Sunday, January 30, 2005
The Sunday called Sexagesima, or the second Sunday before Lent
O LORD God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. 2 Cor. 11. 19.
YE suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
The Gospel. St. Luke 8. 4.
WHEN much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
ACN Moderator’s Pastoral Letter for All the Churches
Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul
25th January, A.D. 2005
TO ALL THE CLERGY AND PEOPLE OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION NETWORK:
Beloved in the Lord,
It has been one year since the chartering of the Network of
Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, now commonly called the
Anglican Communion Network. What a year it has been!
I write as Moderator with a word of encouragement. I know these
are exceedingly anxious times. Remember, no matter what the
appearances, “[He] has overcome the world,” (Jn 16.33) and his
word to us is that we are to “Be of good cheer.” Jesus spoke
these words to the first followers, just as He speaks them to us.
To be sure…their challenges were no less daunting than ours.
That the entire and undiminished Christian Faith has been passed
to us has to do with their unflinching stand. We can do no less
in our day.
So much has happened in one year. Be encouraged. One layman in
the Diocese of Pittsburgh is raising $100,000 to insure the work
of the Convocations. His efforts are a challenge to laity of the
nine other Network dioceses. We have only just begun to receive
word of commitments from parish and diocesan budgets and the news
is very good. So far just nine congregations have pledged
$155,436 to the Network’s 2005 budget, most of which will be
matched by a 1:2 challenge grant from the American Anglican
Council. Having said this, another million dollars in
commitments is urgently needed from Network parishes and
dioceses. Please, vestries and diocesan councils, act now.
This letter brings word that Mr. Wicks Stephens, formerly chief
operating officer of Trinity School in Ambridge (and a litigator
licensed before the California bar), has accepted full-time
appointment as Development Director and Legal Advisor for the
Network. (The funding of this position was provided by a special
and far-sighted gift of one Virginia parish, dollars additional
to the budget figures above.) Alongside of our Network Canon for
Operations, Larry Crowell, and new staffing for the Ministry
Development Program (the tested ordinations program pioneered by
the AAC) the Network’s Pittsburgh office is gaining significance,
structure and stability. The AAC (from its new Atlanta office)
continues to fund and provide services as Network secretariat,
providing for public relations, communications, educational,
accounting and secretarial needs.
Anglican Relief and Development has soared beyond our wildest
hopes. Announced at Michaelmas (September, 2004), we have thus
far funded 13 development projects in 9 nations totaling
$460,000. We are targeting an additional $550,000 in grants for
the next 6 months, in addition to our best guess of something
like $250,000 of tsunami relief enabled by our one-time South
Asia appeal in Christmastide. Blessing upon blessing, we have
also been notified by the Reformed Episcopal Church that they
will consider action to make ARDF their relief and development
arm as well.
Extraordinary talent has come forward as the Network’s needs have
developed. Six convocational deans – serving the vast areas of
our country (including some 200 congregations and 300 clergy)
that are in non-Network dioceses – have devoted much of their
energies to what has become the creative engine of the Anglican
Communion Network. The deans are John Guernsey (Mid-Atlantic &
Convenor), Bill Murdoch (New England), Jim McCaslin
(Southeastern), Ron McCrary (Mid-Continental), Bill Thompson
(Western), and Bill Ilgenfritz (Forward-in-Faith[acting]). A
Cabinet system has also emerged – alongside of the faithful
weekly efforts of the Steering Committee – whose members are, in
addition to the Moderator, Ed Salmon (Bishops), Martyn Minns
(International Partnership), Kendall Harmon (Strategic
Engagement), John Guernsey (Deans), Larry Crowell (Operations)
and David Anderson (Network Secretary). Mary Hays convenes a
church-planting task force, with Tom Herrick as church-plant
staff. Sharon Stockdale Steinmiller presides over 15 missionary
organizations that have come together as Anglican Global Mission
Committed to “gathering the Anglican diaspora” from our
chartering, I am privileged as Moderator to convene and chair a
roundtable which brings together orthodox forces inside the
Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada, as well as
significant numbers of those who have moved outside. Included,
at this point, in this roundtable are the Network, the AAC,
Forward in Faith, the Anglican Mission in America, the Reformed
Episcopal Church, the Anglican Province of America, the Network
in Canada, the Federation in Canada, and the Anglican Communion
in Canada. We are all one river – flowing at this point in
different channels – whose source and end are together.
