Many thanks to the 30Days reader who spotted this in the Salisbury diocesan Cycle of Prayer for the current quarter: 25 CHRISTMAS DAY St Bartholomew - Stephen Morgan, June Lane, Stanley Wilson (LLM)
We ask for God's help in bringing people together. Portsmouth (God's own team) play West Ham on Boxing Day and could do with all the help they can get.
To which the only rational response is 'Come on the Hammers!' Altogether now:
I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air.
They fly so high,
Nearly reach the sky,
Then like my dreams,
They fade and die.
New Year sales
It's time to redeem all those Christmas book tokens and, from Morehouse Publishing in the USA, here's just what every 30Days reader needs: The Episcopal Handbook. Apparently, it provides historical and theological information about the Episcopal Church, alongside 'fun-filled facts and practical tips for being a churchgoing follower of Jesus Christ'.
Complete with illustrations, the book presents 'a combination of vast truths, complex details, and bits of humor about the Episcopal understanding of the Christian life. This unique and handy resource is perfect for youth, adults, students, families, and all those interested in learning about much of what encompasses life in the church'. Sections include:
How to Stay Alert in Church
How to Be a Greeter
Why Is Everybody Kneeling?
Is Coffee Really the Third Sacrament?
Five Inspiring Female Episcopalians
How to Work for World Peace
...and much more!
Reports say that they've already knocked 30% off the asking price, so it's obviously selling like hot cakes!
'In some circles, to be considered a proper evangelical these days, you have to believe that all sexual activity should only take place within marriage and that women should always be supervised by men. The fact that I don't accept either belief means that I am considered "unsound" by some, but I do not think that making issues of sexual behaviour or the scope of women's legitimate authority the touchstones of orthodoxy is the mark of a true evangelical, let alone a true Christian...'
Thus our old friend Christina Rees, writing recently in The Guardian. There you have it: if you do not agree with Christina, you are not a true Christian. Which, if you think about it, must mean that the General Synod is a very Christian body indeed - as its behaviour last July so amply demonstrated. After all, driving out of the Church those who are not true Christians can only count for glory - can't it?
Next year I've booked two periods of 36 hours for small groups of us to go away for a short break without a heavy agenda of'ministry'but simply so that we can relax, take time out, and inhabit our humanity again. Ministry is so pressurized these days I think we all need to be kinder to ourselves, so I'd like to offer you some space. I've booked ten places each time at Parmoor Hall, near Henley. I want us to have good food and drink, easy conversation, sharing of some of our recent (non-church) discoveries, time for a walk, a guiet morning, some input of a non-ministry-driven kind perhaps. I hope you get the picture. At first sight, this seems a kindly gesture by the Bishop of Oxford, writing to his clergy recently. To take twenty of his priests away, free, gratis and for nothing, and for a whole 36 hours can only serve to endear him to them - or, at least, the twenty who avail themselves of the offer. What the other 94% of his clergy who won't be able to take part in this exciting initiative are supposed to do to be kinder to themselves isn't clear, but perhaps they have friends with whom they can go and stay.
Just fancy that!
PEOPLE across Wales are today urged to pledge to stop binge drinking as an unprecedented coalition of Churchmen and senior police officers launched a crusade against the problem. In a letter to today's Western Mail, the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, and Barbara Wilding, chair of the Wales Association of Chief Police Officers call upon drinkers to sign up to an online pledge vowing to cut back.
The Western Mail, 20 November 2008
A WELSH vicar is hoping to encourage more parishioners back to his church by selling pints from the pulpit. In what could be a first for the country, the Rev Geraint ap lorwerth, vicar of Pennal, near Machynlleth is to apply for an alcohol licence for his church. 'It will be quite unusual to have a licensing notice appearing above the church door, 'he said. The vicar says his plan to sell alcohol is part of an ongoing drive to modernize his church and to make it more appealing to the local community.
The Western Mail, 23 April 2008
News from Spongland
The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, New Jersey has something of a new take on boring old liturgy. The Parish website provides the lowdown:
• All people, regardless of their tradition or age, are invited to receive Communion.
• No formal church instruction is required to receive Communion.
• Grape juice is consecrated in consideration of those people who do not wish to receive wine.
• One of the three Sunday lessons is taken from either a secular source or from the sacred writings of a tradition other than Christianity.
• The celebrant always receives communion last to model servant leadership and to discount images of hierarchy.
• Female imagery and references to God are used in conjunction with male imagery and references.
• Redeemer intentionally uses the traditional form of The Lord's Prayer, but begins with the words, 'Our Mother, our Father.' People often join hands during this prayer.
• The liturgical year has been altered to include an eight-week Creation Season, which points to the presence of God within all of creation, not just within human history.
• Leaders and members of Redeemer may come from traditions other than Christian and Episcopalian.
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