Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Pastoral Letter

From the Presiding Bishops of the Anglican Church in America and The Anglican Province of America

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and Peace to you all in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

This Pastoral Letter comes to you with every good wish for you and for the parish churches of the Anglican Church in America and the Anglican Province of America. It is our expectation that this letter will be read in every parish within our sister jurisdictions and distributed to all who may wish to share the news of our ongoing reconciliation process.

Nearly two years ago, bishops of the Anglican Church in America and the Anglican Province of America signed an agreement of reconciliation between our two national churches. This reconciliation agreement represents a historic step forward in the realignment of Classical Anglicans in the United States and, indeed, throughout the world. It has been a catalyst for closer cooperation between groups of Anglicans who share a common theology and a unity of purpose. The reconciliation agreement and the attendant cooperation that has been engendered by it cannot be minimized. It is an important document and will no doubt be long regarded as a necessary step in the reunion of Classical Anglicans.

At the present time, both the ACA and the APA have agreed to hold concurrent synods at a common location in October, 2014. These synods will bring our two jurisdictions together for worship and fellowship. Business sessions will be held separately, as is appropriate to individual jurisdictions. This is yet another way in which we may join together as Christians in an atmosphere of mutual support and cooperation. Some have suggested that these meetings will result in the complete reunion of our two jurisdictions. This is not the case. It is premature to enter into serious talk of such reunion when there are many preliminary details that must be worked out and many other issues resolved. Complete reunion between our jurisdictions, if and when it happens, must be left to the grace of God. It is our task to discern, as best we can, God's will, placing ourselves at His service and in the service of His church.

There are many things that have been achieved up to now. The Reconciliation Committee has produced a common Constitution to be proposed for adoption by the synods of both jurisdictions. The committee is also working on a unified set of canons. 

Such practical work is being done faithfully by those who are committed to accomplishing the work of the church in a cooperative manner. There are, we confess, historical issues, as well as issues of the heart, that must be dealt with first. As many of us know, the past history of our churches has often involved considerable heartbreak. The many fractures, schisms and improper activity have all caused great pain and injury within God's church. Much pain, along with its attendant trust issues, still remains. These should be discussed in a forthright and transparent manner. But we need also remember that, as Christians, we must be prepared to adopt an attitude of forgiveness for those who we perceive have injured us, just as we must also adopt a penitential approach to those we may have harmed. This is God's way. And we pray that He will be pleased with our work, as we seek to promote healing and full reconciliation.

Lastly, we have no particular plan aside from doing the work of God. Rumors may abound. It is perhaps natural, given our past history, to assume that there is some hidden strategy that is being covertly put forward. Such is not the case. Although many options may be discussed in various committees and among individuals and small groups, we remember that we are synodical churches; any final decisions on important matters must come before the councils of the church for ratification. But it is in the discussions, as well as within the small and large groups and committees of our churches, that we will most certainly discern the voice of God. He will speak to the unification of His church and lead us to the way and manner of that unification. But until full reconciliation is finally achieved, we must seek only to greet each other in love, working to heal the church and seeking to do no harm to any of God's people. We must embrace each other as faithful Christians and committed Anglicans. And we must always pray to God to teach us the way. Because we can never find our way without the certain guidance of Our Lord.

Your Brothers in Christ,

The Most Rev. Walter Grundorf           The Most Rev. Brian Marsh 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Church as Mission

‘The Church does not have a mission: the Church is a mission. The members of Christ in His Church are the Emissaries and Ambassadors of Christ in our age, the light and salt of our generation, the hands and feet of Christ in the world. The Church is nothing less than the extension of Christ’s own Ministry in time and space – that is what it means to be the Body of Christ, which phrase is not merely a metaphor, but the description of a mysterious reality. Ye are the Body of Christ and members in particular. We are the whole Christ, totus Christus, Head and Body together, Head and members together. The Holy Eucharist, the Body of Christ, is given to the Church, the Body of Christ, so that she may truly be the Body of Christ. The Blessed Sacrament empowers us to ‘do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in.’ It makes the Church to be the Church, so that the Church may fulfil the calling and the very Work of Christ.’

I am delighted to inform you on behalf of the Vestry of Saint Barnabas Church that we have, as a parish, recently dedicated ourselves anew in a vital way to the Great Commission of Our Saviour Jesus Christ (Saint Matthew 28.16-20) to make disciples of all nations and to serve Christ’s little ones, the poor and needy, according to the blessing which we have been given by the Lord. We have lately been graced to offer support to the following ministries: the Norcross Cooperative Ministry, the Community Assistance Centre, Pregnancy Resources of Doraville, Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Fort Valley/Warner Robbins, Georgia, a sister parish which is planning the construction of a new building, the Clergy Training Centre of the Anglican Church in the Philippines, and two parishes of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Our parish corporately has again committed itself to this kind of outreach. Now we ask individual members and friends to unite with us in this journey of faith, hope and love, the Way of Christ’s Pilgrim People.

The challenge which the Lord now places before each of us is personal involvement. No baptised and confirmed Christian should ever be ashamed to confess the Faith of Christ Crucified and should be willing manfully to fight under His banner against sin, the world and the devil, to be Christ’s faithful soldier and servant. Each and every Christian bears the mantle of Christ’s Ministry of Prophet, Priest and King to all creation. Every baptised Christian is set apart to be a missionary, an evangelist, a bearer of the Gospel. Every member of Christ’s Church is called to serve Him in our neighbour. We are the embodiment of the Love of Christ, which constraineth  us.

Each of the local ministries listed above stands in continual need of our own ministry and service; they need us to help - and all that is required of us is our own precious time, talent and energy. We encourage all of our faithful to become more engaged and invested in the work of Jesus Christ to those who need us, especially to those who may be afflicted or distressed in mind, body or estate. May it please God that through us those in need may be comforted and relieved according to their several necessities and may even find a happy issue out of all their afflictions. (Saint James 2.14-26).

To love one’s neighbour as oneself, and thus to fulfil the Lord’s Commandments, is not a sentiment or feeling, but an action. Faith that is not put into action cannot transform, does not become a ‘living faith.’ Faith in action, faith that acts upon what it professes it believes, is love. Real love demands something of us, a real gift of self to the other, a genuine self-donation, sacrifice. Love means willing and doing what is best for the other person without considering the consequences for oneself. Our time, talent and energy are indeed exquisite and beautiful gifts, valuable beyond reckoning – and that is surely why the Lord rejoices in our offering of them to Him in and for His own. Please consider ways in which one can become more active in fulfilling the desire of the Lord Jesus’s heart – and join us in our quest! The Clergy will be privileged to assist one if one is interested in participating in local ministry.

Finally, a most important notice for the month of September: please join us for the Annual Parish Meeting of Saint Barnabas Church on Sunday 29th September! The Holy Communion, the one liturgy for the day, will be celebrated at 10am and will be immediately followed by the Annual Meeting, during which reports on the parish will be given, and the business of the congregation (including the adoption of the proposed annual budget) conducted. A splendid luncheon will be served to the parish following the meeting. Please be certain to join us for this important occasion. In addition to parish reports at the Annual Meeting, we shall elect two Vestry members (3 year terms), two Diocesan Synod (2014 only) delegates, and one Provincial Synod (2014 only) delegate. Nomination forms may be found in the narthex and must be submitted to the Rector by Saturday 7th September.
God bless you!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

On the Orthodox Faith: Saint John of Damascus on Our Lady

We proclaim the holy Virgin to be in strict truth the Mother of God, the Theotokos, the God-bearer. For inasmuch as He who was born of her was true God, she who bare the true God incarnate is the true mother of God. For we hold that God was born of her, not implying that the divinity of the Word received from her the beginning of its being, but meaning that God the Word Himself, Who was begotten of the Father timelessly before the ages, and was with the Father and the Spirit without beginning and through eternity, took up His abode in these last days for the sake of our salvation in the Virgin's womb, and was without change made flesh and born of her.

