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  ANiC Newsletter: 13 August, 2013 ... pdf version

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ANiC news

ANiC and ACNA events calendar
August 28-31 – Youth ministry conference, St John’s Vancouver
Sept 8, 10:30am – Elnora Houston & Phil Varcoe ordained deacons, Resurrection (Brandon, MB)
September 8, 4pm - Trevor Potter will be ordained a deacon at Emmaus (Montreal, QC)
September 14, 6:30pm – Terry Lamb & Jon Vickery ordained deacons, Resurrection (Kelowna, BC)
September 14, 1-6pm – CMJ Canada seminar on Yom Kippur, St Matthias & St Luke’s (Vancouver)
September 15, 4pm – Marion Karasiuk ordained deacon, Christ The King (Toronto)
September 16-21– Anglican 1000 church planting regional conference, Boston, MA
September 17, 1-6pm – CMJ Canada seminar, Church of Our Lord (Victoria)
September 22, 5:30-8pm – AMMiC information dinner and fundraiser, Good Shepherd (Vancouver)
October 6, 6pm – Alastair Sterne, Mike Chase & Geoff Chapman ordained deacons at St John’s Vancouver
October 6, 4pm – Aretta Hagle ordained deacon, Christ The King (Toronto)
October 17-19 – Anglican 4th Day Grand Ultreya (Lewes, Delaware)
October 21-26 – GAFCon 2 international gathering in Nairobi, Kenya
October 26, 9am – “Sex and spirituality… talking about it” seminar, New Song, Port Perry, ON
October 31 – November 3 – ANiC Clergy Retreat in New England
October 31- November 1 – ANiC Clergy Retreat, St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa, ON)
November 2, 9am – “Sex and spirituality… talking about it” seminar, St Peter & St Paul’s, Ottawa
November 16 – ANiC’s electronic synod at 1pm eastern time (Please note revised date and time)
March 2014 – ANiC vision/mission trip to partner with Anglican churches in Cuba
May 20-24 - Anglican 1000 church planting regional conference, Toronto, ON
November 5-7, 2014 – Gathering of ANiC synod at a location to be determined

Welcoming a new ANiC church plant
St Peter’s Fireside, an outgrowth of St John’s Vancouver, has joined ANiC as a church plant. The soil in which St Peter’s Fireside is being planted is the very heart of Vancouver’s downtown. To date, two “preview” services have been held and a third is scheduled for September 15 at 10:45am at UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson St. The church plant is scheduled to launch on November 3.

You can read about the congregation’s unusual choice of name on their website and about their July preview service here. Also, a Christian Week article gave excellent coverage to the church plant, quoting Alastair Sterne. The article says “St Peter's plans to offer a church service adapted for a community that is likely not familiar with more liturgical forms of worship.”

Upcoming ordinations
Elnora Houston and Philip Varcoe are to be ordained to the office of deacon (transitional) on September 8, 10:30am at Church of the Resurrection in Brandon, MB by Bishop Donald Harvey.

Trevor Potter will be ordained a deacon (transitional) by Bishop Charlie Masters at Emmaus Anglican Church (Montreal, QC) on September 8 at 4pm. Emmaus meets in the sanctuary of Westmount Park United Church, 4695 boul de Maisonneuve Ouest. All are welcome!

September 14 at 6:30pm, the people of Resurrection Anglican Community (Kelowna, BC) have the joy of having two of their members – Terry Lamb and Dr Jon Vickery – ordained by Bishop Trevor Walters to the transitional diaconate at Grace Lutheran Church, 1162 Hudson Rd, West Kelowna. The Rev Mike Stewart from St Matthew’s Abbotsford will preach. All are welcome. The following day, Sunday, the church celebrates its 1st anniversary worshipping at its current location and is praising God for the growth they are experiencing.

Bishop Charlie will ordain
Marion Karasiuk to the transitional diaconate on September 15 at Christ The King (Toronto, ON).

At St John’s Vancouver on
October 6 at 6pm, Alastair Sterne, Mike Chase and Geoff Chapman will be ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Trevor.

Also on
October 6, at 4pm, Aretta Hagle of Living Hope (Scarborough, ON) will be ordained a deacon (transitional) by Bishop Charlie at Christ The King (Toronto, ON).

Please join us in praising God for these men and women and asking God’s blessing upon them.

