The message of the New Testament is first and foremost a declaration. It is good news about God. It is the story of what God has done in and through his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. He has established his kingdom. True, the full manifestation of the kingdom is yet to come. We await the final consummation. But the kingdom of God has been inaugurated. The time has been fulfilled. The dreams of ancient visionaries have come true. God has kept his promise to Abraham. Long centuries of Old Testament expectation have at last materialized. The new age has dawned. The new covenant has been ratified through the blood shedding of Jesus. Those who repent of their sins, renounce themselves and believe in Christ hear the covenant promise '... I will be their God, and they shall be my people ... for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more' (Jer. 31:33-4). --- John R. W. Stott
"God's children should pray. You should cry day and night unto God. God hears every one of your cries, in the busy hour of the daytime, and in the lonely watches of the night. He treasures them up from day-to-day; soon the full answer will come down: 'He will answer speedily.'
Christ never loses one believing prayer. The prayers of every believer, from Abel to the present day, He heaps upon the altar, from which they are continually ascending before His Father and our Father; and when the altar can hold no more, the full, the eternal answer will come down.
Do not be discouraged, dearly beloved, because God bears long with you-because He does not seem to answer your prayers. Your prayers are not lost. When the merchant sends his ships to distant shores, he does not expect them to come back richly laden in a single day: he has long patience.
'It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.' Perhaps your prayers will come back, like the ships of the merchant, all the more heavily laden with blessings, because of the delay." --- Robert Murray M'Cheyne in his 4th Fourth Pastoral Letter
Total blessing and total demand. When Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God he was not referring to the general sovereignty of God over nature and history, but to that specific rule over his own people which he himself had inaugurated, and which begins in anybody's life when he humbles himself, repents, believes, submits and is born again. God's kingdom is Jesus Christ ruling over his people in total blessing and total demand. To 'seek first' this kingdom is to desire as of first importance the spread of the reign of Jesus Christ. Such a desire will start with ourselves, until every single department of our life -- home, marriage and family, personal morality, professional life and business ethics, bank balance, tax returns, lifestyle, citizenship -- is joyfully and freely submissive to Christ. It will continue in our immediate environment, with the acceptance of evangelistic responsibility towards our relatives, colleagues, neighbors and friends. And it will also reach out in global concern for the missionary witness of the church. --- John R.W. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters
February 8, 2013
It was the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby's week. On Monday Feb. 4, 2013 the former bishop of Durham officially became the Archbishop of Canterbury at a ceremony, known as the "Confirmation of Election," which took place in the context of an act of worship at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
The ceremony forms part of the legal process by which the appointment of the new archbishop of Canterbury is put into effect. It was presided over by Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, with the assistance of the bishops of London, Winchester, Salisbury, Worcester, Rochester, Lincoln, Leicester and Norwich. Her Majesty The Queen - who is the supreme governor of the Church of England -- commissioned all for this purpose.
Welby's name was put forward to The Queen some months ago by the church's "Crown Nominations Commission" in accordance with constitutional arrangements that have been in place for many years. The appointment is formalized by legal steps taken in accordance with the Appointment of Bishops Act 1533. First, his election was undertaken in January by the dean and canons of Canterbury Cathedral. Next, their election of him had to be confirmed by the wider church, which is what happened today.
There is already criticism mounting against Archbishop Welby. Of late, the new Archbishop has been very public over problems in Britain like poverty, unemployment, and a failing Welfare State along with a host of other issues. He got kickback from one Australian Anglican saying, "I wonder if the Church should maybe fix its own problems first? Disunity, lack of compassion, corrosive judgmentalism..." He has a point, of course.
Who is responsible for the disunity, lack of compassion, corrosive judgmentalism? One need look no farther than the disunity created by Katharine Jefferts Schori. The Episcopal Church that has moved so far to the left that it is difficult to tell it apart from the Democratic Party at prayer. What she is doing in the Diocese of South Carolina is highly divisive. There is absolutely no unity, a total lack of compassion for Bishop Mark Lawrence and an intense judgmentalism of the bishop and his orthodox faith.
