|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
January 28, 7pm – Isaac Fisher and Praveen Mutalik to be ordained deacons at Holy Trinity (Marlborough, MA)
Note date change due to extreme weather
February 5-8 – Bishop Charlie holds meetings in Ottawa/Pembroke (See website for details)
February 13-15 – Bishop Charlie holds meetings in St John’s, NL (See website for details)
February 15 – Alex Pryor+ to be ordained to the priesthood at Good Samaritan (St John’s, NL)
February 24-25 – Southern Ontario clergy retreat near Orangeville with the Rev Keith Ganzer
February 28 – Liveword Vancouver conference for women
March 8, 11am – Esther Ann Beaulieu will be ordained a deacon at Redeemer (Dauphin, MB)
March 13-15 – Bishop Charlie Master holds meetings in Greater Toronto (See website for details)
April 21-23 – Ontario clergy silent retreat near Orangeville led by Bishop Charlie Masters
April 25, 2pm – The Rev Buzz Onayemi will be ordained a priest at Celebration Church (Barrie, ON)
May 14 – March for Life 2015 in Ottawa
May 26-28 – AMMiC mini-conference in Richmond, BC
June 22-26 – ACNA Executive Cabinet, Council, College of Bishops meetings in Vancouver
Ontario clergy retreats
Two retreats in southern Ontario offer clergy great opportunities for spiritual and physical refreshment:
February 24-25 – The Rev Keith Ganzer, who is quickly becoming a favorite ANiC speaker, will focus on “Ministers of a New Covenant: Foundations and priorities for ministry from 2 Corinthians”. See the ANiC website for information.
April 21-23 – Ontario clergy silent retreat led by Bishop Charlie Masters. In an email to local clergy, Bishop Charlie said, “It would be a great joy to me… if you would immediately make plans to join me for this Silent Retreat just a couple of weeks after Easter… I suspect most of us would agree that care for our souls is one of the greatest challenges we face as clergy... I believe we can trust God who is faithful to meet us and bring much refreshment, encouragement and restoration of a right orientation to our lives and ministry.” See the ANiC website for details.
Vancouver women’s conference, February 28
The 2015 Liveword Vancouver conference on February 28 will focus on “wisdom literature” found in both the Old and New Testaments – including the book of Proverbs, The speakers are Polly Long and Mariam Kamell, both instructors at Regent College. Liveword Vancouver was founded to “reach women with biblical expository teaching, for the purpose of helping to grow us to maturity in Christ”. For more information on the conference – including location, cost and registration – see the conference website.
New Kelowna congregation forming; prayer requested
The Rev Dr Jon Vickery is starting a new ANiC congregation near the university campus in Kelowna, BC. A soft launch is planned for March 1. Please pray for God’s gracious hand of blessing to be upon this forming worshipping community and for clear leading as details are worked out.
Bishop of Iran and the Gulf visits ANiC churches in Toronto and Vancouver
Bishop Azad Marshall, Bishop of Iran and of The Gulf, and his wife Leslie, visited ANiC, January 10-17. During his time in Toronto he preached and celebrated at a Communion service for the Pakistani community held at Bethel South Asian Church in Brampton. In BC, he preached at the Wednesday noon Communion service at Good Shepherd Vancouver and spoke to ANiC clergy from the area at a lunch following the service. In both Toronto and Vancouver, he met with members of the Pakistani community to encourage them in their faith. As founder and president of the Lahore College of Theology, he also met with the academic deans at Regent College and at Pacific Life Bible College – both in the Vancouver area.
The Rev Nicole Poitras is on leave from her position as the priest of New Life, Sturgeon Falls. Archdeacon Paul Crossland is giving leadership as their Archdeacon and is coordinating care of the congregation in the interim.
The Ven Bruce Chamberlayne is resigning as rector of Resurrection Anglican Church (Kelowna, BC) effective February 28, however he will continue as archdeacon.
ARDFC project complete!
Thanks to generous donors, the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada, ANiC’s global aid arm, was able to wrap up its 2014 project, building a new pediatric ward at a medical centre in Yei, South Sudan.
