Welcome to San Francisco Anglicans

Copy of SF Logo Background 3Welcome to San Francisco Anglicans! This website exists to help people get connected to congregations in the Bay Area that are affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). If you’d like to get connected with a local priest in San Francisco, please feel free to reach out to Fr. Ryan Jones – ryan@eucharistSF.org or 415.685.3429. If you’re looking more broadly at the Bay Area, please reach out to Fr. Ed McNeill – ed@newanglicanchurch.com who is the Dean offering oversight of the Bay Area congregations connected to Churches for the Sake of Others (ACNA diocese).

If you’re looking for an Anglican congregation in San Francisco itself, Eucharist Church is what you’re looking for (since we’re the only ACNA congregation currently). We are a young congregation made up of Anglican transplants, newly confirmed Anglicans, people who appreciate a three-stream (Evangelical, Charismatic and Sacramental) approach to worship, seekers and more.

We look forward to getting to meet you!

 
Archbishop Foley Beach addresses Provincial Council 2016


Council delegates, laity, clergy, and bishops of the Province, and our esteemed guests who are here:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (Eph.1:2,3 ESV)

I stand before you today at the end of my second year as your Archbishop and Primate, and I thank you for your prayers for me and for Allison.  This sacred stewardship is a privilege, but also a huge responsibility – and your prayers make all the difference!

This has been a good year for the Province.  We continue to grow in membership, attendance, churches, church plants, conversions, baptisms, giving, and mission.  As we have continued to attempt to be faithful to our God and the teaching of His Word, he has blessed us and honored us, and continued to pour out his favor.

Our mission as a Province is to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ, which he has demonstrated by his death on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, and the personal transformation he brings to all who come to him in faith. The Apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers might comprehend this love in all its breath and length and height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” Eph.3:18,19.  Oh, that the people of North America would know His love as well!!


The College of Bishops (College Affairs)

The bishops continue to work and serve the church diligently and faithfully.  We met after the last Provincial Council meeting in Vancouver, and we met in January. In between, the bishops have been part of the various working groups and task forces of the Province have been meeting and doing the work of our Church.

Under Archbishop Bob Duncan’s leadership, we as a Province are inching closer to bringing forth a new Book of Common Prayer – hopefully in the year 2019.  We now have approved liturgies for use in the Church for Morning and Evening Prayer, Mid-Day Prayer, Compline, Family Devotions, Three versions of the Eucharist, Ordinations of a deacon, priest, and bishop, Baptism, Confirmation, Renewal of Baptismal Vows, a Sunday Eucharist Lectionary, a Daily Lectionary, and Collects for the Church Year.  At this week’s College of Bishops meeting, we will review the Marriage rite and the Burial Rite.

We have consecrated Ron Jackson as the new bishop for the Diocese of the Great Lakes, and this week at our upcoming meeting we will examine the election of the new bishop of Pittsburgh to follow retiring bishop, Archbishop Emeritus Bob Duncan.  With the help of Canon Phil Ashey and the American Anglican Council, we held our first official Bishops’ Leadership Summit at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in North Carolina, an event designed to train bishops to be bishops.

With the inspiration of Archbishop Rwaje and the Rwandan House of Bishops, two of the PEARUSA networks are becoming dioceses of the ACNA. The Church of Rwanda is releasing its clergy and congregations into the Anglican Church in North America. Although they have been dual citizens (resident in both Provinces), the Rwandans concluded that now that we have a mature Anglican Province in North America, there was no longer a need for a missionary district of PEAR (Rwanda) here.  At this Council the Governance Task Force will present resolutions to create two new dioceses out of two of the PEARUSA networks under the leadership of Bishop Steve Breedlove and Bishop Ken Ross.  The third PEARUSA Network is merging with several dioceses and Bishop David Bryan has been elected to serve as a Suffragan bishop of the Diocese of the Carolinas, where most of the clergy and congregations have become domicile.  Thank you, Archbishop Rwaje for your leadership and inspiration.

With the retirement of Bishop Win Mott, the REC Diocese of the West has merged its congregations with other existing dioceses and this will not only strengthen those dioceses, but will eliminate some of our overlapping jurisdiction issues.

I must say, as I have said in the past, that it is a great privilege to serve with these bishops – they are the godliest men I have ever met and they exemplify the integrity of Jesus Christ and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

I want to thank Bishop Terrell Glenn, the Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast and rector of the church plant, Church of the Apostles in Houston, for his service as Dean of College Affairs – as a volunteer.

Provincial Affairs

After 6 years as a Province, we have almost a thousand churches, over 111,000 members, over 1700 clergy, 29 dioceses, plus the Jurisdiction for the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy, 51 bishops.  We have over 350 missionaries serving in cross-cultural ministry around the world through the Global Anglican Mission Partners, and we have hundreds of parishes engaged in Matthew 25 kinds of ministry to the poor and neglected people in our communities. 

Through the Matthew 25 gifting of grants matching the local congregation’s ministry funds, we (the ACNA) will have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past year into 24 congregational projects feeding the poor, serving the homeless, caring for orphans, helping single mothers, providing legal aid, ministering to at-risk children and teens, and so much more – all in the Name of the Christ and with the message of the Gospel.  Thank you, Canon David Roseberry for your leadership of Matthew 25.

It has been just over a year since this community here in Charleston lost nine precious souls, including Myra Thompson, the wife of our own REC priest, Anthony Thompson, when a young gunman killed them while attending a Bible Study at “Mother” Emmanuel AME Church. We praise God for Fr. Thompson’s powerful words of grace which he addressed to the shooter in court, when he forgave his wife’s killer and called upon him to repent and give his life to Christ. This tragedy among so many has highlighted the need for serious discussions on race relations, and we are working to be a Church where all feel safe under the shelter of His Wings.  I am grateful to be a part of a Church who believes what the Bible teaches – that God loves everyone regardless of the color of their skin or the depth of their sin.

