Saturday, January 6, 2018

Investing in what matters

From Seven Whole Days-

As I write this, it is the Feast of the Epiphany. On this day, we celebrate the manifestation of Jesus Christ to all nations, to all peoples. God gave a sign — in the form of a star — showing that it is God’s desire for all people to know Jesus. Magi traveled at great difficulty over a great distance to offer homage to Christ Jesus, and then they left transformed. Every encounter with Jesus leads to transformation.

In the assigned epistle for today from Ephesians, we read of what we could call Epiphany Work.

…to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

Did you catch that? Through the church, the wisdom of God in its rich variety is to be made known to rulers, authorities, and, presumably, all people.

Are we doing that very well? I don’t think so, and if I’m talking more specifically about the Episcopal Church, the answer must surely be a resounding no. The draft churchwide budget for the Episcopal Church contains a staggering 41% cut to evangelism. I want to pause right there.

More here-

Is Epiphany plausible?

From Psephizo-

The Feast of the Epiphany in the church’s liturgical calendar is based on the events of Matt 2.1–12, the visit of the ‘wise men’ from the East to the infant Jesus. There are plenty of things about the story which might make us instinctively treat it as just another part of the constellation of Christmas traditions, which does not have very much connection with reality.

The first is the sparseness of the story. As with other parts of the gospels, the details are given to us in bare outline compared with what we are used to in modern literature. We are told little of the historical reality that might interest us, and the temptation is to fill in details for ourselves. This leads to the second issue—the development of sometimes quite elaborate traditions which do the work of filling in for us. So these ‘magoi’ (which gives us our word ‘magic’) became ‘three’ (because of the number of their gifts), then ‘wise men’ and then ‘kings’ (probably under the influence of Ps 72.10. By the time of this Roman mosaic from the church in Ravenna built in 547, they have even acquired names. Christopher Howse comments:

[T]hink how deeply these three men have entered our imagination as part of the Christmas story. “A cold coming they had of it at this time of the year, just the worst time of the year to take a journey, and specially a long journey, in. The ways deep, the weather sharp, the days short, the sun farthest off, in solstitio brumali, the very dead of winter.”

More here-

Friday, January 5, 2018


From Inheritance-

“OH MY GOD. I feel so white.”

My white friend said this to me during a break at a disastrous anti-racism training at my seminary. I looked at her, incredulous and wondering what exactly I was to do with the information she just presented to me.

Why was she sharing this information with me? Was she feeling so bad internally about her race and her being that she had to share this out loud? Or was she coming to me, a person of color, to confess her sin of racism?

What made this conversation incredibly awkward is that I am not white, and the awful way the training was being handled was actually promoting racism at the seminary. My initial reaction of shock turned into incredible offense as the people of color in the room were feeling not just unwelcome, but that our spiritual well-being and incarnational identity were in jeopardy. Yet she got to express her white guilt to me.

More here-

The NRA’s Assault on Christian Faith and Practice

From Religion and Politics-

On Monday, November 6, Robert Jeffress, the senior minister of First Baptist Dallas, told the hosts of “Fox and Friends” that a mass shooting such as the one that had taken place the day before in Sutherland Springs, Texas, would not likely happen on the premises of his 130 million-dollar church campus downtown. “I’d say a quarter to a half of our members are concealed carry, they have guns, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.” Jeffress agreed with co-host Ainsley Earhardt’s remark that carrying guns to church makes you feel safer, and added, “I think if somebody tries that in our church, they may get one shot off or two shots off, but that’s it, and that’s the last thing they’ll ever do in this life.”

Jeffress’s response to the Sutherland Springs massacre comes straight from the gun lobby’s playbook. A week after the mass killing of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, declared in a nationally televised press statement, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” A safer nation lies in the hope of every good guy being armed. All the time. So bring your guns to church.

