Church

Clergy: ‘Poke, Tweet and Blog’

That’s what the Church of Wales is asking its Clergy to do:

Poking, tweeting and blogging may not generally have been regarded as becoming behaviour for the parsons of yesteryear but today’s vicars are being urged to make the most of modern methods of communication.

They’re being encouraged to use websites such as Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with their flock, pin notices of events and help spread the Gospel they preach beyond the reach of the pulpit.

Guidance and advice on social media is being published by the Church in Wales this week, pointing out the advantages – and the possible pitfalls – for clergy keen to reach out to the online community. It includes a summary of new media and explains how sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Flickr can be used effectively and responsibly as part of parish life…

Read on here. Seems as if the Welsh are catching up with the times 😉

I for one Blog and Tweet (in that order), but to be honest, really couldn’t be bothered to Poke.

HT:   Ruth Gledhill

Church

UN: US Dollar Could ‘Collapse’

And here I thought the UN ran on the Dollar – or maybe they do hence  all the concern:

The United Nations warned on Wednesday of a possible crisis of confidence in, and even a “collapse” of, the U.S. dollar if its value against other currencies continued to decline.

In a mid-year review of the world economy, the UN economic division said such a development, stemming from the falling value of foreign dollar holdings, would imperil the global financial system.

The report, an update of the UN “World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011” report first issued in December, noted that the dollar exchange rate against a basket of other key currencies had reached its lowest level since the 1970s.

This trend, it said, had recently been driven in part by interest rate differentials between the United States and other major economies and growing concern about the sustainability of the U.S. public debt, half of which is held by foreigners.

“As a result, further (expected) losses of the book value of the vast foreign reserve holdings could trigger a crisis of confidence in the reserve currency, which would put the entire global financial system at risk,” it said…

More here.

Church

Church of England ‘in Knots’ Over Gay Men Becoming Bishops

Leaked memo describes leaders’ shouting matches. ‘Bad tempered’ Williams blocked dean’s promotion.

It’s gay politics… and ugly at that:

A meeting of Church of England bishops in York this week has broken up without agreement on whether gay clergy should ever be allowed to be chosen for promotion to bishoprics.

The leadership of the established church remains tied in knots over how far it can comply with the Equality Act in its treatment of gay people. Church lawyers have told the bishops that while they cannot take into account that someone is homosexual in considering them for preferment, they also cannot put forward clergy in active same-sex relationships and, even if they are celibate, must consider whether they can “act as a focus for unity” to their flocks if appointed to a diocese.

Conservative evangelicals remain bitterly opposed to the ordination of gay people, even though many clergy are more or less openly gay, and some are in same-sex partnerships.

The fraught divisions have been laid bare in the leak of an anguished and devastating memorandum written by the Very Rev Colin Slee, the former dean of Southwark Cathedral, shortly before his death from pancreatic cancer last November. Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, and John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, vetoed candidates from becoming bishops of the south London diocese.

The document reveals shouting matches and arm-twisting by the archbishops to keep out the diocese’s preferred choices as bishop: Jeffrey John, the gay dean of St Albans, and Nicholas Holtam, rector of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London, whose wife was divorced many years ago. Eventually Christopher Chessun, then an assistant bishop, was chosen…

Slee described Williams shouting and losing his temper in last year’s Southwark meeting, which left several members of the crown nomination committee, responsible for the selection of bishops, in tears.

Slee also in effect charges the church with hypocrisy, stating that there are several gay bishops “who have been less than candid about their domestic arrangements and who, in a conspiracy of silence, have been appointed to senior positions”. The memo warns: “This situation cannot endure. Exposure of the reality would be nuclear.”

Slee said of the meeting: “We had two very horrible days in which I would say both archbishops behaved very badly. The meeting was not a fair consideration at all; they were intent on wrecking both Jeffrey John and Nick Holtam equally, despite the fact that their CVs were startlingly in an entirely different and better league than the other two candidates …

“The archbishop of Canterbury was bad tempered throughout. When it came to voting, certainly two – possibly three – members were in tears and [Williams] made no acknowledgement but carried on regardless. At a critical point Archbishop Sentamu and three other members simultaneously went to the lavatory, after which the voting patterns changed.”

In a covering letter seen by the Guardian, Slee’s eldest daughter, Ruth, says: “Both my mother and I feel [his] hurt and anger were contributory to the cancer from which he died … this association is borne out by the medical timescale of his illness, but will never be known.”

The memorandum was written last September, shortly before his diagnosis and two months before his death, in response to an internal inquiry into how John’s and Holtam’s names had been leaked to the press. Friends know that Slee was extremely distressed about what had happened in the selection process and wanted to write a book about the church’s selection of its bishops…

Asked whether the doctrine that a bishop must be a focus of unity in his diocese meant that in practice Jeffrey John would never become one, Williams has suggested that evangelical attitudes might change.

 

Bible Archaeology

Egyptian Pyramids Found by Infra-red Satellite Images

BBC:

Seventeen lost pyramids are among the buildings identified in a new satellite survey of Egypt.

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings, including two suspected pyramids.

The work has been pioneered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham by US Egyptologist Dr Sarah Parcak.

She says she was amazed at how much she and her team has found.

“We were very intensely doing this research for over a year. I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the “Aha!” moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we’d found and I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.

“To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist,” she said.

The team analysed images from satellites orbiting 700km above the earth, equipped with cameras so powerful they can pin-point objects less than 1m in diameter on the earth’s surface.

Infra-red imaging was used to highlight different materials under the surface…

More here.

Interesting stuff. It may hold some promise for other archaeological sites.