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  ANiC Newsletter: 14 Janurary, 2013 ... pdf version

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ANiC news

ANiC and ACNA events calendar
January 18-26 – St John’s, NL mission team ministering with Bishop Charlie Masters in Guatemala
January 30-31 – Southern Ontario clergy gathering, near Milton, ON
February 3 – The Revs Melvin Tai and Len Finn ordained priests, Christ the King (Toronto)
February 10 – ACNA World Missions Sunday
February 16 – Liveword Women’s Conference, Vancouver, BC – Theme: “On eagle’s wings”
March 4-6 – ACNA’s 2013 Anglican 1000 church planting summit in Wheaton, IL
March 11-13 – 2013 ANiC Clergy Retreat with Canon Phil Ashey at Cedar Springs, Washington
March 13-15 – Leadership Training Institute 2 at Cedar Springs, Washington
April 17-19/20 – ANiC regional assemblies in both Vancouver and Burlington
May 13-15 – ACNA clergy women’s retreat in Woodbridge, Virginia
October 2013 – GAFCon 2 planned for Nairobi, Kenya

Announcements from our Moderator
In a New Year’s letter, Bishop Don Harvey, announced that:

Three of ANiC’s Manitoba congregations – in Brandon, Dauphin and Kinosota – have been transferred to the eastern area of our diocese while remaining under Archdeacon Paul Crossland.

All Saints Anglican (Rutland, VT) is now a full parish in ANiC and its mission priest, Father Dwight MacPherson, is now the rector.

Two clergy in ANiC have been honoured by Bishop Don with the title of Canon in recognition of their service to ANiC: Canon George Sinclair and Canon Tom Carman.

ANiC regional assemblies, April 17-19/20
Three ANiC assemblies are planned for mid April: ANiC eastern assembly, ANiC western assembly and ANiC Asian and multicultural (AMMiC) assembly. The theme for all three assemblies,
“Him we proclaim… presenting everyone mature in Christ”, is drawn from Colossians 1:28.

The ANiC eastern assembly will be held April 17-19 in Burlington, ON at Crossroads Centre, 1295 North Service Rd, Burlington with keynote speaker, Archbishop Tito Zavala, Primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone (of South America). Clergy day will be on April 17, with the Assembly beginning that evening.

Both the ANiC western and Asian & multicultural assemblies will be held April 17-20 at Good Shepherd Church in Vancouver, BC, 189, West 11 Avenue. Keynote speaker(s) Bishop Abraham Nhial (Aweil, Sudan), Bishop Albert Vun (Sabah, Malaysia), John Coles, Director of New Wine

Information on all three ANiC assemblies is posted on the ANiC website – with more to come. Registration will open in several weeks.

ACNA World Missions Sunday, February 10
Archbishop Bob Duncan has written ACNA members reminding us that, since the beginning of ACNA, the last Sunday after Epiphany has been observed as world missions Sunday. This year it is on February 10. Archbishop Bob writes,
“On that day I am asking all ACNA churches to highlight this call to world mission through prayers, testimonies, stewardship and education. I would also like to ask your congregations to collect a special world mission offering…”

Welcoming a new congregation
A forming congregation ministering to Japanese-speaking Canadians joined ANiC in December. Church of All Nations is pastored by the Rev Shihoko Warren, who was ordained to the priest hood on January 13.

Good Shepherd Calgary will officially launch as an ANiC church plant with Bishop Stephen Leung officiating at a Holy Communion service on February 9 (Saturday) at 1pm. The service will be held at St Maronite Roman Catholic Church, 504 – 30th Ave, NW Calgary. All are welcome.

Following this launch, Good Shepherd, a Cantonese-speaking congregation of 35-40 led by Evangelist Tom Lo, will meet regularly at St Maronite RC Church on Saturdays at 1pm. The group has been meeting for Bible study for two years as an evangelistic outreach ministry. About half of the congregation are seekers. Already one family has been baptized and others are preparing for baptism.