Synod 2013 will meet online
This year, ANiC’s annual synod will take place electronically on
Saturday, November 16 at 1pm (EST). (Please note that the date and time have been changed!) This will be the second electronic synod ANiC has held. Instructions on how to register for this meeting will be sent to clergy and lay delegates at a later date.

Delegates wishing to propose any amendments to ANiC’s canons must submit these by
August 23. These can be emailed to the ANiC office.

Learn what God is doing through our Asian and Multicultural Ministries
Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC) is holding an information and fundraising dinner, September 22 from 5.30 - 8.30pm at Good Shepherd, 189 West 11th Avenue, Vancouver.

The aim of the event is to share AMMiC's exciting vision of reaching out to visible ethnic communities in Canada, and to promote its growing AMMiC ministries. There will be testimonies and a chance to get to know those working in these ministries. All funds raised will go towards AMMiC church plants and other projects.

You can get a glimpse into the remarkable things God is doing by watching a short YouTube video shown to ANiC’s 2012 synod. For further information or to RSVP, please contact Ka Man Ng.

Youth ministry conference
St John’s Vancouver is holding its annual youth and children’s ministry leaders conference, August 28- 31 at Regent College. The Rev Jim Saladin is the speaker. See the conference website for more details. The conference will benefit those involved in youth and children’s ministries as well as those simply interested in learning how to engage and teach the Bible text with confidence.

Fall term for Ottawa Theological College
This Fall Ottawa Theological College is offering courses on: the Gospels, the Pentateuch, Jesus Christ and Salvation, and Christian Foundations. Learn more about these courses here. Please let others know about the College. The courses are rigorous, missionary, relevant and biblically faithful. They are intended to equip Christians, especially church leaders. You can see the 2013-14 academic calendar on the college website.

More job opportunities…
New Song Anglican Church (Port Perry, ON) is looking for a Youth and Children's minister. This position – which can be either part-time or full-time – begins in September. For full information, please see the job description

Church of the Messiah (Ottawa, ON) needs a full-time parish administrator. For details, see the church’s website.

What is your congregation’s outreach strategy this year?
Does your congregation have a strategy for reach your community with the Good News? There are many opportunities throughout the calendar year that you can leverage – with some forethought. Like “back to church Sunday” or the start of the school year, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, etc. But it requires intentionality. ANiC has a few resources posted on our website that can be adapted and customized at minimal cost. There are also excellent commercial resources available, such as those at

Teaching on the Jewish roots of our faith
Two ANiC churches in BC are hosting the Rev Aaron Eime of Christ Church Jerusalem who will teach on the significance of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and its fulfillment through Jesus our Messiah. Aaron+ will also discuss the ministries of CMJ (Churches Ministry among the Jews) which works among both Jews and Arabs in Israel. No charge; a free will offering will be taken.

September 14 (Yom Kippur), 1-6pm in Vancouver at St Matthias and St Luke’s, 320 E 15th Avenue. Call 604-876-4320 or email the church for information. RSVPs appreciated!

September 17, 6-9pm in Victoria at Church of Our Lord, 626 Blanshard Street. For information you can also call the Rev Sharon Hayton, ANiC priest and Executive Director of CMJ Canada, at 250 478-3460 or email CMJ Canada.

Learn more on the CMJ Canada website.

Finally, you can explore an opportunity to join an upcoming tour to Israel led by Sharon+. Testimonials from past participants are here.

Changes to MOUs
The Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between member congregations and ANiC have been updated to align with ANiC’s canons. An email has gone to each parish, church plant, and church project regarding these changes and requesting that the new MOU be signed by the appropriate signing officers and returned to ANiC by September 15. The changes relate to the definition of “parish” found in the canons. Specially, the canons require that, to be considered a parish and thus have voting privileges at synod, a church must be incorporated.

Second Cuban mission/vision trip planned for March
Next March, another team of ANiC clergy and church leaders will head to Cuba to visit the growing Anglican churches planted and nurtured through the ministry of Bishop Charles & Claudia Dorrington. The Reformed Episcopal churches (REC) led by Bishop Dorrington have sponsored this work for years and now have asked ANiC to partner with them – and with these Cuban churches. ANiC’s first mission trip, led by Bishop Trevor Walters, resulted in three ANiC churches in BC partnering with congregations in Cuba. Already two ANiC church leaders are committed to going on the March mission trip, but we are looking for several more. The trip itself is all-expenses paid and the partnership commitment is surprisingly affordable. Read more about this opportunity here.

Planting in southern Ontario – Elora-Fergus area
Together D'Arcy Luxton and the Rev Zena Attwood wrote an article that was published in their local paper inviting people in the Fergus-Elora area of southern Ontario to join them on Sunday’s as they meet together. The article targeted those who have no church home, are feeling adrift, and are looking for a supportive fellowship. In the article they say, “We invite you to come with your queries about Christianity. We would like to be of service. The Christian religion is 2000 years old. Our group is new. You may like the idea of being part of something old that is brand new. We do.”

Parish and regional news
Faith Anglican
(Embrun, ON) is welcoming a new rector next month, the Rev Neil Stephens. Neil+ has been serving as honourary assistant at St Peter & St Paul’s (Ottawa). He succeeds the Rev Alex Lewanowicz who is moving to full-time chaplaincy ministry with the Canadian military.

Church of the Ascension
(Langley, BC) welcomed a new part-time curate. Jonathan Ellis will serve under Bishop Ron Ferris as curate as well as youth and family minister beginning in September. Jonathan and his family have been active in The Table Church in Victoria where he completed an Artizo internship. He is currently finishing his degree at Regent College and is preparing for ordained ministry in ANiC.

Church of the Good Samaritan
(St John’s, NL) – After months of preparation and fund-raising Archdeacon Darrell Critch and Father Jared Driscoll completed Drop Zone 2013, rappelling down Atlantic Place, a building in downtown St John’s. They raised almost $5400 for a good cause – Easter Seals, which helps disabled children. Archdeacon Darrell starts fast, but can he beat the younger Father Jared? You'll have to watch the video to find out!
Good Samaritan and Easter Seals have developed a close partnership with the church renting Easter Seals facilities for Sunday worship services.

The Table
(Victoria, BC) reports encouraging growth in their multiple ministries. The Revs Josh Wilton and Andy Withrow write, “There are 134 regulars at The Table, with another 54 in orbit (with potential to become regulars). This does not include people from two of our clusters [ministries]… [These two ministries are] The Marketplace Gathering [which] looks to connect faith and work, and averages 40/meeting with ~170 in the orbit (90% Christians). Table Conversations aims to help develop relationships over substantial conversations, and is starting to hit ~40/meeting with ~150 in the orbit (90% NOT Christians!!!). If you do the math, that's a reach of 500+ people in our orbit and growing.” They ask prayer for “competent and suitable leaders” to share the burden of ministry. Also for additional giving to meet an anticipated shortfall. (The congregation of primarily young people is not yet self-supporting.) Finally, they ask us to join them as they “wrestle in prayer for those in our midst whom God is calling to Himself”.

St John’s Vancouver (BC) currently has a mission team in Malawi. Please pray for God’s blessing on their ministry.

Resurrection Anglican Community
(Kelowna, BC) will celebrate its 1st anniversary worshipping at Benvoulin Heritage Church, 2279 Benvoulin Road on September 15 at its 10am service followed by a lunch. The church is also thrilled to say that the Lord is building up our children’s ministry with new families and many willing hands. To God be the glory!!

St Chad’s (Toronto, ON) has postponed its worship concert, originally scheduled for August 10. The concert to raise funds for Welcome Home Children’s Centre in Haitiwill be rescheduled.

Be sure to email your parish news to Marilyn Jacobson.

Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) news

Forward in Faith North America (FIFNA) declaration of faith stirs controversy
In its recently released declaration of faith FIFNA affirms the teaching of seven early Church Councils, in addition to other Anglo-Catholic articles of faith. Others have pointed out statements in, the 7th Council which seem to run counter to Anglican Articles of Religion.

$1-million bond set for St James Newport Beach
A California judge has set a staggering $1-million bond for the ACNA congregation of St James Newport Beach to continue in their current premises while their case was appealed. As a result, the congregation will move to a new office and meeting facilities in the interim. They have until September 21 to vacate.

Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past as we confront problems today
Two articles by ACNA bishops take a look back to strengthen us for the challenges today.

Bishop Bill Atwood recalls the cost of faithfulness for Ugandan, Kenyan and North American Anglicans and reminds us that ” As the surrounding culture grows more and more hostile to our foundations of faith, freedom, and fidelity to Scripture, His promise is that as we invest in Him and open our lives to His Spirit, He will sustain us. He will give us the words to say, and He will give us the grace to stand, endure, and even prosper in the midst of the fray.” 

