space for events;
- offer a setting for Christian conferences and education;
- create a better setting in which to train Trinity’s students to preach;
- provide additional space for Trinity’s students to relax and socialize with each other
- film worship services so that we may send the recordings to students in other countries;
- reach out and serve the wider needs of the Ambridge community.
Trinity is working on a number of design ideas to provide space for worship, events, student gatherings, and training. “The church is structurally sound and in very good condition. Whereas we only have room to seat a little over 100 in our current chapel, and just a bit more than that in our Commons Hall, this church will allow us to seat between 450-600 people. We are very excited to be working to make some changes that will maximize the full potential of the space,” said Thompson.
Trinity School for Ministry is an evangelical seminary in the Anglican tradition. In this fractured world, we desire to be a global center for Christian formation, producing outstanding leaders who can plant, renew, and grow churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Bishop of Zaria warns Archbishop of Kaduna and ACC General Secretary against being “fake Christians and religious spies” for Islam
The Bishop of Zaria has denounced the Archbishop of Kaduna and the general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council for placing loyalty to Muslim politicians over loyalty to the Church of Nigeria.
In a statement posted on its diocesan website, the Bishop of Zaria, the Rt Rev Abiodun Ogunyemi said the Most Rev. Ali Buba Lamido, Archbishop of Kaduna Province and Bishop of Wusasa “is known to always compromise christian standards and the truth.” He condemned Archbishop Lamido, and the former Archbishop of Kaduna and current ACC leader, Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, for their intrigues with the government of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, a presumed candidate for election as president of Nigerian in 2023.
The dispute arose over the attempted seizure by the Kaduna State government of St George’s Cathedral in Zaria. On 20 Sept 2019 the Church of Nigeria’s Diocese of Zaria reported it had received a notice to vacate the 110 year old cathedral within seven days by order of Governor El-Rufai. The Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency (KASUPDA) said it would use the historic church land to expand the Sabo market.
However, following protests by the diocese and the Christian Association of Nigeria the state backed down from its plans. The Director-General of KASPUDA, Ismail Dikko, told the Punch newspaper the church would not be demolished and the open air market would be moved to another part of the city.
In September sources in Kaduna State said five years ago the governor attempted to seize the cathedral to expand the regional market, but backed down as it was an election year, and he risked alienating Christian voters. Political pressure to respect the rights of Christians appears to have lessened, ours sources explained, as the ruling party “think they control this country and all levels of power.”
However on 12 Nov 2019 the Nigerian Tribune reported Archbishop Lamido had apologized to Governor El-Rufai for the criticism of the diocese and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). It said the archbishop “has apologised to Governor Nasir El Rufai for the social media campaigns that tried to turn the issue of the redevelopment of Sabon-Garin Zaria market into a religious matter.”
Basing its report on a statement issued by Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communication, the Tribune reported the archbishop and other Anglican bishops met with the governor to express their thanks for “his decision to preserve St. George’s Cathedral.”
The government spokesman said the Archbishop had told the governor the Church of Nigeria had distanced itself “from this campaign that has been whipping up baseless allegations of religious bigotry, explaining that the church sees itself and the government as partners.”
The governor’s spokesman quoted Archbishop Lamido as saying that ‘’the meeting has afforded us a welcome chance to clarify matters and recalibrate our relationship in a mutual commitment to the peace and progress of Kaduna State, and harmony in its diverse communities.”
The archbishop’s apology drew an immediate response from the Bishop of Zaria.
“The bishop and the people of Zaria diocese are not surprised about the views and apologies expressed by Archbishop Lamido at the Governor’s office yesterday … because Bishop Lamido is known to always compromise christian standards and the truth.”
The diocesan statement claimed the archbishop was corrupt. He had sold “sold three very precious landed properties of Wusasa diocese to some Muslims. These properties were acquired by missionaries in the late 1800s. These great legacies have been lost forever by the Wusasa community.”
