It’s a Sad Day…

… when Priests go around publicly comparing their Bishops to lynching mobs, “the  Klu Klux Klan” and “Monty Python”. Really unacceptable.

When I became a Priest, I well remember taking a vow of Canonical Obedience to the Bishop of the Diocese:

“Will you reverently obey your ordinary and other chief ministers of the Church, unto whom is committed the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourselves to their godly judgments?”

I answered, “Yes,” to the question that was solemnly put to me on that day. It is thus an obligation required of me.

Further, thanks for all the incoming e-mails (pointing to the above blog post). I do not however want to be drawn by my courageous colleague over in France, nor do I wish to get into a tit-for-tat mud-slinging match and that before a watching fallen world. It will only make for a pathetic and shameful Christian witness. I made my point yesterday. I stand by that until such time as those whom God has placed over me have anything else that they deem necessary for me to know.

Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow.

- Heb 13:17

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance.

- 1 Thess 5:12

And that is what I have ‘contented’ myself in.

Sandy… The Aftermath



A Lottery for Primate

Speaking of lots,

Time was when the prime minister chose the Archbishop of Canterbury – if only…

The Telegraph:

It seemed so easy: scarcely was the ink dry on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter of resignation than the nomination of his successor was made. That was Stanley Baldwin, instantly appointing Cosmo Gordon Lang in succession to Randall Davidson in 1928. It was a perk of being prime minister, to choose who should reign at Canterbury.

How different from the slough of indecision since the resignation of Dr Rowan Williams last March. In two months he is to become Master of Magdalene College. In the meantime, a committee of 16 has floundered, paralysed by worthy motives. There is no reversing the ratchet that took the choice first from the monarch, then the prime minister. But we might be sooner served by emulating the Apostles’ casting lots for Matthias, or by following the Copts, whose pope’s name is drawn from a box by a blindfolded child.



Coptic Church Selects Three Candidates for Pope

And with lots being drawn to decided on who it will be.

Brother Raphael
Bishop Tawadros
Bishop Raphael

Delegates to a special electoral synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria have selected a monk and two bishops as candidates to succeed Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria.

On 29 October 2012 the 2,405 members of the Synod of Bishops and the church’s General Lay Council meeting at St. Mark’s Cathedral, in Cairo’s Abbasiya neighborhood cast ballots to select three candidates for the post. Seventeen names had been put forward for consideration by the commission, which narrowed the list to five candidates.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Pastors, Ordained and Lay – The Reason We Are Sent

Via the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans:

The sentence hit me like a ton of bricks. I was re-reading Bonhoeffer’s Life Together when I came across the following:

A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God.  A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men. (Bonhoeffer, Dietrich,  Life Together, Harper and Row, 1954, p. 29.)

What? A pastor can’t complain about his church? I thought that was a natural right of ministers. What else would we pray about if we couldn’t explain to God we would be much better ministers if we were only at a different church? What would we talk about to our pastor friends if we couldn’t complain about our churches?

OK, let’s get real. I’m no Pollyanna. I’ve been doing what I do for a long time. There’s nothing about a Baptist church I haven’t seen or heard.  Like Paul, all of us bear on our bodies (and souls) the marks of ministry.

But can we at least reframe the question? Perhaps the question isn’t, “What’s wrong with these people?” Maybe the question we should ask is, “Why am I sent to them?”

with this conclusion:

As I write this, it’s Monday morning and I’m in the office trying to sort through emails and phone messages about hurts and heartbreaks we heard about in yesterday’s services. This is what I do. This is what you do. It’s why we’re here. Broken people are hurting people.

Jesus said sick, wounded, and broken people were the reasons the Father had sent Him. These same people are the reasons He sends us.

I know a number of you who read this are also pastors/ministers – both ordained and equivalent or doing the hard yards of lay ministry. We often have moments where the people we are looking after are just plain difficult – let’s not pretend otherwise. This is a healthy reminder that those moments are purely avenues for our frustration, they’re the very reason we’re sent.