More here-

Conservative Catholic dissidents attack Popes Francis and Benedict

From Religion News-

Conservative Catholic dissidents, who have been attacking Pope Francis, showed their true colors recently by attacking retired Pope Benedict, calling his writings “subversive” and “modernist.” That’s right, they think Benedict is a heretic.

In his new book, “Al Cuore di Ratzinger, Al Cuore del Mondo,” the Italian philosopher Enrico Maria Radaelli goes after Joseph Ratzinger’s “Introduction to Christianity,” one of Pope Benedict’s most popular books. Radaelli accuses him of embracing modern subjectivism by dabbling in Kant’s transcendentalism and Hegel’s “dialectical idealism.”

Radaelli is joined in this attack by Monsignor Antonio Livi, dean emeritus of the faculty of philosophy of the Pontifical Lateran University. What is noteworthy is that last summer both of these academics signed a letter of correction addressed to Pope Francis asking him to change his “erroneous” views.

More here-

Will It Be The Year Of The Evangelical Woman?

From Anne Kennedy-

Matt sent me this piece this morning. He’s much better about breezing around the internet while I’m still laboring to read that long Alastair article about how we don’t need any more female superheroes. When I get done with it maybe I’ll have something to say, but probably not because it’s So Long. This one was shorter, so it wins.

Long suffering readers of this blog will know that I have a special charism for complaining about the heresy of people like Jen Hatmaker, Rachel Held Evans, and Glennon Doyle Melton–the triumvirate celebrity bad lady teachers of our age. (The male triumvirate would be Joel Osteen, Steven Furtic, and Rob Bell.) I try not to go on about it too much, but it irritates me. The whole multimillion dollar machine that produces celebrity level Christians irritates me. But when those at the top commit gross heresy and decide to chuck two thousand years of biblically grounded church teaching for the shibboleth of the day, which conveniently makes them on the one hand even more beloved by the tidal force approbation of this current culture, and on the other hand let’s them play the victim card because of people like me protesting, that irritates me even more.


Naming ceremony for transgender child an important rite of passage

From California-

“The name Samson is a remarkable choice. It’s a very strong figure, a great leader…,’’ said Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, which oversees 27,000 communicants in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties, and the cities of Los Altos and parts of Palo Alto. 

But even with his new name, Sam didn’t quite feel complete.

“I felt that so many churches wouldn’t accept me and this one did and I wanted to feel like everything was affirmed and I could just ignore people who were mean,’’ the boy said in a recent interview.”

Andrus said he and the church were as supportive as possible when the child and his family decided to have a “blessing and renaming” ceremony at All Souls Episcopal Church in Berkeley this past summer.

More here-


From The Living Church-

I have been working on a book about the basic beliefs and practices of the Episcopal Church, and every now and then I like to crowdsource what I write. Recently I asked my Facebook friends what they understand to be happening when we baptize someone. “Nothing at all,” a few people said with startling boldness. Several others said baptism recognizes that God already loves us, but that no change is effected in the sacrament. To be sure, some people did give answers that sounded orthodox.

I have been saying for a few years that we have a catechetical crisis in the Episcopal Church, and this Facebook exchange confirmed what I suspected. Many among the laity, and not a few of our clergy, do not seem to grasp the fundamental meaning and purpose of baptism and Eucharist. This is a problem in its own right, and it must surely color any conversation about prayer book revision.

The 1979 Book of Common Prayer has a much-vaunted baptismal ecclesiology. But what good is that if we have not taught the members of our church about baptism? We have moved to a weekly celebration of the Eucharist in nearly every congregation, but to what end?

More here-

Church of England unveils £24 million national investment in new churches and evangelism

From ACNS-

The Church of England has announced grants of £24.4 million in the latest tranche of its Renewal and Reform programme funding. The money is being provided by the C of E’s Strategic Investment Board, which was created as part of a change in the way national funding from the Church Commissioners is provided to diocese and parishes. Previously, the Commissioners provided support to dioceses on the basis of a national formula. But after a review looking into “Resourcing the Future” of the Church, the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops agreed instead that all of the national funding should be distributed for investment in the spiritual and numerical growth of the Church.

