Bishop’s Epistle September- Synod 2016 Highlights

Blessings and Peace to you all!

Synod 2016 Highlights

bishop-grundorf-addresses-2016-deus-synodThis is a follow-up to my Summary of the DEUS Synod in July 2016. You can read highlights on the APA webpage. There will be a slide show of pictures of the various activities during the Synod week on the webpage before long. The 48th Synod of the DEUS was well-planned and well-executed by the host parish St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Riverview (Tampa) Florida. Anyone who has been involved in hosting a Synod knows how much effort is required and attention to detail needed to achieve success. Additionally, this Synod was one of the best attended in our DEUS history. Each year more and more people realize how important it is for the Diocese to come together to strengthen bonds. Likewise, meeting old friends and welcoming new clergy, seminarians and lay members is a part of the great fellowship of love we have always shared as a Diocese. It was such a pleasure to see the number of our men and particularly the young men who are in Seminary preparing for the ministry of our Church. It gives us great hope for the future of traditional Anglicanism!

One of the features of our DEUS Synods has been the special attention we pay to our clergy wives. This year was no exception with arrangements made by Debra Middleton, co-chairman of the Synod for a guided boat tour through the Hillsborough River viewing the beautiful homes and historic buildings along the way. The tour ended with a luncheon at the Columbia Restaurant on the Riverwalk. On Tuesday evening, July 12, the clergy, wives and other early arrivals to Synod were taken from the Sheraton Hotel by bus to St. Matthew’s Church for Evening Prayer followed by refreshments including heavy hors d’oeuvres in the parish hall.

boogey-with-mary-grundorf-and-alice-sweeneyWednesday’s Opening Session was taken up with Diocesan business: elections, appointments, various reports along with financial reports and the adoption of a budget for 2017. The evening of the first day was completed with Evensong followed by a barbecue and entertainment by the “Boogalizers,” a blues band with St. Matthew’s own Greg Clark. To complete the Tampa Cuban tradition, there was an authentic cigar roller for all to see and enjoy.larry-smoking

Thursday was devoted to Developmental Sessions, with guest speaker, Bishop Kenneth N. Myers of Sherman, Texas. Bishop Myers spoke on his book Salvation (and how we got it wrong). Although the subject matter included a theological discussion of the ‘Atonement,’ which can be controversial because of its many faceted concepts, the Bishop kept the sessions interesting and engaging for all in attendance. The Sessions both morning and evening were to a full house. Bishop Myers’ books can be purchased on line from Amazon or from his website www.kennethmyers.net. All of the books he brought with him were sold as soon as they hit the table.bishop-ken-meyersfr-brad-cunningham

The Synod Eucharist was celebrated on Thursday evening in commemoration of the Feast of St. Bonaventure. The Banquet followed Happy Hour with entertainment by the Ladies of the Southern Company Chorus. The Synod concluded on Friday morning with a ‘Travelers Mass’ and the final session.

The concluding report was from the Domestic Mission Board led by board member Fr. Brad Cunningham along with Fr. Wade Miller reporting on the progress of our first ‘Domestic Mission Project’ St. Philip’s Church in Blacksburg, VA. The work at St. Philip’s Church has gone extremely well with the congregation excited about their prospects for the future. New people have come to the Church over the year, longtime members are energized by the good things happening and the physical building is being re-vitalized. We pray that our next Lenten project with also meet with such success. Bishop Bill Perkins is the Chairman of this Board.

Elections at the DEUS Synod

Standing Committee: Elected to serve a three- year term were: Fr. Brad Cunningham by the House of Clergy and Debra Middleton by the House of Laity. Elected to serve as President was the Very Rev. Gordon Anderson and as Secretary: Mrs. Karen Cozad. Rotating off the Standing Committee following their three-year term with our thanks were the President, Fr. Kevin Sweeney and Mr. Alex Constant. Mr. D.J. Fulton was re-elected as our Diocesan Treasurer.