The statement further claimed: “Bishop Lamido brought a Muslim governorship candidates with money to bribe the House of Bishops to vote for this man against Governor El Rufai. His antecedents when it comes to standing for the church speak volumes.”
The bishop of Zaria took exception to the assertion that by protecting their cathedral the diocese were “religious bigots” or “at war with the Governor”. He explained: “We are only fighting for our right. Nobody can stop us from fighting for our right. Besides, prophets do not apologize to kings but kings apologies to prophets. Nobody can propose to demolish our cathedral and we will keep quiet or apologise.”
The diocese disassociated itself from the archbishop’s “humiliating visit and the apologies therein. The governor should stop embarrassing himself with demolition of churches in any part of Kaduna State.”
Bishop Ogunyemi went on to say that what lay behind these “visits and apologies” was a plan by bishops Lamido and Idowu-Fearon “to score a political point for the Governor because he is being prepared for 2023 elections.”
The Bishop of Zaria went on to say: “The governor should know that he will never be president of Nigeria.
“I speak prophetically as a servant of the living God. Let fake Christians and religious spies placed in our church by a particular religion be aware of the consequences of their actions because heaven is watching. May the Lord expose these spies in our midst on Jesus Name. In fact their actions now show very clearly that they are working for an interest against the church. The Lord in His mercies will raise help to deliver His church from fake Christians, fake converts and novices,” the bishop said.
The Holy See Press Office has issued a statement welcoming the decision to grant Cardinal George Pell permission to seek a review of his conviction for child abuse. On 13 Nov 2019 two justices of the Australian High Court stated they were referring Cardinal Pell’s request for appeal to the seven members of the High Court.
The decision does not automatically grant Cardinal Pell an appeal. At the review hearing, the High Court will decide en banc whether to accept or deny Cardinal Pell’s request to appeal an earlier conviction for the sexual assault of two under-aged boys, which purportedly took place in the sacristy of Melbourne’s Cathedral in 1996, when he was the local Archbishop.
The director of the press office, Matteo Bruni, posted a bulletin stating:
“While reiterating its trust in the Australian justice system, the Holy See acknowledges the decision of Australia’s High Court to accept Card. George Pell’s request of appeal, aware that the Cardinal has always maintained his innocence.
“At this time, the Holy See reaffirms once again its closeness to those who have suffered because of sexual abuse on the part of members of the clergy.”
The Australian church leader’s first trial ended in a hung jury; a second jury unanimously entered a guilty verdict last February. In their application for review, the cardinal’s lawyers based their appeal on the dissenting opinion of Justice Mark Weinberg, one of three Victoria State Supreme Court judges, who reviewed the case.
The case has caused considerable controversy, with many commentators calling the proceedings a miscarriage of justice. The cardinal has maintained his innocence throughout. No date for the appeal hearing has been set.
The post Cardinal Pell granted permission to appeal his abuse conviction appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
The Trio are giving you their take on the new Global South Covenant.
The Anglican Bishop of Bolivia has issued a statement on the political unrest in the South American nation following October’s disputed presidential election and weeks of civil unrest.
The Rt. Rev. Raphael Samuel urged Christians to pray for his country. Writing on Facebook following the announcement that President Morales would step down, he said: “To the Bolivian diaspora… pray for us. Bolivia is going through labor pains. Don’t celebrate until we have a transitional President who can guarantee citizen security and open a path to new elections. Please this topic has nothing to do with political affiliation but the common well-being of the Bolivian people.”
DECLARATION – THE ANGLICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF BOLIVIA – 10th of November Rt Rev Raphael Samuel, Bishop of Bolivia.
The OAS (Organisation of American States) submitted their report over the claims of irregularities in elections held on the 20th of October.
We thank the Lord for the constructive work of the OAS and its report. Let us reflect and meditate on the Lord’s goodness in Bolivia during your prayers, Biblical readings and the Eucharist under the guidance of the Holy Spirit during this Sunday’s service.