The Diocese of London, which plans to open 100 new churches in Britain’s capital, will receive the biggest grant, valued at £4.8 million, to revitalise churches and develop “Church Growth Learning Communities”. It will also receive an additional £3.89 million to help it train curates to be deployed across the country to support the national Church.

More here-

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Church Pension Fund Invests in $75 Million Off-Grid Solar and Financial Access Senior Debt Fund

From Business Wire-

The Church Pension Fund (CPF), a financial services organization that serves the Episcopal Church, announced today that it invested $17 million in the Social Investment Managers & Advisors (SIMA) Off-Grid Solar and Financial Access Senior Debt Fund I, B.V. The $75 million fund will provide loans to microfinance institutions, distribution companies, and manufacturers in the off-grid solar sector located in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

“This investment will enable customers of solar energy to lease on an affordable installment basis and will impact the lives of more than 1 million people while reducing carbon dioxide by 4 million tons,” said Asad Mahmood, CEO and Managing Partner of SIMA.

Roger Sayler, Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of CPF, said, “The Church Pension Fund has historically invested in a number of funds that provide financing to companies that promote clean technology in developing markets. This investment represents our second investment focused on the off-grid solar sector as market conditions in this space remain extremely strong. Today more than 2.2 billion people across the world still live without reliable access to energy, and the underlying need for off-grid renewable energy still far outpaces the availability. This investment offers us the opportunity to provide funding for much-needed financing while also earning a competitive rate of return. We look forward to building our relationship with SIMA as we continue to explore future socially responsible investment opportunities.”

More here-

Pittsburgh bishop treks to China bearing a sentimental and historically significant gift

From ENS-

It looks like a tiny, old blanket with deer on it. Nothing to warrant a pause or second glance.

Yet that small Mongolian saddle blanket, draped across a chair in Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Dorsey McConnell’s childhood home for decades, has crossed oceans multiple times, first from the hands of one of the world’s most famous political figures.

In September 1945, Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong had to fly from his base in Yunnan province to a tense conference with General Chiang Kai-shek of the Nationalist Party in Chongqing. This was about a month after Imperial Japan announced its surrender, one of the major actions to end World War II. For a moment, the United States was an ally of China’s against Japan.

More here-

A theology for Anglican church growth

From The Living Church-

‘It’s just an unspiritual bigging yourself up.” This was the acerbic verdict of one Durham ordinand on the subject of church growth.

His hostility to talking of growing churches is widely shared, at least in the Global North. When two or three clerics are gathered together and the subject of church growth comes up, a multitude of theological objections rapidly appear: It’s the kingdom that matters, not numerical growth; It’s an ungodly sidelining of the need to love one’s neighbor; Isn’t church growth just something those uncouth schismatics obsess about?

These are serious objections, but beyond them, there is often a lurking sense of other fears. For many parish priests in North America, Britain, and much of the West there is a troubling worry that looking for numerical church growth is not only theologically dodgy but also practically futile. In the Western world, nearly every media and academic outlet trumpets the decline of Christianity. When many parishes and even whole dioceses are being spliced together because of their decline, looking to expand congregations can seem like wishful thinking.

More here-

The Unlikely Crackup of Evangelicalism

From Christianity Today-

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has written recently about what he sees as a possible “crackup” that may be coming in the evangelical community. He sees a quiet version of that split already happening among the younger generation, many of whom seem to be moving in other directions: mainline Protestantism, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy.

