Behave like Christ is Coming Again. Wherever you may live, and whatever may be your trials; however great your difficulties, and however small your helps; nothing should prevent your aiming at the highest standard, to behave like one who believes that Christ is coming again. You should resolve, by God's help, to live so that the day of Christ shall find you needing as little change as possible. You should seek to have . . . your tastes so heavenly, your affections so spiritual, your will so subdued, your mind so unworldly - that when the Lord appears, you may be thoroughly in tune for His kingdom. --- J.C. Ryle
God allows you to fall into temptation so that you may persistently knock on the door of His mercy and so that, from fear of afflictions, the memory of God may be implanted in your mind, and you may approach Him through prayers, in which case your heart will be sanctified by ceaseless recollection of the name of God. When you supplicate Him Him with faith, He will hear you, and you will learn that it is God who rescued you. Then you will understand that your Creator strengthens you and guards you. --- A small but always persistent discipline is a great force; for a soft drop falling persistently, hollows out hard rock --- St. Isaac the Syrian, 7th century
"I let you loose, George, on the great continent of America. Publish your message in the open face of the sun, and do all the good you can." Letter to a preacher George Shadford from John Wesley - March 1773
The spiritual and theological fractures that split the Episcopal Church and are currently threatening the entire Anglican Communion are also splitting the Lutheran Church and now, most recently, the Presbyterian Church USA. The issue of whether to adhere to basic orthodoxy is causing a tectonic fracture across much of Christendom, as it exists today --- Bishop David C. Anderson, Sr. President and CEO, American Anglican Council
Scripture and sacrament. God speaks to his people through his Word both as it is read and expounded from Scripture and as it is dramatized in the two gospel sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper. Perhaps 'word and sacrament' is not the best or most accurate coupling, common though it is. For strictly speaking the sacrament itself is a word, a 'visible word' according to Augustine. What builds up the church more than anything else is the ministry of God's Word as it comes to us through Scripture and Sacrament (that is the right coupling), audibly and visibly, in declaration and drama. --- John R.W. Stott
Do Not Be Careless. Put On Your Armor. Let me warn all careless members of Churches to beware lest they trifle their souls into hell. You live on year after year as if there was no battle to be fought with sin, the world, and the devil; you pass through life a smiling, laughing, gentleman-like or ladylike person, and behave as if there was no devil, no heaven, and no hell. Oh, careless Churchman, or careless Dissenter, careless Episcopalian, careless Presbyterian, careless Independent, careless Baptist, awake and see eternal realities in their true light. Awake, and put on the armor of God. Awake, and fight hard for life. Tremble. Tremble, and repent. --- J.C. Ryle
Sermon and sacrament. Strictly speaking, the sacraments are not themselves worship, any more than the sermon is worship. Sermon and sacrament are both manward rather than Godward in their direction. They set forth, the one audibly and the other visibly, the glory of God's grace in the salvation of sinners. Therefore, though not themselves acts of worship, they lead to worship -- the adoration of the God who once gave himself for his people and now gives himself to them today. --- John R.W. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters
January 27, 2012
Archbishops Rowan Williams of Canterbury and John Sentamu of York now believe that the Church of England and the Anglican Communion ought to be in "an open-ended engagement" with the Anglican Church in North America. The two archbishops made their remarks in a report to the Feb. 6-9, 2010 sessions of the Church of England's General Synod.
They did so because they were aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada. That, of course, is to put it mildly. It is way more than distress -- the fabric of the communion has been torn...
The ACNA consists of individuals and churches that have left the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, as well as those that have never been members of those two provinces. It includes entities such as the Reformed Episcopal Church, formed in 1873, and the Anglican Mission in the Americas, founded by Rwandan Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini and Moses Tay, the now-retired primate of the province of South East Asia, in 2000.
The archbishops said that theirs is "a report on work in progress since the consequences of the establishment of ACNA some two and a half years ago are still emerging and on a number of issues any assessment at this stage must necessarily be tentative." They offer some details on three issues: the range of possible relationships between other Christian churches and the Church of England, how a "particular local Church" can be accepted as part of the Anglican Communion, and under what circumstances the orders of another church might be recognized and accepted by the Church of England.
They also said people ordained in churches that accept the historical episcopate may be received into the Church of England and be authorized to minister.
The two men stressed that the Church of England "remains fully committed to the Anglican Communion and to being in communion both with the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church."
