Blogroll Category: Christian Resources

I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading. There are currently 139 posts from the category 'Christian Resources.'

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GAFCON chairman visits Pakistan

Anglican Ink - Fri, 22/11/2019 - 13:08

The chairman of GAFCON, the Most Rev Foley Beach, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, was in Pakistan this week meeting with leaders of the Church of Pakistan and the National Council of Churches of Pakistan.

Speaking at a pastors’ conference on Wednesday, Dr. Beach thanked the Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, the Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters and the president of the NCCP, the Rt. Rev Asad Marshall, Bishop of Raiwind, for the invitation to address the gathering.

According to an account of the meeting published by Pakistan Today, Dr. Beach said he was pleased to be “part of this gathering in Lahore which is interdenominational and well attended by church leaders from across the country.”

He endorsed the work of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan and its vision of uniting pastors “on a united platform to defend the orthodox biblical faith against the onslaught of heretical and liberal teachings,” the newspaper said.

The post GAFCON chairman visits Pakistan appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Fourteen Christmas Resolutions We’ve All Made (in cat gifs)

The Good Book Company - Fri, 22/11/2019 - 11:38

Christmas is here. We know because all the supermarket packaging has snowflakes and holly leaves on it. Even the toilet roll. Nothing, it seems, is impervious to a bit of Christmas cosmetics.

And it’s around this time that we all begin to make the same promise to ourselves—this is the year we finally get Christmas right. We won’t run out of roast potatoes and we’ll finally get around to making that home-made wreath we said we’d make 13 years ago. 

‘The Christmas Promise’, as I like to call it, is one of the best parts of Christmas because, let’s face it, the time we spend preparing for Christmas far outweighs the actual time we spend celebrating Christmas. 

And that’s where the magic is. Once you’ve opened all the presents, sung all the songs and eaten all the food, you already know how Christmas was. But before, well, it’s pregnant with possibilities! 

And yes, I realise, at some point I ought to say that the days of Advent are  actually all about waiting for Jesus’ return, but that’s not this blog (it’s really, really not this blog). 

Instead, this is a blog for the Christmas dreamers and festive schemers. It’s a manifesto to oneself to make it right this time, a resolution  to correct the mistakes of years gone by.

And to celebrate the release of the new Cats musical hitting the cinemas in December, here is everything we’ve ever promised ourselves to get right this year… in cat gifs.

This is the year I won’t leave all my shopping until Christmas Eve 

via GIPHY

This is the year I’m going to write cards to all my family

via GIPHY

This is the year I will hold off from listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas films until December

via GIPHY

This is the year I nail the descant in Hark the Herald angels sing

via GIPHY

This is the year I’m going to invite my neighbours to church

via GIPHY

This is the year the tree won’t be too tall/small/bushy/bare/uneven/lopsided/fake

via GIPHY

This is the year I’m going to eat the orange in my stocking

via GIPHY

This is the year I get presents that show I really know my family 

via GIPHY

This is the year I won’t fill myself up on canapes and nibbles 

via GIPHY

This is the year I stay awake until the end of the film

via GIPHY

This is the year that the Christmas pudding stays on fire a solid 30 seconds

via GIPHY

This is the year the game of Monopoly doesn’t end in tears

via GIPHY

This is the year my auntie will behave herself

via GIPHY

This is the year I’m going to get Christmas right

via GIPHY

 
 
Okay. Maybe that was a tad unrealistic. I know full-well that it will be me again who ends up raiding the local convenience store for presents on Christmas Eve to place under my wonky tree after having spent most of November wasting precious shopping time watching badly made Christmas films on the Hallmark channel. 

 

I can’t keep all my promises, not even to myself. But there is One who can and will….

The Christmas Promise is a captivating retelling of the Christmas story showing how God kept His promise to send a new King. Superb illustrations by Catalina Echeverri and faithful, Bible-centred story-telling by Alison Mitchell combine to make this a book that both parents and children will love.

This hardback storybook for 3-6s is now also available as a devotional advent calendar and a board book for 2-4s, as well as a colouring and activity book, and a giant colouring poster.
 

Categories: Christian Resources

First step for new Bishop of Bathurst

Anglican Ink - Fri, 22/11/2019 - 00:34

The Bishop-elect of Bathurst, Mark Calder, has been consecrated in Sydney prior to his installation as the new Bishop in the Central West of New South Wales two days later.

Assisted by a large contingent of visiting bishops,  the bishop-elect was consecrated by the Metropolitan of New South Wales Archbishop Glenn Davies at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney on Thursday, 21 November.

The large group of Bishops and other clergy at the service.

The large group of Bishops and other clergy at the service.

Apart from bishops from South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory, there were representatives from Bathurst Diocese as well as members of the Noosa church of which Bishop Calder had been rector.

A stirring charge for the new bishop came from the former Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who spoke from Acts Chapter 20.

“God’s church is precious. Hence the awful responsibility of those called upon to be her pastors, especially presbyters and bishops. They are to ‘to care for the church of God, which he has obtained with his own blood’.”

Dr Jensen spoke of Paul’s example of ministry. “What sort of Bishop do you want? What does the Lord want? The Bible says, a preaching, pastoral, passionate, praying servant of God; humble yet courageous; a truthful soldier who guards the truth; caring for one and yet caring for all; always, by word and deed, pointing to Jesus. We are consecrating a Bishop. Mark has always been a preacher of the good news of the grace of God, but now he has new and heavy responsibilities. The Lord has prepared him for this moment.”

Canon Simon Manchester led prayers for the new Bishop and both Dr Davies and Dr Jensen assured him of continued prayer for his ministry.

“Mark, we will pray for you, and of course for dear Susan. We will pray for the churches. We will pray for those beyond, who do not as yet know the saving grace of God. And we will pray that you will indeed be a Bishop after God’s own heart, for we know that this is your fervent desire, and ours as well.” Dr Jensen said.  

Bishop Calder will be installed to his new position at 11 am Saturday, 23 November at All Saints Cathedral, Bathurst.                                

The post First step for new Bishop of Bathurst appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

A new Bishop for Western Sydney

Anglican Ink - Fri, 22/11/2019 - 00:21

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has announced he has appointed the Rev Gary Koo to be the next Bishop of Western Sydney.

Currently the Senior Minister at St Paul’s, Carlingford & North Rocks, Bishop-designate Koo has extensive experience in multi-congregational churches and in Chinese ministry in the west of Sydney.

The son of Malaysian migrants, Mr Koo was raised an atheist until he decided to follow Jesus while studying medicine at the University of Sydney.

After graduating from Moore Theological College, he served as a pastor and church planter for the Chinese Christian Church Sydney before being appointed to St Paul’s Carlingford & North Rocks, where he has been Rector for seven years.    

