Now This Is How A Church Should Be Renovated

Over at the Deacon’s Bench:

See below… and read the story behind it here.

Love it or hate it, you have to admit: it’s a dramatic difference.  I’m reminded of something Fr. George Rutler said a couple years ago, when  I had the privilege of meeting him and serving as a deacon at his gorgeous Church of Our Saviour, in Manhattan.  I complimented him on the church  and he said, “You know how you can tell if a church is beautiful?  Brides.  If brides want to be married there, you’ve done something right.”

Which makes me wonder: which of these two interiors would most brides prefer…?

North Koreans Punished for Insufficient Grief

Oh my

Authorities in North Korea are reportedly punishing citizens – six months of hard labour – who didn’t mourn hard enough over the death of “eternal leader” Kim Jong-il.

Anyone who didn’t attend the histrionic mass gatherings in Kim’s honour, or who did attend “but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine,” could be subjected to six months in a labour camp, reports the South Korea-based Daily NK newspaper.

The paper cited an unnamed source who also said anyone who attempted to leave the country during the extended mourning period for Kim or was discovered using a cellphone to make calls out will face a public trial.

The punishment is less severe for North Koreans who merely criticize the dynastic system that parachuted Kim’s son Kim Jong Un into power. According to the report, they will be sent to re-education camps or be banished with their families to remote rural areas.

How evil! Wicked dictators at work.

HT

 

Children are Being Abandoned on Greece’s Streets

Children ‘dumped in streets by Greek parents who can’t afford to look after them any more’

Shocking!

Children are being abandoned on Greece’s streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more.

Youngsters are being dumped by their parents who are struggling to make ends meet in what is fast becoming the most tragic human consequence of the Euro crisis.

It comes as pharmacists revealed the country had almost run out of aspirin, as multi-billion euro austerity measures filter their way through society…

More here.

What a mess!

Lord have mercy…

 

The Traditional Anglican Communion – Christians on the move!

by Bishop Michael Gill

Nothing is worse than the feeling of not knowing where one is going. Being lost is never a pleasant experience. Following press and news around matters within the Traditional Anglican Communion in 2011, some people have thrown up their hands and cried that all is lost. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Traditional Anglican Communion is emerging as a strongly unified and committed body of Continuing Anglicans, determined to carry the Gospel into the world with great vigour, the message enhanced by the beauty and grace of Anglican liturgy and worship and the use of the Book of Common Prayer.

The emerging leadership of the Traditional Anglican Communion is young and vigorous. The fellowship between the leaders, Bishops, Vicars General and Chancellors, is regular and congenial, and the commitment to growth and spiritual excellence is shared by all. The future for the TAC looks extremely bright. Many TAC leaders who were double-minded in terms of identity have indicated their intention to, or have moved on to Ordinariates, resulting in a more focussed, dedicated group of Anglican leaders now being in place. The sense of fellowship and inter-church co-operation is stronger than it has been for many years, and that bodes well for the future. The moment the leaders engaged in conversation and shared experiences and interpretations of events, a positive and dynamic interaction began. Soon it embraced the USA, Southern Africa, UK, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Church of Umzi Wase Tiyopiya, Central America, India , Canada and parts of Australia.

The remaining Bishops and Vicars General of the Traditional Anglican Communion are determined that all faithful members shall have pastoral and Episcopal oversight. No-one will be left isolated or alone, even if some of their clergy or Bishops have left for an Ordinariate. We will ensure spiritual care for all our TAC people, no matter how remote their location may be.

Part of the task of the Continuing Anglican Movement was the need to reclaim, or retake Anglicanism from the liberal and secular men and women who have it by the throat. We are determined to fulfil that part of our mission. We will offer those cast out by their previous spiritual homes a place of stability and solace. We will continue in the Faith of our fathers.

The World Consultation on Continuing Anglicans held in Brockton, Massachusetts, in November 2011, saw our friendships as TAC clergy further cemented and developed. Present at that Conference were TAC delegates from the USA, India, Central America and Southern Africa, with interest and apologies from Canada and the UK. The TAC input at that Conference was powerful and vibrant. It was obvious to all that we are a globally cohesive and focussed Communion, intent on spreading the Christian Gospel through our Anglican liturgy and worship and our preaching of the Word. Our fellowship with the other Continuing Anglican groups was warm and positive, with APA, ACC and FACA leadership all present. We were aware of a corporate mission and equally aware of there being room enough in Our Lord’s vineyard for all to be allowed to prosper, despite some of our differences.