Always a highlight at the Synod is to hear the Parish Reports and the good things that are happening. We are especially pleased to see the number of seminarians and congratulate the parishes who are involved in inspiring and sending men to seminary, particularly All Saints’ Church, Charlottesville, VA; St. Matthew’s Church, Weaverville, NC; and St. Alban’s Church, Joppa, MD. The Diocese is also involved in assisting those in seminary financially and I encourage all of you to be generous the Second Sunday in Advent for the Seminarian Sunday Collection.

Special Thanks

Finally, great thanks goes to Fr. Kenneth Bailey, Rector of St. Matthew’s Church, Riverview, FL, as well as Tom and Debra Middleton, Co-chairmen of the Synod. Thank you to Nancy Bailey our official photographer and Fr. Greg Miller of St. Matthew’s Church, Weaverville, NC, our Synod organist.

If you wish to read the rest of the Bishop’s Epistle, please click on the following link which will take you to the Anglican Province of America Website;

Bishop’s Epistle Continued on APA Website

Faithfully,
+Walter

What does God hate?

Things God HatesIn Sunday’s homily, I posed the question, “What does God hate?” A knee jerk reaction would be, “nothing,” since God is love (1 John 4:8), right? As a church, we must remind the people that God indeed is love, but He also hates sin and will judge sin with a fierce wrath. It says as much in Holy Scripture. King Solomon in the book of Proverbs, wrote

“These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19).”

Alice hates snakes. She hates them because some species of snake are dangerous. If a snake threatened Raven, you can be sure Alice’s “momma bear” would appear and that snake would not stand a chance.

God hates sin the same way that Alice hates a snake which threatens her child. God loathes evil and demonic forces that try to pull people down to a Godless eternity, just as a mother hates a poisonous snake.

God loves man. Compassion prompts God to loathe sin. God gave His best (Jesus) so that we may have the best (heaven) and eternal communion with God), thus, God abhors anything that seeks to foil our communion with Him (Sin, Satan, and eternal perdition).

After some self-reflection, you may respond, “Well I’m not guilty of any of that,” to which I refer you to the very first mentioned sin mentioned by King Solomon. Good for you, your thoughts of pride are your reward, however, if you are thinking, “What can I do about these traits of the heart?” there is an answer. You cannot do anything your own. God has already done the work for you.. St. Paul tells us, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2)”  Acknowledge your sin, turn to Jesus, and follow Him only. Jesus comes into your heart. He transforms your heart, changes your nature so that you will love instead of hate. Gossip, slander, and maligning will no longer provide you pleasure.

Jesus, through His triumphant death on the Cross purchased a new life for us all. “I am come that they might have life (John 10:10),” He said, and, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).”

No matter our guilt, God will forgive you, because Jesus Christ (God become flesh in the person of Jesus) died on the Cross for our sins. God hates the evil in the hearts of men and women, but He loves you. God loathes the forces that lead to perdition, but God loves everyone with an infinite love. You must know that God does not force us to follow Him. Instead, He offers us a gift of love. It is up to each of us whether we accept this gift or not. Here is God’s promise to you, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (1 John 1:12).”

God Answers Prayer

For the Church

O GRACIOUS Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

Bishop Grundorf at 2016 DEUS Synod

Bishop Grundorf at 2016 DEUS Synod

The Prayer for the Church originates from “A Summarie of Devotions,” written by Archbishop William Laud and first published in 1667. The prayer appeared in the American Prayer Book in the 1928 edition. It is among my favorite prayers, and I ask each of you to pray it as well.

When you pray, realize that Church is “Holy” because God calls it, sets it apart for His purposes, and fills it with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the prayer, the term “Catholic” applies to the Church as a whole, as the Body of Christ, and not in reference to a particular denominational portion of the Church.

I know that God hears our prayer and answers them, even regarding the Church. It is easy to find areas where the Church is in schism, and even heterodox, however, God appears to be pulling Orthodox Anglican Churches closer together.

Over the years, I’ve watched the APA and Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) cooperate. The REC administers the APA Clergy Pension Plan. REC Seminary in Philadelphia offers education tuition free to Anglican Postulants and Candidates.

In the last couple years, the APA and the Anglican Church in America (ACA) have moved closer to intercommunion. The APA now administers a Theological School, Logos House of Theological Studies, a school begun by the ACA but now serving the APA and ACA alike. Fr. William Martin, and APA priest, serves as the Academic Dean of Logos House.

If that were not enough, the ACC, APA, ACA, and the Diocese of the Holy Cross, all Orthodox Anglican jurisdictions, plan concurrent Synods in October 2017. St. Barnabus Anglican Church in Dunwoody, GA will host the APA Provincial Synod. God is moving to bring His Church together. God hears your prayers, and I encourage you to keep praying “For the Church.”

Dig History Archaeology Day Camp Update

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Psalm 85:11 states, “Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.”
Students from as far away as Ohio, and interns from New Jersey, gathered last week at St. James Anglican Church located at the historic Abingdon Glebe, to participate in the fifth summer of the Dig History Archaeology Day Camp.
The students learned about the relatively recent archaeological discovery of the city of Nineveh. Carved in stone in this city are pictograms depicting a person inside the body of a fish and references to a man named Jonah. There is also evidence that King Adad-Nirari III of Nineveh, who might have been king at Jonah’s time, introduced remarkable reforms to the kingdom, possibly after receiving Jonah’s message.
After a lesson on archaeological discoveries, the children learned about the history of the Abingdon Glebe. Further, they learned archaeological techniques by doing hands-on archaeology. This camp is primarily about kinesthetic learning, and the Fairfield Foundation does an excellent job of teaching archaeology and history to young people.
Tuesday afternoon, the students and teachers had an ice cream social, where the campers received an Archaeology Camp Completion Certificate.
Finally, on Wednesday the day-campers visited Historic Jamestowne and toured the ongoing archaeological dig. The children about the east-west orientation of the settlers’ graves. Christian burials were in the east-west direction, with the head at the western end of the grave. They stood beside the chancel where Pocahontas married John Rolf.  This year, the campers were welcomed to the Historic Jamestowne archaeology lab where artifacts are washed, classified, and stored before they are displayed in the museum on the premises.
Among the discoveries from this year’s dig is a Spanish coin, the rim of a copper pot, a trading bead, and a window lead which could help date the age of the Glebe manse.

For more information about ongoing projects of the Fairfield Foundation, visit their website at http://www.fairfieldfoundation.org/

 

, and for more information about upcoming events at St. James Church, visit their website at St. James Anglican Church | Ancient Worship – Timeless Faith

 

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The Feast of Pentecost

pentecost-feast “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” – Acts 2: 42

Pentecost was an ancient Jewish harvest festival. Spring comes early to the Mediterranean. Fifty days after Passover, the first crops of the new year were offered to God. The regulations for the festival are set out in the 23rd charter of Leviticus. Jewish pilgrims from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem to observe Pentecost; “there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven,” says our Sunday’s Epistle lesson.

The offerings of Pentecost; lambs, and kids, and loaves of bread: were signs and tokens of the gratitude and faithfulness of God’s people. They were signs of obedience to God’s commandments. It was a festival in which God was worshiped as the author of “every good and perfect gift.”

In this setting of the Festival of Pentecost, the Christian Church was born. In an upper room, at Jerusalem, the small band of disciples awaited the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of the Comforter. St. Luke describes the scene in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Wind and fire are ancient symbols of divine power and presence – The Breath of God, moving over the waters of chaos, producing the forms of life; breathing into lifeless clay, bringing forth a living soul; the breath of God in the Valley of Dry Bones, making those dry bones live. The fire of God: the refining and consuming fire of God’s wrath and God’s love, “A rushing mighty wind…and cloven tongues, like as of fire,” these are the mystical symbols of God’s coming in power.

Pentecost is for us a kind of harvest festival, an offering of the first fruits, The Word of God, sown in our hearts and minds, by the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, is brought to fruition, and we offer up to God the first fruits of the grace which He has given us.

