"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.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our "White Christmas" at St. Vincent's Cathedral

On Christmas eve the snow began falling in Bedford about one in the afternoon. By 8PM we had accumulated about two inches of snow. I know that isn't much by northern standards, but this was the first true "white Christmas" here in my lifetime!

Our quiet little service on Christmas day

While St. Vincent's often sees more than 600 worshipers on Christmas eve, our Christmas morning service is a quiet, reflective Eucharist which typically has about 35 congregants. This year we saw a "white Christmas" for the first time more than three decades here in North Texas, which did reduce attendance at the Christmas eve Eucharists. But surprisingly, despite icy streets, more forty people came on Christmas day. It was a lovely service at which Fr. Kalimi of our African Fellowship celebrated the Holy Mysteries and I was honored to preach.

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 25, 2009

"... you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Get a copy of "Being Faithful" today! You will not regret it.

The Theological Resource Group of GAFCON has produced a remarkable commentary on the Jerusalem Declaration entitled Being Faithful: The Shape of Historic Anglicanism Today. I have found it to be a remarkably helpful read and urge all of this blog's readers to obtain a copy.

For example, I found this list of "core commitments" of the Christian faith on pages 86-87 to be an excellent summary of the doctrines of Catholic Christianity:

The non-negotiable core of these commitments includes:

--the goodness, love, and mercy of the living God who eternally exists in three Person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

--the creation of men and women by God in his image, with all that this means for the dignity and value of every human life;

--the distortion of creation, at all levels, by the decision of the first man and woman to turn aside from trust in God's goodness, expressed in the word he had given them;

--the lostness of the human race, as the result of the fall into sin, which manifests itself in our natural guilt, corruption and enslavement to sinful desire;

--the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God, and as the only Saviour for sinful men and women;

--the central saving reality of judgement being borne in our place by Jesus Christ on the cross, which is his great victory over all that stands against us, and that also stands opposed to the rightful rule of God;

--the historical actuality and theological indispensability of the bodily resurrection of the Jesus Christ from the dead, on the third day after his crucifixion, leaving empty the tomb in which he had been laid;

--the necessity of the Spirit's work in bringing about the repentance and faith in the human heart, so as to unite us to Christ and enable us to share in the salvation he has won;

--the right standing with God which is given freely, and which now belongs to all who, by faith, are united to Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection;

--the expectation of the bodily return of Jesus Christ, to bring God purposes of salvation and judgement to their consummation;

--the significance of the Church as the gathering of the redeemed people of God around the word of God and in the Spirit of God;

--the supreme authority of the Scriptures as the word of God written, and as the source of true teaching about God, his purposes, and the appropriate response to God's mercy in Jesus Christ;

--the purpose of Christian ministry within the churches to nourish faith and obedience through careful teaching of the Bible in the context of genuine personal relationships;

--the generous provision of the Lord's Supper and baptism which, as sacraments, visibly represent the promises of the gospel of Jesus Christ to his people;

--the legitimate exercise of authority within the churches which is characterized by the unreserved obedience to the teaching of Scripture and Jesus Christ's own pattern of service;

--the importance of fellowship between Christian congregations in the common cause of living as disciples of Jesus Christ and as his ambassadors in the world;

--the priority of evangelism for all Christians in response to the great commission of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Welcome [in Advance] to the Fold, St. Andrew's--Mt. Pleasant, SC!

Clicking on the title of this post will take you to the official announcement by the Vestry of St. Andrew's Church in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina--the largest parish in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina--that their parishioners have overwhelmingly expressed their desire to leave TEC and become part of the ACNA.

The announcement states, in part:

Last night we gathered to count the response forms and by a 93% – 6% margin the congregation has overwhelmingly recommended that St. Andrew’s affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America and separate from The Episcopal Church. Here are the results:

902 total discernment response forms submitted.

  • 838 recommended that St. Andrew’s Church affiliate with the Anglican Church in North America and separate from The Episcopal Church.
  • 58 recommended that we remain within The Episcopal Church.
  • 4 response forms were submitted unmarked.
  • 2 response forms had the word, “abstain” written across them.

We were very pleased with the total number of people participating in this discernment process and we were equally pleased with the clarity with which you – and the Lord through you – spoke to us. We will gather as a Vestry in the New Year to take up this matter. Be assured we will keep you informed of our decisions. Please keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Interesting insights into the new Ordinariate for former Anglicans in England

While a great deal remains to be worked out with respect to the new ordinariates being created for converts to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism, the BBC today reports an interview (click the title of this blog entry to read it) with Monsignor Andrew Faley, Assistant General Secretary of the English and Welsh Catholic bishops' conference, in which Mgr Faley details some aspects of how the new structures will function in the U.K.

Among the interesting insights in this article:

Those who imagine the ordinariates will function with a high degree of autonomy from the Roman rite parishes in their neighborhoods (like some sort of Anglican "uniate" church) may be disappointed to read Mgr Faley's comments to the BBC that "ordinariate members would be expected to co-operate with their local bishop and the life of their local Catholic parish. 'They can't live separate from it... that would be a "sect" approach and that would not be tolerated within the Catholic understanding of the church,' he said."

Mgr Faley indicates that one should not assume the new quasi-episcopal ordinaries will be former Anglican bishops. Indeed, he thinks it is unlikely that they would be so in England: "Within the nature of the bishops' conference as it currently stands it's almost certain that the ordinary of the ordinariate would be a celibate Catholic bishop. ... There is the possibility that he would be [a married former Anglican bishop] - but within the culture of the bishops' conference I think that's highly unlikely."

In England Mgr Faley says it is unlikely that the former Anglican parishes who join the ordinariate will be able to retain their buildings. They will more likely share facilities with a neighboring Roman rite parish.

The new ordinariate parishes may be served by married former Anglican priests who are subsequently ordained as Roman Catholic priests. However, married men who have not been ordained as Anglicans before they enter the ordinariate will not eligible for ordination. (Mgr Faley does not speak to the question of married men who are already candidates at the time they convert but are not yet ordained.) This was reasonably clear from the Apostolic Constitution itself, but Mgr Faley's remarks do remind me that there will probably not be very many married ordinariate priests within a few decades.

In addition, Mgr Faley says these ordinariate parishes will be using a standard liturgy based upon the Book of Common Prayer rather than the various rites they presently use. (Many Anglo-Catholics in the U.K. actually use the Roman rite today, though Mgr Faley thinks they will no longer be able to do so within the new ordinariates.)

Of course, things might be quite different in the United States. But these are interesting observations, nonetheless.

Friday, December 11, 2009

St. Vincent's School Lessons and Carols 2009 A.D.

Last night the choir of St. Vincent's School (fourth through eighth grades) and the lower school music classes (kindergarten through third grades) lead our worship at Advent Lessons and Carols through their beautiful offering of music to God's glory.In addition to the glorious singing, six members of our fifth through eighth grades served as readers of Holy Scripture. They were joined by two of our recent alumnae (now students at Nolan Catholic High School and Fort Worth Christian School) and by our middle school English teacher, Mrs. Wren, who also served as readers.
The congregation exceeded 300. It was a remarkable evening of prayer and praise. Thanks be to God for the many talents He has given to our students, and thanks to the kids and Mrs. Fergus for all their hard work in preparing for this service.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Heavens Declare the Love of God

My father took this lovely photograph tonight at Donna Park in Hurst, Texas. The heart-shaped break in the clouds reminded me of the unfathomable love of our Lord for mankind manifest in the first Advent of Christ our Savior.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Deja vu all over again

Clicking on the title to this post will take you to a story from today's Washington Times about the pending formation of an new Lutheran denominational body. The Steering Committee of Lutheran CORE, a group of traditional Lutherans who has been opposing the leftward slide of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, has voted to form a separate church structure in the aftermath of the ELCA's national Synod's vote to jettison Scriptural teachings on human sexuality last summer.

It is striking how closely ELCA's slide has paralleled that of TEC. May God bless Lutheran CORE richly as they strive to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to answer God's call to righteousness.

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