R.C. Canon’s Funeral Mass in Anglican Church

Catholic canon’s funeral Mass to be celebrated in Anglican church

Canon Brian O'Sullivan, of Arundel and Brighton Diocese will have his funeral Mass in an Anglican church.

Canon O’Sullivan’s funeral will be held in the church in honour of his ecumenical work

Canon Brian O’Sullivan, who died on Friday August 21st, will have his funeral Mass at his nearby Anglican church to recognise the work he did to bring the Christian community together.

The funeral Mass will be held at the parish of St Andrew and St Cuthman, in Steyning, while a Vigil Mass will be held at the Catholic Church of Christ the King.

The move, while unusual, has been approved by the Anglican Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev Dr Martin Warner, in recognition of Canon O’Sullivan’s “commitment to life in Christian unity.”

Canon O’Sullivan was a priest for Arundel and Brighton Diocese.

The funeral Mass will held on Tuesday, September 8th at midday. The Vigil Mass will be held the day before at 7pm at Christ the King, also in Steyning.

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This is something more than just an ecumencial ‘exchange of pulpits’. In the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, a former Canon of the diocese will be the subject of a Requiem Mass in the local Anglican Parish Church of St. Andrew & St. Cuthman, in recognition of the fraternal relationships existing between Catholics and Anglican of both the Roman Catholic diocese and the Anglican Diocese of Chichester.

“The move, while unusual, has been approved by the Anglican Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev Dr Martin Warner, in recognition of Canon O’Sullivan’s “commitment to life in Christian unity.”

It is worth noting that Bishop Martin Warner was once the Guardian of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, which has a close relationship with the Roman Catholic Shrine at the same venue. This outreach of solidarity in Christian fellowship might therefore bear witness to the efforts of the ARCIC Fellowship that fosters the relationship between Anglicans and Roman Catholics at the highest level – a laudable ‘crossing of boundaries’ that can occur, occasionally, between like-minded Christians.

Deo gratias!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Diocese of South Carolina: Apologetic for Schism

By Jim Lewis

Much has been written about the Diocese of South Carolina’s separation from The Episcopal Church (TEC) — and most of it has been wrong.

Virtually all the articles suggest our diocese left because TEC ordained a gay bishop. That’s just not true. The diocese separated last year, nine years after TEC elected its first, non-celibate, gay bishop — and only after the denomination tried to strip all authority from our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence.

Though media insist our motive for leaving is our difference with TEC’s policies on the ordination of gay bishops and same-sex marriage, the real issues are rooted in the 1970s, well before Gene Robinson became the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003.

It’s about God, not gays

To understand the situation in South Carolina, you need to understand the history of the Episcopal Church, which is the American expression of the Anglican Communion. We have a unique view of the denomination since the Diocese of South Carolina was one of the nine pre-existing dioceses that founded TEC in 1789. The denomination has been redefining itself since the 1970s effectively evolving into two churches under one roof — a traditional one that embraced historic Anglican doctrines and a modernist one.

By the 1990s, the modernist faction was gaining dominance within the denomination. For example, TEC’s then-Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Frank Griswold, proclaimed that “truth,” is “pluriform.” This meant the church recognized no single truth, no single theology, no single pathway to salvation.

He effectively said that one person’s truth is as good as another’s. And many of us found that to contradict everything we believe as Anglicans.

It’s true that we live in a nuanced, multicultural world, but traditional Anglicans believe in the authority of Scripture. For us, a belief in Christ is fundamental to the faith, not one of several optional paths to salvation. It is why we are Anglicans, rather than Unitarians or Buddhists or Hindus or something else.

In a 2006 interview with Time magazine, the Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts-Schori, a strong pluriform proponent claimed that to believe, as Jesus said, that He is “the way the truth and the life no one comes to the Father but through Him,” was to put God in an “awfully small box.” That denial of Jesus’ essential role clearly displayed the difference between traditional and modernist or pluriform Anglicans/Episcopalians.

Many leave TEC

The denomination’s embrace of relativism has increased under Jefferts-Schori’s leadership.

As the newly elected presiding bishop, Jefferts-Schori presided over the General Convention in 2006 that failed to honor the requests made by the Anglican Communion. In response, seven dioceses — including the dioceses of South Carolina, San Joaquin, Calif.; Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Springfield, Ill., Dallas and Central Florida — asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to grant them oversight by someone other than TEC’s presiding bishop.

