Make a Gift, See it Multiply

My Good Friends in Christ,

I am asking the Lord to bless you in this joyous time of Christmas. I write with extreme thanks for the privilege of leading this church and representing you and your congregations.

May I ask you two things?

First, will you please take a few minutes to read this letter? I want you to join me in prayer and thanksgiving for everything that God has done within and throughout the Anglican Church in North America.  We are having a tremendous year and I am most encouraged by everything that I have seen in our Province.

Everywhere I go, people know the story of the Anglican Church in North America:

  • They know of our beginning and the heroic efforts by so many of you to form this Province.
  • They know of our profound commitment to plant churches and engage the culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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  • They have heard of our commitment to a renewed Global Anglicanism and my efforts to lead in this area.
  • And our congregations seem to know that among our bishops and clergy we have the ONE thing that we must have to convince an unbelieving world that the Gospel is true. We have joy! Glory to God!

But also, people are starting to know about The Matthew 25 Initiative. This is a church-wide undertaking in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Matthew 25 is already helping our churches to live out the words of our Lord Jesus in His last and final: “Whenever you did it to the least of these, you did it to me…”  (Matthew 25:40)

What Jesus said is this: As we reach and love the poor, the downcast, the suffering and the sick, the orphaned and outcast, we are reaching and loving the person of our Lord Jesus.

Matthew 25 is a program that symbolizes the hope and vision I have for every single congregation in our Province to start and grow a Matthew 25 effort in their community.

The Province is going to assist in this effort in a big way. I have secured a seed grant of $1,000,000 to help congregations kick-start these new ministries. This money is ours to use for this great cause: to build new ministries as our Lord called us to do.

But it is a matching gift. We must raise $1 million dollars among our membership across the Province to receive this money. As donations are given to the ACNA, the matching funds will be given to us as well.  Dollar for dollar…up to a million dollars.

Now, this is the second thing I am asking of you: Will you make this work? I want us to raise $1,000,000 to meet the match!  I want our Province to make good on our side of the ‘match’ so that we have the funds in hand to provide our congregations with the resources they need.

(Every church will have the opportunity to apply for these funds as they begin to imagine their own Matthew 25 efforts. That will be an amazing thing to see… But for now, let’s raise our side of the $1,000,000 seed grant and get these funds in circulation for this very important work.)

Will you give generously? Even though you know that every dollar you give will be matched, will you give to meet this incredible opportunity?

Let’s do this.

Make a donation today. You can write a check to the Provincial office and mail it by the end of the year. Or give online. If you like, write an email to our Provincial Development Canon (The Rev. Alan Hawkins) and ask him for wiring instructions or information to receive a stock transfer. We have the capacity to help you give to meet this need.

But let’s do this…together.

To make a right beginning of this, Allison and I are giving $1,000 to this effort over and above the giving that we have committed to the local church ministry. It is just that important.  And I challenge YOU to make a sacrificial gift too.

Please don’t hesitate to email our staff if we be of any help.  I cannot wait to see how many great things, ‘eternal things,’ happen because of your generosity and this tremendous gift.

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America

A Christmas Message from Archbishop Beach


What a year we’ve just had!  All around the world, not just here in North America, we have seen tremendous events.  Events that have changed people’s lives, changed countries, changed the world.  Not just with elections, and new leaders, but with horrific events where innocent lives have been taken, Christians have been martyred just because they are followers of Jesus, and innocent people have been hurt.  But God is not surprised by all of this.  God is the author of human history, God entered human history, and God is over human history. 

This was true in the first century as well.  When the Roman empire began to dominate the known world, God orchestrated human history so that His purposes would be fulfilled.  The birth of His son Jesus, which we celebrate at Christmas, He orchestrated it at just the right time, to just the right person, to just the right family, to just the right tribe, in just the right city. And for just the right purpose, Jesus was born.  The gospel of Matthew puts it this way, in Matthew chapter 1, “Behold an Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel which means God with us.’”

The baby Jesus grew up to be a Jewish rabbi.  He taught, he preached, he healed; he did miraculous things in people’s lives and ultimately he died on a Roman cross to save people from their sins, and he rose from the dead. If he hadn’t died and rose again we wouldn’t be here celebrating Christmas.  That validated everything he did.  This was God’s plan to liberate the human race from sin, and the power of evil, and the power of destruction in people’s lives.  But this is a gift.  It’s God’s grace, and like any gift it must be received.

My son recently asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told him I wanted a kiteboarding kit.  That would be a kite, a board, and the harness.  Now if he went out and bought that, put it in a box, wrapped it up, put a nice bow on it, put my name on it, and put it under the Christmas tree it would be just sitting there until I received it, until I took it, until I made it my own.  And that’s the way it is with God’s gift.  He’s done this for us.  Jesus has died on the cross for our sins, he rose from the dead and gives us the promise of eternal life.  He promises forgiveness of our sins, and the power of the Holy Spirit in our life, but it’s a gift.  It must be received.  As the Apostle John said in John chapter one, verse twelve, “But to as many as received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to be the children of God.”  We must receive him, we must believe in him, we must receive the gift that God gives us at Christmas.

Nothing will change the events in our world until the human heart is changed, and only God can do this.  When Jesus enters into the human heart he transforms it.  He makes it holy.  He makes it righteous. He makes it full of himself.  When we receive Jesus into our life he does this, but it must begin with you; it must begin with me.  We must be willing to open ourselves to the presence of God in our life.

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your heart and your mind in the knowledge and love of God and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord, and may the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always.  Amen.  Merry Christmas!

 

A Reflection on the 2016 Global South Conference

By Rachel Thebeau

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9

Close your eyes. Picture the reality of this verse. Now, picture what this would look like, feel like, and sound like if it were reality on this pre-eschatological earth. Welcome to the Global South Conference of 2016!

