|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
June 14-15 – God's Word Written, ANiC apologetics conference, Vancouver, BC
June 16 – God's Word Written, ANiC preaching conference, Vancouver, BC
June16-17 – ANiC Council meets in Vancouver
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
June: 26-30 (2017) – ACNA Provincial Assembly, Wheaton, IL
A peek behind the Synod-planning curtain…
The synod planning team is still hard at work but we now know some details of ANiC’s ninth annual synod, which will be held October 25-28 at Good Shepherd Church Vancouver again this year. It is shaping up to be another stellar event so block off your calendars and save your loonies!
The theme of synod is drawn from Colossians 4:2-4: Praying for an open door for the Gospel.
It will be graced by our Primate, Archbishop Foley Beach – who is to be the keynote speaker for clergy day (October 25) and will also address synod. Our synod keynote speaker is Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who will lead us through the book of Colossians. Our traditional workshop day prior to synod (October 26) will feature Canons Phil Ashey & Stephen Saul leading us through a timely series of workshops on church revitalization.
The conference hotel is, once again, the Holiday Inn on Broadway.
Update on ANiC’s 5 ministry priorities
On Mission - Recently Mr Claus Lenk stepped down as chair of our diocesan committee working on this priority. Bishop Charlie writes, “We are very grateful for all Claus’ work getting this committee established and setting direction on this vital ministry priority over these past two years, as well as for his passion for Christ’s Mission in the world. We also are very grateful that the Rev Barclay Mayo, who is already a member of the committee, has accepted my invitation to assume leadership of this priority.”
Planting & Growing Churches – In his update to ANiC, the Rev Alastair Sterne, chair of this priority, announced that, in addition to our church planting partnership with C2C Network, ANiC is now actively partnering with Always Forward, our Province’s church planting effort. Alastair+ notes that “The Always Forward team is committed to help plant Gospel-Centered, Sacramental, and Missional Churches.” In his letter, Alastair provides directions for anyone interested in becoming involved in Church planting but also gives specific prayer requests for all of us. Similarly, Canon Garth Hunt, in the June 1st Friday prayer meditation, focuses on Jesus’ command to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers” (Matthew 9:38 ESV).
ANiC members march for life
ANiC members participated in Marches for Life in five capitals across Canada – including, for the first time, in Winnipeg and Halifax – on May 12. In Victoria, the 17-person Anglican contingent was led by the Rev Richard Roberts and the Rev William Klock (from our sister diocese the Reformed Episcopal Church); in Edmonton, Dr Nancy Craig provided leadership; in Winnipeg Archdeacon Paul Crossland trail-blazed participation by Anglicans for Life; in Ottawa, Bishop Charlie and the Rev Vicky Hedelius, National Director of Anglicans for Life Canada, led the Anglican contingent; and in Halifax, Cathy Ashton organized the Anglican presence.
Bishop Trevor Walters offered the opening prayer and Will Johnston MD, parishioner at St John’s Vancouver, was a featured speaker at the Victoria march this year. In Ottawa, Canon Jack Lumanog and Bishop Charlie joined other Church leaders, Members of Parliament and others on the steps of Parliament for the program. See also an ACNA report. Photos are post on the Anglicans for Life Facebook page.
Taking a stand against euthanasia and assisted suicide – Ottawa, June 1
Are you able to join other Anglicans in Ottawa on June 1 for a mass rally organized by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Physicians for Life Canada? If you can join the Rev Vicky Hedelius, national director of Anglicans for Life Canada, and other Anglicans in Ottawa standing together as witnesses to the sanctity of human life, please email Vicky+. If you can’t attend please pray and fast for this event and for our country as we stand on the threshold of passing this dangerous legislation.
Israel videos signed, sealed and delivered
The Rev Jess Cantelon has completed the final of 10 engaging short videos from Israel which offer wonderful insight into difficult sections of the Torah. If you haven’t yet seen these, please do now!
Time is running out to register for our God’s Word Written conference in Vancouver
God's Word Written, June 14-16, is a two-in-one conference 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 at Westside Church. Register now!
ARDFC appeal for Fort McMurray evacuees
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC) responded to the urgent needs of evacuees from Fort McMurray, chased from their homes by wildfires by opening an appeal for funds. In order to take advantage of the government’s program to match donations during the month of May, ARDFC partnered with the Red Cross. Since the appeal was launched on May 5, about $8000 has been donated. Thank you!
Also, ARDFC is within $8000 (US) of completing our current development project in Burundi, where we are partnering with the Diocese of Muyinga to train and equip subsistence farmers so they can become economically self-sustaining. New photos and a May 2016 report from Burundi will soon be posted on the ARDFC website.
