|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
May 14 – March for Life 2015 in Ottawa and in most of the provincial capitals
May 20-22 – Simeon Trust workshop in Vancouver, BC at ANiC’s’ Good Shepherd
May 26-28 – AMMiC mini-conference in Richmond, BC
June 22-26 – ACNA Executive Cabinet, Council, College of Bishops meetings in Vancouver
June 24 - ACNA reception and worship service at Good Shepherd (Vancouver, BC)
Aug 30 – Sept 10 – Mission trip to Thailand, sponsored by AMMiC and Good Shepherd
Oct 16-17 – AMMiC-led conference in Vancouver, BC on Asian immigrant inter-generational issues
Oct 20 – Clergy Day in Vancouver at Good Shepherd
Oct 21-23 – ANiC synod and workshops in Vancouver at Good Shepherd
Praying for our bishops
May is a busy travel month for Bishop Charlie Masters. The first week of the month, he was in London for the Holy Trinity Brompton-sponsored Alpha Leadership Conference. Then he will be in Ottawa for the annual March for Life, leading an enthusiastic ANiC contingent. May 15 he flies to Sabah (Malaysia) for the installation of the new bishop of Sabah then to Singapore where he will participate in the diocesan synod. He returns just in time for the AMMiC mini-conference in Richmond, BC, led by Bishop Stephen Leung.
May 17, Bishop Trevor Walters will visit Lethbridge and our ministry partners in the Via Apostolica. He ends the month in Cuba with several ANiC church leaders. They are meeting with Cuban church partners. Learn more ANiC- Cuban church partnerships on the ANiC website.
Bishop Stephen is joining Dr Ka Lun Leung at two conferences: May 5-16 in Vancouver, and May 18-20 in Boston (co-sponsored by Emmanuel Anglican Church). May 26-28 he leads the mini-conference in Richmond for Asian and Multicultural Ministries Canada (AMMiC) leaders and clergy. And in between all that he has confirmation services at both Good Shepherd (Vancouver) and St Matthias & St Luke’s (Vancouver).
You can find our bishops’ key engagements on the ANiC website. Please pray for them.
Synod 2015 update
The Rev Dr Craig Bartholomew, a prolific author, professor at Redeemer University College, and scholar in residence at St George’s (Burlington, ON), has accepted Bishop Charlie’s invitation to be the keynote speaker at ANiC’s synod. The synod will be held at Good Shepherd (Vancouver), October 20-23. The meetings begin with Clergy Day on Tuesday, October 20. Wednesday, October 21 will be a day of workshops to equip laity and clergy. Then synod proper begins Wednesday night and continues through Friday, October 23. Mark your calendars now! More details will be available soon.
Messages of sadness and hope
Bishop Charlie Masters has written to Bishop Rennis (Singapore) and the Anglican Church in Nepal, a deanery of the Diocese of Singapore, expressing our love and prayerful concern following the catastrophic earthquake. Bishop Rennis' response included the following:
"I ask for your prayers especially for our village churches in the district of Dhading where the earthquake took out 10 of our churches... We just received news that one of our lay pastors in Dhading and 17 of his members were killed when the quake struck. One of the pastors who survived the ordeal painfully reported, "Nothing is standing"... Yes through the pain, we also trace the mercy of Christ... Despite the many reports of collapsed buildings in Kathmandu, the Lord protected our churches in the city. A Kathmandu pastor explained that they are still alive because they were worshiping together in their church, which stood firm that fateful morning."
Bishop Rennis goes on to report that the Diocese is deploying a crisis relief and medical team to the rural areas where the need is greatest. He asks us to pray for the relief workers, for the logistics of providing relief, for the Nepalese people, for "the Anglican Church in Nepal that they will shine for Christ", for improved weather as the monsoons have arrived in Nepal early adding to the misery. ARDFC is raising funds to help with this relief effort. See the ARDFC website.
