APA Ecuadorian Mission Trip

On August 23, 2017, an Anglican Province of America mission team traveled to  Riobamba, Ecuador, to visit Churches under the oversight of the APA. Members of the team included my friend; the Right Rev’d Chandler Jones who visited St. James just a few years ago; the Very Rev’d David Haines, one of my fellow counselors at the APA Summer Camp; and the Very Rev’d Ralph Waterhouse, Dean of the Cathedral, a great priest and a great friend who visited me while I was in the hospital on a respirator. They returned home on from a memorable trip on August 31.

Why Ecuador? In 2016, a remote group of indigenous people from Ecuador requested Apostolic oversight from Bishop Grundorf and the APA. The group faced persecution from the Ecuadorian government, and they were abandoned by the Roman Catholic Church. Two priests and nine deacons courageously worked to serve churches in thirty-two villages with twenty-thousand parishioners.

People do not enjoy religious freedom in Ecuador the same way we do in the US. Churches must be registered and recognized by the government. The Anglican Group in Ecuador gained recognition from the government last year. Bishop Grundorf visited the group in November of 2016. Then he met with church leaders, celebrated Holy Communion, ordained a man to the Diaconate, and held a contentious meeting with representatives from the Roman Catholic Church. This year’s mission trip continued the APA’s support of the Ecuadorian Church by assessing progress in land acquisition, church construction, and repair. Further, Bishop Chad performed ordinations and the team provided instruction on aspects of Anglican faith, practice, and worship.

On August 27, mission team member Father Ralph Waterhouse posted on Facebook;

Visited two villages yesterday. First greeted us with a parade that led into church under construction. Bishop Chad released bird representing the Spirit. Lunch followed; guinea pig, maize, beans and beer. Second village was three hour away and up a treacherous mountain gravel road to 12,000′ elevation. Baptisms and Confirmations…. Long, hard, emotion-filled day. Traveling with wonderful folks helping with translating, funding, etc…

The same Sunday, Bishop Chad Jones posted;

Day 4 – 27th August 2017 – today we blessed the new compound for the Anglican Church in Ecuador and ordained three priests for the Indigenous Pastoral, the APA in Ecuador. These three priests are the first indigenous priests ever to be ordained in the country! Thanks be to God!

I spoke with Bishop Chad on Saturday September 2nd, just two days following his return. He was exhausted, but in a jolly mood. He said that the team visited nine villages and over two thousand parishioners. The people are persecuted, but hopeful. We should pray for our Churches in Ecuador and take heart that God is growing His Church. Finally, I am thankful that my friends returned home safely and that they were able to serve our Lord in such a magnificent manner!

Bishop’s Epistle

Anglican Province of America

XXIII No. 3                      July-September 2017

The Most Reverend Walter H. Grundorf, D.D.

Greetings to all as we begin the countdown for our historic Joint Synods October 2 through 6, 2017. I urge all who can possibly attend, to make your reservations for the hotel soon. You may find the links to register for Synod and make hotel reservations online from our APA website (www.anglicanprovince.org under the NEWS tab). Please remember to scroll down to bottom of each page to see “register” and “next” buttons. If you still need help with online registration, you may contact, Debbie Weaver at dweaver63@gmail.com. So there is no confusion, the first part of the Synod week will be when each jurisdiction will be doing its own regular business. The APA, Diocese of the Eastern U.S. (DEUS) will be having its various committee meetings on Monday and Tuesday. The APA/DEUS and the APA/Diocese of Mid-America (DMA) will begin their individual plenary sessions on Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. On Wednesday evening, after the evening events, the APA Provincial Council will meet at 8:30 p.m. in preparation for our APA Provincial Synod the following day. Thursday at 9:00 a.m. the APA Provincial Synod will hold its triennial Meeting scheduled until 5:00 p.m. All Worship Services, Holy Communion, Morning and Evening Prayer will be held each day and is for all jurisdictions to join together for worship. Each of the four Jurisdictions will take a day when they will be in charge of their respective Daily Services. The APA will be in charge of the Wednesday Services. Thursday evening, beginning at 7:30 p.m., will be the All Jurisdiction Banquet with special guest speaker, the Rev. George Clendenin, an original participant in the 1977 Congress of St. Louis.