“I am delighted that Gary has accepted my offer to become the third Bishop of the Western Region,” Archbishop Davies said. “Gary is an able minister of the word of God with a pastoral heart for people and a desire to see the gospel proclaimed clearly in the Western Sydney region. He has honed his skills at Carlingford over many years but has a broad interest in diocesan matters being a member of the Moore College Council and a former member of the board of Anglicare. Gary has a strong interest in seeing young men and women trained for gospel ministry and has been involved in training young people to use their gifts to expand the kingdom of God. I believe he will be an asset to the episcopal team, and I look forward to working with him.” Dr Davies said.

The Bishop-designate follows the present Bishop, Ivan Lee, who has moved into a new episcopal role to strengthen church growth in the Sydney Diocese.

“To be offered this role is a great honour and privilege. I pray under God I’ll be able to make a real difference for the gospel. I’ve learnt so much from my fifteen years at St Paul’s and I look forward to being able to share some of the things God has taught me and to be a support and encouragement to our brothers and sisters in the West.”

The Rev Gary Koo is married to Pearl and they have two children Tomas (16) and Annabel (14).

The new bishop will be consecrated at a service in Western Sydney’s Regional Cathedral, St John’s, Parramatta on December 20. 

The post A new Bishop for Western Sydney appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

British archbishops election message: Time to ‘leave our echo chambers’ and listen to others

Anglican Ink - Fri, 22/11/2019 - 00:17

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are urging voters to “honour the gift of truth” as they engage in political debate in the run-up to the General Election.

While the idea that people should stand up for the truth and “challenge falsehoods when we hear them”, is the election message for age of social media from Archbishops Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu.

In a pastoral letter to the Church of Englan, they encourage people to play their part in the political process but – crucially – to “leave our echo chambers” to listen to those with different viewpoints.

The letter, which the Archbishops hope will be shared in local churches during the campaign, calls on people to engage responsibly on social media and uphold the Christian values of truth, humility and love.

“As followers of Jesus Christ each of us is called to honour the gift of truth, both to speak it and to seek it,” they say.

“We all have a responsibility to speak accurately, to challenge falsehoods when we hear them, and to be careful to separate facts from opinion.”

But they add that this must be done with humility and in love. “People who hold different political views are not our enemies,” they say.

The message also calls on Christians to reject the “language of prejudice” noting particularly at a time when several groups – especially in Jewish and Muslim communities – feel threatened.

And it urges Christians to pray for those who stand for office, recognising the responsibilities they face and personal sacrifices they make.

The full text of the Archbishops’ election message can be found here.

Watch a video here

The post British archbishops election message: Time to ‘leave our echo chambers’ and listen to others appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Five Toronto Clergy propose Shared Episcopal Ministry in Open Letter to House of Bishops

Anglican Ink - Thu, 21/11/2019 - 22:51
An Open Letter to the House of Bishops November 14, 2019

A simple question:

If the clergy of Toronto were asked, “How many of you wish to be part of a region where your ministry will be conducted within the boundaries of the doctrine, discipline, liturgy and canons of the church?,” how many would say ‘yes’? Likely a third. Probably more.

The question is asked because a clear choice now exists. If Toronto’s 2019 Diocesan Synod is the example, the ruling ethos of the diocese, led by a very talented and likeable bishop, is demonstrably outside those boundaries.

Using experimental liturgies and hymns that abandon the “common prayer” of the church,

. . . living by the open sexual ethic of the local option,

. . . in public defiance of the church’s canons

. . . according to a faith that is unrecognizable by the received standards of the Christian faith and indistinguishable from the secular mores of Canada’s cultural elite.

And, not insignificantly, having failed completely regarding one of its most cherished dreams – diversity! In the time that membership in the ACC fell from 1.3 million to 350,000, down to less than 100,000 in average Sunday attendance, Canada’s population doubled. Where the ACC once represented 7% of the population, that number has now dropped to 1%.

There are two ways forward. The first is the status quo. If you choose 1960 as the starting point, it has 60 years of decline behind it. It was a time when that which was held in common – doctrine, discipline, canons and liturgy – shrank dramatically, and the outer boundaries grew apart, to the extent that they are no longer recognizable to each other.

The second is to recognize that the outer limits cannot, at present, be contained in the same body because the resulting tension is both destructive and fatal. It is to declare a 20-year ceasefire and to give what has become two distinct realms the freedom to conduct their ministries according to their truest lights and to show the fruit of their ministry. Call it the Gamaliel experiment. Keep it simple. For the sake of the unity of the church, limit the division to bishops and clergy. Parishes would retain a certain independence and remain able, as they now are, to seek and request a change in direction when a successor is appointed.

Let the experimental party be guided by their self-declared bishops.

And let that party seeking to live within the boundaries of the received doctrine, discipline, liturgy and canons of the church fall under the oversight of bishops publicly committed to upholding the received teaching of the Church. Communion Partners and Communion Partner bishops is one example ready to hand. They are a body already active in Canada, recognized communion wide and capable of maintaining order and oversight according to the received faith of the church.

Why 20 years? Because the best prediction says 2040 is when we close up shop, anyway. If this is the last leg of the journey, would it not be better to have the two realms in a state of peaceful co-existence, serving at full strength, to be judged by the fruit of their ministry for the sake of Christ and his Church?

We place this proposal – our own – before the whole House of Bishops to consider.

Ajit John+

Murray Henderson+

Dean Mercer+

Ephraim Radner+

Catherine Sider-Hamilton+

The post Five Toronto Clergy propose Shared Episcopal Ministry in Open Letter to House of Bishops appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Barbara C. Harris Center settlement agreement closes embezzlement case

Anglican Ink - Thu, 21/11/2019 - 22:44

The Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center in Greenfield, New Hampshire, will receive a little over $300,000 under an Oct. 30 settlement agreement, bringing to a close the embezzlement case involving the center’s former bookkeeper, Beverly Morello, which has been in progress for nearly two years.

The settlement money is to be paid over an eight-year period at five percent interest.

The settlement is in addition to the restitution that the Hillsborough County Superior Court ordered in May, in the amount of $650,000, along with a one-year jail sentence for Morello and eight years of probation.

While the settlement does not restore the full amount stolen from the center over a period of approximately seven years, the Executive Committee of the center’s Board of Directors, its legal counsel and the Charitable Division of the New Hampshire Office of the Attorney General believe it to be the best possible and most realistic outcome.

“We believe that we have done our best possible diligence toward recovery of funds, and we are confident that, with this settlement agreement in place, the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center can now move forward and flourish in its ministry of hospitality, recreation, spiritual refreshment and Christian formation, which touches and transforms lives throughout our New England Episcopal Church and beyond,” the president of the center’s Board of Directors, the Rev. Natasha Stewart, said.

Questions arose in late October 2017 about some bookkeeping irregularities at the center. An internal investigation led to the discovery of the embezzlement of funds.  The Board of Directors, through its president and Executive Committee, responded immediately to secure all accounts and to report the situation to the appropriate authorities.

