Friday, December 24, 2021

A Blessed Christmas 2021 to all!

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message


In the ancient Church, the Feast of Christmas was often called the Magnum Mysterium, the Great Mystery, or Sacrament. Our Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Great Mystery, or Sacrament, God made visible, God made Man. And Jesus gives Himself to us this and every Christmas, the most unfathomable Christmas gift ever… Christmas is all about the Holy Incarnation and how we are plugged into it.

The term sacrament derives from the Latin word sacramentum, which means 'oath' or 'covenant,' a word used of soldiers and government officials in the Roman empire who swore an oath of allegiance to serve faithfully in their offices. The Latin word sacrament, which itself is not found in Scripture, just as the words 'Trinity' and homoousios ('of one substance with the Father' in the Nicene Creed) are not found in Scripture, is first invoked in the postapostolic Church of the second century to describe the sacred rites instituted by Our Lord which convey divine grace and are therefore 'oaths of Christ,' covenanted means of grace which communicate divine life by the promise and power of Christ. Such Western Church Fathers as Tertullian, Saint Cyprian, and Saint Augustine freely use the word sacrament to describe what are today reckoned as seven mystical rites conveying the grace of Jesus Christ.

The original word for a sacrament as a means of divine grace, or as an effectual sign of grace causing what it symbolises, is 'mystery' or, in Greek, musterion. The Western Church translates ‘mystery’ from Scripture as ‘sacrament,’ although in the Eastern Church to this day, the Sacraments are called the Holy Mysteries. Saint Paul uses the term musterion in reference to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony - 'Behold, I tell you of a great mystery, which is of Christ and the Church' (Ephesians 5.32). In union with the Eastern Tradition, the Book of Common Prayer refers to the Holy Eucharist as the Holy Mysteries par excellence (BCP Page 83, Thanksgiving).

The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, ordained by Christ Himself, as means whereby we receive the same, and pledges to assure us thereof. The principle of the sacraments is found in the whole Bible, and in its fulness in the New Testament, that is, in the Incarnation of the Word of God, Jesus Christ. God becomes Man so that man may become one with God. God assumes human nature in the Incarnation, all that pertains to man, human body, mind, soul, and spirit, so that human nature may be redeemed, sanctified, and glorified by God to share in the divine life.

The sacraments are the extension of the Incarnation - they communicate the divine life of Christ to our human nature, and thus to our whole persons. We cannot be saved or redeemed or glorified apart from our own human nature as human beings. We must be regenerated and transformed, as human beings, into the children of God. And so God, in wonderful condescension and love, takes on our human nature and unites it to the Person of the Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

God takes our human nature, divinises it, and gives it back to us in the sacraments, so that we may, in our own human nature, partake of God Himself. As the Fathers love to say: 'we become by grace what God is by nature.'

The Incarnation and the Sacraments are two expressions of one reality: God the Son becomes Man, and then takes that Hypostatic Union, human flesh united to the Divine Word, and conveys it to the members of His own Mystical Body, the Church, in and through the Sacraments.

This is why the Great Tradition teaches that the pre-eminent Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist are generally necessary to salvation: Baptism, as the Sacrament of New Birth, mystically unites us to the crucified and risen Christ and regenerates our human nature into the nature of the Son of God (St John 3.3-7, Romans 6.1-11, Galatians 3.22-29). We become children of God and members of Christ's Body in Baptism.

The Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, nourishes us with the human nature and divinity of Christ unto everlasting life (St John 6.53-59, 1 Corinthians 10.14-22, 11.23-34). Our Lord's True Body and True Blood are really contained, really given, and really eaten, objectively, under the forms of bread and wine in the Eucharist, after an heavenly and supernatural manner, so that we may partake of Christ's human nature and be recreated by it. 

We must be born to live, and we must eat to continue life. Holy Baptism is our supernatural birth; the Holy Eucharist is our Food in the order of grace. 

Ours is a 'body religion,' the Church as the Body of Christ, the Religion of the Incarnation, which is made a reality in us sacramentally. There is only One Body of Christ, in the Incarnation, in the Eucharist, and in the Church, us.

Thus, man is a sacrament. Man is a composite being of body and soul, an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual reality. Man's outward sign is his body; man's inward and spiritual reality is his soul and spirit. Mankind is a living sacrament: he simultaneously exists as material and spiritual, physical and supernatural, united together in one cohesive entity. When the soul leaves the body, death occurs, which is for man an unnatural state not intended by God in His first creation of us. Man was created to be forever alive, forever immortal in a sacramental state.