When no action took place, an exodus began. San Joaquin left TEC in 2007. The Diocese of Quincy, Ill., voted to leave in 2008. Pittsburgh and Fort Worth left in 2009. Between 2000 and 2010, TEC church attendance dropped by 23 percent – and some dioceses lost up to 80 percent of their attendees at Sunday services. Beyond the four dioceses, more than 100 individual parishes left the denomination.

But the Diocese of South Carolina stayed, trying to work with TEC. We took the steps necessary in good conscience to differentiate ourselves from the positions and actions of the TEC leadership while still remaining in the denomination. It’s true that our people were torn about TEC’s shift away from historic Anglican beliefs, but we remained part of the denomination, until last year, when it ruled that Bishop Lawrence had “abandoned” the church and took steps to remove him from the leadership role to which members of the diocese had elected him.

Strong support to leave

The denomination’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops claimed that Bishop Lawrence abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the discipline of the church.” We believe the decision stemmed from the bishop’s consistent efforts to protect traditional voices and beliefs. The charges laid against him were for actions taken by our Diocesan Convention and its duly-elected leaders.

The Diocese’s Standing Committee announced that the action of TEC’s Disciplinary Board triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions that simultaneously disaffiliated us from the Episcopal Church and called a special convention of the diocese.

The disaffiliation was affirmed by the vast majority of members who attended the special convention in November 2012. It has since been confirmed again in votes by congregations within the diocese. In all, 49 parishes representing 80 percent of the diocese’s 30,000 members voted to leave TEC, exercising our right to freedom of association.

Anglican leaders from around the world have sent messages of support for the diocese. Many members of the global Anglican Communion feel as we do that TEC has departed from historic Anglican beliefs. Most agree TEC has embraced a radical fringe scriptural interpretation that makes following Christ’s teachings optional for salvation.

The diocese has also been visited by numerous Anglican bishops to demonstrate their support. Easily a dozen from around the globe have been our guests since our departure with more each month. There are vastly more Anglicans in Communion with the Diocese of South Carolina right now than with TEC.

Preventive lawsuit

In January, we filed suit in South Carolina Circuit Court, asking for legal protection of the diocese’s property and identity from takeover by TEC. Critics suggest that our suit was unusual. Some even say that the litigation was unprecedented — and “un-Christian.” To be clear, however, the only thing unusual about the lawsuit was that we managed to file before TEC.

The little-reported fact is that TEC has filed more than 80 lawsuits seeking to seize the property of individual parishes and dioceses that left the denomination. TEC itself has admitted to spending more than $22 million on its legal action. These efforts have largely succeeded when TEC attempts to seize the property of individual parishes. Parishes across the country have been evicted from their churches.

TEC’s policy is simple and punitive: No one who leaves TEC may buy the seized church buildings. In several cases where TEC has succeeded in seizing a church, it has evicted the congregation and shuttered the building. In some cases, the church has been handed over to remnant groups that remained loyal to TEC. In other cases, the church has been sold to another religious group.

However, TEC has had less success with the lawsuits it has filed against dioceses. Recently, an Illinois Circuit Court judge decided that TEC had no grounds to seize the endowment funds of the Diocese of Quincy. The Texas Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision supporting TEC over the separated Diocese of Fort Worth. And in South Carolina, a federal district court judge decided that the Circuit Court of South Carolina is the proper court to decide the fate of our property, upsetting TEC’s efforts to get the case heard by the federal judiciary.

It’s about religious freedom

We are not thrilled about turning to the courts for help but believe we had no other recourse for our protection. Much like St. Paul’s appeal to Rome (Acts 25), we feel confident the courts will give us a fair hearing. While TEC attempts to portray us as bigots, the real issue is religious freedom.

Members of the diocese who voted to leave TEC feel the denomination has moved away from the authority of Scripture and their historic Anglican beliefs. They left us. You may agree with us about this, or you may find that TEC’s revisions are appropriate. But whatever you believe, those personal opinions should not prevent us — or others – from practicing our faith.

And, since that religious freedom is constitutionally guaranteed in the United States, we believe that the people who built and paid for the disassociated parishes and dioceses have a right to their property. Obviously, TEC wants to keep those millions of dollars in property — an attractive prize for a denomination that is losing members and closing churches.

