Friday, December 15, 2006

The Advent Season

Well the Advent season has arrived as it always does after our gorging on the bounty of Thanksgiving. After all that it takes a good deal of self control and personal discipline to keep our minds focused on this very important period of the Christian season. Now, in today's society, we are besieged with the pressures of advertising and other secular distractions that would cloud our devotions in this joyous season. With in our communities we live with other Christian churches that do not keep the Advent season as a time of spiritual preparation to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. These good people are more caught up in the celebration of Christmas than the devotions of Christmas. Rather let us keep Advent in the true spirit that which it was meant to be observed , as a period of devotion in the life of one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

With quite joy we again travel in our mind and scripture readings to that cold December night when a innocent babe was born. Nothing pretentious as a kingly procession announcing his birth amid the clanging of cymbals and the blare of horns. Rather the quite sweet songs of heavenly host declaring to the people of the earth that a Saviour had been born. Can we yet imagine of the fright that those humble shepherds felt as this heavenly declaration was made unto them and all mankind.

We are called in Advent to look deep into our hearts as we ponder the miracle of God’s coming into our world as a man. We are told that as we read the first collect of the season where we are called to “cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which our Lord Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility….” This is a season where more than ever the Lord becomes the really central figure in our lives and causes us to once again offer ourselves anew to his love which he so freely gives to us. That love to Him returned as we, here on earth, wait quietly for his eventual return, doing all those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Therefore in this period of preparation let us continue to pray for the all conditions of mankind, the further establishment of His church here on earth and peace among nations. As Christians let us love others more, provide for the needy and care for the homeless. I remember the statement of a old Ag professor so many years ago. “If there is one hungry person on this earth we have no surplus of crops rather a serious problem with its distribution.” This holds true to the needy of all mankind. If they are in need we fail our Christian duty. Let us, as a church body, serve in our communities participating in the various programs that need our help.

As the Sundays of Advent come upon us let each of us prepare to celebrate the coming of the Prince of Piece and God of Love who came among us then and will come again in that glorious day for all mankind.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Reflections 2006

The following article was penned by The Rev. Dr. Deuel Smith of St. Patrick's Church in Hurst, TX. It is so complete and so to the point that it was felt that all should have a opportunity to read it. In visiting with Fr. Smith we were graciously given permission to reprint the article.


Over a brief but crucial period of time, a final settlement of major issues occurred in the life of the Anglican Communion and what is now officially called The Episcopal Church (TEC). This "definitive moment" spanned ten all too-brief days in June in Columbus, Ohio. Through actions taken and actions postponed, the 75th General Convention of TEC has brought an end to the worldwide Anglican Communion of Churches and has declared once and for all the complete autonomy and independence of TEC. TEC will "walk apart" from the vast majority of the Anglican Communion and will irreparably split the Communion into traditional/orthodox and liberal/revisionist factions.

The liberal/revisionist faction will encompass England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, the United States, most of Australia, South Africa, and Central America – representing a minority of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The raditional/orthodox faction will encompass some "faithful remnants" in the United States, Australia, Canada and England, most of New Zealand, South America, Africa, and Asia - representing the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide.

No longer "Anglican" in ethos or philosophy (in the sense of practicing a Reformed Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition), the "New" Anglican Church is no longer a valid branch of Christ's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The still-emerging "Traditional" Anglican Church will perhaps be unified in purpose but will be split along evangelical-charismatic and Anglican-Catholic lines without common worship or "prayer". No longer will "communion with the See of Canterbury" be the sole criteria for those churches to be considered validly "Anglican".

This leads one to define what being an "Anglican" truly means. There is no simple answer, but here are some guidelines that may prove helpful:

As a branch of Christ's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, Anglicans practice an ancient and unchanging faith founded on the belief that Jesus the Christ is the Incarnate Word of God, that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written word of God and that the apostolic witness ("tradition") is the proclaimed word of God. That foundation continues to be unchangeable and unshakeable regardless of the tempest and storms battering against it.