Of course our hearts are still very heavy over the senseless acts of evil in Orlando last week.  The killing of “The Voice” singer, 22 year-old Christina Grimmie on Friday, and then the horrible and evil attack on The Pulse Night Club have shocked, stunned and awakened the nation.  While we still don’t know all the details of these events yet, we know the latter was rooted in the shooter’s Islamic beliefs and perhaps in his own sexual identity issues. 

I invite you to continue to remember the families and friends of those who have been lost, and those fighting to recover from wounds and injuries.  These are our people.  Many of our parishioners, our friends, our family members struggle with same-sex attraction.  We are all in this together.  This was a terrible tragedy, and many are rightly scared for their safety.  Please reach out to those you know and assure them of our love and protection. 

As Christians we must demonstrate the love of Jesus to all.  This care for our individual neighbors is an essential expression of our commitment to Biblical doctrine.  As a Church we will not allow our neighbors’ lives to be threatened, but will stand with them against those who spread hate.  We will not allow our neighbors to be cut off from the means of Grace, but will continue to compassionately to offer the Biblical teaching that provides the only way to the God the Father – Jesus.


As a Province we are continuing to plant new churches, and we are seeking to create a culture and the infrastructure for planting many congregations on this continent.  Canon Dan Alger will telling you about the upcoming Always Forward Church Planting Conference to bring church planters together for encouragement and equipping.

We have been looking in a serious way at Holy Matrimony, not only on how to better teach and equip our children and how to prepare couples for marriage, but also how we might influence the culture we live in to return to the teaching of the Bible. You will be hearing more on this from Dr. Stephen Noll.

We have a serious need in the Province to work on training our parishes for ministry to children and youth – not just to the few who come to our churches, but how to engage and reach out to the children and youth in our communities who are growing up without the benefit and necessity of knowing Jesus, or even the basic morality of the 10 Commandments. I cannot tell you how it pains me to see our deficiencies in reaching our young with the Gospel.  I hope you will join me in not only praying for God to show us how to do this more effectively, but also giving and serving in order to reach the young in our communities and neighborhoods.

We are continuing to have conversations with the Diocese of South Carolina about affiliating with the Anglican Church in North America.  We have had wonderful and fruitful discussions with their leadership and with members of the diocese.  They are currently in the process of discussing this with their deaneries and will bring it before their Diocesan Convention in the near future. We will hear from Bishop Mark Lawrence tomorrow when he arrives.

I am blessed with a tremendous Provincial staff and a cadre of Canons, some full-time, some part-time, and some volunteer, who all serve the Lord by serving the Province with their extraordinary gifts and talents.  God has blessed us with capable, dedicated, and spiritually committed individuals.  As you know, I am committed to not creating a Provincial bureaucracy, but we do need more folks to help with the tremendous opportunities the Lord has placed in front of us.

As I have traveled around the Province, I hear the same refrain:  Thank you for standing for the truth of God’s Word and the Faith which has been handed down from the Apostles.  People of faith all over this continent are expressing their grattitude for our unwillingness to compromise the Gospel, yet doing so with compassion and grace.

I would like say thank you to Bishop John Guernsey of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic who has served faithfully as our Dean of Provincial Affairs – as a volunteer.

 


Ecumenical Affairs

Since we have met last year, we continue to see our discussion with other Christian bodies grow and deepen. I could hire Bishop Ray Sutton full-time, and he still would not be able to keep up with it all.

To use the terminology of the His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, of the Russian Orthodox Church, we are part of a “new ecumenism” which is spreading through the Christian Church.  With so many Churches abandoning Scriptural and Historical theology and morality, those who are keeping to the Apostolic Faith are finding each other and building partnerships.

While Bishop Ray Sutton will have more to say, I would like to highlight just a few points regarding our ecumenical relationships.

The first is our relationship with the Orthodox Church in America and the Russian Orthodox Church.  I was privileged to lead a delegation to Moscow last August at the invitation of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill to meet with him and Metropolitan Hilarion.  They made a point of saying to us that this was the beginning of official ecumenical discussions between our Churches, and that we were the Church they were recognizing us as the Anglicans in North America with whom they would have ecumenical discussions.  It was a tremendous demonstration of unity.

The second is that I participated with our team in discussions with the Missouri Synod Lutheran and Canadian Lutheran Church and participated in a Faith and Freedom Symposium this past February at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.  We issued a joint Statement entitled “On Closer Acquaintance” which said in effect that we have a number of differences, but our common theology is worth continuing discussions.  The Missouri Synod Lutherans do not engage in many ecumenical conversations and so the fact that we are in conversation together is highly significant.

The third is our relationship with the Free Church of England. During this council, you will be asked to affirm an agreement I have signed on our behalf regularizing the relationship between our two Churches.  The Free Church of England and its Mission in Germany and Croatia have been a sister Church of the Reformed Episcopal Church which is one of our founding entities and a vital part of the Anglican Church in North America.  It is time to formally recognize each others’ churches.

I want to thank Bishop Ray Sutton, Bishop Coadjutor of the REC Diocese of the Mid-America Diocese, who is not only our Provincial Dean, but our Dean of Ecumenical Affairs.  He is doing a wonderful job, and he too, is a volunteer.

International Affairs

Parts of the Anglican Communion continue to be in turmoil as the unbiblical theological and moral viruses of Western Churches and the secular culture continue to spread and divide the Church.  The revisionist agenda is well-funded, and there is a strategic effort on their part to target under-resourced Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

As you know, the Archbishop of Canterbury called a meeting of the Primates of the Communion last January to discuss the discipline of the Episcopal Church for changing its marriage canon, and to see if we could find a way to hold together as a Communion.  I was invited, and with the rest of the GAFCON and Global South Primates, attended the Canterbury gathering in good faith. We left the meeting believing that, while all we had hoped for had not been accomplished, at least something potentially positive had come out of the meeting to restore Godly order and discipline to the Communion. However, since that time the developments have not been positive, and as the Chair of GAFCON, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, said recently, “our hope has been brought low.”

