The Meaning of the Advent Candles

Over at Euangelion:

Why are there so many different themes attached to the four Advent Candles (purple and pink). A survey of websites and books on Advent surface a number of options. Does anyone know why there are so many different traditions? Is there a source that has researched this phenomenon?

Here’s just are some examples:

Promise, Light, Love, Hope

Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherd, Angel

Hope, Preparation, Joy, Love

Prophecy, Way, Joy, Peace

Expectation,  John the Baptist, Mary, Magi

Waiting for the Shepherd, Waiting for Forgiveness, Waiting for Joy, Waiting for the Son.



New Principal for Moore College, Sydney

Dr Mark Thompson has been appointed to succeed Dr John Woodhouse at the evangelical theological powerhouse, Moore College, Sydney, one of the largest Anglican seminaries in the world.

Dr Mark Thompson has been appointed to succeed Dr John Woodhouse as Principal of Moore Theological College.

The President of the governing board of the College, Dr Peter Jensen, said “I greet the appointment of Dr Mark Thompson as the next Principal with great enthusiasm. Mark is thoroughly committed to Christ as Lord, and is a fine teacher and a caring pastor”.

Dr Jensen said “His gifts as a speaker, theological educator, author and theologian have been recognised internationally as well as locally. His clear and strong affirmation of the gospel and his capacity as a leader are going to be significant gifts he brings to the College”.

The Archbishop described the college as “well positioned to meet the challenges of change.” “The campus requires development and a new building is planned. The educational opportunities are new and they offer the possibilities of extending the teaching of the College and attracting even more students. With the help of the faculty and staff of the College, Mark is well equipped both to maintain the theological stance of the College and to oversee the developments we need to best serve Christ and his people” he said.

Dr Jensen said “I ask us all to pray for Mark, Kathryn and their children as he takes up this pivotal role.”

Dr Thompson has lectured at the college since 1991. He currently lectures in Christian Doctrine and is head of Moore’s Department of Theology, Philosophy and Ethics and has served variously as Academic Dean and as acting Principal.

Internationally, he has been a member of the GAFCON Theological Resource Group and has helped strengthen Moore’s international links and build its profile overseas.

Himself a graduate of Moore, Dr Thompson was ordained in 1987, serving in parish ministry in St Swithun’s Pymble, St Luke’s Dapto and Quakers Hill Anglican. He is married to Kathryn and they have four daughters. He and his family attend St Matthew’s Ashbury.

Dr Thompson is a member of the Diocese of Sydney Standing Committee and chairs its Doctrine Commission. As an author, he has researched, lectured and published on the doctrine of scripture including his recent book A Clear and Present Word: The Clarity of Scripture (in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series). A further interest is the importance of theological education to the future of the diocese. He is also a prolific blogger.

“It is a great privilege to be invited to serve the College in this way. I’m enormously excited because I believe that Moore College is on the cusp of a range of opportunities for providing strong, clear, biblical, theological education in a rapidly changing world” Dr Thompson said. “The resources we have at our disposal — a brilliant and diverse faculty, a remarkable library, dedicated staff, a rapidly expanding online presence, but most of all a growing family of gifted graduates who appreciate what they gained from their time at Moore — these all are God’s gifts to us and we have a responsibility to use them in the most effective and strategic way possible for the mission of knowing Christ and making him known.” Dr Thompson said.

Dr Woodhouse retires as Principal in early 2013.

Dr Thompson’s blog, Theological Theology, is here. It’s all about the God who has made himself known in Jesus Christ.



West Point Chapel Hosts First Same-sex Wedding

Times have certainly changed. And to think that the Sanctuary Window is inscribed with the words: ‘Duty, Honor, Country.’

Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday.

Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, attended by about 250 guests and conducted by a senior Army chaplain.

The two have been together for 17 years. They had a civil commitment ceremony that didn’t carry any legal force in 1999 and had long hoped to formally tie the knot. The way was cleared last year, when New York legalized same-sex marriage and President Barack Obama lifted the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military.

The brides, who live in Asbury Park, N.J., would have preferred to have the wedding in New Jersey, but in February, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have allowed gay marriage in the state.

Steven Goldstein, founder and CEO of Garden State Equality, had a message for Christie regarding Saturday’s wedding: “Hey, Gov. Christie. It’s a same-sex marriage. It’s good enough for the military chapel at West Point. It ought to be good enough for you.”

“We just couldn’t wait any longer,” Fulton told The Associated Press in a phone interview Saturday.

Cadet Chapel was a more-than-adequate second choice, Fulton said.

“It has a tremendous history, and it is beautiful. That’s where I first heard and said the cadet prayer,” Fulton said, referring to the invocation that says, “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.”

The ceremony was the second same-sex wedding at West Point. Last weekend, two of Fulton’s friends, a young lieutenant and her partner, were married in another campus landmark, the small Old Cadet Chapel in West Point’s cemetery.

Fulton has campaigned against the ban on gays in the military as a member of two groups representing gay and lesbian servicemen and servicewomen. She graduated from West Point in 1980, a member of the first class to include women.

She served with the Army Signal Corps in Germany and rose to the rank of captain, but left the service in 1986 partly because she wanted to be open about her sexual orientation. Obama appointed her last year to the U.S. Military Academy’s Board of Visitors.

Fulton said the only hassle involved in arranging her ceremony came when she was initially told that none of West Point’s chaplains was authorized by his or her denomination to perform same-sex weddings.

Luckily, Fulton said, they were able to call on a friend, Army Chaplain Col. J. Wesley Smith. He is the senior Army chaplain at Dover Air Force Base, where he presides over the solemn ceremonies held when the bodies of soldiers killed in action overseas return to U.S. soil.

The couple added other military trappings to their wedding, including a tradition called the saber arch, where officers or cadets hold their swords aloft over the newlyweds as they emerge from the church.

Wikipedia has more on the place of Protestant denomination worship that is the West Point Cadet Chapel.

And it apparently houses one of the largest Church organs in the world.



Happy New Year

As Advent begins:

On this First Sunday of Advent:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

– Amen.

And so our work, in the Lord, begins anew…