Month: August, 2013

News: Archbishop Wabukala’s August Letter

More about GAFCON 2013 – Archbishop Wabukala’s August Letter:

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My dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

As I write, we are now only two months away from GAFCON 2013. There is much still to do, but over the past month great strides have been made and I am confident that this will be another wonderful and historic occasion.  Many of those who shared in the fellowship of our first gathering in Jerusalem remarked that it had been a once in a lifetime experience, but I believe that GAFCON 2013 will be equally memorable, yet in a different way. We remember the mighty acts of God in order to build faith for the present and, with thankful hearts for the foundation laid in Jerusalem, we look to the Lord to do a new thing as we gather in Nairobi.

Last week, my brother Archbishop Stanley of Uganda reminded us of why GAFCON 2013 is so necessary. It is now ten years since the Episcopal Church of the United States consecrated Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, despite the fact that he had left his wife and family and then later entered into a sexual relationship with a man. This action opened the door to the fragmentation of an already fragile Communion. It was in deliberate defiance of the collegial mind of the bishops worldwide expressed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference and became a serious hindrance to those of us committed to biblical evangelism and discipleship.

Archbishop Stanley rightly speaks of a spiritual cancer in the Communion, but we need to see that the overthrow by some Churches of the creation order of male and female is just one symptom of the disease. The cause is spiritual, the overthrow of God’s Word as revealed and authoritative truth. So it is very appropriate that Archbishop Stanley also speaks of the need for confessing Anglicans to see themselves as a movement of revival, taking inspiration from the East African Revival. We need to learn from our history. Divisions about the Bible had spread to  some missionary organisations in East Africa after the First World War, but the leaders of the East African Revival knew that there could be no true evangelism and no true revival unless the Scriptures are allowed to speak as what they really are, the inspired Word of God.

So we can see why our affirmation in 2008 of the Jerusalem Declaration was so very important. We described it as ‘a contemporary rule… to guide the movement for the future’. Anything less would have ‘healed the wound of my people lightly’ (Jeremiah 8:11) given the widespread confusion about the gospel and Christian discipleship which we sought to address. Let me remind you of the commitment we made in the Jerusalem Statement to restore Scripture to its rightful place in the life of the Communion:

‘We, together with many other faithful Anglicans throughout the world, believe the doctrinal foundation of Anglicanism, which defines our core identity as Anglicans, is expressed in these words: The doctrine of the Church is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.’

On this foundation we can address the challenges of the twenty-first century with faith and confidence. Work is well advanced on the programme  for our time together and will include ‘mini-conferences’ on topics such as gospel proclamation and culture, theological education,  economic empowerment and the church, marriage, family and sexuality, and engaging with Islam. It is intended that plans for action will be prepared on each theme and that we shall develop the necessary organisational structures to carry them out. Our work on these challenges will be a response to hearing God’s Word taught and preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, trusting that the word of the Lord will not return to him empty, but will indeed accomplish that which he purposes.

To conclude, let me ask you to do two things as members of our global fellowship. Firstly, please be in earnest prayer for GAFCON 2013 and use the prayer bulletins which are posted weekly on the GAFCON website. Many are working very hard, but we need the Lord’s overruling hand of blessing and protection, knowing that without his presence and mercy we can achieve nothing of lasting value. Secondly, please prayerfully consider your financial support. We have a number of brothers and sisters who would love to be with us from parts of the world where there is persecution and hardship and we do not want them to be excluded for lack of funding.

May the Lord who has called us to this gospel fellowship grant you fullness of joy and peace in his service.

The Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala
Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans

Ontario: The Circle Prepares For Action

D’Arcy and Zena are laying plans for the opening of their circle, The Circle (in the Fergus-Elora area of Ontario).  Here’s the text of the news item they ran in their local paper on July 17:

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“Something Different” proposed by Elora duo

Two Elora residents are hoping residents want “to turn over a new leaf” when it comes to their Christian faith.

“The buds have arrived, leaves have sprouted and spring cleaning and gardening and summer plans are in the works.  Many of us hope that things might be different this year – we will see new places, meet new people, get out of our same old rut”, says Zena Attwood.  “I think that I need to get our of my same old rut by making some changes inside my head and how I act and what I believe – believe about other people, about how the world functions, and how God fits into all of this.  Do I really have to act this year the same way I did last year?”

Originally from England, over 40 years ago, she moved to Elora five years ago.  She, along with D’Arcy Luxton who retired to Elora from Hamilton, “are going to make a start on that by starting a new church group.  Not a new church, exactly, as there will be no church building  and the formal structures of church worship and parish life will be absent.”

