Category : * Anglican – Episcopal

News and Commentary about the Anglican Communion

Charles Simeon on Easter–a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers

In this tomb, also, you may see, A pledge to us…Yes, verily, it is a pledge,

Of Christ’s power to raise us to a spiritual life -The resurrection of Christ is set forth in the Scriptures as a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers; and by the very same power too, that effected that. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul draws the parallel with a minuteness and accuracy that are truly astonishing. He prays for them, that they may know what is the exceeding greatness of God’s power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” And then he says, concerning them, “God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us usi together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus^” Here, I say, you see Christ dead, quickened, raised, and seated in glory; and his believing people quickened from their death in sins, and raised with him, and seated too with him in the highest heavens. The same thing is stated also, and the same parallel is drawn in the Epistle to the Romans ; where it is said, “We are buried with Christ by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” But can this be effected in us ? I answer, Behold the tomb ! Who raised the Lord Jesus? He himself said, ” I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again….”

–Horae homileticae, Sermon 1414

Posted in Christology, Church of England (CoE), Easter, Eschatology, Preaching / Homiletics, Soteriology, Theology: Scripture

The Bishop of Chichester’s 2017 Easter Sermon

I am not, and probably never will be, a gardener. This does not mean that I don’t like gardens: I do, but mainly when they are somebody else’s responsibility. But one of the things I like about gardens is that they are great for playing hide and seek, which is what today’s gospel is all about.

In fact, the whole of St John’s gospel is a brilliantly constructed unfolding of the unseen God who is hidden revealingly in Jesus Christ: it’s an eternally significant game of hide and seek. And John’s literary method is also brilliantly captured, in art, by Graham Sutherland’s depiction of the hide and seek moment that is central to this Easter celebration.

Sutherland’s 2-dimensional garden is a jewel-like work that is filled with memories of the garden of Eden where we enjoyed but seriously damaged, our friendship with God, according to the book of Genesis. The prize it holds out to us is finding a way back into that garden of friendship for real, and not simply as a theoretical proposition.

If you have time after the Eucharist, go and find this icon of the resurrection. It’s at the far end of the south aisle. Go and pray; light a candle and rejoice in the opportunity to seek and find the image of the risen Christ. And here are five details that are hidden in the picture…

Read it all.

Posted in Art, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Easter, Preaching / Homiletics

An Easter Message from South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence

As a parish priest I remember telling parishioners, on more than one occasion, “When death comes into your home he brings a lot of unwanted relatives with him.” I do not mean relatives or in-laws who may come from out of town for the funeral. The relatives of death to which I refer are grief, fear, loneliness, guilt, shame, anger, depression, even anxiety. Once these come under the roof of your house it is difficult to show them the door. They tend to take up residence, over staying their welcome. Just this morning I read the story of Clint Hill, the secret service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy during the days some refer to as Camelot. With poignant grief he recalled her words that day almost fifty years ago as the President’s wounded head lay in her lap like a modern Pieta, “They shot his head off. Oh Jack, what have they done?”

I’ve been listening to Dr. Billy Graham’s recent book Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well. He is no stranger to moments of national grief, like the one Clint Hill witnessed so painfully. At age 93 he has seen firsthand more than a little of our country’s sorrow. Yet grief when it is personal strikes even deeper. In recounting the death of his beloved wife and best friend for almost sixty-four years, Ruth Bell Graham, he writes, “Although I rejoice that her struggles with weakness and pain have all come to an end, I still feel as if a part of me has been ripped out, and I miss her far more than I ever could have imagined.” “Death”, he goes on to say, quite accurately, “is always an intruder even when it is expected.” Frankly, if there is no answer to death there is no answer to our most abiding enemy and all those blood relatives he brings with him. This, as you might imagine, brings me to Easter. I am happy to recall it. The apostle affirms, “Our Saviour Jesus Christ has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10 NEB)

