|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
February 28 – Liveword Vancouver conference for women
March 3-4 – ANiC’s bishops and archdeacons meet in Vancouver
March 7 – Bible-in-a-Day seminar at University of BC
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
Oct 20-23 – ANiC synod 2015 in Vancouver (details to come)
October 20-23 anticipated dates for synod 2015 in Vancouver
We have almost firm dates for our next synod in Vancouver: October 20-23. Venue details are still being worked out, hence the small degree of uncertainty. Watch for details.
Also, for those who have been asking, we now have updated and posted both ANiC’s constitution and canons on our website. We apologize for the delay!
Bishop Charlie responds to the Supreme Court’s euthanasia decision
Our diocesan bishop wrote to ANiC members and friends on February 7, the day after “the Supreme Court of Canada issued a deeply disappointing decision striking down Canada’s existing Criminal Code prohibition on euthanasia and assisted suicide, declaring these to be constitutional rights.” After briefly discussing the decision, he calls us to prayer and to action, giving very specific suggestions for both. Please read the full letter, if you haven’t already. Our primate commended Bishop Charlie’s letter to the entire province.
A thoughtful St Peter’s Fireside blog post encourages us to engage this and every issue with civility and to think Biblically about death. “Death and suffering do not rob us of dignity… Our dignity is in the fact that we are image bearers of God, and that this image is being restored in us because of Christ’s death and resurrection; and death is ultimately the way in which we will enter fully into the glory that awaits us — the reality where suffering, pain, sickness, and death are no more.”
Bishop Charlie writes Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis (Egypt) with condolences
Bishop Charlie wrote Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis to express our grief and assure him of our prayers following the horrifying murders of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya at the hands of Islamic State affiliated jihadists. Archbishop Foley Beach also called us to pray for Christians in Egypt and North Africa. You can also read Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis’ statement. (Also see more news below under International News.)
ANiC’s 5 ministry priorities
Bishop Charlie’s “tour” around ANiC continues. He is discussing ANiC’s 5 ministry priorities and encouraging congregations to make these transformational realities in every church.
His next “stop” is the Toronto, ON area with meetings in St George’s Burlington’s new building:
March 13 - a dinner for clergy, followed by a meeting with parishioners at 7:30pm;
March 14 at 9am a special family and children’s event; and
March 15 (Sunday) preaching and celebrating Holy Communion at St Hilda’s Oakville.
Severe weather resulted in meetings in St John’s, NL being rescheduled to April 10-11, with Bishop Charlie preaching at Good Samaritan and St Stephen the Martyr on Sunday, April 12.
You can see photos on the ANiC website from his time in the Ottawa area – especially the fun day with families – teaching the Bible, sharing the Gospel and, of course, skating on the Rideau Canal.
Lenten message from our Primate
Archbishop Foley Beach has written us a challenging and timely call to repentance.
Ordinations in the Vancouver area in March
The Rev Jonathan Ellis, curate and youth and family minister at Ascension (Langley, BC) is to be ordained as a priest by Bishop Trevor Walters on Sunday, March 15 at 4pm. The service will be held in Milner Chapel, 6716 - 216 St, Langley, near the junction of Hwy 10 and Glover Road.
On March 22 at 10am, Jeremy Graham, who with his wife Kimberley leads ANiC’s ministry priority “Loving Children”, will be ordained to the diaconate at St John’s Vancouver.
A first for ANiC – Aboriginal ministry to be launched under new deacon
On Sunday, March 8 at 11am, Esther Ann Beaulieu, a Métis, will be ordained a deacon at Redeemer (Dauphin, MB). Her ministry to Métis and First Nations peoples will be under Bishop Stephen Leung and the Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC).
ANiC's Burlington office announces new arrivals
Jessica Underdown, ANiC’s long-time executive assistant, is pleased to announce the arrival of baby Daisy Jacqueline Shiloh Underdown, born February 4. While Jessica is on maternity leave, the administrative duties in the ANiC office are being ably handled by a husband and wife team who are job sharing: the Rev Dr Peter Robinson and Mrs Simone Robinson. Peter+ is also part-time rector of St Peter by the Park in Hamilton, ON. We thank God for little Daisy and for His provision for ANiC's needs.