3-2-1 Gospel Presentation



Sandy… The End

A rainbow signals the recovery process in New York:

The Creator is ever at work….

Vatican Open to a Lutheran Ordinariate

Anglican Ink:

The Vatican is open to creating an ecclesial jurisdiction for Lutherans who wish to join the Roman Catholic Church but preserve aspects of their liturgical and ecclesial patrimony, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has said. In an interview with Zenit published on 24 Oct 2012, Cardinal Kurt Koch said the Vatican would entertain creating a structure similar to the Anglican Ordinariate for Lutherans.

Such a structure was possible due to a convergence of beliefs on certain doctrinal issues, Cardinal Koch said, as progress had been made in the ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans in Germany.

He noted that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed in August of 1999 had been a “great step forward in the ecumenical dialogue with Lutherans,” and the current talks were centered round discussing the “ecclesiological consequences” of the declaration.

However, “evangelicals have another understanding of the Church” as  compared to Catholics. “It is not enough mutually to recognize one another as a Church. What is needed is a serious theological dialogue on what constitutes the essence of the Church.”

Asked if the Vatican would offer Lutherans an option akin to Anglicanorum coetibus, Cardinal Koch said this was possible.  However he stated he wanted to make it clear that the Anglican Ordinariate not an initiative of Rome, but came from the Anglican Church.”

“The Holy Father sought a solution” to this request for union from Anglicans and subsequently found a “broad solution” where Anglicans “ecclesial and liturgical traditions were taken into ample consideration. If similar desires are expressed by the Lutherans, then we will have to reflect on them. However, the initiative is up to the Lutherans,” Cardinal Koch said.

The Vatican has created three personal ordinariates over the past two years for former Anglicans: the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for England and Wales, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter for North America, and the Personal Ordinariate of the Southern Cross for Australia.  Approximately 100 former Anglican clergy and 8 former Anglican bishops have been received and re-ordained to serve the congregations, whose members number approximately 4000.


Nature and Nature’s God

Via Meadia:

While the lights went out across Manhattan tonight, and the city that calls itself the capital of the world was cut off from the mainland as flood waters thundered through its streets, many people around the world watched the spectacle and were reminded just how fragile the busy world we humans build around us really is.

Manhattan is one of those places where nature seems mostly held at bay. Except for the parks, oases of carefully preserved nature deliberately shaped by the hand of man, every inch of the city’s surface has been covered by something manmade. The valleys have been exalted, the mountains laid low and the rough places plain.

Those who live and do their business there pay very little attention to the natural world most of the time. It can be hard to get a taxi in the rain, and the occasional winter snowstorm forces a brief halt to the city’s routine, but the average New Yorker’s attention is on the social world, not the world of nature. What’s happening to your career, your bank account, your friendships and loved ones, the political scene and the financial markets: those are the concerns that occupy the minds of busy urbanites on their daily rounds.

Into this busy, self involved world Hurricane Sandy has burst. Sharks have been photographed (or at least photo shopped) swimming in the streets of New Jersey towns; waves sweep across the Lower East Side; transformers explode on both sides of the Hudson as salt water surges into the tunnels and subways. For a little while at least, New Yorkers are reminded that we live in a world shaped by forces that are bigger than we are; tonight it is easy to identify with the sentiments in John Milton’s paraphrase of Psalm 114:

Shake earth, and at the presence be aghast Of him that ever was, and aye shall last, That glassy floods from rugged rocks can crush, And make soft rills from the fiery flint-stones gush.

Soon, though, the winds will die down and the waters recede. The bridges will open, the roads will be repaired, the water will be pumped from the subways and service restored. New Yorkers will go back to their normal pursuits and Hurricane Sandy will fade into lore.

But events like this don’t come out of nowhere. Sandy isn’t an irruption of abnormality into a sane and sensible world; it is a reminder of what the world really is like. Human beings want to build lives that exclude what we can’t control — but we can’t.