Since the Canterbury Gathering in January, the agreements that were made have not been honored. We in the Anglican Church in North America are committed to remaining faithful to the teaching and fellowship of the Apostles as found in the Bible, to Biblical reconciliation, and we will trust the Lord for the future.  We are committed members of the GAFCON movement and remain in partnership with orthodox leaders of the Global South who are seeking to bring repentance, renewal, and reformation to the Anglican Communion.

What is tragic about all of this is not just the divisions within the Anglican Communion.  What is most tragic is that because of false teaching, millions of souls will not hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, or they will hear a Gospel that appears to the be the Gospel, but in reality is contrary to the very Word of God – which is no Gospel at all.  Souls are at stake. Lives are at stake. Eternity is at stake.  It reminds me of what the prophet Isaiah said to the people of his day:  Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. (Is.5:20, ESV)


Well, there is more to the Anglican Communion than what we hear about Canterbury or from the Anglican Communion Office.  In August Allison and I were invited to Uganda by Archbishop Stanley Ntagali to lead the bishops and their wives in retreat. It was a tremendous time of fellowship in the Holy Spirit.  In September Archbishop Eliud Wabukala invited me to preach at his Diocesan Conference in Nairobi.  It was a service in the spirit of the East African Revival, and it was powerful!!

In October I had the privilege of attending the Global South Primates Council meeting in Cairo. At that meeting led by Chairman Archbishop Mouneer Anis, the Global South recognized and acknowledged Full Communion with the Anglican Church in North America.  They declared us to be a Partner Province of the Global South – calling us a Partner Province because we are not in geographically in the Global South—and giving the Primate seat, voice, and vote at their meetings.  What this means is that with the recognition of the GAFCON Primates Council and now the Global South Primates Council, the Anglican Church in North America is in Full Communion the vast majority of Anglicans around the world.

Last November, Bishop Bill Atwood, our Dean of International Affairs and I, were invited to go the India and meet with leaders of Believer’s Church and Good Shepherd Church.  Together, both of these Churches have over 25,000 worshipping communities and over 3 million members.  Both of these Churches have Anglican Ecclesiology, and Apostolic Succession, and they desire to be a part of the Global Orthodox and Biblical Anglican movement and in full Communion with the Anglican Church in North America.  We are exploring these possibilities.  Like with any new relationship of substance, there are things to iron out and discover, but with these two bodies in India, we have seen what is rare and most important in so many Churches today—a passion for the Gospel and a compassion for people which is demonstrated by the fruit of their labors, especially among the poor. Because of the inspirational ministry they are doing, it is worth the hard work of learning in what ways we can build a partnership with them

This past April I attended the GAFCON Primates Council Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya where we honored Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, the GAFCON Chair who was retiring as the Archbishop and Primate of Kenya. We elected Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria as the new GAFCON Chair and Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda as the Vice-Chair.  We discussed GAFCON 2018 which will be held in 2018, in just two years’ time. We had a very successful meeting!

This past November I attended the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Global Trustees meeting in Cairo.
 
The Primates actually decide the projects we fund and this time we approved several projects to help reach the needy and assist with ministry in various Provinces.
 
I would also like you to know that Archbishop Mouneer Anis arranged for the Primates who were present to meet with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el Tayeb, and also to meet with His Holiness, Tawadros the Second of the Coptic Orthodox Church.  Both meetings were quite fascinating and I believe accomplished good work for the Kingdom of God.

I want to thank Bishop Bill Atwood, Bishop of the International Diocese, for serving as our Dean of International Affair – also as a volunteer.

As we continue to move forward as a Biblical, united, and missionary Anglican Province in North America, I would like to remind you about the Four Marks of Modern Anglicanism which I shared with you at my Investiture as Archbishop. I believe these must be manifested in our character if we are to be the Church God has called us to be it in our time.

Four Marks of Modern Anglicanism

A Repenting Church
A Reconciling Church
A Reproducing Church
A Relentlessly Compassionate Church

1) A Repenting Church

This is the message we have received in the Gospel…

Remember the message of John the Baptist: Repent

Mt.3:2 – Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Remember the message of Jesus: Repent

Mt.4:17 – From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Remember the message of the Apostle Peter – at the end of his Pentecost sermon and the people were asking, “what must we do?” 

Acts 2:38 - Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This promise is for you and your children…

Remember the words of Apostle Paul when he was addressing the people of Athens in

Acts 17:22 - The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands people everywhere to repent.

We are called to be a repenting Church That is, we must be a repenting people of God; a group of repenting followers of Jesus. When God shows us our sin, we must turn from it and return to the Lord.

Isn’t this what repent means??  Literally, to change your mind.

St. John of Dasmacus: Repentance is returning from the unnatural to the natural state, from the devil to God, through discipline and effort.

This repentance doesn’t stop when one is born again or comes into a relationship with God through Jesus; It is a day by day, moment by moment reality.

When a person comes to faith in Jesus, God does a wonderful and amazing thing – he places within the person the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit begins to teach you, guide you, reveal to you the ways of God,
And he begins to reveal to you your sin.

As God the Holy Spirit reveals to you your sin – usually through His Word, you then have a choice—- continue in the sin or change your mind (repent) and begin to believe the behavior or attitude is a sin – and turn from it!

This is repentance.

He is constantly showing me my sin –and unless I repent, I quench the Holy Spirit in my life and in my ministry. 1 Thess.5:19.

As God shows us our sin, we must turn from it and return to the Lord.

St. Paul of the Cross: Should we fall into a sin, let us humble ourselves sorrowfully in his presence, and then, with an act of unbounded confidence, let us throw ourselves into the ocean of his goodness, where every failing will be cancelled and anxiety turned into love.

We are called to be a repenting Church.

This is part of what we confess as Anglicans.

Isn’t this what we pray each week when we pray the General Confession?

