Bishop’s Epistle

Anglican Province of America

Anglican Province of America

VOLUME XXI No. 5     September—October 2015

One of the wonderful things about vacations is the time away in a completely different venue to reflect upon one’s life and ministry. Without the day to day interruptions, being away from the usual events of life, it becomes more likely that the fog can lift and there is the real opportunity for spiritual and physical retreat. I have mentioned this before to our clergy that it is vital for every priest take time away from the ordinary routine of Church life and take a vacation with the family. A Sunday off now and then is not sufficient to allow time to re-group from the stress and rigors of parish life and you are not only helping yourself by being away, you are helping your congregation as well. Burn out in the ministry is running at an all time high in most jurisdictions and much of it is due to the intense pressures that are placed upon us. I had one priest protest that it was easy for me to say this, but he had a second job and that made it impossible to take time away. I too remember the days that I had to work a second job to make ends meet and it was not easy. I do not pretend to have all the answers on how to do this, but I encourage each of our clergy to find a way to take some time away for refreshment and relaxation.

 

As most of you are now aware, we had a busy and productive DEUS Synod at the end of July. I am most appreciative of the confidence shown in my leadership as your Bishop reflected in the resolution to allow me to serve for five more years. I will seek to do my best before the Lord and all of you to deserve the confidence you have shown. Also, I want congratulate the Very Rev. William (Bill) Perkins on his election as a Suffragan Bishop in the DEUS. Plans are now being made by securing ‘Consents and Testimonials’ from the House of Bishops and the Diocesan Standing Committees. Once these are secured, the Order for Consecration of the new Bishop-elect will be made and the venue and date will be formally announced. Tentatively, St. Alban’s Cathedral in Oviedo, Florida on Saturday, November 14, 2015 is the proposed place and date. I encourage your prayers for Bishop-elect Perkins as he prepares to assume the duties and responsibilities in this Office in Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The DEUS Synod this past July in Charlottesville, VA, was well attended, much business was accomplished, and the usual and wonderful relationships were made in some cases and renewed in others! Please refer to the Synod Overview on the APA web page for more detailed information.

 
I want to mention that one of our priests of longstanding in the DEUS has retired as of Au-gust 31, 2015. The Very Rev. Richard Bakley, longtime Rector of St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church, Matthews (Charlotte), N.C. has stepped down as Rector to retire both as Rector and Dean of the Central and Eastern Deanery of N.C. The Parish had a retirement celebration for Fr. Rich and his wife Pat’s years of ministry at the Church on Sunday August 22, 2015. We join with the Parish to wish Fr. Rich and Pat a healthy and happy retirement and that the fish will be biting whenever he throws his hook in the water. I have appointed Rev. Canon David Haines, Rector of All Saints Anglican Church, Wilmington, N.C., to replace Father Bakley as the Dean of the Central and Eastern Deanery of N.C.

 

Since the DEUS Synod, I have Instituted as Rec-tor of Christ the Redeemer Church, Warner Rob-bins, GA, the Rev. Matthew Harlow as the second rector of this parish. Joining in the day of celebration was Suffragan Bishop Chad Jones under whom Fr. Harlow served as Curate at St. Barnabas’ Church, Atlanta, GA, along with a number of the St. Barnabas parishioners.

 

On Sunday August 30th, at St. Paul’s Parish, Melbourne, FL, Margaret Clare Burgess was Set Apart as a Deaconess during the Sunday Morning Mass. Deaconess Clare Burgess will continue serving at St. Paul’s Church under the leadership of Canon Ray Unterburger in her teaching role and assisting in caring for the sick and shut-ins. God Bless Deaconess Clare on her work for God’s Kingdom.

 
God willing on Sunday September 20, 2015, the Rev. O. Michael Cawthon, Rector-elect of St. Michael the Archangel Church, Charlotte, N.C. will be Instituted as the second rector of the Parish at the 10:30am Mass. Fr. Cawthon is anxious to begin a number of new programs at the Church and to continue in the tradition of Fr. Rich Bakley of a strong family atmosphere of the congregation. We pray God’s blessing upon Fr. Mike and his wife Debbie in their work to build God’s Kingdom in their community.

 

September of the year brings a feeling in the Church of a new day with new challenges. A number of parishes in the APA are reporting new programs for Sunday School which are bringing excitement and optimism. Fr. David Conway as Editor of Ecclesia Anglicana is doing a great job of bringing parish news from around the Province of what is happening in various parishes and missions. He is more than happy to print news items submitted to him to keep all of us informed as to what is happening which benefits us all. I pray that in spite of the negativity in our world concerning Christianity being overtly and covertly undermined, that we remind ourselves and others that Christ is still on the throne. Remember to pray for all the persecuted Christians in the world many of whom are destitute and homeless. Pray that God will touch the hearts of Christian rulers in our world to take a leadership role in combating the evil that seems to be growing unabated.

 
God bless and keep us all,

+Walter

Pray That We May Please God

Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Collect for Trinity X, P 203 BCP).

Jesus Weeps, Luke xix. 41.

Jesus Weeps, Luke xix. 41.

 

Sunday, I preached about spiritual gifts. From the Epistle, we learned that the diverse abilities and skills of the Body of Christ are gifts the Holy Spirit. Second, we learned that these gifts are intended for the benefit of the whole Body of Christ. Third, we learned that there is a great diversity of gifts. Finally, we learned that our task is to discern the use of those spiritual gifts, that we may build the Body of Christ. Prayer is of great significance in all of this. It is through prayer that we seek God’s will. Through prayer, we seek the proper use of God’s gifts in us. Our lives are to be lives of prayer in the good use of the gifts which God gives us.

We learn about prayer in this week’s Collect for Trinity X. In the Collect, we ask God that He may hear our prayers and that we may ask for such things as shall please him. We may wonder, “What comfort is there in a God who answers prayer only when the right prayers are offered?” We must understand that we can only find comfort in a God who answers prayer in such a manner.

The Collect begins by asking the merciful Lord to hear His humble servants. God is merciful. In our humility, we submit our lives to God’s loving care. Faith is the primary prerequisite for prayer. We must believe that God is merciful. We cannot truly pray until we are persuaded that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. God desires our salvation. God knows what is best for the good of our souls far beyond what we may think is beneficial for us. God’s wisdom is infinite and infinitely greater that human wisdom. God’s love for us is infinitely pure. His love is perfect, and far greater than our self-love. We must entrust all that is dear to us to His love.
God knows what is best for us. He knows what is best for our salvation, so it may seem that we go for long periods of seemingly unanswered prayer. Consider that our perspective is limited and narrow. We live in the world but a short time. God’s viewpoint is eternal. From the Collect, we learn that prayer stems from trust in God’s love and grace. If we believe that God loves us so much that His love saves us eternally, then no power in this world should cause us to doubt the power of prayer.
When we pray, “make them to ask such things as shall please thee,” we ask for help discerning what is best for us, and those we love. We pray that God will pull us closer to His love. As we come to Him in love, we submit our will to our loving father, desiring to think and do only things that please Him. Because of Jesus’ salvific acts, we know without question that our eternal salvation pleases God. May we come to see more clearly that pleasing God is our true joy and happiness.

