|Handle with prayer!
ANiC and ACNA events calendar
May 18-20 – ACNA Intersection Conference in Costa Mesa, CA on impacting culture
May 26 - June 3 – Mission trip to Cuba to visit ACNA church plants
May 28 – The Rev Gregor Cantz will be ordained a priest at Emmaus, Montreal
June 11, 4pm– The Rev Bob Bailey will be ordained a priest at Saint Matthew's Abbotsford, BC
June 18, 6pm – The Rev Jeremy Graham will be ordained a priest at St John's Vancouver
June 26 – ACNA College of Bishops meeting, Wheaton, IL
June 27 – ACNA Provincial Council, Wheaton, IL
June 28-30 – ACNA Provincial Assembly, Wheaton, IL
Oct 24 – Clergy Day, Ottawa
Oct 25-27 – Synod 2017, Burlington, ON (Theme: Remember Jesus Christ, 2 Timothy 2:8-10)
Sault Ste Marie church forming
We are welcoming the Rev Fr John Swain and a forming church – known as The Gate – in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario! If you know anyone in the area who might be interested, please put them in touch with Fr Swain. See contact information here.
Marching for life
Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A MacDonald stated that abortion "saps the very life blood of the nation". On this Canada's 150th anniversary, the theme for the 2017 Marches for Life was "Life: We stand on Guard for Thee".
Under the banner of Anglicans for Life Canada (AFLC), ANiC members participated in the Marches for Life held in Ottawa, Edmonton, Victoria and Halifax on May 11. In Victoria, Bishop Trevor Walters gave the closing address and benediction. In Halifax, the AFLC members were prominent with their line green hats and placards in the smaller crowd of marchers.
There was a good turnout of AFLC marchers in Edmonton, as well, under the leadership of Dr Nancy Craig. Incidentally, on Sanctity of Life Sunday, May 7, Dr Craig preached powerfully at Christ the King (Edmonton, AB) on what it means to be created in God's image.
Bishop Charlie Masters was on the stage and introduced in Ottawa, as were both Deaconess Georgette Forney, president of Anglicans for Life (US) and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and Canon Jack Lumanog, Archbishop's Canon and Chief Operating Officer of the Anglican Church in North America.
The March for Life flag briefly flew outside Ottawa city hall until the mayor succumbed to pressure and had it taken down. Similarly, in Edmonton, the city backtracked on an agreement to light up the city's High Level Bridge in honour of the March for Life.
Photos of Anglicans for Life Canada participation in the Marches can be seen here. You can read about the Ottawa March here. Vicky Hedelius+, national director of AFLC, and ANiC/AFLC member Paula Valentine were interviewed at the March by the Ottawa Spur.
Easter round up
It is worth listening to Archbishop Foley Beach's compelling Easter message in which he encourages to us to share the Good News of Easter if we really believe it.
In his Easter letter, Bishop Charlie also asks us to become bold witnesses. He writes, "What you and I have in Jesus Christ our family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues desperately need. Would you pray for opportunities to give personal witness? Would you seek to become more skilled at giving witness to Jesus? And would you pray for courage, to winsomely and lovingly take every opportunity to give witness to him?"
In western culture a truism is that good fences make good neighbours. But Jesus teaches us to build bridges to our neighbours. This article reminds us that being a good neighbour is active, not passive… and it begins by praying for them and then intentionally seeking their good. "Seeking your neighbors' good can manifest itself in an array of both temporal and eternal ways. From the practice of generosity and hospitality, to identifying real needs and seeking to meet them, to inviting them to church or sharing the gospel with them, we have the calling and God-given ability to bless them in ways the world cannot." Read about St John's Vancouver's recent outreach events.
Bishop Charlie speaks, via video to the people of St Peter and St Paul's Ottawa, about the joy and privilege of giving. His words are an encouragement to all of us.
What?! $60,000 for a second-hand van!?
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund Canada (ARDFC) is on the home-stretch in raising funds for a second-hand van to support the ministry of ACNA church plants in Cuba. Now $60,000 for a second-hand van is a bit much by Canadian standards! However, in Cuba, decent vehicles are rare and rarely available for sale. And the price is through the roof because of the years of trade embargo and high tariffs on new vehicles. Read ARDFC's Easter newsletter (pdf) for more on why this van is needed, how it will be used, and what transportation options are currently employed by the Cuban churches and their missionary bishop.