Bishop David Anderson looks back over the last 10 years. He begins with the Episcopal Church’s convention in 2003 which effectively launched the movement, on the US side of the border, to form what is now the ACNA.

Water for South Sudan
A new Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF) video highlights ARDF’s projects in South Sudan which are drilling wells that will provide water to whole communities. Speaking in the video, Bishop Moses Deng notes that water will help bring health and peace to the community, benefitting 48,000 people. Community members said that water is more important to them than food.

Spanish ministry
You can read a report on ACNA’s recent Caminemos Juntos Conference held in El Paso, TX. One interesting fact mentioned was that “…there are over 60 Hispanic congregations within ACNA, 18 of which are in Cuba!” Those 18 churches are the Reformed Episcopal congregations with which ANiC churches have the opportunity to partner.

Anglican Communion

GAFCon2 approaches; prayer requested
As the October Global Anglican Future Conference approaches, we are asked to pray for:
The local and international organizing team
God's blessing as delegates stand for God's truth
Travel arrangements and finance
Quick registrations for all delegates

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, chair of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and primate of Kenya, explains in an AnglicanTV interview how the GAFCon 2 conference came to be in Kenya. He also discusses the East African revival and the facilities in Nairobi to be used for GAFCon 2.

Structures of the Anglican Communion taken to task
Writing in the American Anglican Council’s weekly international newsletter, Bishop Bill Atwood discusses the Anglican Communion’s tendency to focus on manmade organizational structures – such as provincial boundaries – rather than on Gospel integrity. In an article entitled “You can’t repeal gravity”, he writes: “Right now, there are tragic instances in which structures of the "instruments of unity" in the Anglican Communion have compromised their Gospel purpose. As such, they no longer have the moral or spiritual authority to act. The same is true for us as individuals, for parishes, Dioceses, and Provinces. When people rebel against God's purpose and will that is revealed in Scripture, they are fit only for repentance or removal. Those who have charted the errant and un-redemptive courses that are tragically common may escape judgment for a time, but it will come. Gravity can't be repealed.”

An example of this push for Gospel-compromise is the recent consultation in Kenya in which “A group of 27 African Anglicans, 16 Episcopalians and several ecumenical friends gathered July 29-August 1, 2013 at the Jumuia Conference Centre in Limuru, Kenya, to explore issues of sexuality in dialogue with scripture… One of the principle themes of the consultation was how the Bible has been translated and interpreted in African and North American contexts and especially how it has been used both to oppress sexual minorities and other marginalized people and to provide hope for liberation and equality.”

International news in brief

The CBC reports, “The Anglican Church of Canada is asking members of its pension plan to vote in favour of a proposal that would buy it more time before having to top up its underfunded pension plan by hiking premiums or cutting benefits.” The Anglican Journal has more information as does VirtueOnline.

The latest edition of the Anglican Planet has more coverage of the recent Anglican Church of Canada / Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada joint assembly.

Professor John Stackhouse has written an article for the University of Chicago Divinity School based on 2011 Canadian census data which shows “…the continued falling away of Canadians from the Christian religion…”and the growth of the segment claiming no religious affiliation. He concludes, “In sum, Canada as a whole is not yet so much a multi-religious country yet as it is a Christian/ex-Christian/sort-of-Christian country, with an ongoing shrinkage of Christian affiliation. (Other polls show that only Roman Catholics and evangelicals are holding their own—mostly by retaining youths in much higher numbers than other Christian traditions.)”

United States
VirtueOnline “… has documented more than 700 cases of Episcopal clergy - mostly priests, a few deacons and at least a dozen bishops - who have been uncanonically inhibited, deposed, and or released from their ordained ministries as they valiantly strive to remain faithful to the Gospel even as The Episcopal Church disintegrates into spiritual decay and temporal anarchy.” Another VirtueOnline article, which compares the TEC to the city of Detroit, notes that

“Just this month another 103 from the Diocese of South Carolina clergy received letters of inhibition in preparation for being deposed.”

The birth of heir-to-the-throne – and future “Supreme Governor of the Church of England (CoE) – Prince George caused church bells to ring throughout England. Baby George is expected to be baptized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Many have commented on the irony of pro-abortion media consistently referring to the unborn royal heir as a baby – rather than the generally accepted media rule of referring to unborn children as fetuses. See this LifeSiteNews article as an example, as well as Canon Phil Ashey’s exhortation.