William Wilberforce, 1759-1833

Excerpt from Ecclesia Anglicana April 2016 edition;

WHM146809 Portrait of William Wilberforce (1759-1833), 1794 (oil on canvas) by Hickel, Anton (1745-98)oil on canvas© Wilberforce House, Hull City Museums and Art Galleries, UKGerman, out of copyright

William Wilberforce was a British politician and philanthropist who from 1787 was prominent in the struggle to abolish the slave trade and then to abolish slavery itself in British overseas possessions. He studied at St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge, where he became a close friend of the future prime minister, William Pitt, and was known as an amiable companion rather than an outstanding student. In 1780, both he and Pitt entered the House of Commons, and he soon began to support parliamentary reform and Roman Catholic political emancipation. In 1787, Wilberforce helped to found a society for the “reformation of manners” called the Proclamation Society (to suppress the publication of obscenity) and the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, the latter more commonly called the Anti-Slavery Society. In 1789, he introduced 12 resolutions against the slave trade and gave what many newspapers at the time considered among the most eloquent speeches ever delivered in the Commons. The resolutions were supported by Pitt (who was by then prime minister), Charles Fox (Often an opponent of Pitt’s), and Edmund Burke, but they failed to be enacted into law, and instead the issue was postponed until the next Parliament. In 1791, he again brought a motion to the House of Commons to abolish the slave trade, but it was defeated 163 to 88. For the next 15 years, Wilberforce was able to achieve little progress toward ending the slave trade (in part because of the domestic preoccupation with the war against Napoleon). In 1807, however, he finally achieved success: on Feb. 23, 1807, a bill to abolish the slave trade in the British West Indies was carried in the Commons 283 to 16, and it became law on march 25th. The 1807 statute did not, however, change the legal position of persons enslaved before its enactment. In 1823, he aided in organizing and became a vice president of the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery Throughout the British Dominions, again, more commonly called the Anti-Slavery Society. Turning over to Buxton the parliamentary leadership of the abolition movement, he retired from the House of Commons in 1825. On July 26, 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act was passed by the Commons (it became law the following month); three days later Wilberforce died. He was interred at Westminster Abbey.

Dig History! Archaeology Day Camp Registration Open

100_0365Science. History. Anthropology. Deductive reasoning. Archaeology demands a lot of its devotees, but the payoffs can be epic, ranging from life-changing discovery to a new appreciation for very old cultures. If your child roams your backyard with a metal detector and a shovel, combs riverbeds for arrowheads, or dreams of being the next Indiana Jones, then our archeology day-camp may be just the break that your child — and your lawn — needs.

DIG HISTORY! At the Abingdon Glebe Archaeology Day Camp in Gloucester may be just the ticket. Located at the Historic Abingdon Glebe house, the camp offers children from fourth and sixth grades the opportunity to help excavate the Abingdon Glebe historic site. The camp will run from Monday, June 27th through Wednesday, June 29th. The last day of the camp includes a field trip to an active archeological dig in Jamestown. The camp begins at 10AM and ends at 3PM. The cost is $40 payable to St. James Anglican Church. Lunch is not provided, so please pack your child’s lunch.

To register, click on the following link and download the forms;

Archeology-Camp-Registration-Form.2016.version 2

Bring the form with you the first day of camp.

 

What are “Last Rites?”

Last RitesSunday evening I received a call from the Riverside Walter Reed Chaplain. There was a Roman Catholic man there dying, wishing to receive Last Rites. I was available and able to visit with a family I’d never met, and may not see again.

I’ve received similar calls in the past, people wishing to see a priest either due to their illness, or imminent death. Answering these calls is not morbid. In answering the call, I am able to share God’s mercy and love to people in dire need, and I am greatly appreciative to our Lord for first calling me to this office.

You may ask, “Well, Father Kevin, isn’t ‘Last Rites’ a Roman Catholic ritual? Why are you, an Anglican Priest, doing giving Last Rites? More importantly, why do that at all? Where are Last Rites in the Bible?” I hear your questions frequently, and I’d venture a guess that some of you may have those, and other questions for me, if you knew I was performing Last Rites for people outside our Church.

Last Rites are nothing more that the three Sacraments of the Church that are appropriate for a person approaching death. These are first Confession and Absolution, second Holy Unction, and finally Viaticum (From Latin, “Provision for the journey.”) or Holy Communion.

The Sacrament of Confession and Absolution are based on the Scripture John 20:19-22. Jesus said, to the Apostles;

Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.

God wishes reconciliation with us, that is why Jesus, the Word of God, was sent into the world. God became a part of His own creation and became a sacrifice for our sin on the cross (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life Jn 3:16). The word of the priest does not supplant the work of Christ on the Cross, rather the pronunciation of God’s forgiveness (It is God who forgives sins and not man) to the penitent is a reminder of God’s grace and the forgiveness of sins. I can only imagine the comfort that a person waiting on death feels when they know that our Lord Jesus loves them, wants to be with them forever, and forgives them of whatever may have separated them in the past.

St. James Parishioners will recognize the second Rite, that is Holy Unction. We just finished a study of James Epistle and you may remember the scripture, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord (Jas 5:14).” The sick are prayed over and anointed with oil by the priest using the prayers found on page 320 of the Prayer Book.

Finally, Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of our Lord are administered to the dying to give them food for their journey from this life into the next. Our Lord Jesus said,

I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world… Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. Jn 6:48-50 & 54

In confessing sin, believing, and receiving Jesus, the dying (which we all are, just at different rates, and at differing times) receive eternal life.

I could tell that the couple, indeed, the family I met Sunday, followed in God’s grace for years. The husband and wife were married for nearly six decades, and they still shared kind affection one for another. The life of Christ enlivened their marriage, just as assuredly as it livens those who follow Jesus after their bodily death.

Jesus wants us every day, for eternity, and not just on our last days in this life. The Sacraments of Confession and Absolution, Holy Unction, and our Lord’s Supper are available to us now, and any day, so that we may receive God’s forgiveness, healing, and life. We need not confess to a priest to receive forgiveness, or be anointed with oil in order to be healed. We do receive in those Sacraments, however, the grace and reassurance that God does indeed forgive sins and provide healing. I invite you to participate in the life of the Body of Christ, not just so that you may receive the benefits of this participation (which includes eternal life), but so that you may also work to build God’s Kingdom, beginning in this life. Kevin+

 

 

BISHOP’S EPISTLE April – May 2016

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and a blessed Paschal Feast and Season to all! I pray that your Holy Week and Easter Services went well. Each year the various services of Lent and Holy Week refocus our hearts and minds upon the self-offering of our Lord Jesus culminating in his death on the cross. There would be no Easter Sunday to celebrate without the pain of Good Friday. “It is finished,” were the final words of Christ on the Cross proclaiming his victory over sin and death. The Crucifixion is the victory which Easter joyously proclaims. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more of our people attended the Services of Holy Week, especially Good Friday. There is, of course, a natural aversion to suffering and pain on the part of all of us, however, the true appreciation of the Joys of Easter cannot fully envelop us without first walking the Via Dolorosa. May the growing knowledge in our hearts that our Lord is Risen from the grave inspire each of us in letting the world around us know of the great hope of the resurrection we share with him.

SYNODS: DEUS, week of July 11-15 in Riverview (Tampa), Florida; DMA, July 28- 29 at Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, Illinois

DEUS Synod—2016 Theme: Salvation: the Mission of the Church Now that the rigors of Lent and the joyous celebration of Easter Sunday have passed, I want to remind you that we all need to get our registrations in for our Synods this summer. You can register online at www.anglicanprovince.org (at bottom of the home page is Synod link). The DEUS has a beautiful venue on the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa, Florida and a program which will be of interest and should be enjoyable to all. I have invited Bishop Kenneth N. Myers of Sherman, Texas, who has authored a number of books to be our guest speaker. Bishop Myers is well-known in Anglican circles for his insightful, orthodox and down to earth writing and speaking. Bishop Chad Jones had him speak at St. Barnabas’ Church twice and he was very well-received. This DEUS Synod will be the first one hosted by St. Matthew’s Church, Riverview, Florida, and they are working very hard to make this a wonderful experience for all. We have many plans which will make for an enjoyable time together and the worship services are always uplifting to the spirit. Remember all clergy are required to attend unless excused by the Bishop Ordinary and all laity are invited to attend!

The Diocese of Mid-America Synod will be held July 28-29, 2016 at Our Lady of the Snows (OLS) in Belleville, Illinois across the river from St. Louis. This Synod will be presided over by the Right Rev. Robert Giffin, who now resides in San Antonio, Texas. OLS is just about midway between the northern and southern part of this Diocese. OLS is a wonderful peaceful venue for such a gathering and it is important that all parishes and missions be represented at the Synod.

The DOW Synod will be held in October 2016 but the venue and the dates are yet to be determined. I will have additional information by our next issue of the Epistle.

On the subject of investing in the future of the APA and the Continuing Church (CC) in general, it is becoming more and more obvious that building the church using methods of the past is no longer viable. Much of what the CC relied upon has been churches transferring from one jurisdiction to another for whatever reason. Those days are past for the most part and that is a good thing. What it does mean is a re-thinking of our priorities and a revision of our mission plan for the future. If we wish just to survive and not thrive in building God’s kingdom, we can accomplish little and continue with the status quo. It is axiomatic that if we are not growing we will be fading away. As I have mentioned before, from the beginning, the CC was started by people who for the most part were beyond 50 years of age. Many of our congregations are well-beyond this stage of life and thus it becomes imperative that if we are to grow with a new generation of people, we must reach out into our communities and get involved. People need to know we exist and that they are welcome to come visit; to “come and see!”

I have appointed a “Task Force on Evangelism” which will be organizing itself in the next month. Part of the plan is to raise funds to help support a new or an existing mission which has promise for growth to help fund a priest who is willing to take on the challenge of building a congregation. This has grown out of our Lenten Appeal Domestic Mission Fund which we have done for 2015 and again in 2016. Our 2015 Fund effort is already providing a plan for success under the leadership of Fr. Wade Miller and St. Philip’s, Blacksburg, Virginia. We have learned and are learning some vital lessons from this experience. We hope to complete the fund raising for the 2016 Mission Fund before too long and I hope all of you will participate and send your Lenten Funds to our Treasurer, D.J. Fulton.

The Task Force will be issuing a Proposal following their first meeting which will be distributed to all our churches. It is important that we all embrace the Mission Development plan in order that we have a uniform plan as we all move forward together. Critical to any of this is prayer for guidance as our Church and Province move forward into the future. I am also re-issuing a document written by our former Bishop, Anthony Clavier, 20+ years ago, which I have modified to make it more applicable to our generation. The document is entitled, Building Stable Congregations, which I will attach.

Tied closely with the Task Force and the Proposal for church planting and revitalization is Clergy Education. In order for clergy and congregation to be successful, the priest must have sufficient knowledge of who and what we are theologically and spiritually and the congregation must be willing to listen and be open to instruction. We must have the means to train young men who may have completed Seminary not in our tradition and also those transfers into our church from other traditions. Our cooperative effort, Logos House of Theological Studies, with our communion partners in the Anglican Church in America (ACA) is providing a needed service in training Deacons and Deaconesses. Fr. William Martin, as Dean of Logos House, is providing priestly formation for men who have come to us ordained in other jurisdictions as well. This is a heavy work load for the Dean who also serves as a full time parish priest in the DEUS. Additional funding is needed to provide fair compensation for the Dean and to provide for others who can teach some of the courses under the direction of the Dean. Without well-trained clergy it is not possible to build and sustain a congregation of spiritually and theologically strong people as they develop into a full parish.

This brings me to my final point. In order to of the past is no longer viable. Much of what the CC relied upon has been churches transferring from one jurisdiction to another for whatever reason. Those days are past for the most part and that is a good thing. What it does mean is a re-thinking of our priorities and a revision of our mission plan for the future. If we wish just to survive and not thrive in building God’s kingdom, we can accomplish little and continue with the status quo. It is axiomatic that if we are not growing we will be fading away. As I have mentioned before, from the beginning, the CC was started by people who for the most part were beyond 50 years of age. Many of our congregations are well-beyond this stage of life and thus it becomes imperative that if we are to grow with a new generation of people, we must reach out into our communities and get involved. People need to know we exist and that they are welcome to come visit; to “come and see!”