The good news is that we have $40,000 of the total needed. The bad news is that we still need $20,000. The hope is to have the full amount in hand prior to the ANiC missions team leaving for Cuba on May 26. Also, please remember that ARDFC is appealing for funds to support the Church in South Sudan as it cares for victims of the famine.
Anglican 4th Day movement growing
Anglican 4th Day (A4D), our Province's and our Diocese's version of the well-known Cursillo movement, is established in the Fraser Valley area of BC, with interest growing in Newfoundland. A4D seeks to bring people to Christ, helps Christians grow in discipleship and offers warm fellowship. If you have been through Cursillo or A4D and would like to reengage - or if you are interested in starting an A4D society in your area – email the Rev Rich Roberts or call him at 778-549-4953.
For those in BC, fall weekend events have been set for both women and men – both at Camp Saturna, Maple Falls in WA. The women's A4D weekend is September 21-24, while the men's is September 28 - October 1. Participation in these weekends requires "sponsorship" for candidates by an A4D member – which can be arranged. On the weekend, you can anticipate sound teaching, spiritual encouragement and renewal, and good fellowship with members of other ANiC parishes as well as members of our sister Cascadia Diocese across the border.
ANiC parish and regional news
Celebration Church (Barrie, ON) is producing a weekly, 30-minute radio show – called "Wake Up Sunday Morning" – which airs on Life 100.3 FM on Sunday mornings at 8:30am. The first program aired Sunday, May 7. Each show costs about $200 for air time and production. They hope to continue the series through the end of June and perhaps start again in September. The church's Easter newsletter states, "We feel that this is a remarkable opportunity which has opened to us. Radio is a powerful media that reaches thousands of people in their homes and in their cars. Please pray for God's leading and for the success of this initiative." See the church newsletter for more information.
St John's Vancouver (BC) hosted Easter Projects in communities around the city to engage their neighbours in practical ways and demonstrate Christ's love. Projects included: serving pancakes and holding an Easter Egg Hunt in a city park, serving lunch to under-appreciated daycare staff, gift bags given to sailors from the freighters loading and unloading in the port, giving plants to people in a condo building, making sandwiches for those in the lower income Downtown Eastside, a block party, and handing out free cookies to stressed university students. Read more and see photos on the St John's website.
Christ the King (Edmonton, AB) – April 29 marked the church's second annual free bike clinic and tune-up in the McQueen neighbourhood of Edmonton with the purpose of serving and getting to know their neighbours. Saturday, from 10am to an hour past the 2pm close, skilled parishioners used their gifting to serve individuals and families in the community. They also had the opportunity to spread the word about their upcoming Crosstalk summer day camp, as well as share what they do as a church. Associate pastor Stephen Lieberman reports that "It was a fun and encouraging community outreach."
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)
Let's all go… to Provincial Assembly 2017!
The last day to register for our Provincial Assembly at the regular price has been extended to Sunday, May 20! Don't miss this once-every-three-year gathering of clergy, leaders, and fellow Anglicans near Chicago, IL. We hear that more than a dozen global Primates will be there to join in the theme "World on Our Doorstep". The line-up of speakers – including Ed Stetzer and Archbishop Ben Kwashi – is stellar; the setting – historic Wheaton College – is ideal. There will be host of workshops and sub-conference gatherings, including: healing prayer, worship/song leading, church planting, missions, youth, chaplaincy, and ministry to minority ethnic and language groups in North America.
ANiC's Bishop Stephen Leung, and his team, will join Bishop Michael Nazir Ali in leading the Asian & Multicultural ministries sessions.
See more at the Assembly website and register now!
Canon Phil Ashey explores relatively recent (2015) statistics which demonstrate that our Province is growing. From 2009 to 2015, our congregations grew from 700 to 966; the number of parishioners grew from 100,000 to 111,853; and average "principal service" service attendance grew from 69,197 to 78,679.
He also notes that in 2015, 2333 children and 901 adults were baptized; 686 children and 1138 adults were confirmed; and 2705 known first time commitments to Christ were recorded. And, in keeping with our Province's Assembly 2017 theme (Mission on Our Doorstep), he found that, in 2015, 148 ACNA congregations were primarily comprised of non-Caucasians; the members of 72 congregations were primarily first-generation immigrants; and 64 congregations held services in a language other than English.
On April 25 our Primate, Archbishop Foley Beach, issued a gracious statement on the announced creation of the "Truro Institute" – "a school of peace and reconciliation – which had been proposed to be jointly led by ACNA's Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, Virginia in partnership with the US Episcopal Church's Diocese of Virginia, which Truro had left some years earlier. Archbishop Beach writes that while conceptually a school promoting reconciliation is to be commended, this particular proposal cannot be seen as embodying Biblical reconciliation which must be based on the full truth of God's Word. As the TEC diocese promotes teaching and practice contrary to the revealed Word of God. He also notes that Truro's decision is in defiance of their bishop, Bishop John Guernsey, as well as Archbishop Beach who had counselled church leadership not to proceed.
He writes, "The decision to partner with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in this way is not in harmony with the Bible's instruction in dealing with false teachers, and it denigrates the costly sacrifice of the many congregations who had their buildings and assets taken by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. It is ironic to begin a "Peace and Reconciliation" center when you are not at peace with your own bishop and archbishop. Truro has been a leader in the renewal of North American Anglicanism, giving a robust defense of the Gospel, and refusing to peddle any counterfeit. It is my hope that they will uphold that heritage, resist counterfeit versions of "reconciliation," and fulfill their calling among the leading congregations of the Anglican Church in North America.
You can also read: Bishop John Guernsey's letter, Bishop Shannon Johnston's letter (TEC's Diocese of Virginia), and Truro Church's announcement which includes an gushing endorsement by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The terms of the Truro agreement with TEC's Diocese of Virginia seem to include terms which dramatically limit ACNA and almost restore Truro to TEC episcopal control. Canon Phil Ashey, writing in the context of Lewis Carroll's literary classics, notes that the terms include "having a TEC Bishop resident at Truro Church and, while granting permission to visit Truro for the ACNA Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (ACNA), who has oversight of Truro Church, neither the Archbishop of the ACNA nor any other bishop may visit the church without TEC approval!"
This decision seems puzzling until one considers:
||The quid-pro-quo includes TEC's Diocese of Virginia extending Truro's lease on their church building another 20 years, potentially renewable for an additional 50 years. (Other ACNA churches leaving that TEC diocese were sued for and lost their buildings.)
||The rector, the Rev Tory Baucum, similarly attempted a short-lived rapprochement with Bishop Shannon Johnston in 2013, which was, at the time, touted as a model of reconciliation by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
||The Rev Baucum was subsequently appointed (January 2014) by Archbishop Justin Welby as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral. The two maintain a close relationship.
Long-time Anglican commentator Kevin Kallsen discusses the intrigue leading up to this announcement from Lambeth Palace. He concludes, "TEC and Canterbury are working hand in glove… This political, rather than biblical, definition of "reconciliation" is going to continue to be a key theme for Lambeth in the years leading up to Lambeth 2020 [the meeting every 10 years of all bishops in the Anglican Communion which has been put off for several years] with the goal of restoring The Episcopal Church to full participation in the Anglican Communion, without the need for repentance."
Anne Kennedy writing in Patheos discusses why Truro's action is just the opposite of genuine love.
And the Anglican Unscripted video commentators shed additional light on the affair. An even more recent edition of Anglican Unscripted suggests that Bishop Guernsey and the Rev Baucum are continuing to discuss the matter.
ACNA news in brief
June 5-7, Trinity School for Ministry is offering a Spirit & Sacrament 2017 conference which seeks to explore the sacramental role of contemporary sung worship. More information is here.
ACNA's Young Anglicans is hosting a Diocesan Youth Director Training Conference in Dallas, Texas, October 24-28. For details go to Young Anglican's website or email them.
The legal case against the ACNA priest, the Rev James Linton, has been dismissed. He was arrested in San Bernardino, CA in October for standing on public property outside an abortuary advocating for the lives of the unborn.
Read a news story about a new ACNA church plant in Everett, WA.
Archbishop Foley Beach and the Primate of the Church of Bangladesh, Archbishop Paul Sarker, met and issued a joint statement announcing that our two Provinces (ACNA & Bangladesh) are in communion. They conclude: "We ask the people of our provinces keep this relationship in their prayers, and invite you to be open to opportunities that the Holy Spirit may bring to join in united Christian witness and ministry between Bangladesh and North America."