It is sometimes necessary to cut back a plant to allow for renewed growth. I think most gardeners are familiar with this necessity? The current situation is that the Traditional Anglican Communion is poised for a brilliant and sustained period of growth. We have shaken off the shackles of our recent past, broken our “Cone of Silence” and we are very much “on the move”.

Although many Continuing Anglican churches in the developed world are filled with senior citizens, that is not the picture in the TAC in the developing countries. Here, our churches are filled with young people. Large numbers of young people are Baptised and Confirmed regularly, and the youth groups are overflowing. Youth Catechists lead worship and preach in the services and many “home-grown” young men are coming forward for Ordination and training for ministry. Women’s groups are flourishing and there is a lively interaction between countries and churches. The churches and parishes have vibrant men’s fellowship groups and there is a strong commitment to answering social problems such as poverty, teenage pregnancies and the scourge of HIV and AIDS. The future of the Traditional Anglican Communion is ensured and this energy will be carried into all parts of our Communion.

Brothers and sisters, we lose hope too quickly! We allow ourselves to be buffeted by negative moments in our own lives and in the life of the church. Our Lord will never forsake His people, and as long as we are faithful, diligent and obedient to His Word and commandments, He will continue to bless us!

I do hope that what you have read has warmed your heart. Whether you are in the cold of Alaska or the burning heat of Botswana, in a city or in the rural countryside, the Traditional Anglican Communion remains committed to your spiritual well-being, will provide you with ministry and the sacraments, and no matter what people say, will be there for you, your children and your children’s children!

God bless and keep you.

 

Bishop Michael Gill TAC,
Pretoria and Southern Africa

 

A Complete Ignatius Catholic Study Bible in 2014 / 2015

It would seem as if an entire Ignatius Catholic Study Bible will be completed by 2014 or 2015.

I already have the New Testament and it really is good. I do hope they hurry along…

HTTimothy who notes:

The beginning of this interview I found most helpful, where Hahn essentially compares the ICSB to the NIV Study Bible. He notes, rightly so, that there are no Catholic study Bibles that have that mix of being both academic and theological, like the NIV Study Bible. I think we would all agree that the Catholic Study Bible from Oxford is clearly more academic.

Clothing Matters: What We Wear to Church

The so-called “worship wars” of recent years may have produced a winner. Many congregations remain divided between traditional and contemporary styles, but in most places the contemporary appears to have gained the upper hand.

What’s more, our worship services have become increasingly relaxed and informal affairs. You can see it in what we wear. Church for today’s worshipers is not a dress-up event. Whatever is clean and comfortable seems sufficient. Christian students in particular have been taught by their seniors — or has it been the reverse?— that when it comes to church, attire doesn’t much matter. They understand there is nothing particularly spiritual about a dress or a coat and tie. God is scarcely impressed by such things. “People look at the outward appearance,” we are reminded, “but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).

I do not intend to wade into the broader debate over worship styles; that’s a different discussion. In any case, I’m content with either traditional or contemporary if they’re done well. But I do wish to raise a question about this last notion: namely, that when it comes to public worship, our clothing doesn’t matter. This common assumption, it seems to me, deserves more scrutiny than it typically receives.

Over the last several generations, American attire in general has lurched dramatically toward the informal. A feature that quickly dates an old photograph, for instance, is the men wearing fedoras; most today wouldn’t know where to find one. Those who are old enough can remember when travelers got spiffed up to board an airplane. Today’s travelers think nothing of flying in duds they might wear to the gym. Or consider the rise of the term “business casual.” In most parts of the country, though not all, even the corporate setting has grown less formal.

These changes are part of a broad shift toward the convenient and comfortable. It’s a shift we see on display every week in our worship services. In many churches casual wear is de rigueur. It’s easy to imagine how one might look over-dressed there, but less easy, short of immodesty, to imagine being under-dressed. Jeans or shorts, tee shirts or tank tops, flip-flops or sandals: these draw scarcely any attention, while full dresses or a suit and tie appear strangely out of place. Relaxed, even rumpled informality is in; suiting up in our “Sunday best” is out. The question I want to raise here is, What should we make of this shift in worship attire?

I suggest you read the piece. It is in Christianity Today here.

 

You Never Marry the Right Person

How our culture misunderstands compatibility.

In generations past, there was far less talk about “compatibility” and finding the ideal soul-mate. Today we are looking for someone who accepts us as we are and fulfills our desires, and this creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both the searchers and the searched for.

In John Tierney’s classic humor article “Picky, Picky, Picky” he tries nobly to get us to laugh at the impossible situation our culture has put us in. He recounts many of the reasons his single friends told him they had given up on their recent relationships:

“She mispronounced ‘Goethe.’”  “How could I take him seriously after seeing The Road Less Traveled on his bookshelf?” “If she would just lose seven pounds.” “Sure, he’s a partner, but it’s not a big firm. And he wears those short black socks.” “Well, it started out great … beautiful face, great body, nice smile. Everything was going fine—until she turned around.” He paused ominously and shook his head. ”… She had dirty elbows.”