England is in even deeper sexual waters. U.K. lawmakers this week okayed gay marriage despite fierce opposition from members of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party.
The move puts Britain on track to join the 10 countries that allow same-sex couples to marry. Cameron had the embarrassment of seeing more than half of his Conservative members of Parliament refuse to back him on the vote.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage as he took office. He made his first public comments as leader of the world's 80million Anglicans reiterating his opposition to the Government's gay marriage plans.
The Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt. Rev Stephen Cottrell and Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, Rt. Rev. Thomas McMahon wrote a letter to MPs protesting the forthcoming Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill to no avail.
"It is axiomatic that every government of a nation has the right to legislate on how marriage is celebrated in that particular country and for its legal consequences there. However, we firmly believe that no government anywhere has the right to re-define or change the essential nature of marriage itself. This is because marriage both comes from God, as revealed through the Scriptures, and is equally a fundamental part of universal natural law," they wrote.
"In practical terms, although we are obviously aware that safeguards have been offered to grant exemption for religious bodies from some parts of the proposed legislation, it is to be wondered if such exemption would survive scrutiny by the Courts (whether national or international) as well of course, of always being subject to change by parliament itself in the future. We would also ask whether sufficient thought has been given to the inter-meshing between these current marriage proposals and the existing legislation which deals with equality and discrimination. This combination of legislation might well nullify the promised safeguards.
"Taking these factors together, there must be genuine doubt as to whether there can inevitably be freedom of conscience and freedom of teaching in the future for all those who - of any religious creed or none - wish to express that truth about marriage which is rooted in Creation itself and is part of our human heritage."
Things are on the move in the growing Anglican Church in North America. This week hands were laid on the Rev. Dr. Quigg Lawrence, senior pastor of Church of the Holy Spirit in Roanoke, Virginia. He was consecrated the fourth bishop of the Anglican Church of Rwanda in North America in his home church.
Presiding over the event was Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje of La Province De L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda (PEAR) and Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA.) Dr. Lawrence will be seated as a bishop in the House of Bishops of both Provinces.
Some 700 guests from across the country and around the world were in attendance including Rwanda. Also in attendance were three members of the Rwandan House of Bishops (P.E.A.R.) including Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje, Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo (Dean of the Province), and Bishop John Rucyahana. All these men suffered through the Rwandan Genocide. Three PEAR USA bishops were present: Bishop Steve Breedlove, Bishop Terrell Glenn, and Bishop Ken Ross. Three members of the ACNA House of Bishops were also present. They were Archbishop Robert Duncan, Bishop John Guernsey and Bishop Foley Beach.
The Rev. Ferran Glenfield, Rector of Hillsborough Parish in Nth. Ireland was elected today as the new Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin, and Ardagh. He is a true conservative, VOL has been told. "This is hugely encouraging," a local vicar told VOL. Glenfield is a graduate of Queen's University Belfast. He taught before training for the ordained ministry and completed theological studies in Trinity College Dublin and the University of Oxford." The bishop–elect said, "I am very surprised but deeply honored to be asked to serve in this capacity as Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh." Following approval by the House of Bishops, the bishop–elect will be consecrated as a bishop on a date to be determined.
BERMUDA has a new Anglican bishop. He is the Rev. Nicholas Dill. It was a closely fought election against Archdeacon Andrew Doughty. Votes were cast by 44 members of the Synod in three closely-fought rounds of ballots on Saturday. Dill is thought to be liberal on the hot button issues.
David Cooper, the Commissary appointed to conduct the election explained, "In order to be elected, it is necessary that a candidate obtain a majority of both the House of Clergy [the clergy here in Bermuda] and the House of Laity [i.e. persons appointed by the various parishes who are lay members of their parish church]." The total electorate was 12 in the House of Clergy and 32 in the House of Laity.
