Blogroll Category: Christian Resources

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How can parents help their kids embrace those who are different than them

The Good Book Company - Wed, 03/06/2020 - 16:26

As I observe what I see on the news and on social media, I am once again grieved to see the evil of racism platformed and the same turmoil that has haunted us for generations.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be feeling a frustrating blend of anger, weariness, and lament right now. I’m continually asked the questions: What can we possibly do to address such a big problem in our society? What can we do with the opportunities we have to help?

I believe that you, me—all of us—can do something and it can start now. It can start today. We have seen so many generations lost to the pain and horror of racial abuse, but we can plant good, biblical and life-giving truth about God’s good design for humans into the next generation. 

If you want your children to embrace those who are different from them, you must first, by example and conviction, embrace those who are different from you.

Children are curious about the world around them, but with all things, we want to teach and guide children so that they are knowledgeable about the God-given differences seen in others. Like you’d teach them about anything else, it’s essential that we begin to teach our children about creation, specifically the image of God, at an early age. If you want your children to embrace those who are different than them, then you must start with helping them understand that God is the Creator of every tribe, tongue, and nation.

This is not an exhaustive list but it is a start. Here are four ways to help kids embrace those who are different than them:

1. Teach that we are all made in the image of God

In the beginning, God created all of mankind in His image, male and female alike (Gen. 1:26). God created us to reflect aspects of his beauty and character, and the result is the human race we know today—amazingly varied and wonderfully diverse. Every single one of us reflects something about God.

Have you taken time to share and celebrate this amazing thought with your kids? As God’s image-bearers, we are all equal. We are equal in dignity and worth. Of all God’s creation, we are the only ones created in His very image. Too often we assume that just means us. But it doesn’t, it means everyone.

2. Invite others into your life

We can imagine all kinds of things about other people, and buy into all kinds of stereotypes—until we spend time them. It’s almost like we have a default setting that finds it easier to spend time with “people like us”. We need to resist that urge.

One practical way to show love to others is simply to invite others into your life.  When it’s safe to do so, have them over for lunch or dinner. Make the effort to find those who are different from you, and model to your children how you take an interest in their lives.

Then look at your neighborhood and welcome your neighbors. Learn about them as people and if their culture is an important aspect of their lives, listen and learn. Your kids will recognize, remember and internalize this level of engagement with those who are not like you or them. Invite these differences into your lessons at your home during dinner. Learn about other cultures if you live in an area that is not diverse. With all of the resources we have at our fingertips, let’s take advantage of them so we can better love our neighbor and enrich our souls. 

3. Celebrate our differences

Heaven will be filled with people from Indonesia, Dubai, Zambia, the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee and the Grand Cayman Islands. And today we can get a foretaste of heaven when we step out of our comfort zones to get to know someone not like us.
Take the time to find out more about them. You can find out about their clothes or their culture, the food they like or the family they are part of. You can get out a map or a globe and look at where their family originates. You can share photos. You can ask them how they became a believer in Jesus, and just enjoy being with them.

But even if we don’t have different people right in front of us, we can still find ways to celebrate the reality of God’s wonderfully rich and diverse world. As you teach your kids about other people and cultures have fun! Get creative: cook different kinds of ethnic food, go to festivals celebrating different nationalities, have a history lesson with music from various locations, etc.

4. Teach the Gospel

Christ continually related to people who were different from him—tax collectors, Samaritans, prostitutes and so on. Jesus was bold to share with them, and ignored the criticism of the establishment that came his way as a result. Why? Because of his love for the souls of his image bearers. The gospel has power to bring even the most unlikely of people together, and this brings glory to him. We want to teach our kids that it is only Jesus who can ultimately unite people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

Bottom-line, if you want your children to embrace those who are different from them, you must first, by example and conviction, embrace those who are different from you. Your children are watching and learning from you. They will embrace whoever you embrace. It is God and the gospel of grace that motivates us to step outside ourselves, and celebrate the differences around us. God created, he redeems, and it is He who is calling all these different people together in Christ for His glory.
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Trillia Newbell is the author of God’s Very Good Idea. This book celebrates diversity and will help children see how people from all ethnic and social backgrounds are valuable to God and how Jesus came to rescue all kinds of people. It will also excite them about being part of church - God's delightfully different family.
 

Categories: Christian Resources

Archbishop Beach: Call for a Week of Prayer and Fasting

Anglican Ink - Wed, 03/06/2020 - 04:30

Dearest People of God in the Anglican Church in North America:

I write you with a tremendous heaviness in my spirit and soul as I observe and participate in what is happening today in the United States of America. If ever there is a time for the people of God to fall on our faces before God and plead for his mercy and intervention, now is the time. As believers, we are given the privilege of coming to the Throne of Grace with our petitions and requests, and he promises to hear us. (1 John 5:14,15)

Consider what we have experienced in recent days and weeks:

  • Another senseless killing by a police officer of an unarmed black man, George Floyd.
  • Hundreds of thousands of people participating in peaceful protests.
  • The unleashing of a spirit of lawlessness where rioting, violence, destruction of businesses and properties (mostly minority owned), unbridled theft, personal assaults on bystanders, store owners, the elderly, and police officers.
  • Covid-19 closing whole countries down, reportedly killing over 100,000 people in the U.S., over 7,000 in Canada, and over 10,000 in Mexico, and creating an economic calamity with tens of millions of people unemployed across North America.
  • Numerous businesses and churches have had to close down and many will not reopen.
  • Incredible generosity of strangers helping strangers in the midst of calamity.

Sisters and brothers, I am asking you to join me in spending the next week in prayer and fasting for North America (Wednesday, June 3 – Wednesday, June 10). For those who can fast the whole week, a day, or a meal, I ask you set aside time to intercede on behalf of your community, state, and nation.

Pray in the Holy Spirit and as the Holy Spirit leads you, and as you do, consider these petitions:

  • Show me my own sin; reveal to me the darkness of my own heart (Ps.139:24)
  • Reveal to me the repentance I need in my own life.
  • The ending of the lawlessness and violence.
  • Justice for those who have had their lives taken from them, especially George Floyd, and comfort for their families.
  • Comfort for the family and friends of the thousands of people who have lost their lives because of Covid-19.
  • Help for the millions who find themselves suddenly without a job.
  • Provision for all those business owners who have lost their business because of rioting, for those who have insurance and those who do not.
  • Strength for the health care workers, nurses, doctors, technicians in hospitals and medical facilities who continue to work fearlessly to save lives.
  • Wisdom for our government and civil leaders as they seek to keep us safe both from the virus and from the violence in our cities.
  • Food and provision for those who are hungry and in need.
  • Fresh anointing for the Church of Jesus Christ to faithfully proclaim the Gospel and reach people who are hurting, suffering, alone, and in need.
  • Specific acts of grace and mercy that You want me to carry out in this time.