Easter unflinchingly confronts our enemies, death and sin that would lock us in a self-justifying bondage, and plague our lives from start to finish. Christ’s death, however, is God’s No to sin. In the cross God reveals his hatred of sin as Christ dies to destroy it; and shows his love for sinners as he dies to free us of it. In Christ’s resurrection God speaks his Yes to life and human freedom, breaking the power of death. Donald Coggan, a former Archbishop of Canterbury put it well: “You may not like it. You may ignore it. You may deny it. But this is it. Take away the Cross and Resurrection from Christianity and you have a poor lifeless and maimed thing left…” And we must also say a dead religion dreadfully inadequate for our needs. Archbishop Coggan was right. We need to keep the Cross and Resurrection central. They tell us of God’s No, to death, and the fear that is death’s power; No, to sin and its tyranny of our lives; No, to fear that cripples us from living the dance of life freely; No, to the shame we don’t deserve and grace for the shame we do; No, to the loneliness that dogs our steps for the Risen One is with us always. Let me say again. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Great Yes of God. It has left us an empty tomb and an open door. It will in God’s good time and grace sweep our lives clean of death and the unwanted relatives it brings into our homes. Even this Sunday as we say the words, “Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.” the joy of Easter may escort some these out the door. We can then live our lives in Christ, with Christ and for Christ freely, and for his sake for a hurting and broken world.

May the Peace of the Risen Christ be always with you,

–(The Rt Rev.) Mark Lawrence is Bishop of South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Easter

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s Easter sermon

Many of us over the past days have felt a deep resonance with the gospel observation [in John 13:30] that when Judas left the room in which the disciples shared the Last Supper with Jesus, we are told “it was night.” Every time anyone turns their back on love, betrays the bonds of fellowship and steals from others, it is night! This is true for us in South Africa and indeed in so many, far too many, other parts of the world.

Our nightmare is similar to that under which the ancient Hebrews lived in tonight’s reading. In our case, while we aren’t being disadvantaged by colonial slavery any longer—and no matter what anyone says, colonialism was for most of us a form of slavery—while colonialism and apartheid are over, some of our institutions, part of our economy and some among our leaders have become slaves to a new form of colonial oppression. It is a moral and economic oppression that manifests itself in the form of one family’s capture of our country, and a president whose integrity, soul and heart have been compromised.

Yet, even as we survey this and the litany of other social pathologies that afflict our country and our world, we have in faith to say that even though it is absolutely true that darkness overwhelms us, the events at the tomb of Jesus on Easter Day signal a greater victory, a more abundant truth. At the heart of the message of the Resurrection of Jesus is the stubborn insistence that nothing is irrevocable. No betrayal is final. There is no loss that cannot be redeemed. It is never too late to start again. As John Shea reminds us: “What the Resurrection teaches us is not how to live but how to live again and again!”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Easter, Preaching / Homiletics

(GC) Ashley Null–5 Reasons Reformation Anglicanism Is Relevant

For those in the 21st century searching for meaning and purpose in life, Reformation Anglicanism’s commitment to the timeless wisdom of apostolic teaching gives them a solid rock on which to stand.

For those searching for a sense of historical continuity, Reformation Anglicanism offers a community close ties to the ancient church as expressed in its faithfulness to Scripture, the Creeds, and the first four Councils.

For those who make the needs of others a top priority, Reformation Anglicanism’s focus on mission encourages what God has already put on their hearts.

For those looking to be sustained by inspiring, systematic, Scripture-shaped worship, Reformation Anglicanism’s liturgical heritage offers perhaps the best model for proclaiming the gospel of grace and gratitude with ancient beauty and contemporary sensitivity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Anglican Unscripted #282 – The Fight for England

Listen to it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Church of England

An Easter Carol

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

While the patient earth lies waking,
Till the morning shall be breaking,
Shuddering ‘neath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.
And when sunrise smites the mountains,
Pouring light from heavenly fountains,
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say,
Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

Up and down our lives obedient
Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,
Till those garden lives shall be
Fair with duties done for Thee;
And our thankful spirits say,
Christ arose on Easter-Day.

–Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Easter, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

(Spectator) Melanie McDonagh–If you want to save the CofE, then get stuck in (and go to worship in your parish)

If you want the grisly figures, Linda Woodhead, the sociologist of religion, has them; or the website Counting Religion in Britain. The most obvious cause for concern about the CofE is not numbers but demographics. A recent study, The Last Active Anglican Generation, (OUP, 2017, £50 – so one to get from a library), is a study of Anglican laywomen from what the author calls Generation A (born in the twenties and thirties) in the UK and North America. Among its observations is something called pew power, viz, the notion of power over the institution wielded by ordinary congregations and parish workers – as opposed to leading from the front, the institutional stuff. But the point of it is in the title.

The unfortunate thing about Generation A is that it’s diminishing by the year, as its members go to their eternal reward, for a lifetime of church fetes, flower arranging, keeping the keys for empty churches and turning up, Sunday after Sunday. So, I have a simple proposal for the cultural Christians who agonise about the rise of Islam and the vanishing Christian character of Britain: go to church. Take the place of Generation A. Turn up for Easter Sunday as well as Christmas; keep Pentecost Sunday, because hardly anyone now knows what Whit Sunday stands for, and Ascension Thursday. There are lots of churches out there, you know: Anglicans in cities are spoiled for choice, and you can’t throw a brick in places like Norfolk without landing on something fabulous from the fifteenth century. Anglicans have, moreover, for those that seek it out, the loveliest liturgy, and you don’t deserve it. There are rubbish clergy, of course, but, you know, it’s possible to separate your feelings about the thing that’s being celebrated from the celebrant (Catholics are quite good at this). So, get out there. The numbers attending Anglican services fell below a million at the beginning of last year; they’re still falling.

Read it all.

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

The Archbishop of York’s 2017 Easter Message

There are no easy answers to the suffering in the world. I have plenty of questions for God when His Kingdom – a new heaven and a new earth – is completely realised. What I do know with all my heart, though, is that there’s a reason we call the Christian story: the Good News. There’s a reason I tell anyone who wants to hear why this Easter season is so life-changing. That reason is a person – Jesus Christ. God identifies with all our pain and suffering because his Son Jesus suffered the worst that humanity could throw at him on that first Good Friday. He suffered that unspeakable death on the cross so that each one of us might have the opportunity to know God intimately and live lives of true freedom and justice. As my friend and former Archbishop Rowan Williams writes: ‘..wherever you are, however lost you are, however much darkness there is around you, you have not gone beyond the reach of God.’

For me, what we remember about Jesus this Easter changed everything. His death on the cross and glorious resurrection gave to mankind a true and certain hope for the future. Not just a hope, but a promise. A promise that one day all will be well. As Revelation 21: 4 declares: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” I’m holding Jesus to that promise. It’s the only hope that I have.

There’s a beautiful scene at the end of the latest live action Disney blockbuster, Beauty and the Beast. As the curse is lifted on the beast and he is turned back into a prince, his palace is slowly bathed in a new and wonderful sunlight. Friends and family are reunited. That which has been broken is fixed. It’s a picture of resurrection and for me, what the Kingdom of Heaven will be like. It reminds me that one day all will be well. All will be restored by the God who loves us.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Easter

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter 2017 Sermon

It happened: the testimony of the witnesses whose words we have just heard is clear, and the history decisive. Christian faith is not a cause where the fallen standard is picked up and carried by others, who sense that the flesh is gone but the spirit goes on.

Christian faith starts with One who literally (that misused word) rose from the dead. This is an event for Jesus. Laid stone cold dead in Joseph’s tomb on Friday, on Sunday morning the tomb is empty, he is physically, bodily, tangibly alive. Why would we presume to know better than these first witnesses what took place?

It happened: the witnesses are those who met him. Today the calling of every Christian is to be a witness to the Resurrection. It is the calling of the church as a body to testify to this event as the event of history, the second big bang (Rowan Williams).

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Easter, Preaching / Homiletics

Rowan Williams Interviewed by the THE

What guidance can religious leaders offer in these times of political uncertainty and polarisation?
I think that religious leaders have an absolute duty to be crystal clear about human equality, about the porous nature of national boundaries, about the indivisible character of human interests and well-being. In other words, you can’t have a globe in which one bit of the human race profits indefinitely at the expense of another, or in which the suffering of one part of the human race is irrelevant to the well-being of another. I think that’s built into the DNA of every major religious tradition and that’s perhaps what religious leaders should be saying.