Friday of the Joint Synods will be a Plenary Session along with all four Jurisdictions participating and the signing of the Official Intercommunion Document. It will indeed be an historical occasion and we pray the Holy Spirit will be our guide. This historic event will be followed by a Joint Celebration of the Synod Mass, with each of the Archbishops (Presiding Bishops) participating in the Service. It has fallen my lot to be the preacher at this Mass. We anticipate this will signal the beginning of a new era of cooperation as with great hope we move forward together into a promising future for Traditional Anglicans.
I would like to give a little background as to why we are in this position of calling together the four major jurisdictions of the Continuing Anglican Church at this time.
The 1960s were an unstable time in the U.S. with the Viet Nam War, the racial rioting in many of the major cities, the assassination of President Kennedy and then of Civil Rights Icon Martin Luther King, Jr., all contributing to division in our Country. The Episcopal Church (TEC) was always a symbol of stability but during this period became a Church unsure of itself, with Bishops denying major contents of the ancient Creeds and having their preaching and writings in this regard go unchallenged. TEC also became very much involved in liberal partisan politics. Those in TEC who were unhappy with the direction of the Church had two options, leave the Church or stay in and fight. Organizations such as the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen and the Foundation for Christian Theology were created to inform members of TEC of what was happening in their Church. Some left TEC and formed early versions of the Continuing Church. Those of us in this early iteration of the Continuing Anglican Movement found ourselves involved in establishing congregations as those who were leaving TEC needed a church in which to worship. These early churches formed a jurisdiction in 1968-1970 called the “American Episcopal Church.” While the Episcopal Church was using the ‘trial liturgies’ in those days, those of us who were ‘Continuing Anglicans’ were faithfully using the 1928 BCP or the Missal. Any conflicts in our newly formed Anglican congregations were usually centered around whether or not it was going to be Morning Prayer or Holy Communion, not about issues which later became much more concerning, e.g. Women’s Ordination and later the Ordination of Practicing Homosexuals.

In 1976, the General Convention of TEC officially voted to approve the Ordination of Women (WO) to all three orders of ministry. This led to the departure of a number of the Anglo-Catholic wing of clergy along with a number of the Broad Church traditionalists. A Congress was called by the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen. The Congress was held in St. Louis in September 1977 and titled the Congress of St. Louis. Importantly from this Congress, a document called The Affirmation of St. Louis was produced and is referenced in the Solemn Declarations of each of the four participating jurisdictions who will be a part of the October Joint Synods.

Leaving out much of the detail, the body remained intact under the name of the original Anglican Church of North American (ACNA) for a couple of years. No Episcopal Bishop had left TEC at this time, so there was a vacuum in leadership. The body elected four of their priests to be consecrated as bishops in the original ACNA. A retired bishop of TEC, Albert Chambers, agreed to be a consecrator although he never left the Episcopal Church. Each of the four bishops elected and consecrated in this fragile new jurisdiction separated from each other for one reason or another. The American Episcopal Church, our original jurisdiction, continued on in parallel with the other Continuing Churches from the Congress of St. Louis and managed to grow all through the 1980s which was a time when some of our most stable congregations, such as St. Alban’s, Orlando (Oviedo), FL; St. Barnabas’, Atlanta (Dunwoody), GA; All Saints’ Charlottesville, VA; and St. Mary’s, Delray Beach, FL; to name a few, came into existence.

Other attempts at unifying jurisdictions over the years have not been completely successful. As time goes by, we are finding various ways forward in fulfilling our Lord’s command that we be one. The fact that each of our Jurisdictions involved in this Synod uses the same liturgy and practice much of the same discipline is an encouraging factor. Each Jurisdiction now recognizes the Episcopal Orders of the others. We pray that the Lord will show us the way forward as we seek to grow in friendship, in love, humility and ultimately Unity.