Centre Wellington is already well supplied with these – all of which are working hard to serve their communities and bear witness to the Christian faith, the duo says.  Their group has much more modest ambitions.

“We will meet on Sundays, in rented premises, with the intention of serving those in our community who have no church home and are adrift”, Attwood says.  “We are members of the Anglican Network in Canada (www.anglicannetwork.ca), which means that we strive to present the Christian faith in its fullness.”

In the present culture, many people experience difficulty.  Many suffer from thwarted happiness or spiritual anguish.

“This is where we hope to be of service.  While we have many active churches in  Central Wellington, the Christian presence in the highways and bi-ways and along the hedges and at the edges of things is less evident.  This is also where we hope to serve,”  Attwood says.  “Our Canadian economy is not buoyant and we may face years of economic challenge and relentless austerity.  In such circumstances, we believe the need for small Christian groups meeting regularly, but of no fixed address, will increase.”

Attwood and Luxton are inviting everyone “to come and see.  We invite you to come with your queries about Christianity.  We would like to be of service.  The Christian religion is 2000 years old.  Our group is new.  You may like the idea of being part of something old that is brand new.  We do.”

Details of where and when will be published in the Fergus Elora News Express.  In the meantime, further info can be obtained by sending an email to cw.circle4u@gmail.com.
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Hide Thou Me

I seem to be on a musical theme this week!

I sometimes get discouraged in my Christian walk – and, yes, sometimes with the ASF as well, as we continue to seek God’s will and s-l-o-w-l-y develop our fellowship and outreach.  Then there’s my personal life (usually beset by a lack of money) and my business life, as I strive to get my virtual assistant business established and (God willing) flourishing.

I know full well that my deepest need is to place all my trust in Jesus; this is a lesson that He has been teaching me (over and over) for some 7 years now.  And I also know, from experience, that those times of testing – the times when I feel particularly discouraged – are the times when the Lord is, in fact, working in a special way in my life.  Those testing times are always, always followed by times when I feel foolish because I found it so hard to cling to my trust in Jesus – because He always comes through, often in unexpected ways!

I was nosing around on YouTube just now, and ran into this song, peformed by the Gaither Vocal Band, and it says all I need to remember in these testing times:

“Sometimes I feel discouraged / and I think my work’s in vain
I’m tempted oft to murmer / to grumble and complain…
Then I cry, “O Rock of Ages / hide Thou me.”

When I face my enemies of discouragement and doubt, then I pray, Lord:

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!” (Psalm 61:1-4)

Amen!

Fill My Cup, Lord

At the little Church of God church I attend here in Castlegar, one of the hymns we sang today was “Fill My Cup, Lord” (written by Richard Blanchard).

This song really echoes some of the things I feel as an Anglican orphan.  Even though I do have Christian fellowship in a Bible-believing (and love-filled) local church, my heart is still torn by the things that are going on in the Anglican Church of Canada (and also in churches like the United Church), and I really feel my isolation as a Bible-believing, confessing Anglican in an area where I seem to be the only one – although I’m sure there may be others around who feel much as I do.

Here’s a wonderful presentation of the song from the Gaither Vocal Band YouTube channel:

“Like the woman at the well, I was seeking / for things that could not satisfy

And then I heard my Saviour speaking: / Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

“Fill my cup, Lord / I lift it up, Lord;

Come and quench this thirsting of my soul…

Bread of Heaven, feed me ’till I want no more

Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”

We are all seeking You in one way or another, Lord.  Fill our cup – let us receive, and recognize, the cup of salvation.

Amen and amen.

News: Circles in the News!

The first ASF circle-in-process got a mention in the ANiC August 13 Newsletter!  Here it is:

“Planting in southern Ontario – Elora-Fergus area
Together D’Arcy Luxton and the Rev Zena Attwood wrote an article that was published in their local paper inviting people in the Fergus-Elora area of southern Ontario to join them on Sunday’s as they meet together. The article targeted those who have no church home, are feeling adrift, and are looking for a supportive fellowship. In the article they say, “We invite you to come with your queries about Christianity. We would like to be of service. The Christian religion is 2000 years old. Our group is new. You may like the idea of being part of something old that is brand new. We do.”

Way to go, D’Arcy and Zena!  We will be posting more about The Circle in Fergus-Elora as we get the info!

Resources: Praise & Worship Music from Church Of Our Lord

Here’s a great new resource:  a page of Praise & Worship music from Church Of Our Lord in Victoria, BC!  The page features a video player with links to praise & worship videos from YouTube, including everything from “Because He Lives” (the Gaithers)  and “Thy Word” (Maranatha Singers)  to “El Shaddai” (Amy Grant) and “Lord I Give You My Heart” (Michael W. Smith).