Hurricane Sandy is many things; one of those things is a symbol. The day is coming for all of us when a storm enters our happy, busy lives and throws them into utter disarray. The job on which everything depends can disappear. That relationship that holds everything together can fall apart. The doctor can call and say the test results are not good. All of these things can happen to anybody; something like this will happen to us all.

Somewhere in the future, each of us has an inescapable appointment with irresistible force. For each one of us, the waters will someday rise, the winds spin out of control, the roof will come off the house and the power will go out for good.

We can protect ourselves from a storm like Sandy by taking proper precautions; at the Mead manor we have candles, firewood and food stocked against the possibility that our power will go out. But one day, dear reader, a storm is coming which neither you nor we can survive. The strongest walls, the sturdiest retirement plans stuffed with stocks and CDs, the best doctors cannot protect us from that final encounter with the force that made and will someday unmake us.

Coming to terms with that reality is the most important thing that any of us can do. A storm like this one is an opportunity to do exactly that. It reminds us that what we like to call ‘normal life’ is fragile and must someday break apart. If we are wise, we will take advantage of this smaller, passing storm to think seriously about the greater storm that is coming for us all.

A grand and powerful woman I once knew died after two encounters with cancer and a devastating stroke took her from the realm of normal life into the storm tossed waters that surround us all on every side. She’d never been a religious woman and, growing up in a segregated South where so many churches and churchgoers defended a brutal system of institutionalized injustice and cruelty, she was always a rebel against the conventional piety and ritualized religious life she saw around her.

But late in her life when the winds around her howled and the dark waters were rising, she was driven to face the truth behind the illusions and the pretense, and told the person she loved best in all the world that “I’ve made my peace with God.”

That is something we all need to do. It involves a recognition of our helplessness and insufficiency before the mysteries and limits of life. Like the First Step in the Twelve Step programs, it begins with an acknowledgment of failure and defeat. We each try to build a self-sufficient world, a sturdy little life that is proof against storms and disasters — but none of us can really get that done.

Strangely, that admission of weakness opens the door to a new kind of strength. To acknowledge and accept weakness is to ground our lives more firmly in truth, and it turns out that to be grounded in reality is to become more able and more alive. Denial is hard work; those who try to stifle their awareness of the limits of human life and ambition in the busy rounds of daily life never reach their full potential.

To open your eyes to the fragility of life and to our dependence on that which is infinitely greater than ourselves is to enter more deeply into life. To come to terms with the radical insecurity in which we all live is to find a different and more reliable kind of security. The joys and occupations of ordinary life aren’t all there is to existence, but neither are the great and all-destroying storms. There is a calm beyond the storm, and the same force that sends these storms into our lives offers a peace and security that no storm can destroy. As another one of the psalms puts it, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Accepting your limits and your dependence on things you can’t control is the first step on the road toward finding that joy.

More here.


Still More on Archbishop John Hepworth…

The bloggers are rehashing the Archbishop John Hepworth situation today:

The official TAC position (lest we forget in all the natter), a Statement from The Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Re: John Hepworth, is here.

The Traditional Anglican Communion


The Tribunal of the Traditional Anglican Communion comprising Archbishop Samuel Prakash (India), Bishop Craig Botterill (Canada) and Bishop Brian Marsh (USA) on 6 October 2012 examined the charges brought by eight (8) Bishops against Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth under Section 10 of the Concordat of the Traditional Anglican Communion, and delivered the verdict that Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth was guilty as charged.

The following sanction was imposed:


2. THAT all licences for any EPISCOPAL or PRIESTLY function within any affiliated church of the TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION, be with immediate effect withdrawn.

Charges under Section 6 of the Concordat are now being considered by the College of Bishops against Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth.

South Africa
17th October 2012

Bishop Michael Gill
Secretary to the College of Bishops
Traditional Anglican Communion


That is where we stand at present. There is nothing new to report as yet.


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