Category : * Anglican – Episcopal

News and Commentary about the Anglican Communion

(CC) Sam Wells–The words I turn to in times of grief and distress

After the service, my mind went back to a conversation ten years earlier. “How about you, Sam? What would you like written on your tombstone?” It was the kind of conversation you imagine having with your fellow hostage when an insurgent group has kidnapped you and left you in an attic for years on end. In fact, it was with a roomful of people I’d only just met. In such conversations, I tend to remember either the things that I put into words instantaneously that I previously didn’t know I thought or the things I only realized later, hours or years after the conversation, that I wish I’d said.

This time it was the first kind. “If it can’t be happy, make it beautiful.” I didn’t know where it came from. It landed, fully formed.

All these years later, I haven’t changed my mind. (Except I doubt I’ll have a tombstone at all: when you’re in eternity, trying to shape what people think of you for the first few decades after you’ve gone seems the wrong place to put your energy.) In fact that expression has become my template for almost every occasion when friends or congregation members face profound grief, their own mortality, or terrible distress. As a widower plans a funeral, or as a person faces another kind of loss, I invariably return to those simple words: “I hope that, in the midst of your sorrow and the bleakness of what you’re facing, you can yet find a way to make it beautiful.”

Notice those words don’t say, “If it can’t be good.” Beauty isn’t an alternative to goodness; it isn’t a distraction from depth, seriousness, honesty, or integrity. Nor do they say, “Make it pretty.” Making it beautiful is about realizing we’re usually operating on a mundane level, where things will seldom make sense and where most things are fragile and contingent. In the face of dismay, the best approach is to go up a level, to a realm of fittingness, recalibrated priorities, and God’s kingdom. But making it beautiful also addresses the powerlessness at the heart of grief. There is, it turns out, something you can do, and that is to take the wisdom, grace, or soul of what’s been lost and portray its transcendent quality in word, deed, or collective gesture.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

(AJ) Calgary priest elected 14th bishop of the diocese of British Columbia

The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee, incumbent at St. Laurence Anglican Church in the diocese of Calgary, was elected bishop of the diocese of British Columbia Sept. 26.

She was elected on the seventh ballot during a virtual synod.

Greenwood-Lee says the diocese’s vision of transformation spoke to her. “It felt like my gifts and what they were looking for in terms of their vision lined up.”

Greenwood-Lee points to her interest in social justice, particularly in the creation of the Wisdom Centre, an online network that connects people with events and resources. She also has experience with and teaches courses on congregational development, and teaches courses on the topic. In 2006, when she became the incumbent at St. Laurence, she was given three years to “either turn the place around or close it,” she says. “It’s still here!”

Greenwood-Lee says she has an interest in helping the church try to enter a new stage of its life. “I feel like we’re called to be midwives of what God is birthing in our midst…. Death is a natural part of life, so some parts of our institutional life are dying. But at the same time, I think amazing things are struggling to be born, or are being born in our midst.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada

(Stephen Noll) Covid19 Vaccine: Are Clergy First Responders, or Last?

I am in my 75th year, a bellwether of the Baby Boom generation, and I am looking forward to getting my Covid-19 vaccinations as soon as possible.

I am also a retired priest. Most of my ordained colleagues are younger than I and are serving active congregations.

So who goes first?

The Centers for Disease Control is apparently drawing up priority guidelines as to “essential” recipients, and it is thought that the elderly and “first responders” will go to the head of the line. I have heard no mention of clergy being on the list of essential workers.

It is, I suppose, not surprising that in a secular society, clergy are considered non-essential, but what surprises me is that there has been no call from church leaders in this matter. All too frequently there has been a sheepish plea for compliance with regulations restricting worship, even when secular bodies are exempted from them. The Supreme Court just struck down such a provision in New York as a violation of the free practice of religion, which is good, but such a decision lacks the rationale that religion – and Christianity in particular – is a matter of the life of the immortal soul, not just the body.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Religion & Culture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, November 29, 2020, as we, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, pray for the work and ministry…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, November 27, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(Inside Time) ‘Prisons should get virus jab first’

Further calls for prisoners to be prioritised for coronavirus jabs have come from the American Medical Association and a team of Oxford University researchers led by Professor Seena Fazel.

