|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
April 30, 7pm – CMJ Canada speaker Kevin Crombie at Good Shepherd Vancouver
May 1 – Sanctity of Life Sunday (Canada)
May 2-5 – Western clergy retreat, Malibu retreat centre, BC – with Dr Jon Vickery speaking
May 12 – March for Life (Canada) 2016
May 29, 4pm – The Rev Ray Smith ordained a priest, St George’s (Burlington, ON)
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
Sept 30 - Oct 1 – AMMiC’s Two Generations Leadership Conference, Good Shepherd Vancouver
Oct 25-28 – Synod 2016, Church of the Good Shepherd, Vancouver, BC
Eastertide pastoral letter
In his Easter pastoral letter, Bishop Charlie Masters wrote, “...in our day there is a growing climate and culture where death is portrayed as an ally or even a friend… Death, if on our own terms, is associated with dignity, and increasingly perceived as a right and an answer to difficult situations. But make no mistake; God does not consider death to be a friend… Death is the enemy…Thank God Jesus came, and in dying and rising again, defeated death so that we too might have Life… God loves Life. Read it all on the ANiC website.
Seeing red; striving for black
ANiC’s treasurer Ed Lewis projects that the diocese will finish its fiscal year, ending June 30th, with a $100,000 deficit unless parishes and individuals generously respond. He reports that giving from individuals is down from last year, while expenses associated with providing appropriate episcopal care for ANiC’s far-flung congregations remain unchanged. Would you prayerfully consider helping? For information on donating to the diocese, please see our website.
God’s Word Written conference
Bishop Charlie has written ANiC clergy and church leaders encouraging them – and all ANiC members – to attend our God’s Word Written conference which is slated for Vancouver, June 14-16. This 2-in-1 – apologetics and teaching – conference is focused on the “The Truthfulness, Dependability and Power of the Bible” and is “designed to grow in us a deep confidence in the Bible and a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about itself as God's word written”. "As a great way to begin thinking about this topic and prepare for our conference, Christian Audio is offering a free audio download (until April 30) of Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung."
AMMiC plans 4th Two Generations Leadership Conference
Bishop Stephen Leung and the Asian and Multicultural Ministries leadership are planning the fourth in a series of well-received annual conferences addressing the thorny conflict between first and second generation immigrants – an issue common to across ethnicities. This year’s conference, ““Honouring Your Parents: God’s Word, Cultural Heritage, and Christian Community”, will be held Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1 at Good Shepherd Vancouver. See the AMMiC website for more information.
Wishing Her Majesty a Happy 90th Birthday, April 21
Bishop Charlie has written on our behalf to congratulate Queen Elizabeth II on her 90th birthday.
On May 29, 4pm Bishop Charlie will ordain the Rev Ray Smith to the priesthood at St George’s (Burlington, ON).
Torah teachings from Israel
Jess Cantelon+, on location in Israel, has completed nine of 10 short videos with insightful teaching from Jewish Scriptures. If you haven’t been following along, you need to catch up! These are wonderfully encouraging, engaging and informative. You can access them all here.
Bishop Stephen & team present ANiC’s ministry to immigrants at conference
A team from AMMiC – Bishop Stephen & Nona Leung, the Rev Shihoko Warren (Church of All Nations) and Alvin Ng – presented several aspects of AMMiC’s ministry to immigrants at the recent New Wineskins for Global Mission Conference in North Carolina. Shihoko+ shared the story of Church of All Nations (Japanese) in Vancouver and how its New Eden garden ministry provides opportunities to share the Gospel of God’s new creation in Jesus Christ. AMMiC also presented a workshop entitled “Ministry and Church-Planting Among Immigrants” which provided more detail of the New Eden ministry and also looked at how Good Shepherd Vancouver’s women’s support group ministry adapted to meet needs as the demographics of Chinese immigrants changed. Videos from New Wineskins are posted here.
Grants available for ANiC parish ministries
Our Province, the Anglican Church in North America, is offering matching grants to churches and non-profits affiliated with the ACNA and engaged in ministries “that meets real human needs of the poor and needy while sharing the Gospel of God’s grace”. More information is available on the ACNA website.
