The choice of a successor to Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury may not take place for several months, the Church of England has said. Officials reiterated that the work of choosing a successor could go on throughout the autumn. This follows intense speculation that the Crown Nominations Commission had failed to agree a candidate. Officials stressed that the group had all of autumn to decide, conceding only that it would want to avoid having no-one to replace Dr Williams when he steps down at the end of the year.

I am not surprised. In fact, I cannot see how any decision can ever be made concerning the next archbishop of Canterbury.

The evangelical party of the Church of England believes that it is now the most powerful grouping in the Church of England. They have hardcore members on the Crown Nominations Commission, including a shrink who believes gay people can be "cured." There is no way their representatives are going to allow the election of an archbishop who believes that sex between two people of the same gender is not a sin if it takes place within the same bounds of fidelity as sex between two people of opposite gender. The problem is that everyone else believes that, unless we are to become a fundamentalist denomination dominated by the cultural norms and prejudices of the so-called Global South churches, the full inclusion of gay people within society and the church must be achieved under the next watch. Another ten years of prevarication will lose the Church of England any residual respect it may enjoy within the wider British society. Ten years of an archbishop of Canterbury determined to impose evangelical theology and morality on everybody will end up with the Church of England becoming a sect of evangelicals plus those who just don't care about theology and the concerns of anybody else except themselves (which, let's face it, is probably the majority of the membership).

To put it bluntly, the evangelical party will not back down this time, nor will they accept an evangelical archbishop who is not 100% dedicated to turning the Church of England into a "Bible-based" sect and getting rid of "the gay problem" by getting rid of gay people from the church. Other members of the Commission, those who are not evangelicals, will be fighting tooth and nail to stop such an eventuality because the church they love will disappear completely if the evangelicals get what they want. So, no decision is possible.

It's ironic that of the people who remained within the Church of England following the Act of Uniformity, those who were most adversely affected by the imposed conformity of the act, were the Puritans, the theological and ethical forebears of an evangelical party within the church now determined to impose their own invented orthodoxy and orthopraxis upon everyone else. You might think they would have learnt tolerance from their own experience of exclusion. Instead it appears they just want revenge and their turn at telling everyone else what they should believe and how they should behave.



All are welcome to join me in taking communion. 

The order of service is posted beneath the audio file so that you can join in with the service. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol). How you view the nature of this part of the service is completely up to you.

The order of service is posted beneath the audio file so that you can join in with the service. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

Click on the arrow on the player to stream.
Download via the MP3 icon below the player.
Download podcast via iTUNES.

MP3 File

CLICK HERE for order of service (opens in new window)

Counting Up Game

My school adopted Math in Focus a few years ago. It's based on the Singapore approach. It's a difficult program and at times I feel some of it isn't developmentally appropriate. It is a great program for enrichment in first.
That being's what we have and it's what I'm going to do my very best with. I don't know a lot of other people using the program so I'm definitely cranking out materials to help my kiddos learn while keeping with the program.

Right now we are working on subtraction. We've already completed Chapter 3 over addition. One of the subtraction strategies that is taught is counting up to find the difference. I will say that this program has a lot of CD and online resources. The text, in first grade, offers some games to correlate with some of the math strategies.

The game we were working on this week after introducing the lesson the kiddos loved!
  •  Each pair of student receives 10 counters (I used linking cubes)
  • Student A chooses 1-10 cubes and puts them in the middle
  • Student B closes their eyes and Student A takes away 'some' of the cubes
  • Student B counts how many remaining cubes there are and then counts up to the beginning number
I teach the kids to grab and count (post on that coming soon) but I tried to give the directions as general as possible.

I finished Set 2 of my math journals! I created 30 journal prompts and I based them on my math curriculum but luckily Math in Focus coincides with several CCS. That was one of the selling points to the program. Set 2 covers varied addition strategies.

Click here to check out Set 2
Click here to check out Set 1 (my best selling item!)

Some Set 1 feedback:
"We just adopted Math in Focus as our new curriculum and I'm excited to have extra handouts to accompany the lessons."

What’s Cooking At Your House?

I know that many of you have tried your hand at Ethiopian cuisine in your own kitchens and I thought it would be fun to share your experience here on the blog! 

Ethiopia 2008 Lindsey 434

I hear all the time how much your Ethiopian kids love it when you serve (or go out to eat) traditional Ethiopian food.