In other words, some people in our culture want too much out of a marriage partner. They do not see marriage as two flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love and consolation, a “haven in a heartless world,” as Christopher Lasch describes it. Rather, they are looking for someone who will accept them as they are, complement their abilities and fulfill their sexual and emotional desires. This will indeed require a woman who is “a novelist/astronaut with a background in fashion modeling,” and the equivalent in a man. A marriage based not on self-denial but on self-fulfillment will require a low- or no-maintenance partner who meets your needs while making almost no claims on you. Simply put—today people are asking far too much in the marriage partner.

Read on here.

HT

 

Half a Million Children Unhappy, Says Church-backed Report

Half a million children in Britain are unhappy at any moment, according to a   report backed by the Church of England.

The Telegraph has more:

The study published by the Children’s Society following interviews with 30,000 under-16s claims those who have deeply negative feelings about their lives are at higher risk of bullying, depression and eating disorders.

It says those who suffer instability, moving from one family member to another, are twice as likely to be unhappy although household structure itself was not as important as having loving relationships with relatives.

Children who worry that they do not have the right clothes to “fit in” with classmates are three times as likely to be unhappy with the way they look, with the problem affecting girls more than boys.

Those who received less pocket money than their peers reported lower levels of well-being, but so did those who were given a lot more cash, suggesting that children want to be similar to their friends more than they want to be rich.

The Good Childhood Report calls on policy-makers to ensure children have the right conditions to grow, to develop positive relationships and to live in a safe area.

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, said: “The moral test for any society is how it treats its most vulnerable, including its children. The fact that at any one time half a million children are unhappy with their lives should be a wake-up call to us all.

“Policy makers and public alike will find clear information in this report about what causes our children to be unhappy with their lives. With such understanding comes the opportunity to make changes using the six priorities that The Children’s Society has identified to make sure that every child has a good childhood.”

The research is an update on a landmark report published three years ago by the Children’s Society, which warned that young people’s lives are being blighted by Britain’s selfish society.

In a selfish godless society, how can children be happy?

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them – Dt 4:9

 

More American Catholics Seeking Justice in Church Courts

New York – Parents upset by the admission policy at a parochial school.  Clergy and parishioners at odds over use of their building. A priest resisting a  transfer to another parish.

It was once assumed that disagreements like these in the Roman Catholic  Church would end one way: with the highest-ranking cleric getting the last  word.

But that outcome is no longer a given as Catholics, emboldened following the  clergy abuse scandals that erupted a decade ago this month, have sought another  avenue of redress.

In recent years, clergy and lay people in the United States have increasingly  turned to the church’s internal legal system to challenge a bishop’s or pastor’s  decision about even the most workaday issues in Catholic life, according to  canon lawyers in academia, dioceses and in private practice. Sometimes, the  challengers even win.

In one example cited by veteran canon lawyers, parishioners wanted to bar  musical performances in their church that weren’t liturgical. Their priest had  been renting space to a local band. In another case, a nun filed a petition  after a religious superior disclosed the nun’s medical information to others – a  potential violation of privacy. Regarding bishops’ often contentious decisions  to close parishes, the liberal reform group FutureChurch posts a guide on its  website called  “Canonical Appeals for Dummies” on seeking Vatican intervention  to stay open.

The reasons for the uptick are complex and reach back decades, involving  changes in the church and broader society. Canon lawyers say the American  concern for individual freedoms likely has played a role. So has the explosion  of information on the Internet. But the change is also an unexpected consequence  of the clergy molestation crisis, with the scandal exerting an influence far  beyond cases that directly involve abusers.

“The focus on canon law and penal procedures in the case of sexual misconduct  has made people aware that the church has a law system, it can work and people  can take advantage of it,” said Michael Ritty, founder of Canon Law  Professionals, a private practice in Feura Bush, N.Y.  “For so long, especially  in the United States, many of the lay people did not speak up and did not know  how to speak up, and many people in the hierarchy did not know how to accept  things when people did speak up. I think that is changing.”

No one knows the exact number of formal petitions before tribunals or  agencies at the Vatican, or before church officials in the U.S. or in any  country. The cases are guarded by pontifical secrecy, which bars advocates,  judges and other parties from revealing details of the proceedings.

Still, U.S. canon lawyers say they have seen more widespread use of church  law to resolve disputes.

Read more here.

 

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