If you pray the Daily Office, you pray it twice a day every day…

We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent
Or some version of this – depending on the liturgy.

As we confess our sins, we tell God that we are sorry, and that we humbly repent.

Yet, do we?

The question each of us must ask ourselves:

Is there something in my life which the Lord has shown me of which I must repent?                                                                                 

As a Province and as believers, unless we repent of our sins, we quench the Holy Spirit in our amidst.

If we are going to be the Church the Lord wants us to be, we must be a repenting Church.


The Second Mark of Modern Anglicanism is that we must be is

2) A Reconciling Church

When I speak of reconciliation, I am not talking about being reconciled with the world,
Or with sin,
Or with sinful behavior
Or giving up one’s principles
Or compromising Biblical Truth in order to be reconciled.

However, the Scriptures do tell us that we are all ministers of reconciliation and that we are to be reconciled with each other.

This reconciliation is based on the cross of Jesus, on the Truth in the Scriptures,
And on the tradition handed down to us by the Church Fathers.


To be reconciled means there was once a problem.

The Australia Anglican scholar, Leon Morris, writes: 

Reconciliation properly applies not to good relations in general but to the doing away of an enmity, the bridging over of a quarrel.  It implies that the parties being reconciled were formerly hostile to one another.

This was true with us, and The Lord.
This is true with too many of God’s people with each other.

For real reconciliation to take place, you must remove the enmity – the source of the quarrel.

We may apologize for our actions.
We may pay back money we owe.
We may return something which we borrowed.
We may make restitution for the damage we have done.

In every situation there must be a dealing with the root cause of the enmity.

In other words, there is no true reconciliation without repentance.

Jesus died on the cross to put away our sin; he removed the enmity between humanity and God.

He opened the door for all human beings to come back to God.  He made it possible for us to reconciled to God through faith.

However, there is another aspect of reconciliation, and if this is not addressed in our lives and in our congregations, the Holy Spirit is grieved.

The Apostles John addresses this in 1 John in several ways.  Here is one…

I John 4:20 – If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

God has called us to be a reconciling church; a people who are reconciled with God through Jesus Christ and who are reconciled with one another.

Doesn’t Jesus tell us that this is one of our biggest witnessing tools to unbelievers – our love for one another??

And yet….

People wound us
People get mad and say bad things

Family members hurt us.
Friends go back on their word.

Godly people get out of the Spirit and in the flesh and do things or say things which offend us.

This happens in congregations, too – we are all human and too many times our sinfulness is brought into spiritual situations, and we can make a big mess of things.

I know I have…


The biggest problem we have in being reconciled with others is our unwillingness to forgive.

Unforgiveness sets in.
Resentment begins to grow.
Bitterness creeps in.
And before long,
Unforgiveness has so grieved the Holy Spirit in your life that there is no joy or peace,
and it affects everything you do.

A simple test that you haven’t forgiven someone and you are not reconciled….

You see the person walking your direction at some event – maybe a party or down the hall at church – and you turn and go the other direction because you don’t want to see them.

Or

You hear their name come up in a conversation, and you say, or want to say, something negative about them.


Brother and sisters, this must not be!

We are called to be a reconciling Church.


To be reconciled doesn’t mean you are going to agree about everything.

To be reconciled doesn’t mean you necessarily even agree about the facts of what happened.

To be reconciled means that you value the Lord and each other so much, that you are willing to acknowledge your own part in the situation, repent, and you are willing to forgive and move on.


I know there are times when you have done everything you can to be reconciled with someone and she/he will have none of it.

When you have done all you can do, you forgive and release them to the Lord.

But this is not the case with most of us?  For most of us, there is work we need to do in order to be reconciled with our sister or brother.

This is what we confess each week….

When we pass the peace each Sunday, what are we symbolizing?

We are not just greeting our neighbor, I am visibly saying that to the best of my ability, I am reconciled with my brother or sister – before I come to the Table of the Lord.

We are called to be a reconciling Church.  If not, we grieve the Holy Spirit.

You may not think it affects your life.
You may not think it affects your relationships with others.
You may not think it affects your ministry.
But it does!

Ephesians 4:30f – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

So the question which must be asked:  Is there someone or a “bunch of someones” with whom you need to be reconciled?

God is calling us to be a reconciling Church.


A Third Mark of Modern Anglicanism is we are called to be


3) A Reproducing Church

Just as in the creation story when God told humanity to be fruitful and multiply,
Jesus commissioned his disciples before he ascended to do the same.

Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you to end of the ages.

We are called to be a reproducing church – a disciple-making church.

This is the major reason God gives us the Holy Spirit.

Remember his words after this in Acts 1.
Go into Jerusalem, and wait for the gift of My Father.  And then says…

Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to end of the earth.

The power of the Spirit is related to the commission to Go and make disciples.

Do you think that God will continue to pour out his Spirit if we are not obeying his commission?

Jesus says here that we are to GO.

They will rarely come to us.

We must go.

We must get out of the four walls of our church and go.
We must get out from in front of the television or the computer screen and go.


We have a lot of our members who are ministering overseas on other continents.

Added to this are many congregations and individuals across the Province who are going to other nations with the Gospel.

It is incredible the impact these ministries are making, and we need more people who are willing to go.

But our primary mission field is North America -
Canada
The United States
Mexico

And God has also brought much of world to us – right into our neighborhoods and communities.

And you and I need to Go.

We need to go to people in our world – our sphere of influence.
The people we work with
The people we have fun with
The people down the street

WE need to go to our next-door neighbors
Do you even know your neighbors’ names?


What would happen if your congregation took seriously the neighborhood around your church?

I challenge you to draw a circle of a one-mile radius around where your congregation meets, and get to know your neighbors.

We must GO.
The fish are not going to jump into our boat.
We must go fishing where the fish are.


Go and make disciples.

Disciples are followers of Jesus,
Disciples walk with the Lord.
Disciples know their Bibles
Disciples know how to pray and commune with the Lord
Disciples know the importance of worship and gathering at the Lord’s Table.
Anglican Disciples know their Bibles and their catechism.


