BLOGFORCE: What does society need to hear from the church?

BlogforcelogoAmerica has been in a lot of turmoil before and after the presidential election.  Many have questioned the role of the church in times such as these.  So we post a simple question with undoubtedly complex answers:

“What does our society need to hear (and see) from the church right now?

Anyone can participate in the BLOGFORCE!  Responses and abstracts are due by 5PM Central Time on Monday, Feburary 20th and the roundup will be posted on the 21st.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the BLOGFORCE?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Monday, February 20th .  On Tuesday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

The Collect Call: For Congress

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Image: Congress, by Thomas Hawk, distributed under a CC BY-NC license.

As our series on praying for the government continues, we look at the BCP’s collect praying for Congress or a state legislature. Also, we begin our campaign to get a Kindle edition of Hatchett. We need your help!

This week’s prayer (BCP p. 821)

O God, the fountain of wisdom, whose will is good and gracious, and whose law is truth: We beseech thee so to guide and bless our Senators and Representatives in Congress assembled (or in the Legislature of this State, or Common wealth), that they may enact such laws as shall please thee, to the glory of thy Name and the welfare of this people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The Collect Call: For Our Country

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Image: Thomas Hawk, distributed under a CC BY-NC license.

We look at the prayer for our country on page 820, and find at least one good reason to look at prayer book revision. Also, lectors – take note of a name that might trip you up this Sunday.

This week’s prayer (BCP p. 820)

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

As promised in the show, here’s a link to the video of the Rev. E. Suzanne Wille speaking at the Women’s March on Washington – Indianapolis location. A noteworthy example of public Christianity.

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The Collect Call: For the President and All in Civil Authority

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Image: TravelFusion UK, distributed under a CC BY license.

On praying for those in authority, plus, taking Paul out of context when he’s cranky in this week’s lectionary.

This week’s prayer (BCP p. 820)

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

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The Collect Call: For Those Who Influence Public Opinion

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Telegraph Newsroom, by Rob Enslin, distributed under a CC BY license.

Thanks to a super-fan, we’re embarking on a new exploration of the Book of Common Prayer, starting with the prayer for those who influence public opinion. Plus – what’s in the lectionary this week?

This week’s prayer (BCP 827):

Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices: Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The Collect Call: Christmas Roundup

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“Snowflake, Hyde Park” by H. Matthew Howarth, distributed under a CC BY-SA license.

If you pay attention the liturgical calendar, it won’t let you sentimentalize Christmas, but will force you to come to grips with what the calling of a Christian really is.

 

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The Collect Call is a founding member of the Via Media Collective, a network of podcasts with an Anglican sensibility. Follow the collective on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Collect Call: Advent Roundup

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Image: Jon Åslund, distributed under a CC BY license.

We finally come back after our Halloween break (and then some) for an Advent roundup and how to deal with this #spoileralert of a Sunday lectionary.

 

This week’s prayers:

First Sunday of Advent

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.
Second Sunday of Advent

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Third Sunday of Advent

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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The Collect Call is a founding member of the Via Media Collective, a network of podcasts with an Anglican sensibility. Follow the collective on Twitter and Facebook.

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Your FREE parish Christmas invitation video is ready!


“Episcopalians are on Facebook,”Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told participants at Evangelism Matters. ‘I’ve seen your dogs. I’ve seen your cats.” He went on to describe social media as a superhighway for sharing the Gospel. Your friends have seen your pets. This Christmas, let them see Jesus.

Your friends at the Acts 8 Movement have a new Christmas video coming out and, as a member of our mailing list, you get to see it first. You can:

We hope this video can be a key component in a plan to invite your neighbors to church this season. To make the most of the opportunity, we encourage you to review the Hospitality Checklist offered by Invite-Welcome-Connect.

Using this Video
We encourage you to use this video as if it were your own in sharing the Good News. While those with video editing skill may customize the video, such as adding a photo from your congregation with some information during “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You”, we have discovered that lengthening the video to add service times or additional information leads to viewers tuning out en masse. We recommend putting the real content of the ad in the Facebook post text rather than in the video itself. You may also still download and use Acts 8’s 2015 Christmas Video in addition to or instead of the one created for this year.

Still to Come!

Keep checking in at acts8movement.org as over the next few days, we will be launching other language translations of the video, and more content. In the meantime, to find out more of what we have discovered along the way, please read Nurya Love Parish’s helpful post 7 Lessons from the Video Experiment.

There is no charge for using this video, it is simply our gift to you.