Bishop Trevor engaged in ACNA ministries
Bishop Trevor reports that he taught Mediation and Burnout at the ACNA’s New Bishops School in Asheville, South Carolina in March. And then conducted the third mediation between The Mission and ANIC in April. Currently, he is in Cuba encouraging Anglican churches planted by our sister diocese the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC). ANiC churches are helping to support a number of these fledgling congregations.
ANiC job openings
Check out the job openings in ANiC including the following new posting. Do you know someone who should apply?
Church of the Good Shepherd (Richmond, BC) is looking for a Cantonese-speaking evangelist. Thisfull-time position is responsible for building a strong focus on evangelism, reaching out to non-church families in the community, and providing training, teaching and nurture to parish leaders and the Chinese congregation at large. The successful applicant will also need knowledge of Mandarin and English. Applications must be received by June 30. For more information, see here.
Prayer event in Southern Ontario, June 7
Bishop Charlie Masters and the Canon Garth Hunt are inviting everyone in the southern Ontario area to join them for a special Prayer Event on Tuesday, June 7 (10am to 4pm) at a Coptic Retreat Centre located outside of Orangeville (See the retreat centre website for address and direction.) This event is open to everyone and the $15 cost includes lunch. Please pre-register with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Southern Ontario ANiC clergy have been meeting for focused prayer for revival for some time. However Bishop Charlie has decided to invite everyone to join the clergy at the June prayer meeting.. For background and inspiration please review Canon Hunt’s two mediations on revival – Part 1 and Part 2.
Archbishop Peter Jensen speaks in Burlington
Archbishop Peter Jensen, former leaders of the Diocese of Sydney and current General Secretary of GAFCon, visited ANiC recently The Anglican Samizdat has posted his address and photos here. Archbishop Jensen also gave an interview to Virtue Online in which he discussed the recent Anglican Communion meetings – of both Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council – as well as the GAFCon movement.
Reflections on the southern Ontario clergy silent retreat
17 clergy from southern Ontario gathered near Orangeville last month to enjoy a silent retreat conducted by Bishop Charlie. The Rev Barbara reports, “We had five sessions of Bible study in 2 Timothy and a full schedule of Holy Communion, Morning, Mid-Day, Evening Prayer and Compline, led by various clergy. There was plenty of free time to spend in reflection and rest, and to walk around the expansive grounds. Bishop Charlie was also available for private consultation. Our meals were well served by the Valley staff, and were accompanied by readings from a book chosen to complement the Bible studies. Some of the comments after the retreat: ‘great place,’ ‘I’ll come again,’ ‘wonderful...I loved it,’ ‘We are so fortunate to have a bishop like Charlie who is steeped in Scripture and the times of reflection on 2 Timothy were invaluable.’” Photos are posted here.
5 AMMiC churches plan joint summer conference and retreat, June 30 – July 3
Church of All Nations (Vancouver), Good Shepherd (Calgary), Good Shepherd (Richmond), Good Shepherd (Vancouver) and St Matthias and St Luke (Vancouver) are planning a joint summer retreat at Summit Park Conference Centre in Abbotsford, BC. This five-church retreat will enjoy teaching for both Chinese and English speakers. The Rev Sean Love (St John’s Richmond) is teaching the English track on discipleship from the book of Philippians. While a parallel track for Chinese-speakers will be led by the Rev Dr Ka Lun Leung, president of the Alliance Bible Seminary in Hong Kong will explore the conflicts and alignment of Chinese culture and Christianity, especially in relation to evangelism.
ANiC people and parishes in the news
The latest edition of our Province’s The Apostle magazine contains an interesting interview with Canon Brent Stiller of New Song Church (Port Perry, ON). You will learn all about New Song’s approach to building bridges with its community through partnerships. Maybe it will trigger ideas for your church.
In a related article, you can learn about the David Festival which was pioneered by a New Song parishioner. The David Festival encourages and equips churches to glorify God through music and the arts. Through workshops and high profile guest speakers and performers it seeks to foster excellence in the arts.
We are rejoicing with Canon Dr J I Packer that treatment of the macular degeneration in his right eye has been effective and he is able to continue teaching at Regent College. Among the courses he is teaching this summer is The Anglican Heritage: History and Theology . Of this course, he says, “I want my students to get the distinctive feel of Anglican theology, which is a large mass, and Anglican worship, which is beautiful and profound, and, thirdly, the Anglican lifestyle.. I really do think that the Anglican heritage is the richest in Christendom. And I hope in this course to persuade others that that is so. It’s a very great pleasure to be sharing the wealth of that heritage with others.” Read more here. And you’ll enjoy Crossway’s article “10 things you should know about J I Packer”.