During the Reformation, the Church in England emerged as a unique institution. It retained its Catholic heritage as expressed in the Creeds and decisions of the General Councils of the undivided Church, in its ancient liturgy and sacraments, in Apostolic Succession and the threefold order of ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. The Church in England emerged as the 'middle way' between the extremes of both Protestantism and Catholicism. The Church in England reformed itself by removing many nonessentials in the practice of faith that arose in the Medieval Church, and by returning to the practices of the earliest Christians. First and foremost is an insistence upon the authority of the Holy Scriptures to be the rule and guide to Christian faith and practice.

What became known as the Church of England underwent its formative period during the reign of Elizabeth I. Members of the Church of England entered the American colonies during the 16th and 17th centuries, and became the "official" or established Church in many of those colonies. Following the Revolution, Anglicans in America established an autonomous branch of the Church which was officially known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, (PECUSA).

Over the course of the last thirty or so years the Episcopal Church abandoned most of the traditional, historic Anglican faith and practice that emerged at the Reformation. Many faithful Anglicans in the United States opposed the innovations of the Episcopal Church and sought to preserve their traditional Anglican identity.

A meeting of faithful Episcopal clergy and laity was held in Mobile, Alabama in 1968 - from this meeting the 'American Episcopal Church' emerged. In 1977, a Congress of Concerned Churchmen was held in St. Louis, Missouri faithful Anglicans from Canada and the United States were in attendance. The Congress issued 'The Affirmation of St. Louis' which affirmed as unalterable the received Faith and Tradition of the Church: the Holy Scripture, the Church's ancient and universal Creeds, teachings of the Early Church Fathers, decisions of the General Councils of the undivided Church, and the historic Apostolic Ministry of male bishops, priests and deacons descended in unbroken succession from the first Apostles.

Several groups of traditional Anglicans emerged in Canada and the United States following the meeting in St. Louis. The "continuing Anglican" movement in Canada prospered while the movement in the United States was not able to attain complete unity and separated into several different "jurisdictions”.

The "continuing Anglican church movement" in the United States, treated with disdain by most "Episcopalians", continues to be thoroughly grounded in the Holy Scriptures. These orthodox Anglicans believe that the Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian Creeds sufficiently express the faith of the Church and are to be understood by all as they were written. Orthodox Anglicans support the teachings of the Early Church Fathers and decisions of Church Councils of the undivided Church.

Ethics and morality practiced among Anglicans are expected to follow the teaching that 'every Christian is obligated to form his conscience by the divine Moral Law of the Mind of Christ as revealed in Holy Scriptures, and by the teachings and Tradition of the Church' (The Affirmation of St. Louis).

Orthodox Anglicans come to church not to receive something, but to give worship and praise to God.

Orthodox Anglicans worship and pray using the traditional Book of Common Prayer as their liturgical guide. The principal act of Christian worship for Anglicans is the Holy Eucharist, also called the Mass, the Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper and the Divine Liturgy, .which together with Daily Morning and Evening Prayer constitute the regular services of public worship. Anglicans believe in the 'real presence' of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Any who believe in traditional, orthodox Anglican teachings and practices, as evidenced by Confirmation at the hands of a Bishop in valid Apostolic Succession, are allowed to receive Holy Communion - for this reason, traditional, orthodox Anglican churches are not considered to be "open communion" churches as are nearly all "Episcopal" and other so-called "Anglican" churches.

Orthodox Anglicans believe that the Sacraments are 'objective and effective signs of the continued presence and saving activity of Christ our Lord among his people, and his covenanted means for conveying His Grace' (The Affirmation of St. Louis). The two Gospel Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist are considered to be 'generally necessary to salvation'. Five other sacramental rites, in their Biblical sense, are also termed 'sacraments': Confirmation, Penance, Unction, Marriage, and Holy Orders.

Any who hold to teachings and innovations antithetical to those espoused by traditional, orthodox Anglicans are rightly called "apostates or heretics", but not "Anglicans". We must continue to pray for the salvation of our once fellow "Anglicans" who have placed their mortal souls in jeopardy by following after false teachers and heretics in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. May Almighty God in His infinite Goodness forgive them their sins and grant them eternal salvation. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Fr. D+ -July 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An Answer to Cahos

As we stand here today the entire Anglican Communion continues to reverberated down to it’s roots following the actions of the 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

The world looks at what has taken place and wonders as to the validity of the Anglican Faith. Devoted Christians are shocked, confused and demoralized as to the actions of their national Church. Many parishioners are abandoning their traditional faith and moving over to other denominations. Where and when will this madness stop? What can we as concerned Anglicans do to help right this dilemma?

First we must pray constantly for Gods guidance in this matter.

Secondly we must reach out to those hurting. We must let them know that there are Traditional Anglicans out there to help assist them in finding answers to their quandary. We must stand up and let the world know that there are still dedicated Christians who believe in and live by the Holy Scriptures with out being influenced by so called politically correct interpretations.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has produced a paper titled Challenge and Hope which delves into some of the underlying problems of this quandary. A copy of the synopsis of his paper is is found at the link below. The content is well worth any concerned Anglicans reading and consideration.

Anglican Communion News

A MS Word version of the entire text is at the following link

Quickly following the conclusion of the ECUSA convention the Diocese of Fort Worth requested alternative primate oversight, and it is almost assured that a number of other dioceses will follow suit in the near future. In addition, there are cries heard daily throughout the Christian community from individuals and congregations who are seeking help in leaving the heterodoxy of ECUSA and who have lost heart for Anglicanism. Many laity departing ECUSA are leaving quietly, going to Rome, independent churches, or most sadly, no church at all. This week, the largest church (in average Sunday attendance) in ECUSA, Christ Church, Plano, announced its decision to disassociate from the Episcopal Church. It is feared that tens of thousands of individuals will be lost from Anglicanism forever unless immediate, though interim, intervention is provided. The face of Anglicanism has been changed, and it behooves us as Traditional Anglicans to be creative in the midst of the restructuring process before us. The situation in the American church is rapidly deteriorating, and it is critical to act now in order to prevent the “balkanization” of the entire Anglican Communion.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Matter of Sheep and Goats

There comes a time near the end of the season when the Sheppard brings all of his animals into a confined area and systematically begins separating the sheep from the goats. The sheep he will lovingly place into a protected place of plenty during the winter and later put them out in the spring to multiply. Most of the goats will be sold and sent to slaughter.

Are we like the sheep and the goats in the Anglican Communion? Christ said “I am the good Shepherd; and I know my sheep, and am known by My own." "My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me." Goats have always had a bad reputation with the Sheppard’s of old. They were always wandering off, climbing into inaccessible and dark places, never listening to the voice of the shepherd. That is exactly why the goats were always getting into trouble.

This same characteristic of the goats marks some of our Brothers and Sisters in the Anglican community. They have wandered far a field, failing to heed the voice of the Good Shepherd. Like most goats, due to their own hard headedness, they are now teetering on the brink of denominational damnation.

There can not be a cafeteria exercise of faith in traditional Christianity. The bible says exactly what it means. To understand the message you must read the before and after of a particular bit of scripture in order to correctly grasp the entire meaning of the passage. You can not take a little scripture here, another bit there and formulate a basis of correct scriptural dogma. You can not be a true Christian and also be politically correct.

Trust me when I tell you there is no "Mother Jesus".

Trust me when I tell you that the practice of homosexuality is a sin according to strict interpretation the bible by all knowledgeable Biblical scholars.

Trust me when I tell you that marriage is a God given sacrament between one man and one woman.

Trust me when I tell you that good Anglicans are fed up and are looking again at the moral values of the Traditional Anglican Church as a refuge from the madness of the so call politically correct religions.

This Sunday morning in the process of leaving for church I stood in the kitchen with my sermon under my arm gulping down the last cup of coffee. Glancing at the morning’s paper I happen to see the following Editorial by nationally known columnist Cal Thomas. Suddenly I became aware that there were others out in the world community that were as disgusted and saddened as myself at the actions of a national Church which appears to have gone morally and spiritually corrupt. I have included Mr. Thomas’s article below for your edification and you draw your own conclusions.

Cal Thomas
Church lite

The new leader of the Episcopal Church in America, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, says she does not believe homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender.

As the Episcopal leadership continues to huff and puff to catch up with the world, it would be helpful if it could tell its members what it regards as sinful behavior, or will the very concept of sin soon be up for negotiation in order to avoid giving offense to anyone?

Truly what Paul, the Apostle, warned would happen in the "end times" is coming true in our day: "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV).

