Church

Anglican Church in North America College of Bishops Meet

With not even a mention of the Continuing Anglican Churches and their appeal.

The Anglican Church in North America’s College of Bishops dedicated a week to meet together in Orlando, Florida under the leadership of the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate, to worship, pray, take counsel together and do Bible study.

The College was blessed to have a number of special guests, including two dozen of the bishops’ wives. Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali served as Biblical expositor, focusing on Ephesians and how it shapes our ministry to share the transforming love of Jesus Christ in North America.

The College was also honored by the presence and witness of Bishop Azad Marshall of the Anglican Diocese of Iran.  Throughout the week, the Bishops pursued healthy ways of working together that foster greater unity in Christ while honoring the diverse styles and ministries of the dioceses. The College received reports from task forces on a variety of topics…

Virtue has the whole thing. Highlights (for me):

… discuss the arguments, pro and con, related to the ordination of women, considering the relevant Scriptural texts and historical arguments, and reviewing studies conducted within and without the Anglican tradition…

The Ecumenical Relations Task Force

The Ecumenical Relations Task Force, chaired by the Rt. Rev. Ray R. Sutton, reported a number of exciting new developments. In its work with catholic jurisdictions, the Task Force was told by the second highest ranking bishop in the Russian Orthodox Church, the Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, that Orthodox dialogue with the Anglican Communion in North America would be directed through the Anglican Church in North America. In addition, Archbishop Robert Duncan and Bishop Sutton were invited with Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Anglican Primate of Kenya and Chair of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON/FCA), to have a public audience in Rome with Pope Benedict XVI on November 28, 2012. The delegation was cordially and graciously received and it was an occasion for good conversation. It is hoped that this visit will foster enhanced relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

On the evangelical side of the kingdom of God, new efforts have begun with Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters. CMJ-USA, whose National Director is the Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton, former Canon to Archbishop Duncan, is partnering with ten ACNA congregations to launch pilot programs for reaching Jewish people with the Gospel. Already Messianic Jewish congregations have begun to meet in several ACNA parishes.

In other work with evangelicals, the Rev. Canon Phil Ashey related how a new ecumenical coalition of confessing Christians has formed, with representatives from Evangelical Presbyterians, Good News Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans and other evangelical groups…

More here.

Perhaps Bishops Hewett, Grundorf, Marsh, Haverland and Robinson (who has already backtracked on his signing of the ACNA letter) need to get their own act together before dictating to approaching the ACNA?

Nice one for the CMJ.

 

Church

Bishop Justin Welby Becomes Archbishop of Canterbury-elect

On the official website:

A medieval ceremony has begun the process of the Rt Revd Justin Welby becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The College of Canons of Canterbury Cathedral has unanimously elected Bishop Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

The 35-strong College of Canons, made up of senior clergy and lay people from the Diocese of Canterbury, met at Canterbury Cathedral’s 14th-century Chapter House to take part in the formality, which dates back more than 1000 years.

The process of electing the next Archbishop of Canterbury by the cathedral community is enshrined within its constitution and can only take place once a Congé d’Élire and Letter Missive from the Crown has been received.

The ceremony was chaired by the Dean of Canterbury, Robert Willis. As is traditional, the candidate was not invited to attend the ceremony, and only one name featured on the ballot sheet for the College of Canons to select.

The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral Reverend Dr Robert Willis said: “The decision we made this morning is taken formally to London.

“In St Paul’s Cathedral on February 4, I shall present this to the Queen’s commission.

“They will say that is valid, legal and right and at that moment Justin Welby becomes in all powers the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

 

Church

Psalm-sung Galaxy?

Creideamh (pronounced ‘kray-jif’), Gaelic for ‘Faith’:

Since losing the bulk of my books in my study fire a couple of years ago, I have become increasingly appreciative of the amount of material suitable for a preacher’s library which is available online.

In particular, Amazon Kindle and Logos have been regular friends of mine in the past couple of years. Not only does e-publishing allow me to carry my library with me almost anywhere, but it affords me the ability to compress a thousand volumes into the size of a handheld mobile phone.