The Daily Mail reports that passage of legislation allowing same-sex marriage has been followed almost immediately by a threatened court challenge to force the Church of England to perform these marriages. LifeSiteNews has more, pointing out that this is exactly what was predicted by Churches opposing the legislation.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made news when he condemned “payday lenders” which charge high rates of interest and suggested the Church should step in to help non-profit lenders compete. BBC reports that “Earlier this month, Archbishop Welby launched a new credit union aimed at clergy and church staff. Credit unions charge their members low rates of interest to borrow money.” The article suggests that independent credit unions might be allowed to operate out of church buildings to help them compete with the infamous payday lenders. The Archbishop Welby was later embarrassed when it was reveal that the CoE’s investment strategy allowed holdings in firms that profit from payday lending, arms dealing, pornography, gambling, tobacco and alcohol. CoE’s investments are managed by the Church Commissioners who are not directly controlled by the Archbishop.

Reform and the Anglican Mission in England are organizing a conference for Anglican evangelical leaders in England , November 26 & 27 . The conference website states: “ReNew will be a two day conference with the aim of advancing Anglican Evangelical ministries for the salvation of England.”

The newly elected Archbishop of Sydney is Bishop Glenn Davies. Dr Davies will be installed on August 23, succeeding Archbishop Peter Jensen who reached the mandatory retirement age earlier this year. You can read more on Anglican Ink and see Dr Davies biography.

Recife, Brazil
Anglican Ink reports that the independent Diocese of Recife lost its court battle with the Episcopal Church of Brazil over church property. However a subsequent report notes this decision was appealed and stayed by a higher court, returning custody of church property to the diocese while state high court judges review the case. Pastor Gustavo, our contact in the Diocese of Recife, tells us that only five church properties – including the cathedral and pro-cathedral – are in dispute. The church with which the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC) is partnering to build a multi-purpose education building is not threatened by the dispute.

Dr Albert Mohler provides needed context for the media headlines which trumpeting
Pope Francis’ comments about homosexuals. The oft quoted, ““If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?” was said in the larger context of a discussion of the reported “gay lobby” within the Vatican. Dr Mohler says, “Francis was attempting to explain that a homosexual “lobby” within his church is entirely unacceptable… Francis told the reporters that he saw gay individuals as distinct from a gay lobby. [The Pope said] “I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad.” … The official Catholic moral judgment… is that a Catholic who struggles with homosexual inclinations is to remain chaste and celibate, looking to the Lord for help… the Pope was not talking about those who are involved in homosexual acts or homosexual relationships. He was seeking to speak with compassion about people made in the image of God who are struggling with faithfulness against a homosexual inclination. This explains his criticism of a “gay lobby” within his church. He acknowledged the fact that persons struggling with a homosexual inclination are in his church and in the priesthood. So long as they obey Catholic teaching and live in faithfulness, “who am I to judge that person?” he asked.” The US Catholic offers more in the same vein.

The Mirror reports that 1.8 million Syrians have officially registered as refugees since the civil war started in March 2011, fleeing to Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon. The UN states that this is “the worst humanitarian crisis since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, with more than 93,000 people already having lost their lives”. The National Post details how defenseless Christians are caught in the middle – often the targets of kidnapping, extortion and murder – and forced to flee their homes and country.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali writes in The Spectator that Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, “could be our best hope for peace”. Based on his personal experience working with Mr Rouhani, Bishop Nazir-Ali provides insight into the man and his country. He writes, “The popular portrayal of Iran as a nation either driven by Islamic revolutionary fervour or by the periodic welling up of liberal political dissent does not do justice to the complexity of this society. There is constant interplay between the ancient civilisation of Iran and Islam in its political form… For some years, a general ferment has been building in Iranian society. The different elements that make this up are mutually antagonistic and finding a resolution among them will be one of the major challenges of this presidency.”
He offers advice to the new president, saying among other things “…prisoners of conscience should be released immediately and unconditionally. The property of churches and other religious groups seized at the Revolution should be returned… Such actions would provide a sound basis for the re-opening of the dialogue of civilisations… between the different communities in Iran. Let us pray that the coming regime will be inspired by that rather than the more recent siren voices which have led it away from its own civilisation.”

Recently Egypt’s leading Muslim Brotherhood clerics incited violence against Copts and other Christians accusing them of collusion with the military in overthrowing the former Muslim Brotherhood regime. A Yahoo News report quotes a Christian saying “We have never experience the kind of persecution we suffer now.” Do pray for Christians in Egypt.