Meeting at the Episcopal General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, the denomination passed a resolution expressing "regret" for consecrating a homosexual bishop three years ago, but it declined to repent of its action. On Tuesday, they voted to continue consecrating homosexual bishops and to permit same-sex unions. But, just 24 hours later, they reversed themselves yet again and adopted a resolution to avoid consecrating additional gay bishops. Apparently, they are so wishy-washy; they are even wishy-washy about their wishy-washiness.

Bishop Schori, a former oceanographer for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, says, "The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings and that's certainly the great message of Jesus to include the unincluded."

This is so outside orthodox Christianity that only biblical illiterates or those who deny the supreme authority of the only book that gives foundation to the faith will accept it.

Anglicanism has suffered from probably irreversible Corruption since the days of the late C.S. Lewis and John Stott, who is still with us. These men combined intellectual heft with orthodox belief and had little regard for trends, fads or cultural diversions. They have been replaced by theological dim bulbs that are less concerned about proclaiming truth and conversion than in not offending anyone

Maybe the question for Bishop Schori and her fellow heretics should be: if homosexual practice is not sin, what is? And how do we know? Or is it a matter of "thus saith the opinion polls" and lobbying groups, rather than "thus saith the Lord"? With the bishop's "doctrine" of inclusion, why exclude anyone? How about applying the religious equivalent of "open borders" and let everyone into the church, including unrepentant prostitutes, murderers, liars, thieves and atheists. If the Episcopal Church denies what is clearly taught in scripture about important matters like sexual behavior, why expect its leaders to have any convictions about anything, including directions to Heaven? How can anyone be sure, if the guidebook is so full of errors?

The leader of Anglicanism, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has promoted this doctrinal wishy-washiness. Williams, who has acknowledged ordaining a priest who is a homosexual, says he opposes cohabitation by heterosexuals because it has a harmful impact on family stability. But the same book that speaks against what we used to call "fornication" before such words died along with the accompanying doctrines, also speaks against the "sin" of homosexual practice. So how can anyone be sure one is true and the other not true, or the reverse, or neither, or both? And who is to say if the church leaders don't know or are afraid to say because they might be criticized as "exclusive."

The Episcopal Church isn't the only denomination having trouble deciding what it believes. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted to "receive" a policy paper on sex-inclusive language for the Trinity. Instead of the traditional (and biblical) Father, Son and Holy Spirit, these liberal Presbyterians will consider using "Mother, Child and Womb," or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," among others. Never mind what God calls Himself. These people want a name change without asking permission.

No wonder liberal denominations are losing members while the conservative ones are growing. The liberal ones don't seem to care. Seeking only to be "relevant" they face condemnation from the One they are supposed to represent, whose attitude about such things is anything but "inclusive."Conservative Episcopalians are too few in number to stop the theological drift. If they intend to preserve their congregations without further theological seepage, they should "come out from among them and be separate."

Where do we go from here???

We pray with out failing for the hand of God to direct the hearts of those in positions of responsibility to realize the error of their ways and return to the Sacramental fold of Christ’s Church on Earth.

We open our hearts and parishes for those who flee from this madness while we continue to pray lovingly for those left behind.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Test of Faith

The Episcopal Church of The United States is meeting in solemn session to determine it's path to embark on for eternity. There have been many resolutions that have been drafted in response to the Windsor report. None of these which respond directly to the concerns of the report but rather dance around the fringes of truth.

It is obvious that almost all of the resolutions as they are currently drafted fail to meet the concerns of the Anglican community as a whole as well the areas addressed by the Windsor report. Basically, at this point in time, it also appears that ECUSA has no intention of correcting its head strong slide away from Christian morality.

As a result of these actions, or should I say skirting around the truth, many prominent church leaders have looked the proposed resolutions and expressed grave concerns to their lack of concrete answers. Such is the case of Dr N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham. The concluding remarks of his paper on these actions are presented below.

