Friday, May 31, 2013

'Forward in Faith' from the Eastern Orthodox to Anglicans

A fascinating presentation given to the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen on 25th May 2013 in Fredericksburg, Virginia by Father Anthony Bondi, Pastoral Vicar for the Western Rite of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia:
Some interesting quotes:

The unique point here was that the Anglican Community had long sought rapprochement with the Orthodox Church. Many Orthodox Christians recognized the existence of apostolic continuity in Anglicanism.

From the 19th century, Anglican members of the Association of Eastern Churches sought 'mutual recognition' with the Orthodox Church and its members believed that 'both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments'.

I can say with certainty that the introduction of the female episcopate excludes even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the apostolic continuity of the Anglican hierarchy. We are also extremely concerned and disappointed by other processes that are manifesting themselves in churches of the Anglican Communion.

'Tradition is the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church - the life giving to every member of the Body of Christ the ability to hear, accept and know the Truth in its inherent shining, not in the natural light of human reason'.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Orthodox communities discussed seriously the recognition of Anglican priesthood based on its recognized apostolic continuity.

And to the Continuing Churches: ...So the first suggestion is that you need to hold the same faith and practice....

But the creation of Anglican Rite Dioceses or groupings by the Eastern Orthodox Churches has been characterised by some commentators a Western Rite uniatism. Is it? Traditional Anglicans would be compelled to say that such a movement is not the restoration of the full sacramental communion between equal and duly-constituted sister Churches for which Traditional Anglicans have long prayed and worked, L'Eglise Anglicane Unie non Absorbee, 'united not absorbed,' but is rather precisely that which orthodox Anglicanism cannot accept on theological, historical and moral grounds - absorption. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

APA Deanery of Appalachia Confirmations and Receptions

At Saint Matthew's Church, Weaverville, North Carolina on Saturday 4th May with 
the Very Reverend John Lathrop, Rector.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

The Holy Ghost and You

In May this year, we celebrate the great festival commonly described as the Birthday of the Church, the Feast of Pentecost or Whitsunday, fifty days after Our Lord’s glorious Resurrection from the dead. Although the Church, the Body and Bride of Christ, was truly conceived and born by Our Lord on the Cross of Calvary, when the water signifying Holy Baptism and the blood signifying the Holy Eucharist gushed forth from His wounded side (Saint John 19.34), the New and Second Eve vivified by the Dominical Sacraments of the Gospel, the Church, taken from the side of the New and Second Adam, the New Creation Himself (Genesis 2.20-25, I Corinthians 15.47), that Church was filled with the power, grace, life, light and divinity of God the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, on Pentecost, when the Comforter descended on the Apostles, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other holy men and women gathered in the Upper Room awaiting ‘the promise of the Father.’ (Acts of the Apostles 1 and 2).

But when does the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter Whom the Father sends in the Name of the Son (Saint John 14.26), descend upon us and fill our souls with His power and presence? Do we receive Him in the same way as did the Primitive Church, with tongues of fire and a rushing mighty wind? Or do we receive Him personally, corporately, individually in another less dramatic but equally powerful way?

The answer is: we receive the fullness of the Holy Ghost, the operation and presence of theHoly Ghost in a unique way, in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Some people know much about this Sacrament, but others, especially those outside the Churches of the Apostolic Succession, may know nothing about it all. Many Anglicans may not realise or recognise the import of this Sacrament. Like all of the Seven Sacraments, Confirmation has two parts; the part one can see and the part one cannot see. One can see the Bishop placing his hands on the head of a person who has already been baptised, and one can hear him praying. This is the outward part of the Sacrament. Perhaps one has seen a Bishop confirming; if one has, one will remember how in a short service the children, and perhaps some adults as well, went and knelt before him. One may even remember the prayer the Bishop said:

Defend, O Lord, this thy child with thy heavenly grace; that he may continue thine forever; and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting kingdom. Amen.