We hope the governing authorities will implement the recommendations in this report without delay or ambiguities. We pray that this process be transparent and in concordance with the constitution of the nation.
The nation has been anguished by the events following the general elections held on the 20th of October. Let us receive from the Lord – His healing, His forgiveness and His goodness on a daily basis in our daily devotions.
The Anglican Church of Bolivia now has the mission of being active witnesses to the Lord in the nation of Bolivia – His justice, His healing, and His restoration of Bolivia. We wish to emphasised that justice is not vindictive nor revengeful but peaceful and restorative, the Shalom peace of God. We commit ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit and the paternal love of God as we testify to the Lord’s message of justice, peace, and restoration in Bolivia.
The nation in the last 3 weeks has had to experience painful moments from death, confusion and injuries. We cannot make these experiences disappear with empty words. The anger we feel, the sense of betrayal and the cry for change in Bolivia is understandable.
Now more than ever let’s be the solution to the challenges we face as a nation!
Now more than ever we need the Lord Jesus Christ, our refuge and strength.
Christ is Risen… ¡He is Risen! ¡Long live Bolivia!
The post Bishop of Bolivia’s statement on the nation’s political unrest appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
What’s the difference between Spongebob and St Peter? Good question. Come to think of it, here’s a few more...
What’s the difference between two well-known builders: Bob and Noah?
Or between Judas and Dick Dastardly?
And what’s the difference between the famous miracle workers: Jesus and the boy with the lightning stripe on his forehead who can speak “snake"?
Of course, the answer to all these questions is that one is real and the other is imaginary. But children, particularly young children, really don’t know the difference. They are simply people in stories that make them think, laugh, cry or be inspired.
For smaller children, there is simply no difference between fantasy and reality. Night-time fear of monsters is real. But between the ages of 4-5 they start to learn the difference. Many children still have difficulty discerning the difference between fantasy and reality as old as 8 or 9, or even to 11 or 12. The issue can be complicated by the way some parents deliberately maintain fantasies as a playful game, or as a means of manipulation. Santa Claus may come in the first category; the Bogey Man who will get you if you leave your bedroom at night is in the second.
[inline_product:storyjonah]The Magic Words (are not expelliarmus)
It’s a familiar problem for Sunday School teachers and parents alike. How do we put water between the brilliantly told, often hilarious, and gripping stories that they love to read night after night, and the stories we read in the Bible? Christians know that it is vitally important to develop the foundations for this crucial difference from the start. And the best way to do this is head on with a “magic" phrase that I learned early on and have not stopped using since. Are you ready? here it is:
"Today’s true story from the Bible."
It’s as simple as that. Before reading, or retelling any story from the Bible, I always preface it with the word “True”. Sometimes, we can emphasise the difference as we segue from one story to the next:
"I love the Gruffalo story, but you know that the Gruffalo is a made up creature don’t you (and Mice don’t talk); But now let’s read a true story from the Bible…"Get Physical (and geographical)
Children are very concrete thinkers, so it’s also really helpful to surround the “trueness” of Bible stories by getting tactile with things. Show them where Israel is on a map or a globe...
“We live here … and here is where Jesus lived and walked and where this true story from the Bible happened a long time ago…”
And if you are able to make conscious links with other objects — sand, coins, terracotta lamps, pearls, seeds, etc — that you can actually hold in your hands, it really helps to emphasise the reality of the stories. Older children may be learning about the Romans (a perennial subject theme at school), so it’s a good marker point for history...
“Jesus died just a few years before the emperor Claudius invaded Britain, and the Romans took over”.
It’s why we named our series of large format children’s books Tales That Tell The Truth, and why you’ll find that magic phrase on the first page of each one of our latest range of Very Best Bible Story books.
"A True Story from the Bible"
Let’s keep it real folks.
Tim is the author of four new stories in the Very Best Bible Stories series—which combine, fun, interactive story-telling with a robust faithfulness to the biblical text. Noah, Jonah, Daniel and David and Goliath get the treatment, with beautiful illustrations by Jennifer Davidson. Shop here.