On March 3-4, ANiC’s bishops, archdeacons and dean are meeting in Vancouver to pray about and discuss how to better care for our clergy and their families. Please prayer for wisdom and insight.
Bible-in-a-Day seminar at University of British Columbia, March 7
The next Bible-in-a-Day is Saturday, March 7 at UBC. All are welcome (not just university students!) to come and hear the big story of the Bible and see its coherence and our part in it. For information and to register, see www.bible-in-a-day.com.
Report on ARDFC’s Iraqi refugee emergency fund
Donors have been most generous in supporting our call to raise funds for Iraqi refugees. To date the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada has been able to collect almost $40,000, which we are channeling through Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis’ office. ARDFC just received a report which indicates that some of our gifts have helped provide housing, water tanks and blankets. Let’s continue to pray for these besieged Christian families.
ARDFC water project launched
ARDFC’s 2015 project, like our 2014 project, is in South Sudan. This time, we are partnering with the Diocese of Wau to provide clean, secure water to people with little access to uncontaminated water. We are raising funds to drill three boreholes water wells at a cost of $36,000 US.
Clergy silent retreat in Southern Ontario, April 21-23
Clergy are reminded to register as soon as possible for the silent retreat led by Bishop Charlie Masters on the theme "Faithful is he who calls" (1 Thessalonians 5: 24). See the poster. For information and to register email the Rev Barbara Richardson or call 416 889 8248.
Times: Tuesday, April 21, 5 pm to Thursday, April 23, 11:30 am
Location: Valley of the Mother of God, 953376 - 7th Line EHS, Mono, Ontario
Cost: From $72 to $216 depending on type of accommodation chosen
Study Tour to Israel planned for November; deadline April 15
April 15 is the deadline for participants to commit to the November 5-20 CMJ Canada Israel study tour with the Rev Sharon Hayton and led by Shoresh guides. Shoresh tours, a ministry of Christ Church Jerusalem, offer insight into Scripture as the original readers and hearers would have understood it. For full tour details see the CMJ Canada website or email Joy.
Calling everyone living in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge & Elmira, Ontario
The Rev Zena Attwood and a small group would like to meet with other ANiC-minded people in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Elmira areas of Ontario for fellowship. If you live in the area – or know anyone who does – please email D'Arcy Luxton for more information.
Parish and regional news
Good Samaritan (St John’s, NL) has sent another mission team to minister in Guatemala. The team of 16 will be in Guatemala February 20-28. Good Samaritan has a long-term commitment to the Arms of Jesus Children's Mission (AOJ) in Guatemala, sending a number of teams over the years, in addition to fund-raising and child sponsorship.
Christ the King (Edmonton, AB) is excited to welcome a long-anticipated new rector, the Rev Lars Nowen, together with his wife Claire and their twin boys Theodore and Samuel, effective March 1. The Rev Nowen, a Canadian, has been ministering in Portugal under the auspices of the Church of England.
Christ the King (Edmonton) secured a prominent booth and waved the ANiC banner at Missions Fest Alberta 2015 last weekend. Thanks for representing us so well! See photos here.
Emmanuel (Boston, MA) - On Sunday February 1, Emmanuel Anglican Church in Boston, MA celebrated its first Holy Eucharist since becoming a church. Archdeacon Michael McKinnon (Holy Trinity, Marlborough, MA) presided and preached at the service which was held in a home. Let's pray for God's blessing on this fledgling Chinese congregation which is part of ANiC's Asian and Multicultural Ministries (AMMiC) and supported by Holy Trinity.
Church of All Nations – Japanese (Vancouver, BC) – The Rev Shihoko Warren and the people of Church of All Nations will host the Fukushima Art Exhibit and conference at Regent College in May and June. Shihoko+ is also involved in organizing the same art exhibit for the Tokyo area in March. The art exhibit is in response to the tsunami and nuclear disaster which devastated parts of Japan in 2011 and is intended by the Japanese Christian artists “…to mimic God’s path to create a bridge of salvation and restoration to us.” If you are in the Vancouver area, plan to visit the exhibit at the Regent College Lookout Gallery, May 6 – June 25. See the exhibit website for details. Pray also for God to use the exhibit in Tokyo this March.
Regent College has a great write-up by and about Shihoko+ and the gardening ministry.