Pray for the Spirit to Think and Do God’s Will

The Prodigal Son Returns Home

The Prodigal Son Returns Home

Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee; may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity. BCP  P.200)

The Collect for the ninth Sunday after Trinity invites us to consider the relation of thought and action. In the prayer, we ask God to give us the spirit to think and do God’s will, because we, “…cannot do anything that is good without thee.” This statement reflects the words of our Lord Jesus who says in John 15:5, “…without me ye can do nothing.” We are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to put Godly desires into our hearts and for those desires to become deeds.
God works through us in doing good. We rely on God to give us good desires and we participate with God’s will by acting out those thoughts and desires. To live according to God’s will, we must also deny the temptations that come to us and refuse to put sinful desires into action.
This week’s Epistle reading is I Corinthians 10:1-13. In it, we read;

BRETHREN, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink (for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ). But with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The Epistle connects thought and action by showing the judgment experienced by the Israelites when they disregarded God’s will. The Israelites first gave themselves over to thoughts when they lusted after evil things. After giving themselves over to sinful thoughts, they performed sinful deeds. Their actions showed that they did not trust God, and instead trusted only in themselves.
Let us pray that God’s Spirit will enables us to reject evil, cling to good, and “live according to his will, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Pray for Growth in Holiness

Gardening proves to be a love and an affliction for me, but I have learned a few things from my years of digging in the dirt.

My attempts at gardening began when Alice and I bought and lived in one side of a duplex in Crozet after we were married. It was a modern, tidy home with a small yard and a small patio just off the kitchen in the back of the home. We would sit there many evenings looking at the east side of the Blue Ridge, drinking wine, enjoying each other and the view.

Beside that small patio, I began my adventures in gardening. We planted a small rose garden that mostly did very well. From that little rose garden, I learned a few lessons that I will share momentarily.

As we progress through Trinity Season, you will notice that in the Collects, we pray for God to increase our holiness. During the eighty week after Trinity, we pray;

O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth: We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which be profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rose TreeThe prayer confesses God’s never-failing providence. He graciously orders all things in heaven and earth. The word “providence” means; “seeing in advance” or “looking ahead.” God’s all-seeing and all-knowing power keeps us in His love, because there is nothing outside God’s seeing and knowing. We can know only a little bit of what God has in store for us, and so we cannot see directly that “…. all things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom. 8. 28). So we pray, trusting God to keep us from things that will hurt us and giving us things that help us. This trust in God is for our spiritual growth, like the growth of a beautiful garden.

During the seventh week after Trinity we prayed in the Collect;

Lord of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Here we pray for God’s grace in our desire to become holy. It addresses God as the source of all power and might. We learn from Scripture that God is the author and giver of all good things, echoing the Epistle of St. James (1.17): “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” In the Collects, we ask God for truly good and perfect gifts. We ask God to graft in our hearts the love of His Name, to increase in us true religion, to nourish us with all goodness, and finally to keep us in this love, and religion, and goodness.

This grafting into our hearts the love of His name reminds us that without God’s planting or grafting of His love in our hearts, it is not there. We do not love God naturally, so we pray that it might be given to us. This leads us back to the gardening theme. EM Gloulboum, in the 19th century commentary, “The Collects of the Day, Volume II” states beautifully that;

You cannot have a beautiful rose-tree in your garden, without some one’s bringing it in and planting it there. Your garden does not grow rose-trees naturally; nor, with all your digging and weeding and watering, could you ever make it do so. Then, if the rose-tree of the love of God is to grow in your heart, God must transplant it out of his nursery garden into your heart, which by nature can bring forth nothing but thorns and thistles, or at best poisonous gourds, and wild grapes.

Further, remember that plants must grow (“increase in us true religion”), be nourished (“nourish us with all goodness”) and be protected and kept by the gardener (“Keep us in this love, and religion and goodness”). We pray to God to provide us this grace.
Jesus is the bread of life. The Word of God, and the Sacrament of the table feed us and give us life. God is our gardener, grafting the love of His name in our hearts. He then nourishes us, and keeps us safe from weeds and harsh elements. In our prayers, we interact with the Heavenly Gardner, and He helps us to live, flourish, and become a thing of spiritual beauty, by God’s grace alone.

God’s eternal blessedness is offered to those who love Him

If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. MT 5:23-24

If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. MT 5:23-24

In the Collect for the Seventh Sunday After Trinity (BCP P197), we pray;

O GOD, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This prayer addresses God, who offers us salvation. St. Paul writes of the Christian hope of salvation in I Cor. 2:9, “Eye bath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Cor. 2. 9)

God’s eternal blessedness is offered only to those who love Him. Why is this so? Those who do not love God are incapable of enjoying His eternal salvation because of their own hardness of heart. The Rev’d J.H.B. Masterman wrote in “Sunday Collects,” in 1922, that, “Just as a colour-blind person cannot enjoy the colour-effects of a great picture; or a deaf man a great symphony; so a loveless man is without the faculty for enjoying God’s good things.”

 
In the Collect, we petition God that He may pour into our hearts a love for Him. Our love of God comes from God Himself. God is the author of all goodness, so love is a gift from God. St. John said, “We love him, because he first loved us (I John 4:19).”
The Collect ends with the petition, “that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire.” If we love God above all else, then will we obtain everlasting salvation. We must seek the love of God first and foremost in our hearts and minds in all we do.

Bishop’s Epistle

Anglican Province of America

Anglican Province of America

VOLUME XXI No. 4          June—August 2015

 

As Traditional Anglicans, we have entered the Season of the Holy Trinity. We count our Sundays after Trinity Sunday until Advent in keeping with our 1928 Prayer Book rather than Sundays after Pentecost or Ordinary Sundays as others do. The Season of Holy Trinity is uniquely Anglican, as it is dedicated not to the commemoration of an event like Christmas or Easter, or to a particular person such as a saint, but to a theological doctrine. The day of Trinity Sunday summarizes the total experience of the Christian with God and the redemptive drama. Each day in the season of Trinity is a time of growth within the entire experience of this great Drama of our Redemption.

 
Speaking of growth, people often ask about the size or the population of our Province. Growth can be a curious thing, when you look at the history of the Continuing Anglican Church movement. We started as a church comprised of an older population, many of whom are now gone from this life and others are at the age they can no longer be actively involved. Most of the earlier leadership of the ‘continuing’ Anglican Churches is gone from this life. I know in some of our parishes we have more burials than baptisms. Part of the curiosity is this; we are growing. This is not true in all cases but where we have an active congregation and a priest with a vision, we have growth both numerically and spiritually. The difficult thing is keeping ahead of the losses through death or older folks moving to be closer to family or to job transfers. Statistically, based upon what I have mentioned, we have grown minimally over the last several years.

 
Hence, I believe we must have a plan of action to move into a real growth pattern for the future. The Lenten Appeal for a Domestic Mission is part of what I believe we must do. As we have had special projects to assist our Global Partners, so we must build the base of support in this country as well. Finding just the right Domestic Mission Project is critical considering both location and priest. Now that the choice has been made, with St. Francis’ Church, Blacksburg, Virginia, as the church and Fr. Wade Miller as the visionary priest, it is important that we embrace this effort with our prayers, support and encouragement. It will be a big job, requiring time and effort. This is an experiment which, seeing it work, will be a model for future Domestic Mission Projects.

Synods

Diocese of Mid-America

The Diocese of Mid-America met June 19-20 in Merrillville, Indiana, hosted by St. Andrew’s Pro-Cathedral. It was a blessed and peaceful time as we experienced the changing of the guard as Bishop Larry Shaver passed the mantel on to Bishop Robert Giffin as the new Bishop Ordinary. As Presiding Bishop, I Installed and Enthroned Bishop Giffin into his Chair at the Pro-Cathedral during the Synod Eucharist on Saturday, June 20. Bishop Giffin preached a moving sermon on experiences he has had and lessons he has learned in his development in the ministry. It was a unifying time for all who attended and we pray the Lord will bless them in their vision to build the Church where they has been called to serve. Bishop Shaver will become the Episcopal Vicar of St. Andrew’s Pro-Cathedral and Assistant Bishop in the Diocese.

Diocese of the Eastern U.S.

The Diocese of the Eastern U. S. will be meeting the week of July 27-31 in Charlottesville, Virginia hosted by All Saint’s Anglican Church.