The more dramatic gap, as Douthat sees it, is between, on the one hand, the elites—“evangelical intellectuals and writers, and their friends in other Christian traditions,”—and those millions of folks, on the other hand, who worship in evangelical churches. It may be, he says, that these elites “have overestimated how much a serious theology has ever mattered to evangelicalism’s sociological success.” It could be that the views and attitudes on display in the recent support for rightist causes have really been there all along, without much of an interest in the kinds of intellectual-theological matters that have preoccupied the elites. If so, then the elites will eventually go off on their own, leaving behind an evangelicalism that is “less intellectual, more partisan, more racially segregated”—a movement that is in reality “not all that greatly changed” from what it has actually been in the past.

More here-

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

How America Is Transforming Islam

From Atlantic-

Taz Ahmed is 38, single, Muslim, and Bengali. She describes herself as spiritual, but not particularly religious. When she was growing up, her immigrant parents hoped she would marry an I.T. worker they found for her in Oklahoma. “I’m like, ‘I don’t even know who this person is, what do you even know about him?’” Ahmed recently told me. “They’re like, ‘You’re asking too many questions. You don’t need to know this much information.’”

Like other U.S. Muslims of her generation, Ahmed has spent a lifetime toggling between various aspects of her identity. She got to prom night by promising her mother she’d go with a gay guy. She swapped marriage in her 20s for a master’s degree. She even followed a band as it toured the country—a coming-of-age story straight out of Hollywood, except that it was a Muslim punk group called the Kominas.

More here-

The interior life and the re-evangelization of the West

From The Living Church-

It was the year 2000, during the long dog days of summer, and I was a teenager spending a week at a Pentecostal summer camp. It was not quite Jesus Camp but it was not quite not Jesus Camp either.

On one of the final evenings, as the three-hour service was drawing to a close, a good friend of mine was baptized in the Holy Ghost and spent the next 12 minutes or so running through the old wooden chapel before spilling out into the breezy summer night. Several of us chased after him with a sort of boyish abandon in the hopes that his baptism might be contagious and that we might experience it. It was not, and we did not. The last I heard, he had long abandoned the faith and was drumming for a metal band in Toronto in between drinking 40s of malt liquor.

More here-

Arsonist lit a fire under devoted Whitby congregation. Then the community came together

From Toronto-

As he sits inside All Saints’ Anglican church in Whitby, Roy Allam still gazes in amazement at how the building has been transformed since a devastating fire in 2009.

Allam feels those emotions welling up around the Christmas season because that’s when a deliberately set fire caused about $5 million in damage eight years ago.

The fire blew huge holes in the ceiling, including above the altar where flames tore through the roof.

But the holes have long since been covered, the portion over the altar now featuring beautiful painted images of chalices and other symbols of worship.

More here-

Petition urges Jamaica to ban anti-LGBT U.S. pastor

From The Washington Blade-

Jamaica is among the more than 70 countries around the world in which consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized.

Bishop Howard Gregory, who is the head of the Anglican Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, last July said lawmakers should repeal the colonial-era sodomy law.

“What happens in privacy between consenting adults should be beyond the purview of the government,” wrote Gregory in a letter he sent to members of a parliamentary committee who are studying the issue.

Liberty Counsel Chair Mathew Staver is among those from the U.S. who have traveled to Jamaica in recent years in order to attend events organized by groups that oppose efforts to repeal the law.

More here-

Stone by stone, repairs gain steam at Washington National Cathedral 6 years after earthquake

From ENS-

The earthquake that struck the Washington, D.C., area in August 2011 caused an estimated $34 million in damage to Washington National Cathedral. More than six years later, less than half of those repairs are done, and the remaining work could take another decade to complete.

Progress is being made, however, and the Episcopal cathedral last month received a year-end donation from a foundation that will allow it to embark this spring on the next phase of repairs. This latest $1.5 million project will focus on the structure around an interior courtyard, which is the last part of the cathedral still closed to the public.

“It took 83 years to build this place. We’ve had scaffolding on the outside of our building more than we have not. In some ways, we’re kind of used to it,” said Kevin Eckstrom, the cathedral’s chief communications officer.