Primates meeting in Lagos – Theprimates who lead the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) movement met in Lagos at the end of April and issued a communique. Excerpts of particular interest relate to the provision of a missionary bishop for Britain:
A Missionary Bishop for Britain
"During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus' teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE). These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.
"We wish to reassure all faithful Anglicans in European provinces that they also have our prayers and our support. We are aware that some Christians within these provinces who are contending for the faith may at first perceive the news of a missionary bishop as a threat to their hopes for reform from within.
"We believe that the complexity of the current situation in Europe does not admit of a single solution. Faithful Christians may be called to different courses of action. We bless those whose context and conscience have led them to remain and contend for the faith within the current structures. If you are successful, you will not need a missionary bishop; if you are not successful, an alternative is at hand. The only true failure would be to waste time through inaction.
"We also pray for those who are not yet clear about what faithfulness requires. May God give you the wisdom and courage of the Reformers to stand firm wherever the Lord calls you to stand."
The Anglican TV commentators discuss the need for bishops who are outside the Church of England and the virtually impossible challenge before the Gafcon Primates of finding a bishop who will satisfy the range of churchmanship amongst Biblically faithful Anglicans in Britain – both outside of and within the Church of England – who are looking to Gafcon for episcopal leadership. Evangelical groups in England generally welcomed this announcement. You can read a statement for the Anglican Mission in England here and from GafconUK here. You'll also enjoy listening to Archbishop Peter Jensen interviewed on Premier in the UK. The Gafcon Primates definitely need our prayer support as they wrestle with this matter!
Gafcon Bishops training – One of the fruitful ministries of Gafcon is holding training sessions for newly consecrated bishops in the Anglican Communion. This is one of the key ministries for which Gafcon is seeking committed supporters. Read Canon Phil Ashey's encouraging report from a training session.
The Anglican Communion News Service has just announced that "Archbishop Suheil Dawani of the Diocese of Jerusalem has been elected as the next Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. He succeeds Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, who has held the post since 2007. Archbishop Dawani will serve for a period of two and a half years, to be followed by Bishop Michael Lewis of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. He will serve for the same length of time, ending in May 2022."
Prior to this announcement, Anglican Unscripted commentators discussed the changing of the guard within the Anglican Communion primates, including the loss of Archbishop Mouneer Anis (Middle East) who has reached the limit of his term of office. They see this as a grievous loss since Archbishop Dawani has close ties with western churches – especially the ACoC – while Bishop Lewis is quite "liberal" in this theology.
Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC)
The ACoC has overturned the episcopal election of bishop-elect Jacob Worley in the Diocese of Caledonia. Caledonia is a "conservative diocese" under retiring Bishop Bill Anderson. Their excuse? He doesn't hold the "doctrine or discipline" of the ACoC. Specifically, "The view he held and holds is that it is acceptable and permissible for a priest of one church of the Anglican Communion to exercise priestly ministry in the geographical jurisdiction of a second church of the Anglican Communion without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that second church". The Rev Worley once served as a priest in the Anglican Mission under the jurisdiction of Rwanda but within the territory of the US Episcopal Church.
The Rev Worley had been elected April 22 in what Anglican Unscripted commentators saw as evidence that theological conservatives still have a place in the ACoC. Sue Careless, writing for the Living Church, provides more background on the Rev Worley.
Interestingly, doctrine and discipline have not been a concern for the ACoC in the past when it came to a bishop's irregular views on established core Christian doctrine or the Church's historic teaching on moral matters.
Archbishop Greg Kerr-Wilson announced that the Indigenous delegates of the Diocese of Calgary elected the Venerable Sidney Black to be Indigenous Bishop for Treaty 7 territory.
The Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior [of BC] has a new name. It is now known as the Territory of the People. This is the same group of churches originally known as the Diocese of the Cariboo until it was bankrupt in 2001 by lawsuits related to the sad history of residential schools.
CBC reports that "Bishop Ron Cutler, the bishop of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, was elected the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada on Monday. The Ecclesiastical Province of Canada includes all the Anglican diocese east of, and including, the Diocese of Montreal."
Anglican Communion Alliance (ACA) – formerly known as Anglican Essentials Federation
The ACA has a new chair. Roseanne Kydd has stepped down and the Rev Dr David Smith is taking over. Concurrently, Sharon Dewey Hetke has been appointed to the newly created position of National Director. In order to support the national director office, the ACA is launching a fundraising campaign.
The ACA issued a statement regarding mediation for "conservative" clergy in the ACoC given the consecration as bishop in the Toronto Diocese of a man in a same-sex marriage, as well as the acceptance of same-sex marriage at the last June's national synod. The statement reads:
"…With the invitation of Archbishop Colin Johnson a group within the TO Diocese formed and met on a number of occasions, initially with him and subsequently together at Wycliffe College as the group grew in numbers. Movement towards engaging a mediator to work with both sides of the marriage question continued and recently one has been agreed upon by both sides, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion.
"Meanwhile the larger group selected by vote seven conservative voices that represented a wide spectrum of interests in the diocese to participate in discussions with ++Colin and the mediator. The process has been marked by good will and a determination to consult broadly with others to enable a fuller understanding and reflection of conservative concerns while mediation proceeds. That process is underway now and is yielding a picture of specific concerns that are being confronted by conservative clergy in the diocese.
"We hope to arrive at a solution(s) that will provide both canonical and (therefore) secular safeguards for those who have a conservative view on marriage. We aim to cultivate an environment where gospel ministry will flourish in our diocese while providing structures within the Church that support this goal."
Bill 84 which is Ontario's assisted suicide legislation has no conscience protection for medical professionals. The government majority in committee defeated opposition amendments that would have included such protection. However, a private member's bill has been introduced, and will be debated May 18, which would amend the government's medical assistance in dying legislation to protect the conscience rights of health care providers. If you wish to weigh in and are resident in Ontario, you can get more information here.
The CBC reports more than 1300 medically assisted deaths in Canada in the 10 months since it became legal. Now the lobbying has begun to extend this provision to include those with mental illnesses and those who are under 18 years.
A US Episcopal church organist in Indiana has been charged with vandalizing his church following the election of Donald Trump last fall. He apparently wanted to ignite anti-Trump sentiment by painting "Heil Trump", a swastika, and a gay slur on the building.
A Missionary Bishop was consecrated recently for disaffected Anglicans in England, but not by Gafcon – and against the counsel of Gafcon-UK! On May 2, of the Rev Jonathan Pryke, senior minister of Jesmond Parish Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, was consecrated by the Church of England in South Africa (CESA) – now known as the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA). Archbishop Peter Jensen, secretary of the Gafcon Primates told Anglican Ink said this consecration was "…entirely independent of [Gafcon]. But it does show, I think, that the situation in England is becoming very difficult for those who want to hold the traditional and biblical view."
For a listing of related articles and diverse commentaries please see the Anglican Mainstream blog. Of particular interest is the statement from the Jesmond parish, and a strategy document, called Credible Bishops, issued to those attending the September 2016 ReNew conference. The Anglican Unscripted commentators also shed light on the event, including a discussion about how the Church of England might respond.
Anglican Ink reports that the Church of Ireland's General Synod affirmed the Church's historic teaching on marriage and declined to apologize to same-sex couples for not blessing their relationships.
The Anglican Communion News Service reports that "A team of Bible translators in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, working against the backdrop of civil unrest and religious persecution, has completed the first ever translation of the whole Bible into the Central Kurdish Sorani language." This one translation represented 28-years of work. Praise God for this new translation of Scripture and the many others like it completed each year. Pray that the many remaining languages without God's Word also would soon have reliable translations so people can hear God's message in their "heart" language. Wycliffe Global Alliance reports that 1442 languages have at least the New Testament. And active translation work is underway in another 2400 languages. However, "…over 160 million people, speaking 1700-1800 languages, may need some form of Bible translation to begin." If you wish to pray for unreached people/language groups, you can sign up at the Joshua Project to receive emails with information on a different people group each day.
Archbishop Mouneer Anis discusses how the forgiveness of the Christians whose lives were shattered by recent Islamic State's suicide bombings of churches has astonished Egyptian Muslims. Christianity Today provides a similar deeply moving, detailed account of how this public expression of forgiveness is impacting Muslims and how the specter of martyrdom is reviving the Coptic Church. Do keep Christians in Egypt in your prayers. "
Kidnappings and murders are increasing, especially in the Sinai region where the Islamic State is specifically targeting Christians. This recent account tells of a father and his two sons who were kidnapped and later found decapitated.
The Anglican Communion News Service announced that Sudan will have its own Primate when Archbishop Ezekiel Kumir Kondo is installed at the end of July. Earlier this year, it was announced that Sudan would become a separate Province in the Communion; previously it was part of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and South Sudan. Sudan becomes the 39th Province officially recognized by the Anglican Communion Office.
There is grave danger of becoming desensitized and cavalier when confronted with unrelenting reports of evil prevailing in certain regions like the Sudan. A Sudanese website tells of ongoing government-backed attacks on villages in Darfur, killing, maiming, raping and pillaging. In the capital of Khartoum, the Islamic government is systematically demolishing churches and arresting pastors. Christians originally from the Nuba Mountain region are particularly targeted.
One of the ugliest, most under-reported refugee stories is that "The European Union, in the last couple of years, has been forging increasingly close ties with Sudan, a country once globally ostracised for sponsoring terrorist activities and human rights abuses. But human rights have taken a back seat, as the EU moves to stem the influx of refugees and migrants to its collective shores. The budding partnership between the EU and Sudan is in part a financial one: the EU so far has given just under €215 million to Sudan to curb migration… Sudan, meanwhile, has made no secret that is using an infamous government-aligned militia to arrest more migrants on its borders." And while EU countries are pouring money into Sudan – one of the most corrupt countries on earth with an appalling human rights record – in exchange for blocking migrants by whatever means, the underlying causes of the Sudanese refugee crisis is ignored. The ongoing conflict in the Darfur, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions "fuel Sudan's position as the world's fifth largest source of migrants". And while EU money is turning Sudan into a prison for migrants and enriching human traffickers, some believe the government is using some of this funding to finance the very wars creating the migrant crisis.
A multi-campus Anglican university is in the works, with plans to open in two years.
This is a land of deeply ingrained tribal conflict despite widespread professions of Christianity. So, there is great hope that the visit later this year of Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby will help spur peace.
South Sudan is now the world's fastest growing refugee crisis. The UN reports that about 62 per cent of refugees from South Sudan are children. More that one million children have fled South Sudan's civil war while another million children are displaced within the country. Even among children within the country, three-quarters are not in school due to the conflict and many are at risk of starvation due to the war-created famine. You can watch a short CBC video that portrays the heart-rending, stark reality of famine. ARDFC is collecting donations to help the Wau Diocese feed the desperate refugees on its doorstep.
In early May, as a result of a government-brokered prisoner exchange, Boko Haram released 82 "Chibok girls" captured from a Christian girls' school in 2014. However, an estimated 2000+ boys and girls have been kidnapped by the Islamist terrorists over the years. The Washington Post tells the horrifying story of 500+ children who were kidnapped by the Islamists from the town of Damasak in 2014 – and remain in captivity.
Bishop Joel Pachao has been elected prime bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.
Resources for ministry
The Gospel Coalition Canada (BC) is planning a conference, "Hope on the Edge of a Precipice", in Surrey, BC, on October 31 – November 2. It is focused on the "five solas", marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. (Martin Luther is reputed to have nailed his Theses to the castle church door on October 31, 1517.) The cast of speakers looks really good – and includes Back to the Bible's John Neufeld, who led ANiC's God's Word Written expository teaching conference in Vancouver last year! Check it out and plan to attend!
Why visitors return to church
You'll be surprised at some of the responses given. What could we be doing better to help ensure guests don't become one-time visitors?
People's reasons for going to church
A recent Gallop Poll found that good preaching which exposits the Word and applies it to daily life tops the reasons people give for attending church. See the full list in priority order.
Ups and downs of ministry
Read some sage advice to help you survive the roller coaster ride.
Church mission priorities
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Canadian Missions Research Forum have released "Canadian Evangelicals and Mission Priorities," the third report in the Canadian Evangelicals Missions Engagement Study series. It looks at the "what" and "why" of local church mission priorities.
Faith in Canada
Recent Angus Reid research has found that about 21 per cent of Canadians are religiously committed, 30 per cent are privately religious, 30 per cent are spiritually uncertain, and 18 per cent are non-believers. BC had the highest percentage of non-believers at nearly 50 per cent. Full research results are here.