Irony of reconciliation

Local media have devoted significant attention to the claims of TEC’s representatives that they hope for reconciliation between the denomination and the diocese.

It is difficult to imagine what form that reconciliation might take. After all, Bishop Lawrence spent years trying to keep us within TEC — only to be found guilty of abandonment while in the very midst of attempting negotiation. We were effectively fired upon under a flag of truce. Individual parishes that separated from TEC around the country have been spurned when they attempted to buy their church buildings from the denomination. In one case, a church was actually sold to an Islamic community group at a price significantly lower than the congregation had offered.

That said, we do not wish malice against anyone who wishes to embrace TEC’s vision of faith. But neither will we allow them to impose their vision on us.

The Reverend Jim Lewis serves as the canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of South Carolina.

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“.. our people were torn about TEC’s shift away from historic Anglican beliefs, but we remained part of the denomination, until last year, when it ruled that Bishop Lawrence had “abandoned” the church and took steps to remove him from the leadership role to which members of the diocese had elected him.”

In trying to understand this apologetic from the schismatic ‘Diocese of South Carolina’, one needs to understand the reason why its bishop, Mark Lawrence, was considered by The Episcopal Church (TEC) to have ‘abandoned the Church’ and was summarily dismissed as ‘Bishop of the TEC Diocese of South Carolina’.

Before Mark Lawrence was elected to be a bishop in TEC (which happened only after a second attempt to secure a bishop), he was asked to promise that he would not try to take the diocese of South Carolina out of the Episcopal Church. However, it did not take long before he decided to oppose the canons of TEC; thereby abandoning his earlier promise of loyalty to that Church.

The protestations of ‘a greater loyalty to the Gospel’, that are submitted in this account of the reasons why the ‘Diocese of South Carolina’, must be measured against Bishop Mark Lawrence’s original promise to abide by the canons of TEC, and not to try to take the diocese out of the Episcopal Church in North America. His own interpretation of what the Gospel required of him as a bishop in the Church has led him, and his group of followers in the schismatic diocese, to claim the property of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina – a situation which has led to the current legal disputation about property rights.

The fact that there might possibly be a legal defence of Mark Lawrence’s claim to property rights sought on behalf of his schismatic diocese (as would seem to have been entertained by the presiding judge in the case currently under review), does not excuse him from his betrayal of trust in his decision to lead the diocese out of the Episcopal Church – an action which was contrary to the promises made before his election as bishop of the TEC diocese.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Typing in tongues?

Jumble sales of the apocalypse: Typing in tongues

Jumble sales of the apocalypse: Typing in tongues

Simon Jenkins experiments in typing in tongues

Having a spare moment in the passenger seat of a car recently, I got ordained on my iPhone. Thanks to the Universal Life Church (motto: “We are all children of the same universe”) you can become an ordained minister in about 30 seconds.

On completing the online form, I was whisked to a page where I could buy a personalised ordination certificate for $8.99. Now, I can start my own church, conduct weddings, go on sabbaticals and open garden fetes. This online service has proved so popular that the Universal Life Church is producing an estimated 60 Revs per hour, boom boom.

The internet has been a bit of an Alton Towers ride for Christianity since the heady days of the 1990s. Twenty years ago, most Christians, if they had heard of the internet at all, saw it as the tool of the antichrist, which would subjugate the whole world to the implacable will of Satan. Ten years later, the internet was item nine (b) on the agenda of the church meeting: “Progress on the church website: Any news?” And today, a million dreadful ecclesiastical websites later, churches are now tweeting the sermon, selling off the hymn books on eBay, jealously counting their likes on Facebook and posting pics on Instagram of how an incontinent donkey wrecked the Nativity play.

Along the way, there have been some inspiring moments which only religion could have brought to the internet, such as webcam baptisms, for people who want to get baptised, don̕t have a nearby Baptist minister to carry it out, but do have an internet connection and a bathful of water ready to go. Or after-rapture pet care, whereby you can make sure your beloved dog, cat or budgie is adopted after you zoom through the clouds to meet the Lord. The service is offered by atheists, who are guaranteed to still be available for pet care duties after the second coming.

