Month: June 2011

July Prayer Walk

Our monthly prayer walk is Saturday, 2 July, at 9 am. Meet at the Gazebo.

Prayer walks are monthly on the first Saturday of the month. For more information, contact Jeff Brown.

THE EPISCOPACY

The Anglican Way: The Organic Episcopate

by Fr. Jonathan
http://conciliaranglican.wordpress.com/
June 19, 2011

One of the clearest differences between Anglicanism and other Protestant traditions is that we have retained the pattern of ordained ministry handed down from the early Church. The preface to the ordinal of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer states, “It is evident unto all men, diligently reading holy scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles’ time there have been these orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.”

The Anglican Communion retains these orders, just as the Roman Catholic Church and the various Orthodox Churches have retained them, and yet we live them out in a very different way. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral tells us that one of the signs of the true Church is the presence of “the Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and people called by God into the Unity of his Church.” The way that bishops, priests, and deacons carry out their ministries can and must be adapted to deal with different realities in different places. The way that a bishop operates in twenty-first century Kenya should not be exactly the same as the way that a bishop operated in nineteenth century England.

It’s hard to parse out exactly what this means, because I’m speaking here about something that has arisen within Anglicanism organically, through the practice of our faith, rather than something which finds its roots in a doctrinal formulation. On paper, a bishop in one place ought to be seen exactly the same as a bishop in another. Our orders are meant to be interchangeable. If I left America and went to England, I might have to go through a licensing procedure to act as a priest there, but I would not be re-ordained. For bishops, this is even more crucial, since bishops are consecrated to be guardians of the faith for the whole Church, not just for an individual diocese or province. And yet, differences remain that are far more than merely linguistic or cultural variations. There is a uniqueness to being an Anglican bishop in Japan or in Canada or in Argentina that is simply not transferable from one place to the next, nor should it be. The sacramental integrity of the bishop and his job as guardian of the faith is the same everywhere, but the way that this ministry is carried out evolves from within the gathered community.

Two Different Bishops in Two Very Different Places

Allow me a brief anecdotal example. I had a conversation a couple of years ago with an American bishop who had just returned from the 2008 Lambeth Conference. It had been his first time at such an international gathering and he was truly astonished by what he learned there in conversation with other bishops. He told me about a bishop in his small group whose diocese was spread out across a series of small islands off the coast of Africa. This African bishop has a small boat which he paddles from island to island. His diocese is spread out further geographically than his American counterpart’s and it has many more parishes. Nevertheless, this African bishop makes it a point of visiting each parish at least once a month. This was astonishing and humbling to the American bishop who is only required to visit all of his parishes once every three years. But in this particular African bishop’s context, to do any less would be a great shirking of responsibility, because the bishop’s role there is to be a sort of father figure who acts in each parish as the patriarch of an extended family. Not visiting often would be akin to abandoning one’s children.

From this example, a number of inappropriate generalizations might be drawn. Some people may criticize the African system for putting so much authority in the bishop’s hands and thereby infantilizing the laity and even the priests and deacons. Others may aim their criticism at the American system for turning our bishops into bureaucrats who are so bogged down in administrative tasks that they lack the time and discipline to be effective pastors. But if we suspend judgment and assume the best about both cultures, what we find are two different models of the episcopate that simply cannot be traded. The American bishop would obviously be lost in the African’s context, not only because of the strain of sorting out his role in a vast web of interpersonal connections with his people, but because of the numerous sacrifices additionally required in his personal and family life, not to mention the physical strain of so much daily travel. On the other hand, speaking as an American priest, while I would prefer that our bishops be given the space to be more intentional pastors than they are able to be currently, I cannot say that I would want the standard to become an episcopal visit every couple of weeks. That kind of constant oversight, seen in the African’s context as a sign of familial love, would quickly be seen as micro-managing here. The work of the bishop is very different in these two places because the places themselves are very different.

Adaptability Versus Imperialism

The ordained ministry in Anglicanism has been allowed to adapt to its surroundings, for better or for worse. Obviously, in some instances, that adaptability has led to bishops and other clergy who have privileged the culture above the gospel itself, resulting in the unraveling of local churches. Yet, in places where the priority of the gospel has not been lost, the adaptability of our ministry to local needs and circumstances has helped to propel Anglicanism from a mono-cultural British Christianity into a global faith. The sixteenth century Anglican Reformers could hardly have imagined that there would one day be Christians all over the world calling themselves Anglican. It is easy, in the midst of the current season of crisis in the Anglican Communion, to forget how truly remarkable it is that Anglicanism has spread so far and wide.

The common story behind Anglicanism’s meteoric spread around the globe is that it was accomplished almost entirely through British imperialism. As the British conquered various places around the world, they brought their churches with them. Eventually, missionary societies sprung up which sent out workers throughout the vast British Empire to bring British religion and no small amount of British culture to the native peoples of each colony. This story has been told in detail in a number of places, so I won’t belabor the point here. But what I would like to suggest is that while imperialism may have been the tool through which Anglicanism initially spread, Anglicanism’s ongoing success and endurance had little to do with it. Rather, the adaptability of Anglicanism is a much more potent factor in Anglicanism’s viability. And that adaptability stands directly contrary to imperialism. While the influence of imperialism upon missionary activity was to try to pair Christianity as closely as possible with being European, white, and thus civilized, the Anglicanism that blossomed over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries into what we have today is instead indigenous, independent, and ethnically diverse. So the adaptability that we see in the episcopate cannot be the product of imperialism. It has to be something that springs forth from Anglicanism itself.

Reformation Roots

I would argue that the seeds of Anglican adaptability can be found even in the earliest days of the Anglican Reformation. The political reality that made the Reformation possible was the pope’s refusal to annul the marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon, an annulment that had been ruled valid by the bishops of the local church. However, the theological issue at play was the right of the local church to be in charge of its own affairs, in so much as the local church does not seek to change the content of the faith once delivered to the saints. Whether or not the local bishops made the right call in allowing for Henry’s annulment, allowing such an annulment to take place certainly does not rise to the level of a serious departure from the faith in which outside bishops would be compelled to act. As the original version of Article XXXVII states, “The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.” Thus, the Anglican Reformers opted for a view of the Church in which each people, secure within their own borders and having their own ecclesiastical hierarchy, may govern their own church as they see fit. In England, this led to a particularly strong ecclesiastical role for the monarchy, which we will explore a little bit in a later post in this series. But once Anglicanism spread outside of England, the reference back to the crown was severed and other national churches emerged. It is in the DNA of Anglicanism that particular, national churches will have their own structures, their own governance, and their own approach to sharing the gospel with their own people.

The Fruit of National Churches

The impulse in Anglicanism towards particular, national churches has meant that the culture of those churches has largely filtered from the bottom up, despite the efforts of imperialism to impose structures from the outside. While a certain Englishness can be seen throughout the Communion in things like the wearing of purple by bishops and the use of Cranmerian language in worship, the granting of autonomy in each province has made the movement towards more and more indigenous expression inescapable. Churches have made their own translations of the Book of Common Prayer that have become less literal and more inclusive of colloquialism as the years have gone by. New monastic orders have sprung up, such as the Melanesian Brotherhood, which have adapted traditional religious vows to use in new contexts. Local rituals and traditions have found their way into Anglican liturgy. And, of course, there have been varied approaches taken to the way in which clergy serve the people of their parishes and dioceses.

From the outside, all of this might look a bit messy. Yet it speaks to Anglicanism’s strength that the tradition is not just an export of western culture but a true and lively expression of the gospel that can speak to different communities in different ways while maintaining the unity of the faith. What Anglicanism struggles with today is finding a way to balance the needs of the local culture with the universal nature of the faith we proclaim.

Finding the way through that, however, will require us not to simply make up new structures (though such structures may become necessary), but to reach back into our own history and find the seeds already laid by our forefathers in faith that are primed to grow into the fruit of conciliarity if we allow them to do so. We can be conciliar, just as the early Church was, without losing our characteristic adaptability. We can be the Body of Christ through rich, deep sacramental bonds that are rooted in the biblical witness and the shared norms of our tradition rather than through some sort of institutional alchemy. The key is not to look at something like holy orders as simply a mechanism for church governance, but to see it for what it is, an organic expression of both the universality and the particularity of the gospel.

END

Home swim meet tonight

Hi,

There is a home swim meet tonight at the Forest Ridge Pool, Tuesday, June 28th. The meet starts at 6 p.m. and will continue til about 9:00 – come and cheer on the Fighting Fish! Enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs hot off the grill, fruit, veggies, baked goods and candy from our concession stand. The pool is at 6801 Union Schoolhouse Rd, near the corner of Valley Street and Union Schoolhouse Road.

ALPHA VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Dear brothers and sisters of Christ our Hope:

The beginning of ALPHA is not far off.  For the success of this ministry, it is imperative that we have as many in the parish volunteer as possible.  The following are a list of ministry positions that need to be filled.  If you would like to volunteer, please contact Mr. Jeff Brown as soon as possible.  We will begin to assign volunteers to appropriate ministry positions (with your approval, of course).  Your joyful willingness is most certainly appreciated.

Fr. Greg

Intercessory Prayer Team Leader
-Intercessors

Task Force Coordinator (we could come up with a different name for this, but this is the person who makes sure the rooms are set up, the meals are prepared, arranges for greeters, book table, etc.  There is a full job description, but I’ll get that up on the blog.  This person is responsible for building the Task Force Team.)
– Dinner Coordinator
-Task Force Members

Weekend Away Coordinator (Procures the place, gets meals arranged, figures out cost, etc.)