With this letter I am also able to announce “Hope and a Future,”
a first-ever national Network conference. On November 10, 11,
and 12, 2005, we intend to gather 2000-3000 souls in Pittsburgh
to worship, to learn, to hear from our national and global
leaders and partners, and to share our resolve to be agents of a
renewed Biblical and missionary Anglicanism.
The upcoming Primates meeting in Ireland will have much to say
(either in speaking or not speaking) about the future of
Biblical, missionary Anglicanism in North America and around the
globe. Pray mightily. Consider fasting through much of this
season between now and Holy Week. Whatever emerges from Ireland,
do not lose hope. God would not – for no purpose -- have given
all the blessing to the Anglican Communion Network that this
letter describes. He does not waste His resources. And He is
faithful even when we are not (I Tim 2.13). Besides, Jesus has
overcome the world, so we really can be of good cheer.
Humbly and faithfully in Christ,
+ Bob Pittsburgh
Moderator, Anglican Communion Network
Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Conversion of Saint Paul
OGOD, who, through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul, hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world; Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may shew forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same, by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Epistle. Acts 9. 1.
AND Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
The Gospel. St. Matth. 19. 27.
PETER answered and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
The Sunday called Septuagesima, or the third Sunday before Lent.
O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle. 1 Cor. 9. 24.
KNOW ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away.
The Gospel. St. Matth. 20. 1.
THE kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Friday, January 21, 2005
Episcopal Church In Rochester To Close
Church Loses Members After Election Of
POSTED: 1:27 pm EST January 20, 2005
UPDATED: 2:26 pm EST January 20, 2005
ROCHESTER, N.H. -- The Episcopal Church
of the Redeemer, which lost members after
the diocese elected an openly gay bishop,
plans to close in the spring.
Parishioners met privately with Bishop
Gene Robinson on Wednesday to make the
closing official. The church has operated
for more than 100 years.
"Perhaps it was time to rest," Robinson said.
Parishioners made the decision, he added,
with "much disappointment and sadness."
The church will remain open until April. Its final service is set
for Easter Sunday.
A group of 36 parishioners decided in June they couldn't stay in the
church after Robinson refused to grant complete pastoral supervision
to a more orthodox bishop. Since then, only 12 to 14 parishioners
have attended weekly Sunday service.
Parishioners voted 24-1 at an annual meeting Wednesday to approve
the closure. The sole dissenter voted no "because he finally found a
church he loved and didn't have anywhere else to go," Robinson said.
Kevin Gorham, a parishioner for 18 years who helps run the church,
said its congregation was too small even before the split over
"It was an event that made us face the facts, but the facts have
been here," he said.
The diocese has given the church about $200,000 in support over
roughly the last decade, officials said. Formally, the church is
classified as a mission, which permits the support.
The church had survived a similar conflict in 1988. More than 100
parishioners left as the church's rector installed female clergy and
replaced the 1928 Book of Common Prayer with the 1979 version, as
national Episcopal Church policy demanded. The splinter group became
the Trinity Anglican Church, eventually building a new church on
Rochester Hill Road.
The building's fate after April hasn't been decided, Robinson said.
He predicted the church someday will rise again in a new form.
"God will reveal the new shape of ministry here," he said.
Archbishop says Church cannot back euthanasia
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
THE LONDON TIMES
LONDON (1/20/2005)--THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams,
insists today that human and ethical reasons mean that the Church of
England can never soften its line on euthanasia.
Writing in The Times, Dr Williams says that assisted dying involves
other people in an act of suicide and suggests that the recognition of
a legal right to assisted dying could entail a responsibility on
others to kill.
While conceding that the right to be spared avoidable pain is beyond
debate, he says that once that has become a right to expect assistance
in dying, the responsibility of others is involved. "Legislation
ignores these issues to its cost," he says.
The issue of assisted euthanasia was reignited last week when Brian
Blackburn, a retired policeman who killed his terminally ill wife in a
suicide pact, received a nine-month suspended sentence at the Old
Bailey. The court was told that Blackburn's wife, Margaret, 62, had
just weeks to live and had asked her husband to cut her wrists.
The Archbishop's intervention comes after one of his own advisers,
Professor Robin Gill, of Canterbury University, said that people
should not be prosecuted for helping dying relatives in pain to end
The Church of England insisted that the choice of Dr Gill as emissary
did not signify any softening of its traditional stance, and Dr
Williams' article takes that farther, restating the Church's position
and presenting fresh reasoning in support.