Nigerians have been advised to desist from negative depiction of events happening in the country and called on to stop packaging as breaking news, fake stories, while also flaunting bad news as if it is the new normal. The Rt. Rev. Olubunmi Akinlade, Bishop of Ife Diocese made this call while delivering his presidential address to the 2nd Session of the 10th Synod of the Diocese of Ife, Anglican Communion held at the Cathedral Church of St. Philip, Ayetoro, Ile-Ife in Osun state. The Bishop said the whole population is now a carrier of news, especially negative news, without realizing that spreading it can never be the solution.
The Diocesan decried the series of kidnappings in the country, noting that “Fulanization, Ruga, Herders, and Xenophobia are now words that have entered into our communal lexicon.” According to him, kidnapping has become a national dilemma and silence is the preferred answer of Nigerian leaders to all national questions confronting the nation.
He said, “The government seems to be overwhelmed by the problems of the country, creating the impression that they have nothing more to offer, even though they have just been elected. So, we are ruler-less, with no visible leadership in sight.”
Bishop Akinlade added that Nigerians may have reasons not to trust her leaders, but for the sake of the nation, all must work on them and work with them. He urged the Christian community to rise up in prayer and pray that God will be gracious and guide the nation to become a land of peace and prosperity.
The Bishop of Ife Diocese condemned the spate of suicide among students in the tertiary institution, calling on Church leaders to teach, and parents to train their wards, not to view suicide as an alternative option to whatever challenges they may be facing.
Speaking on the Synod Theme, “God’s winning formula for marriage: Love and Respect”, the cleric stressed that men and women are very different, and their needs as it relates to marriage are also different. He explained that God instituted marriage and has given man an instruction manual – the Bible that explains the role each party is to play in marriage. He pointed out that the man is to love his wife as Christ loves the Church and the woman is to respect her husband as the head of the home.
According to him, “Hierarchy in marriage is not male superiority, but male responsibility;” adding that a wife is called to defer to her husband in decision making, while praying to God that he will make the right decision because of his love for her and God.
To the husbands, the Bishop advised that they should listen to their wives, because it is practically impossible to understand women, even the one they love with all their heart; explaining that listening is likely to open up understanding between them, which will bring about peace in the home. He opined that a man needs sexual release, as much as a woman needs emotional release; therefore they both must fulfill their duties to each other for an enjoyable marriage.
The Rt. Rev. Olubunmi Akinlade observed that divorce in Nigeria may not be as rampant as it is in the Western World, but that many marriages in Nigeria are being endured rather than being enjoyed. Hence the theme, which he said, is a call for all to return to the Biblical balance in marriage, where husband and wife fulfill their roles, with the understanding that they both need each other.
The new President Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East will take up his duties on Sunday 17 November 2019.
Michael Augustine Owen Lewis will continue to serve as diocesan bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, a post he has held for the past twelve years. Prior to that he was for eight years Bishop of Middleton in the Province of York in the United Kingdom.
He succeeds in the primacy the Most Reverend Suheil Dawani, Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem.
Please pray for Archbishop Michael when on 17 November with representatives of the Province he celebrates the life of the Anglican Churches of the region at a Eucharist in St Andrew Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to which all are invited.
Pictured is HRH The Prince of Wales saluting after laying a wreath at the Cenotaph today, Remembrance Sunday 10th November 2019.
His Royal Highness Prince Charles led the observation of the National Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
He laid the first wreath of red poppies at the foot of the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall on behalf of The Queen. Over 8,000 veterans and charity workers took part in the traditional March Past.
Nearly 900 personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force were present at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London, as members of the Royal Family and senior politicians laid wreaths after the two minutes’ silence at 11am in commemorating the servicemen and women killed in all conflicts since the First World War.
This year also marks the 75th anniversaries of numerous battles such as D-Day, Kohima, Arnhem and Monte Cassino.
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter was in attendance at the Cenotaph and laid a wreath alongside the Chiefs of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF.
