Reflections from the College of Bishops

Philippians 4:4-7 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America met from June 23-24, 2015, and the College of Bishops met for two days following that meeting to pray, share fellowship, and approve new resources for the use of our Church. 

We were grateful for our hosts, the Anglican Network in Canada, the leadership of their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Charlie Masters, and the wonderful hospitality of Church of the Good Shepherd, Vancouver.  They served us in an exemplary manner, exhibiting their deep commitment to the mission of the Province.

On the last day of our meeting, the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex “marriage” was released, and it was a blessing to be together as a College to address this issue.  You can read our statement here.  While this decision required an immediate response, it was only a part of our work together.  This reflection highlights some of the other important aspects of our Church’s common life that were covered during our meeting. We recognize that in this work Christ has gone before us, and calls us to follow Him faithfully.

Last year at his investiture, Archbishop Beach spoke of four marks of modern Anglicanism. In his address to the Provincial Council, our attention was again drawn to these important aspects of our common life. We found that many of our conversations naturally revolved around these themes:

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

A Repenting Church
It is a great comfort and a Gospel truth that genuine repentance leads to new life in Christ.  Therefore, it is with joy that we commend new liturgies for the rites of Baptism and Confirmation to our congregations.

As with the rest of the Texts for Common Prayer, the use of these texts are not compulsory, but are offered as a faithful contemporary rendering of the best of the Anglican tradition.  We thank Archbishop Emeritus Robert Duncan, and the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force for their diligent work on these texts, and invite our churches to use these liturgies and then offer feedback to the Task Force. 

A Reconciling Church
Earlier this year, leaders from the Anglican Church in North America gathered in North Charleston, South Carolina where our predominantly African American diocese, the Diocese of the Southeast REC, hosted a discussion on race relations and multiethnic ministry.

Our hearts were broken when Myra Thompson, the wife of one of our own Diocese of the Southeast clergy, lost her life with eight others while leading the Bible study during the horrific massacre at Emanuel AME Church. In the midst of this great evil, however, there are signs of great hope. We give thanks for the powerful words of forgiveness spoken by Fr. Thompson and the other family members of the victims, and the role that Bishops Alfonza Gadsden, William White, and Steve Wood, and many of our clergy and members have played to build Christian unity both before and after the shootings.

A Reproducing Church
Healthy churches and healthy families go hand in hand. We are pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll is leading the newly formed Task Force on Marriage, Family, and the Single Life.  We are excited about the potential that their work has to strengthen families and amplify the giftings of those who are single.

A Relentlessly Compassionate Church
The ministry of Jesus touched the weak, wounded, poor, and dispossessed. Following in His footsteps we celebrate the creation of the Matthew 25 Initiative which will provide greater funding for ministries to the poor in our Province.

A truly compassionate Church offers welcome to all, recognizing that we are all in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The Rev. Canon David Roseberry is heading this initiative and more detailed information can be found on the Provincial website.

It is truly an exciting time in the life of our Church.  As we press forward in each of these areas, we invite you to share these new resources and opportunities with the members of your congregation and diocese that we might reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ!

10 Answers after Planned Parenthood’s exposure

This was written in reference to a video released on July 14th, 2015 showing Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted unborn children and admitting she uses partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts.  Watch the video HERE.

1) I know that an abortion doctor is in the news this week.  What is going on?
The breaking news features a video of Dr. Nucatola discussing the ins and outs of procuring organs of aborted babies for research.  It’s a bigger story than just a local doctor.  Dr. Nucatola is the Senior Director of Medical Research for all of Planned Parenthood. Social media lit up as people expressed outrage that aborted baby body parts were being harvested. Arguments online broke out about whether the organs were being donated or illegally sold. News articles, media reports, politicians and presidential candidates are calling for investigations into the doctor’s employer Planned Parenthood, and the $500 million taxpayer dollars they receive annually.

2) I was told a fetus was just a small clump of cells.  How can a clump of cells have organs?
Babies have beating hearts at 28 days.  It is currently legal to have an abortion up until the time the baby is delivered. Some states have passed laws that limit abortions after 24 weeks. Many people believed the partial-birth abortion ban prevented late-term abortions, but it only banned one method of abortion. The abortion lobby and their allies in the media have misconstrued the nature of abortion for many years and preferred the partial-birth procedure because it kept the body parts intact and was physically easier on the abortion doctor.

3) Is it true that Planned Parenthood did something illegal?
It is too soon to know for certain, but there is strong evidence suggesting that they have.  What isn’t being disputed is the fact that Planned Parenthood is harvesting and distributing organs acquired through abortions.  If they have done it illegally, they should be held accountable.  If this has been done within the bounds of what is legal, what does that say about us, our society, and the laws that we have allowed to be written?  The laws need to be changed.