Anglican Legacy Camp 2017

Please see the pictures and article on the Anglicanprovince.org webpage and see some very encouraging signs of growth in our youth of our church from around the DEUS and others from intercommunion partners that attended summer camp. I want to thank all those who contributed to the scholarship fund to provide a way for deserving children to attend camp. What a great way to bond with other Anglican children as they meet at camp from year to year. Special thanks to coordinator, Fr. Michael Cawthon, the Clergy Counselors: Bishop Chad Jones, Fr. Cawthon, Fr. Haines, Fr. Harlow, Fr. Pinto, Fr. Rivard, Fr. Paul Sterne (Diocese of the Holy Cross); Laity Counselors: Kelli Brodrecht (St. Alban’s Cathedral), Pam Driscoll (St. Michael the Archangel Church), Matthew Green (St. Andrew’s Church, REC), and Susan Crosby (St. Michael the Archangel Church); and all the lay people of St. Michael the Archangel Church, in Charlotte, North Carolina, who helped make this year’s camp so successful.

Lenten Fund 2016 and 2017 update

I want to thank all of the parishes and missions of our Province, along with all individuals who contributed to the 2017 Lenten Fund. We are so close to our goal to finish the project which began in Blacksburg, VA at St. Philip’s Church. This is truly a mission project to a community which has a major University, Virginia Tech, and Radford College. Both schools have students at St. Philip’s. I dare say St. Philip’s Church now has the largest percentage of millennials of any church in the APA. The lovely old building of St. Philip’s Church has required much in the way of renovation, not only for safety but mandated by the city of Blacksburg. This has set back the reserves for the vicar’s salary. Please help us finish this project and make St. Philip’s completely self-sufficient. If you have Lenten Funds collected and have not sent them in yet or if you would like to have your congregation be a part of this year’s Fund, please do so when you are able. Continue to pray for Fr. Wade Miller and his efforts to build St. Philip’s Church.

Other good news concerns the 2016 Lenten Fund recipient, St. Peter the Apostle Church, Kingsport, Tennessee. After a long search period, we have found a capable and highly-qualified priest by way of the REC and the ACA named Fr. Robert Placer. Fr. Placer is moving to Kingsport by August 1, 2017 to begin his ministry there. The Church is very excited about the prospect of having a full-time parish priest in the community for the first time! We are all looking forward to seeing and hearing how God will use our Lenten fund, once again, to grow His kingdom.

Good news from the DOW

As you know, All Saints’ Church, Prescott, Arizona, lost their parish priest last December 2016 when Bishop George Fincke died. Last summer, a priest from the ACA Diocese of the Northeast, Father Ian Dunn, who had been working a secular job California, called expressing interest in available parishes in the APA. After discussions with him over some months, and talking with Bishop Marsh, his Diocesan Bishop, I put him in touch with Fr. Greg Miller who was looking for a part-time curate. This was worked out with Bishop Marsh and Fr. Dunn was granted a provisional license and moved to St. Matthew’s, Weaverville, North Carolina. He worked a part-time job, but was able to experience parish life in a well-functioning congregation and with a highly competent mentor in Fr. Miller.
I suggested in May that Fr. Dunn might apply to become the rector of All Saint’s, Prescott. Fr. Dunn applied and spent time there in early June. Following the visit, Fr. Dunn was contacted by the Senior Warden, Ben Lizak, and was told that the parish would like to call him to be Rector. He accepted pending the approval and Letters Dimissory from Bishop Marsh, which was graciously provided. Many thanks to Bishop Brian Marsh for a wonderful example of cooperation between intercommunion partners. Fr. Dunn expects to begin his ministry in Prescott on August 1, 2017.