Earlier, Bishop Charlie wrote Bishop Grant LeMarquand in Ethiopia expressing our sadness to learn of the martyrdom of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya at the hands of Islamic State terrorists. Bishop Grant wrote: "It is too early to learn the names of these newest martyrs...they are [now] among the unnumbered throng from every nation, tribe, people and language gathered before the throne and the Lamb (Rev 7:9)... it is a reality that more Christians have died martyrs’ deaths in the last hundred years than in all the previous centuries of Christian history combined... May God use his church to so act and speak of and from the love of Christ that many former or potential persecutors may be turned and have their names written in the book of life."
You will appreciate a short video response to the Islamic State from the “People of the Cross”.
ARDFC is accepting donations for Nepal relief
ARDFC is partnering with Anglicans in Nepal and the Diocese of Singapore to provide urgent relief to communities affected by a recent devastating earthquake. The Government of Canada has announced that it will match donations for Nepal relief. For information, see the ARDFC website.
ANiC’s ministry priorities
In support of Bishop Charlie’s five ministry priorities for ANiC, the Rev Garth Hunt has prepared prayers for us to use as we join together in praying that God will use these ministry priorities as transformational realities in our churches.
1552 Order of Holy Communion in Modern English 2.0
Thanks to the great response and excellent suggestions, the working group has updated the 1552 Order of Holy Communion in Modern English. Version 2.0 is now available on the ANiC website.
Marches for Life, May 14, in capital cities across Canada
Rallied by Anglicans for Life Canada, ANiC members are participating in increasing numbers in Marches for Life. In addition to the events surrounding the Ottawa march – which begin on the day before – ANiC members are joining the Edmonton and Victoria marches. If you can, do join one of these events. See more information here. You also can find information on marches in other provincial capital here.
Biblical Hebrew course offered by Ryle College in Ottawa this summer
Ryle College will be offering an "Introduction to Biblical Hebrew" course – intended for beginners – from July 15 to August 13. The course can be taken for credit or audited. The affordable audit option is great for clergy or lay people. For course information see the college website.
Holy Trinity co-hosts Holy Spirit Conference in Marlborough, MA, May 29-30
ANiC’s Holy Trinity (Marlborough, MA) is joining forces with a local Pentecostal church to put on an ecumenical conference which will focus on the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit in both the traditional and contemporary Christian Church – and through the lenses of both the Anglican and Pentecostal traditions. “The Anglican and Pentecostal traditions are not mutually exclusive, but are often complimentary,” says Archdeacon Michael McKinnon. “There is much that Christians of all denominations can learn from these two traditions, and there is much we can learn from one another as we grow in the Truth of the Gospel.”
A schedule and registration are available online. For more information, email Father McKinnon.
To Japan with love
The Rev Shihoko Warren, priest at Church of All Nations-Japanese (Vancouver, BC), was invited by local churches in Japan to preach, report on her ministry in Canada, and officiate at both a baptism and a wedding. During the two weeks in Japan, she and her husband Ken were able to visit Fukushima. Shihoko+ reports that “It was indeed a shocking and meaningful trip. It gave us deeper understanding about the groaning of the creation, our human greed and sin, Christ’s redemption, calling for the children of God, and hope with perseverance.”
St John’s Vancouver needs a part-time children’s ministry coordinator who will be responsible for administration, communication and weekly material preparation as well as teaching Sunday School and leading a mid-week Children’s Ministry program. A full job description is on the church website. Application deadline is May 31.
Other available positions include a rector for Christ The King (Toronto, ON) and a part-time youth pastor for St Matthias and St Luke’s (Vancouver, BC). Check out the ANiC website for information.
Israel tour – November 5-20
There are still a few spots left on CMJ Canada’s Israel tour in November. This Shoresh-led study tour is titled “Patriarchs, Prophets, High Priest and Coming King”, and promises to be a “trip of a life time”. Shoresh study tours, a ministry of Christ Church Jerusalem, offer insight into Scripture as the original readers and hearers would have understood it. See the CMJ Canada website.
Ontario events of interest
Men & Abortion: Reclaiming Fatherhood & Finding Peace – June 11-13 at the Crowne Plaza in Niagara Falls, ON. For information and registration see the website.
Ontario Prayer Breakfast – June 3, 7:15am at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto. The keynote speaker is Dr Kent Brantly, a missionary doctor with Samaritans Purse, who gained a high media profile when he contracted Ebola while caring for afflicted patients in Liberia – and survived by the grace of God. See the website for information and reservations.
