Tuesday, January 29, 2008
By David W. Virtue
HYPERLINK "http://www.virtueonline.org/" \nwww.virtueonline.org
With more than 1,500 orthodox Anglicans watching, three Anglican Mission
in the Americas (AMiA) priests were consecrated by a cross section of
the Anglican Communion's bishops during an emotional three-hour worship
service in a ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel in Dallas.
The Rt. Rev. Terrell Glenn Jr. of Pawley's Island, SC; the Rt. Rev. John
Miller III of Melbourne, Fla.; and the Rt. Rev. Philip Jones from Little
Rock, Arkansas were consecrated using a service drawn from the new Book
of Common Prayer (1662 revised) and modern praise and worship music. The
service concluded the three-day winter conference of the Anglican
mission that brought together a bevy of evangelical motivational
Present at the consecration were two sitting African Archbishops,
Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and the Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi of West
Africa. Two retired Southeast Asian Archbishops were on hand including
the Most Rev. Moses Tay and the Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung. A Canadian
bishop, the Rt. Rev. Donald Harvey, under the authority of the Province
of the Southern Cone and 18 other Anglican bishops from the US, England,
Africa and the entire House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda
participated. A number of Common Cause bishops participated from nine
jurisdictions including Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya as well as two bishops
from the Reformed Episcopal Church. Two retired Episcopal bishops, the
Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison and the Rt. Rev. Alex Dickson also
participated in the consecration as did the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the
Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan.
The conference itself drew clergy and lay people from across the United
States, Canada, Rwanda, West Africa, Southeast Asia and the UK. The
Rwandan Church's House of Bishops ratified the choice of the three new
bishops last year to accommodate the growing numbers of new converts and
establishing of new churches on this side of the Atlantic by AMiA.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been critical of such diocesan
incursions and has spoken out directly against them.
Rowan Williams went public with a letter to Canadian Archbishop Fred
Hiltz in condemning the incursion into Canada by the Archbishop of the
Southern Cone, but he also made it clear that he was powerless to stop
conservative Canadian and U.S. congregations upset with their national
churches' positions on homosexuality from leaving and affiliating with
orthodox branches in Latin America and Africa.
It was a frank admission by Archbishop as to the limits of his power,
even though he is opposed to cross-border ecclesiastical moves.
"I have no canonical authority to prevent these things, but I would
simply repeat what was said in my advent letter (in December), to the
effect that I cannot support or sanction such actions," Williams wrote
the Canadian archbishop.
Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, U.S. Presiding Bishop, has inhibited one
retired bishop, 87-year old William Cox, for ordaining and confirming in
Kansas and later confirming in Oklahoma, but he has since fled to the
Province of the Southern Cone for spiritual and ecclesiastical safety.
During his sermon, the Rt. Rev. Chuck Murphy, Bishop and AMiA Chairman,
said there was an urgent need for more missionary bishops as a Second
Reformation has begun and that bodes well for his church's efforts to
reach 130 million unchurched Americans.
"We need more missionary bishops to step into the next level of growth.
The critical factor, the God given vision of this remarkable vision,
comes from the Rwandan House of Bishops and their willingness to stand
up and be a part of us from the beginning. They broke with convention in
the early days and pioneered a way forward in mission unheard of
Anglican circles," said Murphy.
"These past 10 years have been challenging. The criticisms have been
voiced and questions about the legitimacy of our existence, but with
their God given vision they have stood up and stood apart. It could not
have happened without them."
Addressing the conferees, many of whom were formerly members of The
Episcopal Church, Murphy challenged them saying, "The world wants to
know of your witness, your boldness and pioneering vision. All you need
is a God given vision, a way forward in witness to the power of God who
moves with great authority in the world and North America."
Citing a book he had recently read on the changing face of Anglicanism,
Murphy said the AMIA was a profoundly influential movement in the
Anglican Communion, pushing the boundaries in a new vigorous way.
"God promises to give us vision, again, again and again. Where there is
no vision the people perish," he said citing Proverbs 29:18. Picking up
the thread of Joel 2:28 Murphy cried out, "I will pour out my spirit
upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your
old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions"
Murphy said the mission of AMIA was "unique" and offered a compelling
picture of a preferred future that "motivates to work, pray, and
forgive...it is a vision but then it unfolds...godly visions will flow
from the word of God.
"We must ask, is it in conformity with Scripture? Godly visions will
speak to peoples needs. We must get outside of our comfort zones. Godly
visions will ultimately unite as more and more people see and understand
what AMIA is about. Today's consecrations are yet another step in this
Murphy said the AMIA had a basis for action. "We see it, we say it and
we seize it. We cannot drift or lie in harbor. This is the challenge of
the church in this age. The trigger for this action is the call, and
that call we sense is from God.
It is also a pneumatic vision - the movement of the Holy Spirit to give
us the desire to send forth laborers into the harvest. You have got to
have an opportunity. The answer was yes. This "yes" required that
action. The good news is that God promises us the power. It fell on the
judges of the Old Testament, again at Pentecost, then St. Paul and
Timothy...it came with the Spirit of power."
Murphy acknowledged both the challenges and temptations. "There is the
challenge to burn out. Do anything you want but not everything you want.
We need margins, time for family. We should expect attacks from The Evil
One and cited the areas of sex, money and power. Satan can trip people
up in the area of relationships and attacks us in the area of self
esteem. We are made in the image of God Satan is not, but we should
never give up."
The Anglican Mission in the Americas encompasses the United States and
Canada with missions in Mexico and Bogota. Since it began in 2000, the
mission has added an average of one church every three weeks. The AMiA
now has seven missionary bishops serving more than 133 parishes with 62
more in the pipeline.
Editor's Note: The AMiA parish in central NY is St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Syracuse.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Faiths market themselves by taking on names that define their beliefs, message
By BOB SMIETANA • Staff Writer • January 15, 2008
On Sunday morning, just past the signs for Red Roof Inn and Go USA Fun Park on Armory Drive in Murfreesboro, and in the shadow of a billboard for Verizon Wireless, 110 people met to celebrate the first worship service of Faith Anglican Fellowship.
A temporary banner, with the church's name, stood in front of Integrity House, where worshippers gathered after leaving behind their former home, Holy Cross Church.
Inside, the Rev. Frederick Richardson, Faith Anglican's rector, spoke of the mixed blessings of "new beginnings."
Frustrated that the Episcopal Church's battles over doctrine and sex were turning off newcomers, the former members of Holy Cross decided, in essence, to switch brands. No longer Episcopalians, they were now Anglicans, allied with more conservative believers in Uganda.
Once reserved for consumer products like Coca Cola or Doritos, branding has become increasingly important in the God business. Churches, old and new, are using branding to define their theology, attract newcomers and get their message out.
"There is sadness for what we left behind, for who we left behind," Richardson said. But "God will be faithful," he added.
For Faith Anglican, the brand switch went deeper than a name change, Richardson said.
"It gives us a new identity," Richardson said. "The Anglican Church does not have the baggage that the Episcopal Church has at this time. It speaks of a deeper tradition and a more biblically grounded faith."
Church member John Sorrell of Woodbury, said he was worried about "the spiritual drift" of their former denomination.
"Episcopal has come to mean something other than orthodox Christianity," he said. With the new name, added Gary Warden, the church's senior warden, "people will know exactly what to expect when they come here."
For a group of members at Trinity Episcopal in Winchester, a tipping point came in 2006, when Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Shori was asked by Time if "belief in Jesus is the only way to get to heaven?" She replied, "We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box."
"That's not the faith that I received," said the Rev. Bill Midgett, who had been rector of Trinity Episcopal since 2001. On Jan. 6, Midgett, the church staff and most members voted to leave the Episcopal Church. They formed Christ the King Anglican Church.
"It may sound like a lot of religious-speak," Midgett said, "but for us, it is central to who we are in believing the gospel.''
Branding needn't be slick
Maurilio Amorim, who runs a church-branding firm in Brentwood, says branding is a biblical activity. He points to the parable in Luke 14:16-23, about a man who threw a banquet. When none of the guests showed up, the man sent his servant to invite outsiders in.
So Amorim helps churches creates Web sites, direct mail and other forms of branding to attract newcomers. "Branding and marketing is evangelism," he said. "I don't know what the difference is. You are compelling people, you are giving people a reason to come visit you."
Amorim says that some churches mistakenly believe that branding means a slick marketing campaign. "I hate for people to waste a lot of billboard and direct mail and newspaper advertising that says nothing," he says. Church messages like "Come because we are great" or "We're friendly" don't work, he said. Instead of trying to be slick, he said, a church should find what it does well and promote that.
For Crosspoint Community Church in west Nashville, branding was crucial when the congregation moved to a new building. The church, which started meeting five years ago in a public school, now rents about two thirds of the campus of Park Avenue Baptist Church.
But with its linoleum floors and mauve carpet, the building screamed out "1970s Baptist church."
"And that," said senior pastor Pete Wilson, "is not who we are."
While Park Avenue bills itself as a "traditional church family," Crosspoint services are more rock concert than hymns and prayers.
So, Wilson and Crosspoint leaders set out to brand the building as their own. They replaced carpet, set up video screens and theater lighting in the sanctuary, and transformed the concrete block children's area into something out of Gilligan's Island.
Wilson said he realized the power of branding while watching Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock's documentary about McDonald's. During the film, Spurlock showed children a series of pictures of famous people like Jesus and George Washington and asked the kids to identify them. "These kids didn't know who any of these people were," Wilson said. "But Ronald McDonald … boom, every one of the kids knew exactly who it was."
And for a new church, he added, brands like McDonald's are the competition.
"We are not competing against other churches," said Jenni Carton, the church's executive director. "We are competing for all the other things that are vying for your attention every day."
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with these churches that have been blessed by the leadership in Bolivia and will continue to be blessed by the Holy Spirit. CANA is eager to welcome them on their Christ-centered and faithful mission to serve God and to honor the worldwide Anglican Communion,” said Bishop Minns.
Originally under the ecclesiastical leadership of the Church of Bolivia, the ten U.S. congregations were given CANA oversight “with a profound desire to promote unity in Jesus Christ which issues from his reconciling work on the Cross and an abiding trust in the power of God’s Word written, and with a genuine commitment to support the emerging ecclesiastical structure of faithful Anglicans in North America,” said the Rt. Rev. Francis R. Lyons of Bolivia in a letter to Bishop Minns.
The newest CANA congregations are St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Fairlawn, OH, Church of the Holy Spirit (Anglican), Akron, OH, Anglican Church of the Good Samaritan (Fairhill), Cleveland, OH, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Bay Village, OH, St. Anne in the Fields, Madison, OH, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Milan, OH, Christ the King Anglican Church, Columbiana, OH, Christ Our King Anglican Church, Lexington, MI, St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church, Indianapolis, IN, and The Shepherd Church, Evansville, IN.
Friday, January 4, 2008
"The apparently willful reluctance to face the issue of faith as the indispensable ground for Anglican unity is finally broken. The fatal flaw of the Windsor Report was substituting the breaking of "bonds of affection" for the reality of broken bonds of faith. 'Instruments of unity' have their integrity only so far as they represent the Anglican faith."
The evangelical bishop. who holds a doctorate in theology from Oxford University, said that "to object to this much needed opportunity on the grounds of its lacking precedents is fatuous. Necessity must always be allowed to trump precedence. There were no precedents for bishops in the United States after the American Revolution. There were no precedents for Seabury's consecration. Both Archbishops of York and Canterbury opposed Seabury's going to Scotland and the latter objected to Seabury's inclusion in Claggett's consecration (an objection that Bishop White ignored). There were no English precedents for missionary bishops in the 19th century. The integrity of the present Archbishop of Canterbury's role as an instrument of unity depends on his faithfulness not to the alleged 'bonds of affection' or to the genealogy of his precedents but to his adherence to the Anglican faith. The integrity of Anglicanism cannot hang merely on the thread of appointments by the prime minister of a state that is itself in an accelerating secular departure from its Anglican roots.
"To put individuals or ad hoc groups in the now inevitable position of making theological judgments on their own regarding submission to or acquiescing in what may seem to be unfaithful or apostate leadership is, in the long run, chaos. To have reputable theologians representing much, if not most, of world wide Anglicanism draw up some simple guidelines around the essentials of the Anglican faith (something the Archbishop of Canterbury has declared Lambeth will not do) and present them as a confessional movement within the Anglican Communion (not a departure from it) would be of utmost reassurance and essential to any effective unity in Anglicanism. It could be a creative contribution to the Lambeth Conference giving them something the Conference could use or amend leading to a wider and more enduring unity."
The scholarly bishop concluded with this, "Our historic unity has been founded on the faith expressed in the Prayer Book and official formularies and faithfulness to the vows to guard them. But gradually that foundation has been replaced by who gets invited to Lambeth and by exhortations not to break bonds of affection. I thank God for those leaders who have committed themselves to this endeavor to under gird our Communion with the faith that gave it birth."
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Dear Bishop John-David,
We, Episcopal colleagues from across the Anglican Communion and across the world, write to salute you on the courageous decision of the Diocesan Convention of San Joaquin to take leave of The Episcopal Church and to align with the Province of the Southern Cone. We know that decision was to a large extent the result of your tenacity and faithful leadership, and for that we give thanks to God. It has been said that you are isolated and alone. We want you and the world to know that in this decision for the faith once delivered to the saints, we stand with you and beside you. May Christ abundantly bless you and your diocese with all the gifts of the Spirit and with joy in believing.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth
The Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Matthias Medadues-Badohu, Bishop of Ho
The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
The Rt. Rev. Gerard Mpango, Bishop of Western Tanganyika
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Ross Davies, Bishop of The Murray
The Rt. Rev. Keith L Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. A. Ewin Ratteray, Bishop of Bermuda
The Rt. Rev. Michael Hough, Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley
The Rt. Rev. John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley
The Rt. Rev. Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough
The Rt. Rev. Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet
The Rt. Rev. Lindsay Urwin, Bishop of Horsham
The Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes
The Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, Province of Kenya
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. David Anderson, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. John Gaisford, lately Bishop of Beverley
The Rt. Rev. Edward MacBurney, lately Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Roger Jupp, lately Bishop of Popondota
The Rt. Rev. David Silk, lately Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. Nöel Jones, lately Bishop of Sodor and Man
The Rt. Rev. Edwin Barnes, lately Bishop of Richborough
The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, lately Bishop of Eau Claire
The Rt. Rev. Donald Parsons, lately Bishop of Quincy
[Diocese of San Joaquin website]
Bishop Iker reports:
Bishop Jackson Biggers (Northern Malawi retired) and Bishop John Guernsey (Province of Uganda) have asked that their names be added to the list.
+JLIJanuary 3, 9:52 am
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Congregation Prepares For A New Beginning
By KATIE MELONE | Courant Staff Writer
December 31, 2007
WATERTOWN - - It was the last Sunday service at Christ Church. Unable to go
"further in a church that continued in a false gospel," the entire
congregation, including the rector and church leaders, will sever ties with
the national Episcopal Church and reform under a new name: New Hope Anglican
One of the "Connecticut six," the half-dozen churches in the state diocese
that disagree with national leadership on departure of scripture, including
the appointment of a gay bishop, the congregation will trade its historic
building on the town green for a free community room at the Thomaston
Savings Bank around the corner.
The Sunday service will be held at the bank, starting Jan. 6, until they
find or build another house of worship.
"We need to celebrate today, but we need to recognize there is a dying," the
Rev. Allyn Benedict said in his final homily at the church. Reading off an
overhead projector, church members sang hymns enthusiastically, clapping and
raising hands in acknowledging their faith. They hugged one another, wishing
The church was founded under the Church of England in 1764. In 2003,
Benedict and several other Connecticut rectors clashed with Connecticut
Bishop Andrew D. Smith, who supported the naming of V. Gene Robinson as New
Hampshire's bishop. Robinson is gay. Benedict and Christ Church leaders also
feel the national church is rejecting scriptural authority and traditions of
In cutting affiliation with the national leaders, the congregation has
agreed to give up its church buildings and property, estimated to be worth
$7 million, and its name, "Christ Church Parish." The congregation also
ended its participation with the other Connecticut churches in a protracted
legal battle against national leadership over church real estate, deciding
that "it's not worth living under this oppression just for the property,"
said Paul LePine, the senior warden. Four of the "Connecticut six" have also
ended their connection to the national church, LePine said.
"It's a tragedy when relationships fail," LePine said. "There's a relief of
being free of that dysfunctional relationship we've been in for many years."
LePine's daughter, Rachel, 15, commented that while leaving is the right
thing to do, "it is sad."
"That's kind of why we named it New Hope," she said.
"We're just moving on to where we're supposed to be," said Chris Varian, who
was married at the church and has been a member for three years. "It's a
transition. It's a lot of history and a lot of memories. It's bittersweet."