Saturday, January 09, 2016

David Ould: Portents, Prophecy and Predictions - What Will Happen at the Primates’ Meeting?

January 8, 2016
Stand Firm

As many readers will be aware, next week sees the much-awaited Primates’ Meeting/Gathering called by Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. The crisis that the Anglican Communion is in has not gone away (who would have thought?!) and the time has perhaps come for a clear decision on the path forward.

As one might expect, the net has been awash with various prognostications (yes, alliteration can’t be avoided) as to what will happen and as the day has approached I’ve had more and more people ask me what’s going to happen. Well, grab a cup of something and sit down because I’m going to give it my best shot.

As I can best see, there have been essentially 2 major dynamics at work in the lead-up to this coming week which can be broadly characterised as the “save the family” party and the “restore Biblical order” party. Now even as I write that I realise that I am potentially characterising one side as not being Biblical - that’s not my intention in the labels but I’m not going to pretend that by the time you get to the end of this piece I won’t have made my best effort to persuade you that the “family” party really don’t get what the Bible has to say about this whole thing.

But, for now, let’s just spend a bit of time thinking about this “family” approach. The line basically goes like this, “we have much that unites us; a common identity forged from a common history. This is an expression of Christian unity and we would be very foolish to let it go”.... the rest

Friday, January 08, 2016

A Letter from Archbishop Beach on the Upcoming Primates Gathering

Posted January 8, 2016

Archbishop Beach addresses the Anglican Church in North America about the upcoming Primates gathering in Canterbury, England.

Grace and peace to you in the incredible Name of our Messiah and Lord, Jesus Christ!!

As most of you know, I have been invited to attend a gathering called by the Archbishop of Canterbury next week in Canterbury, England.  The reasons he has not been able to call a meeting of the Primates of the Communion until this time is because the actions of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have deeply torn the fabric of trust and fellowship in the Communion.  In 2007 the Primates met in Dar es Salaam and unanimously agreed on a course of action to restore the godly fellowship of the Communion by asking these two provinces to repent and return to the Biblical teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion.  When they did not repent, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury acted against the consensus of the Primates and ignored the consequences which were imposed.  This has made the breach even wider.

Since that time, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) has met in Jerusalem (2008) and in Nairobi (2013), and through GAFCON, the Anglican Church in North America was birthed in 2009.  Since that time our Province in North America has been recognized and is in full communion with the provinces represented by GAFCON and the Global South of the Anglican Communion.  These provinces represent the vast majority of the Anglicans in the world and have been our partners in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ and discipling people in Anglican Christianity.

I have been asked many times why I am going.  Firstly, as a group the GAFCON Primates all decided together that we would attend in good faith and see if there is a possibility of restoring order to the structures of the Anglican Communion. 

Secondly, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, invited me in good faith, and like my brother Primates, I am going in good faith.

Thirdly, the Anglican Church in North America is now a Partner Province of the Global South who are also planning to attend.

Fourthly, to not attempt to bring godly order and unity to the Church would be a sin against the Lord and His bride.

I am writing to ask for your prayers, even fasting, as the Lord leads you. I travel to the UK this weekend for the meetings which begin on Monday morning at Canterbury Cathedral.  I see no easy answers without repentance and Gospel Truth.  Pray for wisdom. Pray for confidence in the Truth of God. Pray for boldness. Pray for humility. Pray for repentance.  Pray for healing.  What is at stake?  It is really not about me or about the Anglican Church in North America.  It is the reputation of Jesus Christ.  It is the souls of millions of people who are being taught a false Gospel and are being led into spiritual and sexual bondage under the pretense of the Christian Faith.  It is about the third largest expression of the Christian Faith being able to unite and bring Christian hope and godliness in the face of violent opposition all around the globe. 

Personally, I believe this will be an extremely challenging meeting for all involved, but I believe in a big and powerful God!!  

Thank you in advance for your prayers.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than we can ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations" (Ephesians 3:20f, ESV).
Your brother in Christ,
 
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America
 Link

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Ca methane gas leak disaster: Where American Families Are Moving...other news

A gas leak in California is arguably the worst environmental disaster since the BP oil spill ...For a state beset by drought, wildfires, giant sinkholes and other natural calamities, the gas leak has emerged as the number one environmental concern of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, an aggressive environmentalist who is particularly concerned about combating climate change.

Aside from the immediate chaos caused by the leak, the longer-term consequences for the environment have shaken government officials, scientists and environmental groups – and could seriously set back the Obama administration’s high profile efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute directly to global warming.

Scientists and environmental experts say the Aliso Canyon leak became the biggest single source of methane emissions in all of California practically overnight when it began Oct. 23...

California gas leak is declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles 'It's the BP spill on land': California declares state of emergency for gas leak which has been spewing noxious methane fumes for more than two months...

