The Work of the Spirit. Faith in the Spirit's power. Some of us are not leading holy lives for the simple reason that we have too high an opinion of ourselves. No man ever cries aloud for deliverance who has not seen his own wretchedness. In other words, the only way to arrive at faith in the power of the Holy Spirit is along the road of self-despair. --- John R.W. Stott
The Boston attacks once again demonstrated to relatively comfortable Americans what many throughout the world already experience on a daily basis: that we live in a world that is full of great evil. Evil that is a lot closer than we would like to think. Evil that can in one instant, without warning, tear open the beautiful, divine-image-bearing bodies of dozens of people in one of the "safest" neighborhoods of your own city. Evil that can prematurely, mercilessly, brutally end the lives of any of us, our family members, or our dear friends. Evil in such forms as the unknown terrorist plotting of neighbors who live just down the street. --- John Lomperis for IRD
"The Cross of Jesus Christ destroys all pride. If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. He who would serve his brother in the fellowship must sink all the way down to these depths of humility. How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own? Would I not be putting myself above him; could I have any hope for him?" --- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
As changing views on gay marriage, among others, go to show, secularization marches on. Traditionalists may be on the losing end of historic real estate, at least for now, as well as booed out of the public square for their views on sex. Down the road, though, they still look to possess something else critical - a growing congregation without which every church, after all, is just a bed and breakfast waiting to happen. --- TIME magazine
Already baptized. The apostles urge upon us ethical conduct, often in considerable detail. They appeal to us to live out in the concrete realities of daily life what God has already done for us in Christ. They command us to grow in faith, love, knowledge and holiness. They warn us of judgment and challenge us with the expectation of the Lord's return. Meanwhile, they beg us not to grieve the Spirit, but rather to walk in the Spirit and to go on being filled with the Spirit ... But never, not once, do they exhort and instruct us to 'be baptized with the Spirit'. There can be only one explanation of this, namely that they are writing to Christians, and Christians have already been baptized with the Holy Spirit. --- John R.W. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters
May 10, 2013
A trial for the properties of the Diocese of Quincy took place this week with the usual arguments around the Dennis Canon, the hierarchical nature of the church vs churches built by the laity etc. etc. Reporter on the spot Michael Romkey gave VOL a blow by blow account of what happened over two days of court hearings including insights into the tactics and character of David Booth Beers right inside the courtroom.
"Much has been written about the disagreement between the two parties, and how the Anglican churches in western Illinois voted in 2008 to severe ties with the Episcopal Church in reaction to what it regarded as TEC's increasingly liberal interpretation of scripture. The trial will determine who owns the Anglican Diocese of Quincy's churches and endowments -- the local Anglicans or TEC", wrote Michael.
His insights and observations were roundly applauded by Canon lawyer and Curmudgeon blog writer Allan Haley. I urge you to read the full account in today's digest or here: http://tinyurl.com/cxbtgk7
As this was happening, news came that a new Anglican Diocese of the Upper Midwest was forming with the approval of the Anglican Church in North America, thus cementing the ACNA's place in the Midwest and its growing influence in North America even as The Episcopal Church wanes. They will receive official approval and recognition by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) House of Bishops when they meet June in Nashotah House, Wisconsin. You can the rest of the story here: http://tinyurl.com/cmd6cbj
Out in California the news was not so good. St James Newport Beach learned the sad truth. The Orange County Superior Court this week granted a motion by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles seeking possession of a Newport Beach church campus owned by St. James Anglican Church.
The Rev. Richard Crocker who serves as St. James' chief pastor, said, "We are obviously disappointed at the ruling of the court, and surprised that an agreement reached over 20 years ago to facilitate the development of our campus could be swept away like this. But we are a church seeking to follow Jesus, and pursue his mission. We will be in prayer for guidance as to our next steps."
The court's ruling does not contain a date by which St. James must turn over the property, and the ruling could be put on hold pending appeal. For the time being, St. James continues to worship at 3209 Via Lido, Newport Beach.
Meantime, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, has offered the campus of his Lake Forest, California mega church to St James to use if they are forced to vacate their Newport Beach property. Crocker responded to Warren's offer with the following, "We are overwhelmed by his generosity. It is an encouraging sign of support from Christians in the community."