In different branches of the Church Catholic the words are different; but the important element is the laying-on-of-hands by a Successor of the Holy Apostles. The part which none can see is what God does in the souls of those who come to be confirmed. When the Bishop lays on his hands, God sends the Holy Ghost to make their souls strong. This is the inward part of the Sacrament. Our Lord Jesus Christ calls the Holy Ghost the Comforter, παράκλητος  – the Paraclete, literally, ‘He who is called along side,’  ‘He who strengthens, who makes strong’ - Advocate, Guide, Helper, Encourager, Consoler, Intercessor, Refresher, Summoner, Liberator, Supporter (Saint John 14.16, 15.26, 16.7).  The Holy Ghost comes to our souls to make us strong to keep the promises that we made when we were baptised into Christ.

We cannot see the Holy Ghost coming – just as we cannot see the wind, only its effect. Therefore, we should be able to see the result of the Holy Ghost in our souls, although we cannot see His descent: the result of the Holy Ghost’s indwelling should be a good and holy life. When we have been confirmed, we belong to God even more than before. The Holy Ghost seals us as His own – as we would seal a letter we want to send to our friend. The Holy Ghost seals and marks our souls as His own, to make especially sure we get to Heaven. ‘And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption’ (Ephesians 4.30). As the Bishop may say at Confirmation when he administers the chrism: The seal of the gift of the Holy GhostIn Confirmation, Christ chrismates Christians with the chrism of the Holy Spirit. The Anointed One anoints the anointed ones with the One who is the Unction from above. Confirmation is our personal Pentecost, for each and everyone one of us (Acts of the Apostles 8.14-23, I9.1-7).

The Holy Ghost remains in our souls always, and we should always remember that we possess this special Strengthening Gift. When we were baptised, we became God’s Children by adoption and grace. When we are confirmed, we become God’s Soldiers in a new and special way. When we were baptised, we were given the gift of spiritual Regeneration and New Life in Christ by the Holy Ghost. When we are confirmed, we are given the gift of strength to make perfect the life of grace.

We more fully understand what a wonderful mystery and Sacrament Confirmation truly is when we recall Who the Holy Ghost is. The Third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost, proceeded forth and fell upon the Church on the first Whitsunday. He filled the Church with His strength so that she could go and do wonderful works for God. When we are confirmed, the Holy Ghost fills us with strength so that we too can go and accomplish wonderful achievements for God.

We can only be baptised once, and we can only be confirmed once. In fact, it is very much like being born and then growing up. The new-born child (the baptised) needs strength to grow into adulthood and maturity (the confirmed).

If we have not yet been confirmed, we should look forward to the day we shall be. If we have been confirmed, we should consider how we are using that marvellous Gift of God the Holy Ghost that we have within us.

God bless you and keep you in this holy Whitsuntide!


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Episcopal Consecration of James Randall Hiles

The Right Reverend James Randall Hiles was consecrated Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of the Northeast  of the Anglican Church in America on Saturday, April 27th 2013 at Saint Paul's Church, Brockton, Massachusetts. 

The Most Reverend Brian R. Marsh, Presiding Bishop of the ACA and Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the Northeast, was Chief Consecrator.

The seven Co-Consecrators were:

The Right Reverend Stephen D. Strawn, Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of the Missouri Valley, ACA
The Most Reverend Walter H. Grundorf, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of America, and Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the Eastern United States, APA
The Right Reverend John Vaughan, Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of the Eastern United States, ACA
The Right Reverend Michael Gill, Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of Pretoria, Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Right Reverend Edward H. Macburney, retired Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Quincy, The Episcopal Church 
The Right Reverend Juan Garcia, Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, ACA
The Right Reverend George D. Langberg, retired Bishop Ordinary, Diocese of the Northeast, ACA

45th Anniversary of Saint Barnabas Atlanta

What a sheer joy to celebrate today the 45th Anniversary of   Saint Barnabas Anglican Cathedral, Atlanta, Georgia!