Cologne inquiry into 'coordinated' New Year's Eve sex attacks German police are investigating reports that scores of women were sexually assaulted and mugged in Cologne city centre during New Year’s Eve celebrations, in what a minister called a “completely new dimension of crime”.

Authorities and media were accused of a cover-up linked to initial indications that, according to the police, those allegedly responsible for the sex attacks and numerous robberies were of Arab and north African origin.

Sixty complaints were filed to police, a third of which were linked to sexual assault. Cologne’s mayor, Henriette Reker, called an emergency meeting of high-ranking security officials on Tuesday, saying her aim was to ensure the city centre did not turn into a “lawless zone”...

Where American Families Are Moving  
...In a new study by the Chapman Center for Demographics and Policy, we found that the best cities for middle-class families tend to be located outside the largest metropolitan areas. This was based on such factors as housing affordability, migration, income growth, commute times, and middle-income jobs. Many of our best-rated cities tend to mid-sized. The three most highly rated were Des Moines, Iowa, Madison, Wis., and Albany, N.Y., all with populations of less than 1 million. Among our top 10 metropolitan areas for families, five are larger than this, but only two—the Washington, D.C. area and Minneapolis-St. Paul—are among the nation's 20 largest metropolitan areas...

National Geographic Photo Contest Winners

New website launched for Primates Meeting 2016

Jan 6, 2016
 
A NEW website and Twitter feed were launched today ahead of next week’s gathering of Anglican Primates in Canterbury.

On the website the Archbishop of Canterbury appeals for prayer for the crunch meeting. As well as Primates from the 38 Anglican provinces around the world Archbishop Foley Beach (of the Anglican Church of North America) will attend for part of the meeting.

The summit was called by Archbishop Justin Welby last September, as speculation grew about the possibility of a Lambeth Conference this decade. Normally held every 10 years, the next one was expected in 2018. That would have meant that preparations would be starting soon. However, with divisions over human sexuality deepening, there was a question whether it would take place at all.
This meeting will be dominated by that issue, but it is only one of the topics under discussion. Other areas of concern to be addressed by Anglican leaders include religiously-motivated violence, the protection of children and vulnerable adults and the environment.

On the website, www.primates2016.org, Archbishop Welby says: “As we approach the Primates’ meeting we need to recognise that we’re going to be dealing with some very, very difficult issues – within the life of the Anglican Communion but also hugely difficult issues that are affecting the whole church of Christ and our whole world.

“What I would ask people to pray for more than anything else is wisdom and love. That the love of Christ for each of us, for each of us who are sinners, each of us who fail, will so overwhelm us that we are able to love each other as we should. And wisdom that we may know the call and purpose of God and in love and wisdom serve his world in the way he calls us to.”

The Canterbury meeting, running from 11-16 January, will be closely watched in view of the deep divisions between the Gafcon primates and The Episcopal Church in particular.

Anglican Mainstream

The GAFCON website: here (Sign up for prayer updates!)

Uganda will walk out of Primates Meeting, if "godly order" not restored

Vatican loans Church of England ancient relics ahead of vital gathering A relic leant to the Church of England by the Vatican is to go on display at Canterbury Cathedral next week.

The ivory handle of a crozier used by St Gregory, who helped establish Christianity in England in the 6th century, was due to arrive yesterday [Friday 8].

The ancient crozier head is venerated by the monks of San Gregorio al Celio in Rome as that of St Gregory who was an abbot at the monastery prior to becoming Pope...

Added:
From The Economist:  The Church of England: Resurrection? Parts of the established church are learning from their immigrant brethren  TO SEE the future of Christianity in Britain, go on a Sunday morning to an old Welsh Congregational chapel off the Pentonville Road in Islington. The building has been bought by a Pentecostal Ethiopian church; the congregation raises its hands in a show of unEnglish ecstasy to praise God in Amharic. A few hours later, something unexpected happens. A congregation of mainly white members of the Church of England start their service. This group, known as King’s Cross Church, or KXC, has grown from a handful in 2010 to 500 now.

The first service reflects a well-documented phenomenon: an immigrant-led surge in London churchgoing. Weekly participation in Christian services in the capital has grown by 16% since 2005. Most devout Londoners (88%) worship outside the ranks of the established church whose spires pierce the skyline; about a third are Pentecostal. But the second service shows that even some Anglican churches are bucking the downward trend in membership. London is one of several dioceses within the Church of England that are growing, if only a little...