An Apologetics Canada conference is scheduled for Toronto, at Peoples Church on Saturday, June 20. This conference is offered as a partnership of Apologetics Canada and the University of Toronto’s Network of Christian Scholars. Check out the conference website for full details. These conferences are excellent – very worth your time.
Parish and regional news
Immanuel (Vancouver, BC) – Easter Sunday baptism photos are on the church’s Facebook page.
St Luke’s (Pembroke, ON) reports that about 35 people are signed up for the Wednesday night Alpha course, including youth.
Christ Church (Kelowna, BC) – Bishop Trevor reports that Christ Church Kelowna – which was planted by Redeemer (Kelowna) and launched on March 1 – saw 60 people attend Easter Sunday service. The mother church, Redeemer, which is still technically a church plant itself, had 75 people in service that day – more than attended before Christ Church was planting with a number of Redeemer’s members. God is at work in Kelowna!
Celebration Church (Barrie, ON) – Photos from the ordination of the Rev Dr Buzz Onayemi are posted on the ANiC website
New Song (Port Perry, ON) has a spiffy new website.
Christ’s Church Oceanside (Nanoose Bay, BC) – Founding rector the Rev Guy Bellerby resigned as rector and has been appointed evangelist and teacher emeritus. He is currently on medical leave, but plans to return as part of ANiC’s Sojourners ministry. The Rev Douglas Patstone is now rector of Christ’s Church.
All Nations Japanese (Vancouver, BC) is kicking off its New Eden gardening ministry for the third year and volunteer gardeners are welcome. New Eden gardeners meet every other Saturday, from 10am to 3pm at the farm in Surrey. In a Regent College interview, the Rev Shihoko Warren said:
“Following our joyful lunch, we have a short worship service. This is our time to garden our souls! We are so happy to see that people who have never heard about Christ Jesus and the word of God can be a part of this worship time together. We also follow the Bible teaching that we must share the best of our crops with the needy in our community such as the homeless shelters and hospices. We are so thankful that many people have shown a strong interest and have come out for this garden ministry. God has called people from all nations to join this garden ministry; Chinese, Singaporean, indo-Canadian, South African, Mexican, Caribbean, Middle-Eastern and Canadian. We continue to pray that God will develop this ministry for His Kingdom’s growth.
St Paul Anglican Bible Church (Stoney Creek, ON) has now closed as its lay leaders John and Zandra Pennylegion have moved to St Catharines. The Pennylegions report that “We were privileged to be part of God’s plan for Stoney Creek for the past 5+ years, but we believe the work our Lord had for us there has been completed. The ministry of St Paul’s impacted more than 100 people that we are aware of, and we know that God’s work in Stoney Creek continues.”
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
ACNA leaders meet with the (independent) Diocese of South Carolina
Archbishop Foley Beach and ACNA leaders met with Bishop Mark Lawrence and leaders of the independent Diocese of South Carolina at the end of April. The conversations, which were characterized as frank and candid, focused on the possibility of the Diocese of South Carolina joining the ACNA at some point.
The ACNA statement says, “Our conversations began exploring the practical dimensions of how a diocese and province relate in the structure of the Anglican Church in North America. Together we openly addressed the challenges posed by the overlapping jurisdictions in South Carolina. In some cases the reasons for this overlap extend from circumstances that are less than a couple decades old, and in other circumstances the reasons reach back over a hundred years. All expressed a desire to take steps towards addressing these relational barriers with the recognition that this work is a necessary precursor to ecclesial order… We understand that this is only the beginning of a process...”
A spokesman for the diocese told the Christian Post, “Our conversations were wide ranging and provided much needed clarity for all of us. Those are conversations that will certainly continue in the future."
Primate joins religious leaders in advocating for traditional marriage
Our Primate was a cosignatory, together with a number of other faith community leaders, of an open letter advocating for the traditional definition of marriage and protection of religious freedom. The letter says in part, “…The state has a compelling interest in maintaining marriage as it has been understood across faiths and cultures for millennia because it has a compelling interest in the well-being of children… The redefinition of legal marriage to include any other type of relationship has serious consequences, especially for religious freedom… Government should protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation, marginalization or unwarranted charges that their values imply hostility, animosity, or hatred of others… We call for the preservation of the unique meaning of marriage in the law, and for renewed respect for religious freedom and for the conscience rights of all in accord with the common good.”