Blessed Advent,
The Acts 8 Movement

Thank Yous
The script was worked on by a small group. English voiceover provided by Miranda Hassett, Griffin Hasset, Iona Hassett, Alex Montes-Vela, Sandra Montes, Adam Trambley, Julia Trambley, Frank Logue, Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale, Susan Brown Snook, and Eliza Pankey. Sandra Montes translated the video into Spanish and provided the voiceover together with her brother Alex Montes-Vela for that version of the video, with her goddaughter Jaidani Ortiz closing out the voiceover. Fred Vergara translated the script into Tagalog and recorded the voiceover. Tinh Huynh provided the Vietnamese translation and voice recording. Merry Chan Ong put together a team for the Cantonese video to translate and record the script. David Simmons created the original score and Frank Logue edited the video. This collaboration involved Episcopalians in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, California, Wisconsin, and Georgia, working together on this 1-minute video.

A Note About Permissions
You may use this video without concern for copyright infringement or incurring any fees for this usage. We created this video using original video filmed by Frank Logue and Alex Montes-Vela together with clips purchased from videoblocks.com and are using them within that licensing agreement. Everyone participating donated their time and work product to the project, and the parents of the children whose voices are in the video approve of their taking part in the project.

The Collect Call: #collectlove

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Image: Ahmen Ibn-Lahoucine, distributed under a CC BY license.

We don’t presume to know how you voted, nor do we even care. But we do know that a lot of people are hurting and scared right now, and we all have to live with each other now that the election is over.

We have a homework assignment for you: tell us about ways you are witnessing or spreading love. Use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, whatever works for you, and use the hashtag #collectlove.

And dear listeners, know that even though we’ve been on a break, we’re coming back soon. We love you a lot, but God loves you even more.

This week’s prayer: For Times of Conflict (BCP p. 824)

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The Collect Call is a founding member of the Via Media Collective, a network of podcasts with an Anglican sensibility. Follow the collective on Twitter and Facebook.

More about this podcast

BLOGFORCE Roundup – The Spiritual Role of Giving

BlogforceVerticalTwo weeks ago, the question was posed to the BLOGFORCE:

“How has financial giving affected your spiritual life?“

We received several responses, which are listed in the order received


Steve Pankey blogged “Contentment”:

In the New Testament lesson for Proper 21c, the author of 1 Timothy tells the young leader that there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment. He warns Timothy of the trap of riches. The temptation that comes with a lack of contentment takes our attention away from God. Envy leads to ruin and destruction. As I rode through my neighborhood that afternoon, those empty TV boxes pulled me to the edge of the root of all evil: the love of money. Thanks be to God, the temptation of a shiny new TV for the big game didn’t win out. In coming to grips with the opportunity cost of tithing, I realized that sacrificing for the Kingdom is something that should bring joy.

Megan Castellan blogged “Stewardship and Anxiety”:

Coming to see money and my material possessions as belonging to God, and not to me was a radical shift in my understanding and comfort level with money. It empowered me to be bolder with my resources, more able to see at work in everything around me–even the things which scare me most.

Alberto Moreno blogged “Como a afectado tu vida espiritual el donar económicamente?”:

El dar económicamente es una realidad que no he terminado de aprender y que siempre me desafía a salir de mi “zona de confort” para ir a los demás en necesidad.

Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale blogged “5 Ways My Spiritual Life Changed When I Got Serious About My Pledge”:

Much as I remember exactly where I was when I made the decision (or was called, whatever) to become a Christian, I can also name the precise moment I decided to become serious about giving to the church. In a nondescript ballroom in the basement of the Sheraton in downtown Indianapolis, Walter Brueggeman was giving the keynote address at the conference for The Episcopal Network for Stewardship.

Holli Powell blogged “Six Stories of Stewardship”:

Sometimes giving to the church can feel a little bit nebulous. It’s not like giving to a food bank or a homeless shelter, an organization with one sole purpose. The money I give to my congregation might go to pay our staff, to heat the building, to fund the youth group, or to do something I don’t even know about. That’s tough for me, and it’s needed. I don’t always get to direct God’s actions. Actually, I don’t ever get to direct God’s actions, and that is the hardest thing for a control freak like me. I have to let the money go and trust that God will do with it what God will.

Adam Trambley blogged “How Has Financial Giving Affected My Spiritual Life?”:

Adam Trambley describes the effects of tithing on his faith and his marriage. “We came to realize just how much we were united “for richer or for poorer”, and the blessing that could be, even when things felt a bit more on the “for poorer” side. Tithing the firstfruits of our finances together meant that we were obedient to God together, and it drove us to prayer together which has significantly deepened our spiritual life together.”

Susan Snook blogged “Putting our Trust in God, Not Money”:

But the thing is, for us, sitting there in church, we heard the voice of God at the same time, calling us to do this absurd thing. And God showed us that he was there, blessing us right through it. In fact, in writing that check, we made the decision that our money was not going to be our savior. Against all our training, against all our professional backgrounds, against common sense, we determined that we would put our trust in God instead. And we’ve never looked back.

Respectfully Submitted,
David Simmons, BLOGFORCE Wing Commander