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Monthly Archives: April 2012
REPORT FROM GAFCON
( GAFCON stands for: The Global Anglican Future Conference )
Steve Breedlove, Rector
As the GAFCON Leadership Conference draws toward its end, I have time to write a short report. The pace has been fast: I received an inexplicably-delayed invitation to come to London at 4:00 p.m., Tuesday the 17th. I found a reasonable ticket and made plans to fly to England, rather than back home, after Sally & I completed officiating at a wedding in New York over the weekend. It has been a whirl. It has been worth it.
The primary purpose of this meeting is networking and fellowship, an effort to encourage biblically orthodox Anglicans around the world. It is a kaleidoscope of cultures and races: thirty+ countries are represented. It has included solid preaching, good worship, excellent workshops, and lots and lots of gabbing. For me, it has been an invaluable time to spend hours with Archbishops Rwaje and Duncan talking about the future of PEARUSA. We have been able to work through a number of important issues that need unraveling and come up with unified solutions and plans for the future. Our spiritual friendships are growing stronger by the day. I have also had wonderful time with Bishops Nathan Gasatura and Laurent Mbanda, and several other great friends and leaders of confessing Anglicanism around the world.
A Pakistani Anglican evangelist shared tonight about the great breakthroughs “under the radar screen” in Afghanistan and Iran. In Iran, it is estimated that over 1,000,000 have converted in the past decade. Yet the thing he was most thrilled about is the establishment of a Christian church in Pakistan made up totally of converts from Islam, and the four people that have come to faith this year through that church. The opposition in Pakistan is exploding, but Christ’s church will prevail . . . but we need to pray, and pray earnestly.
A Nigerian archbishop told us of the increasing persecution from Muslims in the northern and central parts of that country. In many places Christians cannot go to church unless there is police protection throughout the service. The doors are opened only a few minutes before the service, and then relocked quickly afterwards. The situation is very intense.
I met and talked with the Anglican Bishop of Iran personally. I had few words, as I shook his hand, thinking of the opposition and death-threat he endures for the sake of the Gospel.
I have had conversations with a college principle from Australia, a headmaster from England, a pastor from England, and a college professor from New Zealand, all who labor to maintain faithful witness to Christ and truthful teaching of the Word of God under the pressure of liberal, revisionist bishops. Faithful, hard-working, humble, earnest people who love Jesus Christ . . .
We have an incredible family of faith, a profound legacy, and a wonderful future! I urge us all to thank God for his gracious blessings in our lives and in our church, to pray earnestly and faithfully for those who labor in hard, dangerous places, and to preach Christ boldly to our friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
See you Sunday!
Men’s Breakfast at the All Saints Church Annex
Saturday, April 28th from 8:30-10:00 am
Relationship Building in the FaceBook Age
There was a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly that had this to say about relationships:
“…within this world of instant and absolute communication, unbounded by limits of time or space, we suffer from unprecedented alienation. We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and less actual society. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.”
To read the full article: IS FACEBOOK MAKING US LONELY? here is the link: https://blogasc.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/
At our gathering we will explore themes surrounding men and friendship. We have invited speaker, Mark Landon ( Rector of St Patricks Anglican, Charlotte,NC ) to get the ball rolling and engage us in the topic before we open things up for discussion. Mark is a great guy with a lot of life experience as well as a great communicator!
Please mark your calendar and plan to come! We look forward to a great time together! If you have any questions direct them to Dhrubo Sircar: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please pass this invite on to others you know!
Have a great weekend!
1. Bagels and Coffee
3. Speaker / Panel. Q&A.
Liturgy is a pattern. The order of worship and the calendar of the Church are the unfolding of life itself. Good Friday is, of course, not only a twenty-four hour period for penitence. It is the darkness of our lives, and it is played out in the most dramatic horror that we can fathom: the death of God’s only Son. Easter Sunday is not, then, a mimicry of resurrection and new life. It is hope laid out anew, pulsing some type of light back into the darkness.
But both days end, and Easter Tide rolls on and will slowly melt away into Ordinary time with the coming of Pentecost. These may be a lot of strange words that mean nothing to the reader; regardless, we all know the dragging grind of life and the interplay between life and death. These are the absolutes of human experience. To be alive is to expect death, but death cannot exist without life. Somewhere in the middle of these forces resides the peril of human thought and the crucible of faith. It generates the questions that drive humans mad, or gives them life. Why believe, believe what, or simply, why?
We never stop asking these questions. Whether we ask them of God or the stars or just the silence of our souls we all ask them. I am soon to be an Anglican priest, which in part means I have to take reality very seriously. This is called being “sacramental,” which is just a big word meaning the very real stuff of this world communicates the most fundamental truths of the universe (whether you call that spiritual, divine, holy, or Godly). In other words, all this spiritual talk doesn’t “float between our ears.”
My family has experienced waves of death in the past three years. Grandparents, parents, siblings, and even children have been lost.
And we miss them…
That loss, for example, communicates the despair of the human condition. Death is the great and looming threat of loss that stains every single, beautiful reality of this world. It is not “simply” anything, as in being ‘natural,’ or ‘routine,’ or ‘normal.’ Death is the abyss, the final threat. And there is no beauty in it.
If death is a sign for the swallowing up of all beauty, then new life is the promise that all will be made well. This Easter Sunday I held my month-old-daughter in my arms, and she was baptized today, a week later. Her life is a sign, a type of witness of change, of making new. Maybe redemption. By this I mean that if God works this way, then her little life may be a demonstration that some things, at least, will be healed. But this is only a sign.
Because, of course, I will lose her, too, and she will lose me. To be Christian is not to ignore death, or hold resurrection as a type of comfort blanket when death reaches out to us. Instead, it is to walk in the valley of the shadow of death. This is the Christian story itself, that the Author of life took on much shadow and the weight of human flesh so that even the deceased could taste resurrection. It’s a promise, to be taken on faith and in the midst of our sufferings. It is certainly not an escape. It is only more horrible because of how much we value life. Life is everything, and if a God can’t save that, He’s not worth having.
I certainly don’t have neat answers to these questions or these problems, so I end this with a blessing for all of you this Eastertide: May you have peace in the midst of life, but especially in death. May you find life in shadow. May you receive love, even the love of God. May you find forgiveness, even if you must forgive yourself. May you find deliverance, even if you are lost.
May the God of hope guard your hearts and minds in all things, for Christ came to bind up what was broken, to heal the afflicted, and to die for us all. I pray you all many, many mercies this evening.
The Paschal sermon of St John Chrysostom is read aloud in every Orthodox parish on the morning of the Great and Holy Pascha of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. According to the Tradition of the Church, no one sits during the reading of St John’s sermon, but all stand and listen with attentiveness.
If any man be devout and loveth God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast! If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any have laboured long in fasting, let him how receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; Because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness.
For the Lord, who is jealous of his honour, will accept the last even as the first. He giveth rest unto him who cometh at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who hath wrought from the first hour.
And He showeth mercy upon the last, and careth for the first; And to the one He giveth, and upon the other He bestoweth gifts. And He both accepteth the deeds, and welcometh the intention, and honoureth the acts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord; Receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival! You sober and you heedless, honour the day! Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.
Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.
By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.
It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is thy sting? O Hell, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown! Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen! Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life reigns! Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.
An Article from The Atlantic:
Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. A report on what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society.
Click Here to read the article.
This is a great article about lonliness, friendship, presence, and technology. Hope you can read it and I hope it makes you think about your life, friendships, and interactions.