You can read the full report in today's digest. One thing is certain however is that the ACNA would never be recognized by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and Canon Kenneth Kearon as a legitimate province, as he sees only The Episcopal Church as the authentic card-carrying Anglican province in North America.
The battle between the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and the influential PNC bank begins later this month. In recent court papers, PNC raises deep concerns about the goals of the Diocese of Washington's petition to the court requesting the termination of the Soper Trust.
The civil action takes place in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland with the initial hearing slated for January 23, 2012. This diocesan-initiated lawsuit has as its goal the termination of the Ruth Gregory Soper Memorial Trust Fund and its transformation into a diocesan-managed account.
PNC bank recently stated a vigorous defense in an attempt to stop the Diocese of Washington from removing the Soper Trust from the domain of PNC and making it a locally managed account.
On January 12, 2012, PNC filed a cross-motion for summary judgment in which it claims that diocesan officials are attempting to destroy the original intention of Ruth Gregory Soper as expressed in her carefully delineated will.
In legal papers, PNC attorneys state that the legal argument put forth by the diocese "boldly suggests" (9) a different intention of Mrs. Soper's than the ones written in the four corners of her will. They state that diocesan arguments amount to a "sleight of hand," a term used for card tricks and whose synonyms are deceit, deception, magic, and chicanery (see thesaurus.com). (22) PNC summarizes the Diocese of Washington's legal argument as a "fiction" intended to destroy the generous intentions of Mrs. Ruth Gregory Soper. You can read Sarah Francis Ives excellent report in today's digest.
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland reached an agreement with the Anglican Use Congregation at Mount Calvary, Baltimore, over real and personal property, this past week. On October 24, 2010, a majority of members of Mount Calvary voted to leave the Episcopal Church and join the Roman Catholic Church through the newly established Anglican Ordinariate.
Representatives from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland met for mediation on November 17, 2011, with representatives from Mount Calvary Church and the Joseph Richey House hospice. The Anglican Use Congregation will be deeded the church building, adjacent offices, and rectory, will keep all furnishings and personal property, and will retain the right to use the parking lot shared with Joseph Richey House. The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland will receive a monetary sum as part of the settlement, and will retain first right of refusal if the congregation vacates the property.
The Rev. Canon Scott Slater, on the bishops' staff and part of the mediation team representing the Episcopal diocese, said, "This has been a thoughtful, prayerful, and respectful process by all three entities, and I am pleased that we have reached a solution that meets the needs of all three groups."
The Rev. Jeffrey Steenson, newly appointed ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, will receive members of Mount Calvary Church, Baltimore, on Sunday morning.
Mount Calvary was the first congregation of the Episcopal Church to announce its pilgrimage to the Ordinariate in October 2010. The congregation's reception into the Ordinariate was delayed by property negotiations with the Diocese of Maryland.
"Our brothers and sisters at Mount Calvary have not 'converted' to Roman Catholicism," said the Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, Bishop of Maryland, in a letter to members of the diocese. "They have chosen to walk with different friends in the same one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of which they have always been a part. Let us pray for them on their journey. Let us hope that their work in the future will continue to seek and serve Christ in all persons, to respect the dignity of every human being, and help build up the Kingdom of God here on earth."
Mount Calvary also will commemorate its transition with a service of Solemn Evensong at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The Rev. Dwight Longnecker, a former Episcopal priest who is now a Roman Catholic priest in Greenville, South Carolina, will preach.
AMIA Bishop Blasts CEN Reporter for Fomenting Schism in Anglican Mission. A leading world Anglican theologian, author and bishop, has blasted a Church of England reporter for fomenting schism in the Anglican Mission in the Americas. Critics assert the schism took place in collaboration with individuals within Rwanda who have been working with individuals in the US against the AMIA.
AMIA Bishop John Rodgers ripped George Conger, who recently worked at a Hospice as an Episcopal priest and part time reporter for an independent British weekly newspaper, accusing him of making false statements about Bishop Chuck Murphy and the relationship of AMIA with the Anglican Province of Rwanda and its Primate, Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje.
Others have noted that several key pieces of correspondence from Rwanda to Bishop Murphy were given to Conger before being received by Murphy. Since these documents originated from Rwanda, it implies that there are people in Rwanda who were involved with Conger in fomenting this unfortunate situation.
The AMIA became aware of correspondence from individuals within the US encouraging certain Rwandan bishops to prevent Bishop Murphy from presenting the AMIA facts and to thwart reconciliation efforts by the AMIA.