I have appointed a “Task Force on Evangelism” which will be organizing itself in the next month. Part of the plan is to raise funds to help support a new or an existing mission which has promise for growth to help fund a priest who is willing to take on the challenge of building a congregation. This has grown out of our Lenten Appeal Domestic Mission Fund which we have done for 2015 and again in 2016. Our 2015 Fund effort is already providing a plan for success under the leadership of Fr. Wade Miller and St. Philip’s, Blacksburg, Virginia. We have learned and are learning some vital lessons from this experience. We hope to complete the fund raising for the 2016 Mission Fund before too long and I hope all of you will participate and send your Lenten Funds to our Treasurer, D.J. Fulton.

The Task Force will be issuing a Proposal following their first meeting which will be distributed to all our churches. It is important that we all embrace the Mission Development plan in order that we have a uniform plan as we all move forward together. Critical to any of this is prayer for guidance as our Church and Province move forward into the future. I am also re-issuing a document written by our former Bishop, Anthony Clavier, 20+ years ago, which I have modified to make it more applicable to our generation. The document is entitled, Building Stable Congregations, which I will attach.

Tied closely with the Task Force and the Proposal for church planting and revitalization is Clergy Education. In order for clergy and congregation to be successful, the priest must have sufficient knowledge of who and what we are theologically and spiritually and the congregation must be willing to listen and be open to instruction. We must have the means to train young men who may have completed Seminary not in our tradition and also those transfers into our church from other traditions. Our cooperative effort, Logos House of Theological Studies, with our communion partners in the Anglican Church in America (ACA) is providing a needed service in training Deacons and Deaconesses. Fr. William Martin, as Dean of Logos House, is providing priestly formation for men who have come to us ordained in other jurisdictions as well. This is a heavy work load for the Dean who also serves as a full time parish priest in the DEUS. Additional funding is needed to provide fair compensation for the Dean and to provide for others who can teach some of the courses under the direction of the Dean. Without well-trained clergy it is not possible to build and sustain a congregation of spiritually and theologically strong people as they develop into a full parish.

This brings me to my final point. In order to accomplish these critically important issues I have mentioned, we must have the commitment of our people spiritually and financially. This means giving prayerful thought to including in your Estate Planning your Parish, the Diocese, and the Province for its ongoing mission which you were a part while a member of the Church Militant. While the world around us seems to be ever imploding, I am encouraged. “The harvest is plenteous but the laborer are few…” We continue to grow steadily; we have bright, enthusiastic young (a relative term) priests joining us and many in training. Just as critical to having clergymen willing to labor in the harvest, we need those who will support them. May God bless you and give you a Joyous Eastertide, +Walter

Addressing the Father

Collect for the First Sunday After Easter

ALMIGHTY Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Being Children of God

In this week’s Collect, we address God as “Almighty Father” for the first time in the Church’s year. Jesus’ death on the cross enables us to approach the throne of grace, as Jesus has already gone before us. He is our forerunner and we approach God in His steps. We are restored as children to the Father, a father who loves us. It was the Father who sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” Jesus made our reconciliation with the Father possible. “Christ hath died, and become the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2.2). Sin separates us from God. Jesus’ act on the cross removes sin, and therefore, removes the separation between God and us. Because of Jesus, we can call God “our Father.”

Lion of JudahFurther, in the Collect we pray, “Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth.” Our new life in Christ begins right now. As God’s children, we are obedient. Jesus is our exemplar for obedience to God.

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:8-11.)

Our Old Testament lessons for Morning Prayer during this season are in Exodus. There, we read about Israel’s time in the wilderness. God repeatedly attempts to bring them to obedience. Pray that by the justification of the blood shed by Jesus on the cross, we may also be God’s obedient children.