New job opportunity in Victoria
Open Gate Church (Langford / Victoria BC) is seeking a half-time Minister to Young Families. The church is focusing on ministry to young families, so is hiring a half-time staff position to support and disciple young families in the congregation and reach out to families in the neighbourhood. For more information, email Open Gate Church.
Sanctity of Life Sunday, May 1
The first Sunday of May – May 1 this year – is Sanctity of Life Sunday in Canada, a day marked for celebrating 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 all human life and at every stage – including those who are elderly, disabled or ill. Connect with Anglicans for Life Canada, use the bulletin insert created for the day, and checkout training and resource materials. Contact Vicky Hedelius+ for information.
Join fellow Anglicans in the Canadian March for Life, May 12
Anglican participation in the March for Life is growing year by year, led by Anglicans for Life Canada. Won’t you join us this year on Thursday, May 12? Wearing florescent green, we stand out in the crowd!
The largest march will be in Ottawa again, but there are simultaneous marches in most provincial capitals. You can watch the official event promotional video.
To participate in the Ottawa event, connect with the Rev Vicky Hedelius of Anglicans for Life Canada by email or by calling 905-220-0292.
The ANiC contingent in the Victoria march is being organized by the Rev Richard and Jenny Roberts. Please connect by email if you are able to join them. Bishop Trevor Walters will be among the marchers in Victoria this year.
In Edmonton, ANiC marchers will be led by Dr Nancy Craig. Email Dr Craig for information.
Anglicans for Life Canada needs our help
Anglicans for Life Canada is pursuing official charitable status and needs to raise $3600 to proceed with the application. If you can help, cheques can be sent to Anglicans for Life Canada, Suite 146, 2186 Mountain Grove Ave, Burlington, ON L7P 4X4. Thanks.
Canon Paul Donison elected to be rector of Christ’s Church Plano, TX
Canon Paul Donison has accepted the call to become the rector of Christ Church Plano, Texas, a large ACNA parish. A post on the St Peter and St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON) website, where Paul+ currently ministers, notes that immigration is expected to take several months. Paul+ has been ANiC’s Canon for Diocesan Events. His leadership in organizing ANiC’s synods will be missed.
Great starting point for your Biblically Grounded journey: Bible-in-a-Day training
Has your congregation benefitted from the Bible-in-a-Day training? If not, please check it out and contact the Rev Sean Love. Sean+ just completed a weekend training session at Church of the Resurrection (Brandon, MB) and has adapted the course so it can be used over 10 weeks with ESL groups, beginning with the ESL class at St John’s (Richmond, BC).
The Gospel Coalition – Canada
Canon George Sinclair, rector of Messiah (Ottawa, ON) and ANiC’s priority leader for “Biblically Grounded”, together with other Canadian pastors are working to form a Canadian counterpart to The Gospel Coalition (TGC) which is based in the US. A meeting of these pastors was held in Ottawa recently, hosted by Church of the Messiah. George+ reports, “As a result of this meeting, we agreed to begin GCC. We also agreed to have a national conference in Ottawa in 2018. We agreed to develop a “made in Canada” web presence, just as TGC has done so effectively in the US. I also agreed to serve on the inaugural council for GCC… Please pray for the formation of the GCC. Please pray for reformation, revival and renewal in churches in Canada.”
Parish and regional news
Christ the King (Edmonton, AB) began an 8 week adult education series in early April using the Anglicans for Life “Project Life" video series. With the current state of uncertainty regarding the law for physician assisted suicide, we need to pray and learn about all we can about the sanctity of life!
St John’s Vancouver, BC is bringing two ministry partners from Malawi – Beatrice Kawinga and Enelesi Jailosi – to Vancouver for a visit from April 21 to May 3 (pending visas). Both are busy clergy wives, mothers, and leaders in the Mother’s Union. The Mother’s Union gives assistance to and empowers women in all aspects of life. This exchange visit is designed to further St John’s partnership with the Anglican Diocese of the Upper Shire in Malawi.
Good Shepherd Vancouver – Highly regarded author and speaker Dr Marva Dawn will be at Good Shepherd Vancouver on April 24. She will present a seminar at 9am about illness and suffering, and then preach at the 11am combined bilingual worship service. All are welcome.
