Category Archives: Anglicanism

All Saints Church Reads: Reflection by Paul Watkins

Last week we had our first (of many I pray) meetings of the All Saints Church Reads book club.

torranceThere were two meetings: one in the morning at 7 am at the Upper Room and one in the evening at 7 pm at my house. Over 15 people met and discussed the first two chapters of James Torrance’s book Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace.

It is a short book that profoundly explores the depth and grace of the gospel of God! It is a book that leads me to worship and marvel at the grace of God!

The book club will meet again on July 24th (at 7am and 7pm) to discuss the last two chapters of the book. All are welcome!

Paul Watkins attended and wrote this poignant reflection:

“The worship and mission of the church are the gift of participating through the Holy Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father and the Son’s mission from the Father to the world.” (p. 9)

This sentence embodies the main thesis of Torrance’s book: that we live Christianly by entering into participation with what is already happening within the life of the Trinity.

Acceptable worship is already ascending to God – from our great High Priest in the heavens who ever lifts up holy hands to His Father in praise and thanksgiving; when we worship rightly, we do so only by entering into and taking part in the Son’s worship already taking place.

Likewise, acceptable mission is already happening – climactically in the Father’s sending forth the Son into the world to call all men to Himself, but also in the Son’s sending forth of the Spirit He received from the Father into the world to carry on the same mission; when we do mission rightly, we only do so by entering into and taking part in the Son’s and Spirit’s mission already taking place.

Which is to say, living Christianly does not mean offering worship and mission of our own to God, but in participating in what the Father has already provided for Himself through His Son and Spirit. This is the meaning of “grace.” It is not so much that God gives grace for us, extra nos, and we respond in faith and service for God, extra Deum, as two actions by two different actors playing their parts in turns; rather, our faith and service are nothing other than the faith and service of the Son through the Spirit operative in us, which is one and the same thing as grace itself, as one action by two different actors playing their respective parts in simultaneous, intimate co-action.

So our work (of worship and mission) and God’s grace are not two different things, traded between us; they are one and the same thing, seen from two perspectives. This is why we can never imagine our service to God apart from His grace (Pelagianism), nor imagine His grace apart from our service (radical Protestantism).

So remember, when we worship it is the Son through the Spirit that is worshiping through us. And when we go forth in mission to the world, it is also the Son through the Spirit that is going forth in mission through us.

All that we do, if we do it Christianly, is nothing other than what God Himself is doing while using us as His vessels. It is “not I, but the grace of God which is with me.” Which is to say, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” So let us be cooperators with the Spirit, and co-workers with the Son, joining them in their worship and mission as we are drawn ever more intimately into the life of the Triune God.

– Reflection by Paul Watkins

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All Saints Church Reads: Book 1

Our first book is Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace by James B. Torrance. We will be discussing the first two chapters together this Thursday at 7am in the Upper Room or at 7pm at my house (1 Hampshire Court, Durham.) It is a richly theological book that draws my heart to worship as I read. I pray that it deepens our understanding of God as a triune being and our astonishment and experience of the gospel of grace! It is a book about how our Triune God is at work drawing us into himself. “The Father has given to us the Son and the Spirit to draw us into a life of shared communion—of participating through the Spirit in the Son’s communion with the Father—that we might be drawn in love into the very Trinitarian life of God himself.” It is a deeply worshipful and pastoral book and one that has many echoes of Bishop Steve Breedlove’s sermon on Trinity Sunday just a few weeks ago. Join us tomorrow or at our next book club meeting on July 24th when we discuss the second half of the book.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen

Thomas Kortus

 trinity knot
Here is a short blogpost about the author and the book:

When the Rev Professor James B. Torrance died at the age of 80 in 2003, Christianity Today magazine chose to highlight three areas of his life of service – 1) he was Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at University of Aberdeen in Scotland, 2) he was known as a mentor to other Christian leaders, and 3) he wrote “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace” (IVP, 1997).

He had also been a family man and a pastor, and whether serving in pastoral ministry, teaching theology, writing, or in mentoring others, Torrance was keen on worship and on discussing in simple but profound language the relationship of grace and the continuing priesthood of Jesus in Trinitarian worship.

It is interesting to note that “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace” [WCTGG] contains a mere 130 pages, and yet it has gained wide influence in denominations around the globe, as in it Torrance offers a brief but profound discussion of prayer and worship that is Christ-centered, incarnational and Trinitarian. The book is an expanded form of lectures on the theology of worship he gave in Manchester in 1994, and is also from articles he wrote or lectures he gave in different countries in the 70’s and 80’s. It has been pointed out that these themes have struck more of a chord in the last decade or so than they did in some theological circles in the earlier years. With this easy-to-read book Torrance is still helping “mentor” those of us serving in ministries today. Here are some excepts from WCTGG:

There is no more urgent need in our churches today than to recover the Trinitarian nature of grace—that it is by grace alone, through the gift of Jesus Christ in the Spirit that we can enter into and live a life of communion with God our Father.

Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father.

The Father has given to us the Son and the Spirit to draw us into a life of shared communion—of participating through the Spirit in the Son’s communion with the Father—that we might be drawn in love into the very Trinitarian life of God himself.

Whatever else our faith is, it is a response to a response already made for us and continually being made for us in Christ, the pioneer of our faith.

In worship we offer ourselves to the Father ‘in the name of Christ’ because he has already in our name made the one true offering to the Father, the offering by which he has sanctified for all time those who come to God by him (Heb 10:10, 14) and because he ever lives to intercede for us in our name.

(Trinitarian worship) means participating in union with Christ, in what he has done for us once and for all, in his self-offering to the Father, in his life and death on the cross. It also means participating in what he is continuing to do for us in the presence of the Father and in his mission from the Father to the world. When we see that ….. (and) that the unique center of the Bible is Jesus Christ, ‘the apostle and high priest whom we confess [Heb 3:1], then the doctrines of the Trinity, the incarnation, the atonement, the ministry of the Spirit, Church and sacraments, our understanding of the kingdom….all unfold from that center.

We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit into the community, the one body of Christ, which confesses faith the in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and which worships the Father through the Son in the Spirit. We are baptized into a life of communion. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is the grammar of this participatory understanding of worship and prayer.

(We need to) return to the ‘forgotten Trinity’ – to an understanding of the Holy Spirit, who delivers us from a narcissistic preoccupation with the self to find our true being in loving communion with God and one another—to hear God’s call to us, in our day, to participate through the Spirit in Christ’s communion with the Father and his mission from the Father to the world—to create in our day a new humanity of persons who find true fulfillment in other-centered communion and service in the kingdom of God.

The first real step on the road to prayer is to recognize that none of us knows how to pray as we ought to. But as we bring our desires to God, we find that we have someone who is praying for us, with us, and in us. Thereby he teaches us to pray and motivate us to pray and to pray in peace to the Lord. Jesus takes our prayers—our feeble, selfish, inarticulate prayers—he cleanses them, makes them his prayers, and in a ‘wonderful exchange’ he makes his prayers our prayers and presents us to the Father as his dear children, crying ‘Abba Father’.

This blog post appeares on Trinitarian Worship: http://trinitarianworship.blogspot.com/2009/10/worship-community-triune-god-of-grace.html

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Congratulations, Hank and Zac!

ordination

 

Congratulations to Hank Tarlton and Zac Koons on their ordination to the diaconate last night!

For Hank and Zac, chosen deacons in your Church, we pray to you, O Lord, that they may faithfully fulfill the duties of this ministry, build up your Church, and glorify your name.

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An Update from Thomas Kortus

I am writing hello from Whidbey Island in Washington state. I am with my family and my dad. My dad is dying from a rare and rapid degenerative brain disease called CJD.

I have missed All Saints (you) greatly over these past two weeks. It was very difficult missing June 10 and 17 and all the activities and celebrations these days held.  I hated that I missed Kent’s ordination and especially the celebration of Steve and Sally’s ministry at ASC.

I love you all and miss you, but I know I am where I need to be. Thank you for your prayers and for your support and permission to be here with my father and my family.

For the full story visit dad’s caring bridge website and read the story. Click here. 

Here is an update I just wrote this morning regarding how my dad is doing:

I am sitting next to my dad as I type. We are listening to Johnny Cash’s album: My Mother’s Hymnbook.  Dad loves this album! Cash said it was his favorite album he ever made. It is classic, but rare. I burned it for my dad about 4 years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGNlQ88O5Kg&feature=relmfu

We are sitting next to dad day and night and his time is near. He very well may die today. We will sit, pray, and talk to him through the day.

Family comes and goes, grandkids eat meals and tell of the treasures found on the beach, and the tide comes in and out, but dad remains laying in his hospital bed in the middle of the living room facing Penn Cove. His breathing is fast and shallow and his body is motionless save his breath; the breath of life that remains. He is alive, but nothing about his presence testifies to this except the air he is inhaling and exhaling more than twenty times a minute. As I sit with him and pray I find myself clutching his arm or hand and being warmed by his body heat and I also get distracted from prayer by counting his breaths.

Dad has not eaten for over two weeks. His body looks less and less like his. The once vibrant, strong, healthy and lean physique has become shriveled, atrophied, and it is eerily motionless but still tanned by hours spent outdoors and still moving with his labored breath.

Hospice has been a blessing. The nurses, aids and whole system is an incredible gift to families and communities. We are so thankful to be home. Tomorrow we will have been here a week.

It is right to have dad in this place that he loved. When my parents were newlyweds they moved from Lincoln, Nebraska to Anacortes, Washington. Dad’s basketball coach at the University of Nebraska had a connection out here and dad starting teaching and coaching in Anacortes and mom and dad lived on Alexander Beach. A gem of beach – sandy and flat – these are not common to Washington state. They fell in love with the tall evergreen trees, the mountains, and the water. Dad loves the water. He walked the beach daily and he created hundreds of pieces of furniture, mobiles, wall hangings, and random creations using driftwood, rocks, and found items brought in my the tide. I have a cross in my office at All Saints Church made of dozens of pieces of drift wood nailed together. I will cherish that cross my whole life long just like I will cherish my dad and his love and his life. He loved sailing, kayaking and crabbing in the summers. I will cherish my memories of him. Especially last summer when he took Hudson (my son) and I out crabbing. Hudson loved the experience and loves eating fresh crabs. I know he will hold on to this memory as well.

I will miss dad terribly. I already miss him.

Death is incredibly hard, dark, and confusing. It is easy to end up in despair, but we hold onto the hope of the new resurrected  life that Jesus pioneered and offers to all who come to him in faith and repentance.

What an amazing experience to stand on this holy ground with dad and my family as dad is on the threshold between this earthly life and life eternal – new life – the glorious life in the presence of God bathed in perpetual light.

Dad’s life will not end, but change – and change gloriously for the better.

I have been clinging to this prayer in the Anglican liturgy for funerals. We come to the Holy Communion:

Through Jesus Christ our Lord; who rose victorious from the dead, and doth comfort us with the blessed hope of everlasting life; for to thy faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not ended; and when our mortal body doth lie in death, there is prepared for us a dwelling place eternal in the heavens.

Lately death seems more and more like a mercy for dad. We have watched him become more and more trapped and limited by his diseased, immobile, and motionless body. We will miss him greatly, but he is no longer with us as he was – smiling, joking, hugging, working, creating, loving, laughing, modeling what it looks like to live well.

I already miss my dad and I long for him to be him and not the motionless and sleeping body in our living room laying in the hospital bed. I long for dad to be resurrected and restored and made new. I long to meet him on a day to come in presence of God and all his angels and to walk the beach with him in the new heaven and new earth.

Come Lord Jesus.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Almighty God, our Father in heaven, before whom live all who die in the Lord: Receive our dad, brother, mentor, coach, husband, friend, mentor Joel. into the courts of your heavenly dwelling place.  Let his heart and soul soon ring out in joy to you, O Lord, the living God, and the God of those who live.  This we ask through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Thank you for your prayers, your love, and your support. We are feeling your prayers and your care and are incredibly humbled by the generosity we are experiencing daily.

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Pentecost Sunday!

Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:2-4

Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in  every nation.

A Sonnet by Malcolm Guite

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

(Acts 2:1-41 ESV)

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A letter from Steve Breedlove regarding the Joyous Assembly June 11-13

To all God’s Faithful in North America: Greetings in the name of Christ!

Six months ago, in a powerful pastoral moment at Church of the Apostles, Raleigh, NC, the Most Reverend Onesphore Rwaje called for the formation of a Steering Team to provide pastoral oversight for the clergy in North America that desire to remain resident within the Anglican Province of Rwanda (PEAR). In April, Archbishop Rwaje formalized the existence of a Missionary District for North America, and PEARUSA was born. Work on protocols governing PEARUSA as a sub-jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of North America began immediately. In a remarkable unifying sign of God’s spirit, PEARUSA will not only be a continual manifestation of work launched by Rwanda over a decade ago, but will also be a fully participating sub-jurisdiction of ACNA.

Now we invite you to return to Church of the Apostles in Raleigh on June 11-13, 2012 to help us bring PEARUSA to the place where its constituent churches, clergy, and laity can together begin to even more effectively serve people throughout North America with the Gospel.

  • We will reflect on the blessings of God together and understand the rich legacy of our spiritual roots.
  • We will hear the vision for the distinctive commitments and mission of PEARUSA and discuss how to stand at the intersection as a Missionary District of Rwanda and a sub-jurisdiction of the ACNA.
  • We will lay the groundwork for Regional Networks that will carry out Christ’s mission and prayerfully begin to consider future episcopal leadership to shepherd, guide, and care for our people.