The Archbishop received the backing of the Roman Catholic Archbishop
of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O'Connor. A spokesman said:
"The Archbishop of Canterbury has made a powerful argument of faith
and reason against euthanasia which the Cardinal strongly agrees with."
But Mark Slattery, of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, said that Dr
Williams was out of step with many Christians. "The majority of
worshippers think it is a matter of compassion that when someone faces
death, the issue of how they die is a very important one.
"When you are facing death you do not have a choice between life or
death. The choice is sometimes only whether you die well or badly.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
AKINOLA INVITES REC-APA BISHOPS TO TALKS IN NIGERIA
By David W. Virtue
ABEOKUTO, Nigeria (1/19/2005)--Two bishops of the Reformed Episcopal
Church and the archbishop of the Anglican Province of America an
independent Anglican communion, were invited recently by the Primate
of Nigeria the Most Rev. Peter Akinola
to engage in talks to deepen relationships between the Anglican entities.
These talks come at a time when the Anglican Church in Nigeria is in
impaired communion with the Episcopal Church USA and its Presiding
Bishop Frank Griswold over the consecration of an openly homoerotic
bishop to the episcopacy. Both REC bishops went with the blessing of
their Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Leonard Riches.
"The Reformed Episcopal Church has a long history of commitment to
evangelical faith in the Anglican tradition. As we continue to step
out in faith in the world mission context, we are finding easily
formed, spiritually rich relationships in the Anglican Global South,"
said Ecumenical Bishop Ray R. Sutton.
Speaking for the three bishops including Archbishop Walter Grundorf of
the Anglican Province of America, Sutton told VirtueOnline, "We have
already have several conversations with provinces in this part of the
world that demonstrate a shared love for Jesus Christ and His
authoritative Word. With our intercommunion partners, (APA) we were
able to meet and see firsthand the strength of Christianity in the
laity and clergy in that fast growing province."
"We returned with the conviction that if the Gospel is kept first, the
institutional concerns will follow. The REC and the APA are committed
to the Gospel first and foremost, trusting the Lord for what He deems
necessary for the kingdom of God to be more effective in this world,"
said Sutton. The Rt. Rev. James West, Reformed Episcopal Bishop of the
Southeast accompanied the two bishops.
IN other news, Bishop Sutton said the REC had opened one new mission
or parish every month in the last 6 months. "We see no sign of this
diminishing rather it is an encouraging move forward."
Asked what percentage were former Episcopalians verses new converts,
Sutton said it was about 60 percent ex ECUCANS and 40 percent coming
from other traditions and those finding faith for the first time.
Asked about the 5-year relationship with the APA with whom they have a
concordat, Sutton said, "We are continuing to move forward in our
relationship with the APA. God
is bringing together that those who truly love the gospel and the holy
Describing their differences, Sutton said the REC were Prayer Book
Evangelicals while the APA were Prayer Book Catholics. The two have
established a joint website.
The two Anglican groups will hold their first semi-joint general
council meeting this summer in Orlando Florida. We are hoping, praying
and moving towards an eventual merger, said Sutton, stressing that
there was no time line.
Sutton said that any ultimate merger would involve the laity. "It
would have to embrace the union of one another at every level of the
Questioned about their relationship with the Episcopal Church, Sutton
said that because of the ongoing crisis in the Episcopal Church over
faith and morals, "we had to redirect our dialogue with the ECUSA
through the Anglican Communion Network led by Pittsburgh Bishop Robert
"We are research participant with the Anglican Communion Network and
that means we have voice and vote in the Network, but we are not
members because we are not part of ECUSA."
Both Anglican groups are opposed to women's ordination. The REC uses
the Book of Common Prayer 1662 which also includes Rite II of the 1928
Prayer Book, while the APA uses the 1928 Prayer Book.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Louis R. Tarsitano
The Reverend Doctor Louis R. Tarsitano, 53, died Saturday, January 15, 2005 in his residence under the care of Hospice Savannah, Inc. The Chicago, IL native was the rector of St. Andrew's Independent Episcopal Church, served as a professor at South University and was an author of numerous books and articles. His father, John P. Tarsitano, preceded him in death. He is survived by wife, Sally (nee Francis) Tarsitano; sons, PFC John C. Tarsitano and SA Richard R. Tarsitano; daughter, Mary Margaret Tarsitano; mother, Jacqueline Tarsitano; brother, James Tarsitano and his wife, Donna; sisters, Rosemary Silverberg and Vera Wisniewski and her husband, Michael. Visitation: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Monday, January 17, 2005 in St. Andrew's Independent Episcopal Church, 608 Hampton Street, Savannah, GA 31405. Memorial Service: 3:00 p.m. Monday, January 17, 2005 in St. Andrew's Independent Episcopal Church with Father Christopher Pierce officiating. A receptio n will be held immediately following the service. Burial will be in Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, IL. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice Savannah, Inc., P.O. Box 13190, Savannah, GA 31416. Savannah Morning News, January 16, 2005
The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Rom. 12. 6.