Friends, We are called to be a reproducing Church

So the question which must be asked is this: 
Who is your Timothy?
Who is your Mary?
Who are you discipling?

The 4th Mark of Modern Anglicanism is that we are called to be

4) A Relentlessly Compassionate Church

2 Cor.5:14 – The love of Christ compels us!

1 Tim. 1:5 - The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Galatians 5:22 – The fruit of the Spirit is love.

Jesus, in the second Great Commandment: Love your neighbor as yourselves.


Do you know what most unbelievers out there think we feel toward them?

They think we hate them.
They think we despise them.
They think we judge them.
They think we don’t care about them.

Now, obviously, they don’t know us very well because that is not true.
But this is our problem, not theirs.

God calls us to be relentlessly compassionate to the people in our world.

Let me challenge you pray a very dangerous prayer:

Lord, open my eyes to see the hurt and the pain in the people around me.

Don’t pray this unless you are ready to be compassionate.
Don’t pray this unless you are ready to care.

People all around us are suffering immensely.
People have wounded family relationships
People are living in sexual brokenness and misery

People are financially burdened and overwhelmed
People are addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, porn, and money
People are exhausted and can’t get off the merry-go-round, and the black-hole just gets deeper and deeper with no way out.

People have medical conditions which sap all their strength and creativity.

They are craving a little compassionate care.
They are craving a better way.

We have the answer for their needs.
We have the answer for the drug addict.

We have the answer for the porn addict… financially broken, emotionally and physically abused, those living a life of poverty – his name his Jesus.

He cares for them and desires to help them.
He deeply wants a relationship with them and to lead them into meaningful life.

However, this Jesus expects his body to be His Body in the towns, villages, cities, and neighborhoods in which we live.
His arms. His legs. His voice. His ears. His heart.

We are not and cannot be the Church as we have known it. 
We must be a living Body engaged with the people around us. 
We must be the Temple of the Holy Spirit exhibiting the fruit and gifts of the Spirit in all we do.

We must know who they are
We must know why they hurt
We must know what their needs are

We must pray for them and love them and share Jesus with them.  This is not an option anymore. 

It is our mission taken directly from vision of Jesus in the New Testament.  His purpose has not changed. His directive has not changed. 

We are to be a relentlessly compassionate Church.


I would like share with you today that we have had a challenge given to the Province.  A donor has shared that if we can raise $1 Million in the next year for Matthew 25, he will give $1 Million for matching grants for ministry to the needy.  And he will match the funds as they come in – we raise $100,000, he gives $100,000 These funds will serve as a Kick-starter for local congregations to do Mt 25 ministries in the their communities. 

I want to challenge every ACNA congregation to begin some kind of Matthew 25 ministry (if you are not already engaged in one).  Can you imagine 1000 churches across the U.S. and Canada reaching out in their communities with Relentless Compassion – finding the disenfranchised, the invisible, the abused, the abusers, the addicted, the lonely, the isolated, the hungry, the homeless, the abandoned, the prisoners, the elderly, the immigrants?  Every church in the Province! What is your congregation’s Mt. 25 Ministry??? 

If we are able to raise these monies, this is not so we can create another bureaucracy – no!  It is to empower the local congregation to reach their community with the Gospel of Jesus. I want to see every church do this. Talk about being compassionate!! Let’s do it!

May the Anglican Church in North America manifest these Four Marks of Modern Anglicanism: A Repenting Church. A Reconciling Church, A Reproducing Church, and a Relentlessly Compassionate Church.

So… in the words of Archabbot Boniface:  Forwards. Always Forward. Everywhere Forward!!  Let’s do the work of Christ.  Forwards. Always Forward. Everywhere Forward!!

 

 
Provincial Council 2016: Live Blog

DAY TWO
Tuesday, June 22, 2016

St. Andrew’s Church, Mt. Pleasant, SC

 

LIVE STREAM
Afternoon Session

 

Bishop Kevin Allen reports from the Holy Orders Task Force. You may read the task force’s report here. Bishop Allen reads the summary prepared by Bishop David Hicks:

The Holy Orders Task Force has concluded its work on Phase Three of our stated method of procedure. In this phase, we focus on the manner in which ecclesiology relates to ordination and holy order. We also have begun the last phase of our work, Phase 4, in which we are examining the arguments for and against the ordination of women.

The Task Force wishes to remind the Provincial Council that our task is to the lead the College of Bishops in a discussion about this important issue in the life of the Province. To that end, we have been providing information in our reports, which we believe will aid the bishops in their discussion, and our final report will be shaped with that purpose in mind. It is not the role of the Task Force to formulate “the answer” for the Province.

The examination conducted by the Task Force in the area of ecclesiology, has revealed that there are diverging perspectives within the Anglican tradition over the essential characteristics of ordained ministry, which have been acceptable positions to hold within our tradition. While we do not want to minimize the reality of our shared understanding and agreement on the theology of holy orders, anchored in the Ordinal and the Book of Common Prayer; yet we must recognize that the interpretation of the words of the Ordinal and the understanding of the theological context behind it are variously understood. Up until our own time, these differences have been held in tension, but they have not been the occasion for deep division. As long as someone was ordained through the proper form of the Ordinal, no one within our tradition questioned the validity of the ministry of the ordained person, even though its significance may have been differently defined. The ordination of women presents a different sort of challenge. Here the dispute is centered on the suitability of the ordinand herself. Of course, the question of suitability is rooted in the very differences mentioned above; however, the difference now is no longer in the realm of theory or opinion but in the actual application of ordination to particular persons. The issue before the Province is how we are to live with the divergent opinions over the theology of ordination, in so far as they inform the conclusions about the present issue of the ordination of women.

Once again, several appendixes are attached to this report. The appendixes are supplemental to the summary, given above, and are designed to provide additional information and expansion on the matters related to the divergent understandings of ecclesiology that presently comprise the Anglican tradition.