“I want to emphasize to all who participate in and support the Barbara C. Harris Center’s ministry, and all who continue to be served by it, that the Board has been working over these many months with the staff to review procedures and to make sure that appropriately stringent financial controls are being implemented,” Stewart said.

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, has expressed his confidence in the process which has led to the settlement. “I am grateful to our Board members for their diligence, to the professional counsel that has supported them and for all the prayerful support we’ve had along the way,” Gates said. “We emerge from this very challenging situation more committed than ever to the mission of the Barbara C. Harris Center, and all those whose lives are transformed in that remarkable place.”

The Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

The post Barbara C. Harris Center settlement agreement closes embezzlement case appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Diana Butler Bass vs Council of Nicaea

Anglican Ink - Thu, 21/11/2019 - 22:35

Recently liberal Episcopal writer Diana Butler Bass ignited a Twitter storm by recalling how she learned to disdain the Council of Nicaea, which set standards of orthodox doctrine for the early church.

Bass recounted she was studying at Duke University in 1989:

At the time, I was a “just holding on evangelical Episcopalian,” having graduated from an evangelical college and seminary, and having joined an Episcopal church. Politically pretty conservative, but thoughtful. Worried about the future. Wanting to do well in Ph.D. work.

Attending a seminar on the early creeds by Elizabeth Clark, “an extraordinary scholar in early Christianity,” Bass heard what was to her a stunning revelation about Nicaea.

According to Clark, the bishops at Nicaea were “bought & paid for by Constantine” and could not “objectively discuss doctrine.” She insisted: “Emperors don’t defer to bishops. Power works the other way around.”

For Bass, this discrediting of Nicaea “was like a dagger through the heart.” She understood Clark’s point: “the business of the Holy Spirit writing the creed, miraculously guiding the church to particular words explaining Christ, was better understood in terms of political consolidation of imperial power.”

So Nicaea “wasn’t a miracle” but “about people and power and privilege. About controlling outcomes and getting your way. About sin and writing history so that you are the hero.”

This claim by Clark was apparently accepted by Bass uncritically amid great distress, as she recalled: “I was shaking. I didn’t know what to say. After the seminar, I ran to the bathroom and promptly threw up.”

Bass, struggling to salvage her traditional faith, tried initially to persuade herself that Clark was a “wretched liberal who took pleasure in undoing the hope of others.” But she then decided that Clark’s claims were simply “history.” After all, “why wouldn’t Constantine privilege a particular form of theology for political reasons?”

Under Clark’s persuasion, Bass realized that “in the wake of the council, the state exercises political power to exile and execute anyone who disagrees with Constantine’s creed.” Nicaea was simply a manipulation by the state to exploit the church for expanding its own power. “And that was my moment,” Bass tweeted, “In the women’s room at Duke Divinity School throwing up over the political nature of the First Council of Nicaea.”

Bass concluded her tweet narrative:

And yes, I’m still a Christian. One who understands questions of historical inquiry, of the complex motives that animate Christians through the ages. If you are church historian, you understand sin and evil, esp how it works in the church itself.

But does Bass believe the Nicene Creed’s affirmation of Jesus fully divine and human, born of a virgin, crucified unto death, raised from the dead, and set to judge the living and the dead? In her tweets she didn’t say. But why would she or anybody believe a corrupt creed coerced by a manipulative emperor?

Liberal “emergent” writer Brian McLaren hailed Bass for her anti-Nicene tweets:

One of the best threads I’ve read on Twitter this year. Thinking of Constantine in the time of the Evangelical/Catholic Trumpcult seems … eerily and tragically fitting.

It’s not uncommon for some theological liberals to agree with Bass that Nicaea and traditional orthodoxy are tools of oppression against the ostensibly more authentic message of Jesus they discern, with inevitably progressive political implications.

But others responded to Bass by defending Nicaea. Episcopal priest Jonathan Grieser in Madison, Wisconsin questioned whether Nicaea’s bishops would have been so easily coerced:

The outsiders, persecuted bishops, some of them with scars from torture on display, sitting in a room with the emperor whose co-ruler and predecessor had initiated the Great Persecution. Who of them wouldn’t see the will of God in that transformation?

Episcopal priest Mary Ann Hill of Tulsa, Oklahoma responded:

So Clark believed that bishops who had already been defying emperors for three hundred years and coveted the crown of martyrdom, would suddenly roll over for Constantine? How did she account for such a rapid cultural reversal? I mean, this was before Twitter.

United Methodist blogger Thomas Dierson of Birmingham, Al, who self-identities as “exvangelical,” tweeted about Nicaea during the Bass controversy:

Constantine did NOT impose Doctrines or practices on the Christian Church. He actually supported the ARIANS before Nicaea, and his preferred side LOST. He only supported the Trinitarians as a political calculation after the Council turned against Arius in the first session.

Oxford, England, theology student Matthew Benson tweeted:

It honestly seems like DBB’s education began and ended with Nicaea. But the Nicene Creed didn’t emerge in a vacuum, and the Nicene controversy was settled over the course of the following decades with a great deal of free debate among all sides

Methodist preacher Austin Rivera, a Yale PhD student, tweeted:

Believing that Constantine engineered the decisions of the Council of Nicaea doesn’t mean you’ve seen through to the truth of Christianity’s relationship to worldly power. It means you’ve accepted the imperial fantasy that the emperor gets whatever he wants

Presbyterian pastor Nathan Rouster of Erie, PA, tweeted:

At the end of the day, Nicaea asserted that a poor Jew executed by the empire was fully equal to God. I’m aware of and not troubled by the history and politics that led to the council.

Allen Junek, a pro-LGBTQ student at Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Brite Divinity School at Fort Worth, TX, tweeted:

Yes, we need to seriously grapple with the Empire’s meddling in the early Church—but this is a profoundly bad historical take. Much of the material predates Nicaea by at least 150 yrs (Irenaeus 1.10.1). The bishops didn’t conjure the Creed from nothing. They weren’t magicians.

United Methodist Church historian Ryan Danker of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, tweeted:

The First Council of Nicaea was neither a political power-grab nor even creative. It was a declaration of what the Church had always taught, made necessary by a twisted and destructive theology that denied the divinity of the Son.

Some liberal Christians like Bass demonize Nicaea as imperial manipulation to justify their own discomfort with or rejection of orthodoxy. But this narrative is not simply settled “history” as she apparently decided in 1989, but is an ideological critique with its own political implications.

What Bass apparently didn’t learn at Duke University 30 years ago is that earthly powers (including academia) may try to manipulate the Christian message. But the church’s Bridegroom remains sovereign. And His message endures.

The post Diana Butler Bass vs Council of Nicaea appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Numbers Confirm: Anglican Church of Canada is Collapsing

Anglican Ink - Thu, 21/11/2019 - 22:32

The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC), counterpart to the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, will cease to exist by the year 2040 according to numbers recently reported by the denomination. Even more dramatically, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is on the verge of overtaking the ACoC in attendance.