Two upcoming ANiC clergy retreats
Southern Ontario clergy event, January 30-31
An ANiC clergy gathering is planned for Southern Ontario:
Date: January 30, beginning at 10am and concluding January 31 at 1:30pm
Location: Burlington area – Faith Mission, 10463 2nd Line, Campbellville/Milton
Cost Early bird rate is $80 (covers accommodation and meals). After January 25 registration is $99.

The theme of the gathering is
Building the Team – Advancing the Gospel. Both Bishop Don Harvey and Bishop Charlie Masters will participate. For more information see the ANiC website.

Annual ANiC clergy retreat at Cedar Springs, March 11-13 (Note new dates)
Please note the new dates for ANiC’s annual clergy retreat at Cedar Springs Christian Retreat Centre, across the border from Abbotsford, BC. The event has been moved up a day and now begins on March 11 (Monday) and ends on the 13th. Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council will speak on leadership – in fact, the sessions will constitute part 1 of the Clergy Leadership Training Institute program.

Online registration is now open here. More information on the Clergy Leadership Training Institute is available on the American Anglican Council website.

Parishes, please consider how you can make it possible for your clergy to attend one of these retreats. It is an important investment in them and in their ministry.

Clergy Leadership Training Institute, part 2, March 13-15
Immediately following the March 11-13 clergy retreat and part 1 of the leadership training, Canon Phil Ashey, Bishop Kevin Allen and Bishop Trevor Walters will deliver part 2 of the Leadership Training Institute program – also at Cedar Spring Christian Retreat Centre in Sumas, Washington. Information and registration will be available shortly.

The Revs Melvin Tai and Len Finn will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishops Charlie Masters and Stephen Leung on February 3 at 4pm. The ordinations will take place at Christ The King, 80 Blythwood Rd, Toronto.

Rector wanted
Grace Anglican Church (Calgary, AB) is seeking a full-time rector. The rector profile and parish profile can be found on the church website. Applications can be sent to Bishop Trevor Walters before March 1 by email or by mail c/o Church of our Lord, 626 Blanshard St, Victoria, Canada, V8R 3G6. Questions regarding this position should be emailed to the church.

ANiC in the news
The ACNA website features an article on ANiC’s Asian and Multicultural ministries (AMMiC), under Bishop Stephen Leung and links to the “compelling six minute video” which provides an overview of the many congregations forming in Canada to minister to immigrants – including Persian, Chinese, Sudanese, Filipino and Japanese congregations. Bishop Stephen is quoted saying,
““God has brought the world to our doorstep. New immigrants are a mission field we dare not ignore… “Just as Jesus focused on the marginalized in His ministry, so we seek to serve immigrants in our communities. May God give us hearts for the “stranger” in our midst and a growing vision for working together across the ACNA to reach ethnic communities.” You can learn more about AMMiC on its website.

The Anglican Planet features an article on ANiC’s recent synod and the election of Bishop Charlie Masters as coadjutor bishop for ANiC.

Light Magazine has an article discussing churches that meet in movie theatres, including ANiC’s Immanuel Church (Vancouver) and its rector the Rev Simon Neill. Immanuel, which is located in a low income neighbourhood, near a “…main gang recruitment area in Vancouver”. Immanuel members work with Youth for Christ to reach young people in the area and with other partners to minister to those with substance abuse issues.

Application deadline looming for mission trip to orphanage in China, July 16-31 July
The application deadline has been extended for the July short-term mission organized by Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC) until January 15. Only a few spots remain on the team so if you are interested in ministering to abandoned and disabled children in Sanmenxia, Henan Province, China, please check out the brochure and video on the AMMiC website.

Time to build
Time to Build campaign was initiated by ANiC’s council to place ANiC on a better financial footing as it responds to the demands of rapid growth and instill a culture of generosity and joyful tithing within ANiC.

The campaign is lead by the Ven Ron Corcoron, co-rector at Church of Our Lord, Victoria, BC, who introduced it at our synod last November. You can hear his synod message and presentation online:
Bible teaching on Matthew 6: “For where your treasure Is, there your heart will be also”
Introducing the Time to Build campaign: “Test me”

Archdeacon Ron is available to visit parishes across the country. To set up a visit, please work through your Archdeacon. Already he is booked at:
Christ Church Oceanside (Nanoose Bay, BC) on January 27
St Peters and St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON) on February 9
St Luke’s (Pembroke, ON) on February 10

Back to school…
Courses are beginning again at both Ottawa Theological College and Saint Matthew’s School of Life and Ministry.

Ottawa Theological College, which is associated with Church of the Messiah (Ottawa), is beginning its winter courses soon, so register now! Courses offered are:
Preaching the Bible (The Rev George Sinclair)
Church history II: Reformation (Dr Gary Graber)
Christian doctrine II: Christology (Dr David Smith)
New Testament intro: The Gospels (Dr Dean Brady)

Saint Matthews School of Life and Ministry begins classes the week of January 13th as well, offering:
Dead Sea scrolls and the Christian faith (Dr Peter Flint)
Catechism II Christian hope: New Identity and calling (the Rev Mike Stewart)
Anglican tradition II (Ron Dart)
Worship in the 21st century: Current issues/perspectives (Dr David Rushton)

ANiC prayer calendar and 1st Friday of the Month meditation and prayer guide
The monthly prayer calendar is intended to help you include the needs of ANiC in your prayers. And the Rev Garth Hunt’s monthly prayer meditation, known as the “1st Friday of the month call to prayer” provides a thought-provoking homily followed by items for prayer. Please make use of these resources – both available each month on ANiC’s prayer ministry webpage.

ARDFC – Recife
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada is currently raising funds for our partner diocese, the Diocese of Recife, to build a training centre in a poor community in north-eastern Brazil. Bishop Bill Atwood, who recently returned from Recife for the consecration of the new diocesan bishop, offers insight into the ministries of that diocese:

“....I've had the opportunity to go to Recife many times. I have been impressed with the breadth of the ministry there, from ministries of presence and compassion, as well as ministries of evangelism, discipleship, and worship… On the edge of the slums, the Diocese has established ministries to care for single mothers and their children, providing education, health care, drug rehab, and spiritual care. Each year, they advance their reach deeper and deeper into the slum area where, block by block, Kingdom transformation is taking place.”

The diocese’s history is similar to ANiC’s. Bishop Atwood writes:
“The ultra-liberal Episcopal Church in Brazil has been thoroughly co-opted by the theology and practice of TEC. In 2005, the church in Brazil, while claiming how "inclusive" they were, deposed Bishop [Robinson] Cavalcanti [of the Diocese of Recife’s] as he stood for the orthodox faith. When almost all of the clergy supported Bishop Cavalcanti, they too were deposed without any trial or inquiry.”

Parish and regional news
St John’s Vancouver is hosting an information booth for ANiC parishes in BC at the Vancouver Missions Fest, January 25-27. BC ANiC parishioners who plan to be at Missions Fest are invited to sign-up for a two-hour time slot to help “man” the booth. Thanks to St John’s for coordinating and sponsoring this initiative!

St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON) has a new website. Check it out!

Please email parish news to Marilyn or call 1-866-351-2642 ext 4020.

Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news

ACNA House of Bishops meeting communiqué
The ACNA House of Bishops met this past week, working through a heavy and intense agenda. Their communiqué provides insight into their discussions and fellowship, including:
Bible teaching based on Ephesians from Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
Approval of the proposed six-stage study process for the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders, which will examine women’s ordination. For more information, see the communiqué.
Using new draft Prayer Book liturgies developed by another task force. Prayer was asked for the ongoing work of this task force.
Hearing updates on: the Catechesis Task Force (a first draft of a new Catechism was presented), Anglican1000 church planting, Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF), and international relations.
Dealing with the matter of geographically over-lapping dioceses with the goal of organizing “each region for the long-term sustainability of the movement in recognizable, godly Anglican Church structures”. ANiC Suffragan Bishop Trevor Walters chaired the committee presenting this information to the House.
Learning about progress made by the Ecumenical Relations Task Force in forging relations with Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Messianic Jewish, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and other Evangelical denominations.
Reconciling relations between and among the bishops where there was need for restoration. Bishops Thad Barnum, Terrell Glenn and Todd Hunter were welcomed back to full membership in the College. In addition, the College approved the consecrations of three bishops-elect, confirmed the election of Bishop Charlie Masters as ANiC’s coadjutor bishop, and received Bishop Frank Lyons, former Bishop of Bolivia, as Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Reaffirming the sanctity of life and the sin of abortion.