On the Ecumenical Front

An APA Mission Team will be traveling to Ecuador along with Mission Partners from Worthy Endeavors Ministry to visit our clergy and churches in the Anglican Province of America in Ecuador, August 23-31, 2017. This is our second visit to our newest Global Partner and the team accompanying our Vicar General, Father David Haines, will be, Bishop Chad Jones, Senior Suffragan, and Dean Ralph Waterhouse of St. Alban’s Cathedral. Plans are to teach the clergy and lay leadership in the Anglican Way. There will be visitations to new church construction in some of the 32 communities, numerous confirmations, and a special time with the Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of two of their Deacons. This important trip is made possible with thanks to those who contribute to our foreign missions fund. Also, Fr. Waterhouse will be evaluating the possibility of taking select youth on a Mission Trip to the region next summer to assist in clean-up, painting and other jobs at the APA/Ecuador Headquarters in Quamote.

The Reformed Episcopal Church General Council- June 2017

I was privileged to be an invited guest, along with Mary, to the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) General Council Meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 14-16, 2017. It was a great time of renewing old acquaintances among the clergy and laity. The highlight of the time there was the Institution of Bishop Ray Sutton as the new Presiding Bishop of the REC at the lovely Church of the Holy Communion. Along with the business agenda, Bishop Sutton did three developmental sessions on their REC 100 program to promote and encourage planting and growing churches in the Anglican Way. This was part of Bishop Royal Grote’s legacy for the future of the REC which he and Bishop Sutton shared prior to Bishop Grote’s untimely death last Thanksgiving Day. The program was very well presented by Bishop Sutton whom I have invited to attend the Joint Synods in October. I have asked Bishop Sutton to present a condensed version of the REC 100 to our Clergy Conference on Tuesday, October 3rd, between 10:00 a.m. and Noon.

Episcopal Missionary Church Synod – July 12-14

I have been invited, along with Mary, to attend the Episcopal Missionary Church (EMC) Synod by Presiding Bishop William Millsaps in Monteagle, Tennessee. It will be a time of meeting some old acquaintances and also to bringing greetings to the Synod from the APA. We look forward to stronger relationships with Bishop Millsaps and his Church in the future.

First Episcopal Visit by the Diocesan and Presiding Bishop

My first visit to St. James the Great Church in Smiths Station, Alabama, will be Sunday July 16, 2017. St. James the Great Church, along with their priest the
Continuation of Bishop’s Epistle Rev. John Klein, were received into the Diocese and the APA at our Synod in Tampa, Florida, last summer. We are looking forward to seeing their Church facility and the faithful members of this new mission church. Smiths Station is between Columbus, Georgia and Auburn, Alabama.

In closing, we were saddened by the loss of Fr. Richard Blyth on June 9th in Melbourne, Florida, after a long struggle with cancer. Fr. Blyth was a faithful, loving and devoted priest of our Church and will be missed by all, including family, friends and St. Paul’s Church, Melbourne, Florida, where he served as a long-time assistant priest. Fr. Blyth’s Requiem Mass will be held on Saturday, August 5th, at St. Paul’s, Melbourne, Florida. Rest in peace Richard+

I look forward to being together at the Joint Synods in October. In the meantime, have a pleasant and fruitful summer. Do continue to pray for the many needs of our Church and also for the complete healing of Father Kevin Sweeney, in your daily prayers.

Faithfully yours in Christ,
+Walter

St. James Turkey Shoot- Sundays 1PM

Turkey Shoots are Sundays at 1PM. Join us at 10AM to worship our Lord Jesus in Truth and beauty. Have coffee with us in our Historic Glebe Parish House, then pull out your shotguns and join us for the Turkey Shoot.

Shots average $5. Bring your shotguns, we provide the ammunition. If you don’t own a shotgun, you can borrow one from us.

Prizes include; sausage, bacon, rib eye round roast, pork ribs, beef ribs, steaks, tenderloin, and pork chops.