Earlier, Anglican Bishop Mouneer Anis held a celebration to mark the breaking of the Muslim fast of Ramadan which was attended by more than 130 religious and political leaders, including the Grand Mufti of Egypt and the Deputy of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, as well several international Ambassadors.

A report from the Bible Society of Egypt offers a perspective not seen in secular media. This includes the violence of the pro- Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations and the contrasting peaceful solidarity between the majority of Muslim and Christians who reject the “political Islam” agenda of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood.

An Anglican Communion News Service article features the extensive, high quality health care services provided by the Anglican Church in Egypt – including two hospitals known for their professionalism, kindness and integrity.

Christianity Today reports that, as part of a crackdown on Christians, authorities have arrested 39 high school students, including 11 girls, preventing them from graduating. The students have endured beatings, forced hard labour, deprivation of food and water and are being threatened with long imprisonment unless they renounce Christ. Please pray!

AllAfrica reports that tens of thousands of people have had to flee renewed fighting in the North Kivu area near the city of Goma. Elsewhere in the country, more than 66 thousand Congolese refugees have fled into Uganda to escape fighting in their communities. The Anglican Communion News Service reports that rape of women and girls is a widely used “weapon” of war.

Morning Star News reports that the killing of Christians by Muslims continued in July in Plateau State. Fox News reports on bombings by the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram that killed at least 12 and wounded many more in the city of Kano. Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria, visited one of the states beset by the violence to pray for peace and offer comfort to victims.

The government has given approval to the building to an Anglican University in Abuja. Now efforts are underway to raise (Nigerian) $5-billion to fund the construction.

The Christian Science Monitor profiles Jean Paul Samputu, a musician who learned to forgive his father’s killer and is spreading the message of forgiveness in Rwanda and beyond.

South Africa
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the controversial retired Anglican leader, received wide-spread coverage for his recent comments that he would “…refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.” He added, ““If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God.” Other African Anglican leaders responded with condemnation, on even speculated that Archbishop Tutu was on the payroll of those advancing the homosexual agenda.

Noting that “The Chinese government continues to detain more Christians than any other country in its prisoner of conscience prisons. Human rights and religious freedom violations are still rampant…” the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada offers a number of specific prayer points. These include prayer for politicians, prisoners, the reconciliation of the sanctioned Christian church and the underground churches, continued revival and discipleship of Christians.

LifeSiteNews reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin “…has urged the world’s political leaders to stop the violent persecutions against Christians that have erupted in many Middle Eastern countries.” He also urged the international community to pay attention to this persecution and act. The article adds, “The Russian Federation recently passed legislation making it illegal to promote homosexuality as normal, a move that, while condemned by many European leaders, was strongly supported by the Orthodox Church.”


Ministry resources
The Art of Preaching – An article on The Gospel Coalition website deals with the art of sermon application. Saying preachers often struggle with good Bible application, the author offers seven questions to ask of the text to help puzzle out the application of the text today.

Mistakes young pastors make – A pastor discusses an area that can often be neglected in ministry – praying for the people. The writer says, “Pastors must prioritize the ministry of prayer and give themselves to it in the same way that they give themselves to the ministry of the word. Our people need our prayers, and we need what happens to us when we pray for them.”

Small groups propel church growth– ACNA Bishop Bill Atwood, writing in the American Anglican Council newsletter, outlines the small/cell group strategy used so effectively in the Diocese of Saba (Borneo). Bishop Atwood briefly lists the seven cell group principles that have resulted in amazing church growth. It’s worth reading! Also, you can listen to talks given by Bishop Albert Vun at the combined ANiC west and multicultural assembly last April in which he outlines the strategy in detail.

Numbers – Dr J I Packer discusses the danger of playing the “numbers game” in ministry and highly recommends Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by Kent and Barbara Hughes.

Seek the peace of your city – A thought-provoking Christianity Today article challenges us to minister to the practical needs of the poor, widowed and fatherless in our own communities. The author’s book, Seek the Peace of the City: Ten Ways to Bless the Place Where You Live, can be downloaded for free!

Same-sex couples in church – Christianity Today has an article on “How congregations can reach out to people with same-sex attraction and remain committed to biblical human sexuality”.