Christians and heresy
Insightful Barna research, has found that only 17 per cent of US Christians actually hold fully Biblical worldviews. The study was designed to gauge to what extend other worldviews—including new spirituality, secularism, postmodernism and Marxism—have influenced Christians' beliefs. It found these do indeed have widespread influence upon Christian thinking. For example, "nearly four in 10 (38%) practicing Christians are sympathetic to some Muslim teachings". The study found that certain demographics of profession Christians are more likely to embrace non-Christian ideas: younger people (up to eight times more likely), men (twice as likely); and urban-dwelling Christians.
Resources for Christian Living
The 39 Articles
Canon Phil Ashey continues his series of short videos on the 39 Articles, this time focused on Article XXXVII: Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates addresses the relationship between the church and the state. Part 4 on this article deals with forced military service, pacifism, and just war theory.
Read how one ordinary man has memorized 42 books of the Bible, and how you too can begin to commit God's Word to memory.
BC Christian Ashram Retreat,
organized by The Rev Dr Ed Hird, rector of St Simon's, North Vancouver, BC (Anglican Mission in Canada), will be held July 14-16 at Trinity Western University in Langley. It is focused on the theme "Living and Serving from the Upper Room" and features as keynote speaker the Rev Dr Darrell Johnson, a well-regarded pastor, teacher and author. For details and to register, see the St Simon's website.
Youth: "Set an example"
A short, free, downloadable study guide explores 1 Timothy 4:12 in which an aged Apostle Paul challenges his young protégé, Timothy, to set an example "in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity". This would be a great study for a young people's group or even individually, especially for younger men and women in ministry.
Giving with wisdom
The ominously named "4 Ways Satan Uses Christian Generosity for Evil" exposes charlatans and pitfalls of giving and calls for caution and wisdom in giving Praying for your wayward kids – Be encouraged by this account of one mother's persistent prayers and God's answer.
What Jesus does with confessed sin
Jared Wilson tells us: "This is how Jesus forgives sin: He condemns it, carries it, cancels it, kills it, casts it, and clean forgets it. If we'll confess it… Astonishing. We bring our sin to him, repentant and in faithful confession, and he says, "What're you talking about?" 1 John 1:9 – "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Escaping porn addiction
Pornography is ubiquitous and damaging on so many levels. If you or someone you know needs help, check out Strength to Fight. You'll also find great resources for talking to your kids or church youth. You can also follow them on Facebook.
Darwin and genocide
Darwin's teaching has directly resulted in the massacre and mistreatment of tens of millions since Darwin's death. The Gospel Coalition explains.
Marking the Reformation
Archbishop Peter Jensen discusses the sacrifice of the reformers in the English Reformation and how we too are called to die.
What's the worst consequence of skipping church? Tim Challies writes that it is not about us; it's about a failure to love the body of Christ.
Inviting friends to church
Ed Stetzer explains to non-Christians why committed Christians keep inviting them to church. When was the last time we shared the Good News or invited someone to church?
A modest proposal
Learn why modesty promotes our personhood, while immodesty objectifies. Read the full argument.
Choices and change
Randy Alcorn argues that who we will become tomorrow is the sum of the small choices we make today. He also explains how we can get out of our ruts and create real change.
10 ways to kill a church
As parishioners we contribute to the thriving or dying of our church. Here are 10 ways we might be killing our church.
Just for fun
An 8-year-old went to her dad, who was working in the yard and asked him, "Daddy, what is sex?"
He was surprised by the question, but decided that if she was old enough to ask, then she was old enough to get a straight answer. He proceeded to tell her all about the birds and the bees. When he finished, the little girl was looking at him with her mouth hanging open.
Her father asked her, "Why did you ask, honey?"
The little girl replied, "Mommy told me to tell you that dinner would be ready in just a couple secs."
The easiest way to grow wise and good is to be around people who are wiser and better than you.
"Knowledge is proud that she knows so much; wisdom is humble that she knows no more." ~ William Cowper
"So many are looking for special revelation from God while it sits on their shelves gathering dust." ~ Burk Parsons
And now a Word from our Sponsor
See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that
will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all
these statutes, will say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' For what
great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever
we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all
this law that I set before you today? "Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget
the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.
Make them known to your children and your children's children… And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully.
Deuteronomy 4:5-15 (ESV)
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