The next project, also in South Sudan, will provide clean, secure water to people with little access to uncontaminated water. We will partner with the Diocese of Wau, which is located in a drier part of South Sudan, to drill three boreholes at a cost of $36,000 US.
Parish and regional news
St John’s Richmond (BC) gives thanks for God’s grace as the congregation reached out to the community with a Women’s Advent Tea, a First Noel, and a Carol Sing. A total of 45 children along with even more adults – many first time visitors – came to First Noel, a telling of the Christmas story for young children.
The congregation is preparing for its first parish retreat – a winter camp, February 13-15. Guest speaker, the Rev David McElrea, will teach on what it means to be the family of God, existing to bring glory to God and bearing witness to the Gospel in the world. Please pray for God’s presence and protection and for warm fellowship.
Emmaus (Westmount, Montreal, QC) – The service of institution and induction of the Rev Trevor Potter as rector will be led by Bishop Charlie Masters on Emmaus Sunday, February 1 at 10:30am.
St Timothy’s (West Island, Montreal, QC) – OnFebruary 1, 2pm there will be a service of commissioning for lay leaders.
Mountain Valley Mission (Squamish, BC) is melding its ministry with The Rock, a local Mennonite Brethren congregation. Sunday worship is now combined and, if all goes well, the ministry will merge over a six month trial period.
St George’s (Burlington, ON) – Excitement is building as the finishing touches are being placed on St George’s new edifice which is prominently located near the 407 Highway. See photos here.
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
ACNA leaders participate again in the Washington, DC March for Life
Photos of ACNA members and leaders’ participation in last week’s March of Life in Washington, DC are posted both of the ACNA Facebook page and on the ACNA website.
LifeSiteNews notes that hundreds of thousand marchers – some estimates place the number at close to half a million – turned out for the January 22 event which has been called “the largest human rights march in the world”. March for Life, now in its fourth decade, is held annually on the anniversary of the landmark “Roe vs Wade” court ruling legalizing abortion in the US. Another article notes that an estimated 57 to 58-million little ones have been killed by abortion since that fateful decision.
ACNA news in brief
A post on the Institute of Religion & Democracy’s blog discusses how ACNA congregations in the US are beginning to acquire or build new houses of worship.
A Wall Street Journal article notes that while construction of church buildings has fallen 80 per cent since 2002, new congregations are sprouting up at two to three times the rate of two decades ago. The author notes that “Much of the recent growth has been driven by individual churches deciding to start new congregations, rather than denominations directing the process.” He then mentions ACNA’s goal of planting 1000 new congregations.
Bishop Bill Atwood has written an article entitled “The inevitability of the Anglican Church in North America” which explores the essentials of historic Anglican faith and provides anecdotal accounts of Christian churches springing up around the world with characteristics similar to historic Anglicanism. Bishop Atwood writes, “We are not only part of a globally growing, spiritually powerful Anglicanism, we are living in a time where the Lord is shaping a great deal of new life in a way that looks a lot like healthy Anglicanism.”
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and Anglican Communion news
GAFCon primates call fellow African primate to repentance
In December, five African primates, representing a large number of the world’s Anglicans, wrote Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi, who currently serves as Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), rebuking him for taking part in the US Episcopal Church’s “Transformation Through Friendship” gathering. When he failed to respond to the letter, the GAFCon primates made it public. You read the entire letter on the GAFCon website.
The letter begins, “We write with a profound sense of distress…” and then details the concerns, including the manipulative nature of the event and resulting communique, which they say was not about friendship but “…an attempt to further advance the unbiblical and false teaching of The Episcopal Church.” Objecting to that communique’s characterizing itself as representing “African Primates and Bishops”, when “it does not represent the faith of the overwhelming majority of African Christians”, they call on Archbishop Ntahoturi to either apologize or step down from leadership in CAPA. They write, “By your presence, you validate unrepentant, unbiblical teaching and practice.”
In all, they list six objections, ending with the well-known western tactic of buying allegiance: “Sixth, while we are certainly aware of the problem of poverty in Africa, we reject alliances that seek to capitalise on economic vulnerability to advance an agenda.”