Ann Norman, who represents thousands of prison healthcare staff as the Royal College of Nursing’s professional lead for criminal justice, said: “I think there’s some lobbying there to do, but absolutely I believe prisoners are some of the most vulnerable people, and as such should be made a priority.”

Deborah Coles, Director of the charity INQUEST, said: “Clearly on both public health and human rights grounds, people in all detention settings must have high priority in receiving the vaccine.”

The Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester, said: “I would hope that Government would be sensible enough when [the vaccine] comes on stream to make sure it’s used in prisons sooner rather than later.”

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “In principle, prison staff and prisoners should be towards the front of the queue, given the risk that prisons pose as epidemiological pumps.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Prison/Prison Ministry

(CT) Anglican Churches in the UK Are Shrinking in Size but Not Impact

There are two pictures I could offer you of the role and significance of the Church of England in contemporary British society. The first is one of growing secularization and declining church attendance. The second is one where the church is the beating heart of the nation’s socioeconomic infrastructure, with an ever-increasing contribution of food banks, homeless shelters, and a range of community support.

Paradoxical though it may seem, both these pictures are recognizable reflections of the national church in Britain in 2020.

The evidence for secularization, or at least for the declining importance of Christianity, is compelling. Christian affiliation in the UK fell from 66 percent to 38 percent over 25 years, with Anglicanism accounting for the sharpest decline in affiliation. By 2018, only 12 percent of the national population identified as belonging to the Church of England or its sister churches in Scotland and Wales.

Any residual cultural affiliation to the Church of England appears to be in freefall and is likely to accelerate; surveys show as few as 1 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds now identify as Anglican. Likewise, attendance at Church of England services has fallen significantly in recent decades, down to an average weekly attendance of 57 people (compared to a mean of 81 in the Episcopal Church in the US, which has also suffered decline).

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(OM) Gavin Collins is announced as New Oxfordshire Bishop

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Venerable Gavin Collins as the next Bishop of Dorchester.

Due to lockdown restrictions, the Bishop of Oxford is announcing the news at an online meeting to be streamed from Dorchester Abbey with over 100 civic leaders and local clergy in attendance.

The online announcement will be followed by a visit to St Mary’s Church in Chipping Norton later today, where volunteers are supporting over 200 families during lockdown through an initiative called Mary’s Meals.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday sermon–Walking through rather than jumping over the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

The sermon begins about 25:20 in.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

JC Ryle on the Final Judgment and its outcome

The state of things after the judgment is changeless and without end. The misery of the lost, and the blessedness of the saved, are both alike forever. Let no man deceive us on this point. It is clearly revealed in Scripture. The eternity of God, and heaven, and hell, all stand on the same foundation. As surely as God is eternal, so surely is heaven an endless day without night, and hell an endless night without day.

–Expository thoughts on the gospels, quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Eschatology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Join us this Sunday, November 22, 2020, as we, in the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, give thanks for the work and…

Posted by The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina on Friday, November 20, 2020

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(AI) Evangelicals may seek a “Third Province” in the CoE if teaching on human sexuality is changed

The president of the Church of England Evangelical Council, the Rt. Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn suggested Evangelicals may withdraw from the Church of England if the institution changes teaching on human sexuality. Bishop Henderson’s warning came in the Beautiful Story video produced by the CEEC in response to the Living in Love and Faith project (LLF).

Progressives within the Church of England have sought to amend church teaching on human sexuality, bringing it in line with that of the Episcopal Church of the USA. If this happened, evangelical leaders warned, they would have to consider their allegiance to the Church of England….