It has been reported by VOL that former Rwandan archbishop Emmanuel Kolini stated at the recent AMIA winter conference, "The AMIA is a victim of a power struggle of church politics in Rwanda." This may well be the root cause of the entire situation and the reason for the departure of the AMIA from its formal ties to the Anglican province of Rwanda. You can read the full story in today's digest.
The drift of Episcopalians to the Roman Catholic Church via the Ordinariate is worrying some liberal Episcopal bloggers and ordinary Episcopalians who see the move getting more cyber ink and publicity than the flight deserves. "Thus far, 100 priests and fewer than 1,400 people in 22 church communities have expressed an interest in the ordinariate. Gather them all in Washington National Cathedral, and the place isn't half full. Only six of these 22 communities have more than 70 members, which suggests that their long-term viability may be an issue. And there is no evidence to suggest that these small congregations are the thin edge of an as yet invisible wedge," writes Jim Naughton of Episcopal Café blog.
He is partly right. Most Anglo-Catholics and those in the Continuing Movement are not fleeing en masse to Rome as a safe haven for their catholicism, preferring to remain in TEC (though that group is rapidly diminishing.) or Forward in Faith, the Anglo-Catholic wing of TEC that is still very much alive and well. Forward in Faith North America defines itself as "a fellowship of Bishops, Clergy, Laity, Parishes and Religious Orders, who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who uphold the Evangelical Faith and Catholic Order which is the inheritance of the Anglican Way, and who work, pray and give for the reform and renewal of the Church with 'no compromise of truth and no limitation of love' FiF/NA members include faithful Anglicans both within and outside ECUSA."
The prominence the ordinariate has achieved in the media has unsettled some Episcopalians. "As a denomination, we are still recovering from several years worth of news stories in which the departure of some three percent of our membership for a more theologically conservative body has been variously described as a 'schism' or an 'exodus,'" writes Naughton. You can read the full story in today's digest.
Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori made a visit to St Martin's, the second most liberal Episcopal Church in Charlotte, NC. Recently. St. Peter's is the first. Their sign outside on Wednesday read, "6pm Hymn, Chant, Candles, No Sermon No Guilt". One could have added, after listening to Mrs. Jefferts Schori, no theology, no redemption, no salvation, and no hope.
The Archbishop of Tanzania, the Most Rev. Valentino Mokiwa is closing in on the fifth year of a six-year term. However it is renewable for another term. A source in the area told VOL that TEC is pouring money into the opposition, backing Isaiah Chamballa, Bishop of Kiteto who receives BIG support from the Diocese of Missouri. The source said, "He's absolutely corrupt, dirty guy. If the election were held today he'd win. Chamballa is a WaGoGo, a Bantu ethnic and linguistic group based in the Dodoma Region of central Tanzania. This whole thing is being fought along tribal lines. TEC is backing the GoGos and their allies. If they win they'll pull Tanzania out from GAFCON and un-recognize ACNA."
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in the east German state of Saxony ruled on 21 January that gay pastors will for the first time be allowed to cohabit with their partners. "I hope that Christians will endorse in the community of our Church the decision by the church leadership," the Lutheran Bishop of Saxony, Jochen Bohl said in a statement. "I am sure that homosexual people with whom we are joined in the community of the church will be accepted as sisters and brothers in faith." The decision came after discussions in Dresden among Lutheran leaders and was largely based on a report by the working group "Homosexuality in biblical understanding."
Churches in India have decried the verdict of an Islamic court in Kashmir that ordered the expulsion of Christians, including a Protestant pastor and a Dutch Catholic missionary, and recommended government control of Christian schools.
"This is totally unacceptable," Samuel Jayakumar, a spokesperson for the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), told ENInews Jan. 23 from New Delhi. "India is a secular country and the personal law of a community should be confined to itself," Jayakumar said. Sharia courts have no secular legal standing in India.
On Jan. 19, the Sharia court in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, where Muslims are in the majority, ordered the expulsion of Church of North India (CNI) pastor Chander Mani Khanna who was found "guilty" of conversions, and four other Christians. "Khanna and his associates have been found guilty of spreading communal disaffection and were involved in immoral activities. They are ordered to be expelled from the state," deputy Grand Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir Nasir-ul-Islam said.
State police arrested Khanna in November after Muslim groups pressed conversion charges against him for baptizing five Muslims and a Hindu. While the pastor was released on bail, the Sharia court went ahead with its own trial.