Have academics and religious leaders become more politicised recently?
I think they have always been political. If you look at the history of the university in the 17th century, the great political arguments get hammered out in universities as much as in court or in Parliament, so I don’t think that there’s anything new about academics or religious leaders having a political profile. I think that sometimes we nurture a bit of a fiction that, in the old days, clergy and dons just kept to themselves; they never did.

How has higher education changed in the past five to 10 years?
The public rhetoric around it has become much more oriented towards the idea of the student as a consumer, and a great deal of publicity has been predicated on that.

Read it all.

Posted in --Rowan Williams, Education, Religion & Culture

(Tel) Lord George Carey: Christians face genocide, but the Government looks the other way

On Maundy Thursday today in which we remember the last supper, it is distressing beyond belief to know that the steady ‘crucifixion’ of Middle East Christians continues.

There are millions in the Middle East today whose identities are attacked daily. They are being eradicated in a region of the world where they have always coexisted with others. These are ancient communities who face a daily threat of being slaughtered in the relentless brutality of war.

One of the most disturbing things about the current crisis is how slow the world has been to recognise that Christians, and indeed other groups such as Yazidis, are facing genocide in Syria and Iraq. Even those governments which recognise there is a serious problem are sitting on their hands and doing nothing to prevent the eradication of Christians from the birthplace of our faith.

Read it all (may require subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Middle East, Terrorism, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Service to be held in May for Former Bishop of Lichfield

Tributes from across the world have been sent following Bishop’s Keith death from people including the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who became friends with Bishop Keith when he was chaplain and tutor at Bishop Tucker College in Uganda between 1968 and 1973. Bishop Keith secured a visa for Dr Sentamu to flee Uganda, under the reign if President Idi Amin, to study theology at Cambridge University.

Dr Sentamu said: “Bishop Keith loved people and was passionate about communicating the Gospel in a language they would understand. He was a pastor, a theological educator, a friend, an encourager, with a big heart for the poor and marginalised.

“He was sent to South Africa by Archbishop Robert Runcie when Archbishop Desmond Tutu had been put under House Arrest. In defiance of the Apartheid Regime, Bishop Keith said to a vast crowd outside St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town: ‘Anyone who touches you, touches us. And believe you me, the arm of the Rule of Law knows no bounds, colour, gender, ethnicity. Jesus Christ is the only Lord and all in him are one.’

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(GR) Elephant in the cathedral: Why are so many Anglican holy places empty and, thus, low on funds?

The story included two other numbers that would catch the eye of careful reporters: “The church conducted 130,000 baptisms in the year, down 12% since 2004; 50,000 marriages, down 19%. …”

I bring this up because of a sad, but interesting, Religion News Service piece about another side effect of these numbers. There is no way that this rather dull headline captures the emotions many Brits will feel about this topic: “Endangered Anglican cathedrals prompt Church of England review.”

The bottom line: How does one keep the doors of cathedrals open (even for tourists) when the faithful rarely kneel at the altars or bring children into the pews?

Think of the implications. Does the government keep many of these buildings open as architectural exhibits? Should some be sold to Roman Catholic congregations? Could some become mosques?

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry

In Canada, Owen Sound Anglican church merger seen as a ‘natural step’

Owen Sound’s two Anglican churches will become one in June.

In February, the congregation of St. Thomas Anglican Church, in a 91-year-old stone building at 1331 4th Ave. W., asked if it could join St. George’s Anglican Church at 1049 4th Ave. E. in downtown Owen Sound.

The Rev. Claire Miller of St. Thomas church said the financial burden on the small congregation grew too heavy to bear alone. As both churches have shared services and social events, it seemed a “natural step” to join, she said Wednesday, pausing from preparing for Easter Sunday services.

“I think it was a very obvious decision,” Miller said. “From a practical sense and a business standpoint it makes sense to consolidate and pool resources and have a larger Anglican presence, one Anglican presence rather than being split.

“But I mean it is very emotional. People were born and baptized in this church, and married and there’s been funerals. So they’ve spent their life, this has been a big part of their spiritual and their social lives as well.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture