December 27, 2010

Beth's Cheesy Potatoes

If you were at the Mustard Seed Cafe Sunday and enjoyed the great potato dish that was served by Beth Buttermore, here's the recipe courtesy of Beth:

1 2lb. bag frozen southern style hash brown potatoes

1 stick melted butter

1 med. onion, chopped

8 oz. sour cream

8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar

1 can Healthy Request cream of chicken soup

½ can milk

1½ c. cornflake crumbs or crushed cornflakes

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 dish. Pour in frozen potatoes. In a separate bowl, whisk the soup with the milk; add the sour cream and mix; add the butter and mix; add the cheese and onion and mix; and pour over. Sprinkle the cornflakes on top and bake uncovered for 1½ hours.

December 15, 2010

E100, LESSON 8, God’s Covenant with Abraham

Genesis Chapter 15

Chapter 15 of Genesis is arguably the most quoted and most important chapter in the Old Testament canon, not only for Christianity and Judaism but Islam as well. In chapter 15 Abram enters into a covenant relationship with God.


1 The events of chapter 14 are an interesting read. Abram does battle with the four kings who had taken Abram’s nephew Lot prisoner. Abram worships and tithes to Melchizedek and, most to the point here in chapter 15, Abram refuses to take his share of the spoils from the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord came to Abram in a vision and told Abram that He would be Abram’s shield and that Abram would be prosperous.
2-3 Abram complains that he remains without a child and that he will, therefore, have to leave his estate to a servant.

4-5 The Lord renews his promise to Abram that he will conceive a son. In the Hebrew the passage reads “what will come out of your loins.” As an illustration, He shows Abram the stars in the sky and suggests that the number of his offspring will be beyond one’s ability to count.

6 This great statement is quoted twice by St Paul (Romans 4.3 and Galatians 3.6) and once by St James (James 2.23) Faith here is shown to be a readiness to accept what God promises. Abram both trusts the Lord as a person and the promises that Lord makes)

7-11 The remaining verses formalize the covenant God is making with Abram. Animals are slaughtered, and halved in preparation for the ritual that will formalize the covenant (see verses 17-21)

12-15 Abram falls into a deep darkness and a deep sleep and in the presence of the Lord Abram is told the future of his heirs, that they will wander for a time, will go into bondage in Egypt for four hundred years, will be set free and will finally inherit the promised land. Abram shall die in peace but his heirs will return to the promised land.

16 An interesting verse because what it says is that the reason that it will take 400 years for the promise to be fulfilled is because the current inhabitants of the land have not proven themselves worthy of God’s judgment yet.

17-21 An ancient ritual, parties to a covenant walked between the halves of slaughtered animals as a portent of what would happen to them if they violated the agreement. But in this covenant only the Lord walks between the halves, as Abram sleeps. It reminds me of Jesus sweating blood in Gethsemane while his disciples lie sleeping.

Prize Question for Sunday, December 19th: List two of the three places in the new Testament where Genesis 15.6 is mentioned. (See verse 6 above for the answer)

November 29, 2010

E100, Lesson 6, The Call of Abram

The Call of Abram, Genesis 12.1—20

The great themes of the following chapters in Genesis, from chapter 12 all the way through to chapter 50 will be the promised seed and the promised land which this little band of God’s chosen people cling to for their hope and future. The promise of a son dominates chapters 12 through 20. After Isaac’s birth the story follows the succeeding line of heirs.

Just as it was in the beginning of the story of creation, the story of God’s plan of redemption begins with God, speaking. God calls out to Abram and tells him to break with his past, and embark on a new and foreign path. Abram is to leave the familiar and the well known and to head towards a vague and uncertain future: “the land that [God] will show [him]” in due time. Abram, is therefore, called to act in faith, trusting that God means him well and will bless him if he does what he is called to do. Here, even before the great passage in chapter 15 where ‘God reckons Abram righteous because he believes’ we see Abram the man of faith, willing to trust in the Lord and act in the way he believes God is calling him. Please note the two key elements to righteousness: 1) trusting in God and 2) actively living out God’s calling on our life.

Finally, Abram makes his first journey to Egypt where he takes advantage of his host by deceiving him. He lies about his relationship to Sarai, his wife, and causes God’s judgment to fall upon Pharaoh. Deciding to respond to God’s calling does not set us free from sin. For that we will need a Savior.

Comments on the text:

12:1 God called the man and woman He intended to become the parents of a chosen race of people. That is odd because Abraham is seventy-five and Sarai is barren. They are not exactly the model of fertility.

2-3 Here is God’s promise. God promises to make Abram into a great nation, to bless him and to make him a blessing to others,

4 Lot is Abram’s nephew, the son of his brother Haran.

5 the land of Canaan is the modern day Palestine and Israel.

6 Shechem, was a pass between two mountains, Ebal and Gerizim. It was marked out as a place of decision. At Shechem the Israelites were assembled to choose between blessing and curse (Deuteronomy 11.29-30) he Joshua would give his last charge (Joshua 24) and here the Kingdom of Solomon would be split into two and Samaria would be created (1Kings 12)

7 God made himself known to Abraham and granted him the land and Abram’s first act was to worship the Lord. Abram built an altar there.
8 Abraham continued on into the heart of Palestine and built another altar between Bethel and Ai. Bethel translates “The House of God” and Ai translates “the ruin.” Abram built another altar to the LORD and worshipped him there.

9—20 “The prime importance of this story,” comments Derek Kidner, “is its bearing on the promise of land and people.” Abram has been given a calling and a vision from God but the vision will be repeatedly challenged by circumstances and Abram will repeatedly compromise God’s plan through his own sinful intervention. Abram finds himself in the promised land but the risk of famine causes him to abandon it and flee to apparent abundance in a foreign, pagan land. It would require plagues to restore Sarai to her destiny and deportation to get Abram back to Canaan.

E100 Prize Question for Sunday, December 12th:
What is the first thing we are told Abram did when he got to Shechem?

Study Questions:
Have you ever had to trust in God? Where and when? How did it feel? How did it turn out?

How do you think Abram felt as he packed up and got ready to leave his home in Haran? How would you have felt?

Sometimes God calls us to give up something familiar to us and to venture into something new that we don’t know very much about. Have you ever felt like you ought to explore something new in your life? What was it?

Is God calling you to explore something new now?

What do you think caused Abram to get into trouble in Egypt? How might he have avoided the trouble?

E100, Lesson 5, The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel, Genesis 11.1—9

In the story of Babel the primeval history of humanity comes to a conclusion. Humanity realizing they have creative abilities seek to glorify and fortify themselves through collective efforts. Their plan is grandiose. People who feel vulnerable, gather together and build a fortified tower for themselves. They determine to build a tower that reaches to heaven. The express purpose is to “make a name for themselves,” to glorify themselves, to make themselves feel safe by building up great fortifications around them.

God comes to view the project and He sees that when they come together they are able to accomplish virtually anything, and God does not conclude that unity and creative strength is good for humanity. Remember what God said after the flood? In Gen 8.21, after the flood, God says, “…the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. An humanity, intent on evil, is destined to use their collective abilities for evil purposes as well. And so God determines to keep them divided by confusing their language. The problem is the human heart, and until the human heart is somehow transformed for good, unity is no good.

The Day of Pentecost opened a new chapter in the story with God opening the ears of people to hear the Gospel message in their own tongue, restoring unity among all people around a saving message. This gospel message has the ability to turn the human heart towards good and so God reverses himself. This is the reversal foretold by the prophet Zephaniah in chapter 3, verse 9: "For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.”

Comments on the text:
11:1 “used the same language”, literally, “the same set of words”

2 “the land of Shinar” refers to Mesopotamia, that land between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. That area is located in modern day Iraq. Later, Ur, is in this same area and God calls Abram out of Ur.

4 there are, in fact, towers that fit the description of a tower that were built in ancient Mesopotamia. They are called ugarits and the remains of them have been excavated in modern times.

5-8 this is actually a word play. Earlier we are told that humanity came to the project, they “came” to the area and they “came” to build. Now God comes to the project and when he sees what they are about God comes to confuse their language. God comes and confuses the peoples and scatters them.

9 Babel sounds like the Hebrew word Balal which means “to confuse.”

E100 Prize Question for Sunday, December 5th:
In what modern country would Shinar have been? What is another name for that region?

Study Questions:

What do you think motivated the people to build the tower?

Have you ever felt vulnerable and afraid? How did you respond? Did you seek to control your environment? Did you flee?

What is the significance of God confusing the people’s languages? What does this have to do with God giving everyone the ability to understand the words of the disciples on the day of Pentecost?

If God wanted any message to be understood universally, what would that message be?

November 23, 2010

E100, Lesson Four: God's Covenant with Noah

Essential 100 Scripture Passages
Gen. 8.1—9.17, God’s Covenant with Noah

8.1 In Hebrew “remembering is not simply bringing to mind but actually taking action on behalf of Noah.

.2 The word for “wind” is the same word used in Genesis 1.2. Here, in chapter 8 we have a very intentional retelling of the Creation story. God separates the water from the ground, places birds in the air, animals were sent forth to multiply upon the earth, etc.

.3 The flood abates very gradually.

.4 The precise location of Mount Ararat is unknown but it is somewhere in the Northern Turkey or Armenia area.

.6-12 Noah sends birds out to test the land. When the dove returns with an olive branch (a sign of peace) Noah knows that there is land and that plants have started to grow once more.

.13-19 Noah and his family and all the living creatures in the ark are set free to resume life on the dry land.

.20 Noah’s first act after being restored to the land is to build a place of worship and to make a sacrificial offering to the Lord. Worship is always our first privilege and duty.

.21 Noah’s worship was pleasing to the Lord. God determines to never again curse the ground or destroy the wildlife, because He says, “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Humanity can’t seem to help themselves.

.22 God promises that the growing seasons will endure as long as the earth itself endures.

9.1-7 This continues the recreation imagery. As he did with Adam and Eve, he blesses Noah and his family and tells them to be fruitful and multiply. He gives them dominion over all the animals, and declares them good to eat, except for carrion and animal blood.

.8-11 God makes the promise he made to himself in verse 8.21 known to Noah and his sons

.12-17 God gives a sign to affirm the covenant he has made—a rainbow. And he says that the sign will remind him to be compassionate, and it will remind the people of God’s promise.

Sunday’s Prize Question:
Noah sent two sorts of birds out from the ark in search of dry land. What sorts of birds were they?

Discussion Questions:
1. What things most powerfully remind you that God loves you?
2. What is one thing you could do today to show God that you are grateful for his love?

November 15, 2010

E100 Challenge 3 Noah and the Flood

Genesis 6.5—7.24 Noah and the Flood

Chapter 6

5-6 What had begun as a small act of disobedience in the garden (Adam and Eve eating from the tree God forbid them to eat) has, over time, become widespread wickedness. In the beginning God had called his Creation “good” but by the time of Noah God can find no good remaining. And God regrets having made man. “God grieved in his heart.” God’s desires and God’s hopes had been dashed. People, given a choice, turn away from God and embrace evil.

7 And God determined to destroy the creatures he had made. Please note that humanity’s sin infected all of creation, not just human beings—all creatures became detestable before God.

8 The exception: Noah. Noah found favor in God’s eyes.

9 Noah possessed three characteristics that explain God’s favor towards him. He was “righteous.” He was “blameless.” And he “walked with God.” The third characteristic: “he walked with God,” explains how Noah was able to remain righteous and blameless.

10 Noah’s sons will survive the flood because they are his offspring

11-12 A restatement of verses 5 and 6

13-17 God informed Noah of the impending flood. And He instructed Noah to build a ship. The ship (ark) would carry Noah and his family. It would guard and protect the seed of a new creation.

18-21 God would spare Noah, his sons and their wives. He would also spare one breeding pair of every creature in earth. God’s mercy is great. Even in the face of great evil God spared his creation from total destruction and provided the means for life to go on.

22 Noah obeyed God’s command to build an ark and equip it as God directed. Of course! Noah “walked with God.”

Chapter 7

1-5 When the time had come God ordered Noah to pack up. He told him to get the animals onboard. He told him that in seven days the flood would begin. Once again, Noah obeyed.

6 Noah was 600 years old when the flood began. Before the flood the ages of people were reported in the hundreds of years rather than the tens of years ever since.

7-20 We are told the specifics of the how and when the flood came to pass, and about Noah’s activity to load the ark with the “living creatures.” The flood lifted up the ark with all the pairs of animals and the remainder of the earth was flooded. Even the high mountain tops were covered by 15 cubits. A cubit is about 20 inches (the length of a forearm from the end of one’s fingers to the elbow).

21-23 All flesh on earth died. Only Noah and the contents of his fragile little ship survived.

24 The flood continued for nearly six months

Sunday Morning Prize Question:
What were the names of Noah’s three sons?

Study questions:
Do you think that people continue to turn away from God and to prefer evil in our lives? Can you site an example?

Why do you think God spared Noah and his family?

Sometimes being spared isn’t so easy. Noah and his family had to endure great hardship in order to be spared. Can you remember a time in your life when God was “sparing” you?

November 8, 2010

E100, Lesson 2 The Fall, Genesis Chapter 3

Genesis, chapter 2 ends with a statement that men and women were naked and were not ashamed. Human beings were plainly visible, nothing was hidden, and there was nothing about which they needed to be ashamed. There was no reason to hide from God’s eyes. In chapter 3 that all changes very quickly so that by verse 10 the man says to God, “I was afraid [of God] because I was naked; and I hid myself.” So, what happened in those intervening verses? Sin happened. Rebellion happened. The Fall happened.

1 the craftiest of all God’s creatures was the serpent and the serpent engaged Eve in a conversation about God; specifically the question posed revolves around the command God gave to Adam and Eve. The serpent wants to know if God commanded them to ‘not eat’ from a tree in the garden.
2 And the woman responded by answering the serpent’s question. On the positive side, God gave them permission to eat from every tree in the garden but one. (Interesting to note that among the trees that they could have eaten was the tree of [eternal] life; but they never chose to eat from it.)
3 But God said, “you shall not eat of the fruit of the tree in the center of the Garden,” that is, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And God assigned a consequence to disobedience. He said, “if you eat of it you will die.”
4 The serpent contradicts God’s word and he has been contradicting God’s word ever since. He says,” you will not die.” He lied. In fact he is the Father of lies.
5 The serpent makes the claim that if the man and the woman betray God and eat of the tree they will become wise, like God is wise. They will no longer need God’s direction. They will be able to choose for themselves.
6 The woman comes to believe that the fruit is not poison, that it is beautiful and that it was desirable to eat because it would make them wise. And so, she eats, but only after she has decided to betray God’s command and to ignore God’s warning. And not only did she eat but the man ate as well. We want to believe that sin is not sin. We want to believe that what God has commanded us to avoid will actually be good for us. There is a beauty to forbidden fruit and we really do desire it. We are all too ready to ignore the warning signs.
7 Having eaten their eyes were, indeed, opened. They see themselves in the light of not only good—as God intended and as God created them to be—but also as evil. They are ashamed of their nakedness. The unvarnished truth is that they are now good AND evil. And the sight is so repugnant to them that they fashion clothing to cover themselves. In our day we clothe ourselves in denial, justification, and transference.
8 God walked in the Garden and up until now they had been happy to see him. They had been completely open about who they were. Now that they have disobeyed God and they see that they are not only good but evil as well, now they hide from God. They fear their Creator. They are ashamed of what they have become and recognize that punishment is deserved.
9 God calls out to his people. Even as he discovers their sins and rebellion God seeks a conversation with them. God wants to be in relationship with them still.
10 Adam says, ‘I heard you coming and was afraid of you.’ He says he was afraid because he recognized he was naked before God. He hid rather than allow God to see his naked self. How often do we hide from God rather than let him see the reality of our lives?
11 God does not need to be told what happened. He asks Adam because his people need to rehearse the cause of their demise. The acted out in a way God had commanded them not to act.
12 The man blames the woman. The blame game is still the number one defense for men and women alike.
13 The woman, in turn, blames the serpent. She claims that her virtue was overcome by the deceptive acts of others. She was misled. This too is a commonly exercised defense.
14 God curses the serpent and an explanation is given for serpents having no appendages.
15 Here is the Proto-evagelion: Note that God foretells the birth of a child who will be at odds with the serpent’s offspring and that child will crush the serpent’s head even as the serpent strikes the child. A child of Eve will crush evil but not without cost. The child will be felled by evil, if only temporarily.
16 The consequences of rebellion fall on the woman as well: painful childbirth; a desire for her husband that will assure more painful childbirths; and her husband ruling over her.
17 18 and 19 The consequences of rebellion fall on the man as well: the ground, from which the man grows his food and finds his living will be cursed. It will require great effort and pain (toil) to bring forth the food required to sustain him. Hard work, exertion shall be required all his life long, and at the end of his time he will return to the cursed ground—he will die. The warning God had given was true. They ate of the forbidden fruit. They must die.
20 Eve resembles the Hebrew word living. She is the mother of all living.
21 God does not want his people to live in shame. He fashions suitable clothing for them.
22 God does not allow fallen humanity to eat from the tree of eternal life. This is an act of mercy. God does not want to condemn us to an eternity of sin and separation from God.
23 God banishes man from the Garden where the tree of eternal life is found. The man will have to toil and sweat but he will return to the ground from which he was taken.
24 Adam and Eve did not want to go and they had to be driven out and to prevent their return God placed angels at the gate, not little chubby babes with wings but soldier angels, armed and dangerous angels to prevent their approaching the tree of life. There is no hope of eternal life unless the promise God made to the serpent comes true. If the child crushes the serpent’s head and mankind is released from their sins, then the gate to eternal life can once again be opened and mankind can, at last, eat from the tree of eternal life.

Sunday November 14th Prize Question:
What was the weapon God chose to protect the entrance to the Garden?

Study Questions:
Do you believe in sin? If so, how would you define it? Is that different than the way most people you know define sin?
Does sin have consequences? If so, what are they?
Why do you think Adam and Eve made excuses for their disobedience? What sorts of excuses do we make?
Have you ever considered the possibility that God’s punishment might actually be merciful? Can you name a situation where you or someone you know had to suffer consequences for a bad choice but they found a blessing in the consequences?

October 27, 2010

E100 Challenge, Lesson One

Genesis 1.1—2.25 Creation
Below are some notes on this week’s reading. I hope you will find them useful.

Each note is prefaced with a chapter and verse citation. For example, the first note is prefaced with a 1.1a. That means the comment refers to Genesis chapter 1, verse 1, and “a” means the first part of the verse.

I invite you to keep your own notes as you work through the passages. If you keep notes throughout the entire study you will finish with a pretty complete set of reflections on the vital passages of the Holy Bible.

Let’s begin:

1.1a In the beginning God…
Before anything was created God already existed. God is eternal. That is to say, unlike anything else, God always was, always is and always will be. God was not created.

1.1b God created the heavens and the earth…
God is the source of everything in the universe, things seen and things not unseen.

1.2a The earth was without form and void, and darkness…
Apart from God nothing had being—just a black, shapeless, void. God created the world out of nothing, ex nihilo .

1.2b And the Spirit of God hovered…
That word “Spirit” can also be translated “breath.” The “breath” of God hovered. If anything comes alive, it is the consequence of this Spirit of God that was in the beginning.

1.3—1.26 And God said…And God saw that it was good…
God spoke the universe into existence. “Speaking” requires exhaling—breathing. So, the breath of God becomes the Word of God, God breathes out and the word is spoken and the universe is created. All that is created is good. God is not a malevolent God. He is the One who creates good things.

1.27 God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…
Humanity was created in God’s own likeness. We are created to resemble God, therefore to the extent that we are able to be godly we are living out the fullness of the human life He intended for us.

1.28 And God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…“
The momoent we are created God blesses us. God blesses. He does not curse. God never meant evil for us. God only ever wanted good for us. He wanted to see us reproduce and to prosper.

1.31 And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good…
Several times throughout the creation account God sees or says that his work is good. We do not live in an evil world. It is a world that was created good but has fallen. Nevertheless we can still see the divine hand of God in every aspect of His creation. This causes St Paul to comment that because of the Creation nobody is without knowledge of God. See Romans 1.18-23
2.7 God formed man out of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being…
The breath of God, the breath that hovered over the void, the breath that spoke the world into existence, that same breath is breathed into Adam’s nostrils and the humanity comes alive. Each of us contains the Divine breath of life.

2.18a It is not good for the man to be alone…
Man is a social creature by nature. We are intended for relationship. Isolation is not godly. Thus the Christian is called into community.

2.18b A helper fit for him…
A fit helper means a partner who is good for him, who completes his being. One partner brings characteristics that the other partner does not possess. Their gifts are complimentary. The fit helper for the man was a woman, not another man.

2.24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh…
Sex is not regarded as evil but as a God-given impulse which draws a man and a woman together so that “they become one flesh.”

2.25 And the man and his wife were naked, and were not ashamed…
The two were unashamedly naked, a symbol of their guiltless relation to God.

Sunday’s Prize Question (11/7/2010):
Two specific trees are named in the Garden. What are they?

Questions for study and review:
1. The beginning of Genesis assumes that God exists. Do you believe God exists? If so, what do you think God is like?
2. What evidence, if any, for God’s existence do you see in the world around you? How would you explain your “case for God” to a skeptic?
3. Do you think God loves you? Why or why not?

E100 Challenge Begins Sunday, October 31

Trinity Church, Beaver
E100 Challenge, Introduction

Nothing is more important than knowing God’s salvation, period. We are saved by God’s grace through Jesus Christ our Lord but we can only understand and appreciate that fact when we have learned the lessons we are taught through the history of God and his people. Those lessons, that history, is the content of the Bible. The E100 Challenge is a challenge to read, reflect upon and conform our lives to the teachings found in 100 essential Bible passages. The project involves setting aside a little time each week to read God’s Word and to pray and reflect on its meaning for us. The task is beneficial to young and old, experienced and inexperienced alike. Brenda and I will be taking the challenge together. I hope you will too.

Our goal is to read one reading a week for 100 weeks--simple, as long as we have some tools to keep us on track.

On Sunday Oct. 31 we will distribute ‘Track your Progress Punch out Cards’ at both Sunday services and at the children’s Sunday School. If you will be working on the project alone, please take one card. If you will be working on the project with a spouse or your entire family please take one card. Each card contains the reading citations that we will be using along with a punch out so that you can monitor your progress and other supporting materials.

If you would like to take cards for friends and neighbors, please let the office know so that we can order enough additional cards to cover both members of the parish and their guests.

Getting Started
FIND a Bible translation that is easy for you to understand.
LOG-ON to to add your name to the wall.
SET aside a special time and place to read the Bible each day.
USE the “Track Your Progress Punch-out Card.”

A Useful Way of Reading the Bible for this Study:
PRAY: before you read, asking God to help you understand.
READ: the Bible passage, perhaps more than once.
REFLECT: on the passage. Write your thoughts in a journal.
APPLY: what God teaches you from His Word for your life.
PRAY: again, asking God to help you live out His Word.

Note: This program is doubly effective if you are doing it with someone else. Ask your spouse, your family, or friends to work through the passage together.

Other Resources:
READ:Fr. Scott’s notes on the week’s reading, written in a simple line by line commentary style, posted weekly at Make sure to check out the weekly prize question!
ATTEND: Sunday School where we will address and discuss the passage each Sunday morning. Adult Sunday School meets at 9:15am in the Parish Hall. Youth and Children’s Sunday School meet at their regular times as well.
WATCH FOR: Small Groups may be forming to discuss the readings. Please check with the Church office for more information.

Weekly Prize Question:
Each week you will find a prize question online at . Know that answer on Sunday morning and be the first to raise your hand at the announcements, and you will win a prize. One prize available at each Sunday morning service.

Make a Personal Action Plan:
1. My plan is to take _________ minutes to read the Bible and pray…
a. In the morning__
b. During my lunch break__
c. In the evening before bed__
d. On the weekend__
e. Other__
2. To help me keep going, I will read the E100 with my:
a. Small group__
b. Sunday School__
c. Friend__
d. Family__
e. Co-worker__
f. Other__
3. I will add my name to the E100 Wall to symbolize my desire to take the E100 Challenge at:

October 22, 2010

Archbishop Duncan’s Address to the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization

On October 19, Archbishop Duncan addressed attendees of Lausanne 2010 in Capetown, South Africa during a session devoted to global Anglicanism.

Scattering the Proud and Lifting Up the Lowly
Luke 1:46-55

By the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church in North America
Scattering the Proud

In 1960 the Episcopal Church in the United States reported 3.4 million members. In 2002 the Episcopal Church reported 2.3 million members, a loss of over 32%. By 2008, the denominational membership had declined to less than 2.1 million, with only 700,000 worshippers present on an average Sunday. The Church which boasted the majority of signers of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and still called itself the “Church of Presidents” in the first half of the 20th century, was by the first decade of the 21st century among the fastest declining Protestant denominations in the United States, now representing substantially less than 1% of the U.S. population. The Anglican Church of Canada declined even more precipitously. Average Sunday Attendance in the late 1970s was over 1 million. By the late 1990’s it was just over 700,000. For 2008, the number stood at a shocking 325,000.

Two trends that impacted North American Anglicans significantly from the 1960s onward were theological revisionism in the Church and social radicalism in the culture. Revised texts used for worship became principle vehicles of the theological revisionism.

Lifting Up the Lowly

During the decades between 1960 and 2010, the place of orthodox believers within the Episcopal Church and within the Anglican Church of Canada became ever more tenuous. Forced replacement of worship texts, allowance for re-marriage after divorce, church laws coercing every diocese to accept the ordination of women, and revisionist domination of theological education, resulted in the formation of more than 40 break-away groups of “continuing” Anglicans spread over both countries. Official sanction of the blessing of same-sex unions [marriages] in Canada in 2002 and the national approval of a partnered homosexual bishop in the U.S in 2003, proved the breaking point for an even greater flood who simply wanted to continue in “the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” [Jude 1.3]

The ecclesiastical ruthlessness of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada – removing bishops, clergy and even lay leaders who stood in opposition, coupled with civil legal proceedings confiscating congregational and diocesan properties – might well have succeeded in crushing every one who dared to stand in opposition, but for one thing: the intervention of orthodox Anglicans from the Global South. The first to act were Rwanda and South-East Asia. Then were added Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and the Southern Cone of South America. Local congregations were taken under protection of foreign archbishops and bishops. African, Asian and Latino leaders were taking in humbled and grateful Caucasians. The colonial ecclesiastical power structure was being turned upside-down. The crisis in America – and the willingness of peoples formerly subjugated by the West to “rescue” Westerners – is one of the principal factors in explaining what is happening in world-wide Anglicanism today. This “godly rescue,” together with the willingness of many North Americans to stand no matter what the cost, is why the Anglican Church in North America, of which I am Archbishop and Primate, now exists, and why it is experiencing extraordinary growth despite all that has come against us from the old hierarchies and the wayward culture.

Lessons Learned
Now I want to share briefly about what we North Americans have learned that applies to the whole Christian Church throughout the world. Four lessons are foremost. I hope they prove among the “take-aways” this dialogue session provides. This session is not fundamentally about Anglicanism, but about the whole Christian Church. The words of the Lausanne Covenant Preface (1974) ring again in our ears: “We are deeply stirred because of what God is doing in our day.”

Lesson One
Standing in God’s Truth raises God’s Allies

First, when any of us stand for God’s Truth in first order issues, where the salvation of souls rather than condemnation of opponents is our goal, it brings unity in the Church, true unity. The whole Church throughout the world is also challenged to stand with you. Foreign and ecumenical partners are invited to be at their best, and allies emerge from countless unexpected places. “Fear not, for those who are with you are more than those who are against you.” [2 Kgs 6:16] Faithful Anglicans in other parts of the world were willing to stand with us once they knew we refused to compromise the faith once-delivered. Not only that, but ecumenical allies have come along side of us, allies as diverse as Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America and Dr. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California, both at this Congress. Many here at Lausanne III, and countless souls you lead, have acted to encourage us and to intercede for us. This unity goes way beyond anything I have ever experienced. Both ethnic division and denominationalism fade away.

Lesson Two
Humility builds God’s Partnerships

Second, humility builds God’s partnerships. Humility and charity – as well as forgiveness and reconciliation – among those partnering are essential for God to work in situations where social, economic colonial and ecclesiastical inequalities have heretofore operated. Partnerships of extraordinary proportion emerge. New learnings abound. We in the U.S. and Canada have learned a great deal about ways churches can be planted, about the necessity of ending our silence concerning resurgent Islam, about evangelism and discipleship, and even about how ancient structures might serve mission once again.

The rich have to become poor in the things they previously judged to be their riches, and the poor have to see themselves as God sees them: perhaps from the “weakest of the tribes,” but “mighty men of valor” nonetheless. [Judges 6:11-16]

Lesson Three
God does lift up the Lowly

Third, God “magnifies” the lowly. Global South Anglicanism is now majority Anglicanism. The average Anglican is now a woman, an African, a mother, and under the age of 20. We are not the Church of England anymore. God speaks to us of previously unimaginable possibilities. For us in the Anglican Church in North America we believe God has set us to planting 1000 new churches in our first five years of life. 1 or 2 potential church-planters contacts our office every day! 500 will gather at our Anglican 1000 Summit in January. What is equally astounding is what I call “Anglican fever” on university and seminary campuses. Five weeks ago, Dean Timothy George of Beeson School of Theology in Birmingham, Alabama, a school of Baptist foundation, informed me that “the fastest growing group of students are the Anglicans.” I met with twenty eager Wheaton College students in August. All are part of newly formed Anglican congregations in the Chicago area. None of them were raised as Anglicans. All believe themselves called to some kind of missionary life as committed disciples of Jesus. They want not only to tell about Jesus, but to do what Jesus did. These are by no means isolated North American stories. From the ruins of the heretical and wayward denominations that marginalized, exiled and expelled the faithful of an earlier generation, a new generation is clearly being drawn to believing and serving in the humbled and renewed Anglican Church that is emerging.

Lesson Four
Personal Conversion deepens with Gospel suffering and sacrifice

Fourth, personal conversion deepens with sacrifice and suffering. We have learned that the cross of Jesus is the way of life. We have firsthand evidence that those who are prepared to give up buildings and endowments and pensions and relationships and respectability, for the sake of the gospel, are far more committed disciples than they were before their trials and their struggles. Deciding for Jesus changes people, not only at the first, but every time the cross is embraced. Among those already facing challenges of poverty, war, disease and famine – but who nevertheless act to help other suffering brothers and sisters – perhaps even on a faraway continent – for these God also deepens their conversion, often also bringing new friends and new hope, renewing godly self-image, and opening lines of provision for their original needs.

Scattering the Proud and Lifting Up the Lowly

I speak to you with all humility. Ours is no North American triumph. Ours is a rescue story in a global Church. It is not necessarily an Anglican story. It is a story of the whole Christian Church at its best.

August 24, 2010

Archbishops Williams and Duncan worshipping together

Archbishop Duncan Joins Leaders at All Africa Bishops Conference

Archbishop Robert Duncan was included with the other Anglican primates during the opening Eucharist, and shared in the distribution of communion, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

August 24, 2010

Bishops from all of Africa as well as Anglicans from around the world are meeting together in Entebbe, Uganda, for the Second All Africa Bishops Conference August 23-29.

The conference, which is organized by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), calls together bishops and archbishops from 400 dioceses in Africa. Invited guests from around the Anglican world are also present.

Archbishop Robert Duncan, Bishop Martyn Minns, Bishop John Guernsey and Bishop Bill Atwood are among the Anglican Church in North America leaders who are attending the event. “The Anglican Church is expanding everywhere in Africa. There are now some 400 dioceses spread across the continent. As Archbishop I am here to learn and to stand in solidarity with this vigorous gospel mission,” said Archbishop Duncan. As the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Duncan was included with the other Anglican primates (leaders of Anglican provinces) during the opening Eucharist, and shared in the distribution of communion, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Archbishop Williams told the gathered bishops that the 21st Century may well be the “African Century.”

Archbishop Duncan, as well as Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia, have also been invited to sit with the primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) during their meetings.

To learn more about this important meeting, visit the conference website.

Photography courtesy of AnglicanTV.

June 24, 2010

Are You Prepared to Go to Jail for Jesus?

by Rev. Scott Homer

Trinity Church is preparing to go to jail for Jesus. No, the police aren’t coming to handcuff us and carry us off. No, we haven’t violated the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Trinity Church, in cooperation with prison chaplain Denny Ugoletti, and a number of Trinity seminarians, is taking prayer, bible study, and Christian fellowship to the prisoners at Beaver County Jail. The program is slated to run on Sunday evenings and begins on July 11th.

Our goal is to establish a program at the jail that will instruct interested inmates in the fundamental teachings of the Great Tradition: the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. Secondly, we hope to ground inmates in the rhythm of daily morning and evening prayer, to show that the Christian life is born out of an ancient tradition dating back all the way to the time of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is an exciting program that will challenge us to reach beyond our comfort zone. We will feel overwhelmed at times and that is good because it forces us to place ourselves in God’s hands and to rely upon God’s provision. And whenever we muster up the courage to do that…God blesses us and enriches our lives in extraordinary ways.

Already a couple members of the parish have expressed an interest and have taken the jail’s mandatory volunteer training course. Perhaps God is calling you to share your faith with men or women at the jail. Will you pray about it? Will you be bold enough to ask the Lord if this is a ministry for you or will you dismiss it out of hand? I pray that you will consider this new ministry opportunity by asking God to speak to you about it. Give me a call if you have any questions. I will be waiting to hear from you.

Parish Picnic

More Photos, thanks Cindy Split

Parish Picnic Photos

Thanks to Cindy Split for these photos!

Fathered By God--Program Review

by Scott Homer+

What are the developmental stages in a man’s life and how does a Christian man make the masculine journey with integrity? How does he progress in becoming more Christlike? And if he has suffered wounding during certain stages of his development how might a man revisit that aspect of his life and acquire the skills he lacks? How does a man become the man that God created him to be?
Eighteen men gathered during the month of June to study and discuss the teachings found in John Eldridge’s, Fathered By God (Thomas Nelson, 2009). The whole group gathered for video presentations and small group discussions on four consecutive Wednesdays and thirteen also went on a weekend retreat, canoed the Upper Allegheny River and shared their personal journeys with one another.
The experience was positive for many but at least one man was truly transformed by it and returns home to a renewed life in Christ and a new commitment to live out his new life within the communion of the Church.
The Fathered By God seminar series was sponsored by the Wild at Heart ministry of Trinity Church, Beaver which is dedicated to building a Christian band of brothers, who pray for one another, stand together through life’s challenges, and fight for the cause of Christ as one unit. The group is always seeking to engage other men to join us in the journey. More to follow.

June 16, 2010

Kajire Well Project--A note from Rev. Ferdinand

Dear Rev. Father Scott and all members of Trinity Church Beaver,

On behalf of Kajire village in Taita-Taveta District Coast province Kenya, I wish to thank you so much for the tireless efforts you have given to this project.Your efforts to help us acces palatable water comes to us as an answered prayer passed on to us by our grand parents. As I grew up at Kajire village scarcity or at times total lack of water has always been the most menace against easy living to both human beings and animal population in this beautiful land, Kajire village. Our grand parents could not tackle the problem because to drill bore hole in thie area is so costly. So, for many years different generations that grew up in Kajire village learnt to accept this water shortage as part of their life long problem. Some times this lack of adequate water causes prolonged drought leading to human-and wild animal conflict. Therefore your efforts towards Kajire bore hole project will not only revolutionize life in this small village below the beautiful hills of sagalla but will also enhance peaceful coexistence between human beings with one another and with wild animals. I and my wife, Evylene, have committed ourselves to prayer for Geoff and Katie and, Father Scott as they bridge between us and you people at Trinity Church that their and your efforts will bear long standing fruits in this project to the glory of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

Shalom...God's peace to all members of Trinity Church Beaver

F. Manjewa M'bwangi

School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Humanities
Pwani University College
A Constituent College of Kenyatta University.
P.O. Box 195 Kilifi, KENYA.
Cell phone: +254 0722109598.

June 15, 2010

Thanks to Len Finn for the Picnic Photos

Trinity Parish Picnic a Blessed Day

Over seventy parishioners gathered for the Trinity Parish Picnic at Two-Mile Run Park this past Sunday morning. Despite forecasts of rain, the day remained dry and we were able to worship, play, and enjoy a meal together without interuption. It was a great day, with dramatic presentations from the Covenant Players, an outdoor Holy Eucharist, and a picnic meal with lots of goodies. The kids, including Fr. Carl, enjoyed the annual walk in the creek. A dozen or so participated in the whiffle golf tourney along with other games and activities. Thanks to everybody who helped to make the day such a great success. We are looking forward to next year already.

Parish Picnic--Fore

Trinity Parish Picnic, Flippin Burgers for Jesus

Trinity Parish Picnic

It Ain't Over 'Til Its Over

by Fr. Scott Homer
June 15, 2010

Thanks to the interested parishioners who have been dropping newspaper articles on my desk this week. There have been two state supreme court decisions, one in Virginia and one in California on cases of property ownership in the current Anglican crisis. The reporters, and especially those responsible for creating the headlines are making much more out of these decisions than they warrant. Both decisions are procedural in nature and have little to do with the issues involved. Both decisions refer their case back to a lower court for review or retrial. Neither of the cases determines property ownership. We remain a long way away from any sort of conclusions about who owns what. As Yogi Berra is reputed to have said, "It ain't over 'til its over."

Our position at Trinity Anglican Church remains unchanged. We have, as members of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, distanced ourselves from the Episcopal Church leadership who have compromised the Holy Scriptures, engaged in false teaching, are actively deceiving the people they vowed to serve. We believe that occupying this property is our legal right but our dispute with TEC has little to do with property. The courts may determine where we will worship in future years but they can not alter the truth of the Gospel or ammend the Apostles' Teaching. They can not change the meaning of virtue or redefine the nature of sin. Our decision to leave TEC has been painful and difficult and may become more so. It is, we believe, the only decision that honors our Lord and Savior, respects the Word of God and submits to the received teachings of Christ's One Holy Catholic Church.

Even as we await the outcome of the court cases we openly acknowledge that the decision about who we serve and to whom we owe our allegiance is already decided. We serve our Lord Jesus Christ and we can do that faithfully here at 370 Beaver Street or at the YMCA or in the park down the street. What we can not do is serve our Lord Jesus Christ while also pledging allegiance to his enemies.

June 13, 2010

He Who Is Forgiven Much Loves Much

by Fr. Scott Homer
In the Name of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

We are going to be talking about love this morning. We are going to talk about love because Jesus talks about love in our Gospel reading. And he is talking about love in an unusual way. His meaning is not all that transparent but his point is essential if we hope to live out our lives in love, peace, and joy. Jesus says is that the extent to which someone knows love and demonstrates love is in direct proportion to the amount of forgiveness they receive. Great forgiveness received, great love expressed. Little forgiveness received, little love expressed. Now this presents us with an interesting problem. Does Jesus mean for us to believe that if we have not received forgiveness we are incapable of loving? Some of us don’t really believe we have done much requiring forgiveness. We believe we are living virtuous lives for the most part. Is Jesus saying that we are not going to be loving people because we have not been screwing up all our lives? Do we have to go out and sin so that we can receive forgiveness? Well, the answer to these questions is no, you don’t have to go out and sin but yes, to the extent that we have not been forgiven we are incapable of loving. And yes, those of us who believe that we have lived largely virtuous lives and have done little to warrant forgiveness really are incapable of love. You see, the problem is that love does not spring out of virtuous acts. Love springs out of a relationship—a relationship with the Source of Love and that relationship is first and foremost a relationship established in forgiveness. Our God, the one and only true God, is first and foremost the God of love, the God of compassion and mercy, and we simply cannot be in his presence without experiencing forgiveness. In his presence we know acceptance, and peace and joy but all of that is born out of our forgiveness in his presence. In fact, true forgiveness can be found nowhere else—only in our Lord’s presence.
When we read these Bible stories about Jesus we have got to keep something in mind. Jesus is God in human flesh. If we forget this the stories will not make sense. God is perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus makes this point himself in John chapter 14, verse 9. The disciple Philip has asked Jesus to show him God the Father. And Jesus responds by asking Philip, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father?' And this is not the only evidence. Do you recall the way St John starts his Gospel account about Jesus? In John 1.14 he writes, “And the Word became flesh [that is, Jesus of Nazareth], and dwelt among us, and we saw [Christ’s] glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. And St. Paul is of the same opinioon. He also repeatedly asserts that Jesus is God in the flesh. Most notably in two places in the letter to the Colossians he writes in 1.5, “[Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God” and again in 2.9 he writes, “…in [Jesus Christ] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” So, when we see Jesus operating in the world we see God operating in the world. We see how God acts, what God values, the ways that God handles situations, God’s priorities and God’s values demonstrated in concrete form. And when we read the stories about Jesus we are being shown God working in our world--not somebody who demonstrates godly characteristics, not somebody who channels godlike sayings, not a particularly godly man—but God in all his glory working in the world.
Jesus is God in the flesh—We have to begin here because we can’t grasp what is happening in our Gospel reading this morning any other way. When we read this story we have got to understand that God has gone to eat dinner at this Pharisee’s house. God is seated at the dinner table. It is God’s feet that are being washed with the woman’s tears. And it is God who is being judged and accused by the Pharisee. When we look at the behavior of the Pharisee and the woman we are looking at two unique responses to God’s presence in their life. And there are a couple of very important differences in their response to God’s presence.

The Pharisee doubts that God has drawn near. He can not or will not see God’s presence in Jesus but the sinful woman worships Jesus, devotes herself to caring for him. She goes so far as to anoint him—and hyes, there are kingly implications in that. The Pharisee dishonors God because he confuses forgiveness for uncleanness and accuses God of being a fraud. The sinful woman honors God with her whole being.

But here is the most important thing: The Pharisee does not recognize his need for forgiveness. He is, in his own mind, a righteous man. In his mind he has done little or nothing wrong and he senses no need for God’s mercy but the sinful woman recognizes her sinfulness and she is dependent on God’s mercy.

As a consequence of forgiveness the woman’s response to Jesus is loving. She abandons herself to serve him, to bless him and to honor him. The Pharisee’s response to Jesus is to defend his self-righteous superiority by leveling an accusation against God and God’s mercy.

Jesus wants all the Pharisees of the world to know that love is intimately linked to forgiveness. No human being will ever be truly loving as long as they are convinced that they are above needing and receiving forgiveness. It is only in God’s forgiveness that you are empowered to love. The problem is confusion about the nature of righteousness. Where does righteousness come from? Does one become righteous by keeping oneself unstained by the world? Or is righteousness a gift which is bestowed upon a person by God? Are we righteousness under assault or is righteousness like a cloak that has been placed upon us?

We can live as though righteousness is our starting point and that living the righteous life before God is the process of keeping ourselves unstained by the world. In this approach, that is the preferred route for Obsessive compulsive personalities, a person is righteous to the extent that they are able to avoid coming into contact with any and all filthiness, through a doggedly determined attempt to maintain our purity against a dirty world, by tiptoeing through a sin-filled minefield scrupulously avoiding anything that looks like a mistake. But God forbid you should ever happen to brush up against some filth unawares, or that you should experience a momentary lapse and think an impure thought or engage in an unholy act. And many have failed because they stumbled on a landmine and all their attempts at being righteous were dashed in a moment. And what about all those invisible perils? This approach leads to a miserably unhappy life.

Or we can live as penitent sinners. We can acknowledge that brokenness, neediness and filthiness is the given. That is our starting point and living the righteous life is the process of accepting God’s forgiveness and serving him and others to the best of our ability. In this scenario the goal is not to maintain a false sense of righteousness. It is to abandon ourselves to God’s grace and mercy, trusting that when our soul is a forgiven soul it is a loving soul and that a forgiven-loving soul is much less likely to succomb to the temptation of sin. If we are stained by the world, it is, after all, the way of the world but we know that if we confess our sin and repent and return the Lord, that he will once again forgive us and we will once again know the joy of being a forgiven creature. We will once again know His immense strength of love supporting us. This is the preferred method-according to Jesus.

Love—it is the center of the gospel message. When Jesus is asked to summarize the Law, that is, when he is asked to reveal the most important code of conduct—the code of conduct that people must observe if they hope to be found righteous in God’s sight, Jesus says, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Why this extraordinary emphasis on love? We find the anwer in St. John’s first Epistle. St John writes, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love…God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

In our Gospel reading this morning Jesus says that the woman who is washing his feet, and kissing his feet, and anointing his head with oil is loving much. She is completely invested in making Jesus comfortable, in welcoming him, in honoring him and she seems unconcerned about how she might appear to the people looking on. But her expression of love is born out of Jesus’ forgiveness. Love is the human response to God’s graceful and compassionate forgiveness. Let’s stop acting as if we need to have it all together. Lets accept the facts, surrender ourselves to God's forgiveness and grace. Let's begin to live out the love that God is showering upon us. Amen.

June 10, 2010

Sermon: Who Can You Trust?

By the Reverend Scott Homer
2 Pentecost, 2010

In the old days, before women’s rights became front burner issues, and before divorce became a nearly universally accepted option, women often thought and sometimes were taught that if they could make a good catch, if they could secure a good, hardworking, husband that their lives would be safe and secure. Of course, these days even if a woman wanted to find a good, hardworking husband there would be no guarantee that the two of them would stay together. Trusting in another human being for your health and welfare was risky then and it is even more risky now. There was a day when someone would graduate from high school and get a job with an employer with the expectation that their employer would provide them with a decent living for their entire career life. Now, career guidance counsellors tell their clients to expect to change employers every three to five years. Trusting in a corporation for your security is a thing of the past.

Many of us rely on our government to keep us safe and to look out for our best interests but how many of us were disappointed to learn that the Securities and Exchange Commission was not policing the financial markets and that their lack of attention caused us all to suffer massive financial losses? And is anybody other than me upset with the Department of the Interior for granting BP drilling rights for the Deepwater Horizon without first assuring that there was some sort of effective emergency plan in place? And didn’t it make you feel as though your world was much more dangerous after 9/11, when you realized that a small group of uneducated terrorists could walk into a US airport, hijack three commercial airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center and the United States Pentagon?

These are just a few examples but they point out a fundamental human problem. We need help, we recognize we need help, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone or anything we can trust. We recognize that we are incapable of assuring our own wellbeing. There are just too many variables, too many possibilities for us to defend ourselves against them all and we really do need someone or something that has the power to guard and protect us from all the dangers that threaten our security. So we forced to rely upon external resources for our protection and safety: families, institutions, governements. But we are repeatedly discouraged to discover that even these eternal institutions can not protect us and worse than that, sometimes the very things in which we have placed our trust end up being hurtful and destructive.

Is there anything reliable? Is there anything we can really count on? Is there somewhere we can place our hopes and not have those hopes dashed? Well, the good news is that there is something we can trust with absolute certainty that we will not be disappointed. There is a rock solid source of security—a source that has the immense power to overcome all the fundamental forces of the universe that threaten us. And that rock solid source of security is yours in the person of Jesus Christ. He has proven his immense power by exhibiting the ability to bring the dead to life—and ultimately in overcoming even his own death. If you are known by Jesus Christ, if he looks on you with compassion and if he has pity upon you, you can rest assured that you never need worry about your future. He has proven himself able. He is able to restore all that has been lost—even when it appears that all has been lost. He is able and he has promised that he will, lead us into an eternal and glorified life and that we will know joy, peace and freedom from fear—forever. This is the Gospel message the Church proclaims. It is the same message that has been proclaimed for two thousand years. Civilizations have come and gone, but the Word of God has remained unchanged. Jesus died, and rose again, to save sinners.

St Paul’s letter to the Christian community in Galatia begins with a stringent defense of the Gospel message. We just read the beginning of that defense this morning. Did you notice what Paul said? He said, “The Gospel that was preached to me was not man’s gospel for I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Paul wants us to be clear in ouur understanding. He is insisting that the gospel message, the message that Jesus died to save sinners, that all that believe in Jesus Christ are saved, and that in Christ our futures are blessed and assured, this message is not a set of manmade conclusions drawn from looking at the life of Christ. It isn’t the product of people sitting around doing theology, as admirable as doing theology may be. The gospel is not a human idea about what Jesus’ life meant for us. The Gospel was spoken to Paul, and through Paul to us, by God himself. We have received it not as a teaching, but as a revelation. When God reveals something, he reveals something that is completely and utterly true. Not kinda true. Not true in some circumstances—it is simply and totally true—and the Gospel is the revealed Word of God.

Now this is very important because it is the gospel message that brings people to faith, and if the gospel is God’s revealed Word, the we are brought to faith not through the agency of men but through the power of God. Your salvation and the salvation of your family and friends does not rely upon them running into a particularly gifted preacher or evangelist. You don’t have to hope and pray that someone smart enough is able to convince them. The hope of salvation doesn’t depend upon carefully crafted arguments. Our hope for salvation is grounded in the Word of God, in the Spirit of the Lord falling upon us so that what was once hidden becomes revealed, and having been revealed causes us to believe, and that having caused us to believe, leads us into eternal life. This is God inspired, God breathed, God infused faith. We come along for the ride, we must consent to God’s working but it is God doing it.

That is why the Holy Communion is so essential. Holy Communion isn’t an argument. It is an infusion of grace. It doesn’t seek to persuade us. It washes over us, indwells u,s changes us from the inside out. God’s Living Word spoken into the lives of dead and dying people—that is what brings rebirth and new life. God’s Living Word spoken into dead and dying people is the ONLY reliable source of hope because God’s living word is eternal and absolute. God’s eternal Word carries immense power, total truth, and unconditional commitment. human beings are unreliable; human institutions will ultimately disappoint, but God is trustworthy. Our forefathers knew this. That is why printed on every dollar bill it says, “In God We Trust.”

In Psalm 30 King David wrote, “I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have lifted me up and have not let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to you, and you restored my health. You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.” Who is it that saved David from his enemies? Was it his great and powerful armies? No. Was it his wise councellors? No. Was it the great prophets of his Age? No. David praises God—because it was God who “brought him up from the dead.” And by what power were the sons of The Widow of Zarapheth and the Widow of Nain raised? It was the Living Word of God spoken into dead men.

This is the gospel we proclaim—it is not a gospel grounded in sound reasoning. It is, in fact, beyond reason. It is outrageous. If it is the product of the human mind it is derranged. But it is not the product of human teaching. It is the revealed Word of God, living and true, and it holds the power to save for all who believe and who commit their lives to it author Jesus Christ.

We live in a world full of uncertainty. Life is fragile. The world around us is dangerous. And we can not help but question the ability of our human institutions to guard and protect us. The truth is, all human institutions will, in time, fail us. Our own bodies will fail us. If we are to rest assured about our future well-being, if we are to live our lives with a genuine sense of peace and security, we are going to have to pray for the Living Word of God to capture us. We are going to have to pray that our Lord send his Holy Spirit upon us and fill us with all truth. Because when the true gospel is revealed to us we will know that all these stories about raising the dead are true…and it will not be academic. We will know it to the core of our beings because we will be the dead people sitting up in our caskets, singing praises to the Lord. We will know that resurrection is possible because we will be experiencing it from the inside out. Amen.

Archbishop Duncan's State of the Province Address

Annual Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America
for the Year of Our Lord 2010
All Saints Pro-Cathedral and Ministry Center
Amesbury, Massachusetts
8th June 2010

Unless the Lord builds the House, their labor is in vain who build it. [Ps 127.1]

It was fifty weeks ago that we gathered to constitute the Anglican Church in North America.

At that time we understood the mission God had for us: “To reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.“ Knowing what you are sent to do is a great starting point, indeed, it is the necessary starting point for the Christian.

Fifty weeks ago we also understood that it was time for orthodox Anglicanism to come together in North America. One hundred forty years of splintering and dividing – forty years in earnest – needed mending, for Christ’s sake, for the kingdom’s sake, and for our own souls’ sake. The coming together formalized at Bedford, Texas, was no less than a sovereign act of God (done in a people who were willing) for which we ought continually to give thanks and for the strengthening of which we must continually labor.

Along the way other understandings have been clarified for us. We have learned to describe our method for achieving this transformation in Christ Jesus as “converted individuals, in multiplying congregations, fueled by the Holy Spirit.” Moreover, we have been able to articulate a threefold accountability without which any congregation falls short of being reliably Anglican: accountable to the Holy Scriptures, accountable to the Great Tradition, accountable for the transformation of society. These understandings are, in themselves, remarkable achievements.

We did not do these things. The Lord did them in a cooperating people. The Lord has built this House. It is marvelous in our eyes.

When we gathered at Bedford fifty weeks ago we were 17 dioceses (or dioceses in formation) plus representatives of the 22 networks of the Anglican Mission. As we gather here in Amesbury we will, God willing, emerge as 20 dioceses, plus our Ministry Partners. We totaled 703 congregations at Bedford. We are 811 congregations at Amesbury, not yet including all the congregations of the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (a Ministry Partner) that are now requesting inclusion in our church data base and online Church Finder. (Up to date information on our Average Sunday Attendance is not available for this meeting of Provincial Council but is promised by our Anglican Records Task Force for the next Annual Council.)

Systems and relationships continue to “shake-out.” The rosters and reports presented to this Annual Council point to a Church whose functions and life are developing appropriately. The transition from the Common Cause (Lead Bishops) Executive Committee to the six clergy/six laity ACNA Executive Committee takes place with this meeting. There are substantive reports on Prayer Book, Catechumenate, and Ecumenical Relations. The presentation of a balanced budget and the confidence exhibited by our staff in raising the half-million dollars for our Founders Fund to match the nearly half-million dollars now flowing from our dioceses is another sign – a mighty sign – of the Lord’s favor.

The jurisdictional approach to the integration of the Anglican Mission (a missionary outreach of Rwanda) into the Anglican Church in North America has been found to be “a bridge too far” and this meeting sees the petition of the Anglican Mission to be a Ministry Partner as a more appropriate approach to our life together in this season. At the same time this meeting heralds the ending of many important oversight relationships with foreign partners. Not least among these is the conclusion of Recife’s episcopal role. We are delighted that Bp. Robinson Cavalcanti is with us to mark this change. Here as elsewhere, oversight may end but our deep partnership in the gospel continues.

As archbishop I have articulated four areas that I believe need to become our distinctives:
1) that we know ourselves to be the beloved of Jesus;
2) that we become a people committed to personal holiness
3) that we understand our work as fore-runners of Jesus; and
4) that we are those who sacrifice for the sake of others.
Among other things, such distinctives would form us into a different people than we presently are. They would direct us in everything from our engagement with Islam to our embrace of the tithe. Seeing these distinctives is a great beginning. Embrace must follow.

The ordination of women to the presbyterate remains a matter that divides us. Despite the deep theological and ecclesiological divide we have remained committed to each other, and have honored each other as our Constitution envisions. The College of Bishops will have a morning (Friday) aimed at deeper understanding of the grounds of our divergent practice. Moreover, the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council has agreed to appointment of a theological task force to consider both the theological and structural issues that not only divide us, but also them. A healthy Church does not run away from its difficulties, nor does it act independently.

Global relationships among Anglican Provinces have also seen increasing regularization. The Anglican Church in North America is now recognized as the North American Province by the GAFCON/FCA Provinces and I, as archbishop and primate, am now seated on the Primates Council. More broadly, the representatives of twenty Provinces of the Global South, meeting at Singapore, declared the Anglican Church in North America to be “a faithful expression of Anglicanism,” to be their “gospel partners,” and expressed the hope that “all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy and people of the ACNA and Communion Partners.” The privilege of being celebrant of one of the eucharists of South-South Encounter IV was a sign of global affirmation of who we are and of the shared Faith and Order for which we have stood together. Even the General Synod of the Church of England has considered right relationship.

Ecumenical recognitions and conversations have developed far beyond those first signs given to us at Bedford by Metropolitan Jonah and Pastor Rick Warren fifty weeks ago. Our commitments to what Anglicans have always been committed to has translated into a general ecumenical assessment that we look like what Anglicans have always looked like, and doors are consequently opening everywhere.

All of this is the Lord’s work. He has built this House. We have cooperated, even in the hard things…perhaps especially in the hard things. May His grace for this never be absent from us.

Two symbols of all that we are becoming are symbols with which I would draw this “State of the Church” address to a close. These two symbols are also further evidence that it is the Lord who is building this House in these last fifty weeks.

One symbol is the place where we are meeting: All Saints Pro-Cathedral and Ministry Center, Amesbury, Massachusetts. As is obvious to all who are here this is a former Roman Catholic campus: church, school, convent, rectory. The old Episcopal parish lost its old Episcopal buildings, but this is so much bigger, and there is so much more possibility here. The Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, like so many ecumenical allies, moved heaven and earth (as they say) to make this place available for homeless Anglicans. Similarly, that the mayor came here to welcome us should be lost on no one. The whole town is abuzz with what is happening at the new cathedral. This is also center for the Anglican Diocese in New England, not of New England. There has just been a big laudatory spread in the Boston Globe. Accountable to the Scriptures. Accountable to the Tradition. Accountable for Social Transformation. Boundless vision. All things new. This is the Anglican Church in North America.

The other symbol is Anglican 1000. A leader, David Roseberry, came forward after my investiture sermon fifty weeks ago, saying he would do whatever it takes to work with me to make the planting of 1000 new congregations in five years a reality. Christ Church Plano funded the first season of operation: website, conferences, administration, energy – more than $100,000 of investment by one congregation on behalf of all the rest of us. The Founders Fund goal for the year ahead is for the Province to fund Anglican 1000 at three times that cost. Vision, response, generosity, action. Anglican 1000 has turned out to be catalytic. Everybody is imaging congregational multiplication: little parishes, big parishes, young people, old people, Black people, White People, First Nation People, Asian People. It’s catalyzing our existing congregations. It’s catalyzing undergraduates on countless campuses. Fifty weeks ago I asked the Lord: “What should I say?” He said “1000 congregations.” The Lord is building the House. It is marvelous in our eyes. Let’s keep cooperating in His agenda. I’ll do my part. I know you will do yours.

Thanks for entrusting the mantle of leadership to me. Please be ceaseless in prayer.

June 8, 2010

Anglicans Cut Episcopalians from Ecumenical Bodies


LONDON — The Anglican Communion has suspended U.S. Episcopalians from serving on ecumenical bodies because of the election of a lesbian as a bishop in California.

The U.S. church opened a rift in the global communion, and within its own ranks, seven years ago by electing a gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire. Conservative African Anglicans have taken a lead in opposing moves in the United States and Canada to promote gays and to bless homosexual relationships.

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, had called for a moratorium on appointing homosexuals to leadership positions. He asked for action against the Episcopal Church after the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool was made an assistant bishop of Los Angeles.

The Anglican Communion is an association of 44 regional and national member churches, most founded by Church of England missionaries, with more than 80 million members in more than 160 countries.

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, announced Monday that Episcopalians had been downgraded from members to consultants in formal ecumenical dialogues, annual meetings between Anglicans and clergy in other churches intended to build friendship and better understand one another's traditions and issues of mutual concern such as points of theology and ways of worshipping.

Kearon said he had also written to the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada to ask whether it has formally adopted a policy backing same-sex blessings.

The Canadian church's governing General Synod is meeting this week, and is discussing whether to debate a motion on the issue.

The Episcopal News Service said the Rev. Katherine Grieb, an Episcopal priest and professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary, was downgraded from member to consultant to the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order.

Those who were stripped of membership in ecumenical dialogues, according to ENS, were the Rev. Thomas Ferguson and Assistant Bishop William Gregg of North Carolina, both involved in the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue; Bishop C. Franklin Brookhart of Montana had been a member of the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission; and the Very Rev. William H. Petersen, professor of ecclesiastical and ecumenical history of Bexley Hall in Columbus, Ohio, who was serving on the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.

Brookhart said the individual clergy members' opinions about the moratorium were not a factor in the archbishop's decision. Brookhart said he supports the moratorium, did not participate in Glasspool's consecration and that his policy has been not to authorize the blessing of same-sex couples.

"This is ironic, isn't it?" he said.

May 28, 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost Letter

Renewal in the Spirit

to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion

1. ‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak’ (Acts 2.4). At Pentecost, we celebrate the gift God gives us of being able to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ in the various languages of the whole human world. The Gospel is not the property of any one group, any one culture or history, but is what God intends for the salvation of all who will listen and respond.

St Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is also what God gives us so that we can call God ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom. 8.15, Gal. 4.6). The Spirit is given not only so that we can speak to the world about God but so that we can speak to God in the words of his own beloved Son. The Good News we share is not just a story about Jesus but the possibility of living in and through the life of Jesus and praying his prayer to the Father.

And so the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of ‘communion’ or fellowship (II Cor. 13.13). The Spirit allows us to recognise each other as part of the Body of Christ because we can hear in each other the voice of Jesus praying to the Father. We know, in the Spirit, that we who are baptised into Jesus Christ share one life; so that all the diversity of gifting and service in the Church can be seen as the work of one Spirit (I Cor. 12.4). In the Holy Eucharist, this unity in and through the self-offering of Jesus is reaffirmed and renewed as we pray for the Spirit to transform both the bread and wine and ‘ourselves, our souls and bodies’.

When the Church is living by the Spirit, what the world will see is a community of people who joyfully and gratefully hear the prayer of Jesus being offered in each other’s words and lives, and are able to recognise the one Christ working through human diversity. And if the world sees this, the Church is a true sign of hope in a world of bitter conflict and rivalry.

2. From the very first, as the New Testament makes plain, the Church has experienced division and internal hostilities. From the very first, the Church has had to repent of its failure to live fully in the light and truth of the Spirit. Jesus tells us in St John’s gospel that the Spirit of truth will ‘prove the world wrong’ in respect of sin and righteousness and judgement (Jn 16.8). But if the Spirit is leading us all further into the truth, the Spirit will convict the Church too of its wrongness and lead it into repentance. And if the Church is a community where we serve each other in the name of Christ, it is a community where we can and should call each other to repentance in the name of Christ and his Spirit – not to make the other feel inferior (because we all need to be called to repentance) but to remind them of the glory of Christ’s gift and the promise that we lose sight of when we fail in our common life as a Church.

Our Anglican fellowship continues to experience painful division, and the events of recent months have not brought us nearer to full reconciliation. There are still things being done that the representative bodies of the Communion have repeatedly pleaded should not be done; and this leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round. It is clear that the official bodies of The Episcopal Church have felt in conscience that they cannot go along with what has been asked of them by others, and the consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool on May 15 has been a clear sign of this. And despite attempts to clarify the situation, activity across provincial boundaries still continues – equally dictated by what people have felt they must in conscience do. Some provinces have within them dioceses that are committed to policies that neither the province as a whole nor the Communion has sanctioned. In several places, not only in North America, Anglicans have not hesitated to involve the law courts in settling disputes, often at great expense and at the cost of the Church’s good name.

All are agreed that the disputes arising around these matters threaten to distract us from our main calling as Christ’s Church. The recent Global South encounter in Singapore articulated a strong and welcome plea for the priority of mission in the Communion; and in my own message to that meeting I prayed for a ‘new Pentecost’ for all of us. This is a good season of the year to pray earnestly for renewal in the Spirit, so that we may indeed do what God asks of us and let all people know that new and forgiven life in Christ is possible and that created men and women may by the Spirit’s power be given the amazing liberty to call God ‘Abba, Father!’

It is my own passionate hope that our discussion of the Anglican Covenant in its entirety will help us focus on that priority; the Covenant is nothing if not a tool for mission. I want to stress yet again that the Covenant is not envisaged as an instrument of control. And this is perhaps a good place to clarify that the place given in the final text to the Standing Committee of the Communion introduces no novelty: the Committee is identical to the former Joint Standing Committee, fully answerable in all matters to the ACC and the Primates; nor is there any intention to prevent the Primates in the group from meeting separately. The reference to the Standing Committee reflected widespread unease about leaving certain processes only to the ACC or only to the Primates.

But we are constantly reminded that the priorities of mission are experienced differently in different places, and that trying to communicate the Gospel in the diverse tongues of human beings can itself lead to misunderstandings and failures of communication between Christians. The sobering truth is that often our attempts to share the Gospel effectively in our own setting can create problems for those in other settings.

3. We are at a point in our common life where broken communications and fragile relationships have created a very mistrustful climate. This is not news. But many have a sense that the current risks are greater than ever. Although attitudes to human sexuality have been the presenting cause, I want to underline the fact that what has precipitated the current problem is not simply this issue but the widespread bewilderment and often hurt in different quarters that we have no way of making decisions together so that we are not compromised or undermined by what others are doing. We have not, in other words, found a way of shaping our consciences and convictions as a worldwide body. We have not fully received the Pentecostal gift of mutual understanding for common mission.

It may be said – quite understandably, in one way – that our societies and their assumptions are so diverse that we shall never be able to do this. Yet we are called to seek for mutual harmony and common purpose, and not to lose heart. If the truth of Christ is indeed ultimately one as we all believe, there should be a path of mutual respect and thankfulness that will hold us in union and help us grow in that truth.

Yet at the moment we face a dilemma. To maintain outward unity at a formal level while we are convinced that the divisions are not only deep but damaging to our local mission is not a good thing. Neither is it a good thing to break away from each other so dramatically that we no longer see Christ in each other and risk trying to create a church of the ‘perfect’ – people like us. It is significant that there are still very many in The Episcopal Church, bishops, clergy and faithful, who want to be aligned with the Communion’s general commitments and directions, such as those who identify as ‘Communion Partners’, who disagree strongly with recent decisions, yet want to remain in visible fellowship within TEC so far as they can. And, as has often been pointed out, there are things that Anglicans across the world need and want to do together for the care of God’s poor and vulnerable that can and do go on even when division over doctrine or discipline is sharp.

4. More and more, Anglicans are aware of living through a time of substantial transition, a time when the structures that have served us need reviewing and refreshing, perhaps radical changing, when the voice and witness in the Communion of Christians from the developing world is more articulate and creative than ever, and when the rapidity of social change in ‘developed’ nations leaves even some of the most faithful and traditional Christian communities uncertain where to draw the boundaries in controversial matters – not only sexuality but issues of bioethics, for example, or the complexities of morality in the financial world.

A time of transition, by definition, does not allow quick solutions to such questions, and it is a time when, ideally, we need more than ever to stay in conversation. As I have said many times before, whatever happens to our structures, we still need to preserve both working relationships and places for exchange and discussion. New vehicles for conversations across these boundaries are being developed with much energy.

But some decisions cannot be avoided. We began by thinking about Pentecost and the diverse peoples of the earth finding a common voice, recognising that each was speaking a truth recognised by all. However, when some part of that fellowship speaks in ways that others find hard to recognise, and that point in a significantly different direction from what others are saying, we cannot pretend there is no problem.

And when a province through its formal decision-making bodies or its House of Bishops as a body declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard (as noted in my letter to the Communion last year after the General Convention of TEC) to see how members of that province can be placed in positions where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues, where our partners (as they often say to us) need to know who it is they are talking to, and our internal faith-and-order related groups.

I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members. This is simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as the acceptable limits of diversity in its practice. It does not alter what has been said earlier by the Primates’ Meeting about the nature of the moratoria: the request for restraint does not necessarily imply that the issues involved are of equal weight but recognises that they are ‘central factors placing strains on our common life’, in the words of the Primates in 2007. Particular provinces will be contacted about the outworking of this in the near future.

I am aware that other bodies have responsibilities in questions concerned with faith and order, notably the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee. The latter two are governed by constitutional provisions which cannot be overturned by any one person’s decision alone, and there will have to be further consultation as to how they are affected. I shall be inviting the views of all members of the Primates’ Meeting on the handling of these matters with a view to the agenda of the next scheduled meeting in January 2011.

5. In our dealings with other Christian communions, we do not seek to deny our diversity; but there is an obvious problem in putting forward representatives of the Communion who are consciously at odds with what the Communion has formally requested or stipulated. This does not seem fair to them or to our partners. In our dealings with each other, we need to be clear that conscientious decisions may be taken in good faith, even for what are held to be good theological or missional reasons, and yet have a cost when they move away from what is recognisable and acceptable within the Communion. Thus – to take a very different kind of example – there have been and there are Anglicans who have a strong conscientious objection to infant baptism. Their views deserve attention, respect and careful study, they should be engaged in serious dialogue – but it would be eccentric to place such people in a position where their view was implicitly acknowledged as one of a range of equally acceptable convictions, all of which could be taken as representatively Anglican.

Yet no-one should be celebrating such public recognition of divisions and everyone should be reflecting on how to rebuild relations and to move towards a more coherent Anglican identity (which does not mean an Anglican identity with no diversity, a point once again well made by the statement from the Singapore meeting). Some complain that we are condemned to endless meetings that achieve nothing. I believe that in fact we have too few meetings that allow proper mutual exploration. It may well be that such encounters need to take place in a completely different atmosphere from the official meetings of the Communion’s representative bodies, and this needs some imaginative thought and planning. Much work is already going into making this more possible.

But if we do conclude that some public marks of ‘distance’, as the Windsor Continuation Group put it, are unavoidable if our Communion bodies are not to be stripped of credibility and effectiveness, the least Christian thing we can do is to think that this absolves us from prayer and care for each other, or continuing efforts to make sense of each other.

We are praying for a new Pentecost for our Communion. That means above all a vast deepening of our capacity to receive the gift of being adopted sons and daughters of the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It means a deepened capacity to speak of Jesus Christ in the language of our context so that we are heard and the Gospel is made compelling and credible. And it also means a deepened capacity to love and nourish each other within Christ’s Body – especially to love and nourish, as well as to challenge, those whom Christ has given us as neighbours with whom we are in deep and painful dispute.

One remarkable symbol of promise for our Communion is the generous gift received by the Diocese of Jerusalem from His Majesty the King of Jordan, who has provided a site on the banks of the Jordan River, at the traditional site of Our Lord’s Baptism, for the construction of an Anglican church. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of blessing the foundation stone of this church and viewing the plans for its design. It will be a worthy witness at this historic site to the Anglican tradition, a sign of real hope for the long-suffering Christians of the region, and something around which the Communion should gather as a focus of common commitment in Christ and his Spirit. I hope that many in the Communion will give generous support to the project.

‘We have the mind of Christ’ says St Paul (I Cor. 2.16); and, as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has recently written, this means that we must have a ‘kenotic’, a self-emptying approach to each other in the Church. May the Spirit create this in us daily and lead us into that wholeness of truth which is only to be found in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus.

I wish you all God’s richest blessing at this season.

+Rowan Cantuar:

Lambeth Palace
Pentecost 2010