Anglican Ink features Canon Paul Donison, currently rector of St Peter & St Paul’s Ottawa, and his call to be the new rector of ACNA’s largest parish, Christ Church, Plano, Texas. And an Anglican Planet article also profiles Paul+.
Parish and regional news
St John’s Richmond (BC) has a new mobile-friendly website. It is also hosting a Bible-in-a-Day seminar at Trinity Western University’s brand new Richmond campus on May 28th. More information on and registration for the Bible-in-a-Day seminar can be found here. Scroll down to find the cost, time and address of this seminar.
Church of the Messiah (Ottawa, ON) will participate in The Big Give on June 4 along with more than 60 Ottawa-area churches. They will bless their neighbourhoods with freebies such as offering free bagged lunches or reimbursing people doing their laundry in local laundromats. Also, Messiah’s young adult ministry has shifted for the summer from the University of Ottawa campus to a park. On Monday evenings a group of as many as 80 young adults are playing frisbee, soccer and schoolyard games. They then spend time in God’s Word as they study 2 Kings.
Ryle Theological College – an outgrowth of Messiah (Ottawa) – together with Link Ottawa, held the second annual Pastors in Perspective conference at The Met on May 19. Dr Stephen Dempster, professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University (Moncton, NB) explored “Speaking Truth to a Corrupt Society - Israel's prophets for a Contemporary World” with the 30 pastors and church leaders in attendance.
St Luke’s (Pembroke, ON) is offering a Boundaries workshop on Saturday, June 18. There is no fee for this course and a book will be available for purchase for those who wish it.
Blackburn Hamlet Community Church (Ottawa, ON) is completing a well-received, 20-month journey through the ACNA catechism. They report, “Each week at the end of the service we read responsively several of the questions and answers.”
Living Waters Anglican Fellowship (Kingston, ON) has a terrific new website. Check it out! They report, “We are intentionally building community by having a series of 'fellowship nights' at the home of our priest, Chris Doering and his wife. This is connecting folks who wouldn’t otherwise necessary get to know each other. We spend an hour getting to know each other intentionally with some activities and then we have been debriefing our first year together and sharing feedback. It’s been a blessing!”
Youth from St Peter and St Paul’s (Ottawa) spent a weekend visited Living Waters youth group. A return visit by Living Water’s youth to St Peter’s and St Paul’s is planned for this weekend.
Eternal Hope (Carleton Place, ON) will be participating in the “LOVE Carleton Place” community outreach initiative on June 4.
St Jude, Guelph, ON – On May 15, Pentecost Sunday this fledging group moved its meetings to the local Best Western Hotel. They report, “We are growing and need room to expand. The hotel is adjacent to the University of Guelph… We meet at 10am for Bible study followed by worship at 11am… Visitors are very welcome. We are keen to have new people and new ideas.” The Rev Zena Attwood pastors this group.
Got parish news? Let the rest of us know about it! Email Marilyn.
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news
Newly released ACNA liturgies include Family Prayer
The ACNA website reports that “Among the new working texts… are liturgies for Family Prayer as well as Midday Prayer and Compline… Family Prayer is offered to the Church with special concern to families with young children, [and includes] four offerings for use in the morning, noonday, in the evening, and at bedtime… The Rev Grady Buhler (Deacon at St Timothy’s Anglican Church in North Vancouver, BC) recently wrote to the Task Force, ”My seven year-old daughter, Mary, has really taken to the Family Prayers. She started to ask me to pray morning and evening prayer with her and this has blessed me so very much. The family offices are rich, but brief enough so as not to be burdensome for small children or their parents. I’m thankful for this as it is deepening our family’s prayer life.”
The Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force – which includes Archbishop Bob Duncan, and ANiC’s Canon Dr J I Packer and the Ven Darrell Critch – welcomes feedback on these working texts. Simply email email@example.com. All texts, including the most recently released can be downloaded from the ACNA website.
PEARUSA moves to ACNA
In June, Archbishop Rwaje of Rwanda will formally hand over all three PEARUSA networks to Archbishop Foley Beach and the Anglican Church in North America. Two of the networks will become ACNA dioceses, while the clergy and churches of the Southeast (PEARUSA) Network under Bishop David Bryan will join the existing ACNA Diocese of the Carolinas, led by Bishop Steve Wood, which just elect Bishop Bryan a suffragan bishop. The ACNA website reports that “The clergy and parishes in Bishop Bryan’s PEARUSA network will have until July 1 to apply for admittance into the Diocese of the Carolinas.” In a related move, “Bishop Thad Barnum has accepted the position of Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of the Carolinas where Bishop Barnum has established an Office of Clergy Care attending to the personal and spiritual well-being of the clergy.”