An Anglican Ink article summarizes the communiqué. Both Bishop David Anderson and Canon Phil Ashey writing in the January 11th American Anglican Council e-newsletter provide more insight in the House of Bishops’ meeting. And commentators on the weekly Anglican Unscripted news video applaud the actions and direction of the ACNA House of Bishops in tackling difficult issues and building a Biblically faithful Church.

Anglican 1000 church planting events
The annual church planting summit, A1K Summit 2013, will be held March 4-6 at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. The theme,
"The Church: The Pillar and Foundation of the Truth", will allow exploration of how the systems, structures, movements, organizations and strategies of church planting should build upon and communicate the Truth. Speakers include:
Missiologist Alan Hirsch teaching on apostolic ministry and fostering a missionary culture 
Darrin Patrick discussing the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and leadership maturity 
Joel Scandrett exploring catechism in mission and 
Wes Hill as Bible teacher

The summit will also include worship, breakouts, intensive lab opportunities, and a celebration of all that God is doing in the ACNA. There will be special gatherings for those involved in Hispanic ministry, youth ministry and college ministry.

Registration cost is only $99 per person if you register before January 15.

Regional church planting conferences
In addition, regional church planting conferences are being planned for later this year. While dates and other details have not yet been announced, the sites are expected to be: Chicago, Atlanta, New England, Seattle, Ottawa, Phoenix and Boston.

Anglican1000 challenge
Anglican 1000 is challenging every ACNA congregation – no matter the size – to rise to the challenge of planting at least 1 new congregation in the next 2 years. Canon Alan Hawkins, who leads the Anglican1000 initiative, offers three different church planting strategies:

Jurisdictional (Diocesan) – In this model an organization such as a Diocese or Network leverages financial and people resources to start a new congregation.

Congregational (Mother-Daughter) – In this model a congregation "hives off" people and resources to start and new church.

Apprenticing (organic) – Church plants often pop up in less structured or expected ways and in less traditional venues like in coffee shops and nursing homes, on college campuses, and in living rooms and apartment complexes

ACNA Primate peaches at enthronement of Primate of Uganda
Our Primate, Archbishop Robert Duncan, preached at the December 16 enthronement and investiture of the new Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda, Bishop Stanley Ntagali. Archbishop Bob commented,
“I met Bishop Ntagali before his consecration eight years ago when he visited Pittsburgh, and our friendship has grown since then… I look forward to years of shared ministry between our two provinces as we have had under Archbishop Orombi’s leadership.”

Other ACNA leaders attending the service included Bishops John Guernsey (Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic), Bill Thompson (Diocese of Western Anglicans), and Neil Lebhar (Diocese of the Gulf Coast). You can read the Church of Uganda’s report on the event here. The ACNA website has more here, including a link to Archbishop Bob’s sermon. And Canon Chris Sugden reports here.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz tries to head-off recognition of the ACNA
According to the Anglican Journal, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada, in a meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury-elect Justin Welby, has expressed his concern about ACNA being recognized by the Anglican Communion. The article states:

“During his meeting with Welby, Hiltz said he mentioned ongoing concern about efforts by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to be recognized by the Church of England. Composed of Anglicans who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church in the U.S., ACNA describes itself as “an emerging Province in the global Anglican Communion.”

Hiltz said he requested that if bodies of the Church of England are to meet with representatives of ACNA, “in fairness, they should also meet with us to get a better picture.” Welby was “very appreciative” of the place of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Communion and the contributions it has been able to make, added Hiltz.”

Anglican Ink provides an excellent overview of the larger context for Archbishop Hiltz’s concern, noting that “Were the General Synod of the Church of England to give formal recognition to the ACNA, it could well undercut the claims of exclusivity made by Archbishop Hiltz to the Anglican brand in Canada [in court proceedings].” The article then goes on to discuss the nebulous concept of membership in the Anglican Communion.

ACNA news items in brief
Archbishop Bob Duncan, accompanied by other ACNA leaders, met briefly with Pope Benedict XVI at the end of November. According to the ACNA website, “At the conclusion of the [public] audience, Archbishop Duncan and Bishop Sutton were afforded the opportunity to bring greetings to His Holiness on behalf of the Anglican Church in North America and the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.” According to the Church of England Newspaper, the public session was followed by a private meeting and included GAFCon chairman Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya. Canon Phil Ashey, in a December 12th editorial, discusses ecumenical relations with the Roman Catholics and others.

The ACNA website features an interesting and encouraging article about two young church planters in California “on the Canterbury Trail”.

ACNA congregations are popping up all over, even in old converted factories, as you’ll read in this ACNA article.
An ACNA parish in Torrence, California is spearheading a health outreach in its community and is involving a rapidly growing network in local churches. The free mobile clinics treat patients who are homeless, unemployed or lack health insurance. Local health care professions volunteer their time to offer medical, dental and eye care – carrying on Christ’s healing ministry and opening doors for the Good News.

Anglican Communion news

Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCon) 2013
According to the Anglican Unscripted journalists, GAFCon 2 is now expected to be held in Nairobi, Kenya – not in Cyprus or Athens as had been speculated. The chairman of the GAFCon Primates Council, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala (Kenya) confirmed this report in his New Year’s Day message, saying, the gathering of Anglican leaders from across the globe
“…will be a strategic moment in the reshaping of the Anglican Communion to fulfil our vision for global mission...”

The Rt Rev Bill Atwood says that moving the conference to Nairobi was motivated by both
“…symbolic and logistical concerns. The Greek economic crisis coupled with visa restrictions for many African and Asian participants and high costs had caused the primates to take a second look at Athens.” In addition, “… there has been a strong sentiment that the GAFCON movement needs to reflect the shift of the Anglican centre of gravity to Africa.”

Mere Anglicanism conference, January 24-26, Charleston, South Carolina
The annual Mere Anglicanism conference is slated for January 24 in Charleston, South Carolina. Speakers include Bishop Paul Barnett, historian and New Testament scholar; Eric Metaxas an author who has written best-selling biographies on William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonheoffer; Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, retired Bishop of Rochester and current director of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue; Dr Allen Ross a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew; and the Rev Dr David Wenham, a theologian and author on the New Testament.

Queen calls us to give Christ our hearts
Queen Elizabeth II, who is the titular head of the Church of England, once again included a clear Gospel message in her Christmas TV broadcast:

“This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son 'to serve, not to be served'. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ.

It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.

The carol, In The Bleak Midwinter, ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: "What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part". The carol gives the answer "Yet what I can I give him - give my heart".

Communion news in brief

The Church of England Newspaper published a summary of Anglican news this past year.

Other news in brief

The Times Colonist reports that “Bishop James Cowan of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of British Columbia… announced the creation of guidelines and a rite to be used in the blessing of same-sex unions. The guidelines and rites took effect Jan 1.” However, some say the Bishop’s decision doesn’t go far enough. Bishop Cowan’s letter is posted here.

The Anglican Journal notes that the 2010 diocesan synod requested same-sex blessing. It adds that 11 Anglican Church of Canada dioceses now offer same-sex blessings. The full list of dioceses is: BC, New Westminster, Ottawa, Huron, Niagara, Toronto, Montreal, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Edmonton, Rupert’s Land, and Quebec. As well, the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior synod has asked its bishop to allow these blessings. An earlier Church of England Newspaper article discusses the authorization of same-sex blessings in the Diocese of Quebec, Rupert’s Land and Edmonton.

The Anglican Planet informs us that
SOMA Canada (Sharing of Ministries Abroad) has closed shop. SOMA, an Anglican mission agency, focused on “promoting short-term cross-cultural missions”.

Reuters reports that the Vatican has approved a deanery to minister to disaffected Canadian Anglicans who convert to Roman Catholicism. It is to be headed by Father Lee Kenyon, who was the priest at the former Anglican Essentials Network parish of St John the Evangelist in Calgary. The deanery will come under the “Anglican ordinariate” for North America, which is based in Houston, Texas and headed by the Rev Jeffrey Steenson, a former US Episcopal Church (TEC) bishop. Anglican Ink provides more background.

An Anglican Planet editorial calls for
“flying bishops” – also known as Provincial Episcopal Visitors – in the Anglican Church of Canada to offer episcopal oversight to parishes which theologically at odds with their diocesan bishop. The Rev Peter Malloy focuses on the British model in his editorial and says, “By establishing flying bishops, the C of E has provided a substantial, permanent home for parishes and priests who disagree with the majority view, and has made it possible for unity to exist even in the midst of substantial disagreement.”

United States
Diocese of South Carolina continues to dominate US Anglican news in the months since the Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori purportedly deposed the bishop, Bishop Mark Lawrence, and the diocese disaffiliated from TEC. In a surprisingly charitable letter Bishop Lawrence refutes the Presiding Bishop Schori’s claim that he had renounced his ordained ministry. And in a lengthy – but very interesting – Anglican TV video interview he discusses the diocese’s disaffiliation and the resulting fallout with reporter Kevin Kallsen. The Church of England Newspaper article on the matter is titled “South Carolina schism descending into farce”. An Anglican Ink article explores the canonical and factual contortions employed by TEC to achieve their desired ends.

With TEC organizing a competing body purporting to be the original diocese, using the diocese’s name and seal, Bishop Lawrence and diocesan leaders issued a statement saying,
“They are certainly free to gather and meet, but they are not free to assume our identity… A brief history lesson seems in order. We [the Diocese of South Carolina] were founded in 1785 (prior to the founding of the Episcopal Church). We were incorporated in 1973; adopted our current legal name, “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina,” in 1987; and we disassociated from the Episcopal Church in October of 2012. We did not become a new entity upon our disassociation. A new entity will need to be created by those who choose to leave the Diocese and re-associate with the Episcopal Church.”

In a pre-emptive move, the diocese filed suit against TEC. Anglican Ink reports the diocese has asked the courts to “
…issue an injunction banning Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and her allies in South Carolina from using the name or presuming to act on behalf of the diocese and further asks the court to affirm the legality of the diocese’s secession from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.”

Bishop Mark Lawrence said of the lawsuit,
“Like our colonial forefathers, we are pursuing the freedom to practice our faith as we see fit, not as it is dictated to us by a self-proclaimed religious authority who threatens to take our property unless we relinquish our beliefs.”

Canon lawyer Alan Haley provides an analysis of the legal maneuvering here as well as an article on the Presiding Bishop’s propensity to “flout the canons”. Background to the lawsuit is on the diocese website. And another Anglican Ink article offers helpful background. The Rev Canon Phil Ashey, in his brief weekly Anglican Perspective video, called “Canons are made to be broken”, discusses TEC’s ungodly attacks and appeals to the rest of the Anglican Communion, based on the admonitions of 2 Timothy 3, to isolate TEC so that others are not infected by their ungodliness.

The Digital Journal reports that a US Episcopal minister has launched a “gay friendly” Bible – called the Queen James Bible. The report explains that “The editors of the Queen James Bible have revised passages of Scripture which say homosexuality is a sin.”

LifeSiteNews reports that “Homosexual activists have mounted a petition drive—right on the White House website—urging the Obama administration to
“officially recognize the Roman Catholic Church as a hate group” for its position on homosexuality.”

In his 2012 “Annual litigation summary for the Episcopal Church (USA)”, canon lawyer Alan Haley lists 79 cases initiated by TEC or its dioceses since 2000 – as well as six cases in which TEC was the defendant – and provides a status update for each. He estimates that TEC has spent $25 million on litigation during that time.

Anglican Ink reports that a tentative settlement has been reached in two cases of bishops (known as the “Fort Worth 7” and the “Quincy 3”) charged with misconduct by TEC’s presiding bishop, The charges stemmed from the bishops having signed court affidavits in two separate legal proceedings challenging official TEC court arguments on church order. Details have not been made public. VirtueOnline provides the background.

Following the defeat of the legislation allowing
women bishops, the Church of England’s House of Bishops issued a statement in December, announcing plans to expedite the process to arrive at new legislation in time for the synod in July 2013.

Another House of Bishops statement, issued earlier this month, reads:
“The House has confirmed that clergy in civil partnerships, and living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality, can be considered as candidates for the episcopate. There had been a moratorium on such candidates…”

The response from other Churches in the Communion has been swift and strong. GAFCon Primates Council chairman, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala (Kenya), said it was
“compromise with the secular preoccupations of the West”, the celibacy proviso was “clearly unworkable”, and ran count to bishops’ “responsibility to be examples of godly living”. He added, “It cannot be right that they are able to enter into legally recognised relationships which institutionalise and condone behaviour that is completely contrary to the clear and historic teaching of Scripture, as reaffirmed for Anglicans by the 1998 Lambeth Conference in its Resolution 1.10. The weight of this moral teaching cannot be supported by a flimsy proviso.” The newly installed Primate of Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ntagali expressed similar concerns.

The Nigerian House of Bishops statement said this action was
“…one step removed from the moral precipice that we have already witnessed in The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada… We urge the House of Bishops to reconsider their decision so as to allow for a full, prayerful and sober reflection on the call on all clergy, especially bishops, to live holy lives and not encourage what are, at best, morally ambiguous partnerships that make it impossible for a bishop to be a wholesome example to the flock. Especially since the supposed assurances of celibacy, while perhaps well intentioned, are both unworkable and unenforceable… Sadly we must also declare that if the Church of England continues in this contrary direction we must further separate ourselves from it.” The Primate of Nigeria joined eight other Global South Primates in signing signed an open letter expressing their concern and saying, “We strongly urge the Church of England to reconsider this divisive decision.”

In its response, Anglican Mainstream said:
“As made clear in the Ordinal, Bishops of the Church of England promise both to fashion their own life and that of their household according to the way of Christ and to be guardians of the Church's doctrine. Given the ambiguous nature of civil partnerships, it would not be credible for a person in such a partnership to make such promises. Most people assume that civil partnerships are sexual relationships. It is casuistical to claim that they are not... [A] decision to move from the current position would be a grave departure from the Church's doctrine and discipline...” Dr Andrew Goddard expressed his many concerns, including the lack of the normal theological explanation accompanying this change in policy and the lack of transparency with which the policy shift was carried out.

A Church of England article explores more fully the issue and the reactions.

The complex process governing the installation of Bishop Justin Welby as
Archbishop of Canterbury is outlined here. He will officially assume the role of Archbishop of Canterbury on or shortly after February 4, when St Paul’s Cathedral hosts the Confirmation of Election ceremony, and March 21, when his public ministry is inaugurated with a ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral. During that period, at some as yet undisclosed date, a commission of senior diocesan bishops chaired by the Archbishop of York “will confer on him the ‘spiritualities’ of the diocese of Canterbury. At this point, he becomes the Archbishop of Canterbury…” An update is posted here.

Archbishop Rowan Williams stepped down on December 31 and was named by the Queen to a peerage – Baron of Oystermouth. Anglican Ink provides context on the peerage.

The Christian Institute reports a former Church of Scotland congregation has had its property seized by the denomination after it split from the Kirk last June over the ordination of openly homosexual ministers. St George’s Tron is lead by the Rev William Phillip.

Islamists continue to kills and terrorize Christians in north and central Nigeria. International Christian Concern reports separate incidents – here and here – of villages being attacked during the night, only the homes of Christians broken into, and Christians killed by having their throats slit. BBC reports six more Christians shot dead in another village. Boko Haram, a Muslim terrorist group, intends to irradiate Christianity from the region. And yet, according to a Christian Post editorial, Boko Haram (BH) is still now designated a terrorist organization by western nations. A Nigerian delegation to Washington, DC pleaded for this terrorist designation for Boko Haram and also
“…called for observers in the media and elsewhere to abandon their “distorted” view of BH as a “secular” organization responding to grievances such as underdevelopment. BH, the delegation noted, attacks churches but not mosques, aggression not explainable by poverty.”

LifeSiteNews reports that
“Nigeria’s House of Representatives recently unanimously approved a bill banning same-sex unions, despite threats from the Obama administration and United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron that they would consider withholding aid if the country didn’t recognize gay rights. The bill would impose a 14-year prison sentence on anyone who enters a “same-sex marriage contract or civil union” or aids and abets such an action. Public displays of affection between homosexuals would result in a ten-year jail sentence. The bill also bans gay clubs and organizations. “[Same-sex ‘marriage’] is alien to our society and culture and it must not be imported,” said House majority leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande. “This practice has no place in our culture, religion, Nigeria or anywhere in Africa. It is immorality and debasement of our culture, we condemn it in totality.”

The Church of England Newspaper reports that the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council has refused to allow a request from the theological more “liberal” Diocese of Uruguay to secede from the theologically “conservative” Province of the Southern Cone. The provincial house of bishops refused to ratify the Diocese of Uruguay’s bishop-elect – Archdeacon Michael Pollesel from the Anglican Church of Canada.

Christians in Egypt are facing increasing pressure and persecution as the country moves in a decidedly Islamist direction. According to Anglican Ink, Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis, Primate for the Anglican Province of Israel and the Middle East, pleads for our prayer support and suggests that the high hopes for greater freedom and democracy that produced the “Arab Spring” in 2011 have been dashed. The National Post reports that “A campaign of intimidation by Islamists left most Christians in this southern Egyptian province too afraid to participate in [the recent] referendum on an Islamist-drafted constitution they deeply oppose, residents say.”

Christianity Today reports that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani – who, following intense political pressure, was finally released from prison in Iran after being sentenced to death for being a Christian – was rearrested on Christmas Day and then released again January 7. The lawyer who defended Pastor Yousef – like many other Iranian Christians – remains in prison.

The Anglican Communion News Service reports that communities in Pakistan that were flooded in 2010 and 2011 have again been hit by monsoon flooding, with 5 million people affected.

International Christian Concern reports that Christians in Syria are being targeted by rebel forces who are increasingly dominated by Islamists factions. The body of a newly married Christian taxi driver was recently found beheaded.

An Anglican university in the Congo was attacked recently by rebel forces who seemed primarily interested in stealing money. The New York Times has an informative but discouraging analysis of the renewed civil war in the Congo and the brutality inflicted on the people.

Soul food

The family in crisis
Dr Albert Mohler explores the crisis of the family in the west and concludes that it is fundamentally a theological crisis. How can your church support and build marriages and families within the congregation? How can you bless your community by providing support for marriages and families?

A new book, written by R S Harris and jointly published by Anglican Mainstream and Voice for Justice in the UK, takes a secular, academic approach to its title question “Is there a case for same-sex marriage?” It is available on Amazon and more information is online.

Spiritual warfare – Bishop Bill Atwood has written an excellent article on spiritual warfare, especially as it relates to the Anglican Communion.

Pastors’ conference – Regent College (Vancouver) is holding its annual pastors' conference May 1-4. The theme is “Overflow—Spiritual Rhythms and Practices that Draw from Christ's Fullness”. The Regent website says, “We invite you to the Regent College Pastors´ Conference 2012 to be refreshed and to gain new or renewed awareness of rhythms and practices that can maintain spiritual, emotional, and bodily health for the pastor, especially when practised in the way of the gospel and grace, in union with Christ, and by contemplation of Christ.”

Conference on aging – May 18-19, at Regent College (Vancouver), Dr J I Packer will join several other speakers including Margaret Somerville, exploring the topic of aging in light of the Biblical vision of human life. More information can be found on the Regent website.

Just for laughs
Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy chocolate, which is kinda the same thing.

The preacher came to call the other day. He said at my age I should be thinking of the hereafter.
I told him, "Oh, I do it all the time. No matter where I am - in the bedroom, upstairs, in the kitchen, or down in the basement - I ask myself, 'Now, what am I here after?'"

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.
~ Max Lucado

And now a word from our sponsor
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:8-9 ESV

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