Church of Our Lord (Victoria, BC) held a farewell lunch for their long-time rector/co-rector Archdeacon Ron Corcoran and Deirdre on Sunday. Archdeacon Ron is retiring from his parish ministry but continues with his archdeacon responsibilities.
St George’s (Burlington, ON) held its first service in the newly constructed building on Sunday, February 15. The grand opening and dedication will be Easter Sunday.
St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON) will have a new curate effective May 25. With the Rev Jesse Martin and his family returning to their home state to plant an ACNA church in Moses Lake, Washington, Bishop Charlie has appointed the Rev Jared Driscoll to the position. Jared+, Joni and their three boys will make the move from Newfoundland to minister in the nation’s capital.
St Matthias and St Luke (Vancouver, BC) will host a Seder Supper on Maundy Thursday, April 2, at 6:30pm. It will be a full Seder Supper following the Jewish Passover tradition but in the light of Jesus our Messiah. Participants will experience what Jesus’ apostles would have experienced at the Passover supper they had with Jesus on the night He was arrested and later crucified. Families are welcomed and children will have some fun times during the Seder supper. Free will donation will be accepted. Please email email@example.com or call 604-876-4320 to register. Deadline for registration is March 22.
St Luke’s (Pembroke, ON) is holding a workshop on the Biblical Feasts on Saturday, March 14, 9:30am to 4pm. All are welcome; bring a bag lunch. Contact St Luke’s to register.
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
Primates calls us to pray for martyrs’ families and for peace in the Middle East
Archbishop Foley Beach asks us to join him and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis in praying for the families of the 21 martyred Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded for being “people of the cross” by their Islamic State-affiliated kidnappers. Quoting Tertullian, an early church father from North Africa, he notes that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Archbishop Beach also notes that February 16, marked 38 years since the martyrdom, at the hands of Idi Amin, of Archbishop Janani Luwum, the Anglican Primate of Uganda.
Archbishop addresses state senate and calls them to uphold the Law of God
Our Primate Archbishop Foley Beach was invited to address the State of Georgia Senate this past week. He chose Joshua 1 to admonish the senators that God’s blessing requires we uphold God’s laws. He said in part:
“If Joshua wants to be successful, if he wants the nation to be successful, he must obey the Laws of God… The Law of God not only invites the blessings of God, but also the protection of God. The founders of this State and of this Nation knew this and this is why our system of Government was constructed with the moral and ethical basis of the 10 Commandments—the law of God… In recent years, however, as we have begun to remove the Law of God from our public and private lives, we have seen our civilized society begin to come apart at the seams… And so as our elected representatives, I would like to ask: Are the laws which you pass driving us further from the Law of God or are they bringing us closer to the Law of God?... For the sake of our citizens… don’t forget the Law of God in your decisions.”
Is Archbishop Welby’s view of the ACNA evolving?
Speaking to the New York Times, Archbishop Justin Welby responded to the question of whether the ACNA was part of the Anglican Communion in a markedly different way than he responded in an interview last fall. Last fall, Archbishop Welby had essentially said that the ACNA wasn’t really Anglican. Now his response is much more tempered.
Q. Do you see the Anglican Church in North America, which broke away from the Episcopal Church after Bishop Robinson’s election, as part of the Anglican Communion?
A. ACNA is certainly a church of Anglican tradition. It is not currently part of the formal structures of the Anglican Communion. It’s recognized as a fellow Anglican church by many primates in the Anglican Communion, primates whose membership is probably more than half the Anglican Communion. And they’re doing a lot of good work.
You can read the entire interview on the New York Times website.
How important is it for ACNA to be recognized as part of the Anglican Communion?
Writing for the American Anglican Council’s weekly newsletter, Canon Phil Ashey argues that the Archbishop of Canterbury should personally investigate the ACNA to determine if it should be officially recognized by his office and the Anglican Communion structures. Canon Ashey writes:
“It’s nice to know that he [the Archbishop] thinks we are doing good works, and that we are a church in the Anglican tradition. But where is the personal, public, first-hand investigation that would lead him to that conclusion? Where is the public meeting with our College of Bishops, our clergy, our lay leaders and congregations, our church plants—the kinds of meetings he has undertaken in other Churches of the Anglican Communion, or perhaps even among “ecumenical partners”? …So if the Archbishop of Canterbury is serious, “where’s the beef”?”