1. Appendixes I and II have appeared in previous reports from the Task Force and concern the ecclesiological principles from our foundational documents with which we are working and the ecclesiological perspectives of the main streams or “strands” within the Anglican tradition. They are included here, once again, as this is the final report of Phase Three.
2. Appendix III presents an expanded discussion of the perspectives of the three strands, particularly as those perspectives impact the discussion of ordination.
3. Appendix IV is a chart, which surveys the stance of the various Anglican provinces, in regard to the ordination of women. We believe this is helpful in reminding us that our Province is having this discussion in the context of a global Anglican family.
4. Appendix V is a paper, prepared by Katherine Atwood, which provides an historical discussion of the admission of women to the order of deacon in the Episcopal Church.
5. Appendix VI is presented by the Task Force as an encouragement for charitable discussion within the Province, as the conclusion of the Task Force’s work is in sight.
6. Appendix VII is a timeline, which presents the major persons and events, which shaped the movements and perspectives within the Anglican tradition.

As mentioned above, the Task Force is working on Phase Four, and we will spend the remainder of 2016 dealing with the arguments for and against the ordination of women. Our goal is to present our final report to the College of Bishops at their meeting in January 2017.

Read the report here.

Canon Dan Alger reports on Always Forward Church Planters Initiative and outlines to council how the Anglican Church in North America is working together to continue to make church planting a priority in congregations and dioceses of the church.  Read the full report here

The Rev. Dr. Steve Noll presents to the council the report from the Task Force on Marriage, Family and the Single Life. You may read the entire report here.

Archbishop Foley Beach invites Bishop Miguel Uchoa of Diocese of Recife in Brazil to speak to the council.

Scott Ward, Chancellor of the Anglican Church in North America, speaks to the council on Religious Liberty and recent developments on religious freedom issues in the United States.

Bishop Julian Dobb of CANA East speaks to council. He serves on the Task Force On Religious Freedom and Engagement With Islam. You may read their report here.

Bishop Miguel Uchoa of Diocese of Recife in Brazil speaks to council followed by a time of prayer.

Bishop Charlie Masters of the Anglican Network in Canada led the council in a time of guided intercessory prayer.

A courtesy resolution was unanimously passed giving thanks to God for the amazing life and ministry of Dr. J.I. Packer who will turn 90 next month.
.
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Morning Session

See photos from today’s council here.

Today’s Agenda:

Provincial Council 2016 – Day Two
Morning Prayer & Sermon (Ministry Center)
Officiant: The Rt. Rev. Al Gadsden
Preacher: The Rev. Todd Simonis

Morning Business Session 3 (Ministry Center)
Greetings from Bishop Mark Lawrence, Diocese of South Carolina
Greetings from The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng – Archbishop and Primate of the Province of Sudan and South Sudan
Election of Executive Committee New Members
Ecumenical Affairs – Bishop Ray Sutton, Provincial Dean
o Vote on Regularizing Relationship with Free Church of England 2
International Affairs – Bishop Bill Atwood

BREAK

Greetings from the Diocese of Recife, Brazil – Bishop Miguel Uchoa Liturgy and Common Worship – Archbishop Robert Duncan Catechesis Task Force – The Rev. Dr. Joel Scandrett
Anglican Global Mission Partners – The Rev. Dr. Steven Tighe
Presentation on youth evangelism around the Anglican world – Canon Fred Markert
Midday Prayers (Ministry Center) Officiant: The Rev. Julius Washington

LUNCH

Afternoon Business Session 4
Holy Orders Task Force – Bishop Kevin Allen
March for Life – Deacon Georgette Forney
Special Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy
Always Forward Church Planters Initiative – Canon Dan Alger Marriage, Family and Single Life Task Force – The Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll Religious Liberty – Chancellor Scott Ward
Communications in the Province – Canon Andrew Gross

Intercessory Prayer for:
o The Persecuted Church (Worldwide)
o Religious liberty issues in the U.S. and Canada o For our missionaries
o For our Anglican partners around the world

Adjournment

LIVE BLOG:

8:30 a.m. Worship begins, again led by Dwight Huthwaite and Whitney Bradburn from St. Andrew’s (Mt. Pleasant, SC), the host of this year’s Provincial Council. They open with Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons.

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name1

The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes1

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name

You’re rich in love
And You’re slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
Bless You Lord

And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name

Songwriters
Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman

Morning Prayer is led by the Rt. Rev. Al Gadsden. The preacher will be the Rev. Todd Simonis.

The council begins with Archbishop Foley Beach introducing the Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence. Bishop Lawrence speaks on the process the Diocese of South Carolina is engaging in as they prepare to vote to join the Anglican Church in North America.  The Council paused to take time to pray for Bishop Lawrence and the people of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Archbishop Foley Beach introduces the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng – Primate of the Province of Sudan and South Sudan and the council rises to its feet in a standing ovation as Archbishop Daniel Deng comes to the podium to address the council. He encourages people to come and visit the South Sudan since “we are a family of faith” and encourages strengthening the links in that family to come and see what is happening in the Sudan. The council then spends some time praying for Archbishop Daniel.

Voting is now underway for new members of the Executive Committee.

Bishop Ray Sutton, Provincial Dean of Ecumenical Affairs gives his report from the Ecumenical Task Force. He will also be asking for council to vote on “Regularizing Relationship with Free Church of England.” You may read his report here.

The results of the Executive Committee election were announced. They are:

Chloellen Miller
Major Harding
Carl Eyberg
Tom Carman

Bishop Bill Atwood gave his report on International Partnerships and announced that the next GAFCON will be in Jerusalem.

The Rev. Dr. Joel Scandrett gave his report on the Catechesis Task Force. You may read his report here.

The Council then watched a video on the ministry of SAMS.

The Council then takes a break.

Canon David Rosebery reports on the Matthew 25 Initiative Report. You can read the report here. This video shares Laura Manca’s ministry and outreach to youth who are living on the streets.