Not, of course, that there is any substitute whatsoever for the printed page. I still find myself searching for the hardcopies of books which I imagine still to be on my shelves, only to find that they are gone; I am still grieving their loss. On the other hand, with a couple of clicks on a keyboard, books can be located, searched and incorporated into great sermons. And into bad ones too, of course.

But I recently received notification from Logos – an oustanding developer of Bible software – that they are to make it possible for congregations to participate in the worship experience from their seat via their mobile phone.

I kid you not. Picture this scenario: I am in full flow unpacking the depths of the biblical narrative, with a power point presentation to accompany my sermon (and make it more interesting). I could stop at a slide and survey the congregation; a piece of software in my computer could send a signal to a special app on the mobile phones of my technologically-savvy congregation; they, in turn could feed back their answers to me in a milli-second and I could incorporate their views into my presentation!

Great, no?

Well … much as I appreciate the power of technology and the revolution that has taken place in the electronic processing of information, I do want to pause for a moment. I’m not convinced that power point is an aid to worship in the first place; and nor do I think that the time it consumes to prepare the slides necessary for a sermon-accompanying presentation is worth it.

I may be old-fashioned, but if a sermon is good it needs no visual aid to support it; and if it is bad, no power point presentation can salvage it. This is not to decry those who feel that it is a necessary aid to worship in the twenty-first century; no doubt some preachers use it very effectively. I know I could not, and will not be in a hurry to introduce it to my church services.

And as for audience participation via mobile phone? I think not. For one thing, such a thing would require everyone to possess the proper equipment; how shall the have nots be included in the electronic participation? I am not sure that the costs of keeping abreast with all the technology and incorporating them into worship services are worth it. It is a bit like fighting Goliath in Saul’s armour.

But I would be afraid that the whole thing would spiral out of control. What’s to stop people being distracted by their handheld computers while the preacher is engaged in the the art of sacred rhetoric? Could the provision for audience participation via mobile technology become a cover for listening to some other, more attractive preacher? And what if the congregational feedback was not what you expected? The ability to adapt quickly to the response of the congregation is not anywhere listed in the New Testament as a requirement for ministry.

And nor is expertise in the use of modern technology (although I guess St Paul’s wish to become all things to all men comes close). Helpful as the new science is, it can be a good servant but a bad master. It demands financial investment, technical expertise and patient preparation if it is to function as a means of communication rather than an end in itself.

Now that I am in my fiftieth year, I can start sentences with ‘I remember when….’; and I certainly remember when bulky tape recorders – in the churches that were prepared to admit them – made their first appearance. That was as much of a concession to technology as some churches were willing to make. And it was a good concession, extending ministry to the housebound, as well as preserving an archive of the best material.

I just wonder whether, in our modern age, we have allowed our gadgets to dictate our behaviours, even in so fundamental a matter as worship. I have a copy of the Psalms and several versions of the Bible on my phone; I would have no hesitation in using it as my pew Bible. But that’s all. Faith comes by hearing, and I would still rather have my mind stretched by articulate, fluent, logical preaching, than achieve my self-worth in worship through the use of my mobile phone just for the sake of belonging to a cutting-edge church.

Having said all that, I shall now go away and see what is happening on Twitter; I may even come across a quotation or two for next Sunday’s sermons, and add a couple of books to my electronic library before the week is out. But when it comes to morning worship next Lord’s Day, I shall enter the pulpit as a herald of heavenly things, not a connoisseur of modern mobile technology.

 

Culture

Will South Africans Ever Be Shocked by Rape?

The BBC:

At a time when Indians are re-examining their society in the light of a single, horrific incident of gang rape, South Africa seems numb – unable to muster much more than a collective shrug in the face of almost unbelievably grim statistics – seemingly far worse than India’s.

Here almost 60,000 rapes are reported to the police each year – more than double the number in India, in a far smaller country.

Experts believe the true figure is at least 10 times that – 600,000 attacks

It is not that the issue is ignored – far from it.

This week South African newspapers are carrying gruesome stories of what is being described as a new trend – the rape of elderly grandmothers, mostly in rural communities…

Read the rest including a video report here.