However, not everyone agrees that it is worth pursuing recognition by the structures of the Anglican Communion. Father Matt Kennedy, on the Stand Firm, adamantly opposes recognition. He says:
“The title of Canon Ashey’s article, harkening back to a popular hamburger commercial during the 80s, is “Where’s the Beef?”. The “beef” from this perspective is, apparently, full Communion recognition. But if Communion recognition is, indeed, “the beef” then may we all become fervent vegetarians. Why on earth would we want the Archbishop of Canterbury’s approval…? Archbishop Welby is compromising the gospel by seeking “reconciliation” with purported Christian leaders who are unrepentantly leading people into sexual sin away from Jesus.”
ACNA news in brief
The Diocese of Western Anglicans now has its second bishop. Bishop Keith Andrews was consecrated on January 25; he succeeds Bishop William Thompson.
Anglican Ink reports that 12 ACNA bishops participated in the Washington, DC March for Life January 22. The article states that the March for Life is the “…largest annual protest in the United States, regularly drawing tens of thousands of people…”
Calling worship leaders and songwriters… Connect with other creative folks through collaborative liturgical songwriting at the United Adoration Midwest Songwriting Retreat on March 14 in Fort Wayne, IN. Learn more and register on the website.
Anglican Unscripted commentators discuss the most recent legal setback for the US Episcopal Church (TEC) in its attempt to strip the ACNA Diocese of Quincy of its property and funds. Earlier a trial judge – and then a higher court – affirmed that the ACNA diocese was legally entitled to everything. Now, TEC’s latest attempt to circumvent earlier decisions and keep diocesan funds frozen was slapped down by another judge. This ruling is posted here.
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and Anglican Communion news
Canterbury Cathedral Course for new bishops
The Anglican Communion News Service writes that the Archbishop of Canterbury met with new bishops from various provinces of the (official) Anglican Communion on February 5. They were in England for the annual Canterbury Cathedral Course for new Anglican bishops.
Book championing Continuing Indaba found to be deeply flawed
Living Reconciliation, a book recently published by the Anglican Communion Office to advance its Continuing Indaba offensive to break down resistance in the Global South to the theological and sexual revisionism of the western churches, is found to be “sadly lacking” and unbiblical it its understanding of reconciliation.
Dr Martin Davie, a widely respected Church of England theologian, has critiqued the book. According to a summary on the GAFCon website, his critique demonstrates that, “…biblically the ministry of reconciliation is first and foremost evangelism…‘The New Testament’s emphasis is not on people learning to live with what divides then, but learning to live out what unites them’. In sharp contrast, the writers of ‘Living Reconciliation’ are focused inwards on what they see as the pressing need to live with difference within the institutional Church.”
Church of England bishop appointed Anglican Communion Mission Theologian
Anglican Ink reports that Bishop Graham Kings, who has been Bishop of Sherborne for six years, has been appointed to the new post of Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion, a post he moves to in July. The duties of this new position will include convening “a series of seminars in Anglican Communion Studies for theologians, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”
International news in brief
Euthanasia - On February 6, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a unanimous decision that struck down Canada’s criminal prohibition on physician-assisted suicide. Much has been written on this decision and its implications.
Perhaps the best analysis of the decision comes from Andrew Coyne writing in the National Post. It’s worth reading the full article. Among other things, he notes that the decision breezily ignores the broad and frightening implications. The decision devotes twice the space to awarding costs than to addressing implications of the decision. Coyne writes, “Having found a way to throw out the law — did anyone doubt that it would? — the Court then refused to rule on a number of other questions put before it…” He concludes that the logic of the decision – and its openness to board interpretation – virtually guarantees that the criteria for those eligible for “physician assisted suicide” will quickly expand.
Writing in the National Post, André Schutten, of the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) argues that the decision admits implicitly “… that innocent people will die. For them [the judges and proponents], it’s simply a matter of balancing that risk. [But] When it comes to the right to life, a substantially minimized risk is an unacceptable risk. Innocent people will die and the state will be complicit in their deaths.” More comments from the ARPA can be found on its website.