Youth ministry network launched by Young Anglicans Project
The ACNA website announces that a Province-wide network open to all ACNA church youth ministry leaders (whether paid staff or volunteers) is holding a gathering August 26-27 at Nashotah House, Nashotah, Wisconsin. Information and registration can be found here. Even if you are unable to attend the gathering, youth ministry leaders are asked to complete the questionnaire attached to the registration form.
ACNA Diocese of the Great Lakes consecrates new bishop
Bishop Ronald Jackson is the second bishop of the six-year-old diocese of the Great Lakes.
ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh elects successor to Archbishop Bob Duncan
The Rev James Hobby was elected on the fifth ballot to serve as the next bishop of Pittsburgh.
ACNA recognizes Beeson Divinity School’s Certificate of Anglican Studies
The Anglican certificate program offered by Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, is now approved to train clergy for ACNA. The 15-credit-hour certificate is only awarded with the successful completion of requirements for the MDiv degree.
Trinity School of Ministry appoints interim dean
As of July 1, the Rev Dr Henry “Laurie” Thompson III will be the interim dean and president of Trinity School of Ministry in Amherst, Pennsylvania.
Court decision favours the ACNA’s Diocese of Quincy
In its never-ending litigation, the US Episcopal Church has lost a decision in Illinois but doggedly files new appeals and additional lawsuits to keep the question of real ownership of church property before the courts for some time to come. Alan Haley also reports that “In California, the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin has filed a petition with the California Supreme Court to review the inexplicably obtuse decision by the Court of Appeal in Fresno to stand by its clearly erroneous reading of California corporate law.”
Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans & Anglican Communion news
Fallout from Anglican Consultative Council meeting continues
Following the recent Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Lusaka, the US Episcopal Church (TEC) delegation trumpeted that the decision to sanction TEC by the Primates’ meetings had been ignored by the ACC, thus demonstrating the impotence of the Primates. They claim the TEC delegates fully participated in the meeting and in all votes despite the Primates’ clear decision that not participate in any decision-making. Archbishop Welby protested that the ACC meeting had honoured the Primates’ decision because no TEC members stood for office.
This is the Anglican Journal’s thorough discussion of the dispute, while Canon Phil Ashey summarizes “just the facts”. The Rev Theodore Lewis also recounts events for the purpose of both demonstrating the Archbishop of Canterbury’s “theological incoherence” over the past several months and the need for the GAFCon Provinces to need for better coordination.
Bishop Bill Atwood discusses the marked differences between the recent Anglican Consultative Council meeting and the GAFCon Primates meeting in Nairobi, saying the former was institutionally focused, while the latter, which he attended, centred squarely on the Gospel mandate of making disciples. He writes, “I left Nairobi inspired by the leaders we have. I am in awe of their sacrificial witness to Christ and their courage in the midst of what may well be the greatest struggle in the Church for 500 years.“ At their meeting, the GAFCon Primates launched a Bishops’ training program, announced new appointments, and began work towards the next global conference in 2018. Bishop Attwood encourages us to support this growing global movement.
Canterbury appoints task group to “maintain conversation amidst deep differences”
As requested by the Primates, Archbishop Justin Welby has appointed a 10-person group to “maintain conversation” with the Anglican Communion as part of the Primates’ commitment to “walk together” despite “deep differences”. The membership includes the Primates of TEC, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, but not one of the GAFCon-affiliated Primates – who represent the vast majority of active Anglicans globally. David Virtue offers a very interesting analysis of the appointees, including one who is in deep dispute with his clergy and church and is facing criminal investigation for misappropriating $2-million in donations, among other things.
More news from the Archbishop of Canterbury…
Archbishop Justin Welby is making waves with an interview in which he advised Christians to talk about their faith but only when asked.
The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, visited Archbishop Welby at Lambeth Palace in London.
When the Harare Sunday Mail published an article quoting Archbishop Welby saying that homosexual activity is morally wrong, his staff immediately issued a statement denying Welby said anything of the sort and insisting he had been misquoted.
International news in brief
Wycliffe College appoints Bishop Stephen Andrews (ACoC Diocese of Algoma) principal.
Government of Canada news
The Government of Canada under the Liberals has replaced the Office of Religious Freedom, created by the previous government, with an Office of Human Rights.
Assisted suicide legislation – The federal government is pushing through legislation – Bill C-14 – to open the door wide for euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Liberal majority backed by the NDP defeated a Conservative motion to clearly protect the conscience rights of doctors and other health professionals who object to participating in ending someone’s life. However, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada reports that “Bill C-14 is expected to move to the Senate this week. The House of Commons has added supportive language about conscience protection into the bill, but it still lacks strong, specific support to protect health care providers and institutions.”