The nation will today pay its respects to the sacrifices of the armed forces community, as part of the annual weekend of Remembrance. There will be commemorations across the UK, including the centrepiece event at the Cenotaph, following the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance last night.
Winchester Bishops: “all can agree that the abuse and hatred that has been experienced by many MPs is never acceptable”
On Friday, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke and the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton, have written to all clergy and lay leaders in the Diocese of Winchester to coincide with the start of the General Election campaign, encouraging them to pray for national and local political leaders and noting that the abuse and hatred which many politicians have faced in never acceptable. The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The General Election campaign season commenced this week with Parliament now dissolved. Public prayer is important now more than ever. As Bishops, we continue to pray for peace and reconciliation over the division and unrest in our society. We encourage you all to continue praying for wisdom for our national and local leaders. We are particularly concerned that all parties will promote policies and programmes based on practical compassion, especially for those who are marginalised or struggling with daily life.
There are many differing views on Brexit and the country’s political governance. Nonetheless, all can agree that the abuse and hatred that has been experienced by many MPs is never acceptable. Please hold in your prayers, our local MPs and their families as well as those across the country.
Last week we welcomed the Reverend Canon Dr Malcolm Brown, Head of Mission and Public Affairs at the Church of England, to speak to a group of clergy and laity on Brexit and the upcoming General Election. Malcolm addressed the current political situation in the UK, as it changes on an almost daily basis, and the role of clergy and laity in our parishes in helping maintain a degree of commonality in local communities.
The paper, Brexit-shaped Britain and the Church of England, written by Malcolm, offers a thought provoking position on the role of the Church of England in Brexit and the upcoming General Election. We encourage you to make use of the paper when considering your part in the coming weeks ahead of the General Election as this will undoubtedly be an important to issue to your parishioners. It is available on the Diocese of Winchester website for you to share with your congregations:
The words we choose to use are powerful. The presence of the local Church in the Winchester Diocese grants us the opportunity to encourage and support our communities and the common good but it is also an important opportunity to bear witness, displaying a kindness and patience towards one another as Jesus teaches us.
We have included some prayer resources that you might like to use. We suggest that you make these available in the pews and possibly hold open days offering a time when people can come to your Church building to pray and reflect, on their own or with others.
Yours in Christ,
+Tim, +David and +Debbie
Catholic and Anglican bishops have joined with the President of the NZ Federation of Islamic Associations, and Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian church leaders and the Salvation Army in a letter urging Members of Parliament to reject the ‘End of Life Choice’ (EOLC) Bill.
The faith leaders offered their concerns that come from time spent listening at the bedsides of people in their last days of life,
“We speak out of our extensive experience of actively caring for the dying and their whānau.” state the leaders in their letter.
“We understand very well the stresses and fears as well as the opportunities and gifts associated with the dying process. We know the need for, and the effectiveness of, quality, holistic and compassionate end of life palliative care – care that is able to address not just the physical suffering of people who are dying, but also their, and their whānau /friends’, emotional, spiritual and psychological suffering.” they write.
The letter offers parliamentarians seven ethical, philosophical and practical reasons why the faith leaders see that the EOLC Bill falls short of the mark as it comes up for its third and final reading on Wednesday 13 November.
Their reasons for opposing the Bill are:
1. More radical powers to administer death
The EOLC Bill offers greater powers to administer death than comparable laws in Australia by allowing a doctor to administer drugs that directly end a person’s life (euthanasia) on top of allowing for assisted suicide (where doctors provide the means for a person to end their own life).
2. Unfair access to ‘a good death’
The leaders note that palliative care is not equally available to all New Zealanders, but changes according to where people live or how much money they have to spend on their care. This means that palliative care at the end of life is not available to all, which will lead to:
“…a strong likelihood that New Zealanders will also choose assisted death because of a lack of other meaningful choices. In such a context, there is the real risk that people in lower socio-economic groups will find themselves being channelled unnecessarily and unjustly towards a premature death.”
