|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
April 7-10 – New Wineskins for Global Mission 2016 conference, Ridgecrest, NC
April 12-14 – Ontario clergy silent retreat at a retreat centre near Orangeville
April 16, 9:30am - 1pm – ANiC regional women’s gathering, New Song (Port Perry, ON)
April 16 – Saint Matthew’s Abbotsford hosts a one-day seminar, “Living & Serving Apocalyptically”
April 30, 7pm – CMJ Canada speaker Kevin Crombie at Good Shepherd Vancouver
May 2-5 – Western clergy retreat, Malibu retreat centre, BC – with Dr Jon Vickery speaking
May 1 – Sanctity of Life Sunday (Canada)
May 12 – March for Life (Canada) 2016
June 14-15 – God's Word Written, ANiC apologetics conference, Vancouver, BC
June 16 – God's Word Written, ANiC preaching conference, Vancouver, BC
June 20-22 – ACNA Executive & Provincial Council meet in Mt Pleasant, SC
Oct 25-28 – Synod 2016, Church of the Good Shepherd, Vancouver, BC
Creating transformational realities
Last month, Bishop Charlie wrote rectors and parish leaders asking that Vestries give careful and prayerful thought to which of ANiC’s 5 Ministry Priorities they will tackle first and what actions will be taken to move the parish forward with each of the priorities. Check out the following webpages for the five priorities where you’ll find information and some resources:
1. Bold witnesses
2. Biblically grounded
3. Loving children
4. On mission
5. Planting & growing churches
Biblically Grounded conferences coming to Vancouver, June 14-16
Registration is now open for two conferences, both under the banner God's Written Word: The Truthfulness, Dependability, and Power of the Bible, and both held at Westside Church in Vancouver, June 14-16. "Biblically grounded" is one of ANiC's 5 ministry priorities and these conferences have been planned by Canon George Sinclair and his team to advance us toward that goal. George+ says that the purpose of the two-day teaching conference is "to grow in clergy and laity a deep confidence in the Bible and a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about itself as God's word written."
Apologetics conference, June 14-15 - A top-notch line-up of speakers is confirmed for the two-day conference, including three able apologists - Dan Wallace, Mike Licona and Greg Monette - as well as two excellent Bible teachers, J I Packer and David Lyle Jeffry. Learn more about the conference and speakers here.
Preaching conference, June 16 - This conference will focus on expository preaching and will be led by Back to the Bible's Dr John Neufeld. It will refresh and equip clergy (and laity) in the basics of Gospel-hearted expository preaching.
Clergy and lay members are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to deepen our understanding of and confidence in God’s Word. Register now!
Ordinations & licences
Bishop Charlie presented an ANiC license to the Rev Manassé Maniragaba, a priest, on March 13 at St Peter by the Park, Hamilton. He, his wife and three children are part of St Peter by the Park.
Deacon Isaac Fisher will be ordained as a priest and Gianluca John DeMartinis will be ordained a deacon on October 2 by Bishop Charlie Masters at Holy Trinity Anglican in Marlborough, MA.
Eastern clergy silent retreat… coming soon… creeping up… very quietly
If you are a clergy member and haven’t yet registered, you need to act soon. It will be held April 12-14 at a serene retreat centre near Orangeville with Bishop Charlie leading. You know you need the peace and quiet. So get all the information here.
Dr J I Packer admonishes Anglicans to speak out about the sanctity of life
Speaking by video to the recent Anglicans for Life conference in the Washington, DC area, Dr Packer discussed the sanctity of life and the Church’s role is confronting the evil of abortion. He said in part, “The church is being unfaithful to God and to His Word if the church remains silent about these matters [abortion]… I don’t see how Christians can simply turn a blind eye to this issue… I would insist on the sanctity of life… Life is a gift of God… and holy… so life in any womb… is equally holy… equally a neighbour and equally to be preserved. In a pregnant woman I have two neighbours, not just one.”
May 1 is designated Sanctity of Life Sunday in Canada. On this day, churches celebrate God's gift of life – honouring the children lost to abortion and the parents and grandparents whose lives are forever affected. We also renew our commitment to protecting human life and at every stage – including those who are elderly, disabled or ill. Connect with Anglicans for Life Canada and checkout their training and resources. Also contact Vicky Hedelius+ for information.