Father Raymond de Souza, a columnist at the National Post, argues that the decision will inevitably harm the weakest and most vulnerable. “…the price of exalting the personal autonomy of the able and influential is the removal of protections for those who have little autonomy to exercise and are easily preyed upon… The Charter [of Rights and Freedoms] becomes a tool of the powerful against the weak, much like medicine will increasingly become in the age of euthanasia and suicide.”
LifeSiteNews reports that a number of parliamentarians are upset and angry that unelected activitist judges can effectively dictate the laws of the land – overriding those elected to create the laws. Another LifeSiteNews article clearly and succinctly outlines the dangers of this decision with its imprecise and subjective language.
A statement from the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) takes no stand on the issue, saying ACoC members fall on both sides of the issue. However, it has created a task force to explore the matter further and commends a 1998 document on palliative care.
Trinity Western University has won an important legal decision, however its battle continues to open a school of law based on a Christian ethic and worldview. In late January, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court overturned a decision by the provinces Barristers Society to deny TWU graduates the right to practice law in the province. An organized anti-TWU campaign had similarly swayed Law Societies in a number of provinces. A National Post article ably analyzes the decision and provides background. It notes that this recent decision upholds a 2001 Supreme Court ruling and determined that “TWU’s code does nothing to discriminate against students or undermine the quality of their training.”
Writing in the Globe and Mail, lawyer John Carpay quotes extensively from the decision which clearly states that, rather than TWU violating student’s Charter rights in its community covenant, the law society was in violation of the Charter by attempting to ban TWU grads from practicing in the province. He ruled that lawyers are “…are entitled to believe what they want … [and] to form associations of like-minded lawyers.”
The Association for Reformed Political Action website provides links and excerpts for those wishing to learn more. It also notes that many battles remain. “This decision will have some persuasive effect in the lawsuits ongoing in Ontario and B.C. However, this decision is not binding on those provinces. In fact, there is a good chance that the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society might appeal the decision. And if an Ontario or B.C. court were to rule against TWU, this case may have to go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.”
An episode of Lorna Dueck’s ContextTV interviews those on both sides of the debate.
On another front, Cardus notes “…another overt campaign to drive out or silence Christians in the legal community... The Legal Leaders for Diversity (LLD) and is made up of the heads of the legal departments from more than 70 major corporations… (including BMO, Ford, The Globe and Mail and the Edmonton Oilers)… [and is intended to] restrict hiring of law firms… to those who have a commitment to “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” The LLD’s definition of these words requires approval of same-sex marriage and excludes Christians or others who might have a different opinion.”
Anglican Church of Canada - A Canadian Press article notes that “without radical change, the Anglican Diocese of Quebec could soon be extinct” and attributes this, in part, to “…the fact that in most regions outside Montreal, Anglo-Quebecers, and much of their culture, are on the verge of disappearing.” It goes on to say of the diocese that “Almost half of its churches have fewer than 10 regular services a year and close to 80 per cent of its churches have a regular attendance of fewer than 25 people. Forty-five per cent of its churches ran a deficit in 2012 and a stunning 64 per cent of congregations said last year that within five years they would be closed or be amalgamated with other churches.”
A US Episcopal Church (TEC) bishop is now facing 13 charges for the hit-and-run death of a cyclist last December. The Washington Post reports than Bishop Heather Cook had prior drunk driving infractions and was known to have an addiction to alcohol – concerns that were known to TEC brass prior to her consecration last year. Now both her diocese, diocesan bishop, TEC and the presiding bishop are scrambling to escape blame and liability in what is sure to be an expensive wrongful death civil suit.
Gay Jennings, US Episcopal Church (TEC) House of Deputies president, writes that TEC will create a task force to review the process for electing bishops as well as a special legislative committee to look at drug and alcohol abuse. She concludes by saying that everyone has the responsibility, even up to the last moments before a new bishop is ordained, to step forward with information that would indicate the person is unsuitable for the office. This last point is likely a swipe at the diocesan bishop who has been trying to shift blame for Bishop Cook’s consecration, in spite of known issues, to the presiding bishop.
