"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Common Cause Partnership Bishops to Meet

This is most encouraging news. As the realignment of Anglicanism in North America continues, it is most exciting that orthodox Anglican leaders recognize the pressing need to reunite the "Anglican diaspora" of small orthodox jurisdictions that have separated from TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, fleeing the continued left-wing drift of these entities over the last forty years. There is no good reason that we should have a dozen different jurisdictions that are each doing "there own thing," when our witness to Jesus Christ is one we all hold in common. May God speed these orthodox leaders in the creation of a new orthodox province within the next two years.

Common Cause Council of Bishops Set for September 25–28

Pittsburgh, PA -- Bishops from the Anglican Communion Network, the Anglican Mission in the Americas (including the Anglican Coalition in Canada), the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church are invited to attend the first-ever Common Cause Council of Bishops in Pittsburgh, PA, September 25–28. Two of the Common Cause Partners, the American Anglican Council and Anglican Essentials Canada, are not ecclesial jurisdictions and do not have bishops. Several other Anglican jurisdictions are currently in the membership process.

Since its formation in 2004, Anglican bodies connected to each other through Common Cause have committed to working together for “a Biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.” Together, they have crafted a common theological statement and articles of federation. Both are being considered and adopted by each Common Cause Partner.

“By the time we meet, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church will have given its response to the Anglican Communion as to its decision to ‘walk apart.’ By contrast, I expect our gathering to signal a new level of ‘walking together’ both with each other and with the wider Anglican world,” wrote Anglican Communion Network Moderator and Common Cause convener Bishop Robert Duncan. The meeting, said Bishop Duncan, is the result of many years of work toward Anglican unity, work responding to resolutions of both the Lambeth Conference of Bishops and The Episcopal Church’s General Convention.

Bishop Duncan went on to describe the purpose of the gathering as fivefold:

1) to take the Common Cause Partnership to the next level of development in mission together;

2) to showcase ministry initiatives of any of the partners that might be shared with all the partners (e.g., The

Anglican Relief and Development Fund);

3) to share understandings of the purpose and role of bishops such that some common guidelines for the

making of bishops relative to numbers of communicants and congregations might be developed;

4) to consider whether a permanent Common Cause College of Bishops might be created, in order that ever

greater levels of communication, cooperation and collaboration can be built; and

5) to initiate discussion of the creation of an “Anglican Union” among the partners, moving forward the vision
of the Primates of the Global South for a new “ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the

“The Council of Bishops lacks the voice of the laity. It is not a full synod of the Common Cause Partners, but it is the next step agreed upon by the Common Cause Roundtable. While it is not the end of our journey, it does continue the trajectory of ever greater unity and ever closer cooperation between those of us who know Jesus as the only Lord. In the challenging weeks and months ahead, let us say our prayers, do the work before us and trust ‘that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new,’” said Bishop Duncan.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Sermon for the Feast of the Ascension

"Summarize the fundamental elements of the Christian faith in three paragraphs or less. Your text will become a rule of faith, binding upon all Christians for what may be millennia to come. It must be short enough and clear enough that an average person can commit the entire text to memory and recite it without a mistake.” That was certainly a daunting task, but the bishops of the second great ecumenical Council meeting at Constantinople in 381 had no choice. The terrible battles against heresy that had raged over the three generations since the Council of Nicaea had made one thing clear: a straight-forward creedal statement, binding upon all Christians in all places, was essential if "the faith once delivered to the saints" was to be preserved. Naturally, the Fathers of the Church had to be very selective about what was included in this brief summary. But the creed produced by the Council of Constantinople, ironically known to most of us as "the Nicene Creed," has stood the test of time. It is recited every Sunday at Mass by about one billion people and remains a touchstone of Christian orthodoxy today.

Among all the mighty acts that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wrought for our salvation, only four “made the cut” for inclusion in the creed—the Incarnation, the Passion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. “For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven … [and] became incarnate from the Virgin Mary.” “For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He suffered death, and was buried.” “On the third day He rose again.” And finally, “He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”

Please note: when the ancient Church wished to summarize the pivotal saving acts of God in Christ Jesus that all Christians should know by heart and have on their lips every week, our Lord’s Ascension to His Father’s side forty days after Easter was included on that very short list. In time the feast we celebrate here tonight would join the ranks of Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter as principal feasts of the Church calendar.

But why does the feast of the Ascension merit so great an honor? Because it is a crucial component in the salvation Christ has won for us, the culmination of a process that began with the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Nazareth and continued through every moment of our Lord’s earthly life and beyond His precious death. The Ascension is, when considered as part of God’s plan for our salvation, the mirror image of Christmas. In the Christ Mass we celebrate the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus, that crucial moment in the history of the cosmos when the Creator God actually entered time and space, becoming one of His own creatures. Without the Nativity there would have been no sacrificial Lamb for Calvary, no precious Blood to wash us whiter than snow, and no union of a flawless human nature with the Source of Life itself to triumph over death at Easter. But the course of our salvation did not end with Christ’s empty tomb. With His Ascension into Heaven our Lord carried His own perfect, sinless human nature into eternity, uniting our humanity—in the form the Creator meant it to have--with the Godhead in an indissoluble bond.

When we confess in the creed that Christ has “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father,” we are not saying that the Savior has left the scene and is reclining in retirement. We are recognizing that our Lord Jesus, the Word made Flesh, “sits” enthroned in sovereign rule over all creation as the second person of the Holy Trinity. Because God Incarnate has ascended back to the Father, the hands that now hold the scepter of the Universe are human hands, hands that still bear the scars of perfect Love. The King who sits upon the great judgment seat of God is our brother, bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh.

But the Christ of God was anointed not only King, but as a Priest forever. Our Lord Jesus abides eternally in the presence of the Father as our great High Priest, interceding in His humanity on behalf of His brothers and sisters on earth. We read in the letter to the Hebrews that “when Christ appeared as the high priest of the good things to come … he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” For “Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” The One who pleads for us at the Mercy Seat with the Blood of atonement is Himself the sacrificial Victim without blemish. In the words of Saint John, “If anyone sins we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for our only, but for the sins of the whole world.” The One who ascended to the right hand of the Power now pleads for us, interposing His own Blood between His Father and our sin.

But when our Lord Jesus returned to His Father from the Mount of Olives forty days after Easter, He was not only rising up to assume the fullness of His role as eternal Priest and King. He was also blazing a trail. All those who have repented of their sins and turned to Christ in faith, receiving the washing of regeneration, will ascend where He has led the way. One day you and I shall follow in His divine footsteps, if we abide in His truth and live in His love. Yet we need not wait until we leave this earthly life to follow Christ into Heaven. We may do so right here and right now. For this Holy Eucharist we offer together is a portal into the very throne room of God.

“Lift up your hearts… We lift them to the Lord.” When we say these words in a few minutes we will remind all creation that the veil between Heaven and earth has once again been pierced, just as it was on the Mount of Olives that first Ascension Day long ago. Our hearts and souls will rise to be with their Lord, and we shall join angels and archangels and all the company of Heaven in their great song of praise. We shall bask in our Lord’s heavenly glory, even as He descends in the power of the Spirit to share His precious Body and Blood with us on earth! An earthly priest will lend our Heavenly High Priest his hands and his voice so that eyes and ears of flesh may see and hear the Truth that our hearts know deep within them. And the Lamb of God will again come down “the heavenly way” He trod so long ago in His Ascension and stand among us to re-present His sacrifice of Calvary, made once-for-all yet offered eternally to glory of God the Father. Lift up your hearts indeed! Alleluia, Christ is risen! Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Diocese of Fort Worth Announces Intent To Seek APO Outside of TEC

A Statement was issued by the Executive Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth this evening that read, in part:

The Presiding Bishop of this church has refused to accept the key recommendations of the Windsor Report, has failed to seek implementation of the essential requests of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué, and has denied basic tenets of the teaching of the New Testament. By her statements and actions, the course she wishes to pursue is clear: to lead TEC to walk apart from the Anglican Communion. This is a course we cannot follow. For all these reasons and others, we do not wish to be affiliated with her, nor with anyone she may appoint or designate to act on her behalf.

So where does this leave the Diocese of Fort Worth’s appeal for APO?

While we remain open to the possibility of negotiation and some form of acceptable settlement with TEC, it appears that our only option is to seek APO elsewhere. This may entail a cooperative effort with other appellant dioceses in consultation with primates of the Anglican Communion, to form a new Anglican Province of the Communion in North America. A second possibility would be for the diocese to transfer to another existing Province of the Anglican Communion. A third possibility would be to seek the status of an extra-provincial diocese, under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as presently recognized in several other cases.We believe that we must now explore these possibilities.

The Bishop and the Standing Committee of The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

There is still time for St. Mike's!

For those who haven't yet acted to enroll the young people in their lives in the St. Michael's Youth Conference--Southwest, there is still time! This wonderful event will be taking place during the last week of June at Camp Crucis near Granbury, Texas. So far, a dozen of my students at St. Vincent's School are signed up, and I am still "working on" a few more. Do please take the time to check out the web site. The registration form can be downloaded there. It is going to be a blast ... and a blessing, no doubt!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Marvelous Sermon by Bishop Iker

Do please take the time to listen to this superb sermon by Bishop Iker, preached at St. Andrew's, Fort Worth, to confirmands recently. His warning that it may soon be necessary to "shake the dust from off our feet," even if it means suffering for the Faith once delivered to the saints, is quite timely. Hat tip to Stand Firm.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Rare Tapestry Find by Julian

In this rare 11th-century tapestry, depicting an otherwise unknown new priest saying his first Mass, the hapless neophyte is experiencing a maniple malfunction. Senior priests of his diocese chide him for his carelessness. Credit Julian with this remarkable discovery.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bishops Minns and Duncan at CANA Installation

This is an encouraging sign from yesterday's installation of the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns as missionary bishop of CANA. The fact that Bishop Duncan of the Network and Bishop Minns of CANA are clearly treating each other with respect as brothers is a very good thing. Whatever emerges from the mess that North American Anglicanism has become, it is essential that CANA, AMiA, and the faithful dioceses of the Network reunite as soon as possible in a new, orthodox province here. May God bless all the good bishops and give them wisdom.

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