Conversation on Race and Mission
In response to growing number of incidents of racially motivated violence and unrest, Archbishop Foley Beach called together ACNA leaders “…to discuss issues of race, systemic injustice, and our mission to reach all of North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. We recognize that this must include a deeper level of engagement with and among our African American communities.” A meeting, hosted by one of ACNA’s predominantly African-American dioceses, the Diocese of the Southeast (REC), took place in North Charleston, South Carolina just as the riots in Baltimore began to unfold.
The ACNA statement notes:
“There are no easy answers to the issues that plague our communities, but the spirit of unity that was in our midst this week testifies to the hope that we have through the cross of Christ, which reconciles us to God and one another… Multiethnic ministry continues to expand within our Church. This emphasis includes Bishop Leung of Vancouver whose pioneering work in Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC) has now spread to the United States. Caminemos Juntos is a vibrant network of members committed to the growth of Hispanic congregations in North America. This week we have taken the first steps in addressing as a Province, the need for the intentional inclusion and growth of the African American community in our midst.
“To this end we:
1. Ask each congregation to pray and work for racial reconciliation in their community,
2. Intend to develop a Provincial team to lead our multiethnic ministries and we encourage the development of regional networks to support those who are called to multiethnic church planting, evangelism, and discipleship,
3. Invite dioceses and parishes to consider how they might actively develop more effective multiethnic leadership pipelines,
4. Invite dioceses and parishes to make a financial commitment to supporting multiethnic leadership.”
If you don’t need the credit, you can still register for Trinity School for Ministry’s (TSM) intensive, one-week June Term courses. (It’s too late to register for credit, however.) In addition to the many courses TSM is offering:
• Worship leaders conference, Integrating Modern Worship with Traditional Liturgy – June 1-3
• Ancient Evangelical Future Conference 2015, For the Life of the World – June 4-5
• Following Jesus: Renewal for Ministry – June 8-12
• Discerning a Call to Ministry – June 8-12
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and Anglican Communion news
Report on the GAFCon Primates meeting in London
The Primates of GAFCon met in London April 13-17. Key points from their communiqué included:
||The next GAFCon gathering will be in 2018 – a date and location to be determined.
||GAFCon is not just a part of the Anglican Communion, but at the heart of the Communion. In fact an analysis by Bishop Bill Atwood demonstrates that GAFCon members form the overwhelming majority in the Anglican Communion. (See below)
||GAFCon is actively organizing to meeting the growing needs. “We also recognise an increasing need to be able to respond both to calls for affiliation from other provinces, and requests for support from emerging fellowships where the biblical gospel is under threat. In order to carry this forward we have put in place the necessary operating structures, people, and financial resources. We invite all of our supporters to be involved in this work.”
||ACNA’s Primate, Archbishop Foley Beach was elected to the GAFCON Primates Council.
||The Church of England now is the main region of concern in the Anglican Communion. “We are particularly concerned about the Church of England and the drift of many from the Biblical faith…. We continue to encourage and support the efforts of those working to restore the Church of England’s commitment to Biblical truth. Equally, we authenticate and support the work of those Anglicans who are boldly spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and whose circumstances require operating outside the old, institutional structures.”
||Theological education and training of leaders/bishops are priorities.
The communique concludes: “There is much room for variety within the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy, but when the Gospel is at stake there can never be a middle way. As followers of Jesus we know that it is the narrow way that leads to life.”
Bishop Bill Atwood provides a fascinating calculation of just how dominant GAFCon is in the global Anglican Communion. He estimates that GAFCon members account for 86% of active Anglicans worldwide. When other orthodox Global South Provinces are added to this number, orthodox Anglicans account for up to 95% of active Anglicans today.
