Friday, December 21, 2012

Sweet Sixteen



The Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle, Saturday 21st December 1996, on bright clear glistening snow-covered morning in Lexington, Virginia, I was ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests in Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church at Saint Paul’s Church by the Most Reverend John Thayer Cahoon, Junior of the Anglican Catholic Church. What a glorious day it was!

You go with me to the Altar of God today as the Holy Sacrifice is offered in thanksgiving for sixteen years of participation in Christ’s Holy Priesthood. Please pray for me on this day. Thank you very much and God bless you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmastide at Saint Barnabas Dunwoody




The first extant icon of Mother and Child - Saint Priscilla catacomb, Rome, 2nd Century AD.



Please remember to keep CHRIST in Christmas - and to keep MASS in Christmas as well!


The Nativity of Our Lord, or the Birthday of Christ, commonly called Christmas Eve

Monday 24th December

Family Holy Communion (hymns and carols) - 7pm

Sung Holy Communion (incense) - 10pm


The Nativity of Our Lord, or the Birthday of Christ, commonly called Christmas Day

Tuesday 25th December

Sung Holy Communion - 10am


The Feast of Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr

Wednesday 26th December

Holy Communion - Noon


The First Sunday after Christmas Day
Sunday 30th December

Holy Communion - 9am
Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmastide - 11am

The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ
Tuesday 1st January

Holy Communion - Noon

Please join us if you are in the metropolitan Atlanta area.

God bless you and Happy Christmas!






Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Appeal from the Continuing Anglican Churches to the ACNA and Associated Churches


The Continuing Anglican Church movement began with the Congress of Saint Louis in 1977.  The Anglican Church in North America was born in 2010. Between these two ecclesial movements there are points of contact, but there also is a great gulf fixed. 
 
In regard to points of contact, both of the entities concerned are movements composed of a number of imperfectly united ecclesial jurisdictions rather than perfectly united dioceses or Churches.  Both understand themselves to be Anglican and to relate in positive ways to a common history and shared theological and cultural influences.  Both understand themselves to have left former Church homes as an act of fidelity to the teaching of Scripture and in the face of grave aberrations in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.  Both are challenged by the need to present the gospel in compelling and attractive ways to an increasingly secular and indifferent Western society.
 
The gulf between us concerns mostly the changes accepted in the Episcopal Church (and the Canadian Church) between the mid-1970s and 2010.  Those of us who left the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada in the 1970s did so due to the adoption in those years of the ordination of women to the priesthood by General Convention (1976) and General Synod (1975).  More generally, in the roughly 30 years between the Congress of Saint Louis and ACNA’s formation, the people who eventually formed ACNA lived in ecclesial bodies which increasingly abandoned elements of classical Anglicanism.  The precipitating cause of the founding of the ACNA was TEC’s abandonment of orthodox Christian teaching concerning homosexuality.  But prior to 2010 many of those now in ACNA accepted liturgies and prayer books with few connections to classical Anglican worship and accepted female deacons, priests, and bishops contrary to the mind of all Anglicans prior to the mid-20th century. 
 
One of our number, in an earlier letter to Archbishop Duncan of ACNA, wrote in regard to these matters as follows:
The notion that women can receive the sacrament of Holy Orders in any of its three parts constitutes, in our view, a revolutionary and false claim:  a claim false in itself; a claim destructive of the common ministry that once united Anglicans; and, finally, a claim productive of an even broader and worse consequence.  That worse consequence is the claim that Anglicans have authority to alter important matters of
faith and order against a clear consensus in the central tradition of Catholic and Orthodox Christendom.  Once such a claim is made it may be pressed into service to alter any matter of faith or morals.  The revolution devours its children.  Many of the clergy represented at GAFCON and now joining the ACNA seem to us to accept the flawed premise and its revolutionary claim in one matter while seeking to resist the application of the premise in the matter of homosexuality.  This position seems to us to be internally inconsistent and impossible to sustain successfully over time.
All Continuing Anglicans accept this analysis.  We note that ACNA has not abandoned the putative ordination of women and that this issue deeply divides the dioceses which compose ACNA. 
 
While we recognize that the Churches through history and today are free to adopt a variety of liturgical forms, as they are not free to accept the ordination of women, yet we also agree that any sound Anglican body today needs to relate more positively to the classical Books of Common Prayer than is the case in many ACNA dioceses. 
 
Many in ACNA effectively accept elements of the revolution since the 1970s.  If orthodox Anglicanism in North America is again to unite, then it can only do so on the basis of the pre-1976 state of the Church, without women clergy and with classically Anglican liturgies.

We recognize that the Continuing Church has failed to present a united front, has failed to grow as we should, and in general has failed to present an attractive alternative to the growing heresy and absurdity of the Episcopal Church.  However, we also note that against furious opposition, and often against obstacles set up by those who later formed ACNA, we have built hundreds of congregations in North America, many of which are thriving.  We have established works of mercy, publications ministries, and international missions, and we have trained and ordained a new generation of able clergy. 
 
The Continuing Churches are said to be riven by constant conflicts and to be increasingly divided.  This is not true.  Those of us who are undersigned below represent the great bulk of the Continuing Church.  We have among ourselves cordial relations.  We cooperate on many levels and have at least as great a level of
communion as that which exists amongst the disparate groups of ACNA.  Our tendency is towards greater unity and cooperation, whereas we observe within ACNA a tendency, just beneath the surface, to divide along the fault line we have identified above (between many in ACNA and classical Anglicanism).  We have no wish to deny or to minimize our own failures or divisions.  But our divisions are largely matters amenable to improvement.  The divisions facing ACNA are fundamental and essential.
 
We call upon ACNA to heed our call to return to your classical Anglican roots.  We commend to your prayerful attention the Affirmation of Saint Louis, which we firmly believe provides a sound basis for a renewed and fulfilled Anglicanism on our continent. We urge you to heed the call of Metropolitan Jonah, whose concerns we share.  Anglicanism in North America cannot be both united and orthodox on a partially revolutionized basis.  We call upon you to repudiate firmly any claim to alter doctrine or order against the consensus of the Catholic and Orthodox world.  We call upon you to embrace the classical Prayer Book tradition.  The 30 years between our formation in 1977 and yours in 2010 were years of sharp decline in TEC numbers and of growing aberrations in all areas of Church life.  We call upon you to look upon all the works of those years with a much more critical eye, and to join us in returning to the doctrine, worship, and orders that preceded the intervening decades.
 
Yours in Christ,
 
The Right Reverend Paul Hewett, SSC
Diocese of the Holy Cross
 
The Most Reverend Walter Grundorf
Anglican Province of America
 
The Most Reverend Brian Marsh
Anglican Church in America
 
The Most Reverend Mark Haverland
Anglican Catholic Church
 
The Most Reverend Peter D. Robinson
United Episcopal Church of North America

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayers for Connecticut



Let us pray for the victims and their families in Connecticut:

O God, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.

Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us.

Jesus, mercy. Mary, pray.

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Conception of Our Lady



O GOD Most High, who didst endue with wonderful virtue and grace the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord: Grant that we, who now call her blessed, may be made very members of the heavenly family of him who was pleased to be called the first-born among many brethren; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. (1962 Canadian Prayer Book)

O ALMIGHTY God, who didst endue with singular grace the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord: Vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to hallow our bodies in purity, and our souls in humility and love; through the same our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. (1929 Scottish Prayer Book)


























The Church affirms that Mary is Full of Grace (St Luke 1.28) and therefore has no room in her life for sin, as she, the Woman whose Son is the Seed that crushed the serpent's head and who Himself was bruised by the serpent, the Mother of the Redeemer (Genesis 3.15), is perfectly faithful and obedient to the will and plan of God. 'I am the Handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy Word' (St Luke 1.38). Mary, in essence, is the Second and New Eve, who, freed from the power of sin, reverses the disobedience of the first Eve by her own obedience and fidelity to God. 'She loosed by her obedience the knot first tied by the disobedience of Eve' (St Iraneaus of Lyons). 'In the name Theotokos is wrapped-up the whole mystery of the economy of the salvation of God' (St John of Damascus).

The most ancient opinion about original sin in Our Lady was that which celebrated her freedom from original sin at the moment of the Annunciation, in which by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, Mary conceived Our Lord in her now-immaculate womb. This was called Our Lady's purification or katharsis and is still generally believed in the Eastern Churches today. 


'Conceived by the Virgin, who first in body and soul was purified by the Holy Ghost - for it was needful both that childbearing should be honoured, and that virginity should receive a higher honour, He came forth then as God with that which He had assumed, One person in two natures, flesh and Spirit, of which the latter deified the former.' (Oration 38, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus). 

This view is consistent with Scripture. We can summarise the whole subject with St Augustine of Hippo, who said so beautifully, 'Where sin is concerned, I do not even discuss it in relation to Mary.' All the Catholic Churches, including the Anglican, regardless of belief about the details of her conception, celebrate the Feast of Our Lady's Conception with great solemnity on December 8th. What all Catholics adhere to faithfully is the pious belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary is immaculate - negatively, free from sin, positively, full of all grace and virtue. So, as the Bible implies it and does not require it, the Church piously and simply calls Mary, the Spotless One.

The Eastern Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching that the Mother of God was exempted from the consequences of ancestral sin (death, corruption, sin, etc.) at the moment of her conception by virtue of the future merits of her Son. Only Christ was born perfectly holy and sinless, as St Ambrose of Milan teaches in Chapter Two of his Commentary on Luke. The Holy Virgin was like everyone else in her mortality, and in being subject to temptation, although she committed no personal sins. She was not a deified creature removed from the rest of humanity. If this were the case, she would not have been truly human, and the nature that Christ took from her would not have been truly human either. If Christ does not truly share our human nature, then the possibilty of our salvation is in doubt.

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