 

Men are Not Machines- Epiphany and New Year 2017

first-programmable-computerThe first freely programmable computer was built in 1936 by a German engineer named Konrad Zuse.  That computer became operational in 1941.  Since then technology, as we all know, has made tremendous strides.

Now, every successive year brings new technology is that is faster, smaller and more efficient than the previous year’s tech.  This movement toward greater technologies has created a great expectation that progress is linear through time, that is that things should improve and get better every year.

This expectation breaks down when it is applied to people.  Since the beginning of the great recession, more work is expected out of fewer people for less money.  That’s business, except people carry those same expectations outside of the workplace.  We multi- task.  We fill our schedules so that we’re busy all the time.  People are not machines.  Eventually, this kind of strain leads to breakdown.  Physical breakdown.  Mental breakdown.  The breakdown of families.  These breakdowns can lead to serious personal and social issues such as sexual dysfunction and chemical abuse.

Last week, I suggested that you submit yourself to Jesus, to let him help you form your thoughts, desires, goals and behavior.  This week and over the next four sermons, I will talk about four traps, four false beliefs which bind us and prevent us from thinking and behaving as mature Christians.  These traps and false beliefs are not new, the Bible has an answer for them all, however they are exacerbated by the pressures of living in a modern, increasingly secularized world.

The first trap is the performance trap.  This trap is caused by the false belief that you must meet certain standards to feel good about yourself.  The second trap is the approval addict.  This person believes that they must be approved by others to feel good about themselves.  The third trap is the blame game.  Those who fall into that trap believe that those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.  The final trap is shame.  Those who fall into that trap believe this about themselves, “I am what I am.  I cannot change.  I am hopeless”  I will speak to each of these over the coming four Sundays.  This week’s topic is the performance trap.

As I will discuss later in the sermon, the way out of these traps is spiritual maturity.  You arrive at spiritual maturity through a very basic law, lex orandi, lex credendi.  The law of prayer is the law of belief.

If you pray and worship, often and correctly, your mind will be transformed.  God will work in you to transform your thoughts and desires, eventually effecting your behaviors and actions;

Present your bodies a living sacrifice a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,        which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1)

In the Gospel reading for the first Sunday after the Epiphany, Jesus stays behind at the temple in Jerusalem after His parents left for home.  It seems strange to an overprotective parent a parent could go for a day without knowing that their twelve year old son was missing, but realize that the men and women in the caravan were traveling separately.  Jesus could’ve been with either His mother or His father.  Neither parent would’ve thought it was peculiar that He wasn’t around, until they reach home.  I can hear Joseph now saying something like, “Mary, I thought He was with you.” To which Mary would respond, “No, I thought that He was with you.”  Finding that Jesus wasn’t among the caravan, they trace their steps backward, in an effort to figure out just where Jesus could be.

finding-jesus-in-the-templeAnd so these earthly parents turn toward Jerusalem, seeking Jesus.  And on the third day, they find Him debating religious doctors in the Temple.  Mary asks Jesus, “Why did you do this to us?  Can’t you see that your father and I have agonizingly been searching for you?”  And Jesus responds, “Why did you need to search?  Didn’t you realize that I would be here in my Father’s house?” Then they went home to Nazareth, and Jesus was obedient to His parents.

As I’m learned as a parent, children become more self-aware and willful at 12 years old. Here, Jesus is realizing His purpose on earth, just like other 12 year old children.  And He is becoming self-willed, but not sinful.  As it states in the next verse, Jesus was obedient to His parents, just like the 5th commandment dictates.

Jesus was growing up, transforming into an adult.  Growing up is a theme familiar to St. Paul.  In our Bible Study in Ephesians you may recall that Paul said, “That henceforth we be no more children…” He tells us and the Ephesians to “grow up into him in all things…”  We need to be mature in our faith.

Today’s collect for the First Sunday after the Epiphany itself contains a teaching on the meaning of prayer.  Not every prayer is answered with a “yes” because not every prayer is according to His will.  St James explains it this way, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (James 4:3).”  We should pray to determine God’s will and to learn what we “ought” to do.  We should then seek God’s will to accomplish it.  That is what St. Paul means in the Epistle by “presenting yourself as a living sacrifice.”  He means seeking and doing God’s will.  That’s what St. Paul means by renewing the mind, that is praying that we may perceive and do what things we ought to do.

Despite being baptized.  Despite efforts to live and follow Jesus.  Despite being washed in the Blood of the Lamb and being born again in Christ Jesus, our minds go places they ought not.  Despite being restored to righteousness by Jesus, evil thoughts still flash through our brains that conspire to undo us.

In Colossians 2:8, St. Paul warns us, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”  Don’t be spoiled by vain deceit, he says.  That sounds a lot like today’s Epistle, “Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think.”  These thoughts are constant.  St Paul himself recognized them in himself when he said, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I (Romans 7:15).”

A true mark of maturity is when we begin to test deceitful thoughts and their resulting behaviors against the Word of God.

One of the deceptions all of us tend to believe is that success will bring us happiness.  We believe that we must meet certain standards in order to feel good about ourselves.  This is the same deception that the serpent used to tempt Eve.  “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat (Genesis 3:4-6).”  Eve fell to the deception, “If I meet this standard, then I’ll be happy.”  The standard was wisdom and knowledge of good and evil, but it was a lie.

The consequences of falling for the false belief that you must meet certain standards to feel good about yourself range from fear of failure, to perfectionism, to the drive to succeed, to the manipulation of others to achieve success, to withdrawl from all healthy risks.

Eventually, our desire to succeed can lead to being driven beyond healthy limitations, leading to an inability to relax or enjoy life, let alone enjoy time with family and relationships.

Remember Mary and Martha?

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42).”

The good part, according to Jesus, was to be present in mind and body, to sit and listen.  Instead, Martha was busy, troubled and resentful, trying to live up to some expectation of what it means to be a good host.

The result of believing the deception that our self worth is based upon meeting some standard can have heavy  long-term consequences.  When we feel we’ve been insulted or injured by others, we feel anger.  Out of pride, we believe ourselves to be diminished and so we shift that responsibility to someone else.  We can become depressed as a result of anger turned inward.  We develop low motivation, believing in advance that we will fail no matter what we do, and so we believe that we have no reason to exert any effort.

Satan wants to deceive us.  Satan wants to destroy us.  Sometimes he accomplishes that through our own thoughts.

So what do we do?  If you have fallen into the trap of believing that you and others only have value when certain standards are met, how do you get out of it?

God’s answer is this, justification by faith.  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… (Romans 5:1)”  Justification means that not only has God forgiven you of your sins, but He has also granted you the righteousness of Christ.  You are fully pleasing to the Father regardless of how you look, how smart you are, what kind of car you drive, who your parents are, or based upon anything that you’ve done in the past.  None of that matters.  You please the Father and have value because of what Jesus did on the cross.  To overcome this trap, you must first realize that you are subcoming to the false belief.  Then you must supplant that false belief with the truth, that is the truth contained in Holy Scripture.  You must supplant it with prayer and worship until the truth of the Gospel is your belief.  Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.  The law of prayer is the law of belief, or to put it another way, we believe what we pray.  Then we develop a new outlook, we can start to see ourselves and others as God sees us and others.

St. Paul in the Epistle tells us not to be conformed to the world, which measures success by titles, records and dollars, but instead to renew your mind.  He is telling us to have a new attitude.  The new attitude comes from looking at everything in terms of God, instead of looking at everything from the self-regarding perspective which comes to us naturally.

The new attitude involves asking such questions as, “What does God want me to do here?” “What would the Christian response to this situation be?” “How can I best serve the interests of this other person?”

What St. Paul teaches about our sacrifice of ourselves is part of the celebration of Holy Communion also. In the long Prayer of Consecration on pages 80 and 81 of the Prayer Book, we begin by representing the sacrifice of Jesus under the forms of bread and wine, just as He taught us to do.