One recent development has continued this fine tradition of theology meets technology, and it concerns the revelation of a new spiritual gift. It all came about with the sudden death of Pastor Zachery Tims – pastor of the 7,000-member New Destiny megachurch in Florida. Pastor Tims was in a New York hotel room when he abruptly died in a non-traditional fashion for a pastor – by overdosing on cocaine and heroin. This left the pulpit of the New Destiny megachurch unexpectedly vacant, which is where Dr Juanita Bynum steps in. Dr Bynum is a televangelist, author, gospel singer and prophet. (Some say she spent as much time and academic effort gaining her doctorate as I did on my online ordination, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Hearing of Pastor Tims’ death, Bynum took to Facebook and started posting prayers. She prayed not about foolish Pastor Tims, nor about the congregation he duped and scandalised, but about the plum vacancy at New Destiny megachurch, which commands a salary easily able to support a lifestyle of Manhattan hotels and crack cocaine.

Juanita prayed: “YOU ARE THE ROCK AND THE SHIELD AND THE ANCHOR. WARD OFF ALL THE VULCHERS WHO WILL COME FOR GREEDY GAIN AND NOT BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HURTING IN THAT CHURCH.” But then, thrillingly, Juanita broke into an outburst of typing in tongues: “WE CALL ON YOU JESUS. ’YOU ARE OUR HELP AND OUR HOPE!!! UBGUGTRUCGNRTUGTIGRTIGRGBNRDRGNGGJNRIC YOU ARE OUR HELP AND OUR HOPE. RFSCNGUGHURGVHKTGHDKUNHSTNSVHGN OUR HOPE IS IN YOU FATHER.” Within hours, 2,000 people had liked her prayers.

I have to confess that speaking in tongues has never really been my kind of thing. Even as a young Christian, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the tongues I heard sounded like a roll-call of Japanese car manufacturers: ’Kawasaki mitsubishi suzuki mazda yamaha, amen’. I even tried to get things going by repeating, ’She come on a Honda’ over and over again until the Holy Ghost kicked in, but somehow, the engine would never start. Which is my loss, I’m sure.

It looks like Juanita went a bit too far in trying to bring the gift of tongues to the keyboard-based world of the Internet. Even Christian critics said that maybe she fell asleep and slumped on the keyboard, or that a cat sat on it to attend to some personal hygiene. One unbeliever commented: ’She actually typed it with her tongue’. Clearly, the Holy Ghost is not as easy as ABC. Or even QWERTY. That’s a shame, because as a newly minted Internet Rev, typing in tongues could have become a key part of my ministry. Which would have been very jyfutdtrxjhljbkhvkhv, I’m sure.


Simon Jenkins is editor of shipoffools.com. 
Follow Simon on Twitter: @simonjenks

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Quite a refreshing article from Simon Jenkins (Ship of Fools), who found a new way of qualifying for the role of Christian Minister under the auspices of ‘Universal Life Church’.

The ease with which one can gain such a licence for ministry could become a real problem: for anyone requiring anything like a deep spiritual nurture – either as a ‘minister’ or a recipient of such a ‘ministry’. 

However, as one might come to expect from ‘shipoffools.com’, this is not the only problem to be encountered due to the ready accessibility of the Internet, Simon’s illustration of how one might  manage to communicate a ‘Message in Tongues’ could be a real turnoff for any would-be disciple of the ‘minister’ delivering the ‘message’.  Perhaps such messages are just not meant to be delivered by the Internet.

I wonder how St.Paul would have dealt with this particular problem in the Church?

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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‘Tablet’ urges Gospel Treatment of Gay Issues

Gospels must point way on gay issues – ‘The Tablet’
30 July 2015

Can Pope Francis hold the Catholic Church together on the issue of homosexuality? A group of leading African bishops has already begun to organise itself to fight changes to the traditional Catholic stance, which regards the homosexual condition as “disordered” and homosexual acts as gravely sinful. They see the forthcoming bishops’ synod on the family as a battleground.

At the same time there has been no apparent weakening in the position of those European church leaders who want to welcome homosexual Catholics into the community of the Church, and oppose disparagement of their relationships. It is plain that Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster is among them. He has signalled that the model he has established at Farm Street, the Jesuit Church in London – of twice-monthly Masses mainly attended by gays and lesbians – is one he favours for other parishes in Westminster diocese and by implication, elsewhere in England and Wales.

Gay marriage is something of a distraction in this debate. It is regarded in some circles – including by President Barack Obama – as signifying the equality in all legal and moral respects of heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It is opposed by others on the grounds that marriage is by definition between a man and a woman. Mr Obama, during his recent visit to Kenya, raised the treatment of gay people there, but Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta dismissed his guest’s remarks, saying gay rights were not an issue in Kenya. There is a subset within this position which goes further, and regards gay relationships of any kind, not just marriage, as a threat to family life.

The Archbishop of Nairobi, Cardinal John Njue, said in an interview in The Tablet last week: “When you get ideas like same-sex relationships being supported even by certain people inside the Church, you can imagine what it all means. The family is endangered.” Treating gays and lesbians with equal dignity and respect does not depend on being for or against gay marriage. Cardinal Nichols is a good example of that position, as is Pope Francis himself. Indeed, the new chief executive of the gay campaigning body Stonewall, Ruth Hunt, who is Catholic, told The Tablet that changing attitudes, not legislation, was now her prime concern. That would be anathema to Cardinal Njue.

But he also said in his Tablet interview: “For us to grow, to flourish, there must be recognition that we are each an individual, a unique person, [with] a richness that he or she can share.” The key question for him is why that does not apply equally to homosexuals.

The answer may lie in deep-seated assumptions in African culture, a lingering sense the male is superior. The 2006 synod of African bishops deplored such attitudes, without relating them to homosexuality. If the differences between masculine and feminine identity are crucial to family life, then anything that blurs those differences, which homosexuality is seen as doing, could arguably threaten its stability.

What may be at stake here is an African version of manhood and a model of male-female relationships derived from African social custom rather than Gospel values. And it is around those that the Church can unite. ______________________________________________________________ “A group of leading African bishops has already begun to organise itself to fight changes to the traditional Catholic stance, which regards the homosexual condition as “disordered” and homosexual acts as gravely sinful.” – Tablet Article –  Herein lies the problem of ingrained cultural opposition to the modern-day enlightened understanding of homosexuality and related issues – as indicated by this plea by African Roman Catholic bishops to discount any prospect of relaxing ancient taboos that once determined homosexuality to be an abomination to Christians and an objective moral evil threatening society.

As Anglicans around the world are already only too painfully aware, this African objection to any recognition of homosexuality as a normal phenomenon – challenging the traditional understanding of exclusive heterosexuality as being normative to all humanity – is not limited to Roman Catholics; but is at the root of the Anglican GAFCON bishops’ homophobic reaction to measures being taken in Western Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion to accept the place of LGBTIQ people as both members and ministers in Anglican Churches.

This issue, of human sexuality, however, is still being debated in some Western Provinces of the Communion – including the Church of England, whose ‘Conversation on Human Sexuality’ are presently being hosted in the dioceses of that Church in the U.K.

The fact that the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Westminster, Cardinal  Vincent Nichols, wants his Church to ‘welcome’ Gays into the Catholic community, demonstrates the difference in cultural values between the R.C. Church in the U.K. and the Church in Africa. Even Pope Francis himself (an Argentinian) is intent on removing the historical barrier against the inclusion of Gay people in the Church. One wonders, therefore, what reaction there will be from other prelates in the Roman Catholic Church to this protest from African prelates that will be voiced at the upcoming R.C. Synod on ‘The Church and the Human Family’.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Sacred Space – for liturgical action and renewal.

On sacred space and God’s presence

The Revd Kyle Norman

Posted By The Revd Kyle Norman

25 August 2015 10:16AM

1 Comment

What is your understanding of sacred space? Is it merely a spot conducive to relaxation and rest? Is the sacredness of a space dependent upon how much you enjoy your time there? Is there any difference between the sacredness found in cabin get-a-ways and golf-course greens, and that which is to fundamentally define the church?

Our life with God has become so individualized in contemporary society that I wonder if we downplay the understanding that church is the house of God. Truth be told, when talking about sacred space, does ‘church’ even enter our minds?

A common quip today is “I don’t need to go to the church to be with God, I can worship God equally on the golf course, or the ski hill, or the summer cottage, or the coffee shop.”