As of this writing, there is still time to register for Synod and make your hotel reservation. We look forward to a profitable Synod with a number of important decisions to be made. In addition to the usual business of approving a budget for the new fiscal year, electing and appointing members of the various Boards and Agencies, there will be the election of a second Suffragan Bishop for our Diocese to serve primarily the State of Florida and other ways to assist me. We have three outstanding men who have been nominated for this Office in the Church. They are: The Rev. Bradley Cunningham, Holy Trinity Church, Fernandina Beach, Florida; the Very Rev. William Perkins, Jr., St. Mary the Virgin Church, Delray Beach, Florida; and the Rev. Canon Michael Ward, St. Mark’s Church, Vero Beach, Flor-ida. Each one brings special gifts for this ministry and we must to pray that the Lord will guide each of us as we consider our vote for the man of God’s choosing.

 
It is important to remember that we are electing a Suffragan Bishop and not a Coadjutor Bishop at this time. There are two important differences be-tween these two offices. First, a Suffragan Bishop does not automatically succeed the Bishop Ordinary (the Diocesan Bishop) whereas a Bishop Coadjutor does. Secondly, to elect a Suffragan Bishop requires only a simple majority of votes in each house, laity and clergy. The election of a Coadjutor Bishop, who will become the Ordinary, requires a two thirds vote in both houses: laity and clergy.

 
Please remember that this election should not be a popularity contest. Each clergy delegate and lay delegate has received a copy of the CV of each candidate to the email they used to register for Synod. (Late registration delegates will receive the same information closer to Synod.) Each church has also received a one page side-by-side summary of the candidates in the June Ecclesia Anglicana newsletter which I requested to be posted on your church bulletin boards. I have written some of my thoughts about the role of the Suffragan Bishop on a separate sheet that will be available to all clergy and delegates and is included in this Epistle. I hope you will take time to read it. It is not meant to be the final word on the subject but something to think and pray about before you place your vote. I am looking for-ward to a wonderful DEUS Synod this year and want to thank All Saints Church for the planning and hard work they have done so far.

 
Additionally, at this Synod, I will tender my resignation as required by the Constitution of the Anglican Province of America (Article II- Of Bishops- Section 8) having reached the age of 72 years. Each delegate, both clergy and laity, should read this Constitutional Article in order to understand the implication of how it reads. Our Constitution can be found on our website at www.anglicanprovince.org under the “Resources” tab. Clergy and delegates have the option of voting to accept or reject my resignation.

Following the election process on Thursday of Synod, we will have a special guest speaker, Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio. Many of you heard Ken at our Synod in 2012 at Melbourne, Florida, and know he brings a timely message pertaining to the cultural issues of the day as they impact the Church and traditional Christian Faith. Ken is a brilliant analyst and brings a message of hope for all of us as we seek to be faithful to our Lord and His Church.

We will also be welcoming a friend and the Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church as a special guest for this Synod. Bishop Royal Grote and his wife, Ellen, will be coming to bring greetings to us and Bishop Grote will be our guest preacher at the Synod Evensong on Thursday.

Diocese of the West

Items of news from the DOW Synod that was in April 2015: The Rev. Vincent Varnas was Ordained to the Sacred Priesthood during the Synod Eucharist. Fr. Varnas will be assisting Fr. Robert Hawkins, who is Rector at St. Michael’s Church, Wilsonville, Oregon, and plans are to start a new mission church in Salem, Oregon. Fr. Creighton Barnes of St. Andrew’s Church, Jacksonville, Oregon had previously retired as Rector and following the Synod has retired as the President of the Board of Examining Chaplains. God bless Fr. Barnes and thank you for your service to the Lord and his Church. Additionally, Fr. Gordon Wiebe has resigned from the BEC as well. We will be looking for an additional clergyman to work with Fr. Squires on the BEC. As reported earlier this year, the Rt. Rev. George Fincke was elected to become the Rector of All Saints’ Anglican Church, Prescott, Arizona and has now relocated to the area along with his wife, Ann. Bishop Fincke is in the process of transferring from the Reformed Episcopal Church to the Anglican Province of America. Canon Walt Crites retired as Rector of All Saints’ Church and will remain as the Vicar General of the DOW. Also I appointed Fr. Robert Hawkins as Assistant Vicar General and will be titled as Canon.

Other News

The Rev. Fred Basil died on Friday, June 12, 2015 at Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. His wife, Ruth, was by his side. Thankfully I was able to visit with Fr. Fred on Wednesday, June 10th, in Jackson and along with his family and celebrate Holy Communion in their home. We had a good visit but I knew it would not be long before he would be gone from this life. He was buried on Saturday, June 27th by his Bishop, Royal Grote, at his parish Church of St. Stephen, Brandon, Mississippi. Please keep his wife Ruth, children Walter, Ruthie and Calvin in your prayers and for the peaceful repose of Fred, priest in the Church of God.

I know many of you have expressed concern about the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage. After this Synod, there will be a position statement on this decision from our House of Bishops.

I look forward to seeing the clergy, laity and observers at the DEUS Synod July 27-31 in Charlottesville, VA. Please pray that the Lord will bless us as we gather in His name and that all that is done will be through His divine guidance and that His Kingdom will be enlarged.
Blessings,
+Walter

Pray For Those in Danger

COLLECT for The 3rd Sunday after Trinity
O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

We do not initiate prayer ourselves. It is God through his Spirit who puts the desire to pray within our hearts. Our role in prayer is to will to serve God who wishes to use us to his glory. Jesus is central to all our prayer. St. Augustine once said, “Christ prays for us as a priest, prays in us as our Head, is prayed to, by us, as our God. Let us recognize, therefore, our voices in him, and his voices in us.”

In this week’s collect, our request is that we “may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities”. We do not pray for God to keep is from danger, rather to KEEP US in our dangers and adversities.

Whatever may happen to us, we should have faith that God will make good out of any situation, if we offer it to him. This is the meaning of Psalm 9: “There shall no evil happen unto thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

St. Peter Released from Prison

St. Peter Released from Prison

I cannot help but think about St. Peter in Acts chapter 12. He was in danger and adversity. He was in danger of losing his head to Herod, who was finding pleasure in killing Christians. In the passage, he was sleeping. He did not seem to be terribly worried about his own safety.

The house of Mary, the mother of John, was praying, and God answered their prayer. Peter was delivered from danger. Those praying, barely believed this, thinking that Peter was a ghost when he came to their house, but he was indeed free. In the case of Peter, as with us, God’s angels prevented evil from happening to him. God turned a bad situation into good.

This week, remember to pray for those who are in harms way. Remember to pray for your enemies. Remember to pray for those in civil authority. Remember to pray for those who are lost to the world, the flesh, and the devil. Remember that God sets captives free, and God answers prayer.

BISHOP’S EPISTLE

Anglican Province of America

Anglican Province of America

VOLUME XXI No. 3                              May 2015

Ascensiontide greetings to all. The Ascension of Jesus into heaven is the completion of his revealing, saving and reconciling work on earth as the Incarnate Son of God, the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world. It is, therefore, the Feast to crown all other Feasts of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he who came down from heaven to take our flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary must also take that same flesh and human nature, perfected and glorified, into heaven. He now becomes for his people the first-fruits of the new creation. Where he is we also shall follow. What a glorious thought and great hope of the Christian.

 
The Diocese of Mid-America Synod is fast approaching. The dates are June 19-20, 2015 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Merrillville, IN. The DMA Synod registration deadline is May 25th. This Synod will be especially important as it will be the retirement of their first Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Larry Lee Shaver. Assuming the role of Diocesan Bishop will be the Coadjutor, the Rt. Rev. Robert Todd Giffin. Along with the usual Synod business will be a special celebration of the ministry of Bishop Shaver and the welcoming of the new ministry of Bishop Giffin. It is critical that all parishes and missions be represented on the special occasion.

 
The Diocese of the Eastern U.S. will hold its annual Synod, hosted by All Saints’ Anglican Church, Charlottesville, VA, July 27-31, 2015. The DEUS Synod registration deadline is June 15th. The hotel reservation deadline is the same.

 
In addition to the usual business of Synod, there will be an election of a second Suffragan Bishop for the Diocese to serve particularly for Florida, the largest part of the DEUS. Nominations will close May 27th. Nominations should be mailed to Standing Committee Secretary, Karyn Cozad, at: 2827 Emerald Dr., Lake Spivey, GA 30236. You are asked to be in prayer that the Lord will guide us as we make this decision. Also, according to Article II Sec. 8 of the Constitution and Canons of the APA, at age 72, I am required to tender my resignation from my jurisdiction, but the Diocesan Synod delegates may refuse to accept the same for a period of time set forth by resolution.

 
We will have a Developmental Session during the DEUS Synod addressing the many cultural issues facing our society and the church that you will not want to miss.
Be sure and get your reservations in now for these respective Synods.

 
It is with heavy heart that I tell you Fr. Fred Basil has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fr. Basil was known to so many in the APA over the years and served as my curate in the late 1980s. He was rector of St. Mary the Virgin Church, Delray Beach, Florida for around 10 years during which he and Ruth experienced the death of their son Fred, Jr. Following this, Fr. Fred took three years away from active ministry. I later recommended him for the rector’s position at St. Stephen’s Anglican (REC) Church, Jackson, MS where he is presently. Please pray for courage and strength for Fr. Fred and for Ruth and all their family at this difficult time.

Blessings to all,

+Walter

Prayer List
Of your charity, keep in your prayers:
Fr. Basil; Fr. Mallard; Fr. Coady’s wife, Mary Ann; Fr. Bakley, Retired APA Treasurer, Bill Jourdan and wife, Doris, Fr. Longcamp, Bishop Brewer’s son, Douglas; Dss. Jenkins; Fr. Daughtry; Bishop Dorman; Dss Debbie’s husband, Dan; Fr. Crites; Fr. Gardner; Fr. Richard Smith; Bishop Belmonte’s wife, Eros; Fr. Emerson’s wife, Lindsay.

Lesson from the Fourth Sunday after Easter

Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father

Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father

This week we look forward to the Ascension of Christ and Pentecost. The Epistle, Gospel and Collect show us that it is by God’s grace that we can prepare to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Collect approaches God as the One “Who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men…” In the Epistle, we hear that, “Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights….” The gift of the Holy Spirit is possible because Jesus, as He states in John 16, “goes away” to heaven. There, Jesus presents Himself to the Father and then the Father then turn gives all things to the Son.
In the Creed, we confess that Jesus “ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” Being seated at the right hand of the Father means that Jesus is in a place of authority. In Ephesians, St. Paul explains the import of the Ascension: “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men…He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things (Eph 4:8).”
Jesus alluded to the time when He would sit at His Father’s right hand time in his prayer to His Father in John 17, “I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do; and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made (John 17:4, 5).” It is Jesus’ return to glory that makes the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost possible
It must have startled the disciples when Jesus told them He was going away and that it was better for them if He went away. We should be startled as well if we contemplate what Jesus is saying. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Jesus were bodily, visibly present with us here today? His presence would seem to solve a host of issues, however, the Holy Spirit Jesus sends us is everywhere, wherever “two or three are gathered together in his name.” It is through the Holy Spirit that our Lord is with his Church always, “even unto the end of the world.” He could in His Spirit be with all believers, at all places, and in all times to prepare them for his second bodily coming, at the Last Day.
This week, let us pray that by the Spirit’s guidance, the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” may mold our “unruly wills and affections” and ready us for the Kingdom of Heaven.