Anglican Communion news briefs
Writing in the Crux, the Rev Dwight Longenecker, a former US Episcopal priest turned Roman Catholic priest, suggests that Anglican-Roman Catholic (ARCIC) dialogue would be more productive if the Roman Catholics met with representatives of GAFCon rather than Anglicans from the Church of England and the US Episcopal Church. He writes, “The interesting connection here is that African Anglicans and Catholics are unhappy with the mainstream Anglicans in the UK and the USA for the same reasons. If ARCIC is to have any relevance, then the discussions must shift their focus from New York and Canterbury to Nigeria and Kenya. The present ARCIC discussions are old, stale, and stalemated”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is advocating for Africans risking a Mediterranean crossing by urging European countries to take in the migrants. Many hundreds of these migrants meet their deaths each year at the hands of unscrupulous, money-hungry smugglers who crowd them into small, unseaworthy vessels to make the voyage.
International news in brief
Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that municipal councilors are no longer allowed to begin meetings with prayer.
LifeSiteNews reports that thousands of students missed class on May 4 to protest the province’s explicit sex education program which many consider to be age-inappropriate and radical. The “parents and students strike” continued for a full week. Polling indicates that opposition to the sex education program is growing. Campaign Life Coalition provides a detailed analysis of the program.
The former archdeacon of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Diocese of Brandon has been re-arrested following a forensic audit. Noah Njegovan, aged 32, was first charged in 2013, but those charges were withdrawn pending the completion of the audit. The diocese has also filed a $350,000 civil lawsuit to recover funds. Bishop James Njegovan, father of the accused, recently announced his retirement.
The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) 2016 general synod will take place in Richmond Hill, ON at the Sheraton Parkway North the week of July 7-13. Invited guests include Archbishop Suheil Dawani (Jerusalem) and Bishop Griselda Delgado (Cuba).
ACoC Council of General Synod is wrestling with how to implement self-determining indigenous ministries within the ACoC – including the possibility of creating a fifth ecclesiastical province.
ACoC Council of General Synod will convene a special session, September 22-23, to receive the report from the commission on the marriage canon. The Anglican Journal states that “The report will include a consideration of the Solemn Declaration of 1893 (which established the Anglican Church of Canada), a consideration of the biblical and theological rationale for same-sex marriage, the wording of an amendment to the marriage canon to permit same-sex marriage, including a conscience clause.”
The Province of BC has pledged to contribute $1 million to repair and construction work on the ACoC’s Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver.
South Carolina – The State Supreme Court will to hear the appeal filed by the US Episcopal Church and its recently created diocese in South Carolina in late September. They are appealing a lower court decision which essentially found that the independent Diocese of South Carolina under Bishop Mark Lawrence is the true Diocese of South Carolina and entitled to the assets of the rightful diocese.
Alan Haley has discovered that the US Episcopal Church (TEC) receives nearly $14-million, about a third of this budget, from the US government for providing services relocating refugees. More surprising still, TEC “acts as the collection agent” for travel loans made to refugees by the government – and retains 25 per cent of the monies it collects. Haley asks, “What in the world is a church doing in the debt collection business, and pocketing more than twice its actual costs of collection while doing so?”
With the nine year term for the current presiding bishop coming to a close, nominees have been announced for her successor: Bishops Thomas Breidenthal (Southern Ohio), Michael Curry (North Carolina), Ian Douglas (Connecticut) and Dabney Smith, Southwest Florida). Analysis of these candidates – all theologically liberal – is provided by VirtueOnline and Anglican Unscripted.
A low-profile bishop, who joined the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) in 2009, has rejoined the US Episcopal Church. Bishop David Bane was never active in the ACNA and left on good terms. Anglican Unscripted commentators provide the background story, explaining that Bishop Bane was coerced into retiring from TEC, joined ACNA because he wanted to remain in Anglican ministry, and is rejoining TEC, they speculate, because the current presiding bishop’s term is soon coming to an end.
With the definition of marriage currently before the US Supreme Court, the question of whether religious freedom can survive legalized same-sex marriage is front and centre. ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach joined other religious leaders in signing a statement defending the historic understanding of marriage as well as the right to freedom of religion. Bishop David Anderson writes about disappearing religious freedom due to the onslaught of the sexual revolution.