True. God is everywhere. We see this reality testified to again and again in scripture. Yet scripture also maintains that there is something special about the sacred space of the temple—or later on—the gathered collection of worshipers known as ‘the church.’

The temple was seen as God’s house, the localized tent in which God’s presence would reside in magnificent glory. Even though God was everywhere, the psalmists would cry out “I was glad when they said, let us go to the house of The Lord’”(Psalm 122:1) or “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty” (Psalm 84:1). Of course, the internal longing to be in the courts of The Lord was not based merely on the beauty of the building, or the majesty of its adornments.

For those in the Old Testament and the New, to be in the temple was to be in the very presence of God, and to be surrounded by the wonderment of God’s divine activity. God’s presence, localized in the context of the temple, something incredibly special and unique, not to be duplicated or copied in other places within the world.

Is that the way we see the church today? Do we understand the church as sacred space, a space defined by God’s presence and activity? As we travel along the road and approach our buildings, do we believe, anticipate, and expect that we will be in the presence of God?

Sadly, it is far too easy to see the church only in human terms. Church becomes nothing more than the place we come to sing religious songs, to hear scripture read, to touch base with friends. (Personally speaking, it is far too easy for me to see church as simply the place that I work. It is the building that houses my office).

But if we understand the nature of the church only through the lens of what we do, we completely miss out on its blessed sacredness. If this is the case, then the adage is entirely correct: it does not matter if one goes to church for these religious actions can be done with the same effectiveness wherever one chooses to be. In this way, sacredness simply becomes a function of where we are, not where God is.

This obviously has disastrous effects on the how we view the church, and the God we worship. As Graham Standish writes in his book Becoming a Blessed church, God merely becomes “a theological principle we speculate about rather than a spiritual presence we encounter and experience.”

What is the church if it is not a place where we meet the very one who created, redeemed, and sustains us? Just as Moses was instructed before the burning bush to remove his sandals, as the place he stood was holy ground, so too, we should be overwhelmed by the presence of God active in and throughout the life of our churches. We should enter through the doors of the church with our hearts leaping with anticipation over what God will do in our midst.

Why did the psalmists write so lovingly of the temple? Why did the disciples spend their time in the temple immediately following the resurrection? Why did Paul, Barnabas, Philip, and others, labour so hard to set up locations in which people would gather together in worship, if these places were not to be understood as spaces where we are invited to encounter the miraculous and powerful presence of our Lord.

Have you ever had the opportunity to sit alone in a church? If not, find a time to do just that. Schedule a time when the sanctuary is empty, and simply sit. Don’t pray specifically, although if your time turns into prayer that is alright. Just sit in God’s place and open yourself to the reality that you are in God’s presence in a special, unique, and blessed way. Open yourself to the Spirit’s movement within you, and around you. You don’t have to stay long, but try to let God define your time there.

After all, that is what sacred space is about, isn’t it? Sacred space isn’t about us defining what we like to do, or how we like to interact with God. Sacred space is about submitting ourselves to the movement of God, and allowing God to take the lead in God’s own house.

The Revd Kyle Norman is a priest in the Diocese of Calgary, Anglican Church of Canada.

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A timely reminder of the importance of ‘sacred spaces’, this article put out by ACNS, and authored by Kyle Norman, a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada, reflects the tradition of the Church as the Body of Christ gathered together for worship. This is one reason why intentional gathering around the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist is basic to our ongoing refreshment and enlightenment.

In entering the church building, if the Sacrament of Christ is already ensconced within its fabric, we are made aware of the significance of both place and purpose of the ongoing mystery of Christ as the Logos – the substantive object and subject of Christian devotion; the very reason and means of our existence as regents and participants in God’s creation all around us. The light in the sanctuary, or in the side chapel, where Christ’s Presence is reserved, tells us that Christ is the Light of the World, the Fountain of life itself, around which the family of Christ gathers in prayer and contemplation.

In such a setting, where Christ is constantly the centre of attention, one can be certain that life’s ordinary and extraordinary events may be shared on an intimate basis with the Holy One of God; whose incarnation, salvific life, death, and resurrection, have been lovingly commemorated in a place where the contemporaneous meets up with the eternal, in ways that give balm to the soul. This Presence of the Living Christ, maintained from Eucharist to Eucharist – often on a daily basis – draws individuals from all walks of life – without distinction. ALL are welcomed by the Christ who gave his life for everyone.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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GAFCON Supporter Chosen as Bishop for South Sydney

Scholar bishop chosen for South Sydney

Read Scholar bishop chosen for South SydneyThe Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has announced he has chosen the Rev Michael Stead to be the next Bishop of South Sydney.