HAVING then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.
The Gospel. St. John 2. 1.
AND the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.t
Friday, January 14, 2005
A potential fatherhood
T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T
January 14, 2005
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott
Creator and Father (cont'd.)
21. A potential fatherhood
The universal fatherhood of God and the universal
brotherhood of man, of which we hear much, is potential,
not actual. It cannot come into being until all men and
women submit to Jesus Christ and are born again.
--From "Your Confirmation" (rev. edn. London: Hodder and
Stoughton, 1991), p. 60.
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", p. 24, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Creator, King and Father
T H E J O H N S T O T T D A I L Y T H O U G H T
January 13, 2005
From the writings of Dr. John R. W. Stott
Creator and Father (cont'd.)
20. Creator, King and Father
The doctrine of God as a universal Father was not taught by
Christ nor by his apostles. God is indeed the universal
Creator, having brought all things into existence, and the
universal King, ruling and sustaining all that he has made.
But he is the Father only of our Lord Jesus Christ and of
those whom he adopts into his family through Christ. If we
would be the sons of God, then we must be 'in Christ Jesus
.. through faith' (Gal. 3:26), which is a better rendering
than the familiar 'by faith in Christ Jesus' (AV). It is
through faith that we are in Christ, and through being in
Christ that we are sons of God.
--From "The Message of Galatians" (The Bible Speaks Today
Series: London and Downers Grove: IVP, 1968), p. 99.
--Excerpted from "Authentic Christianity", pp. 23-24, by
permission of InterVarsity Press.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
The First Sunday after the Epiphany
O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Rom. 12. 1.
I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
The Gospel. St. Luke 2. 41.
NOW his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Episcopal gay issue invites scorn, scholar says
BY MICHAEL GARTLAND
Of The Post and Courier Staff
One of the world's pre-eminent biblical scholars said Thursday that if
the Episcopal Church continues to knowingly ordain gay clergy, it will
turn the faith into a subject of scorn.
The Right Rev. Tom Wright visited St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in
Mount Pleasant on Thursday to give a lecture on resurrection, and
beforehand discussed the implications a schism might have.
"A disunited church means the rest of the world can laugh at us and
say you can't even agree with yourselves," he said. "If we can't be
reconciled and truth-speaking to ourselves, what hope is there for
truth-speaking with the rest of the world?"
Wright, a Church of England bishop, served on the Lambeth Commission.
That body is responsible for resolving a dispute in which the
Episcopal Church has allowed the ordination of a gay bishop, a move
the rest of the Anglican Communion opposes.
As part of the commission, Wright helped author the Windsor Report,
which outlines how the disagreement should be resolved. The report
calls for the Episcopal Church to express genuine regret over
elevating the Rev. Gene Robinson, a gay man, to bishop over the New
The United States House of Bishops will meet next week to discuss how
it will respond. Wright would not speculate on what the bishops would
do, but he did say that whatever their decision, it would have
significant consequences. If the Episcopal Church's response does not
fall into line with what the report requests, a split is a serious
About 2.3 million Americans are Episcopalians. There are 27,558
baptized members of the Episcopal Church living in the South Carolina
"Schism is always tragic," he said. "There are many Christian
denominations, and we've got used to that, but we ought not be used to
Local members of the Episcopal clergy said that while Wright's visit
is significant in itself, its importance is compounded by the fact
that Anglican leaders will meet in late February to decide whether the
Episcopal Church remains part of the Anglican Communion.
The South Carolina Diocese Canon Theologian, the Rev. Kendall Harmon,
predicted that some Episcopal leaders will try to delay addressing the
issue, and said that if that happens, schism will be the likely result.
"It's an absolutely pivotal time," Harmon said.
The Rev. Steve Wood, St. Andrew's rector and Wright's host, said that
if a split occurs, churches that are now Episcopal would begin to
align themselves with dioceses overseas.
"I don't see how you can avoid a split," he said.
If that happens, the Anglican Communion may declare North America a
mission field, which means it would deal with the area much as it did
during Colonial times, as a place to gain converts. Many of those
potential converts are people who are now in the Episcopal Church.
"One model would be to go back to how the Church was started," Wood said.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles
GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Ephes. 3. 1.
OR this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
The Gospel. St. Matth. 2. 1.
HEN Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
TSUNAMI AND THE GOSPEL
TSUNAMI AND THE GOSPEL
By C. FitzSimons Allison
(Special to VirtueOnline)
Natural disasters always provoke questions of God's goodness in the face
of excruciating tragedy. It has always been so and disasters will always
continue. It has not been given to Christians to dispel the mystery of
evil. The cynic in us is tempted to resolve the issue by removing God
from all consideration and doing what Job refused to do: curse (consign
to oblivion) his own hope. Yet this choice saves no one from the
terrible waves of water and leaves us with no hope or meaning beyond the
"Jesus does not attempt to explain why the tower of Siloam (Lk. 13) fell
on those 18 people but he carefully and adamantly denies that it was
because they were worse sinners than others in Jerusalem. He
acknowledges therefore, that there is innocent suffering but he goes on
to say what seems at first unpastoral "…but unless you repent you shall
"Is He saying to us, as we watch scenes of such sudden and unimaginable
suffering and death, that unless we repent we shall likewise perish? It
is difficult to make sense of the text short of saying "yes" to this
question. The key to the sustaining hope in these conditions is Thomas
Cranmer's wisdom about repentance, what he called 'renewing the power to
"Leaving God in the arena of such disasters with Jesus' admonition to
repent does not resolve the mystery of evil but clearly it does not
identify God with tsunamis as in the current pantheism and panentheism.
Instead, it affirms a personal love above, beyond and amidst any
disaster as we repent, "renewing the power to love."
On a very practical level this means that each disaster is an
opportunity to admit, as Jesus exhorts, that we have not loved as God
would have us love and in turning to help the bereaved and stricken in
His name we are given a power to love that we did not have before.
In this hope we can pray that the overwhelming, world-wide,
international and interfaith response of help will lead to a love and
peace among all peoples what was not possible before the disaster. God
is present in and beyond tsunamis in our response of help by renewing
the power to love
George Steiner once spoke about grace in disaster in regard to
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony which was produced when the composer was
deaf. Steiner observed that "it was an awesome encounter between God and
one of the god-like of his creatures" and that to have heard such music
out of deafness "is to have wrestled with the angel."
Each tragedy is a chance for us "to wrestle with the angel."
The Rt. Rev. Dr. C. FitzSimons Allison is the former Bishop of South
Carolina. He is the author of several books including The Cruelty of
Heresy, An affirmation of Christian Orthodoxy.
For more stories in this vein go to www.virtueonline.org, the largest
most widely read orthodox Anglican online news service in the Anglican
Communion. You may sign for a free weekly digest of stories.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
The Second Sunday after Christmas Day
ALMIGHTY God, who hast poured upon us the new light of thine incarnate Word; Grant that the same light enkindled in our hearts may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Epistle. Isaiah lxi. 1.
THE Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
The Gospel. St. Matthew ii. 19.
WHEN Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judæa in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
Anglican Relief and Development Fund
For those wondering how to respond to the Tsunami Crisis in Southeast Asia and India, the following may be of interest. The Anglican Communion Network, of which ARDF is an extension, is primarilly composed of faithful Anglicans within ECUSA and is under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh. They are trustworthy and well deserving of your support. DC
Over 100,000 dead...500,000 injured...millions at risk...billions of dollars in damage..."the worst natural disaster in history"
We have all been grieved by the tragic news from India and SE Asia. How can we help?
Anglican Relief and Development Fund (sponsored by the Anglican Communion Network) -- Contribution checks should be made payable to the "Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes" and sent to ARDF, 905 Oliver Building, 535 Smithfield St. Pittsburgh, PA 15222, with a memo line notation: ARDF - Asian Crisis. The Network is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization. For more info, visit http://www.anglicancommunionnetwork.org/news/dspnews.cfm?id=103.
Gifts may be sent by inidividuals or by churches.
The Rev. Bill Lovell
Trinity Episcopal Church
12727 Hillcrest Road
Dallas, Texas 75230
(972) 991-9460 Fax
The Circumcision of Christ
ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true Circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle. Rom. 4. 8.
BLESSED is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.
The Gospel. St. Luke 2. 15.
AND it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.