4) How long has this been going on?
The sad reality is that the selling of baby body parts has been happening for at least 20 years that we can document. When abortion was legalized, we began ignoring the horror of what was happening because it was too terrible to ponder and still sleep at night. Now our civilized society has slipped into an abyss that ignores God’s law and love and makes it okay to drink wine, eat a salad, and discuss procuring a baby’s liver, which is what the doctor in the video does.

5) How often does this happen?
Every day in the United States, approximately 3,000 abortions take place. 88% of those procedures are done on unborn babies 8 to 12 weeks old using a process called Suction Aspiration.

In most cases, the remains of the aborted babies are either incinerated or collected as medical waste and disposed of somehow. Imagine the remains of 1.1 million aborted babies annually. Now we know that in some cases those remains are harvested for body parts that have value in a scientist’s research lab. Also keep in mind that in 2006 abortion clinics in the Netherlands and Ukraine were caught harvesting baby body parts for beauty treatments and last year officials in Oregon ended a program where aborted babies from Canada were being used as a source of energy via incinerator.

6) Who else is involved in this scandal?
While it is obvious the baby’s life is at stake and needs protection from the abortionist suction curette, I believe we also need to recognize the importance of what is happening in the lives of the mother and the doctor. What circumstances have led them individually to believe sacrificing the child’s life is the solution to unplanned pregnancy? Did the mother really give consent for her baby’s body parts to be used afterwards? Was her abortion procedure compromised to aid in procuring the organs? Does the doctor feel she is compromising the Hippocratic Oath she took? What about the buyers of these organs, and all the folks that aid in making these transactions happen? The medical researchers, the curriers, billing agents, and janitors who clean up afterwards? 
(Kevin Burke, a colleague who works with me with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign has written a blog about the doctor featured in the video as well as those who support her actions.)

7) What does God teach us about this through the Bible?
The answer to the question: “When is a human life important enough for us to care about it, protect it or respect it?” is found in Scripture. From Genesis to Revelation, God implies that every human life is sacred, precious, and important enough to send His Son to die so that we humans could have life eternal with Him. God’s sacrifice of Christ on the cross, is the ultimate statement that human life is important enough to die for, in order to save it. God cares for every person even before we are in our mother’s womb according to Jeremiah 1:5 and makes it clear in Psalm 139, verse 16 that every day of our life is known and numbered for us in His book of life.
God answers the question by declaring that His love for every person existed before we are formed by Him and goes on even after we graduate to heaven. He loves the babies, women, doctors, and all involved in this, including us, who now know about it.

8) What is my Church doing?
The Anglican Church in North America has been a strong advocate for life. In fact, it important enough for the Church to include a statement in support of life in its founding documents. Canon 8, Section 3 of Title II states; God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.
Every year our bishops participate in the March for Life, Walk for Life, March for Life Canada and in 2016 the bishops are already planning on participating in a special Summit: Mobilizing the Church for Life in Washington! DC as well as the March for Life.  To learn more visit:

9) What can my congregation do?
Anglicans for Life has resources and educational materials to equip you for this call of protecting life. It is also important to recognize there are members and visitors every Sunday who have been touched by abortion and need to know healing programs are available. Many like myself spent years in the pew, fearing abortion is an unforgivable sin. We need to hear priests preach that forgiveness is available for all sins including abortion.

10) What can I do?
We need to also protect life in the public square, politically and legislatively.  But at the heart of life, this is a spiritual battle between God and Satan, and therefore we must also use our greatest weapon continually. Pray, pray, pray. Pray for all the lives involved and pray for courage to do what God is calling you to do regardless of the cost because life is sacred. Pray for an end to abortion and euthanasia. Pray for the mothers and fathers who have lost children to abortion and are now faced with the reality of what their unborn child went through during the abortion. It is also okay to write letters to your representatives and ask them to suspend the millions of tax dollars given to Planned Parenthood annually.

For more information about Anglicans for Life please visit their website:

The Catechesis Task Force wants your feedback

The ACNA’s Catechesis Task Force continues to welcome your input during this second year of the Catechism’s two-year period as a working public document.

The Task Force is actively reviewing all constructive suggestions and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of 2015. However, the sooner we receive your comments, the more time we will have for review; so please provide them as soon as possible.

All suggestions MUST be submitted via the Task Force email address:

For more information on the Catechesis Task Force and to download the Catechism please visit our webpage.