South Carolina – The independent Diocese of South Carolina, now under the provisional authority of the Global South Primates Steering Committee, won a decision by the South Carolina Circuit Court. The decision ruled that the diocese, which withdrew from the US Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2012, is fully entitled to its properties and assets, valued at $500 million, not TEC. Canon lawyer Alan Haley provides fully background and analysis on his Anglican Curmudgeon blog. TEC responded by appealing the decision but the judge quickly and decisively dismissed the appeal.
Alan Haley provides a summaryof TEC’S 90+ legal cases against departing churches and dioceses since 2000 – most since 2007.
Consecration of traditionalist bishop - A BBC account of the recent consecration of Bishop Philip North (Burnley) notes that the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, demonstrated his respect for Bishop Phillip North’s views on the ordination of women bishops by refraining from leading parts of the service. Archbishop Sentamu, only a week before, had participated fully in the ordination of the Church of England’s first female bishop, the Rt Rev Libby Lane.
Anti-Semitism – The Daily Mail reports that a high-profile CoE rector has been disciplined for anti-Semitic activities and writings. Anglican TV commentators discuss the discipline meted out to the Rev Stephen Sizer which included a social media ban, and ban on any writing or speaking related to the Middle East. They mention the embarrassment he has caused evangelicals in the UK and in GAFCon as he has been active in both in the past. A subsequent edition of Anglican TV, involving the Rev David Pileggi, rector of Christ Church Jerusalem, discusses growing anti-Semitism in Europe and North America.
Growing unrest – Spurred by growing alienation between evangelical parishes and clergy in the Diocese of Southwark and their theologically “liberal” bishop, a statement has been crafted and sent to Biblically faithful churches and clergy for their endorsement.
Facilitated conversations on sexuality – The Rev Colin Coward’s report of a meeting between himself and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s director of reconciliation, Canon David Porter, has caused considerable consternation among Church of England evangelicals. An Anglican Ink article states that the Rev Coward, who is director of homosexual lobby group Changing Attitudes, reported that Canon Porter is expects the sexuality debate to come to a head within the Church in 2017 and that about 20 per cent of the church will split away. The CoE’s Shared Conversation process – with its website and resource booklets – is, not surprisingly, designed to give equal moral and intellectual weight to both the historic Christian teaching of sexuality and perspective of those advocating change. The official “conversion” meetings are to begin after Easter.
Andrew Symes write on Anglican Mainstream, “The booklet tries to be “neutral” in giving equal weight to different views, and moves towards the conclusion that the important thing is not whether homosexual relationships are right or wrong in the eyes of God (since apparently we cannot ultimately know this for certain), but how we reach a place of “Good Disagreement” and model it to a world where bitter and even violent conflict is often the default position… However, it was previous incarnations of this Indaba process as used by American and Canadian revisionists, promoting “conversation” while facts were created on the ground in the blessing of same sex relationships and appointment of non-celibate gay clergy and Bishops, which split the Communion in 2003… Many orthodox Anglicans believe that the Conversation process is biased towards a revisionist agenda, and irredeemably flawed.” He concludes that where evangelicals can make a difference is in fighting for strong representation on General Synod.
The CoE House of Bishops has issued a 50+ page “pastoral letter” on the upcoming general election that has caused considerable controversy, especially amongst Conservatives who see it as left-leaning and political. Anglican Mainstream has compiled all the reaction.
Church of England General Synod
In his presidential address to general synod, Archbishop Justin Welby focused on the urgent need for joyfully and continually sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. While commending the archbishop, The American Anglican Council’s Canon Phil Ashey expresses his concern that, due to the relentless revisionist agenda in the Church of England (CoE), the very people most likely to take up the challenge to evangelize are the ones most likely to leave the CoE over doctrinal matters.
Julian Mann, writing for VirtueOnline, reports that general synod discovered that, since January, bishops are requiring ordination candidates to sign a document which forces them to agree to and submit to women bishops. Clearly this strategy is designed to, over time, eliminate - or compromise - all clergy who, in conscience, oppose women bishops. The author suggests that if this does not change evangelical churches should join the Anglican Mission in England even if it costs them their buildings.
A Telegraph article explores the need for the Church of England to not alienate Evangelicals who hold to the spiritual headship of males in the Church. The author notes that Evangelicals comprise the only growing, financially viable segment of the Church. The Economist has a good article on evangelicals’ successful church planting model which is reviving Anglican churches in London and southeast England.