During one of our services, we were asked to pray the Lord’s Prayer in our native language. What a beautiful sound of people from 16 different provinces praying the Lord’s Prayer together, but in numerous different tongues.

Each day of the conference I engaged with someone from a new country. Each day I left thinking these are the Lord’s people, these are MY people. Anglican Church in North America, these are OUR people.

We in the orthodox Anglican Communion share in something special: We have brothers and sisters around the world with whom we immediately share a part of our culture. Even more extraordinary is that in the last few decades it has been necessary for us to work together in a common defense of the Gospel, not just remain distant brothers and sisters. Now, we share an innate familial bond.


Relationship

As one of the few youth—which in Africa means young adults—I had a unique experience. I immediately caught the attention of many non-Western delegations which ultimately opened the door for me to engage with delegates from all over the world.

Imagine four lunches, five dinners, four coffee breaks, a whole afternoon and evening of touring together, and breakfasts and breaks at the hotel to spend getting to know different people. Literally, every meal and every break was spent meeting, greeting, and engaging others from different countries and provinces. I now have over 40 new friends, really brothers and sisters, from around the globe.

The Nigerians are my people. The Ugandans are my people. The Singaporeans and South East Asians are my people. It didn’t matter where they came from, the bond was there and the bond was real. Our time together was more than superficial chit-chat that you find at conferences in North America. Rather, it was bonding, growing together, and living life together even in just those few short days. How incredible!


Humility

The most awe-inspiring experience of the Holy Spirit through the week was the humility of the leaders. Like many of you, I have spent years following the happenings of the Anglican communion, watching and listening to the Primates from around the world stand up for the Gospel, and for us in the Anglican Church in North America. I grew to admire these leaders from afar. They are influential leaders in their countries. Many of them have a certain governmental influence and certainly a social influence. These are the “celebrities” of the Anglican communion and even the Church. Yet, they are extraordinarily humble.

That Archbishop Ntagali of Uganda (who, after returning home from his stance at Canterbury last January was met by a crowd of cheering Ugandans with signs like he were an NFL team arriving home from a big win) would have several different conversations with me and greet me every time I passed by, incredible. That Bishop Jwan Zhumbes of Nigeria would sit and talk with me like a friend for over an hour, special. That Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria would joke with me, unique. That Bishop Ponniah of Singapore would be so genuinely interested to know me and engage with me, inspiring. And that Archbishop Beach would pray over me as I left for my year-long mission in the Philippines, encouraging.

This may not seem unusual, but when you understand the sphere of influence these men have, how incredibly busy they were throughout the week, and how long I’ve admired them from afar, I was amazed and inspired by their gentle, kind, humble spirits, oozing with the Holy Spirit. I mean, who am I but a young lay person from America who most don’t even know. Why should they care? Because they recognize we are family in Christ in the Anglican Communion - that is special! May we all be encouraged by their humility and love - this is after all, our leadership and those speaking on our behalf!


Teachings

The focus of the plenary sessions was how the Church and, specifically, the Anglican Communion were shaped by North Africa. As a non-seminarian, I learned just how much Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of Canterbury and our church father, derived his writings, teachings, and liturgies after Augustine of North Africa. I knew generalities, but not specifics. It may be no coincidence that the largest contingent of Anglicans today is in Africa.


Exhortation to the Youth

As noted, being a youth delegate was a unique experience. It is quite clear from discussion that the leadership has a heart for and interest in the youth of today. They are interested in the youth perspective and how to reach the younger generations for the Lord. To the youth: let’s be encouraged to get involved and work with our leadership to increase mission to our generation and raise up the leaders of the future. We are the ones these leaders will pass the torch to, the ones who will stand publicly for the Gospel and against culture in coming years. Let us be faithful to follow the Lord’s lead in the role He would have us play.

Be encouraged that both Archbishop Okoh and Archbishop Ntagali personally sent with me their greetings to the youth!


The Pyramids

Let us not fool ourselves, we all know you want to know about the touristy things, too! We visited the Pyramids and the Sphinx then went on to the antiquities museum. What an incredible sight the pyramids were. But even more fun was watching as bishops and archbishops were gleefully taking in the sights - wandering around, laughing, and taking pictures like children on the last day of school. The joy and laughter on the tour was my favorite part. I loved when the tour guides would run around calling out to the bishops specifically that it was time to go - they enjoyed it so much!


The Communique

The Holy Spirit moved. On the night of the first reading, things seemed chaotic and unsettled, but as Bishop Ponniah read the final copy on Friday morning, something beautiful had happened. His tone combined with the words of the document were powerful, smooth, and seemingly perfect. The transformation was notable to me. I looked back at where we have come from, the mess of the first draft, to the beauty of what we shared later in the week. The document proclaims that while there is still work to be done on the issues at hand, we must not be distracted. Our mission must move forward. Something in the way the Communique discussions played out sent me chills in the reflection of the beautiful transformation that is working in our Communion. That was the Holy Spirit.

It was an absolute honor, privilege, and blessing to represent you all at the Global South Conference in Cairo, Egypt. My heart is to serve the Anglican Church in North America and the global communion through relationship building with our brothers and sisters from other provinces. Thank you for allowing me to do that, and know that if I am connected with them, you are connected with them - for the Glory of God. May we seek to have that taste of the Heavenly Kingdom now, sharing in true relationship and communion with those of every nation, tribe, people, and language. Amen!

Rachel Thebeau serves as the Vice Chancellor of the International Diocese of the Anglican Church in North America. She served as a delegate to the 2016 Global South Conference in October 2016.