New policies and guidelines for parishes available
Parish leaders need to be aware of several new policies and guidelines recently approved by ANiC’s Council. The following documents are posted on ANiC’s secure website – which is accessible by clergy and parish leaders:
• ANiC’s clergy screening process for new hires
• ANiC’s sabbatical leave policy (This is also posted on ANiC’s public website.)
• ANiC’s salary guide for clergy and other parish staff
New clergy care page posted
Clergy and lay leaders will find information and resources and contact on clergy care on the ANiC website. Canon Brent Stiller is ANiC’s canon for clergy support. Additional information of interest to clergy can be found on the ANiC website here.
Youth ministry position open
St John's (Vancouver, BC) is looking for a full-time youth minister, responsible for implementing a Christ-centered program for about 60 young people aged 12-18 years for the purpose of making Christian disciples. For more details, see the St John's website. Application deadline is May 15.
Bishop Don becomes Provincial Chaplain for Daughter of the Holy Cross
Bishop Don Harvey, ANiC’s Episcopal Vicar and founding Diocesan Bishop, has accepted an invitation to become the new Provincial Chaplain of the ACNA’s Order of the Daughters of the Holy Cross. His three-year term lasts through 2019. Currently ANiC has only one chapter of the Daughters of the Holy Cross based on Langley BC. Bishop Don would love to see this Order grow during his chaplaincy, with chapters springing up across ANiC.
Canon Paul Donison stands for election as Bishop of ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh
Paul+, who is rector of ANiC’s St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON) as well as diocesan canon for special events and secretary for the ANiC Council, is one of eight nominees standing for election to succeed Archbishop Bob Duncan, Archbishop Duncan was diocesan when the Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to realign out of the US Episcopal Church. He then became the first Primate of our Province, the Anglican Church in North America. For more information, see the diocese’s website or Anglican Ink.
Bishop Trevor Walters is the proud author of a newly published book: EAS Syndrome: Healing Burnout in Adults Lacking Parental Affirmation. [Note: EAS stands for “External Affirmation Syndrome".] The book, which was undertaken in collaboration with a well-known psychiatrist, addresses the question of why so many clergy – and others – burnout in midlife, with an estimated 1500 pastors in the US alone abandoning their ministries each month. Surprisingly, the main cause of burnout is not simply stress but an unmet need for external affirmation – a need rooted in childhood. Lacking affirmation from parents, especially fathers, many of us seek to get affirmation from those we serve, which can lead to burnout. Recognizing this underlying cause allows us take the needed steps to prevent and heal burnout. The book is available at Anglican House Publishers.
Good Shepherd Vancouver is raising $30,000 this year to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come Canada. The congregation anticipates focusing this year on fund-raising, education and awareness, then welcoming a refugee family next year.
Emmaus (Montreal, QC), with help from members of St Timothy’s (Montreal) has committed to sponsoring a refugee Syrian family and are working through a Christian pastor in Lebanon.
Christ The King (Toronto, ON) is joining with others and working through the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in sponsoring a family of six.
Church of our Lord and The Table Church (Victoria, BC) are closing in on their fundraising goal for sponsoring an Iraqi Christian refugee family. Because this is a private sponsorship, it does not qualify for a government subsidy and means they need to raise around $54,000 to support the family for one year.
New Song (Port Perry, ON) has welcomed already some of the refugees they, in partnership with others in the Port Perry area, are sponsoring.
When considering refugee sponsorship, remember there are refugees from many countries. Western media has focused on Syria but similarly horrific situations exist in many areas of the world creating hundreds of thousands of destitute and desperate refugees.
What is your congregation doing to help refugees (Syrian or other)? Please let us know!
Parish and regional news
Holy Trinity Anglican (Marlborough, MA) – The small congregation of Holy Trinity Anglican Church (Marlborough, MA) took a huge leap of faith a while ago and purchased a former Roman Catholic church building (actually several buildings) that had been unused for years. There has been a tremendous amount of work and money poured into making the facilities usable again. Currently, they are restoring the outreach centre which had been abandoned for 10 years. This building will provide much needed community care programs such as a soup kitchen, a food pantry, and the winter coat program. Because the congregation's resources have been exhausted in this herculean effort, they have launched a crowdfunding initiative to help pay down the loan they took out for the restoration work. See for a video and more details.
Church of All Nations (Vancouver, BC) parishioners will be seeding for the New Eden gardening ministry, following their March 20th service, allowing those who can’t get out to the Surrey farm to be involved in the gardening. This will mark the start of New Eden’s four year of caring for creation and, through gardening, bringing the Good News of God’s New Creation to volunteer gardeners.
St John’s Vancouver is encouraging parishioners to band together in multi-generational neighbourhood-based groups and choose a way they are going to serve their neighbours and neighbourhoods. The goal of this “Easter Project” is to have initiatives responding to people’s needs throughout the city by March 26.
St Matthias and St Luke (Vancouver, BC) is planning a fundraising concert on April 2 at 7pm at 320 East 15th Avenue, Vancouver (Bethlehem Lutheran Church) to raise funds for a permanent home to develop and expand parish ministries. There will also be opportunities to buy gift baskets and delicious goodies at the concert. This is the second major fundraising event for the parish’s building fund. Last year’s parish anniversary dinner raised over $16,000 for a future church home.
St George’s (Burlington, ON) will host Archbishop Peter Jensen, former head of the Diocese of Sydney, Australia and secretary general of GAFCon, on Sunday, April 24th. Archbishop Jensen will be preaching at a special afternoon service, which will be followed by a reception. All are welcome.
Messiah (Ottawa, ON) has partnered with two other Ottawa churches to offer Church on Wednesday, a worship time on the University of Ottawa campus. Attendance averages 100 including a significant number of non-Christian students. Recently Messiah launched a mentorship program – pairing university students with older church members – to serve as a catalyst for discipleship and spiritual development.
St Luke’s (Pembroke, ON) has invited a young member of its companion parish in Recife, Brazil to come for a one-month visit later this spring. Please pray for visa approval.
Saint Matthew’s (Abbotsford, BC), through its School of Anglican Life and Ministry, is hosting a one-day seminar with the Rev Dr Darrell Johnson on Saturday, April 16, 9:30 – 2:30, entitled “Living & Serving Apocalyptically”, based on Revelation 1-3. Dr Johnson, an excellent preacher and Bible teacher, currently directs the Centre for Preaching at Carey Theological College (Vancouver) and teaches at Regent College. All are welcome! Register by March 22 to get the early bird rate. Learn more!
Saint Matthew’s (Abbotsford, BC) has launched a new website. Well done!
Good Shepherd Vancouver is hosting a CMJ Canada event on April 30 at 7pm with author, speaker, and authority on Israel Kevin Crombie. Mr Crombie worked for 20+ years at Christ Church Jerusalem establishing the Heritage Centre ministry. His topic is “From Exile to Restoration, God’s Call to the Nations”. For more information see the Good Shepherd website.
Resurrection (Hope, BC) received the sad news that it is closed down. Dwindling attendance meant the congregation was no longer considered viable. Church of the Resurrection and St John’s Richmond were the first churches to join ANiC when it became an ecclesial entity under the episcopal care of Bishop Donald Harvey and the Primatial authority of Archbishop Gregory Venables of the (then) Province of the Southern Cone in November 2007. Please pray for the members of Resurrection.
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
New Daily Office Lectionary and the Sunday Lectionary released
The ACNA Task Force on Liturgy – which includes ANiC’s Archdeacon Darrell Critch and Canon Dr J I Packer – has released new working texts. Archbishop Robert Duncan, chair of the ACNA Liturgy Task Force, reports that “The present plan is to produce all the working texts of a new prayer book by mid-2016, and then use the following 18-24 months to finalize the texts of a Book of Common Prayer 2019.” To learn more and to download the texts see the ACNA website.
The new working texts are:
• Collects of the Christian Year
• 3-Year Eucharistic Lectionary
• Daily Office Lectionary
• Midday Prayer and Compline
• Family Prayer
• The Holy Eucharist (Ancient Canon)
In an interview posted on the ACNA website, Archbishop Bob Duncan, chair of the ACNA Liturgy Task Force, explains to those of us not brought up in the Anglican tradition, “Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, in the first Book of Common Prayer, incorporated the daily lectionary in order that “the whole of the Bible or the greatest part thereof” might be read in common in every household and every parish church in the realm.” You can find working texts here.
Confessional Lutheran-ACNA ecumenical meetings draw churches closer
A promising report from the ACNA’s six-year dialogue with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Lutheran Church Canada (LCC), entitled “On Closer Acquaintance,” highlights significant doctrinal agreement, although more work is needed before altar and pulpit fellowship is possible. Patheos says “While liberal Lutherans and liberal Episcopalians have gone the way of mainline Protestantism in its anything-goes ecumenism, it is a different story with church bodies that still hold to their historical doctrines… [This report] is extremely interesting, especially in tracing the historical connections and parallels between Lutherans and Anglicans. The report also details the doctrinal agreements (some of which you might find surprising), as well as the disagreements.”
Lenten pastoral letter from Archbishop Beach
Archbishop Foley Beach writes our Province: “People all around us are suffering and in crisis. They are hurting and spiritually desolate, suffering from sickness, heartache, and broken relationships; some without employment and hope, living in fear and confusion. We have the ability to help them in Jesus Christ. This begins with our intentional prayers.” He encourages us, by June 30, to gather as congregations on the steps of our city halls and pray for our country, community, neighbourhoods and leaders. “…asking God to pour out His Spirit to lead them to know and honor Jesus Christ… I am asking that you take seriously the admonitions of our Lord and the Apostles in Scripture to pray together that “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”
PEARUSA network to dissolve and churches join other ACNA dioceses
Anglican Ink reports that “The Southeast Network of PEARUSA will fold its 20 congregations into existing Anglican Church in North American dioceses… [moving] fully and solely under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in North America [by] June, 2016.” Bishop David Bryan said he will submit to the authority of area diocesan bishops, serving as a suffragan or assisting bishop. “Bishop Bryan stated that he hoped the decision to subordinate the network’s ecclesiastical claims to jurisdiction to the wider needs of the ACNA would be something ‘we can model … to the wider church which is already struggling with the issue of overlapping jurisdictions and at the same time safeguard our own affinity and commitments developed over many years.’”
Diocese of South Carolina considers ACNA affiliation
The Diocese of South Carolina, which realigned out of the US Episcopal Church in 2012 and is currently under the ecclesial authority of the Global South Primates, is considering joining the ACNA. The diocese’s Affiliation Task Force recommended affiliation at the recent annual diocesan convention; however affiliation would require approval by two future conventions. The diocese is comprised of 53 churches.
ACNA church planting conference, August 25-27 in Denver
ACNA has rebranded its church planting focus as Always Forward – formerly known as Anglican 1000. The conference, Always Forward 2016, will be August 25-27 in Denver, Colorado. Registration will open soon and more information is posted here.
Former archdeacon facing criminal investigation
Anglican Ink reports, “The former archdeacon for the Northeast for CANA’s Diocese of the East is under investigation by Maine State Police for possession and distribution of child pornography…the Rt Rev Julian Dobbs accepted the resignation of the Ven Wayne Buchanan as rector of St Brendan’s Anglican Church in Bass Harbor and a subsequent review by the diocese led to Dr Buchanan’s removal from holy orders.”
ACNA member leaders US interdenominational immigration effort
You can read an interview with Gus Haddad, who is part of the Anglican Immigrant Initiative and who chairs the interdenominational Immigration Alliance, US-wide collaborative effort that equips churches to provide critical immigration legal services and cultivates “relationships among immigrants and churches in order that the Church might become an epicenter of multi-national welcome and community”.
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and Anglican Communion news
Anglican Communion Primates gathering – further reflections
In his Presidential Address to the Church of England General Synod, Archbishop Justin Welby seemed to downplay the significance of the actions of the Primates gathering. He seems to make the following points, however you can read his full report to get a sense of his thinking.
||Including ACNA’s Archbishop Foley Beach was necessary in order to get the GAFCon and Global South primates to attend. It was very gracious of Archbishop Fred Hiltz and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to attend even though they were very unhappy about it. But because of his attendance the meeting could not properly be considered a Primates Meeting.
||ACNA, while having an Anglican tradition and identity, is not technically part of the Anglican Communion which requires being in communion with the See of Canterbury and being included in the “schedule of Provinces” maintained by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and supported by two thirds of the Primates. “There is no clear process or precedent for a new Province to join, except as an agreed spin-off from a previous Province.”
||The decision of the Primates to impose “consequences” on the US Episcopal Church was because “they were in disagreement with the Communion on a significant issue… This decision binds the Primates as a group, but not any Province or other Instrument of Communion. It is a powerful and morally forceful guideline.”
||In the Anglican Communion “authority is found in discernment and expressed in relationship”. “Freedom, order and human flourishing” should guide us in this.
He concluded: “Yet there is a way forward that reveals the unity that we are given, and that celebrates the strength that we can bring each other; that enables us to love those who oppose us, and that focuses on human flourishing and on the setting free those who are bound by rules which Jesus could never have imagined, nor Paul (let’s put that old idiocy to rest), and which have emerged out of a desire for power rather than the expectation of the kingdom of God. There is, in short, a way forward in which we look like the people of Christ.”
In her fiery response, General Synod member Andrea Williams concluded, “Archbishop Justin failed to speak of truth or of objective revelation from God. It is as if truth has been relegated to a 'process of discernment' not a matter of scripture, canons and creed. This is a capitulation to the 'spirit of the age', not the Spirit of God who has spoken in Scripture.”
Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council also provides a strong critique in which he writes, “It is very discouraging that the Archbishop of Canterbury seems unwilling and unable to affirm the Holy Scriptures as the ultimate rule and standard of faith and practice… Should the Archbishop continue on the path he’s going down, it may be necessary to imagine an Anglicanism in spite of Canterbury.”
TEC Presiding Bishop’s responds to Primates sanctions
TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry declared, “We’re not changing – so there shouldn’t be an expectation that in the next three years the Episcopal Church is going to change. This is who we are.” He added, “My sense is that the overwhelming majority of the primates voted as a way of saying ‘we disagree with you, we can’t support your decision because we believe you have changed core doctrine…’ but they did not vote us off the island… and could have.”
TEC defies Primates; will participate in Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting
Despite the Primates sanctions on the US Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Presiding Bishop Michael Curry defiantly declared TEC will fully participate in the upcoming meeting of the ACC in Lusaka, Zambia. Their position is supported by the chairman of the ACC, Bishop James Tenhgatenga. Anglican Ink reports that he has publicly indicated that the primates’ action is little more than symbolic and has no power over the ACC. He added that TEC members will be attending the ACC meeting and will participate fully.
Bishop Bill Atwood provides an historical account of how we got to this point, gives glimpses of behind-the-scenes machinations, and sets the stage for this critical meeting which will determine the future of the Communion. He concludes, “We don’t yet know what will happen in Lusaka, but I can say that one way or another, it will cast the die for the future of the Anglican Communion.”
Global South Provinces will not participate in ACC meeting
Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya have all stated their members will not participate in the forthcoming ACC meeting. Archbishop Ntagali (Uganda) wrote “…we continue to be betrayed by our leaders. The Primates voted to bring discipline to TEC and, yet, we now see that the leadership of the Anglican Communion does not have the will to follow through. This is another deep betrayal… A spirit of defiance against Biblical faith and order has infected the structures and leadership of the Anglican Communion… As you know, the Church of Uganda’s Provincial Assembly has resolved that the Church of Uganda will not participate in meetings of the Anglican Communion until godly order is restored… This has not yet happened. The Church of Uganda, therefore, will not be participating in the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka.”
Similarly, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala (Kenya), citing TEC’s “defiance of the Primates’ moral and spiritual authority”, wrote, “There can be no true walking together with those who persistently refuse to walk in accordance with God's Word and the Anglican Church of Kenya will not therefore be participating in the forthcoming meeting of the ACC in Lusaka… it is increasingly clear that the GAFCON movement must continue to provide a focus for that godly unity so many of us desire.”
