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.
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.
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.