 

Church

Suggestions for Anglo-Catholic Union

Fr Anthony Chadwick has them:

… The ideal of an Anglo-Catholic union is that it would be a single episcopal synod, where bishops get together, get their act together, and make mutual decisions about jurisdictional matters, and if necessary, a reduction of the number of bishops in proportion to the numbers of parishes in each diocese. That would be the most credible objective, but perhaps one that could be achieved in a number of stages…

If the TAC could get together with the ACC and the APA, that would give a large and credible communion, even better if other Anglo-Catholic communions like the Diocese of the Holy Cross can be in on it. Once stability is ensured, then perhaps there can be further stages at gaining the confidence of other Christians whether or not they identify with Anglicanism…

Anglo-Catholicism is now going to be more moderate with the transition of the Anglo-Papalists to the Ordinariate. I hope it will not have to be fettered to the Articles and the Prayer Book, a continuation of the old cognitive dissonance from which even moderate Anglo-Catholics have suffered in the past… There are lots of possibilities…

Also, a peaceful parting of the ways between Anglo-Catholics and broad / low Anglicans would free the low churchmen from having to accept doctrines not contained in the old Anglican formularies. It would do them a favour too.

Just a few ideas…

Read it all here.

And as an UPDATEIdeal Characteristics of Anglo-Catholicism.

 

Church

African Anglicans Say Gay Bishops Affirmation ‘Shatters Hopes of Reconciliation’

Anglican leaders in Africa have expressed their outrage over the Church of England’s decision to approve gay bishops in its order, saying that the decision could put an end to hopes of healing broken relationships in the Communion.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, one of the world’s largest provinces of the Anglican Communion with 17 million members, said that the affirmation of gay bishops “could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion,” Reuters reported.

Okoh added that the Church of England has given into “the contemporary idols of secularism and moral expediency,” and that it is “one step removed from the moral precipice we have already witnessed in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada.”

Last week, the House of Bishops of the Church of England announced that it had internally decided to allow gay clergy to serve as bishops if they promise a life of celibacy, even if they are in a same-sex civil partnership.

“All candidates for the episcopate undergo a searching examination of personal and family circumstances, given the level of public scrutiny associated with being a bishop in the Church of England. But these, along with the candidate’s suitability for any particular role for which he is being considered, are for those responsible for the selection process to consider in each case,” the Right Rev. Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said in a statement.

The Rev. James further explained that the presiding members deemed it would be “unjust” to ban gay clergy from serving as bishops if they lived their lives full in accordance with the Church’s teachings on sexual ethics and personal discipline.

Conservative Anglicans protested the decision, however, saying that it broke from traditional stances and that it should have been voted on in the Church’s General Synod, where all bishops would have had a chance to vote on the issue.

The Anglican Communion has been divided greatly over the issue of homosexuality. The Anglican Church of Canada began blessing same-sex couples in 2002, while the U.S. Episcopal Church ordained in 2003 the Rev. Gene Robinson as the first-ever gay bishop. The Church of England had remained moderate on the issue, allowing gay clergy to serve while defending the traditional definition of marriage – but its recent turn to allow gays to move to the highest episcopate rank has been firmly opposed by African church leaders who remain conservative in their positions.

Other African Anglican leaders who have spoken out against gay bishops include the Rev. Stanley Ntagali, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, which has about 8 million Anglicans.

Ntagli said that the Church has taken “a significant step away from that very gospel that brought life, light, and hope to us.”

“This decision violates our biblical faith and agreements within the Anglican Communion,” the Ugandan church leader said. “This decision only makes the brokenness of the communion worse and is particularly disheartening coming from the mother Church.”

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya and the leader of the influential Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, added that the Church of England had compromised “with the secular preoccupations of the West,”the Independent noted.

All this means that the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rev. Justin Welby, has a lot of work in order to bridge the growing divide in the Anglican Communion. Welby has stood behind the Church in its opposition to the U.K. government’s plans to legalize same-sex marriage, but he has also promised to “listen very attentively to the LGBT communities.”

“I am always averse to the language of exclusion, when what we are called to is to love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us. Above all in the church we need to create safe spaces for these issues to be discussed honestly and in love,” Welby has said.