Monday, March 30, 2009
So, imagine my delight to read the following words from the The Rt. Rev’d Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., bishop of the Diocese of Michigan, in commenting on EDOMI's current financial woes:
We are in a different financial place than where we were even 6 short months ago.
I cannot help picturing a group of Episcopal bishops, gathered together indaba-ing in the Afterlife, when one bishop offers in a solemn tone:
We are in a warmer place than heretofore.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tomorrow Anglican tv will be live video streaming this session of the Blueprint for the New Church Conference Friday, March 27, 2009 - 4:15-5:15pm (EST)
Also the Ugandan Parishes form their Diocese today -Diocese of the Holy Spirit.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
When the Pastor Says It's 'A Time to Sow'
By FRED BARNES
The Wall Street Journal
March 19, 2009
In 2007, my wife Barbara and I left The Falls Church, which we had happily attended from the time we became Christians a quarter-century ago. It's a 277-year-old church in northern Virginia well-known for its popular preacher, the Rev. John Yates, its adherence to traditional biblical teachings and its withdrawal in 2005 from the national Episcopal church. Our three grown daughters and their families stayed behind at The Falls Church.
We didn't leave in anger. We didn't have political or theological anxieties. Rather, we left for a new church because our old church wanted us to. The Falls Church has become entrepreneurial as well as evangelical. It's in the church-planting business. And we were encouraged by Mr. Yates to join Christ the King, the church "planted" near our home in Alexandria. We were a bit ambivalent about the move, but when Christ the King opened its doors in September 2007, we were there.
Well, not quite its doors. The church began with a monthly service in a 600-seat school auditorium. About 30 people showed up, mostly members of the seed group dispatched from The Falls Church. Soon Christ the King, which was launched with a grant of $100,000 from The Falls Church, rented an assembly hall, seating about 100, in a private school and started regular worship every Sunday. Now, with 130 adults and 40 kids, we meet Sunday mornings in another church, whose own service is held in the evening.
But we don't just meet one day a week. One of the problems for a new church is that most of the parishioners don't know one another. They're not yet a community. Barbara and I knew fewer than a dozen of the original members of Christ the King. So David Glade, the 35-year-old pastor, organized everyone into dinner groups that gather monthly. Indeed, they had better gather: When our group skipped a month, Mr. Glade wanted to know why.
Three men's Bible studies have popped up along with a women's group. There is a prayer ministry, a vestry, and a choir led by a volunteer music director. A church retreat is set for August. Newcomers tend to be singles or young couples, and six baptisms are scheduled for the Sunday after next. Barbara and I are the old folks.
"It's a pretty amazing start," Mr. Yates told me. But it's not unusual. Church planting is a burgeoning movement among evangelicals who are conservative in doctrine (but not fundamentalist) and inclusive in their outreach to nonbelievers and lapsed Christians. It's a growing missionary field.
There's a theory behind church planting. It rejects the idea of trying to fill up existing churches before building new ones. Old churches are often "closed clubs" that don't attract new residents or young people or "the lost," says the Rev. Johnny Kurcina, an assistant pastor of The Falls Church. Besides, population increase far exceeds church growth in America. This is especially true in cities.
As an Episcopal Church rector, Mr. Yates began thinking about planting churches 20 years ago. But the bishop of Virginia "wouldn't allow us to discuss it," he says, fearing that new Episcopal churches would lure people from older ones. In 2001, he was allowed to plant a church, but only a county away in a distant exurb.
Mr. Yates was strongly influenced by the Rev. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan. Mr. Keller has led in creating new churches -- Redeemer has planted more than 100 churches in New York and other cities around the world. Innovative new churches, he has written, are "the research and development department" for Christianity, attract "venturesome people" as fresh leaders, and have the spillover effect of challenging existing churches to revitalize their ministry.
Leaving the Episcopal denomination (while remaining in the Anglican Communion) has given Mr. Yates the freedom to plant churches in urban areas amid many Episcopal churches. (One is next door to Christ the King.) His goal is to plant 20 churches in northern Virginia before retiring. Christ the King was the third, and a fourth was recently planted in Arlington. Mr. Kurcina, 33, who is my son-in-law, is preparing to plant a fifth in Fairfax County.