For the holy Virgin did not bare mere man but true God: and not mere God but God incarnate, Who did not bring down His body from Heaven, nor simply passed through the Virgin as channel, but received from her flesh of like essence to our own and subsisting in Himself. For if the body had come down from heaven and had not partaken of our nature, what would have been the use of His becoming man? For the purpose of God the Word becoming man was that the very same nature, which had sinned and fallen and become corrupted, should triumph over the deceiving tyrant and so be freed from corruption, just as the divine apostle puts it, For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. If the first is true the second must also be true.

The Apostle says: God sent forth His only-begotten Son, made of a woman. He did not say made by a woman. Wherefore the divine apostle meant that the only-begotten Son of God is the same as He who was made man of the Virgin, and that He who was born of the Virgin is the same as the Son of God.

But He was born after the bodily fashion inasmuch as He became man, and did not take up His abode in a man formed beforehand, as in a prophet, but became Himself in essence and truth man, that is He caused flesh animated with the intelligent and reasonable to subsist in His own subsistence, and Himself became subsistence for it. For this is the meaning of ‘made of a woman.’ For how could the very Word of God Himself have been made under the law, if He did not become man of like essence with ourselves?

Hence it is with justice and truth that we call the holy Mary the Mother of God. For this name embraces the whole mystery of the dispensation of salvation. For if she who bore Him is the Mother of God, assuredly He Who was born of her is God and likewise also man. For how could God, Who was before the ages, have been born of a woman unless He had become man? For the son of man must clearly be man himself. But if He Who was born of a woman is Himself God, manifestly He Who was born of God the Father in accordance with the laws of an essence that is divine and knows no beginning, and He Who was in the last days born of the Virgin in accordance with the laws of an essence that has beginning and is subject to time, that is, an essence which is human, must be one and the same. The name in truth signifies the one subsistence and the two natures and the two generations of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When the fullness of time had come, the messenger of the Lord was sent to her, with the good news of our Lord's conception. And thus she conceived the Son of God by the good pleasure of the Father and co-operation of the Holy Spirit. She ministered to the Creator in that He was created, to the Fashioner in that He was fashioned, and to the Son of God in that He was made flesh and became man from her pure and immaculate flesh and blood, satisfying the debt of the first mother. For just as the latter was formed from Adam without connection, so also did the former bring forth the new Adam.

For He who was of the Father, yet without mother, was born of woman without a father's co-operation. The Son of God incarnate, therefore, was born of her, not a divinely-inspired man but God incarnate; not a prophet anointed with energy but the Anointed One in His completeness, so that the Anointer became man, not by a change of nature but by union in subsistence. For the Anointer and the Anointed were one and the same, anointing in the capacity of God Himself as man. Must there not therefore be a Mother of God who bore God incarnate? Assuredly she who played the part of the Creator's servant and mother is in all strictness and truth, in reality, God's Mother and Lady and Queen over all other created things.

This blessed woman, called blessed by all generations, who was deemed worthy of gifts that are supernatural, suffered those pains which she escaped at Christ’s birth, in the hour of the passion, enduring from motherly sympathy the rending of the bowels, and when she beheld Him, Whom she knew to be God by the manner of His generation, killed as a malefactor, her thoughts pierced her as a sword, and this is the meaning of this verse: Yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also. But the joy of the resurrection transforms the pain, proclaiming Him Who died in the flesh, to be God.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Timelines of the English Reformation: Edward VI and the Edwardine Reformation

1537: King Edward VI is born, the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

1547: Henry dies; Edward ascends the English Throne.

1547: The Privy Council, and Somerset and the Duke of Northumberland take control of the nation and impose Calvinist doctrine on the Church of England; they establish an Erastian civil and ecclesiastical government.

The Book of Homilies and the Injunctions of Thomas Cranmer are published – they condemn many ancient, traditional practices and doctrines, including use of pictures and statues, and forbid candles except for two before the Blessed Sacrament in the church building.

The Great Bible of 1535 and the biblical paraphrase of Erasmus are required to be placed in every parish church.

The Epistle and Gospel must be sung in English during High Masses.