Protecting the flock… from (issue-obsessed) Christians – Pastor Ed Stetzer writes about the pastor’s role in setting boundaries and not engaging issue-obsessed Christians. While he admits this is a touchy matter, he says “…the mission is more important than special interest groups. Your church needs boundaries (so that it is focused on its mission and won't be distracted from that). You need boundaries (so that you won't spend your time trying to keep "issue Christians" happy and placated). Those boundaries will cost you a few people, but they will focus your church in powerful ways and free you to do ministry about the hurting that otherwise will be overlooked.”

Unity – In an article on Christian unity, Phillip Jensen, Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, says, “Organizational unity instead of gospel unity is death. The failure of Christian ministries, be they church or para-church, commences when they lose their direction and become organizations that demand organizational unity over theological unity in the service of the gospel.”

s your short-term mission trip helping or hurting? Several sobering articles posted on the Gospel Coalition website encourage us to reevaluate and develop more effective cross-cultural ministry strategies. See here and here.

Youth in church – A youth pastor discussed what he sees as the three common traits of youth who DON’T leave the church: 1) They are converted; 2) They have been equipped not entertained; and 3) Their parents preached the Gospel to them. Also, an article in the July/August 2013 edition of Faith Today offers great advice on “Keeping our youth in the Faith”. And you can find free resources for effective youth ministry here.

Campaigners also offers complete resources for Christian youth and children’s ministries. The UK-based organization offers an excellent framework upon which to build a comprehensive and effective youth ministry program. You can get more information at their website or from Mrs Dorothy Brown.

Sexual predators – A counselor offers advice related to sexual abuse by those in authority.

Rowan revisited – There is an interesting review and analysis of a recently published book which compiles lectures by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams’. The reviewer, Peter Sanlon of Oak Hill College (London, England), suggests that “…There is much we evangelicals could learn by reflecting on Williams's alertness to these themes-interaction with secularism, complexity of definition, and the pervasiveness of the market. It is humbling to see how deeply he probes areas of vital import to the future survival of Christianity in secular culture. So many of these matters are treated glibly and superficially by others. Perhaps the reason for this is that Williams's insights have been forged in conversation with profound thinkers, well beyond the fields normally traversed by evangelicals…’

Sermons are not for liking - Pastor Tim Challies writes, “Don’t like it! Instead, ponder it, meditate upon it, and apply it.” Asking “How did you enjoy the sermon?” is simply the wrong question”; instead ask “How did the Holy Spirit speak to you through the sermon?” This “…call[s] upon us to submit to the Spirit as he is present in preaching”.
Clergy facial hair – Dallas Theological Seminary has posted a guide to “beards of ministry”.

Resources for Christian living
Family worship – Tim Challies recommends A Neglected Grace for parents initiating family worship.

Screwtape synopsis – Andy Naselli has helpfully summarized the “dark arts” employed in C S Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.

Marriage – In a hard-hitting article, Professor Stephen Baskerville argues that the destruction of marriage was accomplished long before the advent of same-sex marriage. He says we have no moral authority to oppose same-sex marriage if we do not work to address the destruction the family through divorce.

Eric Metaxas agrees, saying that divorce – and the lack of attention paid to Biblical teaching – is the real scandal among Christians. He writes, “…our acceptance of this particular sin while inveighing against other violations of God’s plan for marriage is hypocritical. My point here is not to pour salt on the wounds of divorced Christians—they deserve and need our compassion; but it’s to get the Church to acknowledge the beam in its own eye and, thus, end a silence that is not only conspicuous but scandalous.”

New beginnings – In We are all virgins now, Tim Challies reminds us that, no matter what we have done in the past, we can be washed clean in the blood of The Lamb of God.

Rising above sexual temptation
The UK’s Christianity Magazine has an encouraging article about three Church of England clergymen who all struggle with same-sex attraction – but have determined to live in a Biblically faithful manner.

Dr Priscilla Turner tells us she has a new book written in association with Dr J I Packer called Holy Homosex? It is available on Amazon – or bulk orders can be arranged directly with the author. Dr Turner has also published a spiritual autobiography.

Worth reading - Faith Today magazine asked the leaders of EFC affiliate organizations to share some of the books they hope to read this summer. The resulting four-page article introduces almost 50 books worth reading, from novels to biographies, each linked to a more detailed listing of the book at The entire Jul/Aug issue is free at

Soul food

Just for laughs
The email of the species is more deadly than the mail. (

Obedience rendered without delight in rendering it is only half obedience. ~ C H Spurgeon

And now a Word from our Sponsor
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 ESV

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