Here are a couple links to get the injera rolling (so to speak)…

Ethiopian Recipes
@The Berbere Diaries
Kinche, Injera Chips, Timatim Salad and more!

Mesob Across America
@Ethiopian Food
Vegetables, meat, breakfast, appetizers and snacks


How about you?  Leave a comment below with a favorite recipe, links to helpful websites or anything you have learned along the way in your own kitchen. 






He’s a gritty old white Catholic priest who cusses like a sailor, marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King and is hailed as a “living saint” by many in his majority black Southwest Side parish. But nine months after he was brutally beaten to within an inch of death by burglars, Father Dan Mallette and his supporters say he’s being disrespectfully nudged towards a retirement home — and out of the St. Margaret of Scotland parish where he’s fought violence and poverty for 35 years. It’s an emotional battle that has the proud but physically frail 80-year-old priest — and supporters including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart — squaring off against the Archdiocese and the man Cardinal Francis George last month appointed to take over at St. Margaret’s.

The archdiocese insists that Mallette must leave the parish for six months so that the new priest can establish himself.

Mallette dismisses his successor, Father Bill O’Donnell, as “a genius at being a pain in the ass.”



Here we go again.

The "Piss Christ" photograph by Andres Serrano that is going on view at a Midtown gallery tomorrow has really been bothering Catholic League president Bill Donohue.

He told Fox News last week, "It seems like we have a protected class for Muslims as well as some other segments of our population. But when it comes to Christians, it's an all-out war."

So now Donohue has created a video showing off his answer: An Obama bobblehead in a jar with feces.

Joe. My. God. noticed the video on YouTube and left a comment on the video's page, but then the Catholic League disabled comments. The comment was, "That's a pretty sweet office ya got there, Bill. How many old ladies are eating cat food this week so you could grab their Social Security checks?"

There are four things that really piss me off about this.

1. It is such a boringly predictable thing to do. It's like to shouting "same to you with knobs on," in the school playground.

2. He didn't use real shit. It's a fake just like its creator.

3. WTF has it got to do with poor Barack? I wouldn't be surprised if Donahue blames his gross, little old ladies eating cat food enabled, obesity on Obama as he seems to blame him for everything else.

4. You don't spell "faeces" f-e-c-e-s!!!!! And if you really insist on doing so then don't pronounce it "feecees" because you ain't spelling it that way.


When Nashville and Laurel Canyon shot it out for the desert temptress, Escondido made the soundtrack. Recorded live in a single day, their 10-song debut album is due out Feb. 2013. Escondido is Jessica Maros and Tyler James, both veterans of Nashville’s music scene. This exclusive EP offers a glimpse into their washed out landscape steeped in American roots music.

For fans of Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Ennio Morricone, Neko Case, Mazzy Star.



From WDEF NEWS 12:

The leader of a popular youth ministry in Birmingham has pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to impersonate a police officer. 28-year-old Matt Pitt was sentenced to two years on probation on Wednesday, fined $1,000 and required to make a public apology.

Pitt was arrested in May after flashing a badge and telling Calera police that he was a deputy from Jefferson County. Pitt was originally pulled over for flashing blue lights at motorists on Interstate 65, forcing them to pull over before speeding past them.

Oh, I have to admit that I have always wanted to do that. I'd pick on rich people in big flash cars, bicyclists and bishops.

However, "The Parable of the Naughty Youth Minister" teaches me that having lots of fun, even at the expense of money grabbing account executives, latex clad lawbreakers and Oxbridge graduates, is not always the Christian way.



Jack Alan Schaap, the former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, said Wednesday that he didn’t know he was committing a crime when he transported a minor girl across state lines for sexual activity.

“I was not aware of the law,” he said during his change of plea hearing at the U.S. District Court in Hammond.

I'm looking but I see no hands raised.



Legalizing same-sex marriage is “a conservative proposal” consistent with basic Christian teaching and the Christian life, Greg Rickel, who has served since 2007 as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, argues in a statement to be released on Thursday. The bishop’s statement will be read during an afternoon news conference, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, at which Protestant and Jewish leaders from the faith community — and Catholics for Marriage Equality — will argue for passage of Referendum 74 on the November ballot.

Bishop Rickel writes, “Christianity has held, when considering relationships of all sorts — but especially in relation to two people in marriage — fidelity to be our value. Fidelity is the value in most all our sacraments, and also in our life as Christians. It seems to me we have held our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in a Catch-22. We say they cannot live up to our value because they cannot be married, or even blessed in their union. While many of them have begged for this, it is still not possible. If one would think about this carefully, it would be clear what they ask of us, the church and their government, is to put boundaries around their relationship, to hold them in the same regard and with the same respect, which would also mean that we expect the same from them, as any loving heterosexual couple. They are not asking for special treatment. They are asking for equal treatment. They are asking to be accountable, as a couple, in community. To me, this is a conservative proposal. I am for it, and I hope we will finally make way for this to happen, not only in our society, but also in our church.”

I have been saying for years that the Christian Church was responsible for the deaths of many gay people who died at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Marriage is the right thing to do, not because of tradition, natural law or because God is a homophobe, but because it is the safest way for people to have sex together. Monogamous marriage is good for the body and mind whilst promiscuity is extremely dangerous physically and can lead to all sorts of emotional turmoil and mental health problems. By refusing to allow same gender couples to marry in church and make a commitment to fidelity before God; by labelling their love for each other as anti-social and sinful; the Church expelled gay people into an anything goes wilderness.

Christians who are in favour of the sacrament of (church) marriage being available to all faithful (to each other and to God) couples are often accused of being laissez-faire about morality. What rot! We are, in fact, far more moralistic, and conservatively moralistic, than any reactionary, so-called traditionalist or orthodox Christian. We are the ones who hold to the fundamentals of the Christian faith which were taught by Christ himself, as Bishop Rickel proves so well in his statement. It is those who bind themselves to the human law and human tradition based on the human centred, authoritarian and capitalist paradigms of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation (fifteen hundred odd years after the birth of Christ) who are the revisionists. Furthermore, claims that "it has always been this way" or "it is written in the Bible" are not moral arguments, they are just thoughtless repetitions of enslaving ideas their proponents have had indoctrinated into them in the past by powerful people pursuing their own selfish, power grabbing agendas. Being a Christian moralist is not about following a strict, unchangeable set of rules (that's just doing as you are told). Being a Christian moralist is about thinking about morality and attempting to come to sensible conclusions about how humans should behave based on reason and the reasonable teachings of our free thinking Saviour.


A lawyer dies, and somehow goes to heaven. As the attorney passes through the pearly gates, a crowd is waiting, cheering. The lawyer is amazed at the reception, and sees St. Peter in front of the crowd.

"A special day!" St. Peter proclaims, "It's not every day that we get the opportunity to welcome someone here who has lived for a hundred and forty-five years!"

"Uh, a hundred and forty-five?" the lawyer muses aloud. "But, I was only fifty nine years old when I passed away."

St. Peter looks concerned. "What's the meaning of this!" he exclaims. "Summon the Holy Accountant at once!"

Very soon an angel appears, peering through bifocals and frantically flipping the pages of a very large ledger book.

"I don't understand where I could have made a mistake," the Holy Accountant says, "I carefully added up his billable hours."

Running Records Template *freebie*

Before I get into my actual post I wanted to make it Blog official (that's better than fb, right?) Johnny and I are over. Done. Finito. Johnny Appleseed that is....and at least until next September when we rekindle our teachmance.

 Our Johnny Appleseed Writing
We wrote about what we'd plant and what we'd do if we were him. Most kids decided that they would 'wear no shoes'. I was Miss Orangeseed for the remainder of the day.

Here is a close up our little guys. I was all enamored with my bulletin board until the other first grade teacher told me that this guy looked like Timmy from South Park...and he does. So now I giggle.
 My kiddos are super creative and quite a few are artsy.

This kiddo wanted to plant bnanu (banana) seeds.

I'd like to thank Primary Possibilities for the great Johnny Appleseed freebie packet.

I have created, using Microsoft Word 2003, an editable running records form.

You'll see that you can type the story in the blank and at first there will be significant spacing, but that is part of the settings. Once the full sentence is typed it will appear normal. Click here to check them out in my TpT store.

I did running records a lot when I first started. It was part of a reading program that the school where I worked did. I like to hear the kids read and see their growth but it just seemed like I was always testing or progress monitoring something and this kinda fell off my plans. Now that I'm trying D5 (I'm still only doing D3) I'm going to *try* to do these toward the end of the week when I pull kiddos during my rotations.

Do you do running records? Is it by choice or is it mandated?

*Permission to pin*


By BROOKS EGERTON (Dallas News):

An internationally prominent Catholic priest has dropped out of sight in the Philippines, years after admitting to me that he had sex with altar boys in the U.S. and supplied them with drugs. Monsignor Cristobal Garcia’s sudden low profile coincides with a new National Geographic article on the ivory trade. It calls Garcia “one of the best known ivory collectors in the Philippines” and quotes him as giving advice on how to smuggle ivory into the U.S., in defiance of a 1989 global trade ban. The magazine refers to my 2005 investigative piece on the priest, who had fled the U.S. after an altar boy was found in his bedroom. He’s one of over 200 Catholic clergymen we found who crossed international borders to escape justice and stay in ministry.

Filipino church leaders helped Garcia reinvent himself as an authority on worship practices and leader of boys at a rural religious compound. Now he’s said to be resting and receiving treatment for hypertension, according to today’s Cebu Daily News.

Will someone remind me again, in what way exactly is two people of the same gender getting married an immoral thing?



A Taoist monk who smoked up to 20 joints a day in a bizarre bid to beat his addiction has been told he must quit cannabis or go to jail. Michael Martin, 39, who teaches martial arts, said that he had been attempting to give up the Class B drug by overloading his body with the substance.



Even by Roman Catholic bishop standards this incredibly contradictory statement warrants a special Screwtape award. In the same sentence the Vatican's man in New Jersey calls for religious freedom and then states that anybody who doesn't do exactly as he tells them to do will be excommunicated. On top of that he has the bare faced cheek to claim that he's not telling people who to vote for.


Newark Archbishop John Myers released a pastoral statement Tuesday that calls on Catholics to examine how political candidates stand on abortion and “a proper backing of marriage.” In the letter, Myers said traditional marriage and religious freedom is under attack and that Catholics who support same-sex marriage should refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

Myers insists his statement is not intended as an endorsement for either political party and is not telling parishioners whom to vote for.

In his pastoral (sic) statement, Myers keeps banging on about how same gender marriage is not natural. He insists that is natural for a man and a woman to get married and do the wild thing together. I suppose it is. In fact, it definitely is. At least, the doing the wild thing definitely is. It's so natural that anybody who chooses not to when they are perfectly capable of it must be regarded, if you're into this what's natural and what isn't nonsense (which I'm not) as acting completely unnaturally. In fact they would be acting in a far more unnatural way than two people of the same sex doing the wild thing together as, at least, they are following their natural inclinations as opposed to denying them. Therefore,  using Myer's logic, celibacy is about the most unnatural manner of life a person could choose to follow, which would make this allegedly celibate archbishop a major blasphemer and heretic. Not only does he insist on following an unnatural lifestyle himself but he also uses his position of authority to insist that other people turn their backs on the natural order.




A man has been charged with blasphemy in Greece for lampooning a monk on Facebook. Police allege the unnamed 27-year-old set up a Facebook page referring to the late Elder Paisios by the mocking name Geron Pastitsios, which is a Greek pasta and beef dish. In a screenshot of the Facebook page, which has now been removed from the social network, the monk is shown with a plate of pastitsios in front of him.

The suspect was arrested on the island of Evia at the weekend after complaints were received by the Greek police's cyber crime bureau. He could face a fine of up to 3,000 euro (2,390) or two years in prison under Greece's strict blasphemy laws.

Quite right! Giving church leaders pseudonyms is a horrendous offence and makes God burst into tears and stomp off to sulk in his bedroom. If society allows a dead Greek monk to be lampooned in such a way the next thing you know some insolant, unemployed priest will start referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury as "The Grand Tufti" all over the internet. And that would make God so angry that he would probably send down deadly flu virus to wipe out the whole of humanity.


Today, and for the next two days, a small group of "carefully chosen" people are meeting in a "secret location" to decide who will be imposed on us as the next archbishop of Canterbury. The lucky winner will, most likely, be announced next week before "The Church Times" goes to press.

Let us pray.


I entered the London Marathon dressed as a stick of cinnamon.
At the start I was asked where I was gonna run to.



A recently deciphered Egyptian papyrus from around 1,900 years ago tells a fictional story that includes drinking, singing, feasting and ritual sex, all in the name of the goddess Mut. Researchers believe that a priest wrote the blush-worthy tale, as a way to discuss controversial ritual sex acts with other priests.

"Our text may represent a new and hitherto unrecognized Egyptian literary genre: 'cult' fiction, the purpose of which was to allow controversial or contentious matters pertaining to the divine cult to be scrutinized in this way," wrote professors Richard Jasnow and Mark Smith, who published their translation and analysis of the papyrus in the most recent edition of the journal Enchoria.



A leading ultra-Orthodox haredi rabbi has exhorted his followers in Israel to burn their iPhones, and even forbade the sale of such devices to non-Jews. Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, who is one of the most influential figures among the havedi community, issued a public notice saying that anyone who owns the smartphone should set it ablaze.

On September 12, Rabbi Lior Glazer presided over a ritual iPhone-smashing ceremony. Another organisation, Eda Haredit, has banned the use of such devices, along with Android-run smartphones and BlackBerrys, because of the "spiritual holocaust" they represent.

UPDATE: Following the iPhone burning an angry crowd of young American stock-brokers, advertising executives and computer nerds, carrying placards and shouting, "Blasphemy!", broke into the compound of the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C. and said some very rude things to the ambassador. A senior US senator has offered a reward of $100000 to anyone who flans Rabbi Lior Glazer with a custard pie in public.

In an interview with OCICBW... the senator stated, "I know it's wrong to throw custard pies at orthodox rabbis, because it gets all stuck in their beards and makes them look even sillier, but this is the only way to stop the Anti-Appleists pursuing their evil, hate campaigns against the American way of life."


Here's some rather good old-timey
Americana for you to download,
all free and legal like.



A female vicar who hit the headlines when she compared the Church of England to an abusive husband has now called on the institution to stop being so boring. The Rev Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes hit the headlines recently when she branded the church an “abusive institution” after last-minute changes to plans allowing women to be bishops.

She said: “I think it is important to answer the questions people are asking now and not those they were asking 400 years ago. There is a danger that we retreat into a historical golden age. We need to acknowledge that society has changed. The church needs to be challenging. It needs to be exciting for people. We need to enthuse people about the idea of Jesus so that it’s not a case of why don’t they believe but rather how can they not? I want to have people talking about what the church does, to have people talking about God, whether or not they come to church services. We need to accept that Church has sometimes been boring for some people. So there are two things we have to do. First, we need to make sure everything we do as a church is really high quality, and secondly we mustn’t wait for people to come to us, but go out to where people are, whether it be schools, the local play park or the shopping areas.”

Miranda has been riding high on the OCICBW... Babelicious Bishop chart for a while now. The Babelicious Bishops Competition was launched seven years ago on this blog to encourage not bad looking women priests to put themselves forward for episcopal preferment in a bid to persuade "traditionalist" male members of the Church of England and "unmarried," elderly female "traditionalists" to change their mind about voting against women bishops. It has been a major success and has led to the physical appearance of our clergy becoming an important consideration in the Church's selection processes at all ministerial levels. No longer can women priests get away with not bothering to put a bit of slap on before Church on Sunday or wearing baggy jumpers that hide the curvaceous bodies God so graciously gave them so that men had something to get up for every morning. The campaign also raised serious theological questions that had been ignored by the Church for centuries, such as, "Would Jesus have gone through with marrying Mary Magdalene if she had worn a shapeless, lilac blouse over black slacks and sensible shoes on their first date?"

I have to admit that I have an interest in the eventual rise of this feisty, young, Godbothering bit of eye candy to the episcopacy. She is a friend of mine. We were both curates at the same church under the same vicar. We respect each other and actually get on quite well, even though she has a bit too much enthusiasm for families and children for my liking.

Therefore, she is my best hope of getting my job back. I'm pretty much counting on her becoming one of the first female bishops in England and making me her chaplain. I sort of see myself as a diocesan equivalent of that spin doctor who swears a lot in "The Thick Of It." I think I would be very good at making her enemies "disappear" and getting the dirt on anybody who might cause problems for her. It could very well be my true vocation in life.

Anyway, she's got a book coming out soon entitled "The Essential History of Christianity." It sounds a bit boring if you ask me. If I had been her agent I would have insisted she wrote something a lot more spicy, with a hot, young female bishop as the lead character. She could have called it "Fifty Shades of Purple." We'd have made a fortune.

Even so, you all better buy the book when it comes out. If I am to eventually become the real power behind the first women to be archbishop of Canterbury I better keep on her good side.


Well, you could knock me down with a feather. Just as I had reconciled myself to the fact that had saddled up it's pony and ridden off into the sunset, along comes a band out of Birmingham, Alabama, with a debut album crammed full of alternative country vibes and every bit as good as the likes of Green On Red and Uncle Tupelo back in their heyday. I cannot recommend this album highly enough. If you like your country dark, brooding, windswept and all about working class, rural America wrapped up in Springsteenesque lyricism, then you are going to love this recording to bits.

Following up their well received debut EP, Birmingham, AL’s Some Dark Holler release their first full length album, Hollow Chest on August 20, 2012 with This is American Music. Combining equal parts Steve Earle, the Civil Wars (if they were drunk), and Breaking Bad, bandleader Chris Porter (Back Row Baptists) and fiddler Helen Gassenheimer bring a mix of vocal and instrumental stylings that are as flawlessly harmonious as they are dark and haunting. Hollow Chest explores and exposes the South’s gritty underbelly and its rawest nerves. Each tale is made all the more personal by the Porter’s dry, gravelly snarl– a voice perfect for his broken characters who would seem all but damned if not for the angelic redemption found in Gassenheimer’s harmonies. Straightforward, uncomplicated, and unpolished, these songs resonate like the old Appalachian ballads from which they are clearly inspired. Their simple potency is highlighted by the understated production skills of Jody Nelson (Through the Sparks). Fans of acoustic music and vocal chemistry will find Hollow Chest remarkable both for the prowess of its players and the dark beauty of its songwriting.





These, truly excellent, photographs are of Jack, a blind labrador who has, despite his disability, won a competition for fetching objects from water. You can check out the full story at THE MAIL. There are more photos and even a video of Jack working.

A big thank you to Paul(A) who sent this story in.



The former papal nuncio to Ireland, archbishop Gaetano Alibrandi, left Dublin and the Vatican’s diplomatic service in 1989 after it emerged there were large amounts of unaccounted for money in three Irish bank accounts belonging to him. The money is believed to have originated in South America. He had been papal nuncio to Chile from 1961. He was then papal nuncio to Ireland from 1969 and during his 20 years in the Republic he is believed to have been involved in the appointment of 26 Catholic bishops.

The disclosures about the circumstances of his departure from Ireland and the Vatican’s diplomatic service were disclosed in the Dr Garret FitzGerald Memorial Lecture at UCC last night by Se├ín Donlon, former secretary general at the department of foreign affairs.

Meanwhile, somewhere in America...

From FOX 19:

A Middle Tennessee pastor, first exposed by the Channel 4 I-Team for collecting money from his congregation but never telling them the church was in foreclosure, was arrested on federal charges of money laundering related to narcotics distribution. In an indictment filed Sep. 19, a federal grand jury charged Michael Whitsey on 10 counts of money laundering, citing transactions totaling $375,000 made between May and December of 2008.

You see, there is so much more that unites the denominations than that which divides them.


From THE HERALD (Scotland):

Germany's Roman Catholic bishops have decreed that people who opt out of a "church tax" should not be given sacraments or religious burials. Germans who are officially registered as Catholics, Protestants or Jews pay a religious tax of 8% or 9% of their annual tax bill. They can avoid this by declaring that they are leaving their faith community.

Catholics who leave can no longer receive sacraments, except for a special blessing before death, the decree states. They cannot work in the church or its institutions, such as schools and hospitals, or be active in church-sponsored associations such as charity groups or choirs. They cannot be godparents for Catholic children and must get a bishop's permission to marry a Catholic in a church ceremony. If the person who left the Church shows no sign of repentance before death, a religious burial can be refused.

No, no, no! There are certain lines that you just cannot cross. Having to pay for the sacraments is about as out of order as you can possibly get. Heck, the Roman Catholic church didn't even demand such payment before the Reformation.



Standing before a pile of charred elephant ivory as dusk covered the surrounding savannah, Christian, Muslim and Hindu religious leaders grasped hands and prayed. Let religion, they asked, help "God's creatures" to survive.

Poachers are escalating their assault on Africa's elephants and rhinos, and conservationists warn that the animals cannot survive Asia's high-dollar demand for ivory tusks and rhino horn powder. Seeing a dire situation grow worse, the animal conservation group WWF is enlisting religious leaders to take up the cause in the hopes that religion can help save some of the world's most majestic animals.

"We are the ones who are driving God's creatures to extinction," said Martin Palmer, secretary-general of the Britain-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation. "We are the ones who can change the way Africa works."

Dekila Chungyalpa, the director of WWF's Sacred Earth program, argues that the killing of elephants, rhinos and Asian tigers — the three animals WWF is most concerned about — is a moral issue. She said that conservationists are not doing well enough getting the anti-poaching message across, and that new strategies must be tried.

"Faith leaders are the heart and backbone of local communities. They guide and direct the way we think, behave and live our lives," she said, adding later: "I think this is the missing piece in conservation strategies. ... WWF can yell as much as we want and no one will listen to us, but a religious leader can say 'This is not a part of our values. This is immoral.'"

Three dozen religious leaders from nine African countries toured Nairobi National Park on Thursday, where they saw rhinos, zebras, buffalo and ostriches all within site of the skyline of Kenya's capital city.



For the first time, a game had to abandoned in the West Midlands Christian League after a penalty spot row between teams, Zion Athletic and Common Ground United. Troubled flared in the 47th minute of the game after a Common Ground player was sent off for 'serious foul play.' When Zion, who were leading 5-1, were then awarded a 60th minute penalty, fighting broke out. A Zion player is alleged to have smiled and 'made a remark' about the penalty decision before being struck by his Common Ground opponent. Five Common Ground players were understood to have been booked for 'violent conduct' charges while one Zion player also accused of 'improper conduct'.



The ferociously secretive nature of the choosing of the next archbishop of Canterbury by a few unelected members of the existing establishment means that it is not a good idea to bet on who will eventually be enthroned on the seat of Saint Thomas Becket. But, if the usual commentators are anywhere near correct it is going to be an evangelical this time.

Ruth Gledhill, like me, has a sneaking suspicion that it might be Justin Welby, currently bishop of Durham. Certainly he will one day be archbishop. He has been destined for high office since the day he was born and has held quite a few already. Although I doubt that Justin plays the class and privilege card he can't stop others in the establishment from being impressed by his background and we are still a society which defers to our "betters," especially in institutions like the Church of England. However, he has only been bishop of Durham for a year and, after the disaster of Tom Wright's incumbency, it is extremely unlikely that the movers and shakers of Durham Diocese will want to lose another leader so quickly. Also, even though he is good at many things, Justin is still learning about being a bishop and could probably do with a few more years at diocesan level before upping sticks and moving south. I think he will make a much better archbishop if he gets to spend a bit more time ministering to "real" people (of which there are plenty out there in the ex-mining villages of County Durham) and honing his pastoral skills. The problem with the current archbishop is that he has his head in the clouds of academia. We need an archbishop who is more streetwise. Justin Welby isn't that person but he could be after a few years up north.

Probably the evangelical who would cause the least harm to the wide, inclusive ethos of the Church of England is Bishop James Jones of Liverpool. But he is getting on in years now and his tenure would be relatively short. If the panel wants to put their man into place for a long time, James will not be offered the job.

Bishop Sentamu of York would be a very bad choice in my opinion, because of his personality, outspokenness and prejudices. If the panel caves into accusations of institutional racism and the uninformed preferences of non-churchgoing Sun readers, he could well end up getting the top job.

However, the frontrunner in the archepiscopal race at the moment is, without doubt, the most frightening prospect. If Christopher Cocksworth of Coventry is chosen we can kiss goodbye to any moves towards inclusivity for the next ten years at least. Cocksworth is a political evangelical whose "open" label may well be just a screen behind which is hidden a reactionary, puritanical, old school evangelical. He is a man who has shown that he will make appointments that strengthen the presence of his party within the places over which he has jurisdiction (or just influence). If he becomes archbishop of Canterbury then we will look back on the Lambeth Palace of George Carey as being a liberal utopia.

We have some excellent middle of the road, intelligent and caring diocesan and suffragan bishops in the Church of England. They should choose one of them to bring some stability to the office. But I doubt that they will. When electors are unelected they will invariably have got their position through the influence of friends and the similar minded. Having fought for the domination of the Church of England for so many years it is unlikely that the evangelical party is going to pass on the chance of controlling the most senior office in the English Church.

There is one interesting possibility on the horizon. At the end of the day the choice of archbishop of Canterbury is down to the prime minister. Cameron is very much in favour of both the state and church treating gay people without prejudice and is still insisting that his government will pass legislation allowing same gender couples to marry in England. If a person who is vehemently opposed to such inclusivity is proposed will Cameron refuse to give him the nod? It is rumoured that Thatcher turned down a liberal candidate in favour of an archbishop as reactionary as herself, so there may well be precedent.

You should go!

Empowered to Connect is a wonderful ministry that we often refer our families to for excellent resources related to attachment and healing.  Dr. Karyn Purvis has written a book we ask all of our adoptive families to read – The Connected Child.  ETC hosts several conferences each year designed to help adoptive and foster parents ‘better understand how to connect with children from hard places in order to help them heal and become all that God desires them to be.’

Earlier this month several YWAM adoptive parents attended the latest ETC conference in Nashville where they not only heard some great speakers but got to meet each other face to face instead of just via blogs and Facebook!

We asked them to tell us a few things they came away from this weekend with and here are their responses…


4 Kenesa

The Empowered to Connect conference was a big wake-up call to me in a good way.  My husband and I were so intentional about preparing ourselves for our son's homecoming and about implementing what we had learned when he came home.  But now that our son has been home almost 9 months, I realized that we had slipped into a new normal that wasn't as intentional simply because our son had transitioned so well.  I learned so much at the conference about the brain of an adoptive or foster child and the incredible power of intentional nurture and structure.  Now my husband and I have a new game plan for intentionally connecting with our son in this season.  So thankful for the reminder that connecting is a lifelong journey!   ~ Tara Dunn



Probably my favorite part of the experience was getting to hang out with other adoptive moms... most notably YWAM ones of course. : ) That being said, the conference was excellent as well. As our daughter has been settling in, I've gotten a bit lazy with her in terms of those intentional attachment fostering activities. I was challenged to bring back that intentionality for even up to 2 years. Dr. Purvis was amazing to hear and as I listened so many people were coming to mind as people who would benefit from hearing her. If there are people out there who are feeling hopeless about the progress their kiddos are making or about their future, they should go!    ~Marcy Fitzpatrick

mostly Samuel 072

I came away from this weekend thinking that we need to be more intentional in our parenting.  I feel like we do well as far as interacting and playing with our kids, but we need to continue to grow in being intentional with all our kids.   ~Julie Steimer


Morgan e
The three biggest "take aways" from the conference were:

Voice: Tone, volume, and body language.  The words can get lost on our children (especially non-English speakers), but the voice does not.  They need to know how precious they are from our voice. 
Motivation to adopt:  It is important for us to explore our motivation to adopt because it forms the foundation of the expectations of our child.  How will I answer the question, "Why did you adopt me?"  They will ask it.  So I need to be prepared to answer it.  
Saying yes:  Find ways to say yes!  Children who have not experienced a break in care have heard "yes" thousands of times.  "Yes, I will feed you."  "Yes, I will change you." "Yes, I will hold you."  Our children come home and need to hear the thousand "yes's", before the "no" means anything.  
                                     ~ Jen Morgan
Nurmi family
The Empowered to Connect conference was AMAZING! Even though we had read Dr. Purvis'  book and many others, we feel so much more equipped to parent our daughter when she comes home. It gave us a very clear picture of what we could encounter in parenting her and the medical reasons behind it (the books did too but something about hearing it and seeing it played out in the video clips just made it stick). Knowing that we aren't just going to be dealing with emotional scarring but that there is a brain and chemistry change (even if a child is brought home as an infant) that happens to children from hard places, and having it explained, gave us new insight that we hadn't had before. But Dr. Karyn Purvis didn't just leave us there. She gave us many tools (a tool box full!) to use to help us promote attachment and parent our daughter the best we possibly can. I would highly recommend the conference to every adoptive matter where you are on your journey.  ~Eric & Jessi Nurmi


Perhaps you’ll be able to attend one of ETC’s upcoming weekend conferences.  Even if you can’t go, be sure to sign up to receive their blog posts and new resources via email here. .