Friday, September 15, 2006

September 15 a.m. posts

Apologize for the "quick and dirty" method of dumping posts here, but it takes too much time to post each story individually. And, by the way, if you're reading this here, the CaNNet servers need help, so please consider the appeal below!

An Appeal for Classical Anglican.Net — a tale of server resources stretched too thin

September 15th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:44 am

Regular readers of Titusonenine and other Classical Anglican blogs will have noticed the last week or so has brought a major increase in downtime and server troubles for CaNNet. As best I understand it the crashes are due to a combination of three events:

1) Binky’s Khatami coverage got him a lot of links from major secular/political blogs and generated a couple of “instalanche”-type events and ongoing high traffic.

2) Based on the amount of spam getting through our first level of spam filters and onto the blog, it appears we’ve been getting some massive spam attacks this week.

3) The interest in the NY meetings and high Anglican blogosphere traffic. For the past two months Titusonenine has been averaging 5200 visits per day and about 11,000 page views per day (on weekdays). Wednesday’s traffic, even with significant downtime, was about 25% higher — about 6500 visits and 15000 page views. Here’s the week’s site meter view.

week of Sept 11 site traffic

And here’s the view for the past 12 months. Readership has remained very high since General Convention. July and August are usually the low points in yearly site traffic for T19 (both in 2004 and 2005). Not this year.

Yearly site traffic

All this to say that the increased readership for almost all of the CaNNet blogs during and following General Convention has left the CaNN servers with little margin for error, little capacity to handle a spike in traffic or in spam. Just one sudden surge in readers on one of the blogs (as last week during the CaNN news blogs coverage of Khatami’s visit to the National Cathedral) can crash all of CaNNet.

If you value Titusoneone, CaNN, Drell’s Descants, Lent & Beyond, Pontifications, and the other blogs hosted by CaNN, please consider becoming a regular monthly supporter of their work or providing a one-time gift to help support server upgrading.

You can donate by credit card here., or by paypal here. Read more about CaNN and all the websites they host and support here. Folks with questions are urged to contact CaNN’s head honcho, “Fr. Binky” by e-mail: binks.webelf (at)

Oh and, just FYI, we’ll keep the T19 backup site running today and tomorrow since with the SC Bishop election on Saturday demand may continue to be high. The link:

Binky has also got a backup running for CaNN:

–the elves (posted with Kendall’s encouragement and blessing)

9/11’s effects persist in the pews

September 15th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:32 am

That first weekend, after the planes crashed and the towers fell and the tears were shed, churches and synagogues were packed.

Five years later, clergy in multiple denominations and across the theological spectrum say any numerical increase that they saw in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks has long since dissipated.

There is no single view, but in several dozen interviews over the past month, clergy at many of the major houses of worship in Greater Boston say they sense numerous subtler, sustained changes in their remaining congregations: a persistent sadness, a greater interest in poorly understood faiths, an uneasiness with war, and a yearning for security.

“I do sense that people are paying greater attention to spiritual things in recent years, and I suspect part of that can be attributed to a shift in focus that resulted from the events of September 11,” said the Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Hudson.

“There is this predisposition that we seem to possess,” he said, “that when all around us seems insecure, we seek security in the eternal.”

Ewing-Merrill, like many clergy, said attendance at his church swelled in the fall of 2001, and a local, multidenominational candlelight vigil that season drew a huge crowd. Now, he said, the effects are more complex — some of the individuals who that fall entered church for the first time stayed; others drifted away. And, for some longtime congregants and those newcomers who stayed, the strength of their connection to their faith seemed to intensify.

Several ministers reported a sense of ongoing anxiety perceptible in the pews — some kind of broader emotional shift underway as the nation’s sense of vulnerability increased.

“I believe we are sadder — we were saddened by the deaths of 9/11, and by so many deaths in subsequent acts of terror, and we are also saddened by the reality of what it means to live in a world of terror,” said the Rev. Nancy S. Taylor, senior minister of Old South Church, a United Church of Christ congregation in Boston’s Back Bay. “We are also wiser,” she said, and “I think we pray better and harder today than before 9/11. We have practiced and learned the biblical art of lamentation.”

Some clergy perceive smaller, but significant changes. For example, the Rev. Martin D. McLee , pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s South End, said he has seen an increase in the number of people seeking prayers from the congregation before they go on a plane trip.

“Whenever folk travel by air, it seems a matter of course to ask for special prayers — in the African-American tradition, we call it praying for `traveling mercies,’ ” he said. “When folk are taking international trips, we often pause during the service and offer specific prayers for safe travel, calling out the names of those traveling as well as the locations of their travels.”

Read the whole article.

Embrace homosexuals, says South African Anglican archbishop

September 15th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:30 am

Homosexuals are God’s children, Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane said on Thursday, ahead of a conference in Rwanda with the contentious issue of gays in the church on its agenda.

“We should try to find solutions of living with difference and otherness. Diversity is the creation by the Almighty … we need to embrace, all of us, in our differences and seek to walk together,” Ndungane told reporters.

Tensions in the church have been growing since 2003, following a row over the blessing of same-sex relationships and the consecration of an openly gay bishop by the American Episcopal Church.

Ndungane, who leads the two dozen bishops in Church of the Province of Southern Africa, said same-sex legislation currently before Parliament should be upheld.

“It [the Constitutional Court ruling in favour of same-sex marriages] in no way undermines our understanding of marriage,” he said, emphasising that the court protected the conventional understanding within a Christian context, namely between a man and a woman.

The church has gay clergy but expects them to be celibate.

Ndungane said it might be preferable to insert the word partnerships or unions instead of marriage, as was currently the case.

Read it all.

Alarm as Welsh shun church

September 15th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:12 am

CHURCH attendances in Wales have slumped by almost a fifth in just five years, figures show today. Estimates showed that fewer than 180,000 people in Wales regularly attended church last year compared with 218,500 in 2000.

Church leaders have voiced concern at the alarming drop in Sunday worshippers, particularly among younger members where Church in Wales numbers have dipped by 7% in one year alone.

A report produced by the Church in Wales, the nation’s largest attended Christian church, noted, “Average attendances have continued to fall for both Sunday and weekday services at a relatively small but steady rate. But once again the rate of decline among members under the age of 18 is considerably steeper.”

It added, “The decline in the number of baptisms and confirmations is of particular concern in the light of a similar decline in the number of young people coming to church generally.”

Read the whole article.

Anger over Church advert that puts Jesus’ face on a beer glass

September 15th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:06 am

IN AN attempt to put the “spirit” back into Christmas, the latest publicity campaign from Britain’s churches is in danger of falling as flat as an old pint of bitter.

An advertisement featuring the face of Jesus as a “miraculous” apparition on an empty beer glass is to be the centrepiece of a campaign to encourage church-going this Christmas.

The image of Jesus in the froth left on the sides of an almost empty pint glass next to the words “Where will you find him?” is the latest in a series of controversial campaigns from the Churches Advertising Network, an ecumenical group that includes representatives of most of the mainstream churches.

Along with a series of radio advertisements in which young people describe their spiritual beliefs, the poster is intended to illustrate the spiritual emptiness of the traditional party season and offer church and Jesus as a credible alternative.

Read it all and there is more here and there.

Michael McManus: What is it about college that derails students from their faith?

September 15th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:59 am

What is it about college that derails students from their faith?

It can be stated in two words, “Dorm Brothel,” the headline of an article in “Christianity Today” by Loyola Prof. Vigen Guroian to describe the culture of today’s dormitory life in America. The subtitle of his February, 2005 piece was “The new debauchery, and the colleges that let it happen.”

Three-fifths of today’s young adults “were churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible or praying,”) according to a new poll by George Barna.

“Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences.”

As a professor of theology and ethics Guroian’s report is horrifying from a parent’s perspective. Loyola is a Catholic college in Baltimore, whose president is a Jesuit priest.

Yet most students live in high rises or garden apartments, where men and women are not even separated by floor, let alone by building. He reports, “Drinking, especially binge drinking, serves as the lubricant for the casual sex that living arrangements at Loyola invite and permit.” One young man told Guroian:

“True story. I woke up at three in the morning one day last year to my roommate having sex in his bed five feet away from me…I simply told him that I could not believe that she didn’t mind having sex with someone for the first time while someone was in the room sleeping. I also couldn’t believe that she hadn’t stopped and covered herself up when I had walked out of the room.”

Gurioan comments: “This is a disturbing description of the demise of decency and civility between the sexes for which American colleges are culpable and blameworthy… Today’s colleges not only turn a blind eye to this behavior, but also set up the conditions that foster and invite it.”

Read it all.

Two Episcopal Seminary Classmates now in Parish Ministry have a Conversation

September 15th, 2006 posted by kendall at 6:59 am

Read it all as the two ships pass in the night.


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