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(CEN) Paul Richardson reviews Gareth Atkins’ new book ‘Converting Britainnia – Evangelicals and British Public Life, 1770-1840’

‘God Almighty has set before me two great objectives’, William Wilberforce wrote in his diary in October 1787, shortly after his conversion, ‘the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners’. As Gareth Atkins comments in this wide-ranging account of evangelical influence on public life in England from 1770 to 1840, it is important not to let the spotlight fall only on Wilberforce or his allies in Parliament. Historians have often failed to give enough attention to extensive networks that supported Wilberforce and to the care he took to form alliances with other groups that were not completely of his way of thinking.

Not that Atkins seeks to play down Wilberforce’s importance. The picture he paints of a politician seeking lobbying William Pitt and others to influence legislation as well as trying to secure promotion for evangelicals in the church is extraordinary. His energy was enormous. Atkins describes the money and support he raised to secure re-election to his Yorkshire constituency and in an amusing touch adds that the evangelical author, Hannah More, was so anxious about the outcome that she had to be prescribed opium.

Wilberforce’s evangelical faith did not mean that he could not be forceful and cold-blooded if he situation demanded it, even thinking about wrecking an opponent’s career. ‘It is the fashion to speak of Wilberforce as a gentle, yielding character’, remarked one official at the Colonial office, ‘but I can only say that he is the most obstinate, impractical fellow with whom I ever had to do’.

But supporting Wilberforce and the other ‘saints’ in Parliament were large networks of evangelicals which Atkins describes in the church, in the City, in the empire, in the Royal Navy and in the East India Company.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture

(David Ould) “Erroneous and Unconvincing”. GAFCON Australia responds to Appellate Tribunal Opinion

Gafcon Australia exists to promote the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Anglican Church of Australia. We are convinced that the fullness of life that only Jesus gives is experienced through hearing, trusting and obeying his word of grace and life, in the power of his Spirit and the fellowship of his people. For this reason, the Board of Gafcon Australia expresses its deep regret that the recent majority opinion of the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia relies upon a disputed definition of the meaning of ‘doctrine’ rather than on a whole-hearted and glad embrace of the life-giving Word of God. In doing so, they have seriously undermined the basis of national unity in our church. We regard their conclusions as erroneous and unconvincing.

A majority of the Appellate Tribunal affirmed that certain legislation passed by two Australian Dioceses was ‘not inconsistent with the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of the Constitution’. In doing so, the Appellate Tribunal declined to follow advice they had requested from two other Australian Anglican bodies – the House of Bishops and the Board of Assessors. Both of these bodies unanimously affirmed the historic and biblical teaching on personal sexual ethics. The General Synod will respond to the opinion at its meeting in May/June next year. It is possible, indeed likely, that in the meantime some Dioceses will take steps to authorise their own services of blessing of same-sex marriages in the near future.

Around the Anglican Communion where developments of this kind have occurred (notably, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland) orthodox Anglicans have found themselves ostracised or isolated from their own Dioceses and Bishops.

Gafcon Australia assures Anglicans who affirm the Scriptures as ‘the ultimate rule and standard of faith given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary for salvation’ (to quote the Constitution) that we will support and assist you in maintaining a faithful Anglican witness.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Theological Conversations with Kendall Harmon–Bishop Steve Wood

Make sure to listen all the way to the end, where Steve talks about his experience of having Covid19 and recovering from it and what it taught him theologically.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

(Moore College) Mark Thompson–Preliminary thoughts on the Appellate Tribunal ruling

It is with great sadness that I note the opinion of the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia on the matter of proposed services to bless same-sex unions. Setting aside the unanimous advice of the House of Bishops and the unanimous advice of the Board of Assessors, the majority of the Tribunal has decided that there is no impediment to such services of blessing going ahead.