“There is no sign of any stabilisation in our numbers; if anything the decline is increasing,” noted the Rev. Dr. Neil Elliot in a statistical report presented to the Canadian House of Bishops. “Some had hoped that our decline had bottomed out, or that programs had been effective in reversing the trends.  This is now demonstrably not the case.”

The report includes the first comprehensive set of official statistics since the early 2000s. Data confirms anecdotal stories from across much of the Canadian church that Anglican Christianity is vanishing there. In 1962 (the height of Anglican participation) the ACoC reported more than 1.3 million members, out of a total Canadian population of approximately 18 million, seven percent of Canadians affiliated with the Anglican Church. By 2017, Canada’s population had risen to more than 35 million (+94%) but only 357,123 members were counted on the rolls of the Anglican Church there, 1 percent of the population.

A tip of the hat to David Jenkins of the Anglican Samizdat blog: Jenkins first broke news of the report prior to its official release. Since that time, the Christian PostReligion News ServiceVirtue Online and even Episcopal News Service have posted about the numerical decline in the Canadian Anglican church.

New attendance figures are striking: in 2017, the Anglican Church of Canada had an average Sunday attendance of 97,421. For context, the Anglican Church of North America (which partly overlaps geographically with the ACoC) reported an average Sunday attendance of 93,489 this past year. The ACNA through its Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) diocese and The Reformed Episcopal Church’s Canadian convocations now has congregations in every Canadian province with the exception of Prince Edward Island.

Obviously this comes with a major caveat: the ACNA also has congregations in the United States and Mexico, which the ACoC does not. In order to offer an “apples to apples” comparison, we can add the Average Sunday Attendance of the ACoC to the same for the Episcopal Church in 2017 (553,927) for a total attendance of 651,348 between the two neighboring churches. The ACNA’s 93,489 figure is about 15 percent the size of the combined ACoC and TEC attendance figure, but a consistent trajectory is visible: the two liberal Anglican provinces are consistently declining, while the ACNA has for its first 10 years reported consistent growth.

Attendance is one objective metric when evaluating church vitality. Figures for baptism, marriage, and total number of clergy are also relevant. According to the ACoC report, the church listed 5,441 baptisms in 2017 (down from 13,304, or 59%, in 2001) and 2,071 marriages the same year (down from 6,009, or 66%, in 2001) and 3,491 clergy (down from 3,675, or 5%, in 2001).

As Jenkins wrote, the Anglican Church of Canada is declining faster than any other Province within the worldwide Anglican Communion other than TEC, which has an even greater rate of decline.

Check out the entire ACoC report here and access the raw data here.

The post Numbers Confirm: Anglican Church of Canada is Collapsing appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Move to block election of conservative Irish bishop defeated

Anglican Ink - Thu, 21/11/2019 - 16:56
The Irish House of Bishops meeting in Dublin on 20 Nov 2019 confirmed the appointment of the Ven. David McClay, Archdeacon of Down, as Bishop–designate of the Diocese of Down and Dromore.  His consecration is planned for late January in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.

The announcement follows an unprecedented move by liberal Irish clergy to persuade the bishops to block the election of Archdeacon McClay on the grounds that his support of the GAFCON movement made him unfit to be a bishop.

In a letter published in the Irish Times on Monday, accompanied with a supporting news story, the liberal clergy wrote:

Dear Members of the House of Bishops,

Archdeacon David McClay has been elected as potential Bishop of Down and Dromore, the largest diocese in the Church of Ireland. His election will need to be confirmed by the House of Bishops on Wednesday, 20th November, to come into effect. The following does not impugn his sterling work in parochial ministry, but raises real concerns regarding the appropriateness of his membership of the Council of Gafcon Ireland (Global Anglican Future Conference) in relation to his election as bishop.

In the rite of Consecration of a Bishop, bishops must commit to:

“share with their fellow bishops a special responsibility to maintain and further the unity of the church

“promote unity, peace, and love among all Christian people

“guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church

“help the oppressed

“unite its members in a holy fellowship of truth and love

“use one’s authority to heal, not to hurt, to build up, not to destroy

(Book of Common Prayer pp.574- 583)”

The policies of Gafcon are antithetical to these principles of fostering unity, care for the oppressed, and building up the people of God in all their spiritual and sexual diversity.

Gafcon, founded in 2008, is a movement to outlaw same-sex marriages, the ordination of LGBTQ+ people, proclaiming itself as the unique upholder of biblical orthodoxy and systematically undermining the global diversity and unity of Anglicanism.

1. As recently as June 2019, in a taskforce on Women in the Episcopate, it recommended that “the provinces of Gafcon should retain the historic practice of the consecration only of men as bishops”.

2. In Ireland, all extant Christian practice is under question. Gafcon Ireland has stated that Gafcon Ireland has Theological Education and Church Planting as its two main objectives. On an island of approximately 6.6 million people, vast swathes are without faithful gospel witness. We seek to train and deploy those who will preach and build churches. Is ecumenism to be replaced by proselytisation?

3. Thirty years ago the Church of Ireland voted for the ordination of women as deacons, priests and bishops. Is this now to come under question? How could Archdeacon McClay possibly accept a woman as his colleague in the House of Bishops or uphold the doctrine of the Church of Ireland on women in the episcopacy?

4. Who will decide the agenda of his episcopacy, Gafcon or the General Synod the Church of Ireland? One cannot serve two masters.

5. We urge the House of Bishops to exercise spiritual leadership and not confirm this appointment.

Signatories:

Revd John Ardis, Revd Canon Dr John Bartlett, Revd Grace Clunie, Revd Eileen Cremin, Revd Andrew McCroskery, Revd Canon Prof Patrick Comerford, Revd Canon Ian Coulter, Revd Olive Donohoe, The Very Revd Dermot Dunne, Revd Victor Fitzpatrick, Revd Canon Barbara Fryday, Revd Jane Galbraith, Revd Mark Gardner, Very Revd Susan Green, Revd Canon Sonya Gyles, Revd Cathy Hallissey, Very Revd Maria Jansson, Revd Canon Virginia Kennerley, Revd Jason Kernohan, Very Revd David Mac Donnell, Revd Canon Arthur Minion, Revd Dr Christine O’Dowd Smythe, Revd Dr Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Revd Ása Björk Ólafsdóttir, Revd Canon Katharine Poulton, Revd Charles Mullen, Revd Canon Elaine Murray, Revd Canon Ben Neill, Revd Stephen Neill, Revd Lesley Robinson, Revd Canon Marie Rowley-Brooke, Revd Canon Nigel Sherwood, Revd Aisling Shine, Very Revd Niall Sloane, Revd Nigel Waugh, Revd Canon Paul Willoughby

The post Move to block election of conservative Irish bishop defeated appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Australian bishops issue communique: “Testing Times”

Anglican Ink - Thu, 21/11/2019 - 16:42

The Bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia met this week in Melbourne to discuss the growing crisis in the national church precipitated by the decision of the synods of Wangaratta and Newcastle to legislate for a liturgy of blessing for those in same-sex marriage. At the conclusion of their meeting they issued the following communiqué:

The “one-and-a-half-day conference” is more than likely to be superseded by another “special session” of General Synod called by conservatives members in order to not just discuss questions of human sexuality but to pass motions.

davidould.net has been told tonight (but not yet confirmed) that the Standing Committee of the General Synod, which originally called a “special session” to deal only with legislation around child protection (thereby avoiding motions on human sexuality), has decided to rescind that decision and revert to a general session. We will confirm that decision if we can.

