The Rt. Rev. Bill Thompson to Become Full-Time Bishop of Growing Diocese of Western Anglicans

After devoting nearly four decades of his life to his role as rector of All Saints’ Anglican Church in Long Beach, Calif., the Rt. Rev. William A. Thompson will focus his full attention on being bishop of the Diocese of Western Anglicans.

The Diocese was formed in April of 2009 and includes 28 parishes and church plants stretching from southern California to Washington state and as far east as Wyoming. In addition to his work to support the growing Diocese, Bishop Thompson serves the Anglican Church in North America in numerous ways, including leading the Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Task Force.

“When I was consecrated bishop, I had no way of realizing how consuming it would be. To be fair to both positions, I’m choosing to focus on this role and allow All Saints’ to enjoy the benefits of a full-time rector. We haven’t selected a new rector here since the mid-70s; it’s kind of exciting,” said Bishop Thompson in his announcement to the diocesan House of Delegates.

Bishop Thompson moved into the rector role at All Saints’ just before his 29th birthday. He’s seen the congregation grow and change during his tenure and says, “The parish has always been very strong. While the property litigation we’re facing has been going on now for eight years, we knew the risk of our decision and chose to take a stand for the authority of Scripture anyway.”

Bishop Thompson asked that those in the Province pray for All Saints’ and St. David’s in North Hollywood, which is part of the litigation as well, and whatever transition the congregations may be facing due to court decisions. He also asked for prayers that the right person at this time and place will be called to be the next rector of All Saints’, noting that God is already preparing that person for being part of the church. “Our congregation needs a rector who really understands what’s going on in the movement and how to bring All Saints’ to the next level.”

Sunday, July 1 will be Thompson’s last day in the dual roles of rector and bishop, to be marked with a liturgy of passing the mantle as well as celebrating his 37 years as rector. His diocesan office will remain on the premises of All Saints’. Pending completion of the search process, Fr. Don White will serve as priest-in-charge after serving on All Saints’ clergy staff for almost nine years.

In moving into a full-time diocesan role, Bishop Thompson’s prayer is that “all 28 congregations would feel united in the work they’re doing for the Gospel from San Diego, Calif., to Sheridan, Wyo., and everywhere in between.”

Anglican Church Congratulates The Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah on Bishop Appointment

The Bible teacher for the Anglican Church in North America’s June Assembly meeting, The Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah, has been chosen to be the next bishop in the Diocese of Singapore and will succeed The. Most Rev. Dr. John Chew, who is retiring this year.

The announcement was made by Archbishop Bolly Lapok on May 12, during the Province of South East Asia’s synod meeting and the installation service for Bishop Ponniah will take place in October of this year.

“We pray God’s richest blessings on Bishop Ponniah as he prepares to lead the Diocese of Singapore and thank Archbishop John Chew for his faithful service. We are grateful for the bold stand the Diocese has taken to support not only the Anglican Church in North America, but to hold fast to the authority of Scripture. We are especially thankful to have Bishop Ponniah joining us as our Bible teacher for our June Assembly meeting,” said The Ven. Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog, Canon for Provincial and Global Mission, Anglican Church in North America.

According to the Diocese of Singapore, Bishop Rennis Ponniah, 56, has been Vicar of one of its largest Anglican parishes, St John’s-St Margaret’s Church, since July 1993 and was consecrated as Assistant Bishop in 2005. He is widely regarded as one of the leading Bible teachers in the worldwide Anglican family.

“With faith in God, I receive this immense responsibility. I am humbled by the trust invested in me by the clergy, the laity and the provincial bishops. I intend to build on the good work of Bishop John Chew and his predecessors, while seeking fresh ways to bring the love and hope of the ‘good news’ of our faith to a multi-religious and constantly-changing society in a responsible and winsome way,” said Bishop Ponniah.

To read the full announcement from the Diocese of Singapore, please click here.

Photo caption/credit: Bishop Rennis Ponniah, Diocese of Singapore

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Gathers in London

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) held its first conference for Anglican leaders April 23-27 in London, the theme of which was “Jesus the Christ, Unique and Supreme.” The event included over 200 bishops, clergy and laity from 30 countries and 25 provinces.

“The diversity of the gathering was very telling of where the FCA movement and the Anglican Communion at large are headed,” said The Ven. Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog, Canon for Provincial and Global Mission within the Anglican Church in North America. Lumanog, one of 15 delegates from North America, noted that a key part of the meeting was to draw like-minded Anglicans together to encourage one another.

“While the Anglican Church in North America is not without trials, we feel immensely blessed that we are unifying people in a way that is visible and tangible on this continent. During the meeting, it became very clear that many of our Anglican brothers and sisters around the globe are risking everything to stand for the Gospel - sometimes all alone - in the face of incomprehensible persecution,” Lumanog stated.

imageThe FCA is a society born out of the 2008 meeting of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem. GAFCON addressed the crisis in the Anglican Communion and affirmed the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Christ. The FCA continues that work and is led by a Council of Primates. 

The stated goals of the FCA are “to proclaim and defend the Gospel throughout the world, and to strengthen the church worldwide by supporting and authenticating faithful Anglicans who have been disenfranchised from their spiritual homes.”

In reflecting on the meeting, Lumanog said, “It was encouraging to see the Anglican Church in North America treated as a Province among Provinces. We’re no longer a fledgling Province in the eyes of the other Primates. FCA is the future of what’s happening in the Anglican Communion – in Africa, Asia, North America and South America. We’re seeing a revival take place. We have to go where God is leading and this is the future.” 

The chairman of the FCA, The Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and participant in the upcoming Anglican Church in North America Assembly, opened the FCA conference with a keynote address on the identity of confessing Anglicans in the light of the current crisis within the Anglican Communion. “The heart of the crisis we face is not only institutional, but spiritual,” Wabukala stated.

Echoing Micah 6:8, Wabukala continued, “So what does the Lord require? He has called us to a great prophetic purpose at this critical point in the life of our Communion. After some 450 years, it is becoming clear that what some have called the ‘Anglican experiment’ is not ending in failure, but is on the verge of a new and truly global future in which the original vision of the Reformers can be realized as never before. We do not need to repudiate or belittle our history, but learn from it and set ourselves now to walk humbly with our God into the future and the hope that he has planned for us.” image

The Conference also made a bold statement for the Gospel, affirming it as “the life-transforming message of salvation from sin and all its consequences, through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is both a declaration and a summons: announcing what has been done for us in Christ and calling us to repentance, faith and submission to His lordship. Any compromise of the Gospel is a compromise of the authority of Christ as King.”

Comments at the meeting from Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali sum up an important part of the society’s mission: “The FCA is called to model a biblical way for the churches of the Anglican Communion to gather and relate to one another so as to carry out the Great Commission in the coming decades.” In light of that call, GAFCON 2 is being planned for May 2013.

To read the full statement and commitment from the London meeting, visit: http://gafcon.org/images/uploads/Statement_and_Comittment.pdf.

Photo captions and credits (top to bottom): FCA gathering, Credit: FCA; Rev. John Ganapathy (Malaysia), Canon Jack Lumanog (Anglican Church in North America) and Rev. Lin Yoke Min (Malaysia), Credit: Canon Lumanog; Canon Jack Lumanog and Bishop Nathan Gasatura of Rwanda, Credit: Canon Lumanog