Added:
Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden: Must Canterbury Fall?
Excerpt:
...The current power struggle is about redefining and recasting the faith of the historic Anglican Communion. Post-colonial Great Britain’s influence declined rapidly after second world war but it took longer for the dominant influence of Canterbury to wane. And it has now waned in the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church has tried to occupy that centre of influence in order to shape the communion according to its vision of the Christian faith, untethered from the authority of scripture. Canterbury under the previous leadership allowed TEC space and even support with its Communion Changing agenda. We expect the present incumbent to resist that agenda and pressure and to restore the role of Canterbury in leadership of the Communion. The battle is not primarily about a theological or ethical issue. It is really about resistance to a section of the western church who are redefining the faith of the Communion in order to be relevant in their context and acting like those who wish to erase and rewrite history; they are reinventing the faith that was protected and preserved historically so that it might be drawn on for the flourishing of the Church and its public witness.

Our call is to Canterbury to recognise that it still has a historic role and, rather than preside over endless confusion, to take a firm stand and move forward. The leadership of the Communion cannot deal with this challenge as a political issue in the way politicians might address it. We are a Church, the Body of Christ that is both part of history and also transcends history. The Church has sought to live out transcendent realities in history and offer to every historical context these realities as its public witness. It cannot allow culture to replace its historical witness. The leaders of the Church must act prophetically, not politically. They must uphold what has been tested in history as their public witness.

The temptation for the African, Asian and Latin American Churches will be to cut themselves adrift from what they sometimes read as an embarrassing past and a compromised present. There is the real possibility that the Communion could split between TEC and its dependencies (often financial) and allies, and the churches of the Global South unwilling to have what they see as TEC’s heresies thrust upon them. The result will be chaos, the end of the communion, and increasing independency among the churches. This temptation must be resisted. Global South churches have long since come to terms with their colonial heritage and built on it faithfully and successfully as churches fully welcome in their own cultures, not as relics of the past...

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

A tongue filled with laughter and praise...

Conversations
A tongue filled with laughter and praise is a reflection of a heart filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord. What a joy it is just to be with someone whose heart is full. A soothing tongue, a tongue that can say “I accept you where you are,” or “I appreciate your questions” without offense or bitterness, is a secure place someone can go for help without fear of judgment, condemnation or censure. ...Mike Hoskins image

The ‘silencing of Christians’ in the public sector; The ISIS Apocalypse...other news

The ISIS Apocalypse
ISIS is a terrifying organization. Though it is based half a world away, its impact reaches to Europe, to North America, to everywhere. It has become the world’s problem, the world’s scourge. We see ISIS in the news on a nearly-daily basis, but where did it come from and what does it want? There are a handful of recent books that explain its origins, tell who its major players are, explain what it hopes to accomplish, and suggest how it can be defeated. I recently read two of these books and am glad that I did.    Book reviews by Tim Challies

New dimension of crime’: Crowd of ‘Arab origin’ blamed for mass sexual assaults in Cologne on NYE ...According to reports, heavily intoxicated men of “Arab or North African” origin flooded the city’s famous square between its central train station and Gothic cathedral. Aged between 15 and 35, individuals in the crowd began throwing firecrackers and setting off fireworks as the new year arrived.

With the festivities in full swing, some men began sexually assaulting women and pick pocketing revelers. Among the criminal complaints officially filed is at least one allegation of rape...

Michigan Episcopalians Promote “Islam 101”  ...The event, shared locally by All Saints Episcopal Church-East Lansing (which lost half of its membership in the past decade) takes place monthly. The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan is the largest of the state’s four dioceses and encompasses the Detroit area and Southeastern Michigan...

UK: The ‘silencing of Christians’ in the public sector Christianity being subtly ‘squeezed out’ of public life by Civil service culture where officials keep their faith a virtual secret...

A Father's Drunken, Armed Christmas Miracle There's something pretty awesome about this story. It's like a Christmas miracle if a Christmas miracle can include booze, a gun, and lots of love.

George Pickering III, 27, was in the worst possible shape, after suffering a stroke, he was hooked up to a life support machine and his doctors had given up all hope. Declared "brain dead," his mother and brother made the decision to remove him from life support. An organ donor organization was even contacted.

Well, George Pickering II, didn't much like that decision. The Texan didn't agree with his ex wife that their son should be taken off life support. He thought everyone was moving way too fast. So he made a drink induced decision because that's the only kind of decision you can make when you're drunk.

He was also armed. George had decided that he was going to give his son a chance to live. No matter what. He wanted to give his son a few hours, even if that's all he could offer his son. He entered the hospital room, pulled out his gun, and threatened everyone to leave the room. George's other son quickly disarmed his father but George still barricaded himself in his son's hospital room, falsely claiming he might have other weapons...