This opinion, if acted upon, may indeed have devastating consequences for the Anglican Church of Australia, as similar decisions have done elsewhere in the world, but it cannot change the revealed will of God. The opinion is deeply wrong because it opens the door for the blessing of behaviour which the Bible clearly says will exclude people from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:10). As the Board of Assessors and the House of Bishops made clear, the prohibition of this behaviour is not limited to an isolated passage in the New Testament but is consistent through the entire Bible. God does not change his mind. He does not need to. He has always known the end from the beginning.

Since its release, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Geoff Smith, has described the decision of the Tribunal as ‘an important contribution to the ongoing conversation within the church’. He clearly does not see it as the final word. It is important that only Scripture occupies that place.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

A Special Tribute to JI Packer is coming Wednesday

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Evangelicals, Seminary / Theological Education

The Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia releases its ruling on the matter of proposed services to bless same-sex unions.

You can find the ruling at the top of the page here. You may find the ruling itself in a 123 page pdf there. It is a lot to digest.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

An update on the safeguarding complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury

A formal complaint made to the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in June, that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow correct safeguarding procedure when responding to an allegation against Smyth, has not been substantiated. The complaint referred to Lambeth’s response to allegations which first came to attention in 2013 and information relating to the specific issues raised has been reviewed. Information relating to a further complaint sent to the NST in August, about wider issues, has now also been reviewed and no safeguarding concerns have been identified. All the information reviewed will now be sent to the Makin Review, due to publish next year, for further scrutiny.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(C of E) A Curate takes worship into whole new dimension – with children’s services in Minecraft

As churches rose to the challenge of moving services online amid Covid-19 restrictions this year, one curate has gone step further in efforts to engage with young members of her congregation – by taking worship inside a video game.

The Revd Jo Burden, who recently joined West Hereford Team Ministry, in the Diocese of Hereford, came up with the idea of reaching out to children on a platform they were familiar with – Minecraft.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Gafcon Chairman Foley Beach’s November Letter

Bishop Love is a godly and good man. I am so thankful for his faithful stand regarding the office of a diocesan bishop and for keeping to the teaching and moral ethics of the Bible as he has served in the Episcopal Church here in North America. He is a man who has felt the full weight and responsibility of his calling and has sought to humbly follow the Lord’s direction. He has been standing alone against a rising tide of ridicule for his biblical positions, positions which have always been held by the Church.

Many would like to know the response from Gafcon. We are certainly praying for Bishop Bill Love and the many people who find themselves in provinces and dioceses with compromised and failing leadership. To everyone like him in difficult positions, you are not alone as so many around the world contend with you in prayer for the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are grateful for your faith in the midst of opposition and persecution.

A few years ago, I heard Archbishop Deng from the Province of South Sudan describe the growth of the church in his worn-torn nation. He said (paraphrased) they murder our people and the church grows. They raided our villages and the church grows. To those of us listening, his words were so clear to us: the church preaches the gospel (in season or out of it) and God builds His church. We commend these brothers and sisters who prevailed seeing more baptisms and more new churches in a very difficult spot in world history. Their example is a great reminder to the rest of us of the fruitfulness of faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in GAFCON, TEC Conflicts

(Churchman) J I Packer–Expository Preaching: Charles Simeon and ourselves

[Charles] Simeon himself is our example here. The feature of his preaching which most constantly impressed his hearers was the fact that he was, as they said, “in earnest”; and that reflected his own overwhelming sense of sin, and of the wonder of the grace that had saved him; and that in turn bore witness to the closeness of his daily fellowship and walk with his God. As he gave time to sermon preparation, so he gave time to seeking God’s face.

“The quality of his preaching,” writes the Bishop of Bradford, “was but a reflection of the quality of the man himself. And there can be little doubt that the man himself was largely made in the early morning hours which he devoted to private prayer and the devotional study of the Scriptures. It was his custom to rise at 4 a.m., light his own fire, and then devote the first four hours of the day to communion with God. Such costly self-discipline made the preacher. That was primary. The making of the sermon was secondary and derivative.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Preaching / Homiletics

John Piper on Charles Simeon: We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering

He grew downward in humiliation before God, and he grew upward in his adoration of Christ.