St Matthias and St Luke (Vancouver, BC) held a well-attended fund-raising concert on April 2 which brought in about $7000 for the church’s relocation fund. DVDs of the concert, with the church’s choir, praise team and guest performers, can be preordered – suggested donation of $10 + postage – by emailing the church. A “trailer” for the DVD can be viewed on YouTube. All proceeds go to the SMSL Building Fund for relocation. Photos are posted on Facebook.
Living Hope (Scarborough, ON) sadly held its last service on April 17. Bishop Charlie led the small congregation in a service of Holy Communion and thanksgiving to God for all He had done in and through the church in its 5+ years. Please pray for the members in this time of sorrow.
Sojourn Church (Vancouver, BC) is jointly hosting New Wine International Ministries for a follow-up to last fall’s renewal conference. The conference will be held May 13-14 at the church, with a Leaders’ Day for pastors and leaders on May 12. See the church website for more information.
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
Two ACNA dioceses merge
Anglican Ink reports that “The Reformed Episcopal Church’s Diocese of the West has been merged into the… Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS) under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. William H Ilgenfritz. On 5-6 April 2016 the Diocese of the West’s synod met… and voted to dissolve and move into the MDAS as the “Convocation of the West”. The bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. Winfield Mott, will serve as vicar-general of the convocation until his retirement later this year.”
Meanwhile, five West Coast ACNA dioceses are “forging unity and cooperation through a common ordination process”. These are the Dioceses of San Joaquin, the Southwest, Cascadia, C4SO (Churches for the Sake of Others) , and Western Anglicans. The ACNA report states that, “After ACNA West beta-tests its process on the West Coast, they plan to invite other dioceses in the province to consider joining the process.”
ACNA Diocese of San Joaquin loses legal challenge; files for a rehearing
An appellate court has upheld a lower court decision which ruled that the properties of the Diocese of San Joaquin and its 28 churches belonged to the US Episcopal Church. Bishop Eric Menees is requesting prayer for the diocese. Alan Haley, who serves on the ACNA diocese’s legal team, provides his analysis of the decision and announces that they have filed for a rehearing.
Who is Archbishop Foley Beach
ANiC’s St George’s (Burlington) prepared a list of 10 things to know about our Primate.
Prayer requested for ongoing talks with the Anglican Mission
ACNA leaders recently met again with leaders of the Anglican Mission. Prayer is requested for this process of reconciliation leading to future shared ministry. Also, ACNA clergy are specifically requested to seek reconciliation and model Christ-like love at the local level as well. Canon Phil Ashey provides more detail here.
Forward in Faith (Anglo-Catholic) assembly set for July in Illinois
The 28th annual assembly of the Forward in Faith North America will be held July 20-22 at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois (near St Louis). Speakers – Bishop Fitzsimons Allison, Allice Linsley and Canon Arnold Klukas – will focus on the incarnation of Jesus.
ACNA Leadership Summit trains bishops
Learn more about a recent, week-long training session for ACNA bishops organized by the American Anglican Council.
US Republican party candidate is an ACNA parishioner
Politico discusses John Kasich, his views and his faith. Kasich is reported to attend Saint Augustine’s Anglican Church in Westerville, Ohio.
Trinity School for Ministry – June term
TSM is inviting registration in its June term courses. Graduate level courses are available for full seminary credit or can be taken for personal development and refreshment as a non-credit option.
Church planters’ boot camp, June 6-9 in Virginia
Titus Institute for Church Planting is offering a boot camp for those currently involved in or considering church planting. Full information is on the ACNA website.
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans & Anglican Communion news
Canterbury and ACC have failed, state GAFCon Primates
In their communique, released today, the six GAFCon Primates – Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, the ACNA, Rwanda and Tanzania – focused on positive actions they are taking to strengthen the work of the Gospel in the Anglican Communion. In an addendum, however, they expanded on their assessment that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council had further damaged trust and relationships in the Communion, by undermining the mild sanctions imposed on the US Episcopal Church by the Primates in January.
Communique highlights included:
||The meeting was attended by representatives of four additional Provinces – Congo, Myanmar, South America, and South Sudan & Sudan.
||With the retirement of chair Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria) was elected chair and Archbishop Stanley Ntagali (Uganda) vice-chair.
||Three staff members have been appointed – James Stileman (operations), Canon Charles Raven (membership) and Tina de Souza (communications).
||Prayer is requested for the work of GAFCon and the Primates.
They conclude: “Nonetheless, we give thanks that these events have brought further clarity, and drawn GAFCON closer together in the mission of the Gospel. We are of one mind that the future of the Anglican Communion does not lay with manipulations, compromises, legal loopholes, or the presentation of half-truths; the future of our Communion lies in humble obedience to the truth of the Word of God written. What others have failed to do, GAFCON is doing: enabling global fellowship and godly order, united by biblical faithfulness. This unity has provided us with great energy to continue to work for the renewal of the Anglican Communion.”
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans expands to New Zealand
The Anglican Church League reports that “Nearly 500 Anglicans from around New Zealand, including the Vicars of many larger churches, have met together this week at two conferences in Auckland and Christchurch to launch the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans NZ (FCANZ).” The Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans has chapters around the world and is a local expression of the GAFCon movement. ANiC’s Canon David Short was among the speakers.
Did Anglican Consultative Council meeting honour Primates’ decision?
The just-concluded meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) – said to be one of the four “instruments of unity” in the Anglican Communion – failed to support the decision reached by the vast majority of Anglican Communion Primates at their meeting in January. The Anglican Journal reports that the ACC passed resolutions “…on climate change, gender justice, safe church environments, youth involvement in the communion, solidarity with persecuted people, and interfaith and ecumenical relations, among other issues” – but declined to support the Primates call to sanction the US Episcopal Church (TEC) for straying from Christian doctrine. TEC’s news service provides an account of the oblique manner in which the matter was presented to ACC members and the predicable lack of response. Archbishop Welby’s address to the ACC meeting is posted here.
Despite a direct appeal by the Archbishop of Canterbury, several Primates and Provinces publically announced prior to the ACC meeting that they would boycott, including: Archbishop Wabukala (Kenya), a decision which was defied; Archbishop Mouneer Anis (Middle East); Archbishop Okoh (Nigeria); and Archbishop Stanley Ntagali (Uganda); and the Anglican Church of Rwanda. Archbishop Anis’ decision was considered particularly noteworthy as he has not yet joined the GAFCon movement. Canon Phil Ashey, comments.
The meeting elected the Primate of Hong Kong, Archbishop Paul Kwong as the ACC’s new chair. The Anglican Communion News Service reports that the new vice-chair is a lay canon from the Church of England, Margaret Swinson, while the five newly elected members of the Standing Committee are Bishop Jane Alexander from the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Edmonton, Mr Alistair Dinnie, a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Mr Jeroham Melendez, Diocese of Costa Rica, Dean Nigel Pope of the Church of North India, and Bishop Joel Waweru is Bishop of Nairobi in the Anglican Church of Kenya. It is worth noting that Bishop Waweru attended the meeting in defiance of his Primate, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala. He was also recently at the centre of charges of forgery. (See more on this story below under International News – Kenya.)
The Anglican Unscripted video commentators engage in a fascinating discussion of the leadership of the Anglican Consultative Council. They note that the newly elected chair Archbishop Kwong is seen even within his own church as a collaborator with the government of China, publicly denying that there is persecution of Christians in mainland China. They also provide the backstory to Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Archbishop Justin Welby’s appointment as Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, a man who has already thoroughly insulted five Primates.
Following the meeting, the US Episcopal Church contingent of ACC delegates reported: “Because this ACC meeting was held in the shadow of the January Primates Gathering and Meeting that sought to restrict our participation as members from The Episcopal Church, we want to assure you that we participated fully in this meeting and that we were warmly welcomed and included by other ACC members. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby did report to the ACC on the Primates Gathering and Meeting [see here] on the first day of the meeting. Beyond that report, ACC members seemed to have little energy for answering the primates’ call for consequences, for discussing disagreements over human sexuality, or for taking up the call of Anglican Communion Secretary-General Josiah Idowu-Fearon to pursue the Anglican Covenant. Yesterday, in fact, a resolution that sought to pursue further consequences against The Episcopal Church was withdrawn just before it was scheduled for debate see here] on the first day of the meeting. Beyond that report, ACC members seemed to have little energy for answering the primates’ call for consequences, for discussing disagreements over human sexuality, or for taking up the call of Anglican Communion Secretary-General Josiah Idowu-Fearon to pursue the Anglican Covenant. Yesterday, in fact, a resolution that sought to pursue further consequences against The Episcopal Church was withdrawn just before it was scheduled for debate.”
However a long statement issued by the Anglican Communion News Service claims that the ACC meeting – and the Archbishop of Canterbury – fully honoured the Primates’ decision because no TEC delegates stood for or were elected to office.
Primates’ authority defended
Prior to the ACC meeting, various parties weighed in on the how much authority, if any, the Primates’ decision – made in Canterbury in January to sanction TEC – carried. In response to public statements from TEC leaders and the chair of the ACC prior to the ACC meeting, Archbishop Mouneer Anis provided a careful historical overview of the roles of the instruments of communion, particularly the Primates Meeting. He concludes that, “…while the ACC may have primary oversight for budgetary matters in interprovincial affairs, executive leadership in spiritual matters between the provinces continues to be vested in the Primates' Meeting, under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, so that they may fulfil their responsibility as the chief pastors of the Communion to guard its unity in the faith…. Therefore, good order requires ACC-16 to implement the disciplinary measure decided by the 2016 Primates' Meeting… Failure to carry out the decision of the January Primates' Meeting will bring back the distrust which was there before the last meeting, the source of our impaired communion.” He also sent a similar message in a letter to all his fellow Primates.
Canon Phil Ashey also weighed in with “The Primates’ Authority Does Not Depend on Canterbury”.
Archbishop Justin Welby’s parentage in the news
Unfortunately, Archbishop Justin Welby’s parentage has become a matter of media interest as it came to light that his biological father was not the man to whom his mother was married at the time of his birth. This is the Archbishop’s statement and his mother’s statement and a short video interview with Archbishop Welby on how he found out and the impact on him personally. Anglican Unscripted commentators Kevin Kallsen and George Conger discuss this revelation and how Archbishop Welby’s handling of the matter has caused unnecessary embarrassment to his mother.
International news in brief
Assisted suicide legislation – The federal government has introduced legislation – Bill C-14 – allowing assisted suicide. While this legislation does not include all of the radical measures recommended by a parliamentary committee, critics say it fails to protect vulnerable Canadians and does not protect the conscience rights of healthcare professionals. In fact, Life Site News reports that it offers “a perfect cover for acts of murder” according to Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
Now is the time to be heard! The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) offers resources for us to learn more and to communicate our concerns to our MPs. Now is the critical time to weigh in before the legislation is passed into law.
Karen Stiller, a member of New Song, Port Perry, ON, writing on the Faith Today blog, says “Today, I rushed home from work and called my Member of Parliament. It wasn’t nearly as difficult or stressful as I feared… we [talk] about what ordinary Canadians can do to stop the runaway train that appears, at times, to be assisted death in Canada. Contact your MP. That is the most immediate and effective thing we can do right now, was the simple answer.”
The Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience is also pleading our support, saying “Those who cannot support assisted suicide or euthanasia because of their conscience, faith and commitment to the Hippocratic Oath could be forced to compromise their convictions. They shouldn't have to.” To better understand their concerns, you can read their news release and sign their petition and send your MP a letter from their website.
Recently the EFC wrote parliamentarians urging them to “carefully consider the inherent risks of decriminalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia, and to specifically include conscience protection for medical practitioners and institutions in Bill C-14… The decriminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide constitutes a fundamental shift in how we as a society value and understand life and the duty of care we owe one another. Never before have we as a nation said that intentional killing is an appropriate response to suffering, or that we should take the life of the one who suffers rather than finding ways to alleviate their suffering.”
Similarly, representatives from a number of faith communities held a news conference in Ottawa to express their opposition to the legislation and called on the government to instead provide palliative care, support services for the disabled and those with psychiatric illness. Their media release stated: “We stand together today, leaders within our respective faith communities – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – to express our grave concern over the decriminalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. We believe that any action intended to end human life is morally and ethically wrong.” The principal concerns relate to the protection of vulnerable persons, conscience protection for health-care workers and health-care facilities, as well as the lack of availability of quality palliative care for all Canadians… we are determined to work to alleviate human suffering in every form but never by intentionally eliminating those who suffer.”
You can also read an article in the Huffington Post by Dr Will Johnston (St John’s Vancouver parishioner) from 2012 entitled, “How the public was duped into supporting assisted Suicide”.
A former euthanasia regulator in the Netherlands warns countries considering assisted suicide and euthanasia “Don’t go there”. Based on his experience, he chronicles the progression from rare to virtually unrestricted, from last resort to a right. He also notes the dramatic shift in the cultural values once society legalizes assisted death.
Margaret Somerville, in her usual insightful manner, explores the hypocrisy behind the attack on conscious rights and freedom of religion – particularly in regard to assisted suicide. She notes, “…it must be kept in mind that respect for physicians’ freedom of conscience is not only necessary to respect them, it is also required to protect patients and can be the last such protection against doing them serious harm or other serious wrongdoing.”
Freedoms of religion and expression – Trinity Western University (TWU) is in the midst of court proceedings in Nova Scotia (April 6-8), BC (June 1-3) and Ontario (June 6-8) fighting for the right to have an accredited law school. Law societies in these provinces have refused to accredit TWU law graduates because of the school’s traditional Christian stand on marriage and morality. Please pray for TWU and their legal counsel, for the Canadian legal profession, for our nation and for God to be glorified. For background, see the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada website.
A growing association of businesses is standing up to a coalition of banks and corporations that are actively and publically opposing TWU’s law school based on the school’s Christian standards – and looking for other businesses to join them. Learn more from Life Site News.
Freedom of speech took another blow when the BC Court of Appeals ruled that a university has the right to ban pro-life demonstrations on campus. The implication is that, in BC, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect free speech on campuses.
Abortion – 280. That is the number of babies who estimated to die by abortion each and every day in Canada before they are allowed to take their first breath. You can share this message on your social media networks.
Concern about sex-selection abortions is making media ripples with the publishing of an academic study that showed a skewed ratio of baby boys to girls in one Canadian ethnic group and a call by the researchers for a ban on the practice of sex-selection abortions. This was followed by a CBC report which featured a University of Calgary professor who states that, if abortion based on sex is wrong, so it abortion based on ability. He calls attention to the fact that 90 per cent of Down ’s syndrome babies are terminated before birth.
Pornography – A motion is before parliament to study the negative effect on public health caused by access to violent pornography. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has released a sample letter Canadians can send to their MPs about it.
Office of Religious Freedom – Sadly, the federal liberal government has closed Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom.
Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) – Archbishop Fred Hiltz expressed to the Anglican Journal his concern that liturgical mayhem will ensue if same-sex marriage is not approved at the upcoming general synod. He said, “If it’s not approved… there could be some ‘civil disobedience’ on the part of clergy and parishes, and the bishops are going to have to handle that, because all of us that are ordained make a solemn promise to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Anglican Church of Canada.”
The Anglican Journal reports that the ACoC General Synod will consider a resolution put forward by the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee that recommends the Anglican Church of Canada enter into bilateral dialogue with the Mennonite Church Canada (MCC). [Note: There are a number of different Mennonite denominations.]
The Diocese of Toronto will elect two new suffragan bishops on September 17 due to the announced retirements of Bishop Philip Poole and Bishop Patrick Yu and the departure of Bishop Linda Nicholls who was elected coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Huron. Electing only two bishops facilitates a proposed downsizing of diocesan episcopal areas from four to three.
The Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church has dismissed two senior employees and ended Bishop Stacy Sauls term as Chief Operating Officer. The reasons are shrouded in secrecy.
The Communion Partners, bishops and clergy within the US Episcopal Church (TEC) who adhere to historic Christian doctrine and practice, wrote an open letter to TEC’s three Anglican Communion Council delegates urging them to honour the decision reached by Communion Primates at their meeting in Canterbury in January. Interestingly, among the signatories to the letter are three Anglican Church of Canada bishops: Bishops Stephen Andrews (Algoma), Fraser Lawton (Athabasca) and David Parsons (Arctic).
More than 500 people have been killed by earthquakes that devastated parts of Ecuador this past week. Reuters reports that the first quake – with a magnitude of 7.8 – also left more than 100 people missing and more than 4600 injured. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed, roads torn up and 23,500 left homeless.
Bishop Steven Croft, currently bishop of Sheffield, will be the new Bishop of Oxford effective sometime this fall.
Accusations of child sexual abuse leveled at Bishop George Bell, who is long deceased, have been called into question. A group of lawyers, academics and clergy has released a detailed report which, on multiple points, challenges the credibility and competence of the CoE’s inquiry into charges against Bishop Bell. Anglican Ink reports, “The group’s concern is that the valuable reputation of a great man…has been carelessly destroyed on the basis of slender evidence, sloppily investigated. The group also feels that the Church’s whole approach to such cases needs to be more transparent, and more in tune with the principles of justice. The guilty must indeed be punished. But the innocent must be protected, whether they are living or dead, and whether they are ordinary citizens or eminent in the eyes of the world.”
Christian Today reports that Norway's Lutheran Church has voted in favour of same-sex unions.
Finally, the US Secretary of State John Kerry has agreed that the Islamic State’s action against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria constitute genocide. Faith McDonnell of The Institute on Religion and Democracy states that “Designation of a group as one targeted for genocide has significant policy implications for American refugee policy, because such victims would be given a rebuttable presumption that they have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their religious or ethnic identities.”
Four Christians working on Bible translation with Wycliffe Associates were killed in an undisclosed Middle East country in late March. Militants trashed their office and equipment but miraculously the computer hard drives containing translation work for eight language projects were not destroyed.
A priest working in Kurdistan among the refugees provides an insightful firsthand account of the situation and suggests ways we can make a real lasting difference for these suffering people. He is looking for Christians with entrepreneurial skills and business expertise to come help. Learn more!
An article in The Public Discourse looks at the plight of the thousands of increasingly desperate Iraqi refugees in Jordan who are running out of money but prevented from working to earn a living.
In the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, the government has expropriated six church buildings, one 1700 years old. According to World Watch Monitor, these belonged to Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant congregations.
Amnesty International is reporting the Turkey is forcing thousands of refugees to return to Syria in breach of international law. A BBC report states the “The group says its research in southern Turkey suggested that authorities had been rounding up and expelling groups of about 100 Syrian men, women and children almost daily since the middle of January.”
All Africa reports that western intelligence knew the whereabouts of many of the kidnapped “Chibok girls” shortly after they were captured on 14 April 2014 but no action was taken as a rescue attempt was thought to be too risky.
The Globe and Mail reports that the kidnapping of the 200 Chibok girls was not the worst of Boko Haram’s abductions. In November of 2014, the militants are reported to have taken about 400 women and children – 300 of them elementary school students – from the remote Nigerian town of Damasak as they retreated from advancing government forces. When the town was liberated from the Boko Haram, a further 470 bodies were found in shallow graves and on the streets. The article adds, “While it is Chibok that continues to mesmerize the global spotlight, Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 girls and women since the beginning of 2014, turning them into cooks, fighters and sex slaves, according to an Amnesty International report last year. More recently, there have been fears that some of the abducted girls were forced to become suicide bombers.”
The Nigerian army is said to be making progress against the Boko Haram, capturing purported commanders of the militant groups, freeing some hostages and killing fighters.
In late March three church leaders were kidnapped at gunpoint in central Nigeria when armed men stormed a church prayer camp as work was underway preparing for an Easter retreat. While one pastor was later found dead, exorbitant ransom demands were made for the safe return of the other two. These were later released, but their denomination spokesperson refused comment on whether a ransom was paid.
With Archbishop Eliud Wabukala retiring in June, six bishops are in the running to be the next Primate, among them the Bishop of Nairobi, the Rt Rev Joel Waweru. Bishop Waweru became the centre of controversy recently when a letter under Archbishop Wabukala’s (electronic) signature was posted on the Church of Kenya’s official website which reversed Archbishop Eliud Wabukala’s earlier declaration that Kenya would boycott last week’s Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka. As it turned out the letter was not authorized. Bishop Waweru, who led the Kenyan delegates to the ACC meeting in defiance of their Primate, is believed to have been behind the forgery.
Anglican Ink has posted the forged letter and Archbishop Wabukala’s statement which quickly replaced the forged letter on the website and which implied that the rebellion by the Kenyan delegates was encouraged by the officials at the ACC. He adds, “It seems that the rejection of the moral and spiritual authority of the Primates by the ACC Chairman, without public rebuke from the Archbishop of Canterbury, has become infectious and is encouraging further breakdown of godly order in the Communion.” Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, responded with his own statement saying, among other things, that “unsubstantiated public allegations of forgery against the members of the Kenyan delegation are scurrilous and untrue and are made in a manner against all biblical principles of appropriate behaviour”.
You can learn more about events leading up to the forged letter here and here. Unfortunately, this action seems to be in character for Bishop Waweru who has a history of defying his Primate and participating in international boondoggles sponsored by liberal western churches.
In his report to the New Wineskins for Global Mission conference earlier this month, Bishop Grant LeMarquand, noted that “The Anglican Church in the Horn of Africa, which is a part of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa, has grown from two congregations to 90 in recent years. Most are in the western Gambella region of Ethiopia, where people groups from Sudan have sought refuge. Gambella has an employment rate of only 11 percent… Of the 17 clergy in the Gambella area, only one has been to a residential seminary, leading to the establishment of an Anglican Center and Theological College.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that tribal conflict in the Gambella area where Bishop Grant and Dr Wendy LeMarquand work, has taken a deadly turn. In mid-April, “…members of South Sudan’s Murle tribe, launched [an] attack on the rival Nuer tribe in Ethiopia’s western region of Gambella on Friday, killing 140 people and abducting dozens, including children…” This resulted in Ethiopian troops launching a counterattack on the responsible South Sudanese tribal militiamen. As result of the ongoing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan, “Ethiopia’s Gambella region hosts about 280,000 South Sudanese refugees, most of them from the Nuer tribe, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The Murle and Nuer tribes have a long history of antagonism and have raided each other’s territory for generations over cattle, grazing lands and water rights.”
Archbishop Justin Welby met with Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe while in neighbouring Zambia for the Anglican Consultative Council meeting. The Anglican Communion News Service states that the discussion included an exchange of views of same-sex marriage.
An Islamic militant suicide bomber killed 72 people – many of them children – in a busy park in Lahore. More than 300 others were injured. The Religion News Service confirms the Islamists were targeting Christians celebrating Easter Sunday, however the victims included Muslims. Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, President Bishop Samuel Azariah requests prayer.
Anglican Ink reports that “… an urban redevelopment plan for Lahore will demolish 27 religious and cultural heritage sites including the city’s Anglican cathedral… The neo-Gothic Cathedral Church of the Resurrection, constructed of pink sandstone to a design by John Oldrid Scott in 1887...”
A Christian Examiner article profiles an Anglican priest who lost 27 family members in the 2013 bombing of All Saints Anglican Church in Peshwar. He and his wife have been working since to help the injured and extend forgiveness to the terrorists.
International Christian Concern profiles a Christian teenager who was abducted by a group of Muslim men last summer, repeatedly raped, forced to convert to Islam, and then forced into prostitution by her Muslim “husband”. While she escaped, she is reported to be among about 700 Christian women and girls victimized like this every year in Pakistan.
In his address to the 1000 gathered for the New Wineskins conference in North Carolina in early April, Bishop Rennis Ponniah (Singapore) reported that the Hindu nation of Nepal has seen unexpected growth in Anglicanism as a result of missionary activity among mostly unreached people. On a recent trip to Nepal, Ponniah reported he confirmed 700 people at two different services. The Nepalese Anglican church, with its 77 congregations, grew from 9000 to 12,000 members last year. This is part of the bigger picture which has seen the Christian population in Nepal grow from zero in 1950 to more than 800,000 today. However, as a result of last year’s earthquakes, there are great needs in the country - including 30 destroyed Anglican churches buildings which must be rebuilt.
Christianity Today reports that “In a landmark ruling last week, a Malaysian court upheld the rights of a Christian to convert from Islam.”
Archbishop George Takeli has been enthroned as Primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia.
Resources for ministry
The Institute for Expository Preaching: Toronto offers a three-day training session, August 11-13, with Dr Steven Lawson. Entitled "Preaching with Precision & Power", it is designed to “equip and energize a new generation of biblical expositors”. Early bird rates are available until July 7.
Resources for Christian Living
For the month of April Christian Audio is offering a free audiobook, Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung. It is short – 3 ½ hours – and comes highly recommended by Canon George Sinclair, ANiC’s Biblically Grounded Priority leader.
Just for fun
Show me a home where the buffalo roam, and I'll show you a very messy house.
"Depth in the Word produces height in worship, length in ministry, and breadth in outreach." ~ Steven Lawson
And now a Word from our Sponsor
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11 (ESV)
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