3. Unproven links to normalising of suicide
In overseas jurisdictions where assisted suicide has been legalised there are documented rises in non-assisted suicides. Until the causal link has been ruled out for the normalising effect of assisted suicide on suicide rates this is reason for holding back on law change.
4. Fear and loneliness often drive suicide choice
Evidence from assisted suicide records in the US state of Oregon shows that assisted deaths are often chosen for reasons that are existential rather than physical, death is the choice due to patients’ fears of social isolation, being a ‘burden to others’ or living with disability, rather than pain.
5. Safeguards shift once assisted suicide becomes legal
In Canada the safeguard of confining assisted deaths to patients with terminal illness has been removed through subsequent legal argument. Legally-assisted deaths have now been extended to cases of people with disabilities or long-term conditions.
6. Treating depression requires resources
Referrals for psychological assessment and support for people choosing death are rare in overseas cases of assisted suicide. Our mental health system is already overburdened and this important safeguard of psycho-social support could not necessarily be supported by our mental health services.
7. Religious carers and healthcare institutions cannot opt out
The EOLC Bill does not include the right of institutions to opt out of euthanasia or assisted suicide provision on the basis of conscience. This would directly affect religious hospitals and rest homes who wished to not comply with offering assisted suicides or euthanasia for ethical reasons.
The letter concludes with two positive moves the faith leaders say would do more to improve end of life choices for all Aotearoa New Zealanders – through improved end of life care. These would ideally include :
1. Extending the availability of palliative care to all people in Aotearoa New Zealand regardless of where we live or how much we have to spend.
2. Resourcing mental health and wellbeing services and better community engagement to counteract social isolation and depression amongst our elders.
The letter was signed by Cardinal John Dew and the Catholic Bishops of Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch, Archbishop Don Tamihere, Archbishop Philip Richardson and nine further Anglican bishops, plus the Salvation Army Territorial Commander Andrew Westrupp, Islamic Associations President Mustafa Farouk, Lutheran Bishop Mark Whitfield, Presbyterian Moderator Fakaofo Kaio and Baptist National leader Charles Hewlett.
The full text of the joint letter is available here: Faith Leaders Letter on EOLC Bill.pdf 128.05 kB
The post Church leaders urge NZ govt to reject euthanasia bill appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
The news website Gloria.TV reports the head of the Office for the Family of the Roman Catholic diocese of Graz, Fr. Michael Kopp, presided at the blessing of the marriage of two women last month. Photos from the service at St. Margarethen Church in Wolfsberg in the Diocese of Klagenfurt which have circulated on the internet have elicited sharp criticism from Catholic traditionalists, who note the ceremony violates canon law and church ethical teaching. The German and Austrian Catholic Bishops Conferences have pushed the Vatican to soften its opposition to same-sex blessings, but the ban remains in force. Fr. Kopp is unlikely to suffer any immediate penalty for his actions as the Klagenfurt diocese, where he served as director of its Office for the Family, is currently without a bishop.
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I can’t manage the moral math’s that lies behind our new internet ethics.
I’ve been reading stories or moral virtue and disaster in the public arena and trying to work out if there is any calculation or balance at the bottom of the moral scoresheet between virtue and vice; between effort and failure.
Do you remember the phrase “the writing is on the wall”?
It comes the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament at Belshazzar’s Feast. Belshazzar was the Persian emperor and had thrown an enormous party at which he used the sacred vessels from the Jewish temple dedicated to the worship of the God of Israel. Suddenly in the middle of the banquet, a hand appears on the wall and mysteriously writes words in Aramaic: ‘Mene, mene, tekel, parsin.’ The heart of the message is “you have been weighed in the scales and found wanting.”
Now that’s the kind of moral balance sheet I understand. I have no idea what good or virtuous things Belshazzar had accomplished as emperor, but it was crystal clear in this case that all the good was outweighed by his profound and atrocious moral travesty.
The writing on the wall was the equivalent of a memo from the metaphysical head office. He was being summarily sacked. That night he was assassinated and his kingdom broken up.
As the decades have gone by I have watched a number of people get sacked in the public sphere with some bemusement.
When they had broken a condition of the terms of their employment I could make sense of it. So, the head of MacDonald’s has just lost his two million pound a year job because he fell in love with a woman who was junior to him as work. It was consensual. No #me2 issues. No onesuggested there was any abuse of power. But the company had rules which forbad it. Never mind the fact that a large percentage of people fall in love with their future spouse at work. He broke a condition of employment. He lost his job.Was falling in love at work worth 2 million pounds a year? We would have to ask him.
Justine Sacco, Communications Director for the New York Internet Empire firm AIC was rather bored as she waited to board a flight. She sent a careless tweet. “Going to Africa, hope I don’t get aids. Just kidding. I’m white.” Eleven hours later she landed. “My phone started to explode…” She was the no 1 twitter trend world–wide. She found out that her firm had publicly sacked her during the time she was in the air. Her tweet had been crass, horrendously daft. Was it medical ignorance or racism or both? Apparently it was humour. But she was not just out of a COMM’s job she may well have been underqualified for, but much worse. She was probably now permanently unemployable anywhere; unless she changed her name.
Interviewed later by the writer Jon Ronson, she explained she thought she was being funny. “I thought there was no way that anyone could possibly think it was literal.” She never got to put her side of things to her employers; or the Twittersphere.
The drama of people being sacked for stupid tweets has a fascinating side. There are even a couple of websites which seem to act as the 21st centuries version of the Inquisition. These sites will archive them – both out of a sense of fun, and also as public record. One is ‘Politwhoops’ run by the Sunlight Foundation, and another is ‘Fireme’; which is less of an archive for deleted tweets that have been responsible for getting people fired, and more threateningly, more of an indicator of who could be fired, soon.
Beyond the ruthless public and professional elimination of people who have made mistakes remains the question, ‘why isn’t there any credit for any virtue the victim may have had or performed? Why is it one strike and you are out – perhaps for ever, everywhere?” Our internet age and our multimedia platforms appear to have abolished forgiveness. There has been no debate, no kickback, no protest; just professional and public reputational execution.
I found two voices recently expressing the same concerns I felt. Surprisingly to me, they happened both to be former US Presidents. Theodore Roosevelt first:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; ..and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Shouldn’t there be any credit for trying? I was never a fan ofObama’s but I was impressed when he too recently protested:
“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke, and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and share certain things with you.”
We may have moved into what people have described as a post-Christian age. But if one of its chief characteristics is the abolition of forgiveness in the public sphere, whatever ingenious advances we may have achieved, the progress may be technical, but it isn’t moral.
Key highlights from the two-days meeting for Church of Uganda Bishops 7th to 9th November 2019.
Church of Uganda Bishops have concluded their two days meeting that began with the House of Bishops (Thursday November 7th, 2019) and the Board of Trustees Meeting (Friday November 8th, 2019) at Namirembe Guest House, Kampala.
During the House of Bishops, the following were elected new Bishops;
1. Rev. Okunya Charles Oode was elected the 2nd Bishop of Kumi Diocese. He will be consecrated and enthroned as Bishop on 29th December 2019 at St. Philip’s Cathedral, Ngora. He will succeed the Rt. Rev. Thomas Irigei, who will retire at the end of 2019.
2. Rev. Dr. Bukomeko James was elected the 5th Bishop of Mityana Diocese. He will be consecrated and enthroned as bishop on 2nd February 2020 at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. He will suceed the Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu who was elected the 9th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and will automatically become the Bishop of Kampala Diocese.
The House was addressed by a team from the Provincial Strategic Discipleship Movement (PSDM) comprised of Rev Alex Bwambale and Mr. Esayas Ersabo.
PSDM is an intentional disciple making strategy that the Mission and Outreach Directorate of Church of Uganda mainstreams across its structure for all clergymen and lay leaders for their own spiritual life advancement and ministries as well.
During the Board of Trustees Meeting, a team from Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) led by Mr Bemanya Twebaze the Registrar General held meaningful discussions with the Bishops about compliance on registration of all marriages.
A team from Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) led by the Acting Managing Director, Mr Mujuzi Kasekende also addressed Bishops about gazetting places of worship, marriages, intellectual property, vestments, hymn books, church rules and procedures among others.
The two-days meeting deliberated on a wide-range of issues and the way forward for the continued development of Church of Uganda.
On Wednesday morning, November 6, 2019, His Beatitude and our Father the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos addressed the Meeting “Majma” of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, which took place in Bristol Hotel in Amman, after the invitation and welcoming reception of the Most Reverend Bishop Suheil Dawani, with the following address in English;
“Your Grace, Archbishop Suheil,
Dear Father Hosam,
Sisters and Brothers,
We greet you, dear Archbishop Suheil, and your clergy and people, as you gather for your annual synod. We join with you in welcoming your distinguished guests for the Anglican Community around the world.
We would like to take this opportunity first of all to underline the importance of the relationship that exists between the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Community, and especially between the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Needless to say, this relationship has born much fruit over the years, and most especially recently, as we have stood together in the face of challenges to the freedom and the rights of the Church in our region.
We thank you, dear Archbishop Suheil, for your solidarity and strength of purpose, and we give thanks to Almighty God for the blessings we enjoy in our close collaboration.
We also pay tribute today to His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where we enjoy the freedom to gather from all over our region, and where His Majesty, the Custodian over Muslim and Christian Holy Sites in the Holy Land, ensures religious freedom and supports the historic rights of the Church and the guarantee of the Christian presence.
You have chosen as your theme “Becoming a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1), and this is a timely subject for all of us who call the Holy Land and the Middle East, which is the cradle of Christianity, our home.
We cannot understand the meaning of sacrifice without first referring to our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross. We see in this divine sacrifice the power of humility, and we understand humility through metanoia. Let us listen to the Lord’s words, “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). Humility and metanoia are the key to salvation, and without them nothing else is possible. The deeper we are shaped by humility and metanoia, the more available we are to God as those who can offer ourselves in sacrificial commitment and service to others.
As the Church Fathers teach us, sacrifice has many expressions. There is the sacrifice of self-giving service to others. There is the sacrifice that is the martyrdom of conscience. There is the sacrifice of costly commitment. Saint John Chrysostom says; “As we read in the words of Saint Paul, our sacrifice is a living one, holy and pleasing to God”. Chrysostom emphasizes that one should not think of sacrifice as the slaughtering of our bodies, but as following the commandments of the Lord, which lead to our salvation and deification.
Sacrifice can be personal, and it can be corporate, but it never means giving up our integrity, for our personal and corporate sacrificial acts are to be understood in and through Christ.
It must be borne in mind that the purpose of the Church is precisely a sacrificial vocation, and this is why the Church is, and should be, a sign and inspiration for political and civic leadership as we see conflicts all over our world, where disorder and confusion are so common a human experience. It is in this context that we consider our role and responsibility as spiritual leaders and priests. For the key to promoting the values of the Bible that are threatened, values like peace and justice, is precisely this kenotic tendency, and this kenosis must begin with ourselves. We do know that we cannot demand sacrifice from another; we can only live the sacrificial way of Christ ourselves, so that the Church may be a true beacon of light and hope. We must ourselves be a paradigm – as Saint Paul says, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
To be imitators of Christ is indeed itself a work of sacrifice, and Christians who face trouble and persecution on a daily basis should remain firm in this vocation, because “our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). As our Lord says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Mat. 10:28).
Thank you for the kind invitation to be with you. May God bless you, dear Archbishop Suheil, and all the good servants in the vineyard of the Lord, that is your clergy and people, as you seek to live more deeply the mystery of Christ’s sacrificial life in your own”.
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