If you would like some specific prayers to help you pray, consider these from the Book of Common Prayer 2019 on pages 657-661:

  • #39 – For our Nation
  • #40 – For All Sorts and Conditions of Men
  • #41 – For Cities, Towns, and other Communities
  • #42 – For the Human Family
  • #43 – For Social Justice
  • #44 – In Times of Social Conflict or Distress
  • #45 – For Those Who Serve Others
  • #46 – For Commerce and Industry
  • #47 – For the Unemployed
  • #48 – For Agriculture and Farming
  • #49 – For Schools, Colleges, and Universities
  • #50 – For the Medical Professions
  • #51 – For Those Who Inform Public Opinion

Jesus said: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:9,10)Your brother in Jesus Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America

The post Archbishop Beach: Call for a Week of Prayer and Fasting appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Letter from the primate of Canada – Lament and mourn today—and seek change tomorrow

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 22:52

Sometimes there is a certain Canadian smugness expressed when we see the dire situation of our neighbour to the south. We shake our heads and express dismay at the level of racial violence that periodically emerges there while feeling a sense of relief that, of course, this does not happen in Canada.

But it does. We have seen violence against racial communities in Canada in anti-Muslim terrorist acts; anti-Semitic vandalism and desecrations; missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls; and disproportionate deaths of people of colour. Despite our desire to wave the flag of multiculturalism and be glad that the Underground Railroad brought Harriet Tubman to Canada, racism is embedded in our social structures, in our relationships, in ourselves.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop Susan Johnson and I have invited Anglicans and Lutherans to join the Day of Lament and Mourning on June 1 being held in the United States, shared by Lutherans and Anglicans there. In the face of the death of George Floyd—another black man killed by police brutality—the long-simmering grief and rage at embedded racism has spilled over into night after night of protests and violence. This is not only about George Floyd. This is about hundreds of years of racist brutality, inequity and fear that has not been heard or, if heard, has been papered over by Band-Aid solutions. The hard, hard work of uprooting racism takes the desire and concerted efforts of generations of people. The roots of racism are deep, pernicious and constantly renewing.

Last year, in the months before General Synod and the primatial election, an acquaintance told me that she had heard someone publicly share that I am racist. My initial response was to be deeply hurt and to try to find out what I had said or done that would lead to those remarks. How had I acted? What had I said? How could this be when I abhor the thought of racism?

Since then I have recognized that I am racist. I am a white, privileged Canadian who is enmeshed in the cultural expectations and assumptions of the society in which I was raised. I have benefitted because I was born into the class and colour of those who have systemic power. As someone with power I unconsciously participate in and collude with racism and have absorbed attitudes deep within me. I am as enmeshed in racism by the benefits I have received as is the person enmeshed in racism by discrimination. The only aspect of disempowerment I have experienced directly has come from my gender as a woman. Even there, others had begun the battle for rights and recognition over the past one hundred years, and I enjoy the fruit of their hard-won justice.

For several years I have been learning. I am deeply grateful to the Indigenous people in the diocese of Huron, especially in LAIC (Lenni Lenape Algonkian Iroquoian Council), and people like Archbishop Mark MacDonald, Melanie Delva, Martha Many Grey Horses and Dr. Ginny Doctor, who gently but firmly persist in challenging racism in our midst with their words and actions and are teaching me. I have had to examine my heart, mind and attitudes in new ways. I have needed the voices of Ibram Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility and Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to help me take steps on what will be a lifelong journey to deprogram assumptions and recognize racism when I see it in myself and in policies and cultural norms around me.

As a church, we began a long journey to address the racism that was firmly entrenched in residential schools, but there is much, much more to do. We are slowly learning and receiving the gifts Indigenous people and their spirituality bring to our shared faith. Recently I met with the leadership of Black Anglicans in Canada to discuss the issues they face within our church. Our leadership as a church does not represent the diversity of our parishioners. Our councils, synods and General Synod do not yet show the diversity of cultures and people who share in our baptismal covenant. If these bodies are to be representative of the gifts in our pews, this needs to change.

The Council of General Synod has, with me, committed to helping our church address racism. General Synod passed a Charter for Racial Justice in 2004 with the intention to deepen anti-racism work in the future. Some dioceses have picked up this work with specific anti-racism training. We want to continue and strengthen that commitment across the church and in all our councils and committees.

This is not optional work. It is at the core of our baptismal covenant to love neighbour as self and to respect the dignity of every human being. It demands our attention as a church and as a society. When we persistently ignore the cries of those who are denied dignity and equality, we cannot be surprised by the resulting anger and frustration finally finding an outlet in the violence now seen. We must always stand for peace, but only if we also stand for action and a willingness to listen to those disenfranchised and powerless who cry out for justice.

We need a day of lament and mourning. We need to lament and mourn those who have been harmed, murdered, lynched or killed by the racism in us and our world. We need to lament and mourn all the ways we avoid, deny, dismiss or devalue racism in ourselves and our communities. We need to lament and mourn—but just for one day—and then commit to anti-racism work in ourselves, our church and our world for generation after generation.

“For everything there is a season…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Today is the day for mourning and lament. Tomorrow—and every day after—must be a day for change

The post Letter from the primate of Canada – Lament and mourn today—and seek change tomorrow appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

DC Riots and Bishop Mariann Budde’s Selective Episcopal Outrage

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 22:29

Episcopal Diocese of Washington Bishop Mariann Budde has worked her way into a froth over a photo opportunity by President Trump.

Lafayette Square across from the White House was cleared Monday evening of Black Lives Matter protesters (with the use of either tear gas or smoke canisters, depending on which report you read) seemingly for the purpose of facilitating Trump’s walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church for the photo op. Reports from the Washington Post describe Trump briefly standing in front of the church with Bible in hand, but neither entering the building nor speaking with anyone nor opening the Bible, which apparently signaled something at merely being raised like a talisman.

Workers install temporary plywood to protect windows from damage at the parish house of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 (Photo: Jeff Walton/IRD)

“I am outraged,” Budde told the Post about Trump’s posturing in an interview a short time later, pausing between words to emphasize her anger as her voice slightly trembled. She had nothing critical to say about the burning of one of her churches, which according to the parish vestry incurred about $20,000 in damages, mostly to the church nursery.