What is particularly onerous in the court's ruling is that even though Bishop Bruce McPherson who was then Canon to the Ordinary had deeded the church to the parish, the Dennis Canon still triumphed based on a lazy judge who was not prepared to do his homework to get to the bottom of the matter. You can read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/cwksn48
In Chapel Hill, NC this past week, the PEARUSA College of Bishops (Rwanda) affirmed their dual relationship with the Anglican Province of Rwanda and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). A letter to the Clergy and Churches of PEARUSA and to the Bishops and Clergy of the Anglican Church in North America noted they are more convinced than ever that "unity among us is necessary and essential to our gospel witness in an increasingly secular culture. Therefore, we say in celebration that PEARUSA is fully united to, fully part of the Anglican Church in North America. We are enormously grateful to be received and folded in as a sub-jurisdiction. We commit ourselves to do all things to strengthen, encourage, and support the values and mission of ACNA".
This pretty well puts the kibosh on any reconciliation talks with the AMiA and Bishop Chuck Murphy. Their day it seems is done. With no ecclesiastical oversight, they are now officially an episcopoi vaganz.
Continuing in the same vein, it is interesting that Bishop Mark Lawrence has not accepted or explored coming under another jurisdiction with an overseas Anglican province, at least at this point in time, which might lead one to think that perhaps he is considering waiting out Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori till a new PB is elected who really believes in inclusion and reapply to go back to TEC. The consecration of Bishop Steve Wood in SC has made it impossible for him to take his diocese into ACNA even if he wanted to. The Southern Cone will not cross boundaries any more. CANA could certainly accept him if he formally applied. This would give him direct access to Nigeria and hence to the Anglican Communion, as well as opening the door to FCA/GAFCON. There is also the possibility that Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt would take him under his ecclesiastical wing. Meantime the silence remains.
In Wayne, PA this past week, an historic milestone was passed when the inaugural synod of the Missionary Diocese of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) met and ordained two presbyters and a deacon for future ministry.
In front of some 150 people that included three bishops, numerous clergy and laity, the Rt. Rev. Julian Dobbs told the first CANA East synod, held at the centrally located Wayne United Methodist Church, that the diocese and the new congregation of Christ Church Anglican on the Mainline would engage in Gospel mission, Christian ministry, and build a fresh and dynamic future together. You can read the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/c82qfr5
In Madison, Wisconsin the feminist priest of St. Dunstan's Episcopal parish in Madison, Wisconsin is bringing Leroy Butler, inventor of the "Lambeau Leap" to her church. Butler, a former Green Bay Packers star, sent a Twitter message of congratulations to Jason Collins, a veteran NBA player who made headlines last week when he became the first NBA player to come out as gay.
Butler had been scheduled to do an anti-bullying presentation at an unnamed church. That church pressured Butler to withdraw his support for Collins. When he refused, they cancelled his appearance.
In an act of inclusive compassion, the priest decided to raise the $8,500 needed to hear him speak on bullying. That's a lot of bread to hear one lecture on why bullying is bad, especially as we all know it is. It can only be stopped when parents start raising kids right so schools and principals don't have to babysit kids who have never learned what it means to be human at home. The family in America is disintegrating faster than the AIDS pandemic in New York. When sons are raised without fathers, they will bully just to survive and demonstrate what they think is macho, helped along by the mindless violence they see on television.
If you have ever wondered if the Church of England would ever catch up with The Episcopal Church in culture wars, read this headline: Church of England Openly Blesses Transsexual. A transsexual man known as Susan Musgrove was affirmed at a service at St. Andrew's Church, Corbridge, Northumberland. His sex change had been affirmed in a Church of England service, said to be the first of its kind. The trannie, who is known as Susan Musgrove, 60, underwent surgery last year and has now been publicly blessed as a woman at the St. Andrew's parish.
And you wonder why the Global South has nothing but revulsion for this kind of thing and zero respect for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England.
It was announced this past week that GAFCON, the Global Anglican Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, will meet in Nairobi in October. This is the second such meeting that will draw several thousand mostly evangelical Anglicans from around the globe to confess the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
So the BIG question is this, will the new Archbishop of Canterbury get an invitation to come? VOL fired off an e-mail to Lambeth Palace with the following question; can you please tell me if the Archbishop of Canterbury has received an invitation to attend GAFCON II set for October in Nairobi? If so, will he accept? Is he prepared to sign the Jerusalem Declaration in order to attend?
This reply came from a David Brownlie-Marshall, "Thank you for your request but I'm afraid that it's not something we would comment on." So here's the problem for the new ABC, unless he is willing to sign the Jerusalem Declaration, he will not be invited. Or as they say in Yoruba: oh dah-boh.
A CofE observer noted, "Lambeth Palace has of late become like a celestial black hole. Lots of information goes in - nothing gets out."
A New Zealand court heard a discrimination charge against Diocese of Auckland Bishop Ross Bay because he refused to allow a gay, partnered man to enter the ordination process. The testimony before the New Zealand Human Rights Review Tribunal is due to end this week. Eugene Sisneros, an events coordinator at St. Matthew-in-the-City, was refused entry to the diocesan ordination training program because he is living in a same-sex relationship - and is therefore not chaste in terms of New Zealand Anglican Church canons.
The bishop's position is that the Anglican canons do not permit anyone living in a sexual relationship outside of marriage to be accepted for training for the priesthood. The bishop believes that the canons presently define chastity as being either married in the traditional sense, or single and celibate.
The bigger question is why a civil court is even listening to a church related matter which should be addressed within the confines of the church. If the secular court decides in favor of the sodomite wannabe priest it makes a total mockery of church discipline. ANYBODY who feels even vaguely discriminated against can go to the secular courts and have the matter heard and a decision made without the church having a say.
But then we are seeing the slow encirclement of the church by secular sodomist, gay rights, gay marriage, gay adoptees and pro-abortion advocates - anyone with a grief against the church -- forcing the church into caving or, at the very least, retreating from the field of battle. There will be tough times ahead for Christians. Open persecution of Christians, now being seen in the Middle East, will become the norm in the West as secularization becomes the norm. True Christians ain't seen nothin' yet.
The Diocese of New Jersey elected the Rev. William 'Chip' Stokes, 56, as its 12th bishop this past week. He is currently the rector of St. Paul's Church in Delray Beach, Florida, and, pending the required consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees of the Episcopal Church, he will get the job. Stokes was elected May 4 out of a field of nine nominees. He was elected on the fifth ballot by the election convention meeting at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton.
"I am humbled beyond expression and deeply honored to have been elected as the 12th bishop of New Jersey," he said. "I am grateful to the people of the diocese for their confidence, support and prayers. I am grateful above all to God in Christ who has called me and walked with me throughout my journey."
There is no record of where he stands on the hot button issues, but he wouldn't get consents if he opposed them. His processor Bishop George Councell was a liberal but not a revisionist. He allowed Archbishop Bob Duncan into his diocese at one point. He also allowed St. George's Helmetta to buy their property. We'll see if Stokes is just as generous.
An agreement has been completed between the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) and Lyceum Kennedy French American School to lease the Second Floor at the Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue in New York City. Bishop Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer, explained that the second floor was specifically requested by Lyceum because it has a private entrance/exit, ideal for school purposes.
Lyceum is expected to move into its new quarters in the summer. The arrangement with Lyceum Schools will provide nearly $380,000 of new revenue in the first 12 months. This lease is coterminous with other leases in the Church Center. As stated previously, Bishop Sauls stressed that the Second Floor lease does not impact the current conversation on the future location of the Church Center.
The Archbishop of Canterbury apologized this week for the "pain and hurt" suffered by victims of clerical child abuse. Justin Welby said the scandal was something the church should "never ignore". He was responding to a new report that raises fears that child-abusing clergy may have slipped through the net. The final report into the scandal-hit Diocese of Chichester said some victims may still not feel able to come forward.
The investigation was first ordered by Welby's predecessor, Rowan Williams.
It followed a series of scandals involving clergymen within the diocese which has led to several being arrested, charged and convicted for historic sex crimes against children.
The report's authors, Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC, said the diocese has "moved forward a very long way" in recent months and has put in place "excellent" safeguarding practices.
The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) committed during a climate change conference here to "leading a conversion of epic scale, a metanoia, or communal spiritual movement away from sin and despair toward the renewal and healing of all creation."
"We commit to being the voice and hands that will witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and build the moral and political will that prompts action from our elected leaders," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson and Church of Sweden Archbishop Anders Wejryd said in a joint statement issued May 2. "As international churches with congregations in many nations, we can and will use our global networks to promote a political framework to limit climate change, while in a unified voice we speak to the world about the urgency of committed climate work."
They addressed their statement to "our churches and to people of faith around the world."
A little climate change in TEC on how it has failed to act on its inclusive "doctrine" to include orthodox Episcopalians might be another good conference starter. We await the Presiding Bishop's call to action.
If you want a glimpse into what is being taught in Anglican institutions say, in Canada, then read what is being trumpeted at the Huron University College the Anglican Church of Canada Divinity and Theology School in London, Ontario.
Andrea Stevenson Allen is an anthropologist whose research focuses on race, gender, and sexuality in Brazil; religious experiences in the African Diaspora; medical anthropology and Brazilian and Portuguese immigration to the United States recently published an article: "Brides" without Husbands: Lesbians in the Afro-Brazilian Religion Candomble." Now that should be a great start in evangelism in the jungles of Brazil, or maybe she bring a can of inclusivity and a glass of diversity to an Integrity cocktail party and see what happens.
Family First New Zealand has received notification that the government's Charities Commission intends to deregister the charity. Why? Family First has a traditional view of marriage being one man and one woman. The commission's investigation began just after NZ's gay marriage debate started last year. The decision means that the organization will no longer be exempt from income tax and, more importantly for a non-profit, donations to it will no longer be tax-deductible.
"This is a highly politicized decision which is grim evidence that groups that think differently to the prevailing politically correct view will be targeted in an attempt to shut them up," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
"The Commission argues that Family First's efforts to represent the voice of 80%-plus of families on the anti-smacking law or half of New Zealanders on attempts to redefine marriage, for example, have no 'public benefit', and that it is in the 'public interest' for Family First to be deregistered."
"The timing of the investigation and notification is also cynical in that the Commission deliberately held off the notification until after the final reading of the gay marriage bill, despite the Commission promising that their decision would be made at the end of January. The investigation began just after the gay marriage debate started last year."
A Lutheran church in Lakewood, Colorado says it will no longer be a welcoming church. "We've decided to quit being a welcoming church. No kidding. We're giving it up. It won't be easy, but we're committed to it. We'll have to do it in stages, easing our folks into it step by step. We'll have to deal with the fear of something new, the challenge of venturing into the unknown. But we'll do it. It will take motivation, leadership, and constant reminders. But most importantly, it will take total commitment in embracing a new focus.
"Like so many churches, we've sunk an amazing amount of time and energy into becoming a welcoming church. We changed worship styles, we trained greeters and ushers, we wore nametags, we percolated coffee, we went to workshops on hospitality, we put our friendliest people in the most prominent places on Sunday mornings. But we've realized we've been misplacing our emphasis. So we're no longer going to do it.
"Here's what we're doing instead. We are becoming an Inviting Church. That's different. You see, 'welcoming' from a missional perspective is passive. It denotes waiting for visitors and guests to drop by. When they do, we attempt treat them very well and do everything possible to make them comfortable. We'll be willing to change who we are. We'll follow particular formats that have proven to be more welcoming to new people. We'll do whatever it takes to have them come back the next Sunday, even if they shouldn't. Welcoming is about us, not about them."
Last week I wrote an updated letter from a senior to a junior devil, - Screwtape to Wormwood - telling him what a great job he was doing in winning the West away from its Christian roots. Hours after I wrote it this video appeared in my inbox. This is another win for Screwtape on YouTube (folks worshipping a golden bull). Remind you of anything? Occupy Portland Worships Golden Bull On May Day. Watch it here and weep for America. "To resist it is useless". http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H8uS-YQo658#.
Did you know that Grace & St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado shares its historic roots with The Gazette? The 1872 editor, publisher, reporter and pressman of The Gazette, J. Elsom Liller, was a founding member of Grace Church at Colorado Springs.
This month, The Gazette published an article on 141 years of printing in Colorado Springs. The story credited Liller with publishing the town's first newspaper, Out West, which, in 1873, became the Colorado Springs Gazette and El Paso County News.
Joe Hight, editor of The Gazette, noted that the city's founder, Gen. William J. Palmer, "hired Liller to help further his dream for this region." The town was incorporated in 1872, four years before Colorado became a state.
I sent the news story off to the Rev. Don Armstrong who got tossed out of the original building along with his parish after a long and bitter court battle. They have resettled well. He wrote back: "Of course the Episcopalians took all the stained glass windows out of it and sold it to became a notorious night club, but the building was rescued, redeemed, and restored by Anglicans who now have returned it to its originally consecrated purpose, now a thriving parish family and over 300 ASA.
"The Episcopalians wrote the article and it ended up promoting us...weird...just needs a foot note about the final outcome...nightclub to church". You can read the story here: http://gazette.com/article/154104
The president of South Sudan has appointed the archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan to chair the national reconciliation committee "trying to heal the mental wounds"' in the world's newest nation after 40 years of war.
Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul was appointed by Salva Kiir, who was facing many questions from the public and the media about why the he had earlier suspended the "much-needed" national reconciliation process.
The committee will launch a national campaign for reconciliation coordinated over the next four to five years by the Office of President and the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission. "The appointment of a church leader to lead the process of reconciliation is not a new thing for the church," Deng told ACNS. "The Church is a reconciler: we are an independent body and not government and hence the right organization to spearhead this process."
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