Graciously, the primates conclude: “Dear Brother, we know that this agenda does not represent the faith of your Province, Diocese, or even your own heart. We call you to repentance and restoration to join with us in fellowship that is founded on Christ’s truth and is faithful to His Word. In keeping with our East African Revival heritage of repentance and confession, we long to have this resolved. Please know this letter comes not from malice but from a desire for godly fellowship to be restored.”
Anglican Unscripted commentators George Conger and Kevin Kallsen provide helpful context and discuss this how unprecedented this scathing letter is in the African context.
Western ideological colonization in the Anglican Communion
In his January 2015 pastoral letter, GAFCon chairman, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala (Kenya) focuses on “ideological colonization”, the corruption of the global church “where minds are more often changed by money than by conviction”.
He begins by clearly defining what it is to be a Christian: “What marks out a disciple of Jesus Christ is that this is a person who has not just had a conversion experience, but a person whose whole way of thinking has been radically changed.” Then he notes that “Money is a very powerful tool and manipulation can happen with varying degrees of subtlety. Such practices must be challenged, but the best defence is for ordinary Christians to have renewed minds that are profoundly shaped by the Bible. When each local church is able to see itself as a colony of heaven, its members will be much more resistant to being colonised by non-Christian ideologies.”
International news in brief
Writing in the National Post, Rex Murphy takes on the Liberal Party for dictating the all its candidates and Members of Parliament must tow the “pro-abortion” line. Based on one Catholic Liberal MP’s experience, Murphy writes, “As things now are, a truly religious person must actually stay out of politics — must forgo an active role in democratic government — because in our brazen and new age, he or she will be faced with irreconcilable moral choices. If elected, he or she will be required to betray their faith and themselves, and on those very issues that matter most: issues of life, family, autonomy and the dignity of persons.”
LifeSiteNews reports that “In a stunning reversal of recent rulings in nearby provinces, British Columbia Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson has ruled that Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to pro-life students seeking space on the University of Victoria campus to demonstrate.” In addition to detailing the hypocrisy of the university’s position, the article notes that academia should be known for freedom of speech, rather than arbitrary and selective censorship.
In another National Post article, Rex Murphy reflects on the hollow and hypocritical proclamations of western academics and leaders who declare “We are Charlie Hebdo” in support of the principle of free speech. However they often blatantly restrict free speech in North America, bowing to the bullying of pressure groups. He concludes, “If we will not speak for free speech when it is shut down by special interests, protestors of the politically correct, on campuses and in newspapers, we manifest that we are not serious about free speech.”
Sun News reports that Dr Benjamin Levin, the person responsible for the development of Ontario’s disturbing new sexual education curriculum, is set to plead guilty to some of the child-pornography charges he faces. He was charged in July 2013, “Following an international online probe that police said was sparked by undercover child exploitation investigators in New Zealand, Levin was charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and one count each of making child porn, counselling to commit an indictable offence and agreeing to or arranging for a sexual offence against a child under 16, plus two charges of possessing and accessing child porn.”
If you are concerned about this new sex education curriculum, you can learn more here. You can also watch a 10-minute video of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s (EFC) Rick Hiemstra interviewed on 100 Huntley Street. The EFC also offers a helpful parental resource called Hands Up: Identifying Parents Rights, and recently sent a letter on the issue to the Ontario minister of education.
LifeSiteNews reports that “After more than a decade of legal wrangling and a burst of judicial activism that overturned the will of the voters in dozens of states, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Friday to rule on whether same-sex “marriage” is an unalienable constitutional right… The vast majority of states have seen the definition of marriage overturned by judicial decree.” We are called to pray for the Supreme Court and even more for the Church that we will know “…how to articulate and embody a Christian vision of marriage as the one flesh union of a man and a woman in the tumultuous years to come.”