Throughout all we do PEARUSA has a genuine desire to model the collegial rule and work that is the hallmark of the Anglican Province of Rwanda. In light of this desire, we need clergy and laity from all churches that desire to be canonically resident in Rwanda (or are considering it) to join us in Raleigh and begin to do fruitful work together. Will you help?

There will also be several moments of thanksgiving at the Celebration Assembly. Archbishop Rwaje tasked Bishop Terrell Glenn and the rest of the Steering Team with two jobs—pastoral oversight and initial planning. Both of these tasks have been completed and the Steering Team will be reformed into a Mission Council pro tem. In addition, Bishop Terrell Glenn will be passing the baton as the primary episcopal overseer for PEARUSA and Archbishop Rwaje will be naming a Presider pro tem to guide the Missionary District from June through the inaugural General Assembly in October.

Friends, I certainly hope you will join us for this Celebration Assembly. This is an exciting moment in our lives, and the future is exceedingly bright through the grace of God. But we cannot establish this Missionary District without genuine, participatory input from a broad group of clergy and laity, so please prayerfully consider joining us in Raleigh. Bring your fellow-laborers and leaders and help us do the work of God!

More details and registration information: http://www.pearusa.org

Your Servant in Christ,

Rev Dr Steven Breedlove

Canon to Missionary Bishop Terrell Glenn

sbreedlove@pearusa.org

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PEARUSA Joyous Assembly June 11-13th

Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje of the Anglican Church of Rwanda Invites You to a Joyous Celebration Assembly June 11-13, 2012 at Church of the Apostles – Raleigh, NC

4 p.m. and 7 p.m. services on Monday are open to the public – no registration required! Please make every effort to attend! 

January 16-18, 2012: In a powerful pastoral moment, PEARUSA was conceived at Church of the Apostles, in Raleigh, NC, when Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje of the Anglican Church of Rwanda (PEAR) came in humility, love, and much prayer to discover together with us the will of the Lord for clergy and churches serving in North America under his spiritual oversight.

Amid much prayer and seeking of God, a Steering Team was formed to guide us.

People, churches, and clergy were shepherded into the safety of a Gospel-based community of reconciliation and collaboration.

Leaders have sought to serve together in humility, transparency, and unity, continually crying out to God for help, guidance, strength, protection, and the presence of his Spirit in our churches.

A Missionary District of PEAR in North America was declared in April.

A Charter for Ministry has been drafted.

Protocols for PEARUSA’s place as a sub-jurisdiction and partner of the Anglican Church of North America have been formed.

NOW is the time to fully launch PEARUSA, and on behalf of Archbishop Rwaje, all affiliated and interested clergy and laity are welcome back to that place where PEARUSA began.

We will give thanks and celebrate what the Lord has done!

We will hear the vision God has given his people, especially those he has raised to lead PEARUSA to this place – Archbishop Rwaje, Bishops Terrell Glenn, Thad Barnum, Nathan Gasatura and more.

We will meet and hear the vision that he is giving to the first of the next generation leaders who will serve the work of PEARUSA.

We will bathe the future in prayer!

We will talk, share, laugh, pray, and learn to love more.

We will seek answers and understanding through the Charter for Ministry and the Protocols for our Sub-Jurisdiction with ACNA.

We will form the early shape of regional networks and begin the prayer and process of raising up leadership for mission.

We will ask, and answer, many questions.

YOU will be given opportunity to participate actively in the beginnings of a movement that has placed the highest value on the Gospel of grace, collaboration, and collegial process.

YOU will be able to gain all the information needed to know whether PEARUSA is your canonical and missional home.

YOU will be able to become a part of what God is doing:

Important Details:

Location: Church of the Apostles, 333 Church at North Hills Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609

Beginning Assembly: 4:00 p.m., June 11; Concluding Eucharist ends at 1:00 pm., June 13

Cost: $95 / single, $150 per couple: $10 discount for registering on or before May 31

Includes one light lunch and two light dinners

Special Conference Rates Available at local hotels, the Hyatt Place (919.877.9997) and the Residence Inn (919 878-6100): Call directly and ask for the PEARUSA rate.

Conference Details: Check www.pearusa.org or:

Rev Donnie McDaniel: rev.donniemcdaniel@gmail.com
Rev Art Going: art.going@gmail.com
Rev Brad Acton: bacton@pearusa.com

You are welcome to bring as many clergy and laity from your church as you desire

Online registration begins on or before May 9 at www.pearusa.org

Birthed in Rwanda, Planted in America, Bearing Fruit in our Communities

 

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