"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

My Photo
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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

++Jensen Writes about the Global South Communique on behalf of GAFCON/FCA

While I certainly do not agree with Archbishop Jensen of Sydney, Australia, on everything (e.g., lay presidency at the Eucharist), his just-released statement interpreting the Global South's "Fourth Trumpet Blast" from Singapore last week is "spot on."

His comment that the "Trumpet Blast" did not provoke a dramatic reaction is true, but so is the reason he gives--the crisis moment is now long past and the statement simply clearly affirms facts everyone involved knows to be true. The fact that TEC will soon consecrate a non-celibate lesbian as a bishop simply confirms what pretty much everyone has seen clearly for five years or more: TEC is firmly committed to a path that most of the Anglican Communion firmly rejects and nothing is going to get TEC to give up their new path ("short of a new Great Awakening," which no one really expects to transpire!).

Among the most important paragraphs of ++Jensen's statement for ACNA members are the following (boldfaced emphasis added by me):

The Global South Encounter could not in itself recognize the authenticity of churches. But the communiqué goes as far as is possible to recognizing the authenticity of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and declaring this body to be the true heirs of the Anglican tradition on that continent. This is precisely what the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council did in 2009, and it really means that the leadership of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion regards itself as being in communion with ACNA and out of fellowship with the other North Americans. This was symbolized by the part played by Archbishop Bob Duncan at the conference, especially when he presided at Holy Communion. Furthermore the welcome accorded to the two bishops from the Communion Partners demonstrated the Global South commitment to Biblical standards as a test of fellowship.

In the meantime, of course, there are those, notably in the West, who want to play by the old institutional rules. They would argue that ACNA cannot be part of the Anglican Communion because it has not passed the tests of admission via the Anglican Consultative Council. This is so artificial as to be risible. As the last paragraph of the communiqué observes, the unreformed ‘instruments of communion’ (who invented such an inelegant phrase?) are archaic remnants of a system which has failed. The Global South is vibrant with spiritual reality. It has taken a time for them to break the courteous habit of deference, but they have now chosen reality, not the artificial constructs dominated by the money and politics of western churches.

The entire text of the archbishop's remarks may be found on the GAFCON website. Hat tip to Stand Firm.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Report on the Oral Arguments in the DioFtWorth Appeal

The Anglican Curmudgeon has posted a report, informed by Fr. Chris Cantrell's eyewitness account, of today's hearing in the Second Court of Appeals. The Curmudgeon may be found here, and his report and the comments are well worth reading.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Global South's Meeting in Singapore issues a Communique

Stand Firm has published the Communique produced by the fourth Anglican Global South-to-South Encounter's just-concluded Singapore meeting. The most important section for my purposes is paragraph 19 (bold-faced emphasis added by me):

19. We are pleased to welcome two Communion Partner bishops from the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and acknowledge that with them there are many within TEC who do not accept their church's innovations. We assure them of our loving and prayerful support. We are grateful that the recently formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a faithful expression of Anglicanism. We welcome them as partners in the Gospel and our hope is that all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy and people of the ACNA and the Communion Partners.

RWF resumes: This is a very important statement from a gathering that represents the overwhelming majority of the world's Anglicans. This paragraph amounts to the leaders of more than 75% of the world's Anglicans expressing their conviction that the ACNA is a worthy partner with whom to be in full communion. It is an unalloyed recognition of our status as faithful Anglicans.

After reciting some of the recent actions of TEC and the ACC that have set them on (para. 16) "a course that contradicts the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures on matters so fundamental that they affect the very salvation of those involved" and which (para. 18) "have brought discredit to our witness," Paragraph 18 "encourages our various Provinces to reconsider their communion relationships with the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada until it becomes clear that there is genuine repentence."

Thank God that many parts of the Anglican world have such faithful leaders!

A full list of the participants in this meeting may be found here.

More on this Communique and the Global South meeting's significance will follow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Of Flowers and April Showers

The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:12

Down here in Texas the flowers are their most brilliant in April, so the old Yankee saying, "April showers bring May flowers" doesn't quite apply. But check out these lovely photos my father, Randy, took this morning in our courtyard at St. Vincent's. April flowers are lovely in the midst of April showers!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A "Christ-haunted" Anne Rice tells of her journey back to the Faith

This video in the "I am second" series by the one-time Vampire novelist Anne Rice is absolutely worth watching. Superb, especially the last minute and a half. Watch it until the end.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Now that Lent is over--Let's DANCE!!

Just so you don't think my world is all traditional Anglican church politics I wanted to post some photos from my cure of souls, St. Vincent's School.
Last night my Middle Schoolers had their annual Spring dance. As you might guess, that is a middle school gym they are dancing in.
They had to hold off until Easter got here before they could party, but they made up for lost time with the Hippie Dance. It was a Seventies-themed dance. Though I think the "YMCA" dance is actually early Eighties, isn't it?
Of course, today's 11 to 14 year-olds don't know much about that long-lost decade. The most common "hippie" outfit simply involved tie-died tee-shirts. But a good time was had by all.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Archbishop Orombi's Excellent Letter to the ABC

Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda has written an excellent letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury. In this letter ++Orombi recounts the many ways that TEC has thwarted the will of the primates of the world's Anglican provinces over the last seven years, primarily by means of manipulating the processes by which the Anglican Communion makes decisions--especially by having everything of importance funnelled through the Joint Standing Committee, where TEC itself holds a dominant position. One cannot expect the fox to guard the henhouse effectively, nor can one put a body dominated by TEC in the position of policing TEC and its left-wing allies when they stray from traditional Anglican teaching.