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Church of England teaching document calls for repentance over role of Christians in centuries of antisemitism

Anglican Ink - Thu, 21/11/2019 - 16:39

Christian theology played a part in the stereotyping and persecution of Jewish people which ultimately led to the Holocaust, a new reflection on Christian-Jewish relations issued by the Church of England acknowledges.

The teaching document, entitled God’s Unfailing Word, is the first authoritative statement on the subject from the Church of England. It speaks of attitudes towards Judaism over many centuries as providing a “fertile seed-bed for murderous antisemitism”.

It urges Anglicans and other Christians not only to repent of the “sins of the past” towards their Jewish neighbours but to be alert to and actively challenge such attitudes or stereotypes.

The document, published by the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, encourages Christians to rediscover the relationship of “unique significance” between the two faiths, worshipping one God, with scriptures shared in common.

The Christian-Jewish relationship should be viewed as a “gift of God to the Church” to be received with care, respect and gratitude, it makes clear.

Christians should, therefore, be mindful of the difficult history of the two faiths and apply sensitivityin the use of some passages of scripture and liturgy, hymns and art as well as in sharing their faithwith Jewish people and in discussions about Israel.

The document includes an honest and challenging afterword by the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, in which he speaks of “profound friendship” but also a “substantial misgiving” on the question of evangelism.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, responds in a foreword, describing the Chief Rabbi’s reflection as doing Anglicans a “great service” and making clear that Christians sharing their faith must do so with “gentleness and grace” and recognising the “weight of that history”.

The Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Faith and Order Commission, said: “Assumptions about Judaism and Jewish people, past and present, colour Christian approaches to preaching, teaching, evangelism, catechesis, worship, devotion and art, whether or not Christian communities are conscious of their Jewish neighbours, near and far; teasing out those assumptions and exploring them theologically is therefore a challenge that pertains to the whole Church.

“That challenge is also, however, a precious opportunity. As the first ‘principle’ underpinning this report states, we are convinced that ‘the Christian-Jewish relationship is a gift of God to the Church, which is to be received with care, respect and gratitude, so that we may learn more fully about God’s purposes for us and all the world’.”

The teaching document entitled God’s Unfailing Word is available as a PDF here.

The post Church of England teaching document calls for repentance over role of Christians in centuries of antisemitism appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Are You Bored With The Nativity?

The Good Book Company - Thu, 21/11/2019 - 10:16

Confession time: I don’t particularly like Christmas. I think it goes back to my days as a local church minister with a young family. Somehow all the pre-Christmas stresses of presents (I get so anxious trying to find the right presents), food preparation, family gatherings, with the extra pressure of all those Carol Services, school nativities and then Christmas Day services, just when others begin to relax – it all got to me and I used to dread it.

As a young Christian – thrilled with what Jesus did for me on the Cross – I used to struggle also with all that talk about the Incarnation at Christmas (some of it from ministers who had vague ideas about “incarnational ministry” without really believing in the Atonement). Let’s get on to Good Friday and Easter Day, I used to feel; let’s not dwell on Jesus the sweet little baby and all that sentimental stuff. It just gives grown-up unbelievers the impression that Christianity is for little children.

Maybe you are bored with the nativity. Another December, another setting up of the crib, getting out the toy angels, shepherds, and kings, more random Christmas cards, same old, same old…

Let the nativity run deep into your Christmas celebrations

I want to encourage you, this December, to throw your boredom out the window and drink the bracing fresh air of the true nativity of Jesus, with all its depth and wonder. Let me urge you to be intentional about some serious meditation on the real meaning of the birth of Jesus. Don’t be afraid to think hard about what it meant and what it still means. Don’t shy away from facing the deep questions: what does it mean to say that the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, took on human flesh? What does it mean to say that Jesus Christ, in his one undivided person, was possessed of a fully divine nature and a fully human nature, without the two mixing? What actually happened at that astonishing moment – the most astonishing moment in human history – in the hiddenness of Mary’s womb?

Don’t be frightened to ask some deep questions about the Person and Work of God the Holy Spirit and his intimate relationship with the Son, just as you ask again about the intimate relationship of the Son with the Father.

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When you do all that you will find that the conception and birth of Jesus becomes a wonderful – and, for many of us, fresh – opportunity to deepen your grasp of the gospel. I hope you know the gospel, believe the gospel, stake your life on the gospel. But however much you and I understand the gospel, there is always space for more depth; for the gospel is deeper than we can ever imagine. Give yourself time to think, to ponder, to talk with others, to wonder, to bow your heart in worship before the Father who sent his only Son, before the Son who took on flesh for us, before the Holy Spirit by whose agency Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb.

Fresh gospel opportunities

But a fresh breathing of true nativity air will not only be good for you. If you have children, or grandchildren, or nephews and nieces, or you are an adoptive uncle or aunt to children, the nativity is an opportunity to teach them the gospel. If you and I just go with the sentimental flow of our vaguely Christianized secular Christmas culture, our children will learn nothing – nothing, that is, essentially different from what they learn through Santa Claus or The Snowman. But if you talk to them about the true and deep meaning of the nativity, even if they don’t fully understand it (and they won’t), you will be introducing them to the Savior of the world. Don’t feel that you have to dumb it all down; don’t be constrained not to say anything a child can’t understand. After all, you and I cannot fully understand the wonder of Christmas. If a child grasps a little and says to herself, “This is wonderful; I wish and hope I may begin to understand it more,” that is so much better than when a child thinks, “This is really babyish and I am already outgrowing it.”

What is more, this is still a moment when outsiders will sometimes listen to the Christian message. We don’t know for how much longer they will listen, but many will listen this year. So let’s take every opportunity to show them – not least by our own sense of fresh wonder – that the Christian gospel is deeply wonderful and true.

Repeat The Sounding Joy is Christopher Ash’s Advent journey through Luke 1 – 2, where he brings these familiar passages to life with fresh insight, color and depth.

As you soak up the Scriptures you’ll experience the joy of Christmas through the eyes of those who witnessed it first hand, from Mary and Elizabeth to the Shepherds and Simeon.

Categories: Christian Resources

North American Lutheran Church Calls New Seminary President

Anglican Ink - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 00:49

Ambridge, Pennsylvania: The North American Lutheran Church (NALC) Executive Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, to call the Rev. Dr. Eric Riesen to serve as the next president of the North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS). The NALS is housed at Trinity School for Ministry, an Anglican seminary headquartered in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, where Riesen formerly served on the Board of Visitors. 

Riesen will follow the Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, STS, who led the seminary as its first president. “I am so thankful for having been called to serve as the president of the NALS during these six years. When the NALC began, we did not have a seminary. Now not only do we have a seminary that is orthodox, confessional, and evangelical, we are flourishing in an ecumenical environment, and we have relationships with a variety of undergraduate schools that will create a ‘pipeline’ of students who will one day serve our NALC churches and mission outposts,” said Schifrin. “All of us at the NALS are excited about the upcoming arrival of our new president, Eric Riesen. I’ve known Pastor Riesen as a respected colleague and friend, and I believe he will be able to lead the NALS into a new season of growth.” 

Riesen is a graduate of Indiana University, Fort Wayne (B.S.), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.A.), Luther Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (D.Min.), where his work focused on the dialogue between theology and science. His dissertation, “When Worldviews Collide: The Christian Faith and the New Genetics,” explores moral and theological questions raised by new genetic technologies. In 2016, the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau published his book, The Christian Faith: A Catechism for the Curious, and he has also written for the online edition of First Things

Riesen is the chair of the NALC Life-to-Life Discipleship Initiative, and also serves on the Commission on Theology and Doctrine, as well as the ACNA/NALC Ecumenical Consultation. He has served on the Candidacy Committee and as the first dean of the Mid-Northeast Mission District. Riesen has been a parish pastor for 34 years, serving four congregations. He served as senior pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Brentwood, Pennsylvania, for 22 years, and most recently as senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Ashland, Ohio.

“The future of the NALC largely depends on pastoral formation. We need men and women who are well-equipped and prepared to engage the culture with the truth of the Gospel. We all know that the culture is changing quickly. Society as a whole is becoming less and less friendly to Christian faith and ethics, and so we need pastors who are formed in the depths of the Great Tradition of Christian faith, and who go into today’s mission field to make disciples,” said Riesen. “Of course, it is not possible fully to form pastors in three or four years of theological and pastoral study. Pastoral formation is a ‘long obedience in the same direction.’ Seminary is a time of intensive learning, but it is only the beginning. My hope, my prayer, and my commitment is to make the North American Lutheran Seminary the finest Lutheran seminary in the country. I covet your prayers as this parish pastor learns what it means to serve the Church by serving the seminary community.” 

Riesen has been married to his wife, Terry, for 43 years. They have three grown children: Erica (Scott), Paul (Jessica), and Tristan (Karleigh). 

“I am pleased that the NALC Executive Council enthusiastically and unanimously supported the recommendation of the NALS Board of Regents after more than a year of much prayer and hard work,” said chair of the board, Dr. Roy Schwarz. The Board of Regents has also announced that outgoing president, Amy Schifrin, has been appointed with the title of president emeritus and that a scholarship fund has been set up in her name to support NALS alumni pursuing doctoral work. 

NALS President-Elect Riesen will assume office effective February 1, 2020. 

The post North American Lutheran Church Calls New Seminary President appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Euangelion! Day 1 of 'Best News Ever'

The Good Book Company - Tue, 19/11/2019 - 09:37

Read Mark 1v1

When was the last time you heard a piece of really incredible news? News so huge and awesome and amazing that you were just  bursting to share it?

Mark’s first readers lived under the rule of the great and powerful Roman Empire. Whenever a new Roman emperor was crowned or when the Romans won a victory over their enemies, a message would go out across the empire: Euangelion!

Euangelion means “Good news!” 

And not just any good news—huge, awesome, amazing, life-changing news!

Mark uses this word to begin his biography of Jesus. Right up front, he wants us to know that the message of Jesus is literally the best news ever!

When you think about your relationship with God, what comes to mind?

For many people, it’s a whole bunch of rules and advice you should follow if you want to get God to like you.

But here Mark tells us that the message of Jesus is something completely different.

It’s not good advice. It’s good news!

The message of Jesus isn’t a list of things you need to do to earn God’s love.

It’s a life-changing announcement of what Jesus has already done for you!

Out of the four biographies of Jesus in the Bible, Mark’s is the most fast-paced and action-packed. The whole time, it’s like Mark can’t write fast enough to get down everything he wants to say—like the good news is bursting out of him:

“Jesus has come! And nothing will ever be the same.”

Has anyone ever shared the message of Jesus with you before? Did they make it sound more like good advice or good news?

Prayer

Lord God, thank you that the good news of Jesus has been so carefully recorded for us in the Bible. As I read Mark’s biography of Jesus, please help me see what Mark was so excited about! Help me see how this euangelion is good news for me too! Amen.

Best News Ever is a devotional that takes tweens aged 9-12 on a 100-day journey through Mark's fast-paced, action-packed story—helping them to understand the confusing bits, showing them how it connects with their life, and bringing them face to face with Jesus: the one who changes everything.

Categories: Christian Resources

Questions for the Gafcon and Global South Leadership — and an Appeal

Anglican Ink - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 15:19

In October 2019, the Global South Anglican Fellowship (formerly GSA Network) issued a communiqué (“Seventh Trumpet”) from its meeting in Cairo, which mentioned the approval of a “Covenantal Structure” (hereafter “GSA Covenant”) for its member churches.

The approval of this Covenant raises serious questions about the confessing movement in Anglicanism which I believe must be answered.

I speak as one who has followed and participated in events in the Anglican Communion, the GSA Network, and Gafcon over the past twenty years. I proposed a strategic revision of the Anglican Communion Covenant to the Gafcon Primates in 2010, and again a joint GSA-Gafcon Covenant to the GSA Primates in 2017 (see Essay 9 in my book The Global Anglican Communion). Both proposals were turned down. I have studied the current GSA Covenant document and the draft Gafcon Constitution (yes, there is one). So I think I am in a position to pose questions to both groups.

Question 1: How are Gafcon and GSA Fellowship different?

Canon Phil Ashey, a member of the GSA Study Group that authored the Covenant document, claims that the approval of the Covenant in Cairo is a unique and “historic” development addressing the “ecclesial deficit” in the Anglican Communion. He implies that the GSA Fellowship “is not saying they are better than Gafcon or want to replace Gafcon.”

So what then is Gafcon? Canon Ashey does not say. Neither the GSA communiqué nor the Covenant mentions Gafcon directly, which leads to the question: how are they different? I have heard several explanations and, frankly, they are not convincing.

Question 2: Has Gafcon approved the GSA Covenant?

GSA claims that since all of the Gafcon Primates were invited to Cairo and the GSA Primates unanimously approved the Covenant, therefore Gafcon has endorsed it as well (N.B.: the Primates of Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya were not present). This is, in my opinion, a logical sleight of hand. Gafcon has its own Primates Council, which meets each year in April. Only this body can officially endorse such a document, with final adoption by a Gafcon Assembly. In fact, the draft GSA Covenant was presented to it in 2018 and 2019, and both times the Gafcon Primates did not endorse it.

I believe there is fault on both sides here. Something as important as the Covenant should have been taken up by Gafcon instead of being shunted aside. But on the other hand, the approval of the Covenant in Cairo appears to be unilateral and preemptive.

Question 3: Why did the GSA refuse to use the Jerusalem Declaration for the “Fundamental Declarations” of the Covenant?

The Jerusalem Declaration is one of the finest fruits of the Gafcon movement. It is widely known. All of the Gafcon Primates on the GSA Primates Council have affirmed the Jerusalem Declaration ex animo, as have those who have attended the Gafcon assemblies. The Anglican Church in North America has printed the Jerusalem Declaration in its Prayer Book among its “Documentary Foundations” (BCP, pages 791-793).

Since I repeatedly urged the GSA Study Group to include the Jerusalem Declaration in this section, I think it is clear that the group chose instead to write its own set of Fundamental Declarations (section 1), and the document makes no reference to the Jerusalem Declaration at all.

I have argued that the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration is, precisely, an ecclesial document (see “Is Gafcon a Church?”). The Covenant claims to remedy an “ecclesial deficit.” Obviously the GSA finds the Jerusalem Declaration deficient. Perhaps they can explain why? Is there a substantive difference between the Fundamental Declarations of the GSA Covenant and the Jerusalem Declaration, and, if so, what is it? If there is no difference, why would the drafters not graciously reach out to Gafcon on this matter.

Question 4: Gafcon and GSA Fellowship both claim the authority to break communion with heretical churches and to recognize replacement churches. Should Gafcon hand over this role to the GSA Fellowship?

In the Jerusalem Declaration (clause 13) Gafcon states: “We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.” Consistent with this principle, the Gafcon Primates invited Anglicans in North America to form an alternative jurisdiction and shortly thereafter admitted the Anglican Church in North America and welcomed its Archbishop to its Primates Council. Later on, the GSA did the same. Gafcon has continued to act on this principle, recognizing one Province (the Anglican Church in Brazil) and seven Branches.

The GSA Covenant now establishes this same principle:

2.1.6 Members of the GSA are in full communion with one another. We recognize the territorial jurisdiction of member Churches of the GSA. We extend our fellowship to confessing Anglican clergy and congregations who seek to promote the Gospel and defend the faith. We recognize and offer episcopal oversight to Anglican congregations, according to the provisions set out in Section 3, in those Churches that have departed from the historic standards of doctrine and morals of the Anglican Church. Our Churches are out of communion with those Churches that allow the blessing of same-sex relationships or purport to solemnise same-sex marriages in their doctrine and practice or admit to holy orders those in same-sex unions, and those churches that pursue other significant departures from Biblical teaching.

Let’s be clear: the GSA covenant is claiming a primary loyalty and authority among its members. It is reducing the official “Instruments of Unity” to a secondary status and is in effect superseding the “official” Anglican Communion Covenant. It is extending its reach beyond the “traditional Global South provinces” (see §3.6) and is encouraging any diocese, province or regional church to join (§1.1). It is, in effect, reforming and reordering the Anglican Communion (see the 2018 Gafcon “Letter to the Churches”).

I agree with the substance of this section. This is the same stance that Gafcon has taken. But surely, to avoid conflict and confusion, one entity should hand over this authority to the other. The GSA Covenant has made its choice clear; does Gafcon agree?

Question 5: How do you understand the parallel and overlapping structures of Gafcon and GSA Fellowship?

Here is a quick summary of the parallel structures of Gafcon and the GSA covenant:

  • Both have a constitution and a set of “fundamental declarations” (see above).
  • Both have a constituent assembly which meets periodically (Gafcon every 5 years, GSA every 3-4 years).
  • Both have a council of bishops (Gafcon occasionally, GSA every 8-10 years)
  • Both have a Primates Council (some of its Primates also eligible for the Canterbury Primates Meeting, some ineligible).
  • Both have a doctrine commission (Gafcon Theological Commission and occasional Task Forces, GSA Faith and Order Commission).
  • Both have a secretariat (Gafcon General Secretary, GSA “delegate” of the Board §3.3.1)
  • Both have subsidiary networks (Gafcon Networks, GSA “tracks” §2.1.9)

How does one make sense of these parallel structures functioning without duplicating, overlapping, and competing with one another?

Question 6: Do you not see the potential danger that these parallel structures will cause confusion and division and that the real beneficiaries will be the failed “Instruments of Unity” of the Anglican establishment?

If the difference between the GSA Fellowship and Gafcon is not clear to students of contemporary Anglicanism like me, how are others, clergy and laity alike, going to figure out whom to believe and whom to support?

Rowan Williams recently spoke of Anglicans as a “family” that quarrels but sticks together rather than a communion of churches. Sorry, but families where one member has renounced the marriage vow and taken up with a paramour don’t stick together, they divorce. The family metaphor does apply to Gafcon and the GSA Fellowship: they do agree on the fundamental doctrine and discipline of historic Anglicanism and on the need for the reform and renewal of the Anglican Communion, but they appear to be squabbling over how to get there. Intra-family rivalries can be myopic, fierce, and ultimately destructive.

In the meantime, I sense apathy among orthodox Anglicans toward the reform movement due to a natural tendency of church leaders and people to “mind their own shop.” Apathy of this sort is what allowed radicals to take over the Episcopal Church and other parts of the Communion. For the two orthodox bodies to be sending out mixed signals is not only confusing but encourages the opposition to exploit the dissension, which it is already doing.

***

My Appeal:

I have known and worked with leaders of both Gafcon and GSA Fellowship and know them to be good and godly believers who want the best for the Anglican future. I also believe there have been faults on both sides in facing important issues of governance squarely.

There are many commendable parts of the GSA Covenant, but in my view it has not been sufficiently vetted. At the Jerusalem Conference in 2018, our Statement group was praised for the fact that when we presented the initial draft and received critical feedback, we revised the final Statement accordingly and it was received with near unanimity. While the GSA Study Group has spent a great deal of time and energy on the proposal, I do not believe it was read or reviewed widely or thoroughly, even within the GSA constituency and much less in Gafcon.

I would plead with you, especially those who are leaders in both entities: sit down patiently to explain yourselves to each other and to the rest of us during this time of crisis in the Communion.

Listen to James:

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:7-8)

The post Questions for the Gafcon and Global South Leadership — and an Appeal appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Moscow blames Trump administration for schism in the Orthodox world

Anglican Ink - Fri, 15/11/2019 - 21:20

The Russian government has denounced the Trump administration for fomenting schism within the Orthodox world. Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov said that without Washington’s help, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church would not have broken free from the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.

The minister’s statement made during the visit of the Greek foreign minister to Moscow was followed by the Russian Orthodox Church breaking off relations with the Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa. Patriarch Theodoros II recognized Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kiev as head of the of the autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church prompting Moscow’s action.

Moscow has already broken communion with the Kiev and Constantinople based Orthodox Churches over the Ecumenical Patriarch’s granting autocephaly or independence to the Ukrainian church. Last month the Greek Orthodox Synod voted to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church leading to speculation that Moscow will soon break with Athens.

On 8 Nov 2019 the Interfax News Agency published a bulletin stating Patriarch Cyril (Kirill) of Moscow and All Russia would no longer commemorate Theodorus’ name during worship services.

“The Russian Orthodox Church is deeply saddened by the reports on Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria’s decision to recognize [Epiphanius] Dumenko as the leader of the ‘Orthodox Church of Ukraine’ and commemorate his name in the Church of Alexandria’s diptychs. This means that the name of the Patriarch of Alexandria can no longer be commemorated during patriarchal services in the Russian Orthodox Church,” Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolay Balashov told Interfax.

In the Orthodox world, “recognition” and communion with another Orthodox church takes place with the inclusion of the name of its patriarch during in the canon of the Divine Liturgy.  Theodoros mentioned Epiphanius while celebrating the liturgy on the feast of the archangels Michael and Gabriel, according to the Orthodox calendar. 

A communiquè released by the Alexandrian church stated autocephaly had been granted to the Ukrainian Church “by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in accordance with the sacred canons of our Orthodox Church tradition”.

For this reason, “after consulting the leaders of our local Churches, who are part of our very ancient Patriarchate founded by the Apostle Mark, and also bearing in mind the historical considerations for the future, we proceeded with the recognition of Autocephaly and during today’s liturgical celebration named of his beatitude Epiphanius, head of the church of Kiev and all of Ukraine, and we have prayed for peace and unity of the Orthodox Churches”.

On 12 October the Synod of bishops of the Orthodox Church of Hellas, presided over by the Archbishop of Athens Hieronymus II also recognized the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church,

The Archbishop of Athens has invited Metropolitan Epiphanius to Athens to concelebrate the Eucharist with him. At that service the formal recognition of the Kiev church will taken place when Hieronymus names Epiphanius in the liturgy.

Moscow has warned Athens not to take action on the synod vote. However, the Russian government last week blamed the Trump administration for the widening schism within the Orthodox world.

On 6 Nov 2019 Interfax cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying:

“I didn’t hear that the Church of Greece officially recognized the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine. I’ve heard that there is a letter by Archbishop Hieronymos II of Athens and All Greece addressed to the leader of the schismatics, but I didn’t see an official statement by the Church of Greece,” Mr. Lavrov said at a press conference following negotiations with the foreign minister of Greece in Moscow on Wednesday.

“As for the conditions under whose influence this letter was forwarded and the discussion on the matter was started within the Church of Greece, it’s true that influence from the outside was obvious there,” he said.

“The above mentioned letter by Hieronymos was preceded by [U.S. Secretary of State Mike] Mr. Pompeo’s visit to Athens, and he didn’t even deny that this issue was among those he dealt with there,” Mr. Lavrov said.

“As far as I understand it, it’s for that very purpose that American diplomats travelled to Holy Mount Athos, as well. And  [Epiphanius] the head of the schismatic church, the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has said publicly that the establishment of this organization would have been impossible without the direct support of the U.S.,” Mr. Lavrov said.

“Obviously, the U.S. doesn’t want to stop at what has already been done and is trying to advance the schism in the Orthodox world as a whole,” he said.

“This work is being done virtually with all Orthodox Churches, and this is deplorable,” the minister said.

The post Moscow blames Trump administration for schism in the Orthodox world appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Cape Town archbishop assaulted during visit to refugee encampment

Anglican Ink - Fri, 15/11/2019 - 20:39

Archbishop Thabo today appealed for prayers for asylum seekers and refugees after being attacked by some of those who have taken refuge in Cape Town’s Central Methodist Mission (CMM).

“The key is to focus on their plight and how South Africa can be more welcoming,” he said in a comment released after visiting the mission’s church on Greenmarket Square.

The Revd Chris Nissen of the South African Human Rights Commission told the Mail & Guardian that some refugees had attacked him, a Congolese pastor and Archbishop Thabo. They had hit the archbishop and “threw bottles at him.”

The archbishop confirmed that he had been hit on the forehead. He told the Mail & Guardian, “We were clobbered… I have a bump on my head, but I’ll be alright…
“If I were to put on my psychologist’s hat, I would describe this as termination anxiety. We were delivering the hard truth. Things they didn’t want to hear. So they expressed some level of anger,” he added.

The newspaper’s report said the attack followed a reportback on options available to those who had occupied the church, which fell short of what they had been demanding.

The Revd Alan Storey of the CMM said in a report on the mission’swebsite that the group which met the refugees included the Human Rights Commission, the Africa Diaspora Forum, More than Peace, Archbishop Thabo and pastors to the refugee community.
“The hope was to inform everyone of the discussions that had taken place over the last week that had been facilitated by the South African Human Rights Commission as well for me to request that people begin to vacate the Sanctuary.

“The chair of the Human Rights Commission and myself were able to speak to everyone. But when one of the Pastors (known to the refugees) tried to speak – some people refused to allow him to do so and thereafter the Pastor and other members of the above-mentioned group were assaulted.

“A semblance of calm was restored with the help of some refugee leaders and many of the refugees intervening to protect people. Thereafter we were able to get members of the group out of the sanctuary into safety. It is very concerning that three people of this group were injured while everyone else is obviously in shock.

“The whole situation is very sad and troubling, not only because of where it took place or who was hurt, but because any violence anywhere against anymore is self-defeating. Violence does not solve anything. It just causes more hurt and more problems.”

The post Cape Town archbishop assaulted during visit to refugee encampment appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Anglican Unscripted 550 – An Anglican Pachamama?

Anglican Ink - Fri, 15/11/2019 - 15:53

It is interesting to witness what theology has become an idol for the leadership of the Anglican Communion.

The post Anglican Unscripted 550 – An Anglican Pachamama? appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

Anglican Unscripted 549 – The Global South Covenant

Anglican Ink - Fri, 15/11/2019 - 15:51

Canon Andrew Gross sits down with Kevin to talk about the Covenant adopted by the Global South at their Cairo meeting in October. This is ‘inside ‘baseball’, but valuable information everyone needs to know.

The post Anglican Unscripted 549 – The Global South Covenant appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.

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