Testifying before the House of Commons Justice committee, a number of disabled Canadians have expressed their concern that this bill devalues their lives and places them in greater danger. Some in the indigenous community – which is already struggling with high suicide rates in some communities – are also voicing opposition, saying assisted suicide is not part of Aboriginal culture.
Faith-based care homes are beginning to take a stand. One Baptist-run facility in BC has stated it will not allow physician-assisted dying under its roof. And Jean Vanier, the highly respected founder of L’Arche, residential communities for people with intellectual disabilities, is urging the government of Canada to proceed with great caution.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) has been actively presenting concerns. You can get up-to-speed on the issue by reading the Anglican Planet’s article, watching a 12 minute segment of 100 Huntley Street, reading this four-page report or watching a 10-minute presentation to MPs (starting at 19:43:08).
The EFC also has a webpage to help us get up to speed on the issue and, as part of a coalition focused on conscience protection, offers the Canadians for Conscience website which we can use to easily communicate our views to the federal and provincial governments.
We can influence this legislation if we act quickly, by:
1. Calling Senators from your province this week to ask them to include strong, specific conscience protection. Get details, including tips for contacting government, at the EFC’s Urgent Action page.
2. By this Friday, June 3, sign the Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. The declaration opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide, and calls for conscience protection and improved palliative care. Now is your last chance to add your voice to almost 25,000 others!
Words matter! This excellent article discusses how assisted suicide and euthanasia have gained traction as advocates carefully manage the terms of the debate. Thus we see the use of “good death”, “death with dignity”, “aid in dying” or “assisted dying”. The author notes that the Hemlock Society took the advice of a Dutch euthanasia practitioner – who counselled in 1990, “The definitions build the road to euthanasia” – and changed its name to “Compassion and Choices”. He concludes ominously, “We should be vigilant against words that dehumanize weak and vulnerable people and suspicious of rhetoric that masks movements’ real goals. We should be wary of words that serve as honey to make the hemlock go down.”
The federal Liberal government introduced “transgender rights” legislation on May 17. Life Site News reports that, “If passed, Bill C-16 will make it illegal to bar a person from employment or to discriminate in the workplace based on gender identity or gender expression. The legislation will also expand the Criminal Code’s hate speech laws to include gender identity and gender expression.” Some argue the bill’s main effect will be to allow people of either biological sex to enter previously restricted washrooms and change rooms of the opposite sex, endangering the safety of women and girls.
We are asked to pray for Trinity Western University’s ongoing court cases over its plans for a law school. The next legal battles – both appeals of lower court decisions – will be heard this week in British Columbia (June 1-3) and next week in Ontario (June 6-8). The cases are expected to go to the Supreme Court of Canada next year.
Anglican Church of Canada news
The Diocese of the Arctic is reopening the Arthur Turner Training School (ATTS) this fall, operating out of St Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit. The school, which has been closed for almost a decade, was founded in 1970 to train indigenous peoples, primarily for ordained ministry. the school offers a two-year diploma program in Arctic ministry with a practicum between each year. Classes include introductions to the Old and New Testaments, Anglicanism, theology, church history, and worship.
The Diocese of Central Newfoundland has elected the Rev John Watton as its bishop.
Marriage canon – David Virtue explores the positions of those pushing for a change to the canon and those standing firm for traditional marriage – especially the indigenous Anglican community. This issue will come to a head at General Convention this summer.
Diocese of Rupert’s Land – Bishop Donald Phillips has written a pastoral letter to his diocese saying, “I am convinced that the time has come for the provision for same-sex marriages in our Diocese to become reality. I am committed to working toward making that happen both as soon as responsibly possible, and in a grace-filled manner that minimizes the impact for those who struggle with this issue – both within and beyond our Diocese.”
Diocese of Toronto – Archbishop Colin Johnson has written his diocese to argue for the retention of the existing complement of four suffragan bishops. However, he does project a decline of about 50-70 parishes over the next 15 years. He also reports that “the Diocese at this time has about 200 parishes, 300 active clergy and 300 retired clergy and some 50,000 identifiable members”.
Fort McMurray, AB – The ACoC Diocese of Athabasca, under Bishop Fraser Lawton, has been deeply affected by the devastating fires in the region. Bishop Lawton and his clergy have worked hard to minister to the evacuees. Please continue to pray for the clergy and people of this diocese in the days ahead as evacuees return and ministry opportunities increase. Sue Careless’ Anglican Planet article provides a great insight into the situation, specifically as it is affecting Anglicans in Fort McMurray.