More here-

Primate promotes WCC child protection initiative

From Anglican Journal-

The primate of the Anglican Church of Canada is hoping Anglicans across the country will give a “strong endorsement” to the initiative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) aimed at promoting child protection.

In his New Year’s Day address at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa, Archbishop Fred Hiltz said the WCC asks that each member church adopt the “Churches’ Commitments to Children” and make them their own. The Anglican Church of Canada has been a member of the WCC since 1948.

Launched in Geneva in March 2017, “Churches’ Commitments to Children” has been developed “to stimulate and strengthen action with and for children by WCC member churches and partners,” according to the WCC. “It is also a living resource which will be further developed over time through the WCC on the basis of member churches’ responses and experiences.”

More here-


From Ministry Matters-

Trashing megachurches is often popular. According to the standard stereotype, they’re big exurban factories resembling car dealerships with giant parking lots and giant American flags, catering to rich, socially irresponsible SUV driving Sunbelt Republicans anxious to hear superficial, self-serving health and wealth sermons from huckster preachers in flashy suits.

A recent article by Jonathan Merritt cites a liberal advocacy group report asserting that, of the 100 largest congregations in America, none are LGBTQ affirming, over 90 percent have white pastors and only one has a female pastor. Merritt calls this report “explosive” without directly condemning the churches. But many on social media have predictably issued their disapproving tut-tuts. The originating advocacy group wants to shame these churches.

More here-

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Archbishop hails compassion of communities in wake of terrorism and Grenfell

From Premier-

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has used his new year message to praise the "depth of compassion" shown by communities responding to terrorism and tragedy.

The Anglican leader said the 2017 terrorist atrocities in London and Manchester and the Grenfell Tower disaster had been met with heroism from the emergency services.

But he also used his message to highlight the suffering of people "struggling to find work or relying on food banks" whose plight did not make national headlines.

The Archbishop used his message, being broadcast on the BBC, to say that as well as the attacks in London and Manchester, "all over the world we witnessed the horror and devastation caused by terrorism".

There had also been other "terrible tragedies", he said, adding that he visited Grenfell Tower when the west London block was still burning and "I remember the desperation and sorrow".

More here-

also here-

Going to church is inconvenient

From Christian Century-

A  parishioner told me recently that her daughter’s family had found the perfect church in Dallas. “They don’t go often,” she said, “because the church live streams its ser­vices. They can watch it anytime. If the kids are playing in the family room or Mom or Dad are busy pulling brunch together, they can have worship on in the background. It’s really neat. Have you ever heard of this?”

“Yes,” I told her, “I know all about live streaming.” My eyes must have reflected a lack of interest because the conversation moved on to other topics.

Emily Dickinson opens one of her poems: “Some keep the Sabbath going to Church— / I keep it, staying at Home.” If you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of staying at home on Sundays in America these years. For the past couple of generations, researchers have noted that 40 to 45 percent of Americans claim regular weekly church attendance. These days, I’d judge the figure to be more realistically in the 10 percent range. Of the ten lepers healed by Jesus, only one found it worth his time to turn back and express thanks. That one may be the church.

More here-

The complicated ‘science’ of individual Communion cups

From NPR (WHYY)-

James Buckley had heard of congregations serving Communion to white people first whenever they happened to be in church with black people. And he observed individual cups would take this a step further by letting white Christians avoid drinking from the same cup as black Christians entirely.

“It’s not just African-Americans in the south, it’s also new immigrants who really get the brunt of this idea,” said Tomes. “You’re new, you’re coming in, and you don’t look like me, ergo, I’m going to assume the worst about your germ status. It’s just so easy to see this kind of protection as protecting yourself against the person rather than the microbe.”

By all accounts, writer James Buckley, who defended the common cup, seemed on board with the germ theory. Throughout his editorials, he was just asking scientists to prove the science behind individual cups without the racist element.

More here-

Why Did Early Christians And Pagans Fight Over New Year's Day?

From Forbes-

Romans looked forward to the free food and games that occurred at annual New Year's celebrations, but early Christian clerics were not as keen on the revelries. Long before the so-called "war on Christmas," there was the war on New Year's Day.

The Romans called January 1st the Kalends of January. It was termed the Kalendae in Latin or Καλάνδαι in Greek, and was placed on public calendars called fasti. The Kalends is what gives us the modern word "calendar." The Kalendae Ianuariae was a time of particular hope and anticipation for the coming year. It was filled with celebrations and religious rites that focused on the health of individual Romans and of the state.

Romans literally got off on the right foot by leading with their right leg as they entered temples, houses and other doorways on this and many other days. As archaeologist Steven J.R. Ellis has noted, one's right foot was considered far more auspicious than their sinister foot (left foot), and one always wanted to begin auspiciously in a new year.

New Year's celebrations normally began with a large parade within the city of Rome on January 1 that is not all that different from the Tournament of Roses parade that precedes the Rose Bowl. Senators, magistrates, clients and many others met at the houses of the two designated consuls for the year and–at least in the Republic and early empire–traditionally sacrificed two bulls at the temple for Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

More here-

Martin Luther and Me. Reckoning with Germany’s Dangerous Legacy

From Boston Review-

I am a son of Martin Luther. As was my father. As was his father. But as a German man living through today’s German and European politics, what does it mean to be a son of Martin Luther?

It took me a while, more or less the first forty years of my life, to at least partially comprehend this heritage and to understand who I am: a member of a long line of Lutheran pastors. I had not seen myself like that. I had seen myself, in the narcissism so particular to my generation, as independent, a creation of my own.

And so when I eventually opened the Bible that my father gave me a few months before he died, I was shocked to see and read the year it was printed: 1546, the year Luther died. Opening this book, very heavy and clad in old brown leather with two iron bars at the side, was a like staring into a well. It was deep, it was dark, and I plunged right into it: the texture of the paper, the old German letters that I can read only with effort, the way the pages are adorned with drawings of biblical scenes, and most of all the small notations, some in German and some in Latin, that covered each page. The comments on specific lines or words—thoughts of my forefathers—were mostly illegible and hard to decipher, like a very loud chorus that I was unable to hear. It was my family history in a palimpsest.

More here-

Millennials fueling resurgence in candidates for priesthood

From Crux-

Father Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh looks out his office window at the courtyard below, marveling at how much his view has changed in just a few weeks.

Once home to green grass and well-manicured shrubs, the courtyard is now a muddy mess. Heavy equipment rumbles throughout the day and temporary fences surround ditches and overturned earth.

O’Cinnsealaigh thinks it’s beautiful. As president of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary at The Athenaeum of Ohio, he knows what this big construction project means for the Catholic Church in Cincinnati.

“We have a future here,” he says.

More here-

Liturgies of Loss

From Commonweal-

Rowan Williams argues that the “tragic imagination” is a moral imagination. Tragic drama teaches us that calamity can be narrated, that it can be drawn, at least to some degree, back into shared experience. There is a spare hope in this. It shows that “we have not been silenced forever by loss.” Furthermore, tragedy requires us to attend to the sufferings of others on stage. It presents us with “different kinds of witnessing to pain” and teaches us that “suffering calls out [for] recognition.” This is not a matter of straightforward empathy, which risks deluding us about our ability to identify with sufferers. Tragedy teaches us instead that “the suffering of others is not to be absorbed into our own feelings. But we also find that the suffering of others is already shared in human communication, recognized and named as loss or catastrophe.” Tragedy helps us recognize the limits of our own self-knowledge and the fragility of our condition. 

More here-

Pope on 2018: forget life’s ‘useless baggage,’ work for peace

From RNS-

Pope Francis on Monday recommended jettisoning life’s “useless baggage” in 2018, including what he called “empty chatter” and banal consumerism, and focusing instead on building a peaceful and welcoming world, particularly for refugees and migrants.

Francis offered his reflections on paring down non-essentials as he celebrated New Year’s Day Mass Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica and later greeted some 40,000 people in St. Peter’s Square.

His advice included setting aside a moment of silence daily to be with God. Doing so would help “keep our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting,” Francis said.

More here-

Anglican Primate predicts optimistic 2018 for Nigerians

From Nigeria-

The Primate of Nigeria Anglican Communion and Bishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Nikolas Okoh, has predicted that 2018 would be a year of optimism and happiness for Nigerians.

Okoh made the prediction in his New Year message to Nigerians on Monday in Abuja.

He, however, assured Nigerians that in spite of the challenges faced by the country, they would experience the power of the Almighty God.

According to him, Nigerians will uplift themselves from the clutches of helplessness by focusing more on solutions to the economic and political problems facing the country.

More here-

Sunday, December 31, 2017

I foresee new beginning – Archbishop Ademowo

From Nigeria-

Diocesan Bishop of Lagos and Dean Emeritus, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), The Most Reverend (Dr) Ephraim Adebola Ademowo, has expressed optimism that 2018 would be a year of new beginning, in which good shall triumph over evil.

In his New Year message, Archbishop Ademowo, who tasked government at various levels to work towards developing the country, by focusing on ensuring lasting security and fighting corruption, called on leaders to demonstrate their love for the nation by way of example.

“I have no iota of doubt in the Divine abilities of God to stem the tide of all evils ravaging our land. Though the political atmosphere may be tense, cloudy and chaotic, people may be living in despair, insecurity and myriad of economic problems confronting us as a nation, our God is a specialist in putting things in order and put things in perfect control.

More here-

Jesus House celebrates 45th anniversary in 2018

From Oklahoma-

Many churches, businesses and individuals have come alongside Jesus House over the years as it serves the community's less fortunate.

St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church is one of those churches that offers regular assistance and ministry.

The church offered goody bags, socks and other items to residents attending a recent Christmas Party hosted by the church in the Jesus House chapel.

The focus of the bash was the baptism ceremony that took place in front of an eager crowd.

One resident had expressed interest in being baptized but the Rev. Joseph Alsay, St. Augustine's rector, ended up baptizing eight individuals.

"You will have your little light and you will have it lit beginning today," Alsay said.

More here-

Church leaders turn the spotlight on Herod’s successors

From The Church Times-

TYRANTS were denounced by church leaders in Christmas messages this year.

In Canterbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury described how 2017 had seen “tyrannical leaders that enslave their peoples, populist leaders that deceive them, corrupt leaders that rob them, even simply democratic, well-intentioned leaders of many parties and countries who are normal, fallible human beings”.

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, described how “tyrants like Herod still strut about the world today, their vanity and hubris still causing havoc and misery. But the door of the stable at Bethlehem still stands open for those who long for peace and those prepared to have their lives redirected.”

The Archbishop of York related how the Prime Minister, Theresa May, had “courageously responded” to President Trump, when he “retweeted a vile message from the fascist ‘Britain First’ campaign” (News, 30 November).

More here-

A Catholic picks up the Anglican Book of Common Prayer

From US Catholic-

Ever since I first learned the Hail Mary, I have loved prayer. Perhaps Sister taught us the Glory Be first. It’s shorter, more repetitious; if you know the sign of the cross, you’re halfway there. But it’s the Hail Mary I remember, specifically the pleasure of the word amongst. It was the mystical heart of the prayer for me—at least when I was six. I also loved the hallowed in the Our Father, and that ignominious lurked somewhere among the stations of the cross.

I loved the heightened language of prayer. As I grew older and my prayer matured, I loved the place to which the heightened language brought me, a place where I felt transfigured, fed, guided, and brought closer to God. I’ve stayed, with greater or lesser success, as close as possible to this place throughout my life. I’ve filled a timeless space with my life story. I have a history in prayer.

More here-