Breakpoint tells about the side of the Baltimore riots that the secular media ignored, including the acts of kindness, courage and peacemaking.
Bishop Gary Lillibridge (Diocese of West Texas) has caved on same-sex blessings after years of staunchly promising his diocese it would never happen on his watch. The Anglican Unscripted commentators discuss this turn-around and how destructive it is to the Communion Partner Bishops in TEC, a group in which Bishop Lillibridge was once active, who are determined to stay faithful to Scripture while remaining in TEC. More information is on the Episcopal Café.
Similarly, the Bishop of Western Louisiana announced to his diocese that he also was doing an about-face and now would allow the blessing of “long standing relationships between persons of the same gender”. His rationale was: “We are a majority conservative diocese. However, we are able to make a very gracious space for a theological minority in our midst.”
TEC’s Bishop Heather Cook now has been defrocked (stripped of her ordination) four months after her manslaughter, hit-and-run and drunk-driving charges.
GAFCon in England – While in England for the GAFCon Primates meeting and then the Alpha Conference, ACNA’s Archbishop Foley Beach spoke in a number of churches and meet with clergy and others. One Church of England priest reflects on what he heard from Archbishop Beach and concludes that what is happening in the ACNA is “centripetal”, while events in the Church of England are “centrifugal”. He explains on Anglican Mainstream.
Canon Gavin Ashenden, a CoE priest and a Chaplain to the Queen, explains why he is eager for the GAFCon Primates to act and establish alternative oversight for orthodox Anglicans in the UK. He writes, “In the last 40 years, what has happened… is that the Church of England turned its back on the Spirit and the Scriptures and gave herself to the new secularism.”
Unity, Shared Conversations and “good disagreement” - Speaking at the Alpha Leadership Conference, Nicky Gumbel appealed for Anglicans, and Christians in general, to put their differences aside, saying the answer to a “crisis of faith” is a unity which is “not doctrinal but relational”. He also said that loyalty to our leaders where or not we agree with them is essential for unity and that whatever Archbishop Welby does he would back him.
Speaking at the same conference, Archbishop Welby also focused on unity. According to the Anglican Communion News Service he said, “We cripple our witness when we are not united. And we release a power of witness in the world… through our unity that is impossible to exaggerate.”
A woman who describes herself as “gay and evangelical” complains on her blog about the Shared Conversation process in which she recently participated, specifically the bias for “liberal” participants, the lack of time devoted to studying Bible teaching, and the predetermined conclusion of “good disagreement”, Archbishop Welby’s catch phrase.
Writing in the Church Times, Ruth Gledhill reports that some “conservative” CoE bishops seem to have gone wobbling, saying that the Bible’s teaching on sexual immorality is culturally determined and not a first order issue.
Bishop Richard Jackson (Lewes), who is a member of the Church of England Evangelical Council, recently spoke with the Chichester diocesan Evangelical Fellowship in the lead up to Share Conversations. From Andrew Symes’ summary, it is clear that Bishop Jackson holds that a change in church teaching regarding same-sex unions is a second order issue.
Bishop Jackson advocates Archbishop Justin Welby’s position of maintaining unity with “good disagreement”. Symes notes “He does not appear to say anywhere that he will fight to maintain the current teaching, but rather suggests that change is inevitable, and that arguing over this issue divides rather than unites, and is a bad witness to the world.”
Headship bishop appointed – Prebendary Rod Thomas, vicar of Elburton and chairman of Reform, a conservative Evangelical group within the Church of England, has been appointed as Bishop of Maidstone, which is part of the Diocese of Canterbury. This appointment fulfills a commitment made when general synod voted to accept women in the episcopacy. This appointment ensures there will be a member of the College of Bishops to advocate for those who hold a conservative position on headship.
The news release from Lambeth states that the Bishop of Maidstone’s duties will include: “fostering vocations from those taking a conservative evangelical position on headship; undertaking episcopal ministry (with the agreement of the relevant diocesan bishop) in dioceses in both Provinces where PCCs have passed the requisite resolution under the House of Bishops' declaration; and being available to act (again by invitation) as an assistant bishop in a number of dioceses.” The Telegraph says this appointment was designed to “help avert a split or an exodus of traditionalists”.
Bishop for church plants – Anglican Ink reports that a bishop for church plants will soon be appointed. The Bishop of Islington, within the Diocese of London, will be specifically responsible for church planting. The Diocese of London has seen active church planting by congregations such as Holy Trinity Brompton and St Helen’s Bishopsgate.
Charging ahead – Anglican Ink reports that the “Bishop of Salisbury has initiated a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure against the Hon Assistant Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev John Ellison for… violating the ecclesiastical boundaries of his diocese.” Bishop Ellison, who is battling cancer, had participated in a service of thanksgiving in an Anglican Mission in England church. In their recent communique following their meeting in England, the GAFCon primates called these charges, “unjust and uncharitable”.
Environment – As part of its new climate change policy, the Church of England is reportedly committed to selling investments in companies which derive more than 10 per cent of revenue from extracting thermal coal or from tar sands.
Moore College is set to begin offering PhD degrees.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a report April 30 calling for a strong global response to the atrocities committed by the Islamic State, including charges against individuals who committed those atrocities by the International Criminal Court. The report said, “Standing for the persecuted against the forces of violent religious extremism is not just a moral imperative; it is a practical necessity for any country seeking to protect its security and that of its citizens.”
TheAnglican Archdeacon in the Gulf, the Ven Bill Schwartz, reports the Christ Church Aden and its medical clinic are locked and under armed guard due to the chaos of the civil war in Yemen.
The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Egypt to offer his condolences following the beheadings of Egyptian Christians by Islamic State affiliated terrorists in Libya. Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis reports that Archbishop Welby visited with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, as well as with the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyib. “He thanked the President for his care and support for the Christian minority. At this point, the President emphasized that Egyptian Christians are not a minority but members of one Egyptian family. “They have full rights as Egyptian citizens,” the President said.” During Archbishop Welby’s visit to Egypt, the Islamic State released video of its execution of 28 Ethiopian Christians.
The Christian Daily reports that there is growing persecution against Coptic Christians in Egypt despite the president’s promise of peace and religious tolerance.
International Christian Concern reports that more than 1000 children have been kidnapped and forcibly conscripted by Boko Haram in the past nine months. Often the first thing they force the children to do is to kill their own parents so the children have no family to flee to. “This may be the most tragic fact about the fight raging in northeast Nigeria: It is a war waged by children against children. Minors make up nearly a quarter of Boko Haram’s soldiers.” Additionally, the UN reports that around 800,000 children have been forced to flee their homes due to the threat of violence and abduction. A generation of children is being devastated by this unspeakable horror.
The New York Times reports that, in recent months, the Nigerian military – together with forces from neighbouring nations – is advancing against Boko Haram strongholds and has freed hundreds of hostages. However, none of the Chibok girls have been found yet. Boko Haram is far from finished though with fresh recent reports of more massacres. Amnesty International reports that more than 2000 women and girls have been kidnapped by Boko Haram since early 2014. A little-known but decisive reason the tide is turning against the Boko Haram, is that, in January, Nigeria contracted a South African-based company of mercenaries. (Read more in The Telegraph.)
LifeSiteNews reports that there is blood on the US’s hands since, “…rather than help Nigeria fight this threat, the Obama administration has denied military aid and intelligence, and enacted economic and political sanctions against Nigeria. According to military, political and religious leaders in Nigeria -- corroborated by a US congressman and the actions of the Obama administration itself -- America’s inaction stems from opposition to Nigeria’s 2014 “Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.””
Police are warning of possible future attacks by al-Shabaab on churches and educational institutions.This follows the attack April 2 on a university in Garissa near the Somali border which left 149, mostly Christians, dead.
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala is urging the government to oppose the legal registration of homosexual lobby groups.
The Barnabas Fund reports that churches are being threatened with closure by the government it they publicly oppose the introduction of Islamic courts across the country. “With the referendum on the constitution coming up, and a general election scheduled for October this year, tensions between Christians and Muslims are high. Already, pastors opposing the bill have been jailed, harassed, and told they must vacate their church buildings.”
Twenty church leaders from South Sudan and Ethiopia met recently in Addis Ababa to consider the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. They committed to undertake a new, less polarized, less politically charged peace process “to address the mistrust of the parties and to bring them together to discuss the needs of the people and the future of the nation...” They report that in many parts of South Sudan “…there is virtual anarchy, with no effective government. The culture of revenge reigns supreme, and the longer the war continues, the more deeply this culture will be ingrained. There is insecurity and fear; people panic at the smallest alarm. Tribalism is on the increase. Fighting and forced recruitment continue.”
On April 19, the Islamic State release another video showing the brutal executions of 30 Ethiopians and Eritrean Christians in Libya. The men were hoping to travel to Europe to find work and a life of more opportunity. International Christian Concern reports that the average income in Ethiopia remains less than $2 per day.
Youths affiliated with the ruling political party stormed the Anglican cathedral in Harare unsuccessfully demanding the church turn over some adjoining land.
Reuters reports that more than 14,000 people were injured in the earthquake that devastated Nepal and more than 6000 were killed – although the toll continues to rise. In addition, thousands are still missing – including as many as 1000 European tourists. “The UN said 8 million of Nepal's 28 million people were affected, with at least 2 million needing tents, water, food and medicines over the next three months.” About 600,000 houses are thought to have been destroyed. While aid is reaching the country, transportation within Nepal is a problem. Donations are being accepted through the ARDFC.
The Rev Lewis Lew, Anglican Dean of Nepal, reported that he knew of 78 Anglicans who had been killed in the quake and many church buildings which had been destroyed, especially in rural areas. International Christian Concern reports that, while there is no accurate count of churches destroyed and Christians killed, Christians comprised a disproportionate number of the dead as Nepalese Evangelicals tend to hold their worship services on Saturday mornings and the quake took place around noon. It is estimated that Christians comprise between one and three per cent of Nepal’s 28-million population.
A Diocese of Pittsburgh missionary in Nepal reported that the initial quake was followed by a number of severe after-shocks some registering almost as powerful as the first.
Interestingly, Israel was among the first to send a disaster relief team to Nepal – and its team is among the largest, operating a field hospital and coordinating operations with Nepalese forces. Bloomberg View reports that Israel Defense Forces have an expertise in disaster relief and have historically had teams on site soon after disasters have hit.
Sydney Morning Herald reports that the eight men recently executed in Indonesia on drug charges had come to Christ during their years in prison and were singing praising to God as they stood before the firing squad.
The US Commission for International Religious Freedom, in its 2015 report, lists 17 countries as the worst violators of religious freedom and recommends these countries be listed by the State Department as “countries of particular concern” with the potential imposition of sanctions.
Anglican Mainstream reports that Baroness Caroline Cox, honourary chair of ARDF, is among those pleading for safe havens for religious minorities in the Middle East. They are asking the US and EU to fast-track asylum applications for these refugees who face deadly persecution.
Infant baptism and same-sex couples
The Anglican Communion Institute has posted a short paper providing guidance on church doctrine and requests for infant baptism when the child’s parents are not living according to church teaching. This is in response to the recent outcry in the US Episcopal Church (TEC) when the baptism of the infant of a same-sex couple was postponed by the cathedral in the Diocese of Central Florida – one of the few in TEC considered orthodox.
What to do when you’re overwhelmed
Relevant magazine has a concise and very helpful article with six things you can do when you are overwhelmed, burnt-out and anxious.
The current edition of Credo magazine focuses on the attributes of God that embarrass many 21st century church-goers – His wrath, judgement and jealousy. The editors write, “…our desire is that by the end of this issue you will see just how important these attributes are to the story of redemption and for knowing God in a saving way.” The full magazine is free online.
The 39 Articles – Article 19
Canon Phil Ashey has a series of 3-minutes videos on each of the articles. Covering Article 19 required five video segments: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.
Just for laughs
Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking space. Looking up to heaven, he said, "Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking space, I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish whiskey!"
Miraculously, a parking space suddenly appeared.
Paddy looked up quickly again and said, "Never mind. I found one."
You fall the way you lean.
And now a Word from our Sponsor
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:27-31 ESV
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