Bishop Wallace Benn, writing in Evangelicals Now, challenges Archbishop Welby’s concept of “good disagreement”. He writes, “It is being used to promote a ‘live and let live’ approach to important doctrinal issues and sexual ethics in particular… A vague notion of institutional ‘unity’ must not lead us to tolerate anything which adjusts or alters life-bringing gospel truth. True unity is unity in apostolic doctrine and practice… Some issues are so important that they must be confronted, even if ‘unity’ is threatened…”
Bishop Susan Goff, a Suffragan Bishop in the US Episcopal Church (TEC) Diocese of Virginia, has been appointed an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Liverpool. While the establishment hailed this as a shining example of shared ministry between the two “companion dioceses”, Reform, an evangelical group in the Church of England, was not amused, objecting that Bishop Goff voted in favour of changing TEC’s marriage canon in The Episcopal Church. A spokesperson said, “The Bishop of Liverpool has chosen to bring the conflicts that have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion in to the heart of this diocese… The decision to appoint Susan Goff as an Honorary Assistant Bishop is a provocative and divisive step…”
The Canon Chancellor of York Minster who, according to The Telegraph describes himself as “…as “religiously bilingual”, combining Christian beliefs and Zen ideas, and having “a foot in more than one religious camp”,” has introduced Zen Buddhist meditation to the Minster.
An academic report on religion estimates that only two per cent of Anglicans in England and Wales are new converts, 93 per cent are “cradle Anglicans” and the remaining five per cent have come from other denominations.
Bishop Colin Fletcher (Oxford) is believed to have given permission for one of his clergy to officiate at a same-sex marriage ceremony of the daughter of Archbishop Tutu in South Africa.
BBC carries an article presenting the other side of the vilification Bishop George Bell, who was much revered and is long-deceased. Recently, when charges of sexual offences dating back to the 1940s and 50s were levied against him, the Diocese of Chichester, apologized and paid off the complainant. Now people are coming forward, criticizing the slipshod investigation of the matter.
The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has postponed the contentious decision on permitting the blessing of same-sex unions until 2018.
The Christian Post reports that the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) has executed an estimated 250 women and girls, as well as their families, in the Mosul area of Iraq for refusing to become sex slaves to the Islamic militants.
The six-year old civil war has devastated Christian communities in Syria. Recently another 200 Christians were reportedly killed by sustained bombardment of the northern city of Aleppo. The suffering is unimaginable to us North America.
Growing violence against Christians – including kidnapping and extortion – is report to be on the rise in Egypt.
Sudan & South Sudan
The Diocese of Bor has severed relations with the US Episcopal Church, foregoing the financial assistance it had previously received, due to the US church’s unbiblical embrace of same-sex blessings. This comes after the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in Sudan and South Sudan passed a resolution last December requiring its diocese to severe partnerships with diocese practicing same-sex blessings.
The government of Sudan has reportedly dropped more than 4000 deadly bombs on civilian targets in the Nuba Mountain region of South Kordofan in southeast Sudan. It is thought that the intent is to both rid the area of Christians and non-Arabs. Many in the South Kordofan region had wanted to succeed with South Sudan in 2011 but were excluded in the negotiated settlement. All Africa reports that “The government forces and allied militias have reportedly killed 541 civilians, including 13 children, and burned 25 villages in the Nuba Mountains during March and April this year.” All Africa has a compelling report on the conflict and devastating impact on civilians in the Nuba region.
South Sudan militias have rescued 63 of the more than 120 children kidnapped from a border area in Ethiopia. The Sudan Tribune reports that “Last month, an estimated 2,000 attackers from South Sudan’s Murle tribe armed with machine guns, raided 13 villages in Ethiopia’s western region of Gambela and killed 208 Ethiopian villagers, abducted over 140 children and stole at least over 2,000 cattle. Gambella region is a shelter for over 280,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled to Ethiopia to escape the conflict that broke out in the young nation in December 2013.”
The New York Times reports that, as a result of the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram and other Islamist in north and central Nigeria, vast swaths of land have been left uncultivated – a virtual wasteland. As a result massive starvation is a real possibility. “The United Nations says more than 50,000 people in northern Nigeria are in imminent danger of starvation, cut off from help in areas where it is too dangerous for aid workers to travel, and that some 1.4 million people in the region lack sufficient food supplies. Boko Haram… has killed more than 20,000 people, and caused more than 2.5 million people to flee their homes.” Newsweek adds that 1.4 million of these refugees are children, whose lives and education have been disrupted and many of whom are now badly malnourished.