The Rev. Dr. Steven Tighe reports on Anglican Global Mission Partners. You may read the report here.

Archbishop Foley Beach then introduced Jenny Noyes, Director of the New Wines Conference. The next New Wineskin Conference will be September 25-29, 2019 at Ridgecrest, NC. She then introduced Canon Fred Market with International Diocese and YWAM.

The council then breaks for Noon Prayer and then lunch.

Provincial Council resumes at 1:00 p.m.

 

 

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DAY ONE
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

St. Andrew’s Church, Mt. Pleasant, SC

 


MORNING SESSION (8:30 a.m.-12:00 noon)

See photos from today’s Council here.


Worship begins led by Dwight Huthwaite and Whitney Bradburn leading worship at St. Andrew’s Church. 

The Officiant is the Rt. Rev. William White
The Rev. Rob Sturdy will preach.

Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace,
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of endless glory
Fills my heart with joy and love,
Teach me ever to adore Thee,
May I still Thy goodness prove.

Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come,
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be,
Let that grace now like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Oh, that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face,
Clothed then in the blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy wondrous grace!
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away,
Send Thine angels soon to carry
Me to realms of endless day.


The Rev. Rob Sturdy Associate Rector at St. Andrew’s Church.

Worship is led by Dwight Huthwaite of St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant.


Morning Business Session 1

“In the Name of Jesus Christ I now call to order the 8th Provincial Council Meeting of the Anglican Church in North America on this the 21st day of June, in the Year of our Lord, 2016,” says Archbishop Foley Beach as he opens the Provincial Council 2016 and calls Bishop Charlie Masters of the Anglican Network in Canada to open with prayer.

Archbishop Beach makes these appointments that are affirmed by Council:

Appointment of Council Secretary – The Rev. Travis Boline from the Gulf-Atlantic Diocese as the Secretary for this Council 3-year term.
Appointment of Deputy Chair – Dr. Michael Howell from the Missionary Diocese of All Saints as the Deputy Chair of the Council.
Appointment of the Parliamentarian - Mr. Jeff Garrity of the International Diocese as the Parliamentarian of the Council.

In addition, Archbishop Beach welcomes guests:

The Most Rev. Dr. Onesphore Rwaje (PEAR), the Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in Rwanda
The Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng, the Archbishop and Primate of Sudan and South Sudan
Bishop Abraham Nhial (Diocese of Aweil, South Sudan)
Bishop Miguel and Valeria (Valair – ria) Uchoa (Diocese of Recife, Brazil)
Bishop Mark Lawrence (Diocese of South Carolina) who will attend tomorrow.
The Rev. Canon Jim and Libby Lewis (Diocese of South Carolina)

Bishop Richard Jackson (Bishop of Lewes – Church of England)
Rev. Brian Kirik (Believers Church, Kerala, India)
Rev. Pat Emerick (Believers Church)
Mr. Matthew Swan (Believers Church)

Archbishop Beach also welcomed Non-Voting Members of the Executive Committee and Consulters:

Seating of Bishop Ray Sutton, Dean of the Province, Dean of Ecumenical Affairs, and Bishop Coadjutor of REC Mid-America Diocese
Seating of Bishop Terrell Glenn, Dean of College Affairs, and Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast

Archbishop Beach introduced the Ministry Partner and Affiliates (seated as determined by Council according to the Canons –  6 Full Membership Seats)
American Anglican Council – Canon Phil Ashey (voting) and Robert Lundy
ARDF – Canon Bill Deiss (voting)  and Canon Jack Lumanog
AGMP – Fr. Steven Tighe, Deacon Georgette Forney (voting)
Church Army – Fr. Greg Miller (voting)  and Stu Simpson
Forward in Faith North America – Michael Howell, Fr. Geoffrey Boland, Fr. Lawrence Baush (voting)
Anglican House Media Ministry – Canon Ron Speers, Fr. Joey Fitzgerald (voting), Brandie Fitzgerald
FACA (Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas) – Bishop Paul Hewett

Bishop Steve Wood of the Diocese of the Carolinas welcomes everyone to the council meeting.


He is followed by Bishop Alphonza Gadsden of Diocese of the Southeast REC.



Archbishop Foley Beach gives his address to Provincial Council 2016.  Read it all here.

Bishop Neil Lebhar of the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic leads the council in a time of intercessory prayer.

Here is the Agenda:

• Organization of Provincial Council Officers

• Welcome to Observers and Guests

• Welcome to Non-Voting Members of the Executive Committee and Consultors Approval of Minutes of June 2015 Provincial Council

• Greetings from Bishop Steve Wood, Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas Greetings from Bishop Alphonza Gadsden, Diocese of the Southeast REC

• Archbishop’s Address

• Intercessory Prayer at Tables

The delegates take a break for a time of sharing and fellowship and will resume shortly. Here is the remaining Agenda for the morning:

• Greetings from The Most Rev. Dr. Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda

• Archbishop’s Canon & COO Report – The Ven. Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog Governance Task Force – Canon Phil Ashey

• Diocese of Christ Our Hope

• Diocese of the Rocky Mountains

• Dean of Provincial Affairs – The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey Congregational Reports – Canon Andrew Gross

• Report of the Nominating Committee for Executive Committee & Introductions of Nominees

“Over the last couple months you may have seen me and others take up the Walk with Rwanda challenge,” says Archbishop Beach. “This video shares a little bit about how you can come along side our brothers and sisters in Rwanda.”



The Most Rev. Dr. Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda followed by.Bishop Steve Breedlove who speaks to the Council about the development of Rwanda Ministry Partners.

Canon Jack Lumanog speaks to Council, encouraged by the financial health of the Province and giving thanks to God for His provision. His report is here.

The Provincial Council then breaks for lunch. They are scheduled to reconvene at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

 

AFTERNOON SESSION 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Archbishop Foley Beach calls the council back to order and calls forward the Rev. Bill Midget to lead the council in prayer.