For a growing number of young preachers like Christ the King's Mr. Glade, planting and then leading a new church is an ideal option. As orthodox Anglicans, they didn't feel welcome in the Episcopal church. And they felt a strong calling to lead their own parish. Mr. Glade grew up as an Episcopalian in Jacksonville, Fla. After graduation from Florida State, he came to The Falls Church as an intern and spent four years as a youth leader before attending Trinity Seminary outside Pittsburgh. He returned to The Falls Church eager to lead a theologically conservative Anglican congregation. "In order to do that, you had to go out and do it yourself," he told me.
"Every new church has an awkward phase, figuring out who they are and getting to know each other," Mr. Glade says. That phase is over. Christ the King has also become financially self-sufficient. It aims to be a "healthy church," like its parent. "A healthy church reproduces itself," Mr. Glade says. Christ the King may soon do just that. Its assistant rector wants to plant his own church.
---Mr. Barnes is the executive editor of the Weekly Standard and a Fox News commentator.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
On March 26th at Holy Cross Anglican Church, Loganville, GA, just before the American Anglican Council's "Blueprint" conference kicks off, Anglican history will be made. Over 25 Anglican churches from across the country are sending delegates to convene and begin charting their future together as a diocese in the new Anglican Church in North America.
The delegates that gather will have a common bond; they are all Anglicans under the jurisdiction of the Church of Uganda. While at Holy Cross, this convocation will be moving past the dream of the New Church and beginning the challenging task of making it a reality. Their goal is to be able to send their diocesan delegates to the inaugural Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, held June 22-25th, and to vote and ratify the new constitution and canons of the church.
Before they can arrive at the Provincial Assembly in June, there is organizational work to be done. Consistent with Anglican practice, congregations come together to form a diocese and dioceses band together as a national church. This convocation will be taking the first formative step in creating a diocese. (A diocese in the ACNA can also be referred to as a "cluster" or "network.")
Prior to this meeting, the vestry of each congregation needed to adopt a resolution subscribing to the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America. They also needed to state that their church wanted to be a part of the diocese being formed from the congregations presently under the Church of Uganda. After this, a delegation from each parish was assembled with proportionate representation of lay delegates selected by the vestry, or other means, based on the congregation's average Sunday attendance. All clergy were invited to attend.
When the delegates arrive in Loganville, there will be serious work to do. Structures must be formed - a Standing Committee, Officers (Treasurer, Secretary, and Chancellor) must be elected. Delegates to the Provincial Assembly must be elected to attend the June meeting. Like any organization in formation, draft by-laws and canons need to be ratified along with articles of incorporation and an application for 501c3 status reviewed and filed. Along with these important tasks, a budget and financial report will be prepared to support the emerging organization as well. One of the easier tasks before the delegation will be that of choosing a new name for the new diocese, which will be revealed at the AAC's Blueprint conference.
As this group of parishes comes closer together, we can all thank the Lord for being one more step closer to the new Anglican Church in North America for which we have all waited so long.
Friday, March 20, 2009
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has resolved unanimously to be “in abiding and full communion” with the emerging Anglican Church in North America. The Church of Nigeria, which counts more than a quarter of the world’s Anglican Christians as members, is the first Anglican province to formally accept the Anglican Church in North America as its North American partner within the Anglican Communion.
In making their decision, the leaders of the Church of Nigeria’s 153 dioceses also recommended that their province send a delegation to the Anglican Church in North America’s inaugural Provincial Assembly, to be held June 22–25 in Bedford, TX, “to demonstrate our enduring partnership in the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Bishop Robert Duncan, archbishop-designate for the Anglican Church in North America, thanked the Church of Nigeria for their decision. “In this one action, leaders representing every diocese in the Church of Nigeria, which in turn count as members more than a quarter of the world’s Anglicans, have declared themselves to be full partners of the Anglican Church in North America. They have stated clearly that we stand together on the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible, the historic creeds and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as our only Savior and Lord. We look forward to welcoming our Nigerian brothers and sisters to observe our inaugural assembly in Bedford this June.”
“Both in Nigeria and in North America,” added Bishop Duncan, “We understand our mission very similarly, that is, to reach our societies with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.”
The Anglican Church in North America unites some 700 Anglican parishes in 12 Anglican jurisdictions in North America into a single church. Jurisdictions coming together in the Anglican Church in North America are the Anglican Coalition in Canada, the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin (of the Anglican Communion Network), the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Reformed Episcopal Church, and the missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda, and South America’s Southern Cone. Additionally, the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are founding organizations.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Snubbed for more than three years after resigning as Bishop of Southern Virginia, the Rt. Rev. David C. Bane has joined the Anglican Church of North America and has accepted an invitation to serve as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
In a copy of a letter sent to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop Bane told VOL he described his action "as one of the saddest and most unanticipated decisions in my life. On the other hand, I can no longer deceive myself that I can be fulfilled and happy without being engaged in Christian ordained episcopal ministry."
"We were assured by all parties that if I resigned, there would be many and varied ministry opportunities for me in the Episcopal Church. With that encouragement I resigned at the 2006 Annual Council and moved to Elizabeth City, North Carolina."
Then began the snubs. He wrote to the national office offering his assistance in any way he could. "I called Bishop (Clayton) Matthew two years ago to ask to be considered for ministry somewhere in TEC. I asked if I had any geographical restrictions and I said that I did not. Since that time I have watched as time after time retired bishops have been appointed to various ministries all over the Episcopal Church without any contact from Bishop Matthews about any of them."
Before he left Southern Virginia, he wrote and called the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel, Bishop of the Diocese of East Carolina, offering his services, but got no response. Bane learned that Daniel took his name out of an interim process at St. Andrew's, Nags Head, but did not tell him. Two years ago, he met with the Rev. Canon Win Lewis, his former Canon to the Ordinary, to ask him to submit his name and resume to the semi-annual meetings of the Deployment Officers. He said he would handle Bane's application personally and get back to him. He never did.
Last year. Bane wrote to thirty-five bishops whom he considered to be friends and colleagues offering to work in their dioceses. He received one response thanking him for the letter and wishing him well.
In a direct appeal to Jefferts Schori, Bane wrote, "Katharine, what would you conclude if this were your experience? I do not know what else I could have done since my retirement to try to find ministry in the Episcopal Church. My father died a priest in the Episcopal Church. I have spent my entire life in this Church and intended to do so for as long as I live. However, it is abundantly clear that, for whatever reasons, I am not welcome to serve as a bishop in the Episcopal Church. Alice and I have been completely baffled by the total lack of care or support of any kind from anyone in the Church we have served in for twenty-five years."
The failure of the church to offer Bane ecclesiastical work made him realize that his days in TEC were numbered. He would never hear from them, again. The gorilla grip of revisionism was now a stranglehold on the throat of the church. Bishop Bane decided to make his own move.
"For these reasons I have joyfully and gratefully accepted an invitation from Archbishop Gregory Venables to be received as a bishop in the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. I have also accepted an invitation to serve as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh and to minister in the Anglican Church in North America. On the one hand this is one of the saddest and most unanticipated decisions in my life. On the other hand, I can no longer deceive myself that I can be fulfilled and happy without being engaged in Christian ordained episcopal ministry."
Read it all here
Monday, March 16, 2009
Shakespeare – To be or not to BE – that is the Question
We have a choice here, To be or not to Be imitators of God.
“Therefore BE imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
“It is good,” God said when He made mankind. “to Be” was understood. Adam didn’t have to ask what God meant. He knew. In the middle of the Garden, God planted the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “Be,” He said, as He told our first parents not to eat of it, even as the Serpent advertised it with all his power. “Just be.” “It is good,” God said in our Baptism. “To Be” was understood, with no need to ask what He meant. “Be,” He said, even as He sent us out into a world filled with the poisons of that tree that became the world’s first idol, even as the serpent advertises this deadly fruit with all his might. “You are my own redeemed child,” God said. “Be.” “Be,”
At The beginning and end of this text are “Be,” with “Be nots” sandwiched in between. “Be what you are, not what you are not, and, if you are what you are, you will not be these things.” “Be not sexually immoral.” Let faith guide your passions lest passions strangle your faith.
foolish talk, and crude joking are out of place among us for the same reason sexual sins are. These things make insignificant of what God would have us take seriously, make evil what God has called good. Jesus is the Word, and He has revealed the Father to us in words, and to take words and put them in the service of anyone but Him and our neighbor is to abuse them. Such is foolishness, and has no place among God’s saints.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words.” And empty words are just what we want when we are in sin and unwilling to get out of it. But the absolution does not proclaim, “It’s okay in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” but, “pardon and deliver you from ALL your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit,” with a big old cross drawn down the middle. We do right to forgive sin, but only harm to say it’s okay. “Okay” didn’t nail Jesus to a tree. Forgiveness did. Empty words say its okay, whether to false morals or false belief. But such words have no place in the
As children of God, we only “be” when we “speak the truth in love,” and the two cannot be divorced. Approval or
acceptance is not forgiveness. Forgiveness washes sin away; it does not rename it. There is no love apart from truth and no truth apart from love, because both come from Him who is both. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” Jesus says.
So what, then? “Be.” “But I have not been?” you may think, and you’re right. We have not been. “But be,”
in hell without us. Be renewed and regenerated. Jump back into the water of life. Take refuge in the wounds of the Savior who “gave Himself in death as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” who still gives Himself for you in remembrance of that sacrifice. Through faith,
back to his father, who stretched out his protecting arms like Christ on the cross and received him, who slaughtered the fattened calf to feed him with the sign of his forgiving love.
Your Savior’s arms are still extended, and, in them, your Father longs to embrace you with His protection from the hell that has wooed you, to feed you with the sign of His love, the very slaughtered Flesh and Blood of His only-begotten. You may have been darkness, but, in Christ, God longs again to call you light. “Be light.” Let there Be light in YOU!
“Be.” Break off your associations with what is not. Cling to those associations that make you what you are. Reconnect with the Father through the Son and by the Spirit, and with His fellow children in the Body of Christ, the Church. Huddle
together in the Light and together “Be,” because that is what you do when you are what God has made you. Amen.
Monday, March 9, 2009
The General Convention of the US Episcopal Church will be asked to authorize rites for the blessing of same-sex unions at their triennial meeting in July. On Jan 31 the Diocese of Newark synod endorsed a resolution asking the General Convention to amend the national Church’s canons governing Holy Matrimony, making them gender-neutral.
Newark’s Resolution 2009-05 asks the national church to amend Canon 18: Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony, substituting the words “two persons” where the words “a man and a woman” now appear, and to amend Canon 19: Of Regulations Respecting Holy Matrimony, to substitute the word “spouse” where the words “husband or wife” appear.
Delegates to the Newark synod also asked their diocesan clergy to henceforth record services solemnizing same-sex civil unions in the parish register “in a manner identical to the recording of marriages,” and stated the diocese’s intention of asking the national Church to amend its canons making this innovation church wide.
At their Feb 1-5 meeting in Alexandria, the Primates urged the Episcopal Church to maintain its moratorium on gay bishops and blessings as did the 2008 Lambeth Conference. While many US dioceses have called for an end to the moratorium enacted at the 2006 General Convention, it is unclear whether the church as a whole will repudiate Lambeth, the primates and Dr Rowan Williams’ call for “gracious restraint.”
Read it all.
In an unprecedented move, a new Anglican diocese has formed outside of The Episcopal Church, but inside its jurisdiction. This is not a breakaway from the 100 Episcopal dioceses that make up TEC.
A meeting of seventy-three Anglican clergy and wardens in Jacksonville agreed to press ahead and form a new orthodox Anglican diocese. Also present were representatives of non-Alliance congregations interested in joining the Alliance.
Harris Willman, Anglican Alliance administrator, said the clergy and wardens from the twenty-one churches that constitute the Anglican Alliance met and agreed to form the diocese and ally themselves with the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) for the next six months, doing the detail work of developing mission and mission priorities and procedures as well as governance structures.
"It is now our intent to move forward as a Diocese in Formation in the Anglican Church in America for the next six months, doing the detail work of developing our mission and mission priorities and procedures as well as our governance structures."
"It is our desire to avoid duplicating the old structure and many of the procedural limitations of our previous denomination (The Episcopal Church). As much as possible we hope to find ways to serve Christ together similar to those described in the book of Acts. At the same time, our confidence lies not in our creating the perfect system, but rather in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church. We will also seek to define and describe the role of future episcopal leadership, emulating early church principles."
This is indeed ground breaking news, and symbolic of christian co-operation and Faith. I wish them the very best Blessings in this formation and look forward to following their success.
If you live in the Southeast and are interested in Excellent Anglican Teaching and Workshops, regarding new Parish Life This should be on your or your clergy's "to attend" list. Also recommend that you join the American Anglican Council either as an individual or as a Parish.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Show me the money: The Episcopal Bishop of Western Kansas writes Presiding Bishop, House of Bishops, Executive Council, & General Convention Deputies
An Open Letter to The Presiding Bishop, House of Bishops, ExecutiveCouncil, and Deputies to General Convention,I really do not know anymore what is coming next. How things are done and not done are as haphazard as people's ideas; or so it seems.Now I read that the "New" Diocese of Fort Worth passed a $632,466 dollar budget for a part-time bishop, a little over 19 priests and 62 delegates who represent way less than a thousand people, and $200,000 is from the General Convention budget!
Interesting letter, and I'd bet that he is no longer on the "A" list in New York .... quite a challenge of what is going on by a Bishop... I wonder what year a response will come?
Read it all at the link above.
March 4, 2009
Bishop Robert Duncan has written to the Common Cause Partnership outlining details of the first Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America. The meeting will be held June 22 - 25 at St. Vincent's Cathedral in Bedford, Texas. The text of his letter follows. TO ALL COMMON CAUSE PARTNERS: Beloved in the Lord,
The purpose of this letter is to give formal notice of the Provincial Assembly to be gathered from noon, Monday, June 22nd, to noon, Thursday, June 25th, 2009. This meeting is being convened under the Provisional Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America. The place of gathering is St. Vincent's Cathedral, Bedford, Texas.
The agenda of the Provincial Assembly will include:
2) Presentations in support of the mission of the Province;
3) Scripture teaching;
4) Addresses by international leaders;
5) Consideration for ratification of the (Provisional) Constitution;
6) Consideration for ratification of a Code of Canons;
7) Reports from committees and task forces.
Each diocese, cluster or network will have representation as provided for in the provisional constitution and initial canons set out by the Common Cause Leadership Council (acting as Provincial Council) on December 3rd, 2008.
The actual apportionment cannot be accomplished until the April meeting of the Council, so this notice is being distributed widely for initial planning purposes.
The actual selection and certification of voting members of the Assembly are to be done diocese by diocese. Most will be represented by their bishop(s), two clergy and two lay persons. Representation is, however, proportional; linked to each additional thousand Average Sunday Attendance.
The hope for the Provincial Assembly is that it be "more like AMiA's Winter Conference than TEC's General Convention." Consideration of matters to be voted will, of course, be limited to the certified representatives. But the gathering as a whole will be open to all.
The expectation is that many more will be present in Bedford than are actually members of the Provincial Assembly. We welcome this and several hundred hotel rooms have been blocked for observer-participants. The Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) airport is a short distance from the meeting site. A list of area hotels accompanies this announcement (pdf file here).
I covet your prayers for this Inaugural Provincial Assembly, and for all that surrounds its preparation. These are momentous days.
Faithfully in Christ,