Handley Moule captures the essence of Simeon’s secret of longevity in this sentence: “‘Before honor is humility,’ and he had been ‘growing downwards’ year by year under the stern discipline of difficulty met in the right way, the way of close and adoring communion with God” (Moule, 64). Those two things were the heartbeat of Simeon’s inner life: growing downward in humility and growing upward in adoring communion with God.

But the remarkable thing about humiliation and adoration in the heart of Charles Simeon is that they were inseparable. Simeon was utterly unlike most of us today who think that we should get rid once and for all of feelings of vileness and unworthiness as soon as we can. For him, adoration only grew in the freshly plowed soil of humiliation for sin. So he actually labored to know his true sinfulness and his remaining corruption as a Christian.

I have continually had such a sense of my sinfulness as would sink me into utter despair, if I had not an assured view of the sufficiency and willingness of Christ to save me to the uttermost. And at the same time I had such a sense of my acceptance through Christ as would overset my little bark, if I had not ballast at the bottom sufficient to sink a vessel of no ordinary size. (Moule 134f.)

He never lost sight of the need for the heavy ballast of his own humiliation. After he had been a Christian forty years he wrote,

With this sweet hope of ultimate acceptance with God, I have always enjoyed much cheerfulness before men; but I have at the same time laboured incessantly to cultivate the deepest humiliation before God. I have never thought that the circumstance of God’s having forgiven me was any reason why I should forgive myself; on the contrary, I have always judged it better to loathe myself the more, in proportion as I was assured that God was pacified towards me (Ezekiel 16:63). . . . There are but two objects that I have ever desired for these forty years to behold; the one is my own vileness; and the other is, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ: and I have always thought that they should be viewed together; just as Aaron confessed all the sins of all Israel whilst he put them on the head of the scapegoat. The disease did not keep him from applying to the remedy, nor did the remedy keep him from feeling the disease. By this I seek to be, not only humbled and thankful, but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Saviour continually. (Carus, 518f.)

Please do read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

John Stott gives an introduction to the life and work of Charles Simeon

John Stott on Charles Simeon at Taylor University from Randall Gruendyke on Vimeo.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals

Charles Simeon as described by (Bishop of Calcutta) Daniel Wilson

He stood for many years alone, he was long opposed, ridiculed, shunned, his doctrines were misrepresented, his little peculiarities of voice and manner were satirized, disturbances were frequently raised in his church or he was a person not taken into account, nor considered in the light of a regular clergyman in the church.

–as quoted in William Carus, Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon (New York: Robert Carter, 1848), p.39

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Simeon

O loving God, who orderest all things by thine unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see thy hand; that, following the example and teaching of thy servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve thee with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Spirituality/Prayer

Theological Conversations with Kendall Harmon–Bishop Andrew Williams

Listen carefully for a wonderful section toward the end about his reawakening to a fresh sense of the grace of God.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

Theological Conversations with Kendall Harmon: The Rev. Canon Dr. Ashley Null

Take the time to enjoy the whole thing, especially the section on the four comfortable words and the theology of Thomas Cranmer.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, --Book of Common Prayer, Adult Education, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology

At Saint Michael’s, Charleston, yesterday

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography, Preaching / Homiletics

The Royal British Legion–Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday, the second Sunday in November, is the day traditionally put aside to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today. On this day people across the nation pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave Service men and women.

Remembrance Sunday will fall on Sunday 8 November in 2020.

Read it all and make sure to look at other links on the site including the call to remember together this year.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Military / Armed Forces

Food for Thought from the remembrance Sunday liturgy

‘Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honour everyone; love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.’ (from the service for Remembrance Sunday SPCK)

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces