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.