+Agnus Dei+

I don't usually make postings like this; but this is very powerful to me and I thought I needed to share it with you...

Choral version of Agnus Dei sung to the theme of Samuel Barbers Adagio for strings.Performed by The Choir of Trinity College,Cambridge,UK.Directed by Richard Marlow.

John 1:29
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata, miserere nobis.

British Christian nurse ordered to remove cross from her neck

In another strange case from the UK, a Christian nurse from Exeter, in the west of England, with nearly 30 years of service, and just eight months to go to her retirement, is being threatened with disciplinary action after refusing to remove a necklace bearing a Cross — a symbol of her deeply felt Christian faith.
“NHS (National Health Service) bosses insist that the Cross must be removed from sight,” said a spokesperson for the UK-based Christian Legal Centre (CLC).

Shirley Chaplin, aged 54, has worked in the NHS all her life. Ever since studying to be a nurse she has worn this necklace and Cross with her uniform. But now NHS bosses have ordered her to remove the personal item, deeming it a breach of uniform policy and a health risk to her and to patients.

“Mrs. Chaplin, informed managers at The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust Hospital that she had never had an accident injuring herself, or another patient, in three decades of nursing, and would happily sign a disclaimer absolving the Trust from any liability if she were injured by the one inch silver object,” the Christian Legal Centre spokesperson went on to say.

“The Trust refused her ‘Risk Assessment’ evidence, despite the fact that there is not one recorded accident of injury to a nurse or patient via the wearing of a necklace/cross anywhere in the NHS. The Trust insists that the Cross should not be visible.”

Mrs. Chaplin claims the demand to remove her Cross has nothing to do with Health and Safety, but is an infringement of her Human Rights, and that of being able to express her faith, which has been her foundation and strength for nearly 30 years of serving members of the public through nursing. Mrs. Chaplin said:

“I asked if I could wear the Cross pinned to my lapel, but they would only allow the cross to be pinned inside my pocket. However they said Security ID badges were permitted as the security benefit was greater than the risk,” she said.

“Necklaces are worn by other members of staff and the Trust has promoted the hospital with photographs of staff wearing necklaces. They said that other staff wearing chains including those wearing medialert chains and scarves had complied with their health and safety policy.

“The Trust also failed to explain why members of staff that were photographed wearing chains in the hospital newsletters were exempted from the health and risk policy. This smacks of double standards and appears to discriminate against Christians. This blatant piece of political correctness amounts to the marginalising of employees’ personal human rights, a blanket ‘secularising and neutralising’ of the NHS intended to stop Christians from expressing their faith in the public services of the NHS.”

Mrs. Chaplin, is supported in her ordeal by her minister, the Rev. John Eustice, of Christ Church, Exeter who has accompanied Mrs. Chaplin when she has met with Personnel and Line managers.

Mrs. Chaplin, a mother of two children, and a grandmother, said: “Everyone I have ever worked with has clearly known I am a Christian: it is what motivates me to care for others. For about 30 years I have worked in the NHS and nursed patients day and night and on no occasion has my Cross caused me or anyone else, any injury – and to my knowledge, no patient has ever complained about me wearing it. The Trust even refused to test the ‘breaking strain’ on the necklace.

Mrs. Chaplin has sought advice from the Christian Legal Centre, who have instructed leading Human Right’s Barrister Paul Diamond, who advised Caroline Petrie, the nurse who was suspended for offering to pray for a patient and then reinstated.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and founder of CLC said: “I think members of the public, including Shirley’s thousands of former patients over the years will be astonished at the request from her employer to remove a personal item which clearly expresses something of the love and care she has for people which first led her into the nursing profession.

“You cannot separate a person’s faith and motivation from other areas of their life, including what they do with the majority of their time: work".

“Unfortunately an aggressive, secularist, politically correct agenda is being driven in the NHS and other public sectors at present. Those wanting to promote the agenda say that it is ‘neutral’ but manifestly it is not. This agenda is leading to case after case of discrimination against Christians and real suffering. We will be assisting Shirley to hold out for her Human Rights – and expect the public en masse to do so as well.”

Fragment of world's oldest bible discovered in Egypt

A fragment of the world's oldest Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus, has been uncovered hidden underneath the binding of an 18th century book in an Egyptian monastery, news reports said.
British based Greek academic, Nikolas Sarris, spotted a previously unseen section of the Codex Sinaiticus, which dates from about AD350, as he was trawling through photographs of a series of book bindings from the 18th century in the library of St Catherine's Monastery in Egypt, UK's The Independent and the Telegraph reported.

Over the centuries, antique parchment was often re-used by St Catherine's monks in book bindings because of its strength and the relative difficulty of finding fresh parchment in such a remote corner of the world.

The 30 year old student conservator, who has been involved in the British library's project to digitise the Codex, said he almost instantly noticed the distinct Greek lettering visible in a section of a book binding, The Independent said.

"Although it is not my area of expertise, I had helped with the online project so the Codex had been heavily imprinted in my memory," Mr Sarris said. "I began checking the height of the letters and the columns and quickly realised we were looking at an unseen part of the Codex."

He then emailed Father Justin, the monastery's librarian, to suggest a closer look.

"Even if there is a one in a million possibility that it could be a Sinaiticus fragment that has escaped our attention, I thought it would be best to say it rather than dismiss it," he told The Independent.

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Father Justin said the monastery would use scanners to look more closely at how much of the fragment existed under the newer book binding.

"Modern technology should allow us to examine the binding in a non-invasive manner," he said.

Along with the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Sinaiticus is considered the oldest known Bible in the world.

Presiding Bishop castigates critics of her heresy comments

(Note: as studens of Theology this issue is very clear; but as we find out from Schori's skewed comments "A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough." Gal. 5:9)

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has castigated critiques of her July 7 heresy sermon, saying her claim that it was heretical to believe that individual believers can find salvation through Jesus Christ, had been misconstrued.

Salvation “depends on love of God and our relationship with Jesus,” and is made manifest by right conduct, the presiding bishop said last week in defense of her views.

However, evangelical critics of the presiding bishop note her explanations fall short, as “we are not justified by love, but rather justified by faith,” the Rev Mark Thompson, Head of Theology at Moore College in Sydney tells Religious Intelligence.

In her opening remarks to the Episcopal Church’s triennial synod, the Presiding Bishop stated the “crises” facing the church arose from the “great Western heresy that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.”

This belief was “caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said. This “individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of all being.”

Critics dismissed the Presiding Bishop’s remarks as theologically ill-informed and as a mean spirited attack on conservative evangelicals. On Aug 27 the presiding bishop responded to these charges in an essay published by the church’s in-house media arm, Episcopal Life.

Bishop Jefferts Schori stated there had been “varied reactions from people who weren't there, who heard or read an isolated comment without the context. Apparently I wasn't clear!”

Individualism, she argued, was “basically unbiblical and unchristian” as the “spiritual journey” according to “the Judeo-Christian tradition” was about “holy living in community.”

“If salvation is understood only as ‘getting right with God’ without considering ‘getting right with (all) our neighbors,’ then we've got a heresy (an unorthodox belief) on our hands,” she argued, adding that “salvation depends on love of God and our relationship with Jesus, and we give evidence of our relationship with God in how we treat our neighbors.”

“Salvation cannot be complete, in an eternal and eschatological sense, until the whole of creation is restored to right relationship,” Bishop Jefferts Schori concluded.

While the Presiding Bishop’s explanation of her July remarks “does properly emphasize some fundamental truths that Christians affirm,” her argument was incomplete, the Rev Ephraim Radner, Professor of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto told Religious Intelligence.

Dr Radner noted that presiding bishop did not address her claim that it was “heresy” to claim “we can be saved as individuals”.

“God does save us as ‘individuals’, as particular beings; and he creates us as such. We are created with and resurrected with particular bodies and beings and souls. This is a bedrock Christian conviction,” he said.

Bishop Jefferts Schori’s claim that salvation “depends” on our doing certain things, such as loving God or treating others justly are “clearly false according to Christian teaching, Dr Radner added, for “salvation ‘depends’ on only one thing, the grace of God in Christ Jesus.”

While Dr Radner noted the presiding bishop does concede this point in the close of her letter, that salvation is “ultimately the gift of a good and gracious God, not the product of our incessant striving,” her demonization of evangelicals was unwise. “It would have been helpful in her “clarification” if she had tried a little harder to exhibit some appreciation of the theological traditions that have in fact sought to maintain a clear sense of divine grace, having earlier and unjustly vilified them,” he said.

Dr. Thompson told us the presiding bishop “still does not seem to get the point that the Bible is concerned about both personal salvation and the relationships in which we operate as Christians, with each other and with the world. It is always wrong to pit one against the other, from either direction.”

Bishop Jefferts Schori “continues to caricature evangelical teaching. There is no one that I know of or have read who claims that reciting a simple formula about Jesus guarantees one’s salvation,” Dr Thompson said. Faith was not a mantra of repeated words, but the “wholehearted trust in the person of the Son of God who gave himself for our sins and this trust binds us in relationship with others God has called to himself.

He added that the presiding bishop’s “continued theological confusion is evident when she says that ‘salvation depends on love of God and our relationship with Jesus’. More care with the Bible and more intimate knowledge of the theological tradition would have enabled her to see this as a seriously flawed statement.”

“Our salvation depends on what Jesus had done in his death and resurrection,” Dr Thompson said, as “our appropriate response is to trust him and that trust flows out into our relationships with one another as love.”

It was “perfectly reasonable to complain when others deliberately twist what you are saying,” he said. However, in the presiding bishop’s case “the confusion has been caused by her own failure to confess the teaching of Scripture with clarity and her own ignorance of Christian theology.”