He will replace Bishop Robert Forsyth, who retires in December after 15 years in the position.

Dr Stead holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of New South Wales, is an honours graduate of Moore College with a Bachelor of Divinity and a Diploma of Ministry, and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Gloucestershire in 2007. He is a part-time lecturer in Old Testament at Moore Theological College.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Sydney confirmed the appointment tonight (Monday 24th August).

In a speech to the Committee commending his new bishop, Archbishop Davies said “For the past sixty years, a scholar has adorned the ranks of the college of bishops in the Diocese of Sydney, including Marcus Loane, Donald Robinson, Paul Barnett and Peter Jensen. To my mind this is an admirable tradition which has served our diocese well, and I believe that Michael’s appointment as an Assistant Bishop will enhance our episcopal leadership in the Diocese, in the national church and beyond.”

Dr Stead has extensive experience in church affairs nationally and internationally.  He is a member of the General Synod Standing Committee and has been the Secretary of the General Synod Doctrine Commission for the past decade. Internationally, he is an active supporter of the Global Anglican Future Conference or GAFCON and played a key part in the operations team that coordinated GAFCON 2013, as well as being a member of the writing group that produced the Nairobi Communique. 

The Archbishop described Dr Stead as “intelligent, winsome and wise”.

“Michael has an extraordinary mix of skills and competencies, including computer science and accounting as well as theology. At the age of 46, he has already made an outstanding contribution to the life of our Diocese.” Dr Davies said.

Dr Stead is married to Felicity, and the couple have three teenage children. He has been on the staff at St James Turramurra since 2000, becoming rector in 2008. During this time, the church has more than doubled in size, growing from 4 Sunday congregations to 8, including 2 new church plants into local primary schools.

Dr Stead’s research interests include Biblical Theology, the Atonement, Hermeneutics and Eschatology. He has written four books and his latest work, a commentary on Zechariah, has just been released.

“I am humbled and honoured to be appointed Bishop of South Sydney. Felicity and I have always had a passion for parish ministry and this will continue as we support those ministering in the South Sydney region.” Dr Stead said.

“I am looking forward to working together with churches as we seek to proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ and draw people into a vibrant life of faithful obedience.”

The Consecration Service will be held in the Cathedral Church of St Andrew on Saturday 5 December at 10.30am.

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I have high-lighted the paragraph in this communication from the Sydney archdiocese of the Anglican Church of Australia – announcing Archbishop Glen Davies choice of the next bishop of South Sydney, the Revd. Michael Stead – that proclaims his association with the arch-conservative claque of provinces of the Anglican Communion in the Global South, known  – by its own nomenclature, as ‘GAFCON’.

This group of Anglican Provinces – mostly located in Africa – has already declared war on the rest of the Anglican Communion whose provinces have accepted LGBTIQ people as part of the Church, worthy of being included as full members of the Body of Christ.

It is now well-known that the Sydney archdiocese – at one time led by evangelical Archbishop Peter Jensen, a founding member of the Gafcon group that formed its own para-Church with its ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ of independence from the rest of the Communion; is joined at the hip with GAFCON and FOCA (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans!), both of which organisations across the Communion are intent on subverting the more eirenic intent of those provinces of our Church intent on restoring the Anglican ethos of Unity in Diversity, which has long been the underlying charism of Anglicanism.

It is obvious that Archbishop Davies is intent on securing Sydney’s link with the GAFCON conservatives in the Church; while the rest of the Australian Province strives to keep together with the other Provinces – including the Church of England – labouring for the spread of the Gospel throughout the nations – the Good News of God’s love for ALL.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

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Anglican Church of Canada – Indigenous Province.