This video gives us a glimpse into the ministry of Immanuel Life church in Vancouver, BC and the growth of its ministry to those who struggle with substance abuse:

Immanuel Life from Simon Neill on Vimeo.


Dean of Provincial Affairs, the Rt. Rev. John Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic gives his report to Provincial Council. In addition he spoke about the Daily Anglican Cycle of Prayer, which you can read and download here.

Canon Philip Ashey then gave his report on the Governance Task Force. You may read his report here. In addition, Canon Ashey also reported on Diocese of Christ Our Hope
and the Diocese of the Rocky Mountains. The new dioceses were then placed before Provincial Council for votes to receive them as new dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America. The council voted unanimously to receive them followed by a standing ovation.

The Rev. Filmore Strunk presents a Courtesy Resolution regarding Bishop David Bryan and giving thanks to God for his example in working for unity in the church.


Canon Andrew Gross presents good news with the Congregational Reports. You may read his report here.

Following Canon Gross, the Council heard the Report of the Nominating Committee for Executive Committee & Introductions of Nominees. Voting will be tomorrow, Wednesday, June 22, 2016.


Archbishop Foley Beach calls on Canon Alan Hawkins to present the Development Report, followed by Treasurer Brad Root. You can read report here and the budget memo here.

The budget is voted on and passed by Provincial Council 2016 followed by a thanksgiving prayer by Bishop Julian Dobb of the Convocation of Anglicans in America (CANA) East.

The council has a break and will return at 2:10 p.m.

 

Cham's Story - The Anglican Relief and Development Fund from ARDF on Vimeo.


Bishop Stephen Leung reports on Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC)

The Rev. William Beasley reported to the council on Cominemos Juntos ministry.

Appointment of Anglican Immigrant Task Force - you may read the report here.
Bishop Winnfield Mott (Columbus, NM, Diocese of the West (REC), Chair
The Rev. Jonathan Kindberg, Diocese of the Upper Midwest
Bishop Julian Dobbs (CANA East)

Rev. Kay Adebogun (Regina, SK, Missionary Diocese of the Trinity)
Rev. Paul Aduba (Toledo, OH, Missionary Diocese of the Trinity)
Mr. Jonathan Bruce, JD, (Indianapolis, IN, Missionary Diocese of the Trinity) 
Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R (Littleton, CO, Rocky Mountains)
Rev. Heather Ghormley (South Bend, IN, Diocese of the Great Lakes)
Mr. Gus Haddad (El Paso, TX, Diocese of the Southwest)  
Christine Jones, Arlington, Virginia, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
Canon Jon I. Lumanog (Canon to the Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America)
Deacon Richard Roberts, (Langley, British Columbia, ANiC)
Rev. Raphael Villareal (Houston, TX, Diocese of Ft. Worth)
Connie Zamora, (Fresno, California, Diocese of San Joaquin) 

In this video, J. I. Packer provides a definition of the church and her responsibilities.

 

 
The Bishop of the Gulf Atlantic reflects on the Orlando terrorist attack

So much has been already broadcast and published about the catastrophe in Orlando that I honestly have been hesitant to say more. But I now have a few reflections that I hope will be helpful.

There are so many issues involved—the nature of Islam, the shooter’s probable homophobia, the extent of gun violence in our culture, as well the appropriateness of media and political responses—just to name a few. While I have personal opinions about all of these, I doubt that my sharing my opinions would be of any general value.

So instead allow me to say the obvious, but something I have not heard said much. No matter how else one looks at this case, it was plain and simply murder (or for survivors, attempted murder).

When the Lord made his covenant with the people of Israel, murder was forbidden in the Ten Commandments and elsewhere.

There are some key truths about murder we must not forget:

• No one has justification to murder anyone else. Whatever the shooter’s motives were, they were contrary to the will of God. Any form of faith that justifies murder is not of God (assuming faith was one motive here).

• No one deserves to be murdered for any reason, lifestyle or otherwise. We are called to have compassion for any of those who lost loved ones due to murder. They need our prayers, that they may be comforted and know the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

• We need to remember that murder is radically connected to hatred. Jesus taught that hatred was actually the equivalent of murder (Matthew 5:21-24). Whether this crime was primarily motivated by the killer’s Islamic faith, his personal homophobia, or some combination of the two, the underlying cause was almost undoubtedly hate. Jesus taught us that we may not hate anyone, not even our enemies, for we are called to be like God our Father who cares for everyone (Matthew 5:43- 48). And it is worth remembering that in one instance when someone was about to be killed for immoral sexual behavior, Jesus saved her life, offering her a chance to live faithfully (John 8:1-11).

• The last truth is perhaps the most uncomfortable. Before we jump to judge anyone involved, we need to remember that we all have murder and other sinful desires in our own hearts (Matthew 15:19). I have been reading many of Agatha Christie’s mysteries, and her detective character’s assumption is that anyone can commit murder. Christie understood the Biblical view of our warped hearts. We therefore all need salvation by the sheer grace of God, purchased for us on the cross of Christ.

I am sure that the debates about this tragedy will be with us a long time. James in his letter counsels us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). Let us listen with compassion to all who are suffering loss, let us be careful not to speak with easy answers, and let us guard our hearts from being quickly angry with those who disagree with us. Before we rush into anger, let us remember how grateful we should be for the Lord who has loved us, even as sinful as we are.

On another sad note, I ask your prayers for the family whose son died from an alligator attack at Disney World in the Orlando area on Tuesday. And please intercede for a priest of our diocese, the Rev. Brad Page who works there and has ministered to many directly involved in that sad tragedy. Please lift up to the Lord those other employees at Disney World who are likewise heartbroken about this accident.

I call us all to pray for all those bereaved, for the Orlando area, and for our nation. May the Lord show his mercy upon us all.

In Jesus, who weeps with those who weep,

The Rt. Rev. Neil G. Lebhar
Bishop, Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic