Saturday, March 31, 2018

As they back Trump, evangelical leaders face their own sex scandals

From The Boston Globe -

As white evangelicals have been some of President Trump’s staunchest defenders, a handful of their leaders find themselves contending with a problem all too familiar to the commander in chief: A sex scandal.

As the allegations by Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who says she had an affair with Trump, captures the nation’s attention, and as the #MeToo movement highlights sexual abuse, harassment and impropriety in the workplace, at least four leaders in the evangelical movement have been accused of violating the tenets of their faith, from adultery to sexual abuse.

Now some observers wonder whether evangelicals are experiencing a repeat of the scandals that led to the downfall of several well-known televangelists in the 1980s.

More here-

Why I'm Joining the Episcopal Church

From Simple Follower-

Tomorrow, during the Great Easter Vigil at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, my family and I will be received into the Episcopal Church.

It has been a long and painful journey and after six years of traveling, it looks like I'm finally arriving somewhere. As many of you know, I have been flirting with Anglicanism for many years now. After reflecting for a while, I decided at one point to remain in the Roman Catholic Church.  But now I have discerned that it is time to leave. So what changed?

Before delving into the reasons for leaving the Roman Catholic Church and joining the Anglican Communion, let me make clear that I still love the Catholic Church. There has not been any one event that has made me want to leave.

Why then, am I leaving?

I am simply leaving to follow God's calling on my life.

Yes, I still have some disagreements theologically with the Roman Catholic Church. I disagree with their views on women ordination and closed communion, among others. But as I mentioned before, these disagreements were not enough for me to leave the Roman Catholic Church just yet. I still loved the Roman Catholic Church and I was willing to live with the disagreements.

More here-

Friday, March 30, 2018

Newport’s St. James church to reopen April 8

From Los Angeles-

The long-locked St. James church in Newport Beach will reopen next weekend.

According to a statement Thursday from the bishop's office of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the church will hold services at 10 a.m. April 8, with Bishop John Taylor presiding.

St. James was embroiled in emotional legal and ecclesiastical tumult for nearly three years as then-Bishop J. Jon Bruno tried to sell the property to developers in 2015 and 2017.

In a letter to the St. James congregation and its priest, the Rev. Canon Cindy Voorhees, Taylor and the Rev. Abel Lopez, president of the diocesan governing body, said the congregation now has the organizational rank of "mission station" on a trial basis. It will regain use of the church facility at 3209 Via Lido, though a portion of it also will function as a broader Redeemer Center for Diocesan Ministries.

More here-

Diocese of Atlanta clergy, laity renew vows at Martin Luther King Jr.’s church

From ENS-

Clergy and laity of the Diocese of Atlanta gathered this week for their renewal of vows in the sanctuary of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his father and grandfather preached.

Bishop Robert C. Wright, whose diocese also includes middle and north Georgia, said he sought permission to use the site because of its connection to the civil rights movement leader and the recognition of the humanity of all Americans.

“Being that we are all Georgians now, and that Martin’s and Coretta’s earthly remains are laying just outside, it seems good to stop here and remember, and maybe even borrow some of their resolve for service,” Wright said, motioning toward the site outside the church where King and his wife are buried. “More than that, I invited you here because there are three important ideas that are easy to illustrate in this space. They are simple but eternal ideas. They are possibility, pain and power.”

Wright said the small sanctuary that launched King to the international stage is a powerful symbol of possibility.

More here-


From Episcopal Relief-

The Last Supper: The first image that comes to mind is that of the great and majestic fresco of Leonardo da Vinci, in the refectory of the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie.  Some critics of its latest restoration claim it now unrecognizable, but I see no danger of it ever fading from the West’s common cultural memory. Countless reproductions of The Last Supper, good and bad, have sealed its image into the minds of countless people. The fresco’s hold is so strong that even as I write I can see the long rectangles of the table and windows and the flowing reds and blues of the apostles’ robes. I can picture the soon-to-be-betrayed innocence in the eyes of Christ, the shocked look of those who have learned that one among them is a traitor, the unbelieving and uncomprehending pointing and self-accusation of Peter and the damning icons of the split salt and the clutched moneybag of Judas Iscariot.

No matter that this is extreme artistic license: there was no such table, no such scenic views, no such opulence in blues and reds. The image of da Vinci’s Last Supper is so powerful, so commanding, that it threatens to block other images, other ideas of this holy meal on the night in which our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed. And perhaps the most dangerous aspect of its power, its dominating image is that for all its artistic vividness, da Vinci’s Last Supper is temporally static and motionless. It captures a moment in time. It is Maundy Thursday preserved in aspic.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury offers to help end violence in Nigeria

From Nigeria-

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Tuesday repeated his offer to contribute towards any peace negotiations as violence continues to erupt in some parts of Nigeria.

Archbishop Justin tweeted in January: “I am deeply saddened by the killings and displacements in #Nigeria. President @MBuhari and authorities are exhorted to act now to end this violence and begin mediated dialogue. I mourn with this great country and stand with them in prayer, #prayforthepeaceofNigeria.”

However, the attacks have continued and spread rather than abate.

A question was put to the British government in the House of Lords – the upper house of the UK Parliament – on Monday on the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria.

More here-

Vatican: Claim that pope denied hell’s existence is unreliable

From America Magazine-

The Vatican said comments attributed to Pope Francis denying the existence of hell are a product of an Italian journalist's "reconstruction" of the pope's remarks and not a faithful transcript of the pope's real words. 

Eugenio Scalfari, a co-founder and former editor of La Repubblica, an Italian daily, said Pope Francis -- with whom he has had several telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings -- invited him to his residence March 27. 

During their conversation, Scalfari, 93, an avowed atheist, claims the pope said that while the souls of repentant sinners "receive the forgiveness of God and go among the line of souls who contemplate him, the souls of those who are unrepentant, and thus cannot be forgiven, disappear."

"Hell does not exist, the disappearance of sinful souls exists," Scalfari claims the pope said in the interview published March 29.

The Italian journalist has explained on more than one occasion that he does not take notes or record his conversations with the pope; he re-creates them afterward from memory, including the material he puts in quotation marks.

More here-

Pontius Pilate: You should have listened to your wife

From Lindsay Hardin Freeman-

The story of Jesus’ life and death could have turned out differently, had Pontius Pilate listened to his wife. Kind and intuitive (and unnamed), she is known for these few words:

“Have nothing to do with that innocent man [Jesus], for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” Matthew 27:19

Allow me to paint the story. Perhaps it happened something like this…

As the morning light spills into her room, Pilate’s wife jolts awake, her eyes stretched like saucers. “No! Don’t do it! No!”

Hearing her distress, servants tumble into the room. And there they see a strange sight: their disheveled and shaking mistress scrawling words onto a linen napkin used at dinner the night before.

More here-

Church Leader Mauled By Lion After Trying To Prove God Would Intervene

Matthew 4:7-

A Christian church leader tried to prove that the Lord would step forward and come to his rescue and save him recently when he went up against a lion. Things did not go as planned and the church leader had is buttocks and arm mauled by the lion when he ran towards the pride to try to prove that the Lord had power over animals in the wild.

Zion Christian Church prophet Alec Ndiwane was viciously attacked by the lion during a safari trip. The man wanted to prove to the church members with him that God would save him. The man went into a trance and began to speak in many different languages and then started to run towards the pride of lions that were eating an impala in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

The man started approaching the pack very quickly and of course, they wanted to protect their kill, or they saw him as prey. As the man charged up to them the pride grouped up on him an attacked. The lions chased him before one of them bit down on his buttocks. Ndiwane said that he did not have any idea about what came over him but said that humans were given dominion over all of the Earths creatures. Park officials made a statement and said that they had not been made aware of the incident that was said to have taken place.

More here-

Thursday, March 29, 2018

This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the Shroud of Turin

From Aleteia-

"We believe that we have the precise image of what Jesus looked like on this earth," said Professor Giulio Fanti of the University of Padua.

“This statue is the three-dimensional representation in actual size of the Man of the Shroud, created following the precise measurements taken from the cloth in which the body of Christ was wrapped after the crucifixion,” explains Giulio Fanti, teacher of mechanical and thermal measurements at the University of Padua, who studies the Shroud. Based on his measurements, the professor has created a “carbon copy” in 3D which, he claims, allows him to affirm that these are the true features of the crucified Christ.

Therefore, we believe that we finally have the precise image of what Jesus looked like on this earth. From now on, He may no longer be depicted without taking this work into account.” The professor granted exclusive coverage of his work to the weekly periodical Chi, to which he revealed: “According to our studies, Jesus was a man of extraordinary beauty. Long-limbed, but very robust, he was nearly 5 ft. 11 in. tall, whereas the average height at the time was around 5 ft. 5 in. And he had a regal and majestic expression.” (Vatican Insider)
More here-

US Episcopal Church ‘in denial’ over substance abuse among its leaders

From The Church Times-

THE Episcopal Church in the United States has failed to address substance abuse within its senior ranks because of “an impaired system that maintains denial, and helplessness toward addiction, mental illness, and physical disease”, a report on its leadership has concluded.

The Report of the Commission on Impairment and Leadership in the Episcopal Church was published by the House of Deputies earlier this month.

Its investigation was prompted by the case of the former Suffragan Bishop of Maryland, Heather Cook, who is serving seven years in prison for killing a cyclist, Thomas Palermo, while driving drunk in January 2015 (News, 30 October 2015).

Ms Cook was picked up by the police, who gave her a breathalyser test and found that she was nearly treble the legal limit. She later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other offences, including texting while driving, drink-driving, and leaving the scene of an incident.

More here-

Survivor’s Reply to Archbishops’ pastoral letter

From Surviving Church-

Today a Pastoral Letter is being read in churches across the country. Here is a reply to the letter from one of those who have been affected by the recent hearings. It is presented here as a guest post and perhaps some of my readers will be able to identify with the sentiments. The opinions expressed belong to the author

Dear Brothers in Christ,

I’m writing in response to your ‘Pastoral Letter’. And, since Archbishop Justin has called for an end to clericalism and deference, I’m going to call you Justin and John. I know you’ll be happy with that.

So, Justin and John, I thought you might want to know how I, as a survivor, feel about your letter. And I know you’ll pay careful attention, because you’ve said you want to listen to survivors.

But first, let me talk a bit about the IICSA hearings. In the last three weeks I’ve been on an eventful personal journey. The first week I was emotionally chewed up: the evidence recalled to me many of the awful experiences I’ve had over my nearly 40 years in the Church of England. The second week I began to realise that at last powerful people were being called to account and some of the rottenness was being exposed. Frankly, John and Justin, I enjoyed seeing those bishops wriggle under questioning from two women who were much younger than them. The tables were turned and it did me a power of good.

More here-

Moving deeper into Holy Week, Presiding Bishop visits Bethlehem, Nazareth

From ENS-

The gift of spending Holy Week in the Holy Land grew deeper and more real on March 28 for those on pilgrimage with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

In a small sample of the ecumenical hospitality that the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem both enjoys and offers, Curry and those traveling with him were the guests of Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Jordan and Patriarchal Commission to Bethlehem Theophylaktos in Bethlehem. The group traveled there at his invitation to hold Morning Prayer in the St. George’s Chapel at the Church of the Nativity and meet with him. He also welcomed them to pray in the Grotto of the Nativity below the church, which is undergoing extensive renovation and conservation.

Theophylaktos later offered the group sweets, short glasses of brandy and small cups of Arabic coffee during the early-morning conversation in his office in the new, 250-year-old wing of the Church of the Nativity. The older part of the church is 500 years old. His office walls were lined with religious icons, as well as an icon symbolizing the 2 million pilgrims who annually visit the church: a flat-screen TV with nine camera views of the shrine. Five church groups had arrived at 5 a.m. that morning to tour the church.

More here-

Anne Lamott (Author) Writes Down Every Single Thing She Knows, As of Today

From Daily Good-

My inside self does not have an age, although can’t help mentioning as an aside that it might have been useful had I not followed the Skin Care rules of the sixties, ie to get as much sun as possible, while slathered in baby oil. (My sober friend Paul O said, at eighty, that he felt like a young man who had something wrong with him.).

Anyway, I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today.

1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift; and it is impossible here, on the incarnational side of things. It has been a very bad match for those of us who were born extremely sensitive. It is so hard and weird that we wonder if we are being punked. And it filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.

2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

3. There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of last way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve, or date it. This is the most horrible truth.

More here-

Misspelled Acomb sign proclaims 'Chris is Risen'

From The BBC

A church was presented with signs reading "Chris is risen" after a mix up at the printers.

Acomb Parish Church, in York, had ordered four banners saying 'Christ is Risen' but the 'T' was missed off the finished article.

However, assistant Curate Ned Lunn said the error was discovered before the signs were delivered.
A BBC Radio York Facebook post has been shared more than 3,000 times, prompting one person to reply 'More T vicar?'

Mr Lunn said: "I'm so glad the customer spotted the mistake. It'll save a bit of embarrassment and a lot of confusion.

"I had to check the four banners when I distributed them though, just to make sure.

"The pastor at the Baptist Church is actually called Chris and he's got to get up for a sunrise service at 6.30am on Easter Sunday.

"His predecessor didn't manage to get up for the service last year."

See it here-

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

'Religious left' emerging as U.S. political force in Trump era

From Reuters-

Since President Donald Trump’s election, monthly lectures on social justice at the 600-seat Gothic chapel of New York’s Union Theological Seminary have been filled to capacity with crowds three times what they usually draw.

In January, the 181-year-old Upper Manhattan graduate school, whose architecture evokes London’s Westminster Abbey, turned away about 1,000 people from a lecture on mass incarceration. In the nine years that Reverend Serene Jones has served as its president, she has never seen such crowds.

“The election of Trump has been a clarion call to progressives in the Protestant and Catholic churches in America to move out of a place of primarily professing progressive policies to really taking action,” she said.

More here-

Bishop of US-based Episcopal Church installed as Canon of St George’s, Jerusalem

From La Croix-

In a sign of Christian unity, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States has taken residence as a canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, reports. 

The presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, was officially installed in his new role during an Evensong service on Palm Sunday.The dean of St. George’s, the Very Rev Hosam Naoum, welcomed the arrival of the episcopal canon at the cathedral, which was established in 1899 and offers education for clergy from around the world.

“The cathedral here becomes a sign for unity in the Anglican Communion, despite all of our differences,” he said. “That is the message that comes out from Jerusalem to the whole worldwide church.”

More here-

Church Treasurer fired for suspected embezzlement

From Western New York-

St. David’s Episcopal Church has fired its treasurer, accusing the former employee of stealing $55,000 from the congregation.

Leaders with the church in West Seneca are gathering documents to hand over to police.

St. David’s handed out a letter to members earlier this month to explain the firing.

“I would like to express how proud I am of our vestry members; and how incredibly grateful I am for the many hours they have spent applying their abundant gifts and talents to resolving these issues,” the letter said.

2 On Your Side reached out to the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York. A spokesperson said the diocese is confident its insurance will cover the bulk of the losses.

More here-

Since 1993, I Have Learned to Observe Good Friday on My Knees

From Patheos-

On Good Friday, 1993, around noon, I slipped into the chapel of the nearby Episcopal church where I prayed weekly for an hour or so and was surprised by something I saw. Someone had positioned a low table before the altar. On it was set a linen cloth, a small crucifix, a pottery chalice filled with wine, and an earthenware plate holding Communion wafers.

A woman bustled in the nearby sacristy.

I called out to her, “What a wonderful aid to prayer!”

Often when my mind is wandering, it helps to have some token on which to fix my eyes. Postcards sent by friends are tucked in my desk organizer, a fixed point of beauty from which to build a center for concentration.

“Did you arrange this?” I asked.

Still finishing her tasks, she paused, calling back that the Communion elements were brought from the previous evening’s Maundy Thursday service as a reminder to keep vigil over the broken body of Christ. Then, her work completed, she left me to the silence.



From Religious Dispachtes-

I recently moved back to my hometown: a western suburb of Chicago that borders a town that is home to one of the largest and most influential evangelical Christian colleges in the country. As with most college towns, graduates often settle nearby. This makes my neighborhood a hub for evangelicalism and means that my neighbors tend to have followed the injunctions of their pastors to “keep themselves pure” from culture that is not specifically Christian. Even if folks didn’t attend Wheaton themselves, the school’s values permeate local culture. Add to this a simple demographic isolation and overall, my neighbors tend not to have had much exposure to cultures other than their own.

When people learn that, as a lifelong and practicing Christian, I am married to a Jewish man and that we practice both religions in our house, I often become the safe person to ask about Judaism. I like this advocate role for the opportunity it gives me to gently encourage folks to look at ways in which their privilege as a member of a majority population can sometimes cause them to cause offense.

More here-

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

LDS musician writes music for St. Mary's Holy Week celebrations

From Utah-

For the Christian world, Sunday begins the celebration of Holy Week, the days leading to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, also known as the Passion. It is followed by Easter Sunday, and what Christians believe was his resurrection.

To celebrate these series of events, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Provo will feature special presentations from Christian Asplund’s “The Passion and Resurrection according to St. Mark” at 7:30 p.m. Good Friday and 8:30 a.m. Easter Sunday.

Asplund, a Mormon and professor at Brigham Young University in music composition and music theory, is known for his avant-garde pieces and garage/home performances.

The Asplund version of the Passion involves a marriage of classical and jazz with a bit of hymns from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints blended in for choral pieces.

“I’ve been doing house concerts all my life,” Asplund said. “I do music that’s between the cracks.”

More here-

Patriarchy Has Found A Home In The Pulpit

From Huffington-

From beginning to end, the Bible positions women as leaders, powerful and prolific people who the story literally would not exist without. Women direct armies, defeat prominent enemies, save communities from genocide, give birth to God, fund Jesus’ ministry, sit at his feet as disciples, and are the first witnesses and preachers of the resurrection. They are church founders and leaders, prophets and apostles. Women are co-laborers with God and men, and image bearers of God who are meant to participate in God’s work in the church and the world.

Yet in modern churches where patriarchy has found its way into the pulpit, women are easily interpreted out of relevance in the scripture and stripped of their power to liberate other women in church spaces, to lead and to be heard. The assumed and theologized inferiority of women (and to a much greater extreme, trans women) reduces women to objects for men’s use in a culture that insists on chasteness, humility and purity. Women become submissive sidekicks or to “servants” who are granted participation in the church at the whim of male leaderships but rarely, if ever, power.

The danger of patriarchy in the church is distinct from patriarchy in general. In Christian spaces, patriarchy is not seen as a social phenomenon, but as a God-given directive and order for the flourishing of society. As a result, unquestioned commitments to patriarchy create the context for the objectification, devaluing and ultimate abuse and traumatization of women.

More here-

The rise and fall of English Christendom

From Australia-

The first time I realised that there was a problem between being a Christian and living in a secular state was when I was sitting in a cinema in 1968. It was the practice of the day to play the national anthem (God Save the Queen) before the movies began during which the audience would stand. I was with my friend, a lecturer in theology. Much to my amazement, he remained firmly in his seat.

The troubled relationship between theological and state power goes back to ancient Israel and the eventual failure of its experiment with kingship. It continued with the crucifixion of Jesus carried out by the occupying Roman state at the behest of the religious authorities. When questioned by Pilate as to whether he was king of the Jews, Jesus replied that his kingdom is not from this world. Christians are exhorted in the New Testament not to be conformed to this world and assured that they are citizens of heaven.

It is clear that the kingdom of God/heaven is not derived from worldly power and that it looks to a higher authority. In a newly published book by Bruce Kaye, who was General Secretary of the Anglican Church in Australia (1994-2004) this tension between royal and ecclesial power is examined in one particular form of Christendom, that of the Church of England.

More here-

Presiding Bishop begins a Holy Week pilgrimage in the Holy Land

From ENS-

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry began Holy Week in the Holy City of Jerusalem by proclaiming the good news that Jesus has shown the world a way to live that is based in love, not tyranny, and can lead to the coming of the kingdom.

During his sermon at the Holy Eucharist at the Anglican Cathedral Church of St. George the Martyr, Curry contrasted the simultaneous entry into Jerusalem of two very different men: Jesus and Pontius Pilate. The latter, Curry said, rode in from the West on a war horse with legions of Roman soldiers and with “all of his disdain and arrogance and worldly power.”

“Jesus came in on the other side of town on a donkey,” Curry said, adding that Jesus’ timing was no coincidence. He meant to show that “there is another way; that you don’t have to live this way. The world doesn’t have to be this way because God has a dream and a vision for this world, and nothing can stop God’s dream.”

War, violence and hatred do not work, Curry said. “They may work for a day; tyrants may endure for a day, but they do not last.”

More here-

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sharing abuse stories without hope of accountability 'feels hollow' - Anglican Church

From New Zealand-

The Anglican and Catholic Churches of New Zealand are making a last push to have those abused in faith-based institutions included in the scope of the Government's Royal Commission of Inquiry into State Abuse.

But the prime minister said the primary purpose of the inquiry was to hold the state to account, and there was a risk of "diluting" that responsibility if non-state institutions were included.

Last month, Children's Minister Tracey Martin and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the draft terms of reference, and scope, of the inquiry.

More here-

and here-

and here-

and here-

'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe

From The Guardian-

Europe’s march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion.

The survey of 16- to 29-year-olds found the Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, with 91% of that age group saying they have no religious affiliation. Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands also categorise themselves as non-religious.

The most religious country is Poland, where 17% of young adults define themselves as non-religious, followed by Lithuania with 25%.

In the UK, only 7% of young adults identify as Anglican, fewer than the 10% who categorise themselves as Catholic. Young Muslims, at 6%, are on the brink of overtaking those who consider themselves part of the country’s established church.

More here-

Closer Than You Think (The Trouble With Deconstruction)

From Mockingbird-

The problem with the rise of deconstruction, at least in the mainline denominations in which I live and move, is that there is nothing to deconstruct. As a millennial, I am part of a generation that came of age in the early days of deconstruction. The Episcopal Church of my youth was a haven for people who grew up in conservative or fundamentalist denominations. It was a place where you could believe and use your rationality. I’ve heard many Episcopalians say that you “don’t have to check your brain at the door” in our church. (We’ll set aside the elitism and fetishization of rationality for another time.)

Christian formation became teaching stories that may or may not be true, doctrines that may or may not be important, a creed that may or may not be authoritative.

Fast forward to today and we have a generation of Episcopalians (and others in mainline denominations) that may or may not believe what may or may not be called “orthodox Christianity.”

Deconstructionism has served as the nail in the coffin of a dying church.

More here-

Jimmy Carter on his journey of "Faith"

From CBS-

At age 93, former President Jimmy Carter has been out of office for more than 37 years -- plenty of time to reflect on his life, his mortality, and on his religious faith ... reflections he recently shared with Jane Pauley:

You don't often see crowds lining up for Sunday School lessons, but not many churches have a U.S. president doing the teaching.

Former President Jimmy Carter came to Maranatha Baptist Church in 1981, on the very first Sunday after he left the White House. He teaches whenever he can, and when he does, the crowd comes from far and wide.

Back in 2015, when word came that melanoma had spread to his liver and then his brain, it looked like the end. But when Pauley met President Carter at his library in Atlanta this month, he seemed fit as ever. Thanks to a new immunotherapy treatment, his cancer hasn't come back.

It's an unexpected new chapter for a man who was ready to die -- and had already said his goodbyes.

More here-

Glastonbury: archaeology is revealing new truths about the origins of British Christianity

From The Conversation-

New archaeological research on Glastonbury Abbey pushes back the date for the earliest settlement of the site by 200 years – and reopens debate on Glastonbury’s origin myths.

Many Christians believe that Glastonbury is the site of the earliest church in Britain, allegedly founded in the first or second century by Joseph of Arimathea. According to the Gospels, Joseph was the man who donated his own tomb for the body of Christ following the crucifixion.

By the 14th century, it was popularly believed that Glastonbury Abbey had been founded by the biblical figure of Joseph. The legend emerged that Joseph had travelled to Britain with the Grail, the vessel used to collect Christ’s blood. For 800 years, Glastonbury has been associated with the romance of King Arthur, the Holy Grail and Joseph of Arimathea. Later stories connected Glastonbury directly to the life of Christ.

More here-

Archbishop of Canterbury’s “relationships” task group plans Season of Repentance and Prayer

From ACNS-

Provisional plans for a season of repentance and prayer across the Anglican Communion next year have been put forward by the Task Group which was set up after the Primates’ Meeting in 2016. The season would be launched with the publication of a specific prayer and would run from Pentecost until late in 2019.

The Group, which has been meeting in London this week, said the season would focus on individual provinces week by week. Materials to support the season will be gathered and distributed by the Anglican Communion Office.

Bishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean, who has been chairing this week’s meeting, said the season would be the Communion’s gift to a world in pain.

“We are aware of difficulties and hurts,” he said. “The world knows brokenness. The Anglican Communion has had its struggles and its brokenness too.

More here-

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Barely-Beating Heart Of Christendom

From The American Conservative-

A few days ago, I blogged about a story in the Guardian concerning the stark decline of Christianity among Europeans age 16 to 29. The news comes in a new report issued jointly by the Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society, based at St. Mary’s University, London, and the Institut Catholique de Paris.

The report — which you can download here — is a stunner.“Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good – or at least for the next 100 years,” said Prof. Stephen Bullivant, the report’s author, in an interview with The Guardian. An English parish vicar e-mailed me to say that he finds the “next 100 years” claim to be extravagantly optimistic. In truth, he said, we’re looking at 500 years, if ever.

The report’s findings aren’t surprising, exactly, but they are shocking. They confirm that Europe’s is a post-Christian civilization, and they make clear the stark challenges facing the churches there going forward. For American Christian readers, the report may serve as a portrait of our own civilization in the future, if we don’t take strong measures now to prevent that fate.

More here-