Friday, August 15, 2014

R. Marion Canfield, R.I.P.

In the spring of 1994 I was a senior in college who had just come under care of Catwaba Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and was preparing to enter Erskine Theological Seminary in the fall. I was also then serving as a platoon leader in Detachment 1, Troop B, 202d Cavalry, which was in Ridgeland, South Carolina. Learning of what was then known as the Hardeeville Presbyterian Church nearby I stopped by the minister's house one Sunday afternoon and introduced myself to the Rev'd Marion Canfield, who was serving as the mission developer for that small work. It was officially a mission -- a new church being planted by the presbytery -- and being rather off the beaten path from the rest of their congregations Marion appreciated the visit and the interaction. We sat on some chairs on his back lawn and had a very pleasant visit getting to know each other and discussing the trials of ministry and how God's Providence had brought us to our respective stages of out lives.

During the years that I was under care of and later licensed by Catawba Presbytery, I always enjoyed seeing Marion at presbytery meetings and other gatherings. He was a gentle soul and an encourager -- I remember the day I was licensed and, having to preach from a manuscript (something I don't usually do) preached roughly a twelve minute sermon he told me that no presbytery in the world would reject a candidate who preached that brief a sermon --who used his love for photography and knowledge of cameras to supplement the modest income that the church was able to pay him. His love for his people was evident. Sometime in the late 90s the congregation was organized as a churchand renamed the First Presbyterian Church of Hardeeville,  but it remained small and he remained its pastor. After I moved to the Reformed Episcopal Church and Anglicanism, I saw less of Marion, although I did stop by Hardeeville one evening in 2005 and enjoyed my visit with him.

Early this morning I learned of Marion's death yesterday. He was still serving as the Minister of First Church. I give thanks for his friendship, his example of steady shepherding and love for his flock and for Christ's Church. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Friday, August 8, 2014

More sad news this week from the attack that killed MG Harold J.Greene.

Georgia Military College, my Alma mater whence I was commissioned, is not a large school -- it's one of five military junior colleges where one can receive an associate's degree and a commission in the Army Reserve through the Early Commissioning Program (all of the graduates of which are then naturally required to complete a bachelor's degree whether or not they will serve out their obligations on active duty or the the Army Reserve or National Guard) and while the commissioning classes are, as I understand it, among the larger ones in the Army ROTC program they are nowhere near as big as, for instance, a class at West Point, Texas A&M (which has a larger Corps of Cadets than the Service Academies) and I am fairly sure that they're smaller than the ones at The Citadel or VMI. Because of that it's fairly unusual for two graduates to run into each other out in the Army. In light of that, the following information about the attack that killed MG Greene earlier this week was unusual and sad:

Earlier today, LtGen William B. Caldwell, IV, President of Georgia Military College, was informed by CPT Aurlbrio Fennel (GMC Class of 2004) that two of Fennel’s classmates, CPT Jeremy Haynes and CPT Ibrahim Tantawi, were critically wounded in the attack that killed MG Harold J. Greene in Afghanistan on August 5, 2014.

CPT Haynes was the Aide de Camp to MG Greene and CPT Tantawi is the Aide de Camp to MG Kevin Wendel. Haynes and Tantawi are in stable but critical condition in Germany.

LtGen Caldwell said, “This was my command for two years, and where BG Curt Rauhut (GMC’s Chief Operating Officer) served for two years, so we do fully appreciate the challenges that are associated with this mission. We will unite in prayer for our young grads, and for their families, as well as for all who were wounded and their families, especially the Greene family.”

Fennel, Haynes and Tantawi, all 2004 graduates of GMC’s Early Commissioning Program, posed for this photo just a couple of weeks ago while all were together in Afghanistan. [End quote]

Of your mercy, pray for CPTs Haynes, and Tantawi.

From the Charleston Mercury, August 2014

Margaret Sanger, Courtesy of the Library of Congress

By Charles A. Collins, Jr.
Shortly after moving to Texas in early 2001, I needed a couple of diplomas and my diaconal ordination certificate framed. After consulting with some friends in the area, they were nearly unanimous in their recommendation of where I should get the work done — a place that I’d not heard of in South Carolina, but about which people were effusive in praise. I’m speaking, of course, of Hobby Lobby, a store that has followed me as I returned to S.C. — and has been much in the news of late.
In 1970, David Green, an Assemblies of God minister’s son from Oklahoma, took out a $600 loan and began assembling and selling miniature picture frames out of his garage. The family business grew quickly: within a couple of years he was shopping for retail space and soon after upgraded to a larger shop, by then using the name Hobby Lobby. More stores followed as the company expanded: it currently has some 575 stores nationwide (including one in Mount Pleasant). This has made Green a billionaire, but despite the growth the company hasn’t gone public — it’s privately held with the Green family owning a controlling share. In addition, the son of a preacher man has sought to remain true to his faith, not opening Hobby Lobby on Sundays and living out his beliefs in other ways: “We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles,” Green explains.
Because of their Christian principles, the Greens were compelled to oppose the Affordable Care Act because of its requirement that the company provide coverage for forms of birth control that prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. (The company had no opposition to funding the most commonly used forms of birth control such as most birth control pills, prophylactics, sponges and sterilization.) Hobby Lobby filed suit, and in the June 30 ruling of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 ruling that closely held corporations such as Hobby Lobby couldn’t be compelled to fund procedures that conflict with the religious convictions of their owners. Conservatives were, generally speaking, pleased; those on the left, less so.
Amid the hue and cry, this observer noticed two telling ads opposed to Hobby Lobby and the decision. The first, from the American Humanist Association, encouraged people to boycott businesses that unfairly impose their religion — Hobby Lobby is listed under the “crafts” category and Fox News is listed under the “news” category and Chick-Fil-A for “chicken.” The listing for “clothing,” however, was the Salvation Army. Perhaps, the American Humanists missed it, but, despite the fact that many think of the Salvation Army as a social service agency that has thrift stores, it is first, foremost, and always a church, with local congregations and clergy — and it should come as no surprise that a church would seek to influence others for their religion.
That listing betrays a larger agenda, namely the removal of faith from public discourse. In our culture today, it is perfectly fine to hold religious convictions provided they don't actually influence the way one lives. Such a privatized, marginalized faith is unlikely to bear much fruit.
The other ad was from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and prominently featured Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger noting with approbation her motto, “No gods — no masters.” This highlight of Mrs. Sanger reveals more that the FFRF might have wished. Mrs. Sanger was a staunch advocate of eugenics, a social philosophy aimed at improving the genetic quality of human beings, boldly proclaiming the goal of “more children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the goal of birth control,” and referring to blacks, immigrants, and indigents as “human weeds, reckless breeders, spawning human beings ... who should never have been born.” It is both telling and troubling that the Freedom From Religion Foundation seeks to make Sanger an exemplar.
I’m certainly not trying to demonize all who disagree with the ruling inBurwell v. Hobby Lobby. I have friends who take issue with it. I am encouraging readers to look at the world and life view undergirding some opposition to the ruling, and the demand for compliance with government programs and progressive social causes, that seeks to remove the voices of people of faith from public discourse.
            The Rev'd Charles A. Collins, Jr., is vicar of the Church of the Atonement, a Reformed Episcopal parish in the Anglican Church of North America in Mount Pleasant.