Bishop Bill Atwood comments on the nuances of the statement from the Church of Nigeria and concludes that, if TEC fully participates at the Lusaka ACC meeting, “…it will mean war in the Anglican Communion”.
The GAFCon Primates Council has asked prayer for its meeting in April in Santiago, Chile. They will have much of consequence to discuss.
International news in brief
Same-sex marriage – Following the Primates’ Meeting which sanctioned the US Episcopal Church for changing church doctrine to allow same-sex marriage, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) House of Bishops met to discuss the motion coming to its General Synod this summer which would similarly change two thousand years of church teaching. Following what must have been a difficult meeting, the bishops issued a statement saying that it was unlikely the motion would achieve the needed two-thirds majority in the Order of Bishops at General Synod. (See also the Anglican Journal article.) Shockwaves from this bombshell have been reverberating through the ACoC since.
A number of pro-same-sex-marriage bishops released statements expressing their frustration and disappointment. Comment on the deadlock in the House of Bishops, Bishop Michael Ingham (retired) complained on the Thinking Anglicans blog that because of Canada’s vast geography and the resulting large number of rural, numerically small dioceses, the prevailing sentiment of the House of Bishops does not necessarily reflect the views of the vast majority ACoC members who are largely urban and urbane.
Hiltz told the Anglican Journal that the bishops were deadlocked in a three-way split, with some pushing for the motion, some adamantly opposing it on theological grounds, and some worrying about the timing and repercussions for unity within the Anglican Communion. Bishop Michael Bird told a local Niagara Falls newspaper that “There are many bishops who don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage, but we were told that if we changed the definition of marriage it would negatively impact our relationships with other denominations and within of the Anglican Church itself.”
Archbishop Hiltz told the Journal that “A number of bishops in the Canadian church also have a “holy desire” to consider alternatives to a simple yes-no vote on same-sex marriages… Some have given considerable thought to other alternatives, and these are likely to be the main topic of conversation when the House of Bishops next meets in April…”
The recent meeting of the Council of General Synod heard that some bishops would consider leaving the ACoC if the motion passed. The same ACoC report goes on to note that “Bishop John Chapman, of the diocese of Ottawa, expressed frustration over what he said was an attempt on the part of some bishops to “blackmail” other bishops into choosing between the unity of the church and the dictates of their consciences.” It adds that the indigenous bishops expressed concern that “their voices were not being heard” and the debate was predicated on “Western cultural assumptions” foreign to them. Following its meeting, the Council of General Synod shot back a terse response to the House of Bishops critical of the Bishops for not offering possible alternative solutions. They asks the Bishops “…if a local option is the way forward, will the House be prepared to live with and honour the choices of individual dioceses?”
The Council of General Synod then wrote the Church at large, concluding, “We recommend the greatest pastoral response possible, allowing same-sex couples to be fully included in the life of our church with full and equal access to its liturgies and pastoral offices… In recognizing the complex theological and cultural differences in the Anglican Church, the Council has prepared a process for General Synod 2016 that will help us hear one another, maintain open hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit, and hold each other in the love of Christ.”
Canon Phil Ashey writes insightfully on the ACoC's House of Bishops' inability to "discern what the Spirit is saying" on proposed changes to the Church's marriage canon.
It is clearly not easy being Primate of a Church in such tension. Early in February, Archbishop Hiltz addressed a “queer Eucharist” at St John’s West Toronto to explain the outcome of the Primates meeting in January. (See more here and here.) More recently, in an Anglican Journal article titled, “Hiltz: Why can’t Anglicans care about issues other than sexuality?”, he laments the time devoted to this issue at the expense of other important issues and expressed “frustration that Anglicans have not exhibited the same degree of passion for human rights issues as they have for debates about same-sex marriage.”
ACoC bishops elected – The Anglican Journal reports that Bishop-elect Nigel Shaw will be the first bishop of the Anglican Military Ordinariate elected rather that appointed by the ACoC Primate. He is currently director of chaplaincy operations for the Canadian Army, Navy and Air Force.
The Journal also reports that “Linda Nicholls, who has served since 2008 as suffragan bishop of Toronto and area bishop of Trent-Durham, was elected coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Huron…As coadjutor bishop, she will automatically become bishop of Huron…when the current bishop, Robert Bennett, retires.”
Euthanasia and assisted suicide – The Liberal-dominated federal government’s Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying has released a radical report to Parliament that recommends almost unfettered access to assisted suicide. Some have called the report’s recommendations a “near worst case scenario”.
Read analyses of the report here and on Lorna Dueck’s blog.
Writing in the Globe and Mail, David Baker, a lawyer who represented national disability groups in the Supreme Court case which saw the existing laws struck down, states, “The court foresaw [Parliament] enacting a “complex regulatory regime” of “carefully designed and monitored safeguards.” Unfortunately, the federal report released yesterday recommends exactly the opposite, and proposes the world’s most open-ended regime with arguably the lowest safeguards.”
Andrew Coyne’s insightful critique here in which he notes that:
“Not only would doctors be permitted to kill their patients on request, they would be obliged to, or provide “effective referral” to others who will. And while the committee suggests that those seeking assistance in killing themselves should be required to get two doctors to certify they met the criteria, the criteria are so open-ended it is hard to see in what circumstances they could say no…
“Once you have normalized suicide, from a tragedy we should seek to prevent to a release from suffering we should seek to assist, it is logically incoherent — indeed, it is morally intolerable — to restrict its benefits to some, while condemning others to suffer interminably, merely on the grounds that they are incapable of giving consent. So it is that assisted suicide has gone, in the space of a year, from a crime, to something to be tolerated in exceptional circumstances, to a public service.”
The proposed coercion of medical professionals to participate in procuring assisted suicide, despite their conscientious objection, is deeply concerning and violates religious liberty. First Things has a good discussion of this.
The Roman Catholic Church is taking a stand. Cardinal Thomas Collins, archbishop of Toronto wrote a scathing condemnation of the report which was to have been read in all 225 parishes in the archdiocese in early March. Watch his eight-minute video here. And read his article in The Star.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada asks us to do four things: become informed, sign the declaration on euthanasia and assisted suicide (if you haven’t already), call or write our Members of Parliament, and participate in a March 31 webinar on the matter.
Please take the time to learn more on the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada website and here. Also watch a disturbing four-minute video that exposes the devastation wrought by 15 years of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Belgium.
The US Episcopal Church (TEC) was reprimanded by Archbishop Mouneer Anis and Bishop Grant LeMarquand of the Diocese of Egypt for claiming that TEC’s Good Friday offering went to all four dioceses in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Archbishop Anis clearly states that his diocese does not accept funds from TEC. “The decision not to receive money from TEC is one expression of the reality that the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa was (and still is) in an impaired relationship with The Episcopal Church. One of our clergy in Ethiopia states our situation in graphic terms: “We rather starve and not receive money from churches whose actions contradict the scriptures.”
Anglican Ink reports that the Grand Imam of the al-Azhar in Cairo, the highest Sunni religious leader and Islamic jurist in the Muslim world, denounced western liberal churches and governments for both accepting same-sex marriage and heavy-handily promoting the GLBT agenda in developing countries. He is reported to have said, “Unfortunately some Heads of Churches in the United States accept same-sex marriages. I wonder what is left of the Bible in those Churches. And what will they say in front of Jesus, peace be upon him."
After losing it church buildings, assets and even legal registration due to lawsuits brought by its former Province, the Anglican Diocese of Recife celebrated its legal “rebirth” on March 12 as it once again became a legal entity. The diocese encompasses 63 clergy and more than 40 congregations, including the largest Anglican church in Latin America and one of the largest in all the Americas.
All is not well in the Australian Anglican Church, as the liberal-leaning Bishop of Newcastle Greg Thompson, petulantly refused to attend a national meeting of bishops, accusing the Diocese of Sydney of divisiveness for adhering to historic Christian beliefs and demanding that bishops abide by their commitments. David Ould gives the details.
Meanwhile the Diocese of Sydney has extended Archbishop Glenn Davies term of office until 2020 – this overrides a requirement that he retire at age 68 in September 2016.
The Anglican Journal reports a New Zealand church commission is arguing that “Gay marriage does not entail a change in church doctrine” so is permissible under the Church’s constitution. “…the Way Forward Working Group (WFWG) recommended the church adopt liturgies for the blessing of same-sex marriage, and to reform the canons to allow those in same-sex marriages to be ordained to the ministry.”
In her foreword to a new book “The Servant Queen and the King She Serves”, Queen Elizabeth II discusses her Christian faith and its centrality in her life and reign. The book was published to mark Her Majesty’s 90th birthday and is intended to be used as an evangelistic tool. Learn more here.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed his current Director of Reconciliation, Canon David Porter, as Chief of Staff and Strategy.
A “damning report” has been released on the CoE’s failure to respond to evidence of sex abuse. The independent review was commissioned by the Church into the handling of sex abuse cases and “highlights the ‘deeply disturbing’ failure of those in senior positions to record or take action on the survivor’s disclosures over a period of almost four decades.” As a result, the Church is set to make “far-reaching changes to the way it deals with cases of sex abuse”.
The Church Times reports that the designated year of “shared conversations” on sexuality within the CoE has now come to an end. Surprisingly, the conversations, held across the CoE, involved only about 700 people.
A Roman Catholic retirement home in Aden Yemen opened by Mother Theresa was stormed by gunmen who handcuffed victims before shooting and killing 16 staff members, including four nuns.
After ransom demands were met, 43 Assyrian Christian hostages were released by the Islamic State militants in Syria. About 100 remained in captivity. Read how God is at work among the refugees throughout the Middle East bringing disillusioned Muslims to faith in Christ – and learn how you can pray for the church and these new believers.
In areas around Baghdad, radical militias, backed by Iran, are reported to be attacking Christian communities, seizing their property and cultural sites. At least 73 people were killed by the Islamic State in back-to-back bombings in a crowded marketplace. Another 100+ were badly wounded. After the initial blast, a suicide bomber took out those who had rushed to help the wounded.
The EU finally declared the slaughter of Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq to be genocide.
With Muslims coming to faith in Christ in unprecedented numbers, the underground church in Iran is estimated at one million. Christian converts risk prison, torture and even death. About 100 Christians remain imprisoned in Iran.
Three school girls kidnapped from an Anglican school have been rescued by police.
The Boko Haram is not the only threat to Christians in Nigeria. On the night of February 21, at least 500 people were reported to have been killed in a mainly Christian area in the central part of Nigeria. The attackers were well armed Muslim Fulani nomads who are successfully killing and driving out the predominantly Christian farmers so they can claim the land for their herds of grazing cattle – as well as assert the dominance of Islam. The atrocities perpetrated by these Muslims have been ongoing but have been largely overshadowed by the Boko Haram.
Archbishop Henri Isingoma has announced he is stepping down early as Primate due to health concerns and a desire to return to theological teaching.
Anglican Ink reports that “Church leaders in the Central African nation of Malawi report the country is on the brink of famine with most of Southern Africa in the grip of drought. “
Anglican Ink reports that House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa have released a statement saying, “Gay marriage would be a fundamental change to church doctrine and cannot be permitted.” However, the bishops “offered their assurance that all baptised Christians ‘regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ’.”
S E Asia
Archbishop Ng Moon Hing was installed as Primate of the Church of the Province of South East Asia on February 22.
Anglican Ink reports that “The Anglican Church of Melanesia has elected the Bishop of Temotu, the Rt Rev George Takeli to be its sixth primate and archbishop, overseeing Anglican churches in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia.”
Resources for ministry
Looking for an outreach to your neighbours? Power to Change is offering The Jesus Film DVD in multiple languages for just $150 for 100 DVDs. Check it out!
Resources for Christian Living
39 Articles – Canon Phil Ashey continues his series of short videos with Article 25 “Of the Sacrament”: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.
Bible drama summary – Dr Craig Bartholomew has co-written “The Storyline of the Bible” a short, six-act synopsis of Scripture.
Just for fun
If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old.
"It is misleading to say that God accepts us the way we are. Rather he accepts us despite the way we are." ~ Sinclair Ferguson
And now a Word from our Sponsor
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.”
John 13:12-14 ESV
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