2015 Lenten Appeal Hits Home

Holy Family

Holy Family

This year’s Lenten Appeal is to fund the building of a Domestic Mission. The ambitious goal is to raise $100,000 for a selected ‘mission church project.’ It would be used over a period of three years to support a well-trained energetic priest who would relocate to the chosen area. Please see the letter below from Paul Moruza, member of All Saints Church, Charlottesville, VA, regarding his experience regarding the need to help fund domestic missions.

March 27th, 2015
“The Life and Death of an Anglican Parish.
The story of Holy Family Parish.
Or why we should all give to the Bishop’s
domestic mission fund.”

In the three or so decades our four children were being born and raised, Audrey and I would faithfully and gratefully return every summer to the hospitality of her parents’ ranch style home nestled in the coastal redwoods near the university town of Arcata, California. Audrey’s parents, Joe and Jackie Kasun, joined the Anglican Continuum about the same time Audrey and I did in the late 70s. Under the auspices of Bishop Robert Morse, my father-in law, Joe Kasun, a beloved History teacher and decorated WWII Hero, became a licensed lay reader and would lead morning prayer on Sundays when one of the visiting priests (mostly from the established Anglican parish over the mountains in Redding, CA) was unable to come. Audrey’s Mom was a renowned Economist and one of the great Christian culture warriors of the Reagan era, manfully taking on the anti-life, ZPG [Zero Population Growth] types of the that time with solid academic research, lectures, articles and books (see her “War on Population” by Jaqueline Kasun). Like Holy Family Parish, her life work affirmed the goodness of having and raising kids and showed the next generation that we need not fear the dooms day messages of “overpopulation” or to despair about having children. So, they christened their little Anglican Parish, “The Holy Family,” and it was where we worshiped each and every summer vacation for my en-tire Army career and then where Audrey and the kids worshiped for the year I was sent to Korea by the Army. Jackie, an accomplished pianist, would play the organ and Joe would lead Morning Prayer, while the Bishop would come up for Confirmations from time to time. That’s why to this day, we cherish a photo of the extended family of the grandkids lined up at the altar proudly with Bishop Morse and their grandparents, Jackie and Joe in appropriate liturgical robes and the boy-cousins arrayed as acolytes. The photo for me symbolizes both the love of our extended families and the love of our Lord as he has engrafted all of us into his Holy Family.

Unfortunately, a full time priest was never called and/or funded to come to Holy Family Parish, and so as the years went on, an aging parish slowly faded away; and when Jackie and Joe both died within three years of each other, the flame of the parish went dark. I am thankful still for Holy Family Parish and the people that we got to know and love there, but had they had some funds to call a priest, I am sure it would still be alive today providing a place for the locals to hear the gospel and worship with the historic Church Militant.

Bishop Grundorf began this Lenten fund drive to nurture and keep alive a “Holy Family Parish” out there that needs a full time fully trained Anglican Priest to continue in the Great Commission of our Lord. I ask you to please join Audrey and me and give to the fund this Lenten season as you are able.”

—Paul Moruza

Bishop’s note: It’s not too late to give. If you have not done so, you can still contribute to the Lenten appeal. Please note checks with “2015 Lenten Ap-peal” on your check to your church. We request all funds be received by April 30, 2015.

Christians Must Learn to Listen

Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus Mark 10:46-52

Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus Mark 10:46-52

I recently read the, “The Outsider Interviews: A New Generation Speaks Out on Christianity” a book by Craig Spinks, Jim Henderson, and Todd Hunter that explores the thoughts of men and women in their 20’s and 30’s about Christianity. The book gives examples of Christians who effectively connect with the millennial generation and lead them to a life in Christ. One of those discussed is Kirk Wullf of Christ Church Anglican in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kirk loves Starbucks. He also loves connecting with people outside the Church. He spends a quarter of his day at the local Starbucks, just “hanging out.” He goes there, reads the paper, works on his computer and, notices people.

People trust Kirk, and he loves them back. Kirk is a connector. While traditional evangelists have specialized oratory skills, Kirk listens. A traditional evangelist may win people to Christ at revivals, “connectors” like Kirk listen, love, build relationships, and woo people to Christ. The most important question Kirk has to ask is, “How are you?” Kirk does the same things that all of us do. He starts conversations, listens to people, and builds relationships. The difference is that Kirk does it intentionally.

Today face-to-face dialogue occurs less frequently as people become isolated by technology. The more technologically connected people are, the lonelier they become. People long for personal connection. Christians should take advantage of this deficit of personal connection and build relationships with people outside Christ’s community.

Every Christian is a minister to the Gospel. When Jesus gave the command to, “…go and make disciples of all nations,” he spoke to all Christians. It is the job of every Christian to aid in the spread of the Gospel, and building relationships is something everyone can do. Connecting with people requires no special knowledge, unusual intelligence, or specialized skills.

Culture is undergoing a significant shift. One of the occurring shifts is that we live in a world that is skeptical about everything. People are tired of spin-doctors. They are tired of being lied to and manipulated. They wonder, “What is the truth?” Christians understand that Jesus Christ is, “the truth,” and must lead people to that “truth.”

Christians must ask, “How do people find sources of truth they believe to be dependable?” People find and pass along truth in a variety of different ways, and one of those ways is through community. Presently relationships, community, and conversation are prized over empiricism and rationalism. By intentionally taking interest in people outside the Church and building relationships with them, Kirk Wullf becomes a dependable source of truth for non-Christians. Christian, you too can build relationships and become a dependable source of truth.

Jesus is the greatest example of a relationship builder. In Jesus, God Almighty converses with human beings. Through Jesus, God listens. Through Jesus, God has human ears, a human heart, and a human brain. Through Jesus, God listened to people in first century Palestine and heard them, just as you and I do today. It is remarkable that God cares about what people have to say. In listening to people, and caring for what they say, God gains nothing. God doesn’t need anything from us. God is complete in and of Himself, and yet in Jesus, the Word of God become flesh, God listens.

Even after the Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, He still listens to us. Christian prayer is directed to Jesus. We often end our prayers, “…through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.” He hears us and responds to us. In His response, we learn something about Him and about ourselves. Jesus loves us, and develops a relationship with us through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is the exemplar of evangelism. Engage in conversation as He did, and don’t just talk, listen. Take a genuine interest in other people. Take an interest in people with whom you may not normally associate. The Word of God was in Heaven, perfectly fine in His association within the Holy Trinity. Nothing was added to Him by coming and living as one of us, amongst us. Yet He did so because He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. He redeemed us by His work on the cross. That redemption is for everyone who will enter into a relationship with Him, a relationship where Jesus is Lord and Savior.

Christians, be a connector. Be like Jesus by associating with people who offer you nothing. Converse with them, but most importantly, hear them. Take an interest in them. Listen to them and to what they say. Love them, build a relationship with them and become a trusted source of truth for them, then introduce them to the source of all truth, Jesus Christ the Lord.