Bishop’s Epistle

Anglican Province of America

Anglican Province of America

VOLUME XXI No. 6     November-December 2015

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

There are certain reminders, as we are in the final quarter of the calendar year, such as the great feast day and season of All Saints and no more daylight savings time, that 2015 will soon go into the realm of history. As the leaves turn their fall colors and fall from the trees, we wonder where has the time gone? When we were children, we often thought how slowly time passes and we would think that some special event such as Christmas would never arrive. This month, I will be celebrating my 20th year as the Bishop of the Diocese of the East. Mary is planning an Open House from 3-6pm at our home on Saturday December 5, 2015 to share memories of the occasion. All are invited and welcome to come. One of the tasks was trying to remember who was at the Enthronement Eucharist and not forgetting someone. I have been looking back at the church directories of St. Alban’s Cathedral around 1995 and pictures taken at the Enthronement by Pat Peirce, and I was struck by the number who participated in the Service who have passed from this life: Archdeacon Gene Mitchusson, Canon William Weston, Bishop Norman Stewart, and Canon Rufus Kite-Powell are now gone from the Church Militant. All others who were there for the Service have changed physically — I had dark hair and dark beard! These events in our lives and the life of the Church are reminders that our earthly life is transient just as the seasons of the year pass so quickly.

With the passing events in life and in the life of the Church, we as Clergy and Laity of our Missions and Parishes do a review and reflect on the events of the past year at our Annual Meetings. Without a doubt at least most of us as Clergy, think about the good things that have happened in our Congregations and also tend to go through a certain amount of self-flagellation over the things we did or did not do. Acknowledge and move on as the saying goes. Each day the Lord gives us is an opportunity to bring glory to Him and to work for the spread of His Kingdom.

On Saturday, Nov. 14th, Bishop-elect William ‘Bill’ Perkins was Consecrated as a Bishop in the Church of God. Bishop Perkins will serve as a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of the East with concentration primarily to assist in the State of Florida and elsewhere as needed. As you will recall, Bishop Perkins was elected at the DEUS Synod in July 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. He will continue as the Rector of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in Delray Beach, Florida. Please pray for Bishop Perkins, his wife Lou Anne, and family, that the Lord will bless his ministry as he takes on this new responsibility in the Church.

I was pleased to receive a message and an invitation recently from Fr. Wade Miller of St. Philip’s Anglican Church (formerly St. Francis) to come visit the Mission. You will recall that Fr. Miller was the recipient of our Lenten Appeal Funds to build or restart a dying Mission Church. Fr. Wade informed me since August 1st, when he officially began as Vicar, he has seen the little Mission go from 6 to up 35 congregants attending Sunday Eucharist. He has invited me to come on the weekend of December 19-20 for an Open House at the Miller home, Confirmations and reception of 20 new members. Thanks be to God!

In other news on the Ecumenical front, I attended, as your Bishop, the Anglican Catholic Church’s Provincial Synod held in Athens, Georgia this past week. Along with the APA were the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in America (ACA), Bishop Brian Marsh, and his Suffragan Bishop, Bishop Jim Hiles. Our Bishop Chad Jones was invited but unable to attend due to the death of the former Rector of St. Barnabas’ Church, Dunwoody, Georgia, the Rev. Canon William Weston. Along with Bishop Paul Hewett of the Diocese of the Holy Cross, were invited guests from the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Royal Grote and Bishop Ray Sutton.

The culmination of four years of building friendships between communion partners of the APA and ACA and working with the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), we reached an important milestone. Archbishop Mark Haverland announced that the ACC is now in de facto communion with the APA, ACA, and the Diocese of the Holy Cross (DHC). There is still work to be done to establish a formal communio in sacris agreement but this is the first critical and important stage of development in the “Continuing Church” both nationally and internationally. This is a witness to the Anglican world that the Continuing Church can come together in cooperation for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.

Finally, as we enter the Advent Season and onward toward Christmas, we pray that all Christians everywhere will be inspired with the Message of Hope that our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth some 2000 years ago. Along with this great Hope, we anticipate the fulfillment of the promise of our Lord’s second advent. We live in a world that has lost sight of the Gospel message which is meant to bring joy and peace to men of good will. May the Advent Season be a time of solemn reflection on the year past and a purposeful resolve by God’s Grace to be faithful to our calling to serve Him in whatever or wherever he leads us in this coming year. Let us be thankful for all the blessings of this life: for family, friends and our Church. Let us pray for our enemies that the Lord will turn their hearts toward Him. Let us remember those who are suffering for their faith especially those Christians in the Middle East and our Communion Partners in India, the Philippines and Haiti.

May each of you have a blessed Advent Season,

+Walter

Rest in Peace: The Rev. Canon William R. Weston

By now most of you are aware that a long-time priest of the Diocese of the East and the APA and Rector of St. Barnabas’ Church, Dunwoody (Atlanta), Georgia, died on Saturday October 24, 2015 after a courageous battle with cancer. Our prayers are with Fr. Bill for his sweet repose and for the comfort of his wife Valerie. Fr. Bill was the driving force that has resulted in the beautiful Church building in Dunwoody. Bishop Chad Jones, Rector officiated at the Requiem Mass for Canon Weston on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

APA Winter Clergy Conference

Our Annual Winter Clergy Conference will be held this January 2016 in Oviedo (Orlando), FL at St. Alban’s Cathedral. Both Orlando (MCO) and Sanford (SFB) airports are options. The dates for the Winter Conference will start with social hour and dinner on Wed., Jan. 20th and conclude Fri., Jan. 22nd with a travelers’ Mass. Many thanks to Fr. Ralph Waterhouse and St. Alban’s Cathedral for agreeing to host this gathering of clergy, clergy wives, and deaconesses. The Bishop Advisory Committee and the Board of Examining Chaplains will be meeting on Tuesday in advance of the Conference and the Standing Committee will be meeting following the Conference on Friday morning.

Note: Please see pages 5 & 6 for proposed schedule and registration form.

Save the Date-DEUS Synod

The 2016 DEUS Synod will be hosted by Saint Matthew’s Church in Riverview (Tampa), Florida, the week of July 11-15. See page 4 for details.