Open Doors has released a report which notes that in addition, the Islamists have destroyed or forced to close 13,000 churches buildings. Virtue Online reports that, according to Nigerian Bishop Jacob Kwashi, “In Northeastern Nigeria, more Christians have died than in the Middle East. Attacks occur every day, killing between 30 and 40, including women and children.”
Anglican Ink reports that the Archbishop of Enugu in southeastern Nigeria is requiring women to dress modestly in church – even for weddings and including the bride. (The real news is that this is considered news rather than modest dress being the norm in the Church.)
All Africa reports that Muslim Fulani (a large tribal group) herdsmen continue attacking Christian villagers in south and central Nigeria – killing, maiming, looting and burning – as the new-comers seek to drive out the residents to take over their land. Although this has been going on for many months, the Nigerian government, led by a Muslim, has failed to respond to protect the villagers. Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, is calling on the president to act equitably, warning that the unity of the country was at stake.
A report warns that “The Christian presence in parts of northern Nigeria has “almost been extinguished” in the wake of attacks by extremist Islamic groups”. A Church Times article states, “The report Crushed but not Defeated, launched in Abuja in February, and in the UK last month, states that, from 2006 to 2014, between 9000 and 11,500 Christians were killed in northern Nigeria, and 13,000 churches were destroyed or abandoned. In a region that is home to about 30 million Christians, more than a million have been affected by the violence. Church attendance has been more than halved in some areas, and, in others, “almost …extinguished”.” The BBC reports the World Bank is estimating that the cost of the “scorched earth” destruction caused by the Boko Haram in northern Nigeria – an area the size of Portugal – at $6 billion US. This included homes, schools, health centres, government offices, and other infrastructure.
The International Business Times reports that “More than 1,000 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean over the past week after a series of incidents involving crowded unseaworthy boats attempting to reach Italy from Libya… A total of 13,000 asylum-seekers were rescued, bringing the arrivals for 2016 to 47,600.” Democracy Now notes that “The United Nations Children’s Fund says many of the victims were youth fleeing war and violence in their home countries. The majority of the refugees were from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan. Under a European Union plan enacted in April, all refugees arriving in Greece are deported back to Turkey, forcing people to attempt the more dangerous route between Libya and Italy.” A Christian Today article discussing life in Eritrea and the persecution of Christians there clearly shows why so many Eritreans are ready to risk their lives, first escaping their homeland, then crossing through hostile Muslim territories, and finally entrusting themselves to rickety boats and ruthless profiteers to make the Mediterranean passage.
Archbishop-elect Jackson Ole Sapit has been elected the next primate of the Church of Kenya. You can learn more about him in this Anglican Ink profile, read an interview with him in The Nairobian. An All Africa article on how Bishop Sapit emerged as the victor suggests the Anglican approach to achieving consensus is truly African and a worthy example for African politicians. His election was welcomed warmly by GAFCon and by the Archbishop Foley Beach of the ACNA. Bishop Bill Atwood is heartened by the election of Bishop Sapit and reflects on his leadership style and the history of godly leaders in the Church of Kenya.
“The Kenyan government has announced its plan to close its refugee camps, which are home to 600,000 refugees, mostly from conflict-torn Somalia.” The Christian Post discusses the possible devastating consequences.
The Anglican Communion New Service reports that “There has been a sharp increase in the number of attacks on people with albinism in Malawi – including murder and mutilation – leading to the Bishop of the Upper Shire to plead that the “barbaric behaviour” has to stop… According to officials, 17 people with albinism have been abducted and killed in Malawi in the past two years; and the rate of attacks is increasing… Sufferers of albinism… [which is more common in Sub-Saharan Africa that among Caucasian populations] are at risk from a variety of superstitious beliefs: some have been killed because their attackers fear that they are possessed by the devil; while others are attacked by people who want to own bones or body parts in the belief that they carry mystical powers.”
The Christian Daily reports that “Thousands of people fled the Beni region of North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after almost 40 Christians were hacked to death recently” by Islamic militants who attacked Christians villagers.
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that “The Anglican Consultative Council has called for the case of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Roman Catholic woman who was convicted of blasphemy, to be re-investigated and for her to be “honourably acquitted.” Asia Bibi has been on death row since November 2010 after being accused of insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed after a row which stemmed from her drinking water from a cup used by her Islamic co-workers.”
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that devastating floods “…have displaced around 225,000 people and seriously impacted a further 200,000 people. Heavy rains have resulted in the confirmed deaths of 92 people; and a significant number of injures.”
