January 26, 2016

Prayer: Communicating with God

“Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.”  –St Theresa of Avila.

A community of God’s friends!  Now that is a simple, efficient way of defining the church: a group of people who are listening to what He says, modeling their lives after His attributes, speaking to Him from the depth of their hearts.  A community comprised of the intimate friends of the King!  

Walter Winchell once penned that, “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.  For God’s part, that is precisely what he has done for us.  He has walked into our lives when the rest of the world was walking out.  When all else failed us, on our most desperate day, Jesus took on flesh to be with us in every respect. To be with us He became frail and vulnerable, to experience our pain and fear he lived a life of deprivation and need, to rescue us from the power of sin and death he suffered and died, to redeem us as God’s beloved children He rose again.  When it seems as though nothing and no one can save us, Jesus walks into our lives even as everyone else is walking out.  Truly, God is our friend but friendship are two way streets.

For our part, being a friend must mean nothing less than greeting and welcoming this divine Visitor.  When He knocks we open the door and invite Him in.  As He walks into our lives we are given the opportunity to greet Him with our finest gifts, to speak to Him in the most glowing terms, and to open our homes to Him completely.  A community of friends communicating with our God is very much what we are called to be.    

I long for us to be a more prayerful community.  “Prayer,” said John Wesley,” is where the action is,” and I long for us to be where the action is.  Daughters of the King have been faithful in leading us into a more prayerful life for several years but it was no longer possible to rely on a few faithful women to pray for the rest of us.  Last October I asked our Senior Warden to form a committee to suggest ways of broadening our commitment to prayer so that it engaged the whole community: men, women and children.   As a symbol of this new commitment a dormant room in the basement was converted into a place devoted to prayer.  You are all invited to make use of that space whenever you want to pray.  In November many of you participated in a teaching designed to improve your ability to pray for others. 

In 2016 I hope that we will become accustomed to opening and closing every meeting in prayer, that we will have several occasions when we come together solely for the purpose of communicating with our Lord, that our desire for a response from God would be keen and we would be looking and listening for his Word as a normal part of our daily lives.    

January 14, 2016

An Update from Archbishop Beach

Primates Meeting 2016 Update from Archbishop Beach

To the members of the Anglican Church in North America,
I am writing to you from Canterbury, England late on the night of January 14th, 2016.  Thank you for your prayers and support this week.  Although I’m tired at the end of a long day, I wanted to send you an update.
I participated fully in the meeting, where the first and primary agenda item was addressing the Episcopal Church’s changes to the doctrine of marriage.  We spent most of the week discussing this issue and seeking to come to a common conclusion.
We unanimously agreed that these changes “represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage,” and we wrestled with what the consequences should be.
The GAFCON and Global South Primates were tremendous in their leadership in the meeting, and made a strong impact in the final decision.  I confess that I have mixed feelings about the sanctions.
The sanctions are strong, but they are not strong enough, and to my deep disappointment, they didn’t include the Anglican Church of Canada as they should.
With that said, it took many steps for the Anglican Communion to come to this current crisis. This is a good step back in the right direction, but it will take many more if the Communion is to be restored.
Thank you again for your incredible prayer support, and let us stay on our mission – to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ!
Your brother in Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate 
Anglican Church in North America

Primates Communique from Canterbury

1. We gathered as Anglican Primates to pray and consider how we may preserve our unity in Christ given the ongoing deep differences that exist among us concerning our understanding of marriage.
2. Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.
3. All of us acknowledge that these developments have caused further deep pain throughout our Communion.
4. The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.
5. In keeping with the consistent position of previous Primates’ meetings such unilateral actions on a matter of doctrine without Catholic unity is considered by many of us as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.
6. Such actions further impair our communion and create a deeper mistrust between us. This results in significant distance between us and places huge strains on the functioning of the Instruments of Communion and the ways in which we express our historic and ongoing relationships.
7. It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.
8. We have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint a Task Group to maintain conversation among ourselves with the intention of restoration of relationship, the rebuilding of mutual trust, healing the legacy of hurt, recognising the extent of our commonality and exploring our deep differences, ensuring they are held between us in the love and grace of Christ.