General synod was warned, The Telegraph reports, that “The local church could disappear across large parts of rural Britain in less than a decade as ageing congregations die off, the Church of England’s ruling General Synod has been warned.” Synod members were told that “…research showing that regular attendees are declining by around one per cent per year and that two thirds of members are now over 55”.
General synod agreed to send to the next stage of approval a new, simplified baptism service which does not mention the devil. The new service is designed for non-churchgoers who “have lost the language of church”.
General synod agreed to ask its business committee to draft revised legislation which would allow those who commit suicide to be buried according to Church funeral rites.
His Royal Highness Prince Charles, speaking to the BBC and quoted in a Daily Mail article, has expressed his fear that the Middle East will soon have no Christians left. He notes, “And the tragedy is even greater because Christians have been in the Middle East for 2,000 years, before Islam came in the 8th Century.”
Barnabas Fund expresses the fear that the West’s inaction in accepting and moving refugees from Iraq and Syria out of danger could result in a situation comparable to that with Jewish refugees in 1939. The article outlines the cumbersome, bureaucratic refugee-processing requirements of both Canada and the US that endanger the lives of these refugees.
Other sources discuss the UN report that the Islamic State (or ISIS) is torturing children and burying them. Christian Broadcasting Network reports, “The U.N. says ISIS is systematically killing, torturing and raping children and families from the Yazidi sect and Christian communities. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has received reports of several cases of mass executions of boys. There are also reports of children being beheaded, crucified, and buried alive.” The Independent also reports that ISIS is using mentally challenged children as unwitting suicide bombers and human shields.
An online document targeted at recruiting Saudi women to the Islamic State advocates that girls marry as young as nine years old. Written in Arabic, it also states that women and girls must be “hidden and veiled”.
Bishop Bill Atwood discusses the Islamic State and who is to “blame” for its terrorism. He says there is blame enough to go around, including Muslim leaders who do not publicly repudiate its brutality and western leaders who disingenuously refuse to name it Islamic. The Atlantic also has an excellent, thorough article discussing the genesis of the Islamic State, its ideology and its relationship to Islam as a whole.
A Breitbart article suggests that where western powers have failed abysmally in engaging radicalized Muslims in the war of ideas, Christians are succeeding. Western governments fail to understand the religious basis for the appeal of the Islamic State. However, Christian converts from Islam using social media and the airwaves are having an impact in the Middle East.
In the midst of this brutality and suffering, Anglican Ink reports that Anglican relief workers in Kurdistan, where many refugees have fled, are seeing God working to bring people to Himself.
This week, Reuters reports, Islamic State terrorists attacked Christian villages in northeast Syria, abducting at least 150 people.
Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis responded to the barbaric murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped while working in Libya, with specific prayer requests. He writes: “…these 21 were specifically chosen for their Christian faith. The video of their beheading expressed the Islamic State’s intention to increasingly target the Copts of Egypt… Please join me in praying for peace in Libya, Egypt, and the entire Middle East. Please pray the international community will act in wisdom, correctly and efficiently, and support Egypt in its war on terror. Please pray the churches of Egypt will comfort their sons and daughters, encouraging them to resist fear and hatred. And please pray for the perpetrators of this terrible crime, that God would be merciful to them and change their hearts… Please pray for us, that we may live lives worthy of his name, and hold to the testimony exhibited by the brave Egyptians in Libya.”
A brother of two of the 21 slain martyrs called an Arabic Christian TV program to thank ISIS for including the audio of the men’s declarations of faith as they were being martyred, saying it strengthened the faith of Coptic Christians. He also expressed the Biblical command to love our enemies and prayed on air for the salvation of the murderers. Within 36 hours of the video being posted online, the Bible Society of Egypt had prepared a Gospel tract based on the 21 martyrs and within a week, 1.65 million copies were distributed.
The UN reports that gunmen have abducted at least 89 school boys, as young as 13, while they were writing exams in a village near the capital of Upper Nile State, Malakal. The population of the village had grown recently with the arrival of a flood of internally displaced people due to armed conflict in the country. A news report states: “…in the past armed groups have forcibly recruited children before major offensives.” Since December 2013 when the latest conflict began, “At least 10,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million internally displaced. UNICEF said about 12,000 children have been recruited into armed groups since the outbreak of war.” The ARDFC’s current development project is drilling water wells near Wau, which is several hundred kilometres from Malakal. Please pray for peace!