Canberra's Anglican Diocese has begun preparing historic and contemporary church documents which may be useful to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
In a pastoral letter to the Anglican congregations and people of Canberra and Goulburn, Bishop Stuart Robinson said the diocese was entering into a new phase of ministry and care as the royal commission got under way.
"As your bishop I am calling us all to prayer; justice, compassion, transparency, truth and Christ's honor must be front and center in all we do," Bishop Robinson wrote.
Bishop Robinson said a professional standards team was preparing requisite historical documentation for the royal commission and would also provide details of all current protocols, policies and procedures related to the care and protection of children.
"We're being quite clear that we recognize poor and completely inappropriate behaviour has taken place in the past. We also recognized that it's this generation that have to take responsibility - not only for caring for those people who have been affected in the past, but also for creating a safe ... environment into which people can be welcomed."
The bones of Richard III were discovered this week in Britain. A VOL reader wrote, "This may lead to a reassessment of the king's reputation, which was traduced by the Tudors, who controlled all the media--including the Globe Theatre and William Shakespeare."
More than 500 years after his death in battle, scientists announced Monday that they had definitively identified a skeleton unearthed in northern England last summer as that of Richard III, the medieval king portrayed by William Shakespeare as a homicidal tyrant who killed his two young nephews in order to ascend to the throne.
DNA from the bones, found beneath the ruins of an old church, matches that of a living descendant of the monarch's sister, researchers said.
You can read the full story here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9847738/Richard-III-to-be-re-interred-in-major-ceremony-at-Leicester-Cathedral.html
"So God made a farmer". Those words are echoing in millions of people's heads. They weren't there 24 hours ago, yet they are all the talk around the water cooler this morning as the Paul Harvey Super Bowl commercial for Dodge Ram trucks paid tribute to the men and women who get over looked too much in society - the farmer.
ABC News reported today Feb. 4, "The two-minute spot featured a series of stark photos of farmers at work. Along with a montage of still images, Harvey's distinctive voice delivers the narration: his 'So God Made a Farmer' speech, which he gave in 1978 at the National Future Farmers of America Convention. He died in 2009 at age 90."
It wasn't flashy, it didn't have half naked woman, or ton of special effects, but it did its job as it cut to the heart of American's. Great job Dodge.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch's body was buried Feb. 4 in one of Trinity Wall Street's cemetery plots. Koch, 88, who called himself a secular Jew, died Feb. 1 of congestive heart failure. His funeral was held Feb. 4 at Temple Emanu-El on the East Side of Manhattan. Current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. President Bill Clinton were among those who eulogized the three-term mayor who helped New York rebound from fiscal troubles in the 1970s. Koch remained a visible icon of the city.
"He is with us even now even though the snows of many winters are now destined to cover his grave," Rabbi David Posner, the senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, said during the service, according to a New York Times report.
Koch's grave will be in the Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum at 155th and Riverside. The Rev. James Cooper, Trinity Wall Street's rector, said Feb. 1 that Koch approached the church in 2008 about being buried in the cemetery. Koch is said to have paid $20,000 for the spot.
The Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle has been nominated to be the next Dean and President of The General Theological Seminary in New York City. The Executive Committee of the seminary's Board of Trustees approved him; Search Committee Chair Randall Ashley Greene presented Dunkle's nomination to the Trustees on Friday, February 1, 2013. The Trustees will formally vote on the nomination at the next Board meeting in May 2013.
Dunkle served as Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, and was Bishop Samuel Howard's hatchet man in inhibiting and deposing some 42 orthodox priests who disagreed with TEC's newfound theology of inclusion during and after 2004 following the election of homoerotic Gene Robinson Bishop of New Hampshire.
In the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, Fr. Rev. James Guill, pastor of St. Andrew's, is up and running in a new location. In 2006, the congregation decided to leave the Episcopal Church, claiming that the denomination had strayed from its traditional beliefs about sexuality and the Bible. They joined the Diocese of Quincy, Illinois, which is part of the Anglican Church in North America.
The diocesan bishop decided to keep the recently vacated St. Andrew's church intact. In the fall the diocese itself will move onto the property and make it its diocesan headquarters.
Just how bad are things in some dioceses? A source in Georgia tells VOL that Bishop Scott Benhase won't ordain anyone without means of support outside the church. Ditto for the Diocese of Washington. Bishop Mariann Budde won't ordain any more priests, "I want more laity not priests," she says. "These poor idiots have not a clue what they are doing," said the source.
A special service honoring Absalom Jones, the first African-American priest of the Episcopal Church, will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road N.W., Atlanta.
Jones was a former slave and in the 1700s co-founded the Free African Society, which aided the sick, widows and orphans and newly freedmen. The Rev. Gregory V. Eason Sr., senior pastor of Big Bethel A.M.E. Church, will be the guest speaker. The Big Bethel Mass Choir will provide the music.
The event is sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians. A reception will follow.
The United Church of Christ is flailing about trying to figure out why it is dying. IRD's John Lomperis writes about the failing United Church of Christ. You can read about it in today's digest. Lesbian priest Susan Russell and other revisionist Episcopalians like to claim that TEC's decline is due to people staying away in order to avoid fighting about sexuality. If we would just embrace the "new thing", all would be well, she insists. Fortunately, the UCC provides a great test case of what happens when a denomination goes all-in with the LGBTQ agenda.
This year 30 new bicycle ambulances will start serving villages in Mozambique, thanks to generous donors who gave more than $18,000 through Gifts for Mission, the Anglican Church of Canada's gift guide. Bicycle ambulances are stretchers hitched to the back of bikes, providing faster trips to health clinics. The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is setting up 100 ambulance projects in Mozambique. Each project is community run, provides employment, and connects with other maternal health programs.
One such ambulance was a gift from St. James Anglican Church in Ingersoll, Ont. For their outreach Sunday last year, St. James supported local and international causes-and raised $600 for one bike ambulance.
A local Anglican missionary told VOL that the liberal west is recolonizing Africa one diocese and one compromised bishop at a time.
Here's an interesting headline from the National Review magazine: Evangelical Catholics: The future of the Catholic Church."Lukewarm Catholicism has no future; submitting to the transforming fire of the Holy Spirit is no longer optional," George Weigel writes in his new book, Evangelical Catholicism. We live in a time when "religious faith, commitment to a religious community, and a religiously informed morality can no longer be taken for granted. . . . Evangelical Catholicism calls the entire Church to holiness for the sake of mission." Weigel talked about Evangelical Catholicism, the current cultural moment, and more in an interview with National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez. Here is an excerpt.
LOPEZ: There was a recent book called Catholicism published by Image Catholic and now here you are with your latest book called Evangelical Catholicism. Are these about the same Church?
WEIGEL: Father Robert Barron, author of Catholicism, and I have a very similar view of the Catholicism of the 21st century and the third millennium - a Catholicism that has met the Risen Lord and received from him the Great Commission; a Church that has rediscovered how to introduce men and women to the true and the good through the beautiful; a Church that understands that the truth it proposes is liberating, not confining; a Church that's a culture-forming counterculture, challenging the culture of the imperial autonomous self to a nobler view of human possibilities under grace; a Church that's moved beyond the who's-in-charge-here cat-and-dog fights of the past 40 years; a Church that affirms that everyone has a unique vocation, and that challenges everyone to live his or her unique vocation in an evangelical, mission-driven way.
Then Weigel said this: "I think there are some important things that evangelical Catholicism can learn from evangelical Protestantism throughout the world: the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ ("friendship with Jesus" being perhaps the key theme in the preaching of Pope Benedict XVI); the absolute centrality of Baptism in each of our lives; the determination to see every place we go as "mission territory." From the evangelical Protestant encounter with Scripture, Catholics can also learn to read the New Testament again with the eyes of faith: not as an ancient text to be dissected, but as a living book that describes God's ways in the world with remarkable salience for our own times and lives.
He makes a good case for staying EVANGELICAL and ANGLICAN.