Any religious view or teaching which downplays the role of the body in the Christian revelation is really gnostic or docetic; as such, it rejects the essential goodness and role of the human body in salvation. The Church from the beginning has been attacked by these heresies of docetism (which held that Our Lord only appeared to be man but was in truth a phantasm or ghost who had no real human nature) and gnosticism (which teaches that man is saved by a cerebral intellectual knowledge which frees the spirit from the prison of the body and of created matter, which creation is held to be evil). Man is a sacrament, made of body and of soul.

The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the Great Sacrament, being God and Man in One Divine Person with two natures, human and divine. Jesus is perfect God and perfect Man, perfectly both at once in the Incarnation. God becomes Incarnate, a Sacrament, to redeem and glorify man, a sacrament, and gives us His natures to be ours in Sacraments. The link between Jesus Christ and man, whom He came to save, is His own Incarnation, which is extended, given, and received in the Sacraments of Holy Church.

Jesus Christ is the best and greatest Christmas gift of all – and He awaits us at the Christmas Altar so that we may receive Him in our Christmas Communions!

Please be assured of my love and prayers for each and every one of you and your families. A joyous and happy Christmas to you all - God bless you!


Monday, December 20, 2021

Silver Jubilee of Priestly Ordination

Tuesday 21st December 2021, the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle, is my Silver Jubilee, the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of my Ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I was priested by Archbishop John Thayer Cahoon Junior of the Anglican Catholic Church at Saint Paul's Church, Lexington, Virginia.
An Anniversary Mass on the Feast will be celebrated at 7pm at Saint Barnabas Anglican Cathedral, Dunwoody, Georgia, to which all are invited. Please do pray for me and God bless you!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Continuing Church

Recently I discovered that Father Alfred Hope Patten, the restorer of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, prophesied the formation of the Continuing Church years before it happened: 'I am more and more coming to the opinion that Catholics in communion with Canterbury must consider the example of the Wee Frees of the Scots - the day cannot be far off when some of us will have to go out into the desert - and there prove our catholicity - after which perhaps a united body may be formed as a link.'

Friday, December 17, 2021

Christmas 2021 - Saint Barnabas Dunwoody


Our 2021 Christmas Mass schedule...

Christmas Eve, Friday 24th December

6.30pm - Choral Presentation and Congregational Carol Singing
7pm - Family Eucharist

9.30pm - Choral Presentation and Congregational Carol Singing
10pm - Solemn High Mass

Christmas Day, Saturday 25th December

10am - Sung Mass

Let us keep MASS in Christmas! God bless you! 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Blessed Advent!

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Assumption of Our Lady

The Feast of 15th August existed in all Christian liturgical calendars Eastern and Western for 1400 years until the 16th century, and since then it has been retained in Prayer Books of the Anglican Communion: the 1929 Scottish, the 1954 South African, and the 1962 Canadian Books of Common Prayer all celebrate it, for example. It has long been celebrated in the American Church with supplemental texts from the Missals, which have been perennially authorised in this country.  The Assumption, Dormition, or Falling Asleep of Our Lady is most definitively an Anglican feast day. 

In short, the 15th August feast is the 'heavenly birthday' of Our Lord's Mother. She died and went to heaven. The final destiny and glorification of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the first believer and Christian, the model and pattern of Christian faith and discipleship, is recorded in Holy Scripture in the Book of Revelation... 

The passage describes the Mother of God as the Ark of the New Covenant, the one who bears God in her womb in the Incarnation, the Temple and Throne of God, who has been taken up into heaven, resplendent with the glory of God. The light of Christ, the sun, illuminates her,  the moon signifies her reflection of God's glory, and the twelve stars represent the fullness of God's covenant completed in her childbirth, the twelve patriarchs and tribes of the Old Testament and the Twelve Apostles of the New. She is portrayed as the Virgin Daughter of Zion, the Davidic Queen Mother whose Divine Son, the Messiah, is the New Creation, the King and Lord of all. Here, the Mother of Our Lord is shown forth as the image of the Church - and what happens to her is promised to happen to all who are conformed to Jesus and follow the Lord as faithful disciples and witnesses. In the Book of Revelation, Mary is presented as the first believer fully to experience what is offered to all who are in Christ. 

'And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne' (Revelation 11.19-12.5). 

The Assumption (assumptio) or Dormition (koimesis - Falling Asleep) of Our Lady is not a dogmatic revelation, but a doxological mystery, expressed liturgically in prayer and intended for those who have been initiated into the Christian verity and who live in the heart of the Church. The bodily death and glorification of the Holy Virgin is an ancient component of Christian doctrine and teaching and has been universally held as true by both the Eastern and Western Churches since the fourth and fifth centuries - it is undoubtedly possessive of orthoodox consensus. 

For example, Saint Germanus of Constantinople and Saint John Damascene, the Seal of the Fathers and the great synthesiser and expositor of patristic tradition, preach beautiful homilies affirming the death and bodily glorification of the Mother of God. 

Even protestants such as Martin Luther believed and taught that Our Lord's Mother was exalted to heaven in her body. 

Enoch (Genesis 5.24) and Elijah (II Kings 2) experienced the same reality of assumption in the times of the Old Testament. 

All Christians have believed in the Assumption in one form or another since the patristic age, a belief reinforced by the lack of relics of the Holy Virgin, and the veneration of the place of her repose and glorification, going back to the beginnings of church-building and public liturgies after Roman persecution. Our Lady died and was physically raised and glorified after death as a sign and promise of our own resurrection and glorification on the Last Day. Mary's Assumption is the foretaste of the assumption of the whole Church. What Jesus does for her, He will do for us. 

This is because Our Lady is the icon and type of the Church, the prototypical Christian, whose passage through death, judgement, and glorification anticipates the future glory of the whole Church as Christ's Body and Bride. Our Lord did not wish to see the one from whom He assumed His human nature corrupted by death, nor His flesh found in His own Mother subject to destruction, and so the Church has ever taught in her ancient Tradition.

Although the Assumption or Dormition is a consentient and universal part of ancient Tradition, it does not stand on the same level as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Virginal Conception and Birth of Our Lord, or the Resurrection of Christ, and thus it is not acknowledged either by Anglicans or Eastern Orthodox as an essential article of the Faith and Creeds. Neither Anglicans nor Eastern Orthodox desire to dogmatise the mysteries of Our Lord's Mother. These are mysteries of love. Therefore we do not recognise the necessity of believing any version of this ancient doctrine for eternal salvation and it is not accounted a dogma, or revealed truth necessary for salvation, of the Gospel. But it is a beautiful and comforting belief which points squarely to the glory of Christ's Resurrection and its power to save all who are united to Him. 

An Anglican is free to believe or not believe in Our Lady's corporeal Assumption, but all agree she died and went to Heaven! And that heaven-going, hers and ours, is what we celebrate on 15th August. 

Monday, August 02, 2021

Changing Leadership, Changeless Faith

On the morning of July 21, 2021, the 53rd Annual Synod of the Diocese of the Eastern United States (DEUS) convened in Atlanta, Georgia, the Most Rev’d Walter H. Grundorf, D.D., presiding. This synod was significant due to Bishop Grundorf’s retirement, which would take effect at the close of the synod. Bishop Grundorf became Ordinary of the Diocese in 1995 and has served with distinction for all these years as Chief Pastor of the Diocese. Bishop Grundorf has also served as Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of America since its erection in 1998.

On the evening of July 22, 2021, the clergy and laity of the Anglican Province of America (APA) gathered at St. Barnabas Cathedral in Dunwoody, Georgia for the Installation and Enthronement of the Most Rev’d Chandler H. Jones, SSC, as the new Bishop Ordinary of the DEUS. Bishop Grundorf was the Chief Institutor, assisted by Co-institutors, Archdeacons Mark Menees and Michael Ward.

On Friday morning, July 23, 2021, the 10th Synod of the APA ratified the House of Bishops’ election of Bishop Jones as Presiding Bishop. Bishop Jones was installed as Presiding Bishop at the closing Eucharist of the APA Synod that same morning.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

8/1/2021 - Trinity IX Sunday Mass - Saint Barnabas Atlanta

Enid Chadwick Images

Two hand-painted images from the famous Anglo-Catholic artist Enid Chadwick which have come into the possession of our family - Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Saint Monica.

Apostolic Succession

What Apostolic Succession looks like... the end of the 2021 Provincial Synod of the Anglican Province of America.

May 2024 Comprovincial Newsletter

The Comprovincial Newsletter for May 2024 -