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From the Huffington Post:  On Sunday, Britain’s first atheist church held its very first meeting at The Nave, a former church-turned-performance space, in Islington, North London. According to the Islington Gazette, stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans founded the so-called godless church because they wanted a space where non-religious folks could commune and edify one another. The Huffington Post UK explains that the church, dubbed “Sunday Assembly,” has been “championed as [a] chance for disillusioned former believers, nostalgic atheists and anybody searching for a sense of community, to meet and ‘turn good intentions into action.'” According to the Independent, about 200 worshippers showed up to the service, held on Jan. 6. The congregation focused on the theme of “Beginnings,” deliberating over ways that success can be achieved by letting go of past failures and avoiding “mental booby traps.” Instead of a sermon, the church invited Andy Stanton, a popular children’s book author, to talk about overcoming the odds and achieving success; and instead of praying together, those gathered were encouraged at one point to close their eyes and meditate on their fears of inadequacy and failure. With Jones taking the stage as MC, the congregation was also treated to some stand-up comedy. A rendition of Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back In Anger” was even sung during the gathering. Going forward, the “Sunday Assembly” is scheduled to meet on the first Sunday of every month. // Read more here… Thoughts?
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Even though the official Church of England has been against gay marriage, lawmakers are looking at a workaround that will allow gay marriage in churches, but give a legal exemption to the Church of Englad and others. Here’s part of an article from Mail Online: Gay marriage will be legal in some British churches by 2014, despite furious Tory warnings that the issue could split the party and cost it the next election. In a surprise move, the Church of England will be guaranteed a blanket exemption from holding same-sex marriages. But this failed to quell a major Tory backlash. Amid stormy scenes in the Commons, Equalities Minister Maria Miller vowed to fast-track plans to legalise gay marriage, saying the change was needed to keep the institution of marriage ‘vibrant and relevant to society’.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller promised a ‘quadruple legal lock’ to prevent the Church of England from being forced to hold gay weddings
She confirmed a government U-turn on the issue which will allow religious institutions, such as the Quakers, that want to conduct gay marriages to ‘opt in’ to the law and hold ceremonies in their churches. But unexpectedly, she announced there would be a specific legal ban on the Church of England and Church of Wales holding gay weddings. Mrs Miller said this would give the Church ‘iron-clad’ protection against legal action by gay rights campaigners. Other religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church, will also be allowed to refuse to hold ceremonies for same-sex couples, as will individual vicars. Mrs Miller said the legislation would include a ‘quadruple lock’, meaning no church will ever be forced to conduct a gay wedding unless it wants to. The legal protections include: – A guarantee that no religious organisation or individual minister can be compelled to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises. –  A legal bar on allowing ministers to marry same-sex couples unless their organisation’s governing body has expressly opted in to provisions for doing so. – Amendment of the Equality Act 2010 to ensure no discrimination claim can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple. – An explicit statement that it will be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples and that Canon Law, which bans same-sex weddings, will continue to apply. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2246379/Church-marriage-gays-18-months-Legal-exemption-Church-England.html#ixzz2EqhjAdgD Thoughts? Todd
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Interesting piece from Christian.co.uk: Self-described experts on church planting would have predicted great success for Randy. Him and his wife Kelsey had felt a strong call to plant. Their vision was a seeker-friendly and Holy Spirit led congregation. There was also financial backing as the team moved into a booming Cincinnati suburb. “It had every reason to succeed but it didn’t,” Randy says looking back. “We were shocked and stunned because we had poured everything we had into this thing for years. To see it die was sad and embarrassing. I didn’t want to talk about it. I felt like I had wasted people’s time and money. I felt like I had heard from the Lord to do it but something had obviously gone wrong and I figured that must have been me.” But the end wasn’t messy. There was no big blow up or falling out. “It didn’t explode. It coasted off to the side of the road and coughed,” Randy says. A Call to Quit The team had gathered around 70 people to their weekly meetings. While pastors of some UK churches would be delighted with such a number, (and celebrate that revival was on the way) Randy wasn’t as impressed. “Here in the US you almost ought to be able to gather 70 people with good donuts and decent music. This is not the hardest, darkest place in the world. “The church expression was not invalid, it was pleasing to the Lord but the things the Lord had put in our hearts for outreach, we were nowhere near accomplishing. I found myself using a lot of energy to maintain what we had built rather than to expand in the way the Lord had laid on my heart to do.” The quitting is never fun because it’s never fully understood. Was the calling to leave the fledgling church plant as strong as the earlier call to start it? “As strong but definitely not as fun! It’s always more exciting to be starting something than to quit something. The quitting is never fun because it’s never fully understood. Even when it’s the Lord there are people who pull slogans out like ‘God isn’t a quitter’. They are preaching at you with bumper stickers!” // Read more via ‘Jesus Killed My Church!’ | Christian.co.uk. Have you ever planted a church that failed? How did you know when to quit? Which was harder?  Starting the church, or pulling the plug? Todd
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