Historic move towards Indigenous province within Anglican Church of Canada

Posted on: August 24, 2015 9:46 AM

Bishop Lydia Mamakwa (foreground, right) speaks before the planting of a symbolic evergreen tree at the end of the 2015 Sacred Circle, as Diocesan Bishop of Missinipi Adam Halkett (foreground, left) and Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples co-chair Sid Black (foreground, centre) listen.
Photo Credit: Anglican Church of Canada
Related Categories: ain, Canada, Canon Law, indigenous

By Matt Gardner for Anglican Church of Canada

As the cool evening air settled, Sacred Circle participants congregated around a small evergreen tree ready to be planted as part of a tradition at the end of the gathering.

Before the tree was planted, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh offered a few words.

“Planting a tree is an occasion for us to learn from,” Bishop Lydia said. “This kind of tree, it never loses its branches. It’s always green.”

“Our God wants us to be like this tree,” she added. “He wants us to always be growing … May this be an illustration for our lives that we may be like this tree in our spiritual lives—that the life may never leave us, the life that our Creator who died on the Cross for us gives us.”

It was a fitting end to a momentous day, when Sacred Circle delegates planted the seeds for a historic move towards self-determination by endorsing a draft plan to establish a fifth province and structure for the Indigenous Anglican Church as part of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The mood of the hall was electric that afternoon as Sol Sanderson, a member of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, presented a draft statement outlining the proposed structure for a fifth ecclesiastical province.

In this draft proposal, the province’s offices would include a National Anglican Indigenous Primate—retaining the office of National Indigenous Anglican Bishop—as well as regional bishops, area mission bishops and ministry at the community level.

The National Indigenous Anglican Church would have both shared and separate areas of jurisdiction with the existing structure of the Anglican Church of Canada, Canon XXII being amended to accommodate the transition.

Excitement surrounding the draft statement was palpable. One Sacred Circle delegate noted his trepidation at the prospect, due to the fact that it was a challenge that took delegates out of their comfort zone.

But, he added, “It’s only when we step out of our comfort zone that we grow,” and expressed his strong willingness to support the document. Others also spoke in favour, and a consensus among delegates resulted in the draft statement being forwarded to the new membership of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples.


Reflections on the Port Elgin statement

As an official listener and reporter of the 2015 Sacred Circle, the draft statement appeared to me as the appropriate culmination of a week during which I had experienced first-hand the pride, faith and strength of Indigenous Anglicans continuing their journey towards self-determination, as well as the inspiring solidarity of non-Indigenous Anglican delegates in support of that goal embodied by the Primate’s sermon during the opening Eucharist.

Endorsement of the Port Elgin statement built on decades of work and momentum towards self-determination, while marking a qualitative change in the ever-evolving relationship between Indigenous people and the Anglican Church of Canada. Delegates at the 2015 Sacred Circle have thrown down the gauntlet and endorsed a concrete vision for Indigenous self-determination within the wider church, and the prospect of its realization is tremendously exciting.

Fear of change is a common sentiment among human beings. We often gravitate towards the familiar, even when that change is likely to be positive. Some Anglicans might experience trepidation at major changes to a church structure they have grown accustomed to.

Yet no worries could be more misplaced. What I saw in Port Elgin over the last week was a bond between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans that had never been stronger, a mutual understanding that had never been greater, and an unprecedented will and resolve for Indigenous Anglicans to express their faith in a manner rooted in their own rich cultural traditions.

Self-determination for Indigenous Anglicans can only lead to a stronger Anglican Church of Canada. May the strengthening of bonds between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans lead to new life and a growing evergreen church rooted in that mutual understanding and respect.


Read more in Anglican Journal.

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Being part of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Pacific Islands (ACANZP) enables us, in this region of the Anglican Communion in the South Pacific, to rejoice with our fellow Anglicans in Canada – at this endeavour to place its indigenous people in a place of equality with the larger, european constitution of that Far North Anglican community of the body of Christ, known as the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

Since ACANZP has been re-constituted with its current 3-tikanga (stream) structure, this has enabled a progression towards equal representation of the indigenous Maori and Pacific Island contingency of our Church – a situation still evolving but with tremendous potential for a broader, more diverse Church, in keeping with the nature of the fullness of the Body of christ in the world.

Diversity needs to be celebrated, rather than restricted to the application of theological concepts that lead to the inclusion of ALL people within the ambience of the Church, and this latest move by the Anglican Church in Canada is an indication that our diversity is to be rejoiced in, in every aspect of its provenance under a loving God.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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