“This evening, the President of the United States stood in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, lifted up a bible, and had pictures of himself taken. In so doing, he used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes,” Tweeted Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. “This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us.”

The prominent St. John’s Parish House located on Lafayette Square had been briefly set afire the night before, after peaceful protesters headed home for a District of Columbia curfew.

Some who remained in defiance of the curfew threw rocks at windows in the adjacent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs building and spray painted a nearby statue of Revolutionary War hero Tadeusz Kościuszko with profanity. Most of the damage appeared directed at a small building that houses park bathrooms. A number of storefronts in the downtown, Georgetown and Tenleytown neighborhoods were also vandalized, including a hair salon and a looted sandwich shop owned by Pakistani immigrants directly below IRD’s downtown offices.

A brief walk around the St. John’s building this afternoon showed graffiti had largely been removed and windows were proactively boarded up to prevent any further damage. A pole with an American flag had been yanked off the building and thrown into a fire by protesters, but little else was noticeably amiss.

Would Budde have given a similar pass if right-wing protesters had done the same? the bishop of Washington doesn’t shrink from activism. Budde herself is engaged in advocacy for firearms restrictions and even weighed in on changing the name of the city’s floundering NFL franchise. Within the Diocese of Washington, Budde defended a push for “gender-inclusive” language “to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.”

The Post report noted both Budde and Curry “are among the pantheon of progressive religious leaders who have long been critical of Trump’s political agenda.” I was last present in the now-damaged St. John’s parish house as it hosted a press conference for the Religious Coalition on Reproductive Choice, a progressive lobby that voices approval from religious officials for unrestricted abortion-on-demand, and which counts the Episcopal Church as a member.

Post religion reporters Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey cite data from the Pew Research Center showing 49 percent of Episcopalians are Democrats or lean Democratic, compared with 39 percent of church members who are Republican or lean Republican.

Episcopalians have increasingly found themselves in roles difficult to maintain. Church officials simultaneously embrace leftist causes, while also serving as a boutique chaplaincy to the affluent and as presiders over American civil religion in events of national importance including state funerals.

For his part, President Trump is in close proximity to the Episcopal Church: his youngest son was baptized at an Episcopal parish and attends a private Episcopal high school (Trump himself is Presbyterian and his wife Melania is Roman Catholic). The Trump family typically attends services at Bethesda-by-the-sea Episcopal Church when in Palm Beach, Florida, minutes from Mar-a-Lago.

Budde draws a distinction between those engaged in peaceful protest, opportunistic looters and violent organized provocateurs like Antifa. Would she do the same if the partisan affiliations were flipped?

The danger of selective outrage is in exposing one’s self as another partisan instead of acting like a senior shepherd.

The post DC Riots and Bishop Mariann Budde’s Selective Episcopal Outrage appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Anglican Unscripted 600 – It is not over… Yet.

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 18:07

Hong Kong is on the cusp of falling into the clutches of China’s violent dictatorship and Riots in America. This and much more on this episode of Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger.

The post Anglican Unscripted 600 – It is not over… Yet. appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Anglican Unscripted 599 – Opening the Churches

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 18:06

Planning on opening your church soon? Kevin Kallsen and George Conger talk about this and the Violent Press in today’s episode of Anglican Unscripted.

The post Anglican Unscripted 599 – Opening the Churches appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Anglican Unscripted 598 – Porn, Perversion, and Pupils

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 18:05

It is a great shame when there is NO difference between public education and a Church of England School Education. This and much more on Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger.

The post Anglican Unscripted 598 – Porn, Perversion, and Pupils appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

How Bob Hartman tells a bible story

The Good Book Company - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 13:00

Bob Hartman is a professional storyteller and the author of The Prisoners, the Earthquake and the Midnight Song, the newest book in the Tales that Tell the Truth series. Today he shares his process for retelling Bible stories. 

I find that my biggest challenge, when it comes to Bible retellings, is finding a way “in”. A way “in” for me, the writer, and a way “in” for the reader/listener, too.

Sometimes I find it in one of the characters. I read the text. I always read the text.  Even if it’s a text I have read a hundred times before. And, sometimes, something about one of the characters jumps off the page and grabs me for the very first time. A physical detail, a comment, an action.

[inline_product:t5quake]

So I let that “something” take me where it will. And eventually I have a different kind of retelling. Sometimes it has to do with the conflict. I have a friend who won’t buy any versions of Jonah that finish with the repentance of the Ninevites, because she reckons (rightly, I think) that leaving out what follows—Jonah’s resentment at the Ninevites’ repentance—misunderstands the conflict completely. And the story with it.

And then, sometimes, the way “in” arrives courtesy of the setting. That was definitely the case when I wrote The Prisoners, the Earthquake and the Midnight Song. I had told the story of Paul and Silas and their miraculous escape from prison several times before. But I had never noticed how many sounds there were in the story. And once I started listening for those sounds—as opposed to looking for physical details—I discovered that those sounds could carry me through the whole of the story!

The first sound? The log-sawing snores of the sleeping jailer. A sound that sets the prison scene and the middle-of-the-night timing of the story. The next sound! Singing, of course! In place of the moaning and groaning and complaining one might expect of two men wrongly locked up in stocks, simply because they had freed a slave girl from her demon. A rumbling, grumbling sound follows, the beginnings of an earthquake that will shatter those stocks and set every prisoner free. And then—oh, dear!—there is the scraping sound of a sword being drawn from a scabbard. For the jailer is wide awake now, and knows that his own life will be forfeit should the prisoners escape. With that comes the sound of gentle sobbing as he considers what that will mean for him and for his family.But before he can put that sword to use, he is interrupted by another sound. Paul is calling, calling out to assure the jailer that none of the prisoners has escaped. And it is the splashing, splashing sound of water that follows. The water the jailer uses to wash the wounds of Paul and Silas. And the water that Paul uses to wash the  jailer and his family in baptism. Then, finally, there is more singing, because that whole family now has a reason to praise God along with Silas and Paul!

Putting it on the page

Now, it’s one thing to build a story around sounds. But how do you illustrate that, if the story is meant to be a picture book?

Cleverly, the illustrator of this particular book, Catalina Echeverri, came up with a series of visual clues that bring each of those sounds to life! I am constantly amazed at what a good picture book artist can accomplish. And Catalina has excelled herself in this case.

What is more, she has created a simple set of icons to illustrate what is perhaps the most important set of sounds in the story. You see, at every stage of the story, Paul and Silas have the opportunity to talk about Jesus - how he died so we can be forgiven, and rose from the dead so that we can live forever, and sent his Holy Spirit so we can follow him as our king.

They share that good news with the slave girl, and the other prisoners, and with the jailer and his family. And so we see those sounds come to life, as well, throughout the retelling, and through three simple icons. And then, finally, the reader is encouraged to make some sounds of their own - to pass that same good news to anyone who will listen—with those three simple icons in mind.

So how do I retell a Bible story? I always read. I always look. I always consider the problem of the story. But, sometimes, there is a whole lot more to be gained simply by listening!

The Prisoners, the Earthquake and the Midnight Song by Bob Hartman teaches children about Jesus’ ongoing power to save through the proclamation of the gospel and through the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is available to buy here
 

Categories: Christian Resources

A Letter to Fellow ACNA Clergy: On Anti-Racism and a More Diverse and Just Anglicanism

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 02:31

Following the lead of bishops Jim Hobby, Todd Hunter, Stewart Ruch III, and Steve Wood, who recently wrote in response to the death of George Floyd, which gained support from a number of other bishops, we offer this open letter to our fellow ACNA clergy and to the churches under our care. Whether you’re ACNA clergy, a layperson, or a Christian leader outside the ACNA, we invite your consideration of the following and your signature in support.

Our Context

Our province, The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), was born as part of a global movement that features diverse leadership and reflects the churches and people of global Anglicanism. It is a manifestation of the universal power and eschatological telos of the Gospel of Jesus: “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9).

Currently, the American population is about 38% non-white. By many projections, over the next 20 years, it will be increasingly composed of ethnic minorities. Our province, however, is far from representative of this emerging reality. The mission on our doorstep is clear: to reach North America, in all of its ethnic diversity, “with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.” We have the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel “to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15) and to be Jesus’ witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are called to reflect the ethnic diversity of the global movement of which we are a part, as well as the diverse locales in which we are present.

In order to more fully embody our Gospel witness, we must support, encourage, and empower the leadership of brothers and sisters of color in the ACNA to create more hospitable and welcoming spaces for people of color. This includes Black, Latino/a, Native, Asian, and other people groups. We must listen and respond to these voices in our midst and collectively seek to understand and address the historic and ongoing ways in which people of color continue to struggle under various expressions of injustice.

We see and grieve the racism and discrimination that exists and has a deep cultural and structural influence in our society, in our communities, and in our churches. The recent tragedies of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are simply the latest in a long line of harrowing examples of these deeply embedded systemic realities. We see and grieve that our brothers and sisters of color, including many in our own dioceses and parishes, have been and continue to be profoundly affected by these realities.

Against this backdrop, we offer the following confessions and make the following commitments.

Confessions

We confess that we have failed to see, understand, and address the expressions of racism, both personal and systemic, that plague our society, communities, and churches.

We confess our slowness to listen to the dismay and discouragement of our brothers and sisters of color, especially those in our own province, and have neglected to cultivate hospitable spaces for them to flourish.

We confess that our ignorance, complacency, and silence have undermined our fidelity to the Great Commandment to love God and love our neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40), which fundamentally calls us into disciplines of anti-racism.

Commitments

We commit to listening to, learning from, and supporting leaders of color in their witness to our province.

We commit to partnering with these friends, and with organizations like

that are working to promote, support, and invest in a more diverse and just Anglicanism.

And, in all of our different capacities and platforms, in our churches and in the world, we commit ourselves to investing in the work of anti-racism—in our catechesis, discipleship, preaching, ministry, advocacy, and reform.

The Road Ahead

We are encouraged by the leaders, including the Archbishop, who have spoken out about the recent injustices, and we know that there are places within the province where there is movement toward realizing this vision of a multi-ethnic church, one that is unhindered by racism in all its forms, that can reach the entirety of North America.

However, there is significant work yet to be done. We hope that others will join us in our intentional commitment to partnering with leaders of color and the provincial organizations listed above in order to cultivate a diverse and just Anglicanism in North America.

We are a group of clergy committed to the ACNA and its mission. If you would like either to join us in these confessions and commitments or signal your affirmation of such work, we invite you to add your name to this letter.

Our ultimate goal, however, is not just signatures, but a collective public commitment towards diversity and justice for the sake of the gospel and our Kingdom witness.

Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Sincerely in Christ,

Authors

Rev. Ryan Boettcher
Associate Clergy, Resurrection Anglican South Austin

Rev. Dr. Shawn McCain
Rector, Resurrection Anglican South Austin

Rev. Seth Richardson
The Telos Collective

Rev. Dr. J.R. Rozko
National Director, Missio Alliance & Co-Lead Pastor, First Church of the Resurrection

Rev. Ben Sternke
Co-Rector, The Table Indianapolis & Co-Founder, Gravity Leadership

Rev. Matt Tebbe
Co-Rector, The Table Indianapolis & Co-Founder, Gravity Leadership

Rev. Erik Willits
Host of The Intersection Podcast
Special Projects, 
Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others

The post A Letter to Fellow ACNA Clergy: On Anti-Racism and a More Diverse and Just Anglicanism appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Letters from the rector and wardens of St John’s Lafayette Square following arson attack

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 02:01

1 June 2020

Dear Parishioners,

We are writing from the Parish House where we’ve been able to fully assess the damage from last night’s protests.

As we know many of you have already heard, there was a small fire in the parish house basement. Thankfully, it appears to have been contained to the nursery—though, as you might imagine there is smoke and water damage to other areas of the basement.

We’re very happy to report that the rest of the church and parish house is untouched except for some exterior graffiti, which the city’s graffiti team has already covered up.Fire investigators are still working, but once they are done, we have a crew standing by to secure the buildings.

Please know how grateful we are for the support and messages we’ve received in thepast days. Please continue to pray for our community and our country.

In peace,

Rev. Rob Fisher, RectorPaul Barkett, Senior WardenJeff Hanston, Junior Warden

1 June 2020

Dear St. John’s Community,

It has been a difficult night. If you have not seen it yet in the national news, a fire was set to St. John’s nursery tonight, but I am happy to report that the fire is completely out. I have just returned home from the church, and it is 1:58am as I begin writing this note.

My family and I had in fact left town on Friday for what we hoped would be a long weekend of R&R. We were essentially camping, almost totally off the grid. This morning our plan was to drive to where there was cell reception and watch the Pentecost service together. However, word got to me that the protest activity was intense and growing, so we quickly changed plans and drove back here as fast as we could.

In the car I was in touch with the wardens and also Bishop Mariann, with whom we have begun plans for making St. John’s a place for offering a ministry of presence—against racism and for God’s healing and compassion in the days ahead. I hope that many of you will join in this. (Please contact help@stjohns-dc.org to join this effort!)

The protests that began peacefully grew to something more, and eventually a fire was lit in the nursery, in the basement of Ashburton House.

Like many of you perhaps, I had little access to information about how bad the fire was while it was happening. It felt horrible to see glimpses of smoke rising by the stairs to our entrance on national TV, and then to have it confirmed with an up-close video showing the flames in the basement.

Fortunately, it was in fact completely extinguished. I just assessed the damage as best I could, in the semi-dark and with a flashing, bleating alarm system that I could not figure out how to shut off. My ears are still ringing, and I am still coughing a bit from various fumes I inhaled. But I am happy to share with you that I could see no other real damage besides that one room, and quite a bit of graffiti and debris around the exterior of the church. Protestors easily could have done a lot worse to our buildings, but they chose not to do that.

(The damage I saw to other nearby buildings illustrated this point.)

None of this changes our purpose to be an instrument for God’s work through all of this, and in fact now more than ever. I pray for our collective wisdom, grace, courage and compassion as we move forward into what God is calling us to do and be next.

To the many of you who have reached out in various ways—thank you!

Shalom,Rob+ [The Rev. Robert Fisher]

The post Letters from the rector and wardens of St John’s Lafayette Square following arson attack appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Pastoral Letter from the Ontario Bishops: Churches to be closed until September due to COVID-19

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 01:50

June 1, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

What a true blessing it was to join together from all parts of our vast ecclesiastical province for a special online worship celebration! On the Day of Pentecost we are reminded that God’s love has been poured into our hearts, and we pray for the Holy Spirit to come and renew the face of the earth, perhaps most especially during this time of pandemic.

Strengthened by the knowledge of God’s abiding love and renewed by the Spirit, the provincial House of Bishops is calling on the parishes of our dioceses to observe a sacred sabbath rest over the summer months so that we can be renewed for mission and ministry in this new season of evangelism and discipleship that is emerging for our Church.

The past three months have been difficult as we journeyed through a time of wilderness with the closure of our church buildings and as we have creatively adapted our ministries to respond to the emergency situation. Inspired from the witness of scripture, a time of sabbath rest invites our clergy and lay leaders, as well as the whole Church, to take time apart from our usual patterns in order to bring renewed energy and knowledge and skill to the practice of ministry.

What this means is that regardless of where the Government of Ontario is with its reopening plan, our churches will not be reopening for in-person worship until at least September. This decision was made in consultation with public health experts as well as our diocesan executive officers and chancellors, with the well-being and safety of all our parishioners and the communities we serve uppermost in our hearts and minds.

Online worship services and our critical food security and other essential outreach and community ministries taking place in our buildings will continue, as they have been in recent months. We are so grateful for all those enabling such ministries of praise, love and mercy during this pandemic.

As Anglicans, we have been blessed by our church buildings, legacies handed on to us by faithful stewards who have gone before us. Now we have a rare opportunity, while we are worshipping outside of them, to prayerfully explore new and creative ways to use them, as reimagined vessels for ministry in the months and years ahead.

This sabbath time of rest, reflection and renewal, while we wait to be back in our cherished and familiar sacred spaces, offers us an opportunity to discern what our worship patterns, stewardship practices, and parish ministries might look like going forward.

To help with this, in the coming weeks we will be releasing a one-page framework document which will outline the cautious three-stage measured approach we as Anglicans in the ecclesiastical province of Ontario will undertake collectively as pandemic conditions in our communities warrant the eventual safe reopening of our church buildings.

For now, please know that you are held in our prayers unceasingly, and we are deeply grateful for the generosity, innovation and faithfulness that has been so richly demonstrated across our province. As we weather our current circumstances together, let us seek to be the face of Christ in the world in a renewed and faithful way, buoyed by the Spirit of the Living God which falls afresh on us each day.

May God’s deepest peace be with you.

Faithfully yours,

The Most Rev. Anne Germond, Metropolitan and Archbishop of Algoma and Moosonee

On behalf of the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario…
The Right Reverend Michael Oulton, The Right Reverend Susan Bell, The Right Reverend Andrew
Asbil, The Right Reverend Dr. Todd Townshend, The Right Reverend Shane Parker, The Right
Reverend Peter Fenty, The Right Reverend Jenny Andison, The Right Reverend Riscylla Shaw, The
Right Reverend Kevin Robertson, The Most Reverend Fred Hiltz.

The post Pastoral Letter from the Ontario Bishops: Churches to be closed until September due to COVID-19 appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Former TSM dean passes

Anglican Ink - Tue, 02/06/2020 - 00:32

Trinity School for Ministry is saddened to announce the passing of the Very Rev. Dr. Peter C. Moore. Peter died Saturday night at the Roper Hospice Cottage in Mt. Pleasant, SC, after a battle with cancer.

Peter served as Dean and President at Trinity School for Ministry from 1996-2004. He supported Trinity since its inception in 1976, when he was the first Board Chair. 

We pray for his wife Sandra, and their children, Jen, Kate, and David as they grieve in the days to come.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of a man whose love for you never wavered and whose willingness to see the potential of everyone he met was infinite. Comfort Sandra, Jen, Kate and David. In Christ alone, Amen.

The post Former TSM dean passes appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

London churches prepare for permission to reopen

Anglican Ink - Sun, 31/05/2020 - 03:42
29 May 2020

Dear Colleagues  
 
We had been expecting a Government announcement yesterday on the opening of churches for private prayer, weddings, and funerals. Bishop Sarah’s statement below explains where things have (or haven’t!) got to.
 
“The Prime Minister’s statement this evening on easing the lockdown restrictions spoke about shops and parks but did not mention places of worship. I know that a lot of people will feel disappointed and frustrated by that. While, of course, the Church is not a building, for many people these sacred spaces are an incredibly significant place in their lives – and in their faith – as well as being at the centre of community life.

“So, we will continue to work with the Government to ensure that we can begin to reopen our places of worship in a phased way as soon as it is deemed safe and practical to do so. We have already been actively planning to that end and have developed detailed advice to help local churches plan for the practical challenges of enabling opening for individual prayer as well as weddings, funerals and other important rites to take place and then, in due course, a resumption of public worship services.”

 
This means that it may well be 15th June until we have more information, though there is a little incoherence in the way Government is working at present (!) which may mean that an announcement on churches is made without pre-warning. That is why we have encouraged the Area Deans to begin conversations with you all at Chapter, so that you can begin to plan for what you are able to do once we get a green light. They have been provided with documents on risk assessments, cleaning, access to buildings, private prayer, weddings, and funerals, which they can make available to you to help you think things through.
 
I need to be very clear – it’s not our preferred style in London to tell you what to do. Clergy attitudes range right across the spectrum from “It’s none of your business, Bishop, to tell me how to run my parish” to “Please give me clear instructions on how I should now operate.” You may recognise the fun that produces! The cure of souls is mine and yours, but please assume that we shall treat each other with mutual respect and that you will be given space to make your own decisions except where there are Government or Canonical proscriptions or prescriptions in place. You’re of course welcome to ask for advice, but I want us to treat each other as adults (and I’m sorry that some of the earlier material around lockdown that went out to clergy simply didn’t do that).
 
The second bit of clarity is that you need to decide, with Chapter colleagues, what provision will be made when we reach the next phase. Some of you will continue to pray, say mass, and stream services without opening for private prayer (as you know, we can’t open for public worship yet anyway). Some of you and your congregations are vulnerable or shielding and you won’t want to open your building at all yet. Some will want to make weddings (though limited) possible again – or you may wish to ask a fellow priest to come and officiate because you can’t. This disease is helping us work more collaboratively and enabling us to signpost what is available online or in neighbouring parishes. The important thing to do in this next couple of weeks is to make a plan together in each deanery for what is going to be available.
 
The Area Deans have played a blinder in all this, and I’m extremely grateful to them.
 
What we think we know about the next stage looks like this:
 
We have been planning for phases 2 & 3, which we should continue to do, and await Government easing of restrictions. Opening of Church buildings is in the Government’s phase 3 which is not before 4th July. Phase 2 is meant to be individual prayer, small weddings, and funerals (no more than 15). Not everyone will be able to do this. All planning should include risk assessment, 2 metre distancing, hand care on the way in and way out. The building will need always to be supervised. There will need to be increased cleaning, no use of books and service sheets, no singing at this stage, no administration of Holy Communion. Face coverings are not necessary but can reassure some. Opening safely will look different in different contexts.  In opening, we have to consider those who will remain online, those who cannot attend church and clergy who are shielding. There is advice on the website for matters that are in the public domain. The Area Deans, and Anne and Nikki can advise on other materials that have been distributed for planning purposes. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you need advice, support or want to raise an issue.

I’m on 07950 299 685. Nikki is on 07759 754 893.
 
Bishop Rob has provided a prayer for us all:
 
Dear Lord,
 
As we plan for our shared future, we seek to create a safe space for encounters with Jesus Christ. We long and hope to be good news within the communities that we serve.
 
This Pentecost, we pray for wisdom, we pray for creativity, and we pray for pragmatism as we discern your will.  Father, in the midst of the chaos and lament of this season, in your mercy, help us not to domesticate the wildness of your Spirit, but to be immersed in your generous love, rebuilding lives, supporting communities and being good news in your City.
Amen.


With love and prayers


 
 Pete Broadbent
Bishop of Willesden

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When the Cameras are Gone, We Will Still Be Here: Bishop Michael Curry

Anglican Ink - Sun, 31/05/2020 - 03:33
[May 30, 2020] A word to the Church from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry:
 
“Our long-term commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as baptized followers of Jesus. We will still be doing it when the news cameras are long gone.”
 
 
In the midst of COVID-19 and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a Minnesota man named George Floyd was brutally killed. His basic human dignity was stripped by someone charged to protect our common humanity. 
 
Perhaps the deeper pain is the fact that this was not an isolated incident. It happened to Breonna Taylor on March 13 in Kentucky. It happened to Ahmaud Arbery on February 23 in Georgia. Racial terror in this form occurred when I was a teenager growing up black in Buffalo, New York. It extends back to the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 and well before that. It’s not just our present or our history. It is part of the fabric of American life. 
 
But we need not be paralyzed by our past or our present. We are not slaves to fate but people of faith. Our long-term commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as baptized followers of Jesus. We will still be doing it when the news cameras are long gone.
 
That work of racial reconciliation and justice – what we know as Becoming Beloved Community – is happening across our Episcopal Church. It is happening in Minnesota and in the Dioceses of Kentucky, Georgia and Atlanta, across America and around the world. That mission matters now more than ever, and it is work that belongs to all of us.
 
It must go on when racist violence and police brutality are no longer front-page news. It must go on when the work is not fashionable, and the way seems hard, and we feel utterly alone. It is the difficult labor of picking up the cross of Jesus like Simon of Cyrene, and carrying it until no one – no matter their color, no matter their class, no matter their caste – until no child of God is degraded and disrespected by anybody. That is God’s dream, this is our work, and we shall not cease until God’s dream is realized. 
 
Is this hopelessly naïve? No, the vision of God’s dream is no idealistic utopia. It is our only real hope. And, St. Paul says, “hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). Real love is the dogged commitment to live my life in the most unselfish, even sacrificial ways; to love God, love my neighbor, love the earth and truly love myself. Perhaps most difficult in times like this, it is even love for my enemy. That is why we cannot condone violence. Violence against any person – conducted by some police officers or by some protesters – is violence against a child of God created in God’s image. No, as followers of Christ, we do not condone violence.
 
Neither do we condone our nation’s collective, complicit silence in the face of injustice and violent death. The anger of so many on our streets is born out  of the accumulated frustration that so few seem to care when another black, brown or native life is snuffed out. 
 
But there is another way. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, a broken man lay on the side of the road. The religious leaders who passed were largely indifferent. Only the Samaritan saw the wounded stranger and acted. He provided medical care and housing. He made provision for this stranger’s well-being. He helped and healed a fellow child of God.
 
Love, as Jesus teaches, is action like this as well as attitude. It seeks the good, the well-being, and the welfare of others as well as one’s self. That way of real love is the only way there is. 
 
Accompanying this statement is a card describing ways to practice the Way of Love in the midst of pandemic, uncertainty and loss. In addition, you will find online a set of resources to help Episcopalians to LEARN, PRAY & ACT in response to racist violence and police brutality. That resource set includes faithful tools for listening to and learning from communities too often ignored or suppressed, for incorporating God’s vision of justice into your personal and community prayer life, and for positively and constructively engaging in advocacy and public witness. 
 
Opening and changing hearts does not happen overnight. The Christian race is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Our prayers and our work for justice, healing and truth-telling must be unceasing. Let us recommit ourselves to following in the footsteps of Jesus, the way that leads to healing, justice and love.

The post When the Cameras are Gone, We Will Still Be Here: Bishop Michael Curry appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Sydney diocese: Preparing and praying for return

Anglican Ink - Sat, 30/05/2020 - 04:33

Archbishop Glenn Davies and diocesan bishops have held talks with the NSW government about re-opening churches for up to 50 people as June is set to begin with pubs, clubs and restaurants allowed to have 50 seated patrons.

“I have been engaged in significant conversations with some Cabinet Ministers as well as officials from NSW Health. I am grateful for your prayers for these meetings and the work of the episcopal team more widely. I have been able both to ask questions and to provide answers on each occasion,” Dr Davies said in a letter to church leaders. “I have also written to the Premier assuring her of our readiness to return to Sunday services where parishioners can be physically present and seeking a loosening of restrictions so that churches are at least on a par with pubs and clubs, where 50 patrons are now allowed.”

Dr Davies said until there was an official lifting of numbers for churches “We should all be prepared to continue, as we have successfully been doing for the past two months, with our online services.”

Dr Davies said he had assured the Premier of the preparedness for returning to Sunday church by outlining the measures that our churches will undertake when normal services resume. 

These measures include measuring churches to ensure sufficient physical distancing, good hygiene, church cleaning, the taking and storing of contact details and the removal of any objects to be handed to parishioners, such as Bibles, hymn books or bulletins.

There was also concern about the possible respiratory spread of COVID as church members sing. Dr Davies recommended that “Until there is clear medical evidence that it is safe to do so, no congregational singing should be allowed, as a precautionary measure.”

“While we are not yet able to enter Step 2 of the National Roadmap for a COVIDsafe community, all parishes should be preparing now for that eventuality, with a detailed plan for reopening our church buildings, whether it be Step 2 or 3 for your parish, or even the undefined Step 4.”

At the same time, the Standing Committee has passed an ordinance allowing for Annual General Meetings to be held via zoom technology, under clear guidelines.

The Archbishop also said it was too early to make a decision about when the next Diocesan Synod will meet.

“So we continue to wait for many things. We wait and yearn for the day when we can meet in reasonable numbers to share the joy of our fellowship in the Holy Spirit,” Dr Davies said.  Renewing his call for prayer about COVID-19, its physical effects and the spiritual health of the nation, the Archbishop concluded: “We wait and we pray.”

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A Letter Concerning the Death of George Floyd and So Many Others

Anglican Ink - Sat, 30/05/2020 - 04:24

To the Clergy of the Anglican Church in North America,

I am writing to commend the letter below written by Bishops Jim Hobby, Todd Hunter, Stewart Ruch, and Steve Wood regarding the recent killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

I ask that you reach out to the minorities in your community and serve them as Christ Jesus would do.

In Christ,


The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate


A Letter Concerning the Death of George Floyd and So Many Others

George Floyd was made in the image of God and as such is a person of utmost value. This is not true because a few Anglican bishops issue a letter. This conviction arises from our reading of Scripture. The Psalmist said:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:13-14)

The opening book of our Scriptures declares the value of all human life:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:27)

What happened to George is an affront to God because George’s status as an image bearer was not respected. He was treated in a way that denied his basic humanity. Our lament is real. But our lament is not limited to George and his family. We mourn alongside the wider Black community for whom this tragedy awakens memories of their own traumas and the larger history of systemic oppression that still plagues this country.

George’s death is not merely the most recent evidence that proves racism exists against Black people in this country. But it is a vivid manifestation of the ongoing devaluation of black life. At the root of all racism is a heretical anthropology that devalues the imago dei in us all.  The gospel reveals that all are equally created, sinful and equally in need of the saving work of Christ. The racism we lament is not just interpersonal. It exists in the implicit and explicit customs and attitudes that do disproportionate harm to ethnic minorities in our country. In other words, too often racial bias has been combined with political power to create inequalities that still need to be eradicated.

As bishops in the ACNA we commit ourselves to standing alongside those in the Black community as they contend for a just society, not as some attempt to transform America into the kingdom of God, but as a manifestation of neighborly love and bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ. We confess that too often ethnic minorities have felt that contending for biblical justice is a burden they bear alone.

In the end, our hope is not in our efforts, but in the shed blood of Jesus that reconciles God to humanity and humans to each other. Our hope is that our churches become places where our life together as disciples demonstrates the power of the gospel to bring together the nations of the earth (Rev 7:9). Such work cannot be carried out by one letter written in the time of crisis. We commit to educating ourselves and the churches under our charge within a biblical and theological frame to face the problems of our day. We likewise commit to partnering with likeminded churches in the work of justice and reconciliation.

The Feast of Pentecost is here in a couple of days. The power of the Spirit is loosed to convict of sin and deliver us from its power. We pray that in a country as diverse as these United States, the Church will be united in the essential truths of Christianity, including its concern for the most vulnerable. So…come Holy Spirit. Mediate to us and all the earth, we pray, the victory of Jesus over the principalities and powers that seek to rule and cause death and destruction in this time between the times. Come Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, on this day, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, you revealed the way of eternal life to every race and nation: Pour out this gift anew, that by the preaching of the Gospel your salvation may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Sincerely in Christ,

Bishops Jim Hobby, Todd Hunter, Stewart Ruch and Steve Wood

The post A Letter Concerning the Death of George Floyd and So Many Others appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Cape Town archbishop’s message on returning to worship

Anglican Ink - Sat, 30/05/2020 - 04:15

Dear Parishioners, Clergy and Bishops

It is with awe and trepidation that I welcome President Cyril

Ramaphosa’s acceptance of the representations made by religious leaders that faith communities will be responsible and careful enough to return to worship under conditions which will not allow the spread of the coronavirus.

In the next few days, once the government has published its new regulations, we will, with the help of our COVID-19 advisory team, consolidate the regulations and the guidelines that religious leaders have drawn up and update our own ACSA guidelines accordingly.

Until that happens, we will not be able to brief you fully on the conditions under which services can resume. I hope that we will be able to issue a Pentecost message on how we will proceed, especially as we face the cold weather ahead and note that older members of our congregations are among the most vulnerable to becoming seriously ill if they contract the virus.