The letter reads, in part:

Your Grace, I have urged you in the past, and I will urge you again. There is an urgent need for a meeting of the Primates to continue sorting out the crisis that is before us, especially given the upcoming consecration of a Lesbian as Bishop in America. The Primates Meeting is the only Instrument that has been given authority to act, and it can act if you will call us together.

The agenda for that meeting should be set by the Primates themselves at the meeting, and not by any other staff in advance of the meeting. I reiterate this point because you will recall our cordial December 2008 meeting with you, Chris Smith, and the other GAFCON Primates in Canterbury where we discussed the agenda for the Primates meeting to take place in Alexandria the following month. None of our submissions were included in the agenda. Likewise, at the beginning of the January 2009 Primates meeting I was asked to present a position paper on the effect of the crisis in the Communion from our perspective, but I was not informed in advance, so I did not come prepared. Yet, other presenters, including TEC and Canada, were given prior information and came very prepared. I have never received a formal written apology about that incident, and it has caused me to wonder if there are two standards at work in how a Primate is treated.

Finally, the meeting should not include the Primates of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada who are proceeding with unbiblical practices that contradict the faith of Anglicanism. We cannot carry on with business as usual until order is brought out of this chaos.

The entire letter may be read at Stand Firm.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Orthodox Anglican Pilgrimage to Italy

I am planning another pilgrimage for the good people of our diocese to take place next Spring, March 12 to March 25, 2011 (specific date subject to move one or two days either way depending upon availability). It will be a THIRTEEN DAY pilgrimage to ITALY. I know many of you have been to Italy as tourists before, but this will be a serious study tour and pilgrimage and it will have substantially different content than a typical "package tour." Even if you have been to Italy before, it will be worth going back with a group of orthodox Anglicans in order to drink deeply from the fountain of Western Civilization and Western Christianity, Rome. And if you have never been to Italy before, I can think of no better company.

We will start with four days in the city of
Rome, then travel to Naples and Pompeii, up the coast to Florence and the Italian Riviera, over to the marvelous Byzantine city of Ravenna, up to Venice, then finish out in Milan. The trip will be packed with visits to ancient Roman sites as well as places associated with the history of Christianity. We will, of course, also have nightly instruction and devotions led by me. There will also be a local tour guide, just as we had last summer in the Holy Land. But since ancient Rome is the area of history in which I spent more than 15 years of college and grad school studying I hope to be an especially well-informed group leader on this trip. (Latin is not a prereq for the trip, however. )

Mr. Kort of Econotravel is organizing this pilgrimage for me, just as he did last summer's spectacular trip to Israel. I fully expect it to be just as wonderful as that Holy Land trip was. This pilgrimage will take place over THIRTEEN DAYS during our Spring Break next year (missing, I believe, no more than three days of school). The approximately $4500 per person cost will include airfare from New York to Italy, all high-quality lodging , a touring coach, an Italian guide, and breakfast and dinner every day.

Reconnect with the European roots of our culture and the early Church and have a grand time as well! I need FIFTEEN PEOPLE to indicate strong interest as soon as possible so we can go ahead and being making our reservations.

PLEASE send me an email to rfoster[at]sves.org and let me know if you are interested in going. I would LOVE to have a much bigger group than 15!!!

Barbie as Episcopal Priest!

This is simply too hilarious:

With her careers as veterinarian, astronaut and U.S. president behind her, Barbie has at last found her true calling: as a second-career Episcopal priest.

The 11.5-inch-tall fictional graduate of Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Calif., has donned a cassock and surplice and is rector at St. Barbara’s-by-the-Sea in (where else?) Malibu, Calif.

She arrived at the church fully accessorized, as is Barbie’s custom. Her impeccably tailored ecclesiastical vestments include various colored chasubles (the sleeveless vestments worn at Mass) for every liturgical season, black clergy shirt with white collar, neat skirt and heels, a laptop with prepared sermon and a miniature, genuine Bible.

Apparently a devotee of the “smells and bells” of High Church tradition, the Rev. Barbie even has a tiny thurible, a metal vessel used for sending clouds of incense wafting toward heaven.

The entire story may be read here. Hat tip to MCJ.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Great Vigil of Easter at St. Vincent's Cathedral

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Matthew 28:5-10

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,eaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20
We had a good number of baptisms, confirmations, and reaffirmations for Bishop Iker to perform tonight, as well as first communion for several youngsters. Among those confirmed tonight was Taylor, winner of five "outstanding student" awards for Religion coursework undertaken during her three years at St. Vincent's middle school--quite a feat!
Congratulations to all the newly baptised, confirmed, and first communed! Happy Easter!

HOLY SATURDAY: Jesus is laid in the tomb--A sermon by Bishop Frederick Fick

On Friday, March 26th, the Right Rev. Frederick Fick, the Father General of the Missionaries of St. John, an order within Forward in Faith, North America, delivered a fine sermon on the Fourteenth Station of the Cross at St. Vincent's Cathedral in Bedford, Texas. It is a superb reflection for Holy Saturday, and may be heard here.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday 2010, St. Vincent's Cathedral

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:33-38
I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Cor 2:2
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Heb 10:19-22

Altar of Repose 2010

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”
John 19:1-6a

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Attendance is Up in the Diocese of Fort Worth Since Joining the Anglican Church in North America!

For those who may have thought that our departure from TEC would doom our diocese, I am delighted to pass along these fresh Average Sunday Attendance figures for 2009--our first year in the Anglican Church in North America (received via an ad clerum email today from Bishop Iker and published here by permission).

Our average Sunday attendance for the diocese in 2009 was 5593. This compares to an ASA of 5337 in the previous year. These figures are based on the Annual Parochial Reports submitted to the Bishop.

View My Stats