To end its decline, a “raft of proposals backed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York” has been unveiled for Church of England General Synod members to discuss. A Christian Today article notes that “The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says in one of the papers to the synod: "The urgency of the challenge facing us is not in doubt. Attendance at Church of England services has declined at an average of 1 per cent per annum over recent decades." In addition, congregations were on average older than the general population. At the same time, four in ten of the clergy are due to retire in the next decade.” Among the proposals is a revision to the Church’s catechism.
In a critique of these Church of England documents, Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream, writes, “The second major flaw, and once again the elephant in the room, is lack of theological clarity on what a Christian is and what discipleship entails. This is deliberate, as it ensures once again that people holding opposite understandings can co-exist in the same church…”
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has issued a statement related to the consecrations of both the first female bishop in the Church of England, the Rev Libby Lane, and a “traditionalist” bishop who does not support the ordination of women, the Rev Phillip North. Since the Dr Sentamu participated in the consecration of bishop-elect Lane (on January 26), he has decided to show “gracious restraint” by not subsequently laying hands on bishop-elect North, although he is the Metropolitan. The news that “no bishop will lay hands on [bishop-elect North] who has previously laid hands on a woman bishop or priest” has riled some; however the Archbishop stated that laying on of hands is “for prayer not politics”. See a report on Bishop Libby Lane’s consecration here.
The Daily Mail reports that Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury is warning that “Britain’s fear of criticizing Islam has led to a self-imposed ‘blasphemy law’.
In the first speech in modern times given by a church leader to the Duma – or lower chamber of parliament – Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill decried the “horrifyingly high” number of abortion which he linked to the Western rejection of moral values. A Christian Today article states that the speech was seen as “a sign of the church's growing influence under President Vladimir Putin, who has sought to champion conservative Russian values at a time of heightened tension with the West, especially over the conflict in Ukraine.”
An Anglican Communion News Service article states that “A majority of dioceses in the Anglican Church of South America could soon have women priests. This change comes after new Canons which included an allowance for a "local option" regarding ordaining women to the priesthood were approved by all but one of the dioceses.” The Diocese of Argentina voted against the move. The Anglican Church of South America used to be known as the “Southern Cone”.
While the world’s attention was on Paris Charlie Hebdo-related massacres, a far more egregious attack in northern Nigeria went largely ignored by the media. Boko Haram. The Atlantic suggests the reason is the comparative ease of access for media to the respective events and the complete failure of the Nigerian government to respond to the constant Boko Haram attacks. While the world was focused on Paris, a 10-year-old girl was employed by Boko Haram as a suicide bomber in a crowded market in northern Nigeria killing 20 and injuring many more. Days later, Boko Haram laid siege to and then razing the city of Baga, indiscriminately killing 2000 or more men, women and children and displacing some 20,000 others. ABC News has satellite images of Baga before and after the attack.
The Independent reports that, following its attack on Baga, the leader of Boko Haram said in a video that these killings had been committed as Allah "commanded us in his book". He added, "This is just the beginning of the killings. What you've just witnessed is a tip of the iceberg. More deaths are coming." With Nigeria on the verge of elections on February 14, the terrorists are intent on destabilizing the country and bringing an end to “politics and democracy in Nigeria”.
The Telegraph reports that Boko Haram now controls “about 20,000 square miles of territory – an area the size of Belgium”. The article provides helpful background and insight. Another very helpful article, “9 things you should know about Boko Haram”, is found on the Gospel Coalition website.
ACNA’s Bishop Bill Atwood has written an article entitled, “Strategies to defeat Boko Haram”. Among the strategies he lists is to come to terms with the real issue. He writes “Sadly, the issue is not just a handful of radicals who are abandoning their “peaceful religion,” it is actually a broadly held position among Muslims to want to impose a Caliphate across the earth.” He also encourages us to pray for God’s intervention, for protection of innocent lives, and for His revelation of Himself to Muslim. At home, we need to actively reach those vulnerable to being recruited by terrorists by evangelizing. The block-by-block expansion of the Kingdom into run down neighbourhoods seen in Recife, Brazil offers an encouraging model. Militarily, he says Nigeria needs to deploy 100,000 additional, well-equipped troops; and internationally, a coalition is needed to effectively address the threat. He concludes, “Christians in particular (as well as other civic minded citizens) need to press their representatives to join in addressing this madness, or plan to see it at a mall near you soon.”
A modern Farsi (Persian) translation of the complete Bible has been completed and is now available through Elam Ministries. The modern translation New Testament has been available for more than 10 years, but the Old Testament was only completed in few months ago. The previous Farsi translation is now more than 100 years old and is not easy for modern Persians to read. Operation World says that the Church is growing faster in Iran than anywhere in the world. Pray that this new Bible translation will be used by God to strengthen His Church.
The Sydney Anglicans website reports that Iraqi refugees are suffering through a cold winter and a number of children have died due to the cold. The current issue of Faith Today includes a great interview with the Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White. He asks us to pray for Iraqi Christian refugees… for protection, provision, perseverance and peace.
ABC News reports that 45 churches were torched in Niger as mobs protested the post-terrorist attack edition of the French Charlie Hebdo magazine. The report notes that “The protests, which left five people dead and 128 people injured in Niamey, also saw a Christian school and orphanage set alight…” There were more deaths and additional damage in other parts of Niger. Protests also took place in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Gaza and elsewhere in Africa.
Open Doors 2015 World Watch list highlights the 50 worst countries for Christians to live in. Its website notes that “While North Korea remains the most difficult place in the world to be a Christian, persecution is growing most rapidly in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa. In the Middle East, Islamic State violence in Iraq and Syria has increased the pace of the exodus of the Christian population from the region and is also having a global impact.” The website adds that radical Islam is spreading and is the “most significant engine of persecution”.
Resources for ministry
Kid’s ministry resources:
||Scripture songs – These appealing songs will make scripture memorization easy.
||Bible story videos - Have you discovered St John’s Richmond’s growing collection of short children’s videos which engagingly tell Bible stories?
||Story of Jesus – Power to Change is offering its full-length DVD for kids with multiple language options for less than $1 per DVD. Consider using these as gifts for those who need to hear the Good News.
Resources for Christian living
“Heaven tourism” – Many have expressed concern about the false picture of heaven painted by the recent rash of popular books recounting near-death experiences. Now an author of one of these books, Alex Malarkey, has come clean. In fact he has been trying to come clean on the fabricated story for years, but because the book was a bestseller and hugely profitable, the publishers weren’t interested in the truth. Read the full story here.
“Religious liberty vs erotic liberty” – Dr Albert Mohler explores the current clash of “rights” in the US and elsewhere in the west, in which erotic liberty is trampling historic religious liberties. He writes, “Liberties do not exist in a vacuum. In any historical moment, certain liberties collide with other liberties. We are now witnessing a direct and unavoidable collision between religious liberty with what is rightly defined as erotic liberty — a liberty claimed on the basis of sexual identity and activity. Religious liberty is officially recognized in the Bill of Rights — even in the very first amendment — and the framers of the American order did not claim to have established this right to free religious expression, but to have recognized it as a pre-existent right basic to citizenship.
Erotic liberty is new on the scene, but it is central to the moral project of modernity — a project that asserts erotic liberty, which the framers never imagined, as an even more fundamental liberty than freedom of religion. The logic of erotic liberty has worked its way from law schools and academia into popular culture, entertainment, public policy, and Supreme Court decisions…”
Newsweek stoops to shoddy mudslinging journalism – First Things provides a good rebuttal to Kurt Eichenwald’s flagrantly inaccurate, slur-filled article, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin”.
Are evangelicals embracing same-sex marriage? – A Breakpoint commentary looks at evidence that some self-proclaimed evangelicals have been in the spotlight trumpeting the cause of same-sex marriage. The author concludes that before church-goers are able to embrace culturally-dictated morals, they first must abandon the doctrine of Biblical authority.
Just for laughs
Reaching into a pair of pants and finding money is a great feeling, until the person wearing the pants screams at you.
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand the spines of others are stiffened.” ~ Billy Graham
"Never venture near the door where sin dwells, lest you are dragged in." ~ William Gurnall
And now a Word from our Sponsor
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3 ESV
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