Sunday, March 31, 2013

King's College Choir - Jesus Christ is Risen Today

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today is a Christian hymn associated with Easter. Most of the stanzas were written by Charles Wesley, and the hymn appeared under the title Hymn for Easter Day in Hymns and Sacred Songs by Charles and John Wesley in 1739. It remains a traditional processional hymn on Easter Sunday.

The hymn is a variation of an earlier hymn Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, a 14th century Latin hymn which had been translated into English and published in Lyra Davidica in 1708 (and later in 1749 in Arnold's Compleat Psalmodist). In some hymnals, Jesus Christ Is Risen Today is in fact the 3 stanza Compleat Psalmodist version with one or more of the additional stanzas written by Wesley appended.

Many hymnals include both hymns separately. Almost all list Jesus Christ Is Risen Today to be sung to the hymn tune Easter Hymn (either the original from Lyra Davidica or an alternative arrangement by William Henry Monk). Some, such as the Australian Hymn Book, also list that as the tune for Christ the Lord Is Risen Today. However, most list Christ the Lord Is Risen Today to be sung to the anonymous tune Nassau (first found in a late 17th-century German book of sacred tunes), to the tune Gwalchmai by Welsh composer Joseph David Jones, or to the tune Llanfair, by another Welsh composer, Robert Williams. Hymns Old and New (New Anglican Edition - published by Kevin Mayhew Ltd) uses Wurttemberg with Alleluias (attributed to Hundert Arien, Dresden 1694) for 'Christ the Lord is Risen Again'

An Easter message from the Primate

"Christ is Risen, Alleluia!
The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia!"

That's the way we greet one another throughout The Great Fifty Days of Easter. It reflects our joy in the Resurrection of Jesus and his appearances among his followers. He calls Mary Magdalene by name, he bestows his peace in an Upper Room, he breaks bread with two companions at an inn in Emmaus, and he prepares breakfast for the disciples, weary from a long night of fishing. In all these encounters there is a greeting and a recognition that it is the Lord who is among them. There is a message and a commissioning.

In the Eucharist, Christ likewise gathers and greets us. He makes himself known in the opening of the Scriptures and in the breaking of bread. Having nourished us with his very self he then sends us into the world as ambassadors of his reconciling love and of peace among all people.

Mark's Gospel concludes with these words: "The disciples went forth and preached everywhere while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it." (Mark 16:20)

I'm intrigued by "the signs." What were they then? What might they be now? What might they be from the perspective of those who long to see more spirited discipleship, those who strive to deepen our communion one with another in Christ, those who labour for the fuller realization of the Lord's Prayer, "that they all may be one".

What might they be from the perspective of those who live in extreme poverty, those who cry for release from their oppressors, those who call for democracy in the governing of their nations, those who weep over our failures to tend creation with greater care and concern for those who come after us?

Pray, dear friends, that with the Risen Lord "working with us" there will be new signs of healing and hope, light and life, justice and joy in all the earth.

The Most Rev. Fred J. Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate

Source: Anglican Church of Canada 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lent Madness 2013 Gold Halo winner crowned

Frances Perkins, first female cabinet secretary, defeats St. Luke

While college basketball fans are in the midst of March Madness, Christians can now relax after a nail-biting finish to Lent Madness 2013. In the final match-up, former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins worked her way past St. Luke to win the coveted Golden Halo.

Throughout the season of Lent thousands of voters have cast their ballots for their favorite saints through this engaging online devotional tool designed to help people learn about saints. There have been upsets and thrilling, come-from-behind victories as the field has been whittled down from 32 starters, to the Saintly Sixteen, the Elate Eight, the Faithful Four, and eventually the two finalists.

Frances Perkins became known as the architect of the New Deal while she served as Secretary of Labor in the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. But she wasn’t merely a government bureaucrat. Perkins’ compassion came at least in part from her strong Christian faith. She was a regular worshiper in Episcopal churches and was added to the Episcopal Church calendar in 2009 for optional commemoration. She is the first American to win the Golden Halo. Previous winners were Mary Magdalene (2012), C. S. Lewis (2011), and George Herbert (2010).

The “celebrity blogger” who promoted the cause of Frances Perkins, Heidi Shott, canon for communications and social justice in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, said, “I am thrilled – and not a little bit stunned – that Frances Perkins made her way to the Golden Halo. As a lay woman in the Episcopal Church, I am so pleased that Perkins’ witness will be magnified both in the Episcopal Church and beyond.”

Musing on this year’s winner, Lent Madness creator, the Rev. Tim Schenck, says “One of the fun things about Lent Madness is people learning about lesser known inspirational figures. In this case Frances Perkins captured the hearts and minds of the voting public and swept to an unlikely victory. I assure you no one who filled out a bracket had her going all the way!”

Frances Perkins had deep family roots in Maine. The Episcopal bishop of Maine, the Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane, said, “I’m delighted that Frances Perkins has won the Golden Halo. She is an icon for how baptized persons live out their ministry in the world.”

Mary Jo Curtis, director of media relations for Mt. Holyoke College, is rightfully proud. “Frances Perkins has been an inspiration to generations of Mount Holyoke women, and it’s been deeply gratifying to see the Lent Madness community learn of her and her life of good work – work that has shaped our country and helped so many. We are so pleased and proud to see her win the Golden Halo. We always knew she was an extraordinary and special woman, and now others know it, too.”

Lent Madness began in 2010 as the brainchild of Schenck, rector of St. John’s Church in Hingham, Massachusetts. In seeking a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women comprising the church’s calendar of saints, Schenck came up with this unique Lenten devotion. Combining his love of sports with his passion for the lives of the saints, Lent Madness was born on his blog “Clergy Family Confidential.”

Starting in 2012, Schenck partnered with Forward Movement, a publisher and spiritual vitality catalyst in the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement, said, “Nearly 100,000 people took part in Lent Madness this year, forming a massive online community in which we all learned a bit more about how God works in the lives of people struggling much as we do. Lent Madness is not only fun, but it teaches us there is hope for us, too.”

Forward Movement has worked since 1935 to bring vitality and spiritual health to the church and its people. Based in Cincinnati, OH, Forward Movement is widely known for Forward Day by Day. Lent Madness is one of many ways that Forward Movement hopes to encourage spiritual growth throughout our whole lives. Forward Movement is a ministry of The Episcopal Church.

Source: Episcopal News Service (ENS)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Joint Easter Message from the Anglican and the Lutheran Churches of Canada

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has issued this joint Easter pastoral letter with Bishop Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. The two churches share a full communion agreement that includes joint mission work and a joint national meeting in July 2013. This letter is designed to be read in parishes on Easter Sunday.

Dear friends in Christ,

Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

We write to share greetings with you in these days when our shared thoughts and reflections are so focused upon the dramatic and sacred events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We do so recognizing that these events took place in a real place, in the city of Jerusalem, and to express our appreciation for the long and always deepening relationship that we share with the living stones who are our Lutheran and Anglican partners in the Holy Land.

We are grateful for new opportunities for partnership that have been realized in recent years, in particular, an invitation for our two churches to serve as companions to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem as they work toward the goal of establishing a Full Communion relationship with one another.

As members of a small delegation from Canada that was invited to do this work on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation and the Anglican Communion last April, our prayers for the peace of Jerusalem are particularly fervent and heartfelt during this Holy Week. We are, therefore, inviting you to join us in this work of prayerful companionship in your own Holy Week observances and worship.

We invite you to pray for the leaders and members of our partner churches, for government leaders and partners in civil society, for all who work for peace and reconciliation, and for all people of faith in this place that is sacred to so many of the world's population.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:

'May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.'

For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, ‘Peace be within you.'
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good. (Psalm 122:6-9)

May God grant you and those dear to you, a full and rich experience of the story of Easter-not a story that we Christians explain, so much as a story that explains we Christians!

Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

St. Philip's Church is Coming to the Aid of the NDG Food Bank

In response to an urgent request, St. Philip's Church has agreed to be the new temporary home of the NDG food bank starting in April. The food bank is being evicted from their premises on April 1, 2013.

Through its outreach programs, St. Philip's has been an active supporter  of the food bank which serves more than 700 local residents per week. Helping the food bank in their time of need is a natural extension of the Church's ongoing commitment to serve the community.

The basement of St. Philip's will be used to run their food distribution twice a week (Mondays from 2:30 to 7:30, and Thursdays from 10 to 15h), as well as provide some storage for their furniture and office equipment.

Wesley United Church continues to help with food storage and the food bank staff will work out of their homes.

To see the interview with Fr. James Pratt on Global News click here. Click here to see the coverage of the issue on the CBC and here to see coverage in the Montreal Gazette.

UPDATE: River's Edge Community Church has come forward with an offer of space, including more office space, than is available at St. Philip's. In addition, River's Edge is more centrally located in NDG, with more bus lines nearby, and will be more convenient for the Food Depot's clientele. We are happy that this is working out for the Food Depot, and that they will be able to continue to serve a vital need in the community. Thank you to all the St. Philip's people (too numerous to name) who rallied during this busy week to help figure out how we could accommodate the Food Depot and being prepared to make it happen, and we showed we could mobilize and act quickly for an important cause. We will be continuing our support of the Food Depot, with our annual Community Yard Sale on Saturday, May 4. Last year we raised about $1000, and we hope to top that this year.

 Related Posts
ACT NOW: The NDG Food Depot Needs a New Building
St Philip's Anglican Church NDG Food Depot Outreach
NDG Food Bank: 2012 Campaign
Help Us Support the NDG Food Depot
NDG Food Depot 2011 Campaign (Video)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bach, J.S. - Palm Sunday Cantata, "Himmelskönig, sei willkommen" BWV 182: I-IV

Himmelskönig, sei willkommen (King of Heaven, welcome), BWV 182, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Weimar for Palm Sunday, and first performed it on 25 March 1714, which was also the feast of the Annunciation.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Canadian Primate Reflects on Palm Sunday: "We glory in your cross, O Lord"

The Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, shares this reflection in advance of Palm Sunday:

Over the course of my ministry I have been given a number of crosses. I still cherish the Celtic cross given at my consecration as a bishop in 1995. Like many other bishops around the world, I also have a Canterbury Cross. It's a sign of our common life and witness to Christ throughout the Anglican Communion.

I sometimes wear a simple wooden cross handcrafted by a priest of the Diocese of Central Newfoundland. I have been humbled to receive a couple of beautiful beaded crosses made by Indigenous women. During a visit to the Solomon Islands last year I was gifted with a tortoise shell cross in-laid with mother of pearl.

I cherish every one of these crosses but in Holy Week I wear none of them. Instead I run a piece of burlap string through a fresh branch of palm that has been tied in the shape of a cross. It has a sweet scent but within a short time it dries out and gets twisted. As that happens I am reminded of those moments when far from singing "Hosanna to our King", I am distancing myself from Jesus. In a twisted way I reject him and betray his love. I deny him and his call in my life and daily work. Confessing my need for redemption I turn with a penitent thief and pray, "Lord, remember your mercy remember me."

At the end of the liturgy for Good Friday I lay aside this cross of twisted palm knowing it and many others will be burned for the imposition of ashes at the beginning of another Lent.

For the Great Vigil of Easter I choose one of the more ornate crosses in my modest collection. As I place it round my neck the words of an anthem of The Early Church come to mind.

"We glory in your cross, O Lord
and praise and glorify your holy resurrection,
for by your cross joy has come to the world."

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pope Francis the Environmentalist

Hundreds of thousands of worshipers gathered in the Vatican Tuesday morning to celebrate Pope Francis's inaugural mass, applauding as he instructed the world's dignitaries, clergy and Catholic lay people to work for the world's most vulnerable people and protect the environment. People from all around the world and all walks of life attended the new Pope's first mass including 132 formal delegations. Pope Francis stressed the environment as an individual, political, economic and social responsibility.

Formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Francis was selected for the job by 114 other cardinals last week followed former pope Benedict XVI's surprise retirement.

It is noteworthy that the new Pope has taken the name Francis, derived from St. Francis of Assisi, who was well known for his love of animals, nature and the environment. Francis preached that it was the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God's creation and as creatures ourselves. On November 29, 1979, Pope John Paul II declared St. Francis to be the Patron of Ecology.

St. Francis of Assisi (1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, but nicknamed Francesco ("the Frenchman") by his father. St. Francis was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. Though he was never ordained to the Catholic priesthood, Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX. He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment

On World Environment Day in 1982, Pope John Paul II said that St. Francis' love and care for creation was a challenge for contemporary Catholics and a reminder "not to behave like dissident predators where nature is concerned, but to assume responsibility for it, taking all care so that everything stays healthy and integrated, so as to offer a welcoming and friendly environment even to those who succeed us."

The same Pope wrote on the occasion of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 1990, the saint of Assisi "offers Christians an example of genuine and deep respect for the integrity of creation..." He went on to make the point that St Francis: "As a friend of the poor who was loved by God's creatures, Saint Francis invited all of creation – animals, plants, natural forces, even Brother Sun and Sister Moon – to give honor and praise to the Lord. The poor man of Assisi gives us striking witness that when we are at peace with God we are better able to devote ourselves to building up that peace with all creation which is inseparable from peace among all peoples."

Pope John Paul II also said, "It is my hope that the inspiration of Saint Francis will help us to keep ever alive a sense of 'fraternity' with all those good and beautiful things which Almighty God has created."

It is therefore fitting that the new Pope has adopted the name Francis and used his inaugural homily in St. Peter's Square to give a clear message of his vision for the church focused on the environment and the poor.

Each time the Pope discussed the need to protect the environment, the crowd in attendance broke into applause. He called on the crowd to take up the vocation of being a protector. "It means respecting each of God's creatures and respecting the environment in which we live," Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis' message urged the worlds world's 1.2 billion Catholics and its clergy to get involved in the world's environmental problems.

Pope Francis is elaborating on Pope Benedict's environmental concerns. In his traditional New Year's address Pope Benedict called on people to change their lifestyles to save the planet, saying environmental responsibility was essential for global peace. The former pope said action at a personal and community level was important to safeguard the environment.

"Nevertheless, in this moment, I would like to underline the importance of the choices of individuals, families and local administrations in preserving the environment...An objective shared by all, an indispensable condition for peace, is that of overseeing the earth's natural resources with justice and wisdom," Pope Benedict said.

The former pope, also said "ecological responsibility" should be taught as part of the education syllabus.

John Paul also elucidated his ecological concerns calling on rich nations to acknowledge responsibility for the environmental crisis and shed consumerism.

The Vatican's move towards environmentalism has culminated in the election of Pope Francis.

Source: The Green Market Oracle

Sunday, March 17, 2013

ACT NOW: The NDG Food Depot Needs a New Building

For the last 20 years, the NDG Food Depot has been aiding some of the most vulnerable individuals through various important programs from food aid, cooking workshops, and helping to build a sense of community through the alleviation of social isolation. They also provide a delivery service for individuals who are disabled and who are struggling with mental health issues. This entails aiding about 700 people each week through emergency food baskets.

As you may or may not have heard, they were recently notified from the building owner that their lease would no longer be renewed. With less than a few months remaining to find another location I am asking you, the NDG counsellors and the mayor of Montréal, to help out this important service to the community. This could include providing them with a municipal building, helping them secure a permanent building, or simply further aiding them in the process of finding a new building.

During a time of greater increasing government cuts to public services it is important that we as a community work together to support all the people within it. As noted in a recent release from Statistics Canada the income gap between the rich and poor is increasing drastically. Those in situations of poverty and disabilities are currently at greatest risk due to reduced government funding and increased income gaps. What is the cities strategy to address these type of concerns in NDG? How as a counsellor or employee for the City of Montréal and NDG deal with this problem?

We think that the NDG Bureau needs a more long-term solution, and a preliminary step in decreasing this gap would be to aid the NDG Food Depot in finding a more permanent space. Perhaps this could be an unused municipal building, such as the Benny Library which will soon move to it's new location. A joint project such as this is a great opportunity for the City of Montréal to demonstrate that you are interested in aiding the community at large in support for such long standing and crucial programs.

Without the services provided by the NDG Food Depot, many people will find themselves further marginalized and in desperate need. By providing them with ongoing support and a municipal building you will be expressing your support for ending the increasing rates of poverty in NDG.

What are you willing to do to aid the NDG Food Depot at this time of uncertainty? Are you willing to commit a municipal building towards this project?

Click here to sign the petition.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Primate Prays for New Pope

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has issued this statement in response to the election of Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, on March 13:

At evening prayer on March 13th, the day a new Pope was elected, the Church throughout the world was reading Psalm 119:121-144. These few verses spoke to this historic moment:

"I am your servant, grant me understanding that I may know your decrees" v125

"Steady my footsteps in your word" v133

"Let your countenance shine upon your servant" v135

Could there be any more fitting words as the Pontiff made his way to the balcony of the Vatican? With so many others around the world I was moved by the humility of his request for the blessings of the faithful before he raised his hands to give his first Papal blessing.

The new Pope comes from humble beginnings and he is known to have lived modestly throughout his entire ministry. In taking the name of Francis after Francis of Assisi he has already given us some indication of the holiness, simplicity, and courage of gospel conviction he will bring to this new ministry. He also no doubt has in mind that word spoken to Francis of Assisi through a crucifix in the famed Church of San Damiano, "Francis, rebuild my church."

As the new Pope endeavours to call people back to the Faith, to rebuild the Church and to strengthen the integrity of its witness to the Gospel in very diverse global contexts, we join our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers in upholding him our prayers.

For Latin Americans this is a particularly proud moment — a moment of great rejoicing! For from the church there the new Pope carries a passion for evangelism, a stance of solidarity with the poor and a posture of perseverance in the pursuit of peace and justice for all people.

Next week, on March 21, I will attend the enthronement of Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. My hope is as the Archbishop and the Pope begin their new ministries within days of one another and on the eve of Holy Week and Easter, that their relationship will be marked by a genuine friendship in Christ, an abiding commitment to the work of The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission, and a deep desire for our continuing "Growth in Unity, Faith and Mission."

In such moments as these we remember the witness of the church through all the centuries and we pray that in our time we all may work more fervently for the fuller realization of our Lord 's Prayer, "that they all be one". (John 17:21)

Source: The Anglican Church of Canada

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The 2013 Annual Mid-Lent Pancake Lunch was a Roaring Success

By all accounts the mid-lent pancake lunch on March 10th was a success. In addition to raising money for the tower project, the event was appreciated by the community as all seemed to enjoy a hearty lunch and community fellowship. It was a great event for the parish, and we had some laughs along the way. 

Thanks to all who attended this event. Thanks also to those who helped to cook the meal, cleanup afterwards or contributed in any other manner. This year Patricia C. prepared and contributed the fruit cups, it was the perfect complement. Finally, a special thank you to Michael E. who coordinated our group.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Station of the Cross #8: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

At the eighth Station of the Cross in our Lenten video series, the Rev. Scott McLeod remembers that there are times we can stop getting in the way. At this station Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem. Rev. McLeod shares a story of how God worked through a chance encounter with a suffering woman.

For more on this series, click here.

Source: General Synod

Saturday, March 9, 2013

“Lent” as Metaphor & Model for the Church Today

Some people fancy Lent as a somber sojourn meant to remind us that we’re pretty much pitiable good-for-nothings; we give up chocolate or some such pleasure so we can feel as miserable as we really are. Others adopt a more positive angle, seeing Lent as the season to devote extra hours and energy to some activity that will make for personal spiritual growth, at least for those of us who take such things seriously.

I’m pretty sure, however, that both conceptions are actually substantial misconceptions, enough to deflect our trajectory away from the true purpose and promise of Lent.

Perhaps you’ve noticed, whenever the number forty pops up in the Bible (which is often), there tends to be a time of trial or challenge for an individual or community. Often this takes place in something called “the wilderness,” the Bible’s favourite setting for learning to trust in God’s goodness and prepare for what God will do next. At the end of it all, there is a clarification of identity, vocation and “destiny.” After his baptism, for example, when a transcendent voice had declared, “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life,” Jesus was led into the wilderness for forty days and nights to face temptation and discern what it truly meant to be God’s anointed One.

The annual forty days of Lent are a time for clarifying our true identity and its implications, too. We enter this season so that, when we come out at the other side in the celebration of the Christian Passover, we may know in new and more profound ways “who we are” and “what we’re about” in the risen Christ. Thus, Lent is the season we grapple once more with the identity, vocation and destiny revealed and bestowed, effected and enlivened in baptism.

With this understanding, I am persuaded that Lent is apt as both a metaphor and model for the situation in which most congregations find themselves today.

Cast your mind’s eye once more to the narrative of Jesus’ temptations. It is when Jesus is well into his forty days – resources all but spent, little in evidence to lean on, feeling most vulnerable – that he’s tempted. It is now that the devil calls into question Jesus’ identity. Now the devil stokes the embers of mistrust in God. Now, marshaling both the resources of scripture and common sense, the devil counsels Jesus to take matters into his own hands.

So it is now Jesus must choose the narrative that will shape his life, his ministry, his future.

Jesus is tempted to focus on shoring up his resources out of fear for his comfort or survival. He’s tempted to shape the path before him in a way that will yield clear “success.” Yet his response to each temptation is one of absolute trust and dependence on God alone for his identity, his ministry, his future.

I’m certain Luke films this episode not simply for the benefit of individuals, but primarily to provide example and edification for the community as a whole, especially when that community finds itself with few resources, little to lean on, feeling most vulnerable. That’s why I think anyone concerned with congregational development is wise to rewind this clip every once in awhile and pay attention!

We live in a time when most congregations and denominations find themselves well into their “forty days.” That is to say, we are in that vulnerable place where hunger is sharpest, resources all but spent, vision blurred and identity in doubt. We feel a growing desperation. So, with great urgency, we decide the time has come to focus on some sort of “congregational development.”

Well, beware! This wilderness in which we find ourselves is fraught with temptation and choice. What will be the character of our congregational development? Turn these empty pews into donors? (You need to survive if you’re to do God’s work.) Make the church relevant? (You’re more likely to make a difference if you’re prominent in, and attractive to the culture.) Hit upon the right marketing campaign, stewardship program, fiscal discipline, strategic plan? (To move beyond this crisis and thrive, you must take immediate action to get things stable, secure, under control.)

There is an important choice before us in these our “forty days,” one we need to address before and during any attempts at so-called congregational development. It is this: which way will we go, the “successful” way or the faithful way? Are we willing even to die, whatever that may mean, and trust God to do the raising up?

Answering that question, not just with “yes” or “no,” but also in the decisions and practices we engage as church, will take longer than the remaining days of Lent 2013. But the remaining days of Lent 2013 are as good a time as any to get underway.

The wilderness in which we find ourselves is rife with voices that predict our imminent extinction if we don’t yield to temptations like those I’ve mentioned above. Yet, we need not traverse this time as one of desperate despair. Instead, we can engage it as one of great promise and possibility, the overture to the next wondrous work God is about to perform.

Rather than seeking a hasty exit from the wilderness, then, let’s dare to devote what energy and resources we have within it to trusting and responding to the God revealed in Jesus. I believe we will come out the other side as a more vibrant, compelling people, knowing and displaying the new life of the risen Christ, that reality the Bible calls the “Kingdom of God.”

About the Author: Jay Koyle

The Rev. Dr. Jay Koyle has a long and fruitful history of fostering congregational vitality and growth in the life of the church. After many years’ experience as both a parish pastor and a professor on a Faculty of Theology, Jay now serves as Congregational Development Officer for the Diocese of Algoma. His doctoral thesis addressed the relationship between preaching and the missional revitalization of congregations in the 21st Century. Jay also serves as President of The Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission, and Director of Table Song: Eighth Day Perspectives. In both Canada and the United States, he has been acclaimed as an inspirational speaker who brings a terrific sense of humour and an uplifting Christian message. He has been a contributor to a number of journals and a recent book published by Augsburg Fortress.

Source: The Community

Monday, March 4, 2013

Anglican-Catholic relations rest, in part, on Pope's successor

The future of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations is, in part, down to who will succeed Pope Benedict, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See.

Responding to the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Very Revd David Richardson said the implications for Anglican-Roman Catholic relations in the long term “will depend on who is elected to succeed him.”

However, Dean Richardson, who is also Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said that other relationships continue despite the change in leadership.

These include global Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues: “It [the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission1] is working very well. I imagine it’ll be business as usual,” he said.

Although the international media has made much of small groups of Anglicans in several countries choosing to join the Roman Catholic Church, in actual fact there continues to be much mutual respect, co-operation and collaboration between the two Churches.

The global dialogue between senior theologians in both Churches is now into its third phase and in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI made history by becoming the first pontiff to visit Lambeth Palace. He was warmly welcomed to the Palace by the then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Later that day, the pair prayed side-by-side at the tomb of St Edward the Confessor in a celebration of their common heritage.
Representatives from both Christian traditions also regularly attend one another’s key events. Recently Monsignor Mark Langham travelled to New Zealand to attend the global gathering of lay and ordained Anglicans, the Anglican Consultative Council. Anglicans and Roman Catholics also co-operate and collaborate at many levels of Church life and mission around the world.

Dean Richardson made a point of praising Pope Benedict’s “courage” at his unusual decision to retire as leader of the Roman Catholic Church and the Sovereign of the Vatican City State.

“I’m shocked, but on the other hand there’s a little voice that’s telling me: ‘You shouldn’t be shocked, you should be impressed that he had the integrity and courage to follow through on that.’ It’s a courageous thing because it’s so unprecedented.”

“Pope Benedict has, on more than one occasion, hinted that if he found that his health wasn’t robust enough to do the job he would resign. I imagine that because [resigning] is so unprecedented none of us gave his comments the weight that perhaps, in hindsight, they deserved.

Resignations from the papacy are not unknown but this is the first of modern times. The timing of the resignation means there is a strong possibility that the Christian world could see a new Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope enthroned in the same month.

Dean Richardson added, “Just as Archbishops of Canterbury can resign and lay down their office and move back into studious pursuits, why can’t popes do it? Just because it hasn’t been done isn’t a reason that it shouldn’t be done. Maybe the action itself will be another thing we [Anglicans and Roman Catholics] have in common.”

Notes to Editors
  1. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission was established by Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI in 1967. Its terms of reference were established by the Malta Report in the following year and it has worked in three phases - 1970-1981, 1983-2005 and the third phase is currently underway.
  2. The Anglican Centre in Rome promotes Christian unity in a divided world. It is a permanent Anglican Communion presence in Rome. Its Director is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See. It exercises a ministry of hospitality and prayer, and provides educational opportunities and resources.
  3. The Anglican Communion Office serves the Anglican Communion comprising around 85 million members in 38 regional and national member churches around the globe in more than 165 countries. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Statement from the Primate on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

I admire Pope Benedict's courage and grace in stepping down, recognizing his increasingly diminished stamina to carry out his ministry as bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Communion throughout the world.

The Pope has said that his decision comes after a repeated examination of conscience before God.

I believe his decision is the mark of a true pastor, of one who so loves the church that when he recognizes his incapacity to lead with the strength he once had, is prepared to step aside and make way for new leadership.

I ask for prayers for the Holy Father and for all who tend to him daily. I ask your prayers for all our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church as they await the announcement of a holy conclave to elect a new Pope.

As we reflect on Benedict's ministry, we give thanks for the cordial relationships he and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams enjoyed. Their abiding friendship in Christ was an inspiration to the continuing work of ecumenical dialogue (Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission) and the deep desire of our churches to grow together in faith and unity in the service of the Gospel.

It is at moments like this that we realize how very connected we all are in the body of Christ as holy wisdom marks the Pope's decision to step down. May such wisdom mark the manner in which we make decisions in the ministries entrusted to us that by them the church will be well served now and for years to come.

Fred Hiltz
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

Source: Anglican Church of Canada