Religion News reports that, due to the Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria’s presidential election has been postponed until March 28. The election commission said the postponement was due to the inability to provide security for voters in the northeast region of the country most affected by the Islamist group Boko Haram.
Because of the Islamist reign of terror in the north, Nigeria has been ranked as one of the most dangerous places for Christians. The report stated that more than 1000 churches had been destroyed in the past four years by Boko Haram in the northeast region.
While most of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls have not been rescued, there has been one hopeful report indicated many remain alive and not sold into slavery – yet. Another report tells of the daring rescue of nearly 500 other schoolgirls in a town attacked by Boko Haram.
38 years ago the primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda was killed at the order of despot Idi Amin. This year, reports All Africa, the Church has persuaded the government to institute an annual national day of remembrance, February 16, in honour of martyred Archbishop Janani Luwum.
Torrential rain in January has resulted in extensive flooding, destroying property and displacing 170,000 people. A state of disaster was declared in 15 or the country’s 28 districts.
International Christian Concern reports that 2014 saw the worst persecution that Christians in China have experienced in decades – with hundreds of churches demolished and Christians pastors and lay leaders arrested.
International Christian Concern reports that hundreds of Christians in New Delhi were arrested as they demonstrated against a rash of Hindu radical attacks on churches as intolerance grows in the country.
Asia Bibi, an illiterate Christian woman from Pakistan’s rural Punjab has been on death row for almost five years after being maliciously accused of blasphemy. In Pakistan even the accusation of blasphemy can be a death sentence. The BBC has a report which focuses on the effect on Asia’s family.
Reuters reports that in early February “More than 300 people died trying to cross the sea from Africa to Italy this week… [Italy’s] Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said the disaster highlighted the state of near-anarchy in Libya, where people smugglers can charge up to $2,000 for the crossing… "These smuggling networks act with virtual impunity and hundreds are dying. The world must act."”
Resources for ministry
Church elders – An Gospel Coalition article provides advice for new elders – which is equally applicable for long-time church wardens and other lay leaders.
Changes to clergy housing deduction – Churches which provide housing (a manse or parsonage) for clergy should note that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently changed its wording for form T1223 Clergy Residence Deduction. This revision also potentially affects T4 slip reporting. See the Canadian Council of Christian Charities website for more information.
39 Articles – Canon Phil Ashey continues his series of short videos on the 39 Articles with a five-part exploration of Article 17, “Predestination”: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.
Islam – Bishop Bill Atwood writes a compelling account of how Christians can live courageously in Christ’s victory whether we are “In the shadow of the minarets” or are facing other Goliaths.
Movie – The Drop Box, a powerful award-winning documentary about a Korean pastor who rescues abandoned babies, will be in theatres for only three days, March 3-5.
Euthanasia – A 2½ minute video responds to common questions on euthanasia & assisted suicide.
Lent ideas for children – It’s not too late to start! The Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada offers both a Lenten calendar, tied to the South Sudan water project, and mite box labels on its website.
50 Shades of degradation – Give this one a pass! Both the book and the movie are clearly pornographic and, ironically, this pornography is targeted at women. Most disturbing is the emotional and sexual abuse which is passed off as romance, marginalizing real-life abuse victims and legitimizing the violence they experience daily. Relevant Magazine says, “This is what women want, says Fifty Shades of Grey: the perpetuation of violent rape culture. Here, coercion is acceptable, abuse is extolled, and consent is ignored. Psychiatrist Dr. Miriam Grossman sums it up well: “Fifty Shades of Grey teaches your daughter that pain and humiliation are erotic, and your son, that girls want a guy who controls, intimidates and threatens.”” This distorted depiction of love is in stark contrast to genuine love described in 1 Corinthians 13. Tim Challies has additional responses to the 50 Shades phenomenon from a Christian perspective.
Just for laughs
Anything preying on my mind today would starve to death.
The commands of God are given, not to rob me of joy, but lead me into the fullness of joy.
~ Matt Chandler
The beginning of man’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart. ~ Francis Schaeffer
And now a Word from our Sponsor
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
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