1547:  The Acts of Parliament –

Legal penalties are imposed on those who speak irreverently of the Blessed Sacrament.

Holy Communion must be given in both kinds.

The royal nomination of bishops is eliminated – letters patent are used instead.

The Lollard heresy laws are repealed – the followers of John Wycliffe are permitted openly to profess their religious beliefs, which are: personal faith alone justifies for salvation, divine election and predestination, sola Scriptura, individual interpretation of the Bible alone suffices for the explication of Scripture, a denial of the Real Presence, the priesthood, and the hierarchy, and a belief that the validity of sacraments depends on the personal holiness or worthiness of the minister (Donatism).

The Six Articles of Henry VIII are repealed.

1548:  The Proclamations of the Privy Council  –

A number of ceremonies are banned, including ashes, palms, holy water, processions.

All sacred images are abolished.

The Order of Communion in English (1548) is required to be used at Mass: at this time the Mass is still celebrated in Latin according to the Sarum Use. The Order is the first Eucharistic rite in English during the English Reformation.

Holy Communion in both kinds is reinforced.

Clerical Marriage is recognised by law.

1549: The Act of Uniformity

The First Book of Common Prayer is created and imposed by penal legislation. The entire reformed liturgical rite of the Church of England is promulgated in the vernacular in one book, a first in English history.

1550: The Anglican Ordinal is created and imposed by penal legislation. It perpetuates the Three Sacred Orders of the Apostolic Ministry, Bishops, Priests and Deacons. (This rite is condemned as sacramentally invalid by the Roman Pope Leo XIII in 1896, but recognised as valid by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1922). 

1550: The destruction of stone altars and their substitution with wooden altars is enforced by Bishop Ridley of London.

1552: A second, more Calvinist edition of the Book of Common Prayer is imposed without parliamentary or Convocation approval.

1553: The Forty-Two Articles are imposed on Church of England, along with a new Catechism and Primer of a decidedly reformed protestant orientation.

A royal mandate requires all clergy, schoolmasters and university members upon taking degrees to subscribe to the XLII Articles. They are written by Thomas Cranmer, but never receive the consent of Convocation and are never enforced by law.

The Forty-Two Articles of 1553 have four additional articles of an eschatological nature, namely on the resurrection of the dead, on the condition of the souls of the departed, on the millenarian heresy, and on eternal damnation of the wicked. All four were dropped at the revision of 1563 which produced the Thirty-Eight Articles. The addition of article XXIX on the manducatio impiorum achieved the final number of the XXXIX Articles of the Church of England.

In 1563, Convocation met under Archbishop Matthew Parker to revise the Articles. Convocation passed only 39 of the 42, and Queen Elizabeth I reduced the number to 38 by throwing out Article XXIX. In 1571, the 29th Article, despite the opposition of Bishop Edmund Guest, author of Article XXVIII, was inserted. The language of Article XXIX is based on the writings of Saint Augustine.

 1553: King Edward dies - bringing his Reformation, the most radical phase of the English Reformation, to an end. 

Timelines of the English Reformation: Henry VIII and the Henrician Reformation

From our current class at Saint Barnabas Dunwoody, every Thursday following the 7pm Eucharist.

1521: King Henry VIII granted title Defensor Fidei, Defender of the Faith, by Pope Leo X.

1527: King Henry decides to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon, widow of his brother Arthur, for which marriage Henry had received special dispensation from Rome – the Pope is imprisoned by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Catherine’s nephew.

1529: Seeking a male heir, King Henry resolves to repudiate papal authority, moves to divorce Catherine of Aragon by seeking judgements of invalidity of the marriage from university scholars abroad.

1530: The Clergy are forced to recognise Royal Supremacy in Convocation.

1532: A Common’s Petition for Royal Supremacy and the Submission of the Clergy acts are passed; acts opposing taxes, annates and first fruits sent to the See of Rome, are passed in Convocation.

1533: Thomas Cranmer consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury with papal approval; appeals to Rome outlawed; Archbishop Cranmer declares Henry’s marriage to Catherine invalid. Henry marries Anne Boleyn; Anne crowned Queen; the Pope excommunicates Henry and declares his marriage to Anne invalid.

1534: Parliament passes the Act for Submission of the Clergy, revises the regulation of church appointments, and forbids ecclesiastical appeals to Rome; it forbids payment of Peter’s pence; canonical dispensation powers are transferred to the See of Canterbury from the See of Rome: the Royal Supremacy is enacted. The oath of royal succession and royal supremacy are required. The royal succession given to Anne’s children, not Catherine’s.

1535: Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher refuse the oaths and are executed by the King.

1536-1539: the Dissolution of the Monasteries; the transfer of wealth to the monarchy; six new Dioceses created, Westminster, Gloucester, Peterborough, Oxford, Chester, Bristol; the Pilgrimage of Grace in the north is suppressed.

1536: The Ten Articles accepted by the Church of England:

1. That Holy Scriptures and the three Creeds are the basis and summary of a true Christian faith, reasserting the binding authority of the Bible, the three Ecumenical Creeds, and the first Four Ecumenical Councils.

2. That baptism conveys remission of sins and the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, and is absolutely necessary as well for children as adults, reasserting the necessity of baptism for salvation, even in the case of infants. Article II states that 'infants ought to be baptized;' that, dying in infancy, they 'shall undoubtedly be saved thereby, and else not; the opinions of Anabaptists and Pelagians are 'detestable heresies, and utterly to be condemned.'

3. That Penance consists of contrition, confession, and reformation, and is necessary to salvation, reasserting the Sacrament of Penance, with confession and absolution - which are declared 'expedient and necessary.'

4. That the Body and Blood of Christ are really present in the elements of the Eucharist, reasserting the substantial, real, corporal presence of Christ's Body and Blood under the form of bread and wine.

5. That justification is remission of sin and reconciliation to God by the merits of Christ; but good works are necessary, reasserting justification by faith, joined with charity and obedience.

6. That images are useful as reminders, but are not objects of worship, reasserting the use of images in churches.

7. That saints are to be honoured as examples of life, and as furthering our prayers, reasserting the veneration of the saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

8. That saints may be invoked as intercessors, and their holy days observed, reasserting the invocation of saints.

9. That ceremonies are to be observed for the sake of their mystical signification, and as conducive to devotion, reasserting the observance of various rites and ceremonies as good and laudable, such as clerical vestments, sprinkling of holy water, bearing of candles on Candlemas, and imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday.

10. That prayers for the faithful departed are good and useful, but the efficacy of papal pardon, and of Masses offered at certain localities, is rejected, reasserting prayers for the dead.

1538: English Bibles are set in Churches.

1539: The Six Articles are accepted by the Church of England.

1. The doctrine of transubstantiation. Those denying this were to be burnt.

2. The reasonableness of withholding of the Cup from the laity - Holy Communion in both kinds is unnecessary.

3. Clerical celibacy, priests ought not to marry.

4. Observance of vows of chastity: the vows of chastity ought to be observed in both sexes.

5. Permission for private Masses: private Masses are allowable.

6. The importance and necessity of auricular Confession.

If Articles II through VI were impeached, the penalties were, for the first offence, confiscation of property, and for the second, execution as a felon. 

1543: The requirement and authorisation of the Use of Sarum as the liturgical rite for the Province of Canterbury; the King’s Book is promulgated.

The Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for Any Christian Man, also known as the King's Book, was published in 1543, and attributed to Henry VIII. It was a revision of The Institution of the Christian Man, and defended transubstantiation and the Six Articles. It also encouraged preaching and condemned the wrong use of images.

1544: The English Litany is promulgated to be used throughout the Church of England, the first English language liturgy officially authorised in the Reformation.

It contains three invocations of saints:

Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God our Saviour Jesus Christ, pray for us
All holy Angels and Archangels and all holy orders of blessed spirits, pray for us.
All holy patriarchs, and Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, and Virgins, and all the blessed company of heaven, pray for us.

1545: Chantries in the Church of England are suppressed.

45th Anniversary of Saint Barnabas Atlanta

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