The Danish Girl: People Aren't Born Transgender, But Playing Dress-Up Can Spark Psychological Problems ...The Danish Girl, based on the novel of the same name by David Ebershoff and directed by Tom Harper, tells the story of Lilli Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex-reassignment surgery. The movie stars Eddie Redmayne in the role of Einar Wegener/Lilli Elbe, the emerging transgender female. Alicia Vikander costars as Gerda, his devoted wife, who loves her husband deeply and remains faithful to him throughout the years of his downward spiral.

Although the acting was well-done, the film is ultimately little more than an LGBT sales tool. It is true that transgender people are suffering. But what the film fails to address is that, all too often, transgender patients continue to suffer even after surgery, because their psychological problems remain untreated. I know from first-hand experience, as I was once a transgender woman, and I regret my sex-reassignment surgery...

9 Things You Didn’t Know About J.R.R. Tolkien
9 non-Hobbit things to know about the author of 'The Hobbit.'

Matt Kennedy: What is at Stake at the Primates Meeting

January 5, 2016

Since the 2003 election of Gene Robinson to the office of Bishop by the Diocese of New Hampshire and the subsequent affirmation of that election by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the Communion has been rent by conflict. In the thirteen years that followed Gene Robinson’s election, The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) took actions and made decisions formalizing and solidifying their affirmation of homosexual relationships and their departure from biblical Christianity. In response, a number of Global South primates offered shelter to dissenting orthodox TEC and ACC congregations and dioceses, participated in the creation of GAFCON, and supported the formation the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

In the middle, stood (and stands) the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC). Justin Welby, the current ABC, has invited the primates of the Communion, including the primates of TEC and the ACC, to attend a special Primates Meeting from January 11-16, 2016. And, in an unprecedented move, he also invited Archbishop Foley Beach, the Archbishop of the ACNA, to be present in or around the Primates Meeting in a publicly unspecified capacity.

The question of attendance is an important one. The ABC does not possess anything approximating the ecclesial power of the Roman Catholic pontiff. He cannot, for example, “excommunicate” a fellow primate. But because membership in the Anglican Communion has, at least in the past, been defined by the relationship between a province and Canterbury, the ABC’s authority to “invite” primates to the Primates Meeting has become pivotal.

Since 2003 orthodox leaders have urged the ABC to make good use of this albeit limited authority by not inviting the primates of TEC and the ACC to attend Primates Meetings nor their bishops to the once decennial Lambeth Conference, until their provinces comply with the biblical and the Communion standard (see Lambeth 1998, Resolution 1.10). Likewise, because leaders of the ACNA have not, up to this point, been included in any formal Communion meeting, leaders in TEC and the ACC have portrayed the ACNA as an illegitimate collection of schismatics.

The Communion significance of Canterbury’s power of invitation is what makes Archbishop Welby’s invitation to Archbishop Beach, though not an invitation to the actual meeting itself, a potential game changer....   the rest at Stand Firm

Peter Jensen: Why GAFCON truly matters

02 Jan 2016
by Peter Jensen

All through the old world the story is the same: The Christian faith is struggling to maintain its identity in the face of the secular challenge. Everywhere there is the sad tale of compromise and cultural enslavement. Everywhere we see the danger of Christians committed to a gospel without salvation, reconciliation without repentance, a Saviour without a cross and a Lord without a word.

Furthermore, the Christians of the Global South not only have their own struggles with local religions. The technological revolution and the urbanisation of the world brings the pressures to which the West has so conspicuously capitulated, to their door. In the Christian world, we need each other. We need the skill and the resources and the wisdom of all to be available to all, across denominations and across the world. GAFCON means that biblical Anglicans do not need to stand alone

Truth matters even more than institutional unity. But true unity supports and nourishes the truth. The Evil One rejoices at the division of Christians. Far from being divisive, GAFCON is a great force for unity – it has saved and united Anglicans in the West and encouraged Anglicans in the South to realise that ‘we are not alone’. But it has done more than that, for it is a model too for other denominations and churches around the world and encouragement for them to take their stand on the word of God.

What GAFCON means to me -- Let me speak personally.

I have laboured in and for GAFCON since its inception in 2007. Many times I have sensed the Lord’s hand of extraordinary blessing. By rights, no such movement should exist – It has struggled with the theological and cultural differences, the lack of resources, the total inadequacy of my contribution as General Secretary – and I am not being modest. It has faltered. It has almost failed... the rest
At its heart there will be a new experience of Christian fellowship based on the truth. We will rediscover that we are not alone, that there are many who have not bowed the knee to Baal. GAFCON is a force which delivers fellowship and encourages courage.
Gledhill: Split threatens Anglican meeting called to preserve unity A damaging split is threatening a crucial meeting this week called by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a bid to find a way forward for the troubled Anglican Communion.

Some archbishops from the conservative churches of the Global South are threatening to walk out of the meeting if liberal bishops, such as from the US, fail to pledge that their bishops will abandon support for gay marriage...