God's self-consistency. Scripture has several ways of drawing attention to God's self-consistency, and in particular of emphasizing that when he is obliged to judge sinners, he does it because he must, if he is to remain true to himself. --- From "The Cross of Christ" John R.W. Stott
God is light. Of the statements about the essential being of God, none is more comprehensive than *God is light*. It is his nature to reveal himself, as it is the property of light to shine; and the revelation is of perfect purity and unutterable majesty. We are to think of God as a personal being, infinite in all his perfections, transcendent, 'the high and lofty One ... he who lives forever, whose name is holy' (Is. 57:15), yet who desires to be known and has revealed himself. --- John R. W. Stott
A Christ-centered faith. It is true that the Christian faith is a Trinitarian faith. We believe in God as Creator, Sustainer and Father. We also believe in the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth who spoke through the prophets and apostles, and who sanctifies the people of God. But above all our testimony is directed to Jesus Christ, Son of the Father and giver of the Spirit, who was conceived and born, suffered, and was crucified, died, was buried, and went to the dead, rose again, ascended, reigns and will come back to judge. The disproportion of clauses in the Apostles' Creed clearly exhibits the Christ-centered nature of the Christian faith; it contains only three relating to the work of the Spirit, but thirteen which speak of the Son. --- From "The Authentic Jesus" John R.W. Stott
Seeking God. We must cast aside apathy, pride, prejudice and sin, and seek God in scorn of the consequences. Of all these hindrances to effective search the last two are the hardest to overcome, intellectual prejudice and moral self-will. Both are expressions of fear, and fear is the greatest enemy of the truth. Fear paralyses our search. We know that to find God and to accept Jesus Christ would be a very inconvenient experience. It would involve the rethinking of our whole outlook on life and the readjustment of our whole manner of life. And it is a combination of intellectual and moral cowardice which makes us hesitate. We do not find because we do not seek. We do not seek because we do not want to find, and we know that the way to be certain of not finding is not to seek. --- From "Basic Christianity" John R.W. Stott
Dear Brothers and Sisters
April 30, 2010
What took place in Singapore this past week at the Fourth Global South to South Encounter has forever changed the landscape of the Anglican Communion.
With ringing clarity, 130 archbishops, bishops, clergy and laity spoke with one voice declaring that the gospel is true and that they will have nothing more to do with the sexual innovations of the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church in Canada.
They said the Covenant might have some "futuristic" place in the Communion, but not right now. One Primate called for an Ecumenical Council to resolve once and for all what it is we Anglicans believe.
It was a defining moment in Anglican history. I have written and posted some 32 stories from this historic event. They can be found in a single assembled link at VOL's website http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/gse4.php Most can be found in today's digest. Please feel free to roam through the stories at your leisure.
From the perspective of a reporter, the 44 hours in the air, the long days and sleepless nights were worth it all for the contacts made and in meeting the archbishops of the Global South, most of whom have become my friends over the years and whose friendships I solidified in Singapore.
The ringing call of the transforming love of Christ found in the life-changing message of the gospel was both clarifying and gratifying. There will be no more engagement with Western pansexual provinces pushing these abominable (LGBTQ) ad nauseum behaviors. They are done talking. An invitation to attend the All African Bishops Conference in Kampala in August, both as a reporter and a delegate, was a fulfilling moment for me personally. I am honored by their invitation and trust.
The ink was barely dry on the communiqué, when two theologians in the Anglican Church of Canada announced that General Synod 2010 will consider the Covenant, but urged delegates not to approve or adopt the Covenant. "We suggest that the church, given its present practice with regard to same-sex blessings, cannot in good faith adopt or approve the Covenant. Indeed, the Covenant offers the Anglican Church of Canada an opportunity to be honest before the world about its commitment to same-sex blessings and its willingness, in the name of its own standards of justice, to walk apart from the universal church."
Why can the church not adopt the Covenant? It cannot because the Covenant insists on a primary commitment to the universal and apostolic church, a commitment that the movement for same-sex blessings rejects as opposing its standards of justice. There you have it. Will TEC say the same thing? What will happen in 2012 when General Convention meets? The covenant was not adopted in Singapore and one wonders now if it has a future at all.
On another note about Canada, from June 3 to 11, more than 500 people will gather in Halifax, N.S., for the national triennial meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). They will adopt a nautical theme "Feeling the Winds of God-Charting a New Course." One wonders what "new course" they will embark on now that the Global South will have nothing more to do with them.
One of the international guests is Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. Perhaps over coffee, Fred Hiltz and Katharine will discuss how they can start their own Anglican Communion. It would certainly clarify matters.
Domestically the news is mixed. The Diocese of the Rio Grande elected a new bishop. The Rev. Michael Vono, a recently divorced man working in a parish in Rome, won on the third ballot. VOL uncovered the fact that he and his vestry are very much on board with TEC's homosexual agenda as they turned up at General Convention saying as much in a letter to Mrs. Jefferts Schori. His divorce was mentioned in the walkabout, but not his pro homosexual sympathies. There is more to this man, VOL has learned. When we get confirmation, we will let you know.
Leaders from all 55 parishes in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh met with diocesan leaders on April 25 at St. Martin's Anglican Church, Monroeville, Pennsylvania, to worship and discuss the current status of their litigation with "The Episcopal Church". Bishop Robert Duncan handed out advice about how parishes should deal with the rump diocese and its bishop. You can read the full report in today's digest.
In the Diocese of Oregon new bishop Michael Hanley is showing his true colors barely days into the job. Fr. David L. Humphrey sent out an URGENT notice saying that on Tuesday, April 20, he received a letter from the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon asking him to do something that he is unwilling to do.
"The consequences of this are that I will not be able to minister at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church either this Sunday, April 25, or in the future. As you know, we had hoped to hold the first Sunday morning worship service of St. Matthew's Anglican Church on Sunday, May 2, at Mount Tabor Seventh Day Adventist Church, 1001 SE 60th Avenue, Portland 97215. This has now been moved forward to this coming Sunday, April 25, at 10:00 am.
"Please pray for our whole church family over these coming days - for those who are remaining at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, for those who are moving to another church, and for those who are transferring to St. Matthew's Anglican Church - that each of us would keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. I am so thankful for the bonds of love and affection that exist between us and I am sorry that we will not be able to have a final Sunday together. It has been a tremendous privilege and honor to serve as the Rector of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church over the past six years. I am so grateful for your friendship, encouragement and prayers."
VOL wrote about this priest and his parish. You can read the story here: http://tinyurl.com/2fa87mx
Another parish going through the storm clouds of separation is St. Dunstan's Anglican Church in Largo, Florida. The priest there, the Rev. Ed Sellers got an unwanted visitation from Southwest Bishop Dabney Smith's boys. They locked the doors, changed the locks and reneged on a promise to give them a key to hold a service there. Fr. Sellers was partly prepared and you can the full story in today's digest.
A huge blog brouhaha erupted this week when it was learned that a woman, the Rev. Susan Freeman will be Ordained to the Priesthood at Christ Church sanctuary, Plano, Texas, as part of the ongoing growth of the Anglican Church in North America. Freeman will be ordained a priest by the Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit Anglican Church in North America.
The blogosphere is going ballistic on the subject of a woman being ordained into the ACNA. I wrote Fr. David Roseberry, rector of the AMiA parish that broke free of the Diocese of Dallas some years ago. He responded, "Christ Church is a parish within the AMiA in the Little Rock Network; Phil Jones is fully aware of what we are doing and has asked Bishop Guernsey to do the ordination. Susan will be a member of the Little Rock Network and under the oversight of Bishop Jones.
Fr. David Roseberry responded to an e-mail VOL sent him and this is what he wrote back. "Both the Canons of the ACNA and the AMiA allow for the ordination of women. (In fact, Archbishop Kolini ordained a woman just last September within the AMiA within its subsidiary the ACiC.) This is obviously something that the 'two integrities', as the Archbishop Duncan has called it, need to be patient and kind about.
"Archbishop Duncan is looking at the Global South for guidance and support as we sort this part of the ACNA out. After all, while there are different stances about this issue within the Global South, they seem to know how to work together for Gospel ministry. We must remember that Uganda, Kenya (and Rwanda) do ordain women to the priesthood. Nigeria and West Africa do not. But they are in full communion with each other and we with them.
"I am very sorry for the distraction that this issue might cause to the mission of the new Anglican Church in North America. Christ Church is not trying to set a trend or establish a precedent. We are trying to complete a process that has been ongoing for nearly 12 years, the first in TEC and now in the AMiA/ACNA. When we left TEC she courageously chose to come with us. She is the first and only woman we have endorsed for ordination to the priesthood and I do not plan to continue this.
"The Anglican Mission in the Americas provides a way to maintain the integrity, and honor the consciences, of those with differing opinions and policies on women's ordination."
A Jewish music blog was part of a non-denominational party at a classic Episcopal church. It was called EpiscoDisco. The monthly event's year anniversary party took place April 17 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. The EpiscoDisco included a live performance by dark folk songstress Emily Jane White and a screening of the short film "Holy Water." The film juxtaposes images of Michael Jackson idolatry (alters full of Jackson photos and RIP messages following his untimely death last summer) with raging waterfalls.
The vestry of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Paterson, New Jersey, won't decide whether to accept an anonymous collector's $2 million offer to buy 13 of its stained-glass windows until it sees the report of a newly created Stewardship Resource Committee in September.
Famed artisan Louis Tiffany created 12 of the windows at the Diocese of Newark church, his contemporary, artist John La Farge, the other. The collector, who made the unsolicited offer about a year ago, originally asked for a decision no later than this month because he hoped to exhibit the windows this fall.
The vestry planned to decide whether to accept the offer at its April 20 meeting, following months of research and parish meetings. Instead, the vestry unanimously voted to create a committee to research the parish's options for addressing its long-term financial-stewardship and building-maintenance needs, including the possibility of selling some of its windows. The buyer, meanwhile, had decided to delay the exhibition.
The committee will investigate options including a capital campaign and opportunities offered through Partners for Sacred Places, as well as obtain a complete list of the parish's building maintenance and restoration needs -- including the cost of restoring the windows -- and a full analysis of parish finances.
The Battle Within the Church of England to Allow Women to Be Bishops. In "A Canterbury Tale" (page 40), Jane Kramer presents a comprehensive look at the raging controversy in England's Anglican churches over whether women should be allowed to be bishops. Women account for nearly a third of the Church of England's working priests now, but thousands of conservative Anglicans, Kramer writes, "still refuse to take Communion from a female priest, and would certainly refuse to take it from any priest ordained by a female bishop.
For the past two years, they have been threatening to leave the Church at the first sign of a woman in a bishop's mitre." The next meeting of the General Synod is set for July, at which time the decision of whether to open the episcopate to women will be made, and it's expected that the draft will be approved.
If this prompts a large number of militant conservatives to leave, Kramer writes, "the Church of England-and, with it, the churches of a worldwide Anglican Communion planted by the settlers, traders, and missionaries of the British Empire-will fracture in ways that will make the defection of a few hundred priests in the nineteen-nineties [when the first women were ordained as priests of the Church of England] seem insignificant." Read more here: http://www.newyorker.com/services/presscenter/2010/04/26/100426pr_press_releases#ixzz0mJDsURnB
Lausanne 2010: On the Road to Cape Town, South Africa. Some 35 years ago, John Stott attended the Lausanne Congress and helped write the Lausanne Covenant, a decree that helped set the stage for new collaborative efforts among Christians worldwide. This historic meeting became a catalytic force for the growth of the global church. In October 2010, the Lausanne Movement continues at the Third Lausanne Congress to be held in Cape Town, South Africa. JSM is sharing in the heritage of this historic gathering, bringing updates, profiles, and stories from the participants and partners.
On a personal note, John Stott is being well cared for in a Christian retirement community and is still able to enjoy company and conversation, though he is rather frail physically. John continues to take a keen and prayerful interest in the work of John Stott Ministries and Langham Partnership International primarily through the reports and visits of Chris Wright (international director). His secretary of more than fifty years, Frances Whitehead, continues to assist him, but John is no longer able to read or write, due to failing eyesight. For that reason, he is understandably unable to return greetings or correspondence.
Prayer changes things. Someone has said if Christians really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Did you know that during World War II there was an adviser to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace? There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America.
If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 pm Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.
An evangelistic rally drew 14,000 people over two nights in Beijing, China, with well known American evangelist Luis Palau and James Meeks, Democratic member of the Illinois Senate, the pastor of the 24,000-strong Salem Baptist Church and the chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, at a much talked about Gospel rally in Hangzhou. One of the highlights of the event was a performance led by the 52-voice Salem Baptist Church choir, which narked the first time an African-American choir has ever performed at the church. The event climaxed with over 500 people responding to Palau's invitation to "pray a sinners' prayer and to become followers of Jesus Christ". Each of these new converts was given a free Bible and an eight-week course on the Christian faith followed by an "opportunity to be baptized".
Palau is quoted in the press release as saying, "I have been coming to China now for 10 years and I'm encouraged by the spiritual growth. Many distinguished Bible teachers and pastors are emerging. They are open about their faith, very courageous and forward-looking with great dreams for China.... Christianity is no longer viewed as a foreign religion in China... The Chinese by the millions are saying Jesus Christ is for China and China is for Jesus Christ."
In Watertown, CN, the sale of land from Christ Episcopal Church in Watertown to the Taft School is contingent upon dozens of cremated remains of former parishioners being dug up. The Rev. Stanley Kemmerer has been charged with contacting relatives of 46 former members whose remains are buried in a small memorial plot between two parish buildings. "People have called, and those we had no means to contact have identified themselves so now we have been able to reach about two-thirds," Kemmerer said.
The church owns several buildings facing the green and the green itself. The sale to the Taft School is contingent on the removal of the remains and church officials said dealing with family members has been a challenge. "No one likes to receive news like this," Kemmerer said. "I don't like to give news like this, but they have been understanding, even those who have been most distressed have not taken it out on me. They have been honest with their feelings and I can identify with their feelings. I think I would probably feel distressed too."
The church will move the remains of those not claimed by family members to a new location. "We are going to be certain that the new location for those unclaimed remains is consecrated ground," Kemmerer said. "There will be a recommital liturgy, all will be invited to be present and do this in as sensitive a manner as we know how to do it."
In Morristown, NJ The Collinsville Child Care Center, a nonprofit organization providing affordable child care for low income families will be moving out of St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Maple Avenue, its home for the past 38 years, in December, following the church's decision not to renew the center's lease for 2011.
According to Collinsville Executive Director Karen Wasick, the church informed them that the center would be expected to increase its portion of the rent and utilities to the church by no less than 480 percent. "Having already budgeted expenses for 2010, there was no way the center could afford to pay this unanticipated expense," Wasick said in a statement.
After the center informed the church it could not pay the increase in March, the church told the center the lease would expire without renewal offered. "Now Collinsville Child Care Center is looking for a new place to call home," Wasick said. Church officials could not be reached for comment.
Clearly all that talk about justice for the poor and down-trodden from Mrs. Jefferts Schori has not filtered down to Morristown, NJ.
From New Zealand comes word of this resolution passing at the annual meeting of the Maori Anglican diocese which is in the East Coast of North Island in New Zealand. It opens the ordination process for homosexuals/lesbians. That Te Hui Amorangi o Te Manawa o Te Wheke receives with thanks the report from Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa commission on Human Sexuality and moves in principle to adopt the statement on ordination provided that any homosexual and lesbian (takatapui) candidates/ordinands are carefully and prayerfully selected, supported and encouraged through their discernment process.
It's an interesting development given that in the tripartite Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia, each of the various groupings has historically shown great deference to its partners. (The "constitutionally autonomous" Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia is a loose confederation of the three churches so named, each area having its own minimal canonical structure. The province's 1992 Constitution calls for each area to manage its business in unrestricted partnership with the other two, while "[ordering] their affairs within their own cultural context.")
An Interfaith Summit on Happiness will see His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama lead a public conversation on "The Pursuit of Happiness" with other world religious leaders on October 17, 2010, 1:30-3:30 p.m., on the Emory University Campus. The event is the capstone of its multi-year research project on the Pursuit of Happiness.
It is one of several events featuring His Holiness during his October 17-19, 2010 visit to Emory. An Emory Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama will open the forum with a 25-minute address followed by responses from The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth; and George Washington University Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a world renowned scholar on Islam.
Perhaps Mrs. Jefferts Schori can tell us all about the happiness she is bringing into The Episcopal Church with her zillion dollar lawsuits, bishops and priests being deposed and single-handedly giving Rowan Williams a serious headache over the upcoming consecration of a lesbian to the episcopacy. Perhaps she can throw down peace petals as she does so and the Dalai Lama can bless them....
From a VOL reader regarding the Diocese of Louisiana's new bishop comes this, "The revisionist takeover is complete. Only three years ago, the diocese had a conservative working majority. Now it's in tatters. This is what happens when a supposedly orthodox Windsor bishop ordains homosexuals and allows in ultra-liberal clergy. Only six of the forty or so parishes are now viable. This new bishop's primary "ministry" will be shutting the place down while making it 815 compliant. Welcome to your future Diocese of West Texas and Diocese of Western Louisiana. It's inevitable."
The British government was forced to publicly apologize to Pope Benedict XVI over a "foolish" internal memo that suggested, among other things, that the pope launch his own line of condoms during a September visit to Britain.
The document, described as a product of a "blue skies thinking" session at the Foreign Office, suggested among other ideas that the pope might use the tour to launch a line of "Benedict" condoms, bless a homosexual marriage and sing a duet with Queen Elizabeth II.
The band of government civil servants who authored the paper also suggested Benedict apologize for the 16th-century Spanish armada that fought the English navy, and that he reverse his ban on women priests.
A red-faced Foreign Office told the Vatican over the weekend it was "deeply sorry" for what it described as "this foolish document."
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