Small Group Coordinator (senior small group leader).
-Small Group Leaders & Helpers

Worship Leader (probably Rosanne or me)
-Worship Team

THE HOLY EUCHARIST

The follow is a great article written by a good friend of mine, Fr. Victor Novak.  He is a priest of the Diocese of Mid-America of the Reformed Episcopal Church/Anglican Church in North America.  This is one of the best pieces I’ve seen written that answers many questions the faithful have regarding the Eucharist.

Fr. Greg

 

THE HOLY EUCHARIST: CHRIST’S GREAT GIFT TO THE CHURCH

by the Reverend Victor E. Novak
Special to virtueonline.org
June 25, 2011

“How I hate this folly of not believing in the Eucharist. If the Gospel be true, if Jesus Christ be God, what difficulty is there?” – Blaise Pascal

Dom Gregory Dix, the great 20th century Anglican Benedictine scholar wrote, “At the heart of Christianity is the Eucharist, a thing of absolute simplicity – the taking, blessing, breaking and giving of bread and the taking, blessing and giving of a cup of wine and water as these were done with their new meaning by a young Jew before and after supper with His friends on the night before He died. He had told His friends to do this henceforward with the new meaning for the recalling of Him, and they have done it always since.”Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable need, from infancy and before to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacles of earthly greatness to the refugees in the caves and dens of the earth.

Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and a bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a crop of good wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus out to discover America…

“And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this…”

WHAT DOES THE WORD “EUCHARIST” MEAN?

The word Eucharist comes from the Greek and means Thanksgiving. The Lord’s Supper is often called the Holy Eucharist because when Christ instituted it He gave thanks, “For I [the Apostle Paul] have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner he took the cup…” (I Cor. 11:23-25). Today this Service instituted by our Lord Himself, is the chief means by which His people offer thanks to God for the saving work of Christ upon the cross, for His continued presence among them (Matt. 28:20), and for the promise of His Second Coming.

GATHERED IN THE LORD’S NAME

Following the example of the Apostles and early Christians, the family of God has assembled on the Lord’s Day week after week for nearly 2,000 years for the breaking of bread (the Holy Eucharist) and for prayer. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The Lord’s people, in the Lord’s House, on the Lord’s Day, to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

THE PLACE OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST IN CHRISTIAN WORSHIP

The Holy Eucharist is the principal act of Christian worship as it is the one Service instituted by Christ Himself. Jews, Muslims and others have prayer, readings, hymns and sermons, but only Christians celebrate the Eucharist. This Service is called by various names in the Bible and by Christians: The Holy Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion, the Breaking of Bread, the Mass (from the Latin), the Todah (Hebrew), the Divine Liturgy and the Divine Service.

The ancient rabbis had taught that when the Messiah came all of the sacrifices would be done away with except the Todah, the Thank Offering. And they were right. While Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world brought the sacrificial system to a close, the Thank Offering, the Holy Eucharist, remains – “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (I Cor. 11:26).

THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

The Sacrament received by the faithful (the consecrated Bread and Wine) is called Holy Communion. In this Sacrament the true Body and Blood of Christ are received. At the Last Supper the Lord Jesus said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood”, not “This represents my body” or “This is a symbol of my body.”

Jesus took bread, blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:26-28).

Jesus said, “I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever” (John 6:48-58).

Just like today, many of the disciples who heard these words would not accept them. “Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60). Yet Jesus did not take His words back, or explain that they were only meant to be taken “symbolically.” And just like today, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66).

The Apostles and early Christians understood that Christ meant his words to be taken literally. The Sacrament of Holy Communion not only represents the Body and Blood of Christ, but presents the Body and Blood of Christ. The Body and Blood of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (I Cor. 10:16). Because Christ is really present in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, St. Paul goes on to warn, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat of this bread and drink of this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (I Cor. 11:27-29).

The early Church believed in the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and so did all Christians everywhere for some 1,500 years until the 16th century. Today, three out of every four Christians world-wide belong to Churches that teach the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, commonly known as the Didache (c. AD 40-70), a very early Church Manual from the Middle East says, “Thou (God) gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us Thou didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant [Jesus Christ].”

St. Ignatius, an early Church Father, lived from AD 30 to 107. He was Bishop of Antioch, and was martyred for his faith. He and St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who was also a martyr, were fellow-disciples under the Apostle John. While awaiting martyrdom he wrote a number of epistles (letters) to various churches. To the Church in Ephesus he wrote, “obey the bishop and presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but that we should live forever in Jesus Christ” (Epistle to the Ephesians, c. AD 105).

In his Epistle to the Romans, (c. AD 105), St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote, “I desire the bread of God, the heavenly bread, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became afterwards the seed of David and Abraham; and I desire the drink of God, namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life.”

In his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans. (c. AD 105), he warned of the Gnostics of his day who denied the doctrine of the Real Presence. His warning is just as valid today. He wrote, “They [the Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death.”

St. Justin Martyr (AD 100-165) wrote, “And this food is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh” (First Apology).

St. Irenