Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ordinariate Watch: The Ordinariate’s liturgy is beginning to emerge

It will show us what might have been if the Ecclesia Anglicana had remained Catholic

The Ordinariate Portal has now published part three of a lecture by Fr Aidan Nichols on the historical, theological and liturgical origins and possibilities of and for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Before going into what Fr Nichols has to say, a slight digression may be of interest (and will prove to be relevant). The dedicatory name of the English ordinariate indicates a definitely Anglican element in the Anglican patrimony which is a large part of Fr Nichols’s subject, which is that part of the tripartite Anglican tradition (Catholic, Latitudinarian and Puritan) which was never happy about the Reformation and consistently tried to mitigate its effects.

To read more, click here.

British institutions: The Church of England

With its attendance falling rapidly, Matthew Engel wonders what can secure the Church’s future

It was a Saturday evening in July, and a fine, warm one at that: a very strange time for any parliament to be meeting. Still, the atmosphere in the chamber was surprisingly informal.

The General Synod, ruling body of the Church of England, meets three times a year – twice in London and once, in midsummer, amid the brutalist architecture of the University of York. I am told the Synod is generally far more casual than it used to be: “It’s all first names now,” one old hand said. “That would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.”

To read more, click here.

As Islamic extremists declare Britain's first Sharia law zone, the worrying social and moral implications

As a throng of Muslim families crowd around him, Abu Izzadeen speaks in a quiet voice of his plans for the future of Britain. The tall, bearded 36-year-old — who was recently freed from prison after serving a term for funding terrorism — is telling, in chilling detail, how he wants to impose Islam’s strict Sharia law on this country.

At a shopping mall in Waltham Forest, North London, Muslim passers-by listen intently. Some shout greetings in Arabic from across the street.

Fathers push forward their young sons (wearing skull caps for prayers at the local mosque) so they can get a good view of the man who is plainly viewed by many as a hero.

To read more, click here.

Eating Hot Dogs as Risky as Smoking Cigarettes?

Image of Hot Dogs in Cigarette Pack Highlights Health Risks of Processed Meats

Chowing down on a juicy hot dog is just as risky to our health as smoking a cigarette. That's the message on a giant billboard perched 200 feet in the air near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Hot dogs are an American favorite and served in about 95 percent of the homes across the nation. Americans ate more than 16 billion hot dogs last year alone, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

Roughly 1.1 million hot dogs were served up to hungry NASCAR fans at the speedway last year. However, health officials say eating processed meat is a really bad idea because it can cause colon cancer.

That’s the message leaders at the Cancer Project of the group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) want to get out.

PCRM installed the giant sign this week and the graphics are now drawing national attention.

It features an image of hot dogs sticking out of a cigarette pack with the skull and crossbones stamped on the front.

To read more, click here.

Stott's death stirs local response

He was soft-spoken Anglican priest who in his later years lived in a two-room apartment above a garage. He had a small cottage in Wales without electricity until 2001, where he did some writing.

So when the Rev. John Stott died Wednesday in Lingfield, England, at the age of 90, the last thing you'd imagine is that Kings County would take notice.

You'd be wrong.

To read more, click here.

Related article: John Stott: "A walking embodiment of the simple beauty of Jesus"

Bakewell church's bell party for Ringing World centenary

Bells will be rung continuously for 100 minutes at a church in Derbyshire to mark the centenary of a campanology magazine.

All Saints Church, in Bakewell, has enlisted 100 volunteers from churches around the county to celebrate a century of The Ringing World.

The event, which starts at 14:30 BST on Sunday, will see them working in relay to operate the church's eight bells.

Event organiser Pauline Boyle said she hoped people would come to watch.

The volunteers, who are all experienced ringers, have come from churches across the county including Belper, Matlock, Ashford, Bamford and Brackenfield.

To read more, click here.

First-Person: The 'dash' & the brevity of life

When my son, Art Rainer, began work on the book we co-authored, "Simple Life," he spent a good bit of time in a cemetery.

That's right. A cemetery.

He found a cemetery near his home in Boca Raton, Fla., and simply walked from grave marker to grave marker. Listen to his simple explanation for this strange type of research:

"I came to this cemetery to gain perspective. I could not think of a more inspirational location than to be surrounded by those whose earthly story had come to an end. If they could, what would they tell us? Now that their lives are over, what wisdom would they want to pass on? What were their regrets? Where did they get it right? Though the sands of time in my life's hourglass are still running for me, with every breath I breathe, I am moving toward my physical closure.

"My body will become like theirs.

"On each grave marker is a dash between two years. The dash is time, and that is where we are, in our dash. And before there is some year placed on the other end, we need to figure this thing out."

To read more, click here.

In Iran, pastor awaits decision on execution

A pastor in Iran found guilty of leaving Islam is awaiting the outcome of a judicial investigation into his spiritual background to see if he will be executed or forced to become a Muslim, according to Christian groups with ties in Iran.

The court-ordered investigation will take place sometime this fall to determine whether Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, 34, was a Muslim as a teenager before he became a Christian at 19.

On Sept. 22, 2010, a regional court sentenced Nadarkhani, who leads a 400-strong house church movement in Rasht, to death by hanging for "convert[ing] to Christianity" and "encourag[ing] other Muslims to convert to Christianity." Nadarkhani's lawyer appealed the verdict to the Iranian Supreme Court, in part because the pastor said he had never actually been a Muslim and therefore could not be found guilty of abandoning the religion.

The court issued a written response to the appeal on June 12, upholding the death penalty but ordering the investigation.

To read more, click here.

Cultural cuppa

It was virtually a national pastime not so many years ago.

Tea drinking, and the ritual of morning and afternoon tea, is sliding into memory for many of us. But not so long ago kids were drinking tea almost as soon as they could walk.

Alison Kennedy grew up in Ettrick, Central Otago, and remembers being introduced to tea by receiving a splash of it in her cups of milk. The splashes grew larger as she grew older until she was enjoying tea at full strength in her teens.

Alison is joining the Saturday Express for tea to talk about the tradition.

"Milk in first or you'll break the cup," Derek Harding warns his host Pam Shattock before she pours his tea.

To read more, click here.

Eau Claire, Fond du Lac Ponder a United Future

Two northern Wisconsin dioceses, Eau Claire and Fond du Lac, will decide Oct. 22 and 23 whether to unite their people, form a new diocese and elect a new bishop.

In interviews with The Living Church, the two bishops who oversee the dioceses emphasized that the discussion is based on a vision for better ministry than on a sense of weakness in either diocese.

“I think we can do the ministry that’s needed in northern Wisconsin better together than we can separately,” said the Rt. Rev. Russell E. Jacobus, Bishop of Fond du Lac.

The decision “has to be based on your ability to do better ministry together,” he said. “It would mean moving two dioceses that have a limited number of congregations into one diocese that has a manageable number of congregations.”

To read more, click here.

Mary Kidnapped from Church Rose Garden

A statue of the Virgin Mary disappeared from right in front of a Tallahassee church.

Mary is missing. Three feet tall ... couple hundred pounds ... at least 10 years old.

"It's weird.," Reverend Dale Mekeel said.

The concrete statue was last seen in the rose garden at St. Andrews Anglican Catholic Church.

"They didn't come in with a truck or anything. There's no marks in the ground. It just is gone," Mekeel said.

Reverend Dale Mekeel realized the statue was missing when he looked out the window to see if there were any roses for the altar.

"Came out, and saw a statue of a little angel."

That's right. Whoever took the statue left a small bronze angel in its place.

To read more, click here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

11-Year-Old New Hampshire Girl Missing

Celina Cass Vanished from Her Stewartstown Home over Monday Night

Shy and sweet, with a gap-toothed smile and a reputation as reliable, 11-year-old Celina Cass is the last person anyone in her New Hampshire community would expect to run away. At this point, they only wish that were the case. The other explanations are too scary.

Last seen at a home computer Monday night, the fifth grader vanished overnight from her home a mile from the U.S.-Canada border, leaving family members and friends incredulous. Police and conservation officers are searching fields, woods and the Connecticut River while FBI child abduction specialists have joined the hunt.

Police have said that there's no indication she ran away or that someone took her, and there are no signs of a struggle

But tight-lipped police investigators revealed little about the probe beyond that Wednesday, despite a flurry of activity in and around the three-story house where Celina lives with her mother and stepfather. Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said it is still being treated as a missing persons case.

"We are still desperately looking for her," Young said.

She wouldn't comment when asked why an Amber Alert was never issued for the girl, even though the FBI said it had enlisted a four- to six-person "child abduction rapid deployment team" to pitch in. Earlier in the day, state police Sgt. Sheldon Belanger, the lead investigator in the case, said Celina's disappearance did not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert and wasn't considered suspicious.

Police were going through phone and computer records at Celina's home, he said.

Those who know Celina say it's unlikely she ran away.

To read more, click here.

Related article with more photos of the missing girl: Desperate search continues for 'shy and quiet' 11-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom three days ago

Please pray for Celina and her family. Please pray for all missing children.

Learning to Lead from Mumford & Sons

How a British bluegrass band demonstrated effective institutional leadership

Preparing for a concert by Mumford & Sons, the British "new grass" quartet, I expected the roof to come down. These guys' glory is that they pick the banjo and smash the bass and stomp the floor like an Appalachian dance hall band rather than a group of west London lads. I even expected a spiritual experience: few musicians, secular or sacred, sing about God with such depth of spirituality without saccharine piety. I'd heard their concerts are like church -- just a whole lot better.

I expected all that. I didn't expect a lesson in institutional leadership.

To read more, click here.

The "Right" Person to Lead a Small Group

People resist a call to leadership because of questions about competency and commitment.

This morning I received an email from a potential leader who stated she does not know if she's the "right" person to lead a small group. I hear that phrase a lot—the "right person." It's a common response when people feel they are being called to lead.

In my role as a small-group pastor I have found that the issue usually comes down to a person's confidence level, which is influenced by two factors: competence and commitment

To read more, click here.

Opinion Roundup: Leaders and Friends Remember John Stott

What Billy Graham, Mark Noll, John Piper, and others are saying about the life and ministry of John Stott.

During his nearly 70 years as an evangelical leader, John Stott rarely garnered headlines, cut across airwaves, or graced TV screens. But his ministry was ever-present, a fixture in the worlds of biblical interpretation and spiritual development that impacted thousands of evangelical leaders and laypeople alike. In many ways, the unfolding of Stott's 50 books and hundreds of sermons paralleled the quiet persistence of one of his great passions: bird watching. Those who knew him speak of a legacy that transcends his public role as pastor, author, and evangelical leader. And those who knew of him have also offered reflections on his life and ministry. In a roar of tweets, blog posts, newscasts, and columns, influential thinkers around the world remembered Stott's life. Christianity Today presents a selection of their comments below.

To read more, click here.

Pray for Christians' Safety During Ramadan, Open Doors Urges

Ramadan, the 30-day annual Islamic fast which begins next week, may expose Christians to an increased risk of persecution in Muslim-majority countries and believers in the West should pray for them, Open Doors USA said as it launched a Ramadan Prayer Calendar.

“Ramadan is a time when Christians are especially isolated in some Muslim-dominated countries,” said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller in a statement. “This is why it is so important for us to unite in prayer for persecuted Christians throughout the world.”

To help Christians pray for the persecuted, Open Doors has prepared a Ramadan Prayer Calendar having multiple prayer points and designed to help believers pray for vulnerable Christians around the world during the 30 days.

The group, which has served the persecuted church worldwide since 1955 when its founder Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles into Eastern Europe for the first time, will also send out daily emails with a story from a Muslim-dominated country, prayer requests, and a call to action. Open Doors has provided a link on its website for believers to register.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which begins August 1 this year, is the time when most Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, seeking to shed their sins through acts of restraint as they believe this is a time of purification accomplished through good deeds and self-control.

However, “the observance of Ramadan could increase pressure on believers,” Moeller said.

To read more, click here.

The death of the early morning church gathering?

Shrinking gatherings
Recently I was at a clergy gathering where one man was speaking about his early Sunday morning church service and he said, “it is shrinking, as all 8:00am services are”. No one in the room disagreed.

I don’t yet know whether this is accurate. Are there early morning services that are bursting at the seams? I hope so. But there is truth to early services in many places dwindling in numbers.

I wonder why this is the case, and if it is, should we be worried about it?

Why early morning gatherings are shrinking
In most of our churches early morning services tend to be more traditional and are populated by the older members of the parish. That being the case, as people age they move to nursing home care, often with its own Sunday church meeting; or health issues diminish churchgoing regularity or they are now gathered in glory around the throne of our saviour. These are all good reasons for why the existing congregation will shrink.

Why early morning gatherings should be growing
But the problem is that the age group represented by people whose children have left home, the over 60’s, percentage wise is the fastest growing group in society. So as the size of this group grows in society why is this the very group that is dwindling in our churches?

And it is not just society at large that is swelling in this age group. For many years The National Church Life surveys have shown that our churches have significant numbers of people in their 50’s – so isn’t there a natural feed into our early morning services?

To read more, click here.

Another attack upon Sydney Anglicanism

Muriel Porter has been attacking Sydney Anglicans for years. In synods and committees and in print, she has vociferously opposed the position of the Diocese of Sydney on a whole range of issues. Never very far from the surface, though, is her anger at the diocese’s attitude towards women priests and bishops. She has campaigned on the other side of this debate with vigour for more than twenty-five years. She takes no prisoners and has been willing to use whatever means might be at her disposal to further her cause and, as even those who agree with her in principle have often recognised, to vilify those who, for whatever reason, disagree with her.

In 2011 The New Puritans has been revised and brought up to date with a new title: Sydney Anglicans and the Threat to World Anglicanism: The Sydney Experiment. As with the earlier volume, Muriel Porter acknowledges quite openly that she is ‘obviously not able to report on Sydney objectively and evenhandedly’ (xv). The acknowledgement was unnecessary. Even without it, the highly polemical nature of the book — and a significant degree of distortion that inevitably arises from that — is obvious. The book is littered with unsubstantiated assertions introduced with words such as ‘Some have suggested …’ (e.g. pp. 70, 107), ‘I suspect the real reason …’ (e.g. p. 71, 75) and ‘Perhaps …’ (e.g. p. 159) (The title of the book itself is a giveaway of course, but the final titles of books are sometimes the work of the publishers rather than the author.) Unfortunately, it is also littered with factual error, half-truth and the attribution of false or hidden motives to those with whom she disagrees. Sydney Anglicans might think they are taking a stand on the teaching of Scripture but in reality, she repeatedly asserts, their motivation is much more sinister.

The book is organised around the premise that Sydney’s experiment with radical Protestantism, sourced in the theology of a maverick Principal of Moore College, Broughton Knox, and given full expression in the episcopate of his student, Peter Jensen, represents a serious threat to faithful Anglicanism in both Australia and throughout the world. In order to support this contention, Porter needs to recast the doctrinal, ethical and ecclesiastical innovations of the past thirty years in global Anglicanism (women’s ordination, revised attitudes on divorce, acceptance of homosexuality, the rejection of exclusive claims about Jesus and salvation, and a rejection of the thoroughgoing truthfulness and reliability of the Bible) as faithful discipleship and the decisions of Sydney’s synod and archbishops (not to mention the teaching at Moore College) as aberrant, unAnglican and ultimately a misuse of Scripture.

To read more, click here.

This article may be downloaded as a pdf file.

Tributes to a Life of Service 1921 - 2011

John Stott was a very remarkable Christian leader with an international reputation but his church home was here at All Souls for nearly all his life, so his death will be felt by us at a very personal level. John came to the church as a child and I can well remember him telling our family of his first visits to the Rectory as a member of the Sunday School. He was to spend more than 50 years as Curate, Rector and then Rector Emeritus in a remarkable ministry here. In every sense he was one of the church family so his death leaves us with a real sense of loss as well as the confidence that he is with his Lord and ours.

As Rector for many years, John’s ministry extended well beyond the bounds of All Souls and his leadership was valued and experienced not just in London but nationally and internationally. His preaching drew many to Christ and kept many on track in their Christian thinking and living. His books did the same for millions more and equipped pastors and laypeople to become bible teachers themselves on every continent. Many is the time I and countless others have been more than grateful for the insights of his commentaries or the clarity of thought with which he tackled some thorny issue in a book that forced us and helped us to engage Christianly with the real world.

To read more, click here.

Related announcement: Memorial Service for John Stott at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney

Technology: Making online Bible study more helpful

Reading the Bible. It is a chance to learn the history of our faith, to discover the great mysteries of our Lord, and to read of the love that Christ lived for us. It is all these things, and yet it is so much more; it is a chance to commune with the Most High God.

In late June, LifeWay released the latest update to which introduced more translations and, perhaps the key to a modern study of the Bible, more integrated content. There is an inherent problem with the way our rising generation learns and studies; we jump from link to link as we run through the Internet. As a culture we Google and train our brains to pick out what the most promising link is; we hit it, we scan the page, and decide in moments if this is the content we were looking for. Then, we hit the back button and search again.

A psychological test from 2001 is referenced by Nicholas Carr in his Internet-themed book "The Shallows," where two sets of readers were given the same story, but presented in different ways. One was presented straight forward and linearly, the other included links for more information throughout the text. The hypothesis was that the enriched text would create a better experience for the readers. But the study found something different....

To read more, click here.

From My Perspective: Five major trends for churches in America

Discerning future trends can be difficult if not risky. If we miss a trend, we risk missing opportunities because we had our resources directed elsewhere.

I am thus careful when I do trend projections. I am especially careful when I am projecting trends that will have a direct impact on the churches in America.

The basis for the trends

The trends that follow were not created in a vacuum. Most of the information is based on studies we have done at LifeWay Research. But much of this research provides us information and facts about today's realities. It does not offer certitude for future trends.

The process is analogous to weather forecasting. We can see all the ingredients that will likely cause a specific outcome. But those factors can change, so we can never say that we are 100 percent certain.

To read more, click here.

Worldview: Churches as generational mission labs

You're just entering your prime, baby.

You're not older; you're better. You hit the gym with a vengeance. Aches and pains? If you've got 'em, you're not admitting it to yourself or anyone else. You've got big plans for the future. Sixty is the new 40. "Retirement" is not part of your vocabulary (you probably won't be able to afford it, anyway).

You're a boomer, of course. You and your generational comrades have been turning the world upside down since you were pimply teens. So you're not going to let little things like age, gravity or mortality slow you down.

Of five emerging trends in American churches cited by LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom Rainer in the Summer 2011 issue of Facts and Trends (, this one struck me:

"Senior adult ministries in churches will experience steep declines."

Wait a minute. The U.S. population is aging, right? Senior adult ministry ought to be a growth industry. To the contrary: Boomers don't do "senior."

To read more, click here.

The latest garage band: How one group took their bell-ringing hobby to a room in a house

It's gradually becoming a dying art, with new recruits few and far between.

But one bell ringer is so determined to preserve one of the country's most traditional pastimes that she's installed bell wheels in her garage.

Mischa Thompson has taken the innovative approach to keeping campanology alive in a bid to interest younger people to the hobby.

Mrs Thompson has installed ten simulated bells in her detached house in Okehampton, Devon.

To read more, click here.

Why church bell ringing is so very ap-pealing

There's a saying about a stranger being a friend you haven’t met yet.

It was clearly coined by somebody who’d never rolled up in a new town and been given the old “you’re not from round here” treatment.

Either that or they were a bell ringer.

Church bell ringing has all the advantages of belonging to a powerful global secret society without any of that tiresome world domination stuff that gets other secret societies a bad name.

To read more, click here.

Muslims Seize Christian Burial Sites in Tanzania’s Archipelago

Authorities of predominantly Islamic Zanzibar island chain decline to act.

Influential Muslims on this East African island have begun building what appears to be a hotel on a 100-year-old burial site owned by an Anglican church, Christian leaders said.

Church leaders with ownership papers for the land told Compass they are disturbed that authorities have taken no action since they filed a police complaint in December about the seizure of the burial site three kilometers (nearly two miles) from Zanzibar city’s airport. Tanzania’s Zanzibar archipelago, including the largest island of Zanzibar (officially known as Unguja), is 99.9 percent Muslim.

“We see that the government is partisan and would not like to see the church grow in Zanzibar,” the Rev. Canon Emmanuel John Masoud told Compass. “The retired Chief Justice Augustino Ramadani, who is a member of the Anglican church, was appointed to be a link between the church and the government to facilitate the negotiation process, but it seems that nothing is bearing fruits. Hence the church is not supported in any way.”

To read more, click here.

John Stott: A Role Model for Evangelical Thought, Living

“I’m not certain that John Stott would want people to remember him,” said John Stott Ministries President Benjamin Homan.

Those puzzling words about the man described as the architect of the evangelical movement in the 20th century make sense when you talk to more people who knew him. One of the most popular words used to describe Stott, who passed away Wednesday at age 90, is humble.

“Over and over again as people have described their interactions with John Stott, it is one of humility, and one of not pointing people to himself but to Jesus,” Homan said from Colorado. “The ministries that he began were never about promoting his works or his teachings. They have been about drawing the Church’s attention to the work of Christ around the world, how the Church is growing and how it needs to grow in depth and maturity around the world. I think he will be remembered as a global Christian.”

The English Anglican clergyman was born, raised, and lived within eight blocks and served only one church in central London his entire life, but his books and ministries have impacted millions of people worldwide. The prolific writer, who authored over 50 books, was a theologian who could explain the core beliefs of Christianity, the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in a clear and powerful way.

His 1958 classic, Basic Christianity, has been translated into 63 languages.

InterVarsity Press Publisher Bob Fryling said of Stott in a statement: “He was a pastor-teacher whose books and preaching not only became the gold standard for expository teaching, but his Christian character was a model of truth and godliness.”

To read more, click here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Last Visit with John Stott

June 17, 2011

"There was a man sent from God whose name was John"

John the Baptist, to whom the above reference refers, was beheaded by a king in a palace at a relatively young age. John Stott, who from my first meeting in January of 1957 spent his final days on earth in a small bed-sitter in a rest home for retired clergy about 30 miles south of London. He was weak, frail, nearly blind, and bedridden. He had turned 90 this spring, and was expecting to go home to the Lord very soon.

But in his heyday, and for more than a half century, John Stott had an impact on his world akin to that of John the Baptist. Both were sent from God. Both pointed to Jesus. Both attempted to live very simply. Both had few possessions. Both were filled with the Holy Spirit. Both had a group of disciples who drank deeply from their wisdom. Both operated on the fringes of power - political as well as ecclesiastical. Both were men who knew the Scriptures and the power of God.

There the similarities end. The Baptist was a rough-hewn, plain-speaking, abrasive country preacher. John Stott was a highly educated, urbane, son of a titled English doctor, who spoke and wrote in impeccable Oxford English. Moreover John Stott was a diplomat, statesman, apologist, and scholar. Could there be two Johns more different?

Now that we have news that John Stott has left us for greener pastures in heaven, an event that happened on July 27th, I want to share a few reflections with you on my visit to St Barnabas' in Surrey just over a month ago, and a few thoughts about the 40 minutes I had with my mentor, model, and dear friend.

Remarkably he was well enough to see me, as other visitors had been discouraged from coming. His health had been precarious all spring. But a window opened up, and John told his lifetime secretary Frances Whitehead that he would definitely see me.

I fed him coffee through a straw, and sipped from a cup myself. We talked of old times such as the time we had a water pistol fight on Christmas morning at the Rectory in London, and the breakfast we shared a few years back on a terrace overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida.

We talked about the Anglican Communion and the struggle for Truth that is straining the "bonds of affection" within it. I read him Psalm 34, one of his favorites. I took his hand and prayed, giving thanks for his life, and commending him to our Father. Before I left I said that we would soon see each other in heaven. He agreed. A Philippine assistant came in to feed him his lunch, and I quietly left. I then went outside and wept.

To read more, click here.

John R. W. Stott - (1921-2011): My Biblical Hero

A Reflection

I first encountered John R. W. Stott as a student at London University (LBC) in the 1960's. I was raised among the Plymouth Brethren and, therefore, had a deep suspicion of things like a trained/paid clergy, (we believed and practiced the priesthood of all believers), infant baptism (we opposed it), and our view of the sacraments was symbolic memorial, non-sacramental, but central to the worship of the assembly.

I roomed with an Anglican from India who insisted I go hear John Stott at All Souls' Langham Place; to appease his insistence, I went along. My life was changed forever. I will always be grateful for the Brethren scholars I was raised with, but books by Bishop J.C. Ryle, Westcott and Hort, Michael Ramsey et al were never far from my elbow. (I would later discover C.S. Lewis, J.I. Packer and Michael Green.)

Listening to him preach, Stott was a study in a man who never wasted a single word in the pulpit. He became, for me, one of the greatest living Bible teachers, pastors, and evangelical statesmen of all time, beloved in the UK, and later in the US where he was regularly featured at Inter-Varsity rallies.

Nearly every book he wrote wound up on my bookshelf. Basic Christianity and The Cross of Christ became the mainstays for informing others about The Faith and for keeping me focused on Christ's death and resurrection as central to the message of Christ. There was and is "no other name..."

A number of us were deeply and forever changed by "Uncle John". They included Ted Schroder, an assistant of Stott's at All Souls who went on to be an Episcopal priest, chaplain and devotional book writer in the US. Dr. David Wells went on to become a Distinguished Research Professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Os Guinness became a world-renown author, speaker and social critic with a long list of books. I became a scrappy, theologically trained Anglican journalist with an eye for theological and ecclesiastical BS and heretics. (Both Schroder and Wells have written tributes to Stott. They can be found here

Over the years, our paths would cross in different countries; two spring to mind....

To read more, click here.

Strange...or not so strange

I have posted a number of tributes to John Stott from around the web. “Uncle John,” as some affectionately called him, died this past Wednesday at the age of 90. John Stott was a leading evangelical figure, if not the leading evangelical figure, in the Church of England in the second half of the twentieth century and well into the first decade of the twenty-first century. He influenced more than one generation of evangelicals both in and outside the Anglican Church.

What I find disquieting is that the Anglican Church in North America, the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the Anglican Mission in the Americas have not acknowledged his death on their web sites, much less posted a tribute to John Stott, who was a globally prominent Anglican leader. Even the Trinity School for Ministry, with whom John Stott had a long relationship, has nothing on its web site.

John Stott will be missed in some quarters even if his passing elicits no reaction in others. Or do I hear a collective sigh of relief behind the deafening silence?

Age-Segregated Ministry 'Unbiblical,' Says Former Youth Pastors

A group of pastors and former youth ministry leaders suggest that today’s youth ministries should be disbanded, calling the common practice of separating congregations by age for worship and Bible study "unbiblical."

The church leaders state their case in the documentary film, “Divided: Is Age-Segregated Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church?”

The film is produced by the National Center for Family Integrated Churches in association with LeClerc Brothers Motion Pictures. The producers released the documentary earlier this month online, and have made it available for free until Sept. 15.

“Divided” follows “edgy twenty-something” Christian filmmaker Philip LeClerc on a quest to find answers to why his generation is increasingly turning away from attending church. Recent surveys have shown that as many as 85 percent of young people will leave the church and many never return.

NCFIC Director Scott T. Brown told The Christian Post that today’s modern concept of youth ministry is a “50-year failed experiment.” Brown said that when he was a church leader in the ‘70s and ‘80s he could have been the “poster boy” for the youth ministry movement in California. However, he said he now feels that dividing children from adults at church is an unbiblical concept borrowed from humanistic philosophies.

“The church has become divided generationally,” Brown said. “It’s not doing what Scripture prescribes and is actually doing something foreign to Scripture by dividing people by age or by life stage.”

To read more, click here.

To view the movie, "Divided," click here.

Who Is John Stott?

The journalist who famously described John Stott as the presumptive “pope” of the evangelicals also complained that the world knew so little about the man who had won exceptional honors and was celibate, humble, articulate, and once even controversial.

“The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen, and I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors,” said Billy Graham, paying tribute to the Rev. John Robert Walmsley Stott, who died at the age of 90 Wednesday.

A year before Time magazine ranked John Stott among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005, Jewish journalist David Brooks from The New York Times said the reason “why so many people are so misinformed about evangelical Christians” in America is that their critics, namely the media and the Democrats, could not identify “authentic representatives” of the global evangelical movement, pointing to Stott.

“It could be that you have never heard of John Stott,” Brooks wrote. “I don’t blame you. As far as I can tell, Stott has never appeared on an important American news program.”

Brooks commented that Stott’s writing had a voice, “friendly, courteous and natural.” “It is humble and self-critical, but also confident, joyful and optimistic. Stott’s mission is to pierce through all the encrustations and share direct contact with Jesus. Stott says that the central message of the gospel is not the teachings of Jesus, but Jesus himself, the human/divine figure. He is always bringing people back to the concrete reality of Jesus’ life and sacrifice.”

If evangelicals could elect a pope, Brooks added, “Stott is the person they would likely choose.”

To read more, click here.

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Cross rises again in Iqaluit

It’s been six years since Iqaluit lost its iconic igloo-shaped Anglican church to arson, but a brand new cross and steeple have helped the nearly rebuilt cathedral reclaim its spot in the city’s skyline.

After travelling more than 2,000 kilometres to Iqaluit from Ottawa, the cross and steeple were affixed to St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral last week, bringing the project one stage closer to completion.

The cross and steeple arrived by sealift, an ocean ship that travels to Nunavut from southern Canadian ports in the summer months and carries bulk goods, and oversized and specialty items that can’t be flown in by plane.

It was pivotal step on a journey to rebuild the place of worship that’s been filled with patience, planning, building and constant fundraising. The cathedral is the only Anglican church in northern Canada.

It serves as a church, meeting place and sanctuary for stranded passengers.

To read more, click here.

To learn more about St. Jude's Cathedral. Iqaluit, and the cost of reconstructing the fire-damaged building, click here.

To visit the Diocese of the Artic website, click here.

J. I. Packer on Homosexuality

Sitting Down with J.I. Packer

Perhaps my favorite time in Orlando was spent in a small group with Dr. J. I. Packer. It is hard to overestimate Packer’s impact on evangelical Christianity. The graciousness he afforded me to sit on a couch and ask him questions for more than an hour was humbling and helpful. He is very clear minded at age eighty-two and he remains incredibly conversant, insightful, and witty. Impressively, his words are impeccably precise.

On Homosexuality

As we sat on the couch together, he explained that Anglicanism is patterned after the ancient Roman governmental system so that a bishop has jurisdiction over a geographic area. However, this long-established ecclesiological pattern has been breached because Anglicanism is suffering from “heretical bishops.” By “heretical bishops,” Packer was referring to those bishops who sanction homosexual activity. He explained that the “heretical bishops” won support for their position following much lobbying. This sadly required Bible-believing Anglican churches to come under the authority of other orthodox bishops outside of their geographic area rather than remain under “heretical bishops.”

Homosexuality: A Heretical Issue

When asked about calling those who support homosexuality and profess to be Christian “heretical,” Packer very carefully and insightfully explained what he meant. He began by saying that as Christians we are tempted to sin in many ways, including homosexuality. However, because God has saved us through Jesus and empowered us with the Holy Spirit, we are to practice ongoing repentance of sin and rejection of sinful desires. He explained in great detail that he perceives the approval of homosexuality to be “heretical” because it denies a fundamental aspect of the gospel—namely repentance. Packer explained how for six years he called his Anglican Diocese to repent of their sinful support of unrepentant homosexual activity, to no avail. Eventually, his own archbishop sought to pull his license (essentially his ordination or credentials) as a punitive measure. In the end, Packer, along with roughly thirty Anglican churches, came out from under their “heretical” leadership to form a new Anglican alliance. Returning to the issue of denying a fundamental aspect of the gospel (repentance), he explained that 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 says,

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Packer was clear that those who do not call Christians to repent of homosexual activity are, as Scripture says, “deceived.” He told me that the first of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses was that the whole of a Christian’s life is to be one of repentance of sin. Any Christian who does not practice and promote repentance is denying an aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When I asked how the denial of repentance merited the label of “heretical,” Packer said, “ “‘Heresy’ ought to be used when an aspect of the gospel is being denied.” He further explained that because God through Paul warns the Corinthians that those who practice homosexuality unrepentantly will be damned to hell, “Souls are put at risk every time homosexuality is tolerated.”

Starting a New Religion?

In keeping with Packer’s line of reasoning, I asked him if those who are “heretical” in promoting homosexual activity while declaring themselves to be Christian are in effect promoting a new religion based upon a false gospel, like Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He said, “You could describe it that way and it’s what they are doing.”

To read more, click here.

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More Tributes to John Stott

John Stott Rembrance Book

John Stott: home to be with the Lord

For all of us who were together in Cape Town for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation, we will remember the moving tributes given to the two giants of The Lausanne Movement, Billy Graham and John Stott.

They were personal friends who loved and admired one another, and they were the defining figures of global evangelicalism for the last sixty years.

On July 27, 2011, “Uncle John” went home to be with the Lord. He is now with the One who he served all his life and in whom he had total confidence.

To read more, click here.

On John RW Stott 1921-2011--Archbishop Peter Jensen

There are a few, a very few, who deserve to be called a Prince among the people of God. John Stott was one such.

We all see other people partially. I am not therefore going to try to give a rounded picture of the man. I am only going to mention briefly the areas in which his impact was strongest in our part of the world. But the source and nature of that impact was at the very heart of his whole ministry. It had to do with his treatment of Scripture.

The thing for which we will mainly remember him was as one who expounded the Bible as God’s word.

To read more, click here.

John Stott and Global Anglicanism – Vinay Samuel

In the fifties and sixties of the last century John Stott and Jim Packer with others clearly defined the identity of evangelical Anglicans and biblically faithful Anglicanism. This process enabled evangelical Anglicans to have a space in the midst of a church which they saw as expressing principled comprehensiveness. None of the various elements that made up the Anglican church seriously denied the fundamentals of the faith.

Stott and Packer and their colleagues defined the space for evangelical Anglicans and this was taken up throughout the Anglican Communion to the extent that it existed then. It was still the Church of England writ large and English evangelicals were able to define what evangelical Anglicanism was and the space it occupied throughout the Communion. The vehicles they used were organisations like Eclectics, the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion, the Church of England Evangelical Council, and their own writings and preaching.

This all came to full expression in the Keele Congress of 1967. What was important about that conference was not a decision for evangelicals to seek for places in the formal leadership of the Church of England: Stott and Packer never aspired to that. What was important about the conference was that it gave evangelical Anglicans in the UK but also around the world the confidence that they could be Anglican and evangelical. They enabled evangelical Anglicans to resist the pressures to opt out of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

To read more, click here.

John RW Stott – In Loving Memory

His Grace has lost count of the number of times he met the Rev Dr John Stott, who sadly (for us) went to be with the Lord yesterday. There were many times during the 1980s and early 90s, often at Christmas over a coffee and a mince pie, and his conversation was invariably charming and thought-provoking: he radiated something of the ineffable wonder of Christ; a serenity, gentleness, sincerity and beauty so often lacking in the Church. And yet there was also firmness and conviction: he was one of those who truly walked with the Lord, day by day.

When you see the number of tributes from all over the world which are appearing in a Remembrance Book dedicated to his memory, you begin to understand that he was more than a vicar, chaplain, rector, and rector emeritus. He was a bishop in the true sense of the word. He wasn’t concerned with status, hierarchy, the pursuit of power, or with any other misunderstood or misapplied definitions associated with that ministry: he was an overseer of the Church and a guardian of the Truth. He was never formally recommended for the office of bishop or appointed by the Queen. But he didn’t need to be. John Stott was raised up by God and qualified by the work of the Holy Spirit. He helped to guide the Church of England through a period of turmoil which might well have ended in schism. But by his superintendence, inspection, diligence, visitation and investigation – all of those functions inherent in Episkope – he shepherded the flock towards peace and unity. And he taught – most excellently. And wrote – most inspirationally. He fed the Church like a true Elder, and was respected the world over for his moral character, holiness, faithfulness, and charisma.

To read more, click here.

ACL tribute to John Stott

“Christian men and women all over the world will be sad to hear of the death of John Stott, one of the leading evangelical voices of the twentieth century. A man of first class intellect, of personal integrity of the highest order, and of passionate commitment to Christ and so to the Scriptures, John Stott enthused and equipped generations of preachers to present the word of God clearly, insightfully, and memorably. His ministry at All Souls, Langham Place in London made it a beacon for evangelical Anglicanism throughout the world. His powerful written legacy of commentaries, expositions of biblical doctrines and perhaps especially his The Cross of Christ, will continue to bless Christian men and women for years to come. Basic Christianity and Your Confirmation were profoundly influential in the lives of countless new Christians. John Stott’s strategy in providing the means for training future evangelical leaders in the two thirds world has borne rich fruit.

Those who knew John Stott well speak of his warmth and generosity, his wit and his unswerving commitment to gospel priorities. He never failed to encourage young men and women to give their lives to the spread of the gospel and the edification of Christ’s people. Even in disagreement, he was never defensive, always courteous and unfailingly humble and gentle.

To read more, click here.

Tributes paid to John Stott, dead at 90

Evangelical leaders around the world are paying tribute to one of the most significant figures in evangelicalism in the 20th Century, John Stott, who has died at the age of 90.

According to the website of All Souls church, Langham Place, London, where Stott was Rector emeritus, he died at his retirement home at St. Barnabas College on the afternoon of Wednesday 27th July. The site said "He was surrounded by Frances Whitehead, and a number of good friends. They were reading the Scriptures and listening to Handel's Messiah when he peacefully went to be with his Lord and Saviour."

Once named in Time's top 100 influential people in the world, Stott was a leader among evangelical Anglicans worldwide, but his influence extended into the broader sphere of world protestantism.

To read more, click here.

Anglican Evangelist John Stott Dies

British evangelical leader John Stott died Wednesday at age 90, his ministry confirmed.

Stott died at his home at St. Barnabas College, a community for retired Anglican clergy in Surrey, southeast England, according to a statement.

It added that he was surrounded by "a number of good friends. They were reading the Scriptures and listening to Handel's Messiah when he peacefully went to be with his Lord and Saviour."

To read more, click here.

Additional tributes may be found on Anglican Mainstream, Anglican United, First Things, and Peter Ould.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John Stott, World Famous Evangelical Leader, Dies at 90

World-renowned evangelist and Biblical scholar John Stott died Wednesday at 3.15 p.m. local time in London (10.15 a.m. EST), according to John Stott Ministries President Benjamin Homan.

Homan has reported that Stott’s death has come following a few weeks of discomfort, and that the death was simply related to complications related to old age.

Stott, who died at 90, retired from public ministry in 2007 when he was 86 years old. He spent his retirement in the College of St. Barnabas, Lingfield, which is a residence for retired Anglican clergy.

The English Anglican leader is revered for his ministry life. The world famous evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, described him as "the most respected clergyman in the world today."

Stott, who founded the Langham Partnership International, was confirmed into the Anglican Church in 1936 and has since enjoyed working in a wide range of activities and organizations.

He held the position as chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council from 1967 to 1984, and has also been the president of two hugely influential Christian organizations, the U.K. branches of Scripture Union from 1965 to 1974, and the Evangelical Alliance from 1973 to 1974.

To read more, click here.

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A Caution on "Being Missional"

The church's commitment must remain to the building of the local church.

As an instructor at Wesley Seminary (Marion, IN), I teach a class called "The Missional Church." It is a joy to see "lights go on" in the hearts of students when they consider the priority of believers to share the message—and experience—of God's love beyond the walls of their church. The "missional movement" is bringing many church leaders to the important realization that Christians are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their world.

I have observed, however, that after reading books by missional authors and viewing videos of missional teachers, some students seem to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That is, they conclude that the ultimate goal of a "missional church" is to go into the community to do good works in the name of Christ and the expansion of "the Kingdom." And whether these needy folks ever come to faith, and membership in a local church, is not among the criteria to define "success" in their missional endeavors.

To read more, click here.

Tailgate Tales

How to have the perfect getaway when you can't get away

Summer vacation! My kids were ecstatic. But I, sensing imminent anarchy, was less enthusiastic. I'd read articles featuring families on cruises, families at dude ranches, families at theme parks, families at resorts. However, I knew none of those options would be available to me this year. So what could I do to keep five kids ages nine and under happy—and my sanity intact—without leaving town or spending a wad of cash?

As usual, when I get desperate enough, I pray. Now I wouldn't say the idea that came to me was necessarily divinely inspired, but all I'd been able to arrive at on my own was locking myself in my room with a good book. So, when the tailgate scheme popped into my head, it really seemed to be an answer to prayer.

The whole plan evolved from remembering the fun our family had tailgating at sporting events. I called it the "Mystery Tailgate Adventure," but in reality it was a mini-family vacation in our own city. Its twist was to take ordinary outings and cloak them in fantasy. The trick was to do this while spending as little money as possible. With those factors in mind, I planned a week of surprise tailgate picnics, each at a different local destination.

To read more, click here.

Back to the Garden

Row by row, urban Christians learn to bear literal and spiritual fruit.

On a recent sunday, Steven Hebbard got stung by a bee. He seemed deliriously happy. "I got stung! It stung! Whoopee!" Hebbard wasn't crazy. He was just excited that his group of gardeners had put in their first beehive.

The day before, Hebbard had trained 19 students from Gateway Community Church, an Austin megachurch, on how to garden alongside the homeless and impoverished. And earlier this year, Hebbard broke ground on a new garden on an acre of land for the poverty-stricken refugee community living in East Austin. Most of the refugees are Nepalese or Bhutanese. "After looking at the space and realizing they had at least an acre that could be used for community gardening, I contacted the apartment complex manager, and he gave us the go-ahead."

Thirty refugees—about half of them with a Hindu background—came to the kickoff. Christian refugees living nearby joined in, and many of them are now active at the new International Restoration Church.

"After the garden looked amazing in its fully planted form, I fully expected all the refugees to take off," Hebbard told Christianity Today. "Some did, but most stuck around. The day was an amazing success."

"Back to the garden" is a new way of doing church that adds a missional tweak to traditional gardening. Congregations and ministries are planting sweet corn around their sites, mobilizing gardening networks for the needy, and rediscovering the value of low-tech, high-touch community.

To read more, click here.

The Sign of a True Christian Is a Changed Life

Q: My sister supposedly gave her life to Jesus when she was 8, but you'd never know it now. Will she go to heaven anyway, in spite of the way she's turned her back on everything Christian? -- Mrs. W.H.

A: Only God knows your sister's heart, and whether or not she honestly gave her life to Christ when she was young, and a remnant of faith still remains in her. No Christian is perfect, of course -- but some day her true relationship with Christ will be revealed. The Bible warns, "Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).

To read more, click here.

U.S. Postal Service Announces Big Changes, Cuts

The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday announced closings of 3,653 post offices in hopes to restore profitability and cut back on their losses.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who took office at the beginning of the year, announced at a news conference today his plans to save the agency $200 million by the closures, according to CNN.

For several years, the Postal Service has continued to face large deficits, despite cutbacks in labor costs. They reported an $8.5 billion net loss in 2010, and $3.8 billion loss in 2009, recently exhausting their $15 billion borrowing limit.

“A lot of the decisions we make around our operations are based on the revenues that come into the operation,” Donahoe shared, as reported by the SF Gate.

“We’ve lost a tremendous amount of first class mail,” he added, according to The Wall Street Journal. “It’s down 28 percent in the last four years and that’s what pays the bills; that’s what pays for six days of delivery. As you lose that, you have to make decisions. We’re no different than any other business.”

Some of the mostly rural post offices being reviewed only average less than $50 a day in sales, with employees working less than two hours per day.

To read more, click here.

Norway Killings: Media Quick to Hate on Christians?

Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly is appalled, along with many others, over the media's use of the word "Christian" to identify the killer responsible for dozens of deaths in Norway.

In his show Monday night, the outspoken host accused the liberal media of playing up the Christian angle in the tragic story because they want the public to believe that fundamentalist Christians are a threat like "crazy jihadists are."

Another reason for the Christian angle push from the liberal media: "They don't like Christians very much because we are too judgmental," O'Reilly observed.

But the Fox News host denounced the headlines over Friday's massacre and asserted that Anders Behring Breivik is not a Christian.

"That's impossible," he said. "No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder. The man might have called himself a Christian on the net, but he is certainly not of that faith."

O'Reilly further noted that the 32-year-old suspect who was arraigned on Monday is not attached to any church and has criticized the Protestant belief system.

"Once again, we can find no evidence, none, that this killer practiced Christianity in any way."

To read more, click here.

Texas Widow Pieces Life Back Together After Death of Missionary Husband

Elisabeth Loua's story is heart-wrenching. She's left trying to reassemble the pieces of her life after her husband, Michael, was killed while serving as a missionary to his native country of Guineau last November.

Michael Loua left behind four children, including now seven-month-old Michael Jr., whom he never had the chance to meet. Elisabeth says that as Michael Jr. grows up she “will tell him that his dad was a strong man, first of all that loved the Lord, and second of all that liked to work hard.”

Guineau is a predominantly Muslim nation in West Africa and can be hostile to Christians. Loua knew from first-hand experience that he would be in danger by going there.

Michael O'Conner, youth pastor at Rosewood Baptist Church in Gilmer, Texas, and a friend of Loua's, said that when Loua converted to Christianity one of his family members attacked him with a machete, leaving a lasting scar on his head as a reminder of the violence and ever-present danger facing missionaries at work in Guineau.

“He loved the people of his country,” said O'Conner.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's one-page “Status of Global Mission” document provides a statistical overview of the entire Christian world. According to the 2011 report, in any given 24-hour period, an average of 270 Christians will be martyred for their faith worldwide.

To read more, click here.

Related article: Keeping the faith

Prayers unanswered as Anglicans brace for more cuts

The Anglican Church's Sydney diocese faces another year of belt tightening and cuts to community services after its investment arm warned of a ''substantial reduction'' in its annual payout.

Two years after it lost $160 million because of a high-risk gearing strategy, the investment arm of the country's largest Anglican diocese has blamed a 71 per cent fall in earnings - to $3.2 million for the year to December - on a ''subdued performance'' by the Australian sharemarket. The result would have been worse if not for a $4.5 million rise in the value of its investment in St Andrew's House.

The Glebe Administration Board, which manages the Sydney diocese's endowment fund, has been on a cost-cutting drive since 2008, when its share portfolio crashed during the global financial crisis. It has Anglican Church's Sydney diocese faces another year of belt tightening and cuts to community services after its investment arm warned of a ''substantial reduction'' in its annual payout.

To read more, click here.

Too little too late

As an outsider looking in at the literal tearing down of a place of worship, the St Barnabas Church in Georgetown, I am extremely appalled to say the least. Churches, especially our Catholic and Anglican churches are blessed and consecrated by the local Bishop.

No house of God should ever face the same fate as St Barnabas and be de-consecrated; it’s just not right. But one must ask the question, how did this church get to that dire stage, whereby nothing else could have been done but to sell the building, then have it demolished, erased from the Bourda landscape and indeed the annals of our history? Now, when the damage has been done, outrage and regrets are coming from left, right and centre, especially from the Anglican diaspora; too little, too late I say.

To read more, click here.

English church services in Coutances

Former British Aerospace engineer Peter Hales found out about the Anglican church in Coutances in the Manche while on holiday in the region seven years ago.

He later received an offer he could not refuse and moved to France with his wide Pippa to become the lay reader at Christ Church in 2005, and he is now a fully ordained Anglican priest.

The church holds services every Sunday, drawing a congregation of English-speakers from all over Normandy.

With a “parish” that covers an area about 100 miles by 50, it has been a very different experience to a traditional local church.

To read more, click here.

Christ Church Coutances Web Site

Dioceses Commission publishes progress report

The Dioceses Commission has today published an interim progress report on its review of the Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield, available online here.

In November 2010, the Commission published for consultation a report recommending the replacement of the existing Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield with a single new diocese. The diocesan synods of all three dioceses have since voted in favour of the preparation of a draft reorganisation scheme. The Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield diocesan synods also specifically endorsed the proposal for a single diocese divided into five episcopal areas (local units of mission led by a bishop).

In its interim progress report, the Commission announces that, in the light of the responses it has received, it is drawing up a reorganisation scheme to replace the Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield with a single new diocese, as well as draft instruments for the creation of episcopal areas. The draft scheme will be published in October 2011 and will be accompanied by a statement of the effect of the proposals on the mission of the Church of England, and a detailed estimate of the financial effect of the creation of a single diocese. The Commission is still working on the details of the scheme.

To read more, click here.