In the meantime, I want to assure you that the representations we made to the government are comprehensive and detailed. For example, they require enforcement of a limit of 50 on services, disinfecting surfaces between services, physical distancing in churches, the avoidance of shared hymnals and prayer books, the wearing of masks during services, restrictions on singing (because it has proved to play a big role in spreading the virus), avoidance of the common chalice at Eucharist, no gatherings after services and rigorous hygiene in church toilets.

As we wait for guidance and contemplate the way ahead, I urge you, as scripture says, to be gentle as doves and wise as serpents. We should not all start flocking to our parishes but take a lead from bishops and clergy as well as churchwardens or cell group leaders.

We worship a loving God who in Jesus constantly reminds us to “go and do likewise”. This is of course means thinking about and doing the right things. We are just as able to do that as the businesses that have been allowed to open under their own strict conditions.

God bless.

††Thabo

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Churches Win as Illinois Capitulates on Worship Limitations

Anglican Ink - Fri, 29/05/2020 - 23:43

The Thomas More Society is claiming victory as the Illinois Department of Health released a statement issuing, “COVID-19 Guidance for Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services Overview.” Governor “JB” Pritzker, the target of three separate Illinois lawsuits by the Thomas More Society, charging religious discrimination and violations of the United States and Illinois constitutions and Illinois’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act, announced in his daily press briefing on May 28, 2020 that he is withdrawing mandates on Illinois churches and replacing them with health department “guidelines” for places of worship.

“This is a total and complete victory for people of faith,” said Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen.

“This is a total and complete victory for people of faith,” declared Thomas More Society Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen. “Illinois’ governor and his administration abused the COVID-19 pandemic to stomp on the religious liberty of the people of Illinois. By issuing guidelines only and not the previously announced mandatory restrictions, he has handed a complete victory to the churches in Illinois.”

Breen stated, “Today, people of faith across Illinois should breathe a little freer, as their government has finally recognized their fundamental freedom of religion. This right is written in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and it is critical to a self-governing democracy. But the pastors and churches of Illinois should not have had to file repeated lawsuits in state and federal courts to secure their basic rights. Today marks the end of a shameful chapter of discrimination by the government of the Land of Lincoln against houses of worship and religious leaders.”

Breen sees Pritzker’s capitulation as a direct result of the three lawsuits, one by The Beloved Church in Lena, another by Jesus House Restoration Ministries in Urbana, and a third, filed May 27, by a group of five Lake County churches and their pastors. The Lake County case was set for a hearing on a Temporary Restraining Order on May 29, 2020. After the first lawsuit by The Beloved Church, Pritzker lifted restrictions on “drive-in” services and small group gatherings, and following the complaint filed by Jesus House Restoration Ministries, he removed restrictions on outdoor worship services. Now he has lifted all mandates against how and where the churches and people of Illinois can practice their religion.

The guidelines issued by Pritzker’s health officials state that their purpose is to provide “guidance for places of worship and providers of religious services to support the safest possible environment for faith leaders, employees, volunteers, scholars, and all other types of workers, as well as congregants, worshipers, and visitors.” The statement recommends “Remote Services and Drive-In Services” as the “Safest Options,” and urges social distancing, face masks, limiting capacity, as well as excluding singing, refreshments, and close physical contact. The document also details recommended sanitation protocols.

“Today marks a huge win for all Illinoisans,” Breen reiterated. He explained how Pritzker’s autocratic abuse of power prompted multiple lawsuits by churches and pastors around the state. “Governor Pritzker had imposed various limits on church activities as part of his coronavirus stay-at-home orders. After each of the three Thomas More Society lawsuits, Pritzker reversed course and lifted restrictions that he had previously stated he would maintain.”

The three lawsuits in which the Thomas More Society triumphed over the governor are:

  • The Christian Assembly of God, et al v. Jay Robert Pritzker, Governor of Illinois (available here) filed May 27, 2020, with the Illinois Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial District – Lake County, Illinois
  • Jesus House Restoration Ministries and Dustin Brown v. Jay Robert Pritzker (available here) filed May 12, 2020, with the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois Western Division
  • The Beloved Church, et al v. Jay Robert Pritzker, et al (available here) filed April 30, 2020, with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Western Division

The post Churches Win as Illinois Capitulates on Worship Limitations appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Uganda Martyrs Day press notice — limited access to the shrine due to COVID-19

Anglican Ink - Fri, 29/05/2020 - 23:28

Every year, Christians from all over the world gather in Namugongo to commemorate the Uganda Martyrs who were persecuted for their faith.

However, this year due to the government restrictions on public gatherings because of the COVID-19, we are going to have celebrations in Namugongo but with very few invited people.

The President was invited as the Chief Guest.

On Monday 1st June 2020 at 9am, The Archbishop of Church of Uganda, The Most Rev Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu will make an on-site visit to Namugongo and thereafter address a press conference together with the Chairman of Namugongo Development Committee, Retired Bishop Jackson Matovu and the Bishop of Namirembe Diocese, Rt Rev Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira.

All further details on the program for the Martyrs Day Celebration will be communicated during Monday’s Press Conference.

Media Houses are therefore invited to cover these historic events both on 1st June 2020 as stated above and 3rd June 2020 during the prayers which will begin at 9am.

All Journalists from these media houses intending to cover the events are requested to submit their names to: pschurchofuganda@gmail.com or call Sadiiki on 0778854739 and 0701550775 for accreditation and better arrangements.

Rev Canon William Ongeng
PROVINCIAL SECRETARY

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Church of Burundi reports on flooding along Lake Tanganyika

Anglican Ink - Fri, 29/05/2020 - 23:23

Hundreds of families have been forced to leave their homes following intensive heavy rains that caused extensive flooding in Gatumba, a western part of Bujumbura.

Situated along the shore of Lake Tanganyika Gatumba is particularly vulnerable when the level of the lake rises and the Rusizi River floods during prolonged rains.

Much damage has been caused mainly affecting houses and crops while in other localities the rain has damaged roads. Some people use boats to access their houses where there was normally a street. Some schools and churches have had to close until the water recedes and buildings dry out.

Families whose houses have been flooded are finding shelter in churches that remain unaffected and on building sites. Some are sleeping alongside the main road that joins Bujumbura to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Victims say that they have lost all their belongings except some clothes.

One Anglican priest whose parish sheltered over 70 persons said that the situation is likely to become harder as the rain continues to fall. Victims, especially children and other vulnerable people also face the threat of disease caused by poor sanitation and pollution.

For those people who have been affected emergency help is needed urgently not only to prevent an epidemic breaking out but also to provide appropriate shelter, food and clothing.

The post Church of Burundi reports on flooding along Lake Tanganyika appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

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