After the Word and the Spirit have made the bread and wine his Body and Blood, we join our sacrifice of ourselves to his sacrifice of himself. The dramatic climax of the prayer comes when I say, for all of us, “And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee.”

The point of all this should be obvious. We can never transform our minds, that is, take up the new God-regarding attitude, without help. The power we need both to want to make that sacrifice and actually to go ahead and do it comes from God.

That power flows from Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and we literally eat it and drink it at the altar rail. Later on we ask God to give us the help we need “to do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in.” You can only do those good works after you have made your own sacrifice the transforming of your mind, the offering of your whole selves, your souls and bodies, to do what God wants you to do.

When you believe that you are completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God, you no longer have to fear failure.  As time goes on, you experience freedom from fear of failure and an increased desire to do the right things, that is to serve Christ and His Kingdom.  You act out of love for Christ rather than out of some contrieved standard of achievement.

Christ is worthy of our love and obedience.  The more we understand His Love and majesty, the more we praise Him and honor Him at the expense of everything else that seems to press upon us.

To avoid the deceptions of the world, the flesh and the devil, develop maturity.  Test your thoughts against God’s Word.  Seek to do the will of God.  Pray that you might know what things you ought to do and ask for the power to faithfully fulfill the same.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

 

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

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.

Easter Message from the Presiding Bishop

A blessed and happy Easter to all! May the glories of the resurrection inspire each of us in devoted service to our Lord Jesus who has demonstrated his great love toward us. Regardless of our circumstances in life, we can look to the resurrection as the great hope and assurance that not only is our eternal salvation secured in him but our lives on this earth are lifted above the banal. We are assured by our Lord himself that as he lives, we shall live also. The double curses of sin and death have been overcome once and for all by the atoning work that our Lord did on our behalf and we need no longer fear those two enemies as we are in him and he is in us.

As we begin the Easter Season, please be reminded that Easter Monday and Tuesday are still high Holy Days with special Propers for those days in the Prayer Book. Most of us realize that in the secular world around us Easter is a one day event similar to Christmas. Those of us who keep the Calendar of the Church catholic know the Season of Easter continues until Ascension Day. This may provide a good opportunity to explain to others why we as Anglicans keep these special days as part of our Christian lives.

For Anglicans, Easter is more than just another day when there is a gathering of people for a family feast. We have been involved through Lent in personal preparation and the important events of Holy Week. Nothing makes the Celebration of Easter more special than preparation of one’s heart for the Joys of the Resurrection.

“Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
Death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that
He liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed
Unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:9

Alleluia, The Lord is risen indeed; O come let us adore him. Alleluia

+Walter

Pray for Protection From Adversity… So That You May Serve the Living God

God is Preparing YouLord, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (Collect for Trinity XXII).

 
The Church is God’s household. We, the Body of Christ, are born into the divine family through our Baptism. When we celebrate Holy Communion, God’s family gathers at the Father’s table. The Church is made holy by the washing with blood Christ shed on the cross, the blood shed by the, “Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.” When our Lord Jesus returns, the Church will be presented to Him as His spotless bride.

Last week, I wrote about saints in the parish email (November 4 & 5, 2015), preached about saints at Wednesday’s noon Mass, and again Sunday on All Saints Day. We, those who are baptized into Christ’s Church and follow Jesus as Lord, are the Saints of God in the Church Militant. We have work to do. We have a calling, and part of that calling is to become holy. We do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. God has begun a work in us all. We should pray, as did St. Paul, “…that he who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6 KJV).”

 
In the Collect, we pray, “…that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities…” The Church faces opposition in the World. It is attacked by the unbelieving world, and by those who do not believe the truth contained in Holy Scripture. We pray for God’s protection of the Church, not only so that it can survive, but so that it may serve God through Good works.

We must pray with fervor, so that we may be holy, protected by God, and serve Him in Good works. Then, with God’s help, we will persevere as members of Christ’s Church, God’s household of faith.