The Choice before ECUSA
by the Bishop of Durham, Dr. N. T. Wright June 2006

19. It is very important not to let the plethora of material, in the official document and in all the various commentaries on it, detract attention from the central and quite simple question: Will ECUSA comply with the specific and detailed recommendations of Windsor, or will it not? As the Resolutions stand, only one answer is possible: if these are passed without amendment, ECUSA will have specifically, deliberately and knowingly decided not to comply with Windsor. Only if the crucial Resolutions, especially A160 and A161, are amended in line with Windsor paragraph 134, can there be any claim of compliance. Of course, even then, there are questions already raised about whether a decision of General Convention would be able to bind those parts of ECUSA that have already stated their determination to press ahead in the direction already taken. But the Anglican principle of taking people to be in reality what they profess to be, until there is clear evidence to the contrary, must be observed. If these resolutions are amended in line with Windsor, and passed, then the rest of the Communion will be in a position to express its gratitude and relief that ECUSA has complied with what was asked of it. Should that happen, I will be the first to stand up and cheer at such a result, and to speak out against those who are hoping fervently for ECUSA to resist Windsor so that they can justify their anti-ECUSA stance. But if the resolutions are not amended, then, with great sadness and with complete uncertainty about what way ahead might then be found, the rest of the Communion will have to conclude that, despite every opportunity, ECUSA has declined to comply with Windsor; has decided, in other words, to walk apart’ (Windsor 157). My hope and earnest prayer over the coming week will continue to be that that conclusion may be avoided. May God bless the Bishops and Delegates of ECUSA in their praying, thinking and deciding.

As Christians the most difficult thing to do in this secular world is stand up for the truths of our faith as set out in the Bible with out compromise. One can not be a cafeteria Anglican and remain true the basic tenet’s we profess to believe.

There are many parishes in ECUSA that are trembling at home as to the possible action to be taken by this Synod of 2006. We reverently pray that their fears may be in vain and their ancient Christian faith restored.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

New song - Same dance

THE DIOCESE of California did not elect a gay bishop last weekend, despite choosing from a list of seven candidates which included three living in same-sex partnerships. Clergy and laity voted in a final ballot for the Suffragan Bishop of Alabama, the Rt Revd Marc Andrus, the most senior of the candidates. He was described by the Washington Post as "a violin-playing, yoga-practicing father-of-two".

Much speculation had surrounded the election in ECUSA's most liberal diocese. The candidates the Revd Michael Barlowe, the Revd Robert Taylor, and the Revd Bonnie Perry were all openly living with gay partners.

In a telephone message relayed to the diocesan convention in San Francisco, Bishop Andrus said: "Your vote today remains a vote for inclusion and communion of gay and lesbian people in their full lives as single or partnered people, of women, of all ethnic minorities. . . I take this election to be an expression of our common desire to be part of the whole, the Communion and the world, in what may be a new way."

Key figures in the diocese have been at pains to stress that the candidates sexuality was not an issue. Bishop Andrus won 188 clergy votes and 161 lay, having needed 131 and 148 respectively.

The outgoing Bishop of California, the Rt Revd William Swing, said that while it was understandable to see the election as "straight versus gay, or perhaps men versus women, or perhaps black versus white", it had been about which candidate God seemed to favour.
A lay member of the nominating committee, Craig Martin, said that the election process had been democratic, and the diocese had not been concerned about the impact of its decision on the Anglican Communion.

The Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, the Rt Revd Robert Duncan, was swift to welcome the result and thank the electors "for not attempting to short-circuit the decisions the Episcopal Church must make this June [at the General Convention] about walking with us or apart from the Anglican Communion.

"The world Church has clearly told us what we must do to stay in communion: repent of our decision in 2003 to confirm the election of a bishop in a same-sex partnered relationship, and place moratoriums on further elections of bishops in same-sex partnered relationships, as well as the blessing of same-sex relationships."

The American Anglican Council had no warm words. It asked: "Did the diocese succumb to reported pressure from ECUSA, including Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, to avoid electing a partnered homosexual? Is such pressure in fact part of a co-ordinated strategy to mislead the Communion?"

It is evident the ECUSA has no intent of repenting or correcting their slide from Christian morality. So they did not elect a practicing homosexual, instead they elected a ultra liberal individual that the gay /lesbian community was quick to place their stamp of approval on.

As Christians we are taught to hate the sin but continue to love the sinner. Nowhere in scripture can I find a commandment to approve and promote the sin.

Have I missed something some where?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Time to fish or cut bait

The Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) continues to flounder in the dark swamp of what to do or what not to do in the next general convention. Do they pull back from the abyss that they are tethering over due to same sex unions, ordination of homosexual priest and the elevation of of openly active homosexuals as Bishops. For them, at this point in time, it would be a prudent action however I feel that they will continue to throw all good reason to the winds and plunge stubbornly forward as they have done in the past.

The following excerpt was found today on the AAC web site which is a continuing example of the pulse of the Anglican Communion.

Bishop of Exeter's Reflections Offered to the House of Bishops of ECUSA
*Below is a significant excerpt of the Bishop of Exeter's statement to the House of Bishops; the entire statement is available on the AAC website
"...I suppose one of the major challenges for the Episcopal Church now has to do with whether there are enough of you to stand on broadly the same ground, holding a range of opinions on the issue of Lambeth 1.10 but firm in carrying forward the Windsor vision of a strengthened and enabling communion life. This, I believe, is the key question rather than questions (unhelpful questions I think) about whether the Episcopal Church will either be pushed out of Communion or consciously walk away. Let's be clear: On the one hand no one can force another Province or Diocese either to go or remain. We are not that kind of Church. Yet equally, no Diocese or Province can enforce its own continued membership simply or largely on its own terms. There has to be engagement. There is no communion without a shared vision of life in communion (at least that is how I understand Windsor).
"So it does seem to me, as I listen to those other parts of the Communion that I know best, that any further consecration of those in a same sex relationship; any authorisation of any person to undertake same sex blessings; any stated intention not to seriously engage with The Windsor Report -- will be read very widely as a declaration not to stay with the Communion as it is, or as the Windsor Report has articulated a vision, particularly in sections A and B, of how it wishes to be. Having said that, I do believe that I have heard in this house this week, by and large, a desire for shared life in communion and ongoing engagement with others in just what this must involve..."
-The Rt. Rev. Michael Langrish, Bishop of ExeterKanuga, N.C.March 22, 2006

No individual, congregation or province can drift this far from the traditional teachings of the Anglican communion and stay afloat. There comes a time when all concerned simply say "enough is enough." Unfortunately it appears that that time is just around the corner.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Women Priest in the Episcopal Church

Alice Linsley served as a priest and rector in the Episcopal Church until she came to believe that the Episcopal Church has abandonded catholic order. She has renounced her orders in the Episcopal Church and has written about her journey and her position against women's ordination. I especially found this part interesting:

Question: Where do Evangelicals who support women priest go wrong in your view?

Response: The iorny of Evangelicals is that they say they believe in the authority of Scripture but then allow cultural accommodation of ther interpretation of Scripture

I will have to agree. I have never understood why those calling themselves "Evangelical" or scripture based so often look over biblical passages that speak about divorce or women's ordination. These two issues are the most glaring contradictions in the Evangelical worldview - to speak generally, but not absolutely.

Full text of
Alice Linsley: Q & A via Pontifications.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Why the flight to Africa or parts unknown?

USA TODAY had an article last week about another parish that has left ECUSA to align with the Anglican church of Rwanda. Part of that has been extracted here.

Each Sunday before beginning the main service at Grace Church in Orange Park, Fla., the Rev. Sam Pascoe tells the assembled congregation that after 125 years, the church they worship in is no longer part of the American Episcopal Church. On the first of the year, Pascoe and most of his 350-member congregation left one of the oldest and wealthiest U.S. denominations and joined the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, a poor, genocide-scarred African nation 7,600 miles away. The hymns are the same, the prayer book is the same, and the U.S. and Rwandan churches are both branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion, headquartered in England and led by the archbishop of Canterbury. But the U.S. church accepts openly gay priests and bishops, and the Rwandan church, like Grace, emphatically does not. The congregation of Grace Church is one of more than three dozen across the country that have left the Episcopal Church USA since it approved in 2003 the election of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, who has a same-sex partner. Pascoe and his flock joined the Diocese of Rwanda, which has been recruiting unhappy Episcopalian parishes since 2000.

Other U.S. congregations have joined Anglican dioceses in Uganda, Brazil and Bolivia

One has to question this headlong rush of these parishes to place themselves under the leadership of a far distant province. Most of the administration, bishops and support are all over there and they continue to be in communion with Canterbury. There is some local presence in the United States of administration for one or two of of the provinces but even with this all being taken into consideration is such a move really worth it? Last, but not least, due to the recent stance taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury in regard to continuing to allow homosexuals into the priesthood in the Church of England, same sex marriages or unions, and fostering an any thing goes attitude, then those fleeing parishes will be no better off in that far distant land than they were under ECUSA.

The Anglican Church in America under the leadership of The Most Reverend Louis W. Falk has been and is willing to continue to provide shelter and leadership to all those disparaging Episcopalians. The Anglican Church in America is also a member of The Traditional Anglican Communion which is at this point over one half million strong. They are not in communion with Canterbury or ECUSA due to obvious reasons. The Traditional Anglican Communion is uniformly orthodox and traditional in its teaching and practice, while the Canterbury-based Communion emphasizes "inclusiveness" and embraces a wide range of beliefs. The TAC shares a common ancestry, including Apostolic Succession, with Canterbury, but there is no direct hierarchical or organizational connection between the two.

With the TAC the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which is still the standard for many Episcopalians, is the same. The Hymnal is the same and last but not least the Order of the Mass is the same. If these parishes are truly upset as to the changes wrought by ECUSA, perhaps then a return to the more Traditional form of worship and values is in order.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Lenten Journey

"Turn Ye even to me, saith the Lord, with all your heart and with fasting." We read these words in the book of Joel 2:12 and stop to wonder at the words of the writer. Here Joel calls us to a state of holiness where we are to stop and reflect on the goodness of God. To fast so that when the joyful day Easter arrives our hearts and souls may be filled with the love of the risen Christ.

On Ash Wednesday during a solemn mass, ash was smeared on our foreheads in the form of a cross as the admonishment was intoned "Remember O man/woman, dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return" This reminds us of the fact that we are indeed visitors upon this earth and as all things must we too shall also fade away. But as Christians the wondrous thing is that we shall be reborn again in to the heavenly kingdom of our father. Death would be a empty end to life and have no meaning had not Christ died and rose again.

The season of Lent is a time for all to reflect and renew our lives in Christ. Here we fast and reflect upon the goodness of God and his abounding mercy. Slowly we approach the Easter tide as empty vessels to be filled to the brim with God's love on that joyful day of resurrection.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Do you only profess or really practice your faith?

Looking at today’s rampant slide of many churches from the profession and practice of their traditional beliefs to the quagmire of so called political correctness in religion, many of us have been caught up in speaking out of the both sides of our mouths. One side we state that our religion is based on the tenets and beliefs held dear for so many years. These beliefs were and are biblically based with out any room for political correctness or interpolation. On the other side deviant lifestyles that were totally out of step with mainline Christianity are now being condoned by some. Fornication along with homosexuality, were and still are gross sins and fly in the face of our Creator. One did not have to make justification for those that engaged in these acts, they were wrong and accepted by the traditional church as wrong. Recent research in genetics has firmly established that this deviant lifestyle is not forced upon individuals by some horrible mistake of nature at birth but rather is solely a matter of that individual’s choice.

At this point in time we now have a national church that openly condones these acts even among their clergy including Bishops and the churches membership as a whole does not seem to have the strength of character or Christian morals to rise up against these gross infractions. I can remember growing up in the ranching area of East Texas hearing the old timers say “His word ain’t no good cause he talks out of both sides of his mouth” What they were saying was that individual would tell you one thing and do just the opposite of what he had professed. It met, to them, that his word and value as an individual was to be questioned. This may well referr to the members of those churches who profess to believe the bible and the teachings of Christ but allow this to happen without doing any thing about it. They continue to frequent those churches that condone those acts that are in contradiction to biblical teaching. They continue to attend, tolerate, fund and support those institutions that condone and promote these acts. In all truth they, therefore, speak out of both sides of their mouths

I continue to hear those dear friends caught up in this religious quagmire say “Our church is such a beautiful church and I just hate to leave it”. Remember well that our Christian fore fathers, in the face of death if discovered, met in the fields, upon hilltops and in the catacombs in defiance of others, so strong was their faith. I have also heard other church members say “we have so many friends here and I just can’t leave my bridge group or my golf group”

The question at this point is what is more important to us as so called Christians, our social life, a nice building or the true salvation of our souls? The bible teaches that no man or woman can serve two God’s.

Which God do you choose?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

One step forward

This is the old deacons first attempt to enter the world of blogging. Stay posted for further developments