World Christian Database, which tracks global trends in Christianity reports that Nepal now has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world: from zero Christians in 1951 to 375,000+ in 2011! While proselytizing remains illegal, political changes have resulted in weak enforcement. With the earthquake last year, Christian aid agencies made a huge impact where government proved ineffective. One researcher found that many of the recent converts found Christ through Christian medical aid. The Hindu caste system is also a factor, as the poor find they are treasured by Christ.
ARDFC is still collecting funds to help in the Anglican Church in Nepal help their neighbours and rebuild following the devastating earthquakes. Recently ARDF representatives from the US visited Nepal to strengthen relationships with Anglicans there and determine how best to provide ongoing support of their rebuilding efforts. The ARDF website reports that it “…will work to form a five-year development partnership with The Anglican Deanery of Nepal and the Anglican Diocese of Singapore.”
Anglican Ink reports that “Church leaders in Burma have urged Anglicans to show restraint in the face of provocations by Buddhists in Karen State... On 23 April 2016 an influential Buddhist monk, Myaingyikhu Sayadaw and about 500 followers built a pagoda on the grounds of St Mark’s Anglican Church in Kwan Taw village in Karen State. A week later he returned and built a second pagoda, or Buddhist shrine on the church grounds. The Rt Rev Saw Stylo, Bishop of the Diocese of Hpa-an urged Christians not to be drawn into conflict with the monk and his followers.”
The New York Times reports that a government campaign to remove crosses from churches in Zhejiang Province – between 1200 and 1700 today – is indicative of a shift in government policy to crack down on Christianity, fearing it could undermine Communist Party authority.
In what is seen as evidence that the Hong Kong Anglican Church is bowing to pressure from Beijing, the Church has severed ties with the theological college it co-founded because the school has backed students who opposed Beijing’s policies. With Archbishop Paul Kwong’s appointment by Beijing to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, some now see the Church as subject to Communist Party dictates.
Pope Francis held an historic meeting with Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, in Cuba in February. This is thought to be the first such meeting in the 1000 years since the church split. According to the National Post, “The Vatican is hoping the meeting will improve relations with other Orthodox churches and spur progress in dialogue over theological differences that have divided East from West ever since the Great Schism of 1054 split Christianity.” Cynics speculated that Patriarch Kirill’s motivation in meeting the pope was less about bridging past divides and more about position himself as the leader of Eastern Orthodox churches. The heads of 14 independent Orthodox churches are scheduled to meet in Greece this summer. You can read Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill’s joint declaration here.
Writing in USA Today, Nabeel Qureshi discusses how moderate Muslims are radicalized. He writes that the primary recruiting technique used by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Da’ish) “…is not social or financial but theological. With frequent references to the highest sources of authority in Islam, the Quran and hadith (the collection of the sayings of the prophet Muhammad)…”
He goes on to explain the roll of the Internet. “Just as radical Islamists may spread their message far and wide online, so, too, the Internet has made the traditions of Muhammad readily available for whoever wishes to look them up, even in English. When everyday Muslims investigate the Quran and hadith for themselves, bypassing centuries of tradition and their imams’ interpretations, they are confronted with the reality of violent jihad in the very foundations of their faith... while ISIL may lure youth through a variety of methods, it radicalizes them primarily by urging them to follow the literal teachings of the Quran and the hadith, interpreted consistently and in light of the violent trajectory of early Islam.”
A short video testimony discusses how God is using the Islamic State (ISIS) to expose Islamic teaching and, as a result, how many Muslims are turning to Christ. One mid-East Christian leader went so far as to say, “ISIS is the evangelist. I am just the baptizer”.
Roman Catholic Church
Anglican Ink reports that, as a May 12 meeting, Pope Francis stated that “…it would be good to establish a commission to study if it is possible to have female deacons…”
Resources for ministry
ACNA Sunday Lectionary
The Anglican Diocese of the South has posted on its website an online calendar with all of the Sunday Scriptures for the new ACNA Lectionary.
Resources for Christian Living
Canon Phil Ashey continues his series of short videos on the 39 Articles:
Article XXV “The Importance of Confession” Part 5 & Part 6
Article XXVI – “Of the unworthiness of the ministers, which hinders not the effect of the sacrament” – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (on Church discipline)
Article XXVII – “On Baptism” – Part 1, Part 2
Just for fun
After a heavy rainstorm filled all the potholes with water, a young mother watched her two little boys playing in the puddle through her kitchen window. The older of the two grabbed his sibling by the back of his head and shoved his face into the water hole. The mother rushes out. "Why on earth did you do that to your little brother?!" she demands angrily. "We were just playing 'church,' Mommy," he said. "I was baptizing him in the name of the Father, the Son and in the hole-he-goes."
"Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose—all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable." ~ Archbishop William Temple
And now a Word from our Sponsor
Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150 ESV
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