In his annual communications message,Pope Benedict XVI extolled the sounds of silence. He said a little bit of quiet makes people better listeners and better communicators by giving them more time to think about what they are hearing and saying. In a world inundated by Tweets and 24-hour news coverage, that precious time to think and reflect gives words greater value, he said.
"Joy, anxiety and suffering can all be communicated in silence - indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression," he said in his written message.
Dr. Rowan Williams spoke up about the horrors of the holocaust on Holocaust Memorial Day and said this should never be repeated. No one would disagree with that.
So, why doesn't Williams speak up about the persecution of orthodox Episcopalians in the US who have been forced out of their parishes, watched as their lives, jobs, salaries and pensions have been ripped from them by an apostate Episcopal Church more interested in brokering in Robinson's sexual behavior than pronouncing the gospel of God's grace and healing? Such a "holocaust" does not fit what happened over 60 years ago, but a salutary reminder that persecution can come in many disguises and forms would not have been amiss.
Just weeks before the Diocese of Atlanta announces candidates for the replacement of revisionist Bishop Neil Alexander, the marketing campaign for the insider's pick and preferred candidate has begun.
The Nominating Committee has been under severe pressure to give Atlanta Episcopalians an historic opportunity to renounce their unearned white privilege by electing an historic first African American bishop for Atlanta. The Diocesan public relations department has even gone so far as recently printing a picture of the empty bishop's chair in the Cathedral along with a photo of the imposing and domineering (and also controversial) new statue of Martin Luther King.
Now, during the same upcoming month of February when the names of the candidates are announced, the Diocese is hosting a very high profile and widely promoted visit by the first African American woman elected as a TEC bishop. Alexander will preside at the service honoring Barbara Harris. The message is obvious: Bishop Alexander seamlessly ushers in the future reign of African American bishops in Atlanta.
The timing is transparent: Alexander wants his diocese to elect an African American as his successor so that he can thank them for helping him "unburden" himself from the "burden of my white privilege" and thereby hopefully earning for himself protection from anyone investigating why he's fleeing the increasing African and Hispanic diversity in the Diocese of Atlanta to the peaceful congeniality of the 100% white Anglican Studies Department at uber rich Emory. Even though Alexander never paid any personal price in the name of his anti racist pronouncements, his diocese must elect an African American to replace him if they want to prove that they are serious anti racists. If they don't, the next white bishop of Atlanta will be even more "burdened" by the need to mandate harsher anti racism training for everyone in the diocese so that his replacement will definitely be African American, otherwise, the Diocese of Atlanta will be kicked out of TEC for its failure to "do the right thing"? How can TEC tolerate racists who don't elect an African American when they have the chance?
Some members of the Presbyterian Church have created a new denomination they say is a "reformed body" with "accountable relationships" among its leaders. The move comes less than a year after the church became the latest Christian denomination to allow gays and lesbians to be ordained as ministers.
In a conference in Orlando, the breakaway group introduced the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO) to thousands of participants from more than 500 Presbyterian congregations nationwide.
Membership in the new denomination will require dismissal from the Presbyterian Church. Congregations choosing not to completely leave the church can either become a ministry association or a union member.
ECO is the result of dissatisfaction among a group of pastors who joined together a year ago amid controversy over the Presbyterian Church's bureaucracy and a decision to allow gays to be ordained as clergy.
Despite the fact that Israelis and Palestinians cannot reach agreement on a Middle East settlement and with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the Palestinians had no interest in resuming peace talks the President of the Palestinian Authority has met with leaders of the Christian Churches of Britain in London following talks with the British government over the stalled Middle East peace process.
The meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Dr. Rowan Williams comes at the lowest point in Anglo-Israeli relations. Things were made worse when Israeli Foreign Ministry chided Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as being grossly "ill informed" about the conflict in the Middle East.
According to a statement released after the 17 Jan 2012, President Abbas told the church leaders that Israel and the Palestinians must resume peace talks. The Arab Spring provided a "rare opportunity" to bring peace to the region, the Palestinian leader said.
In the private meeting at Lambeth Palace, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool Patrick Kelly and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, David Arnott, joined President Abbas and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
Dr. Williams said the British church leaders "continue to share the hopes of the Palestinian leadership for a lasting and just peace in the Holy Land, and we pray for the courage on all sides to break the current deadlock."
He noted "young people in Israel and in the Palestinian territories long for justice and stability.
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