St. Mary's Sewanee announces its first bishop-in-residence program. Bishop Henry Nutt Parsley will serve in the new post for a three-year term. A news item said "In a desire to deepen ties to the Episcopal Church, and to more effectively serve the Episcopal Church as a center for spiritual development, the St. Mary's Sewanee Board of Trustees will assist the Center in engaging the Episcopal Church more directly as a resource for spiritual growth and faith formation. This will include periods of residency for one week every quarter during which the Bishop will offer a Quiet Retreat Day and schedule appointments for spiritual direction. In addition, the Bishop-in-Residence will lead a Pre-Ordination retreat for transitional deacons, as well as develop opportunities to support and nurture parish priests and serve as an advisor on St. Mary's Sewanee Program Committee."
VOL's resident source reported, "Sewanee always makes room for its most transformative bishops, especially when they are retired and still want to "do more." Parsley will be back at Sewanee for three years, and Alexander is there permanently. It will be downhill faster from here. Bishops Parsley, Alexander, (the new Dean of Theology) and Jon Meacham, Sewanee's poster boy for liberalism hired John McCardell as Vice Chancellor. Now St. Mary's has pro gay Same Sex Blessing bishops. "All part of a plan."
A campaign by "gay" activists to open the Boy Scouts of America to homosexuals has stalled with a decision by the BSA executive committee meeting in Irving, Texas, to not vote on the proposed policy change until May. The vote to open the ranks to homosexuality was expected today after the organization said last week it was considering a new policy that would allow local Scouting organizations to establish their own rules for membership. In the meantime, a tidal wave of opposition surged. The BSA said in a statement, "After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy."
Among critics of the policy change was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and wrote a book about the Scouts. Another, Jonathan Saenz, president of the Austin-based Texas Values, pointed out that 70 percent of Boy Scout groups are affiliated with churches.
"A lot of those faith groups do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle and will pull out," he warned.
Only last year, the organization formally reaffirmed its traditional position of banning homosexuals from the ranks. The announcement followed a two-year review of the policy. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of the organization to exclude homosexuals, because homosexual behavior violates the core values of the private organization. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, emphasized a "core conviction is a core conviction."
Canadian Archbishop Fred Hiltz's recent visit to former dissenting parishes in the diocese of New Westminster was a bust, according to a VOL source. He spouted the same line to each one, "I feel your sorrow. That was it, really."
In other news from the Diocese of New Westminster, the new minister at St. John's, Shaughnessy's Michael Fuller (the new St. John's) recently had lunch with one of the ministers from one of the dissenting parishes; what he said was very revealing. Fuller had no idea about the tempestuous history of St. John's Shaughnessy. Prior to his coming to Vancouver, he knew nothing about what had transpired between the parish and the Diocese of New Westminster. It seems he was under the impression that the parish was solvent and that it just needed a bit of encouragement and building up. Apparently, he did not know that St. John's was an Evangelical parish, not high church. It seems that Fuller is feeling let down and discouraged as he cannot seem to draw many more than the 30 regular people who attend, most of whom stayed back when the orthodox folk left with Fr. David Short.
The Anglican Bishop of Harare, Chad Gandiya has said that forgiveness still remains the biggest challenge for Christians in his diocese after years of "living in exile."
"People are very happy to have returned to their churches, but they are still hurting. The church needs to find new ways of teaching on healing and forgiveness," he said.
The bishop was referring to the pain suffered after breakaway bishop Nolbert Kunonga and his supporters grabbed church properties, schools and orphanages, leaving loyal Anglicans without any place to worship.
"All our properties are now back in our hands," the bishop said. "We know that Dr. Kunonga tried to go back to court, but I don't think it will go anywhere."
The bishop said that the time spent "in exile" made it difficult for the church to pursue many church programs because they had to use rented properties. "Now we can pursue other aspects of ministry with a lot of joy and appreciation," he added.
Anglicans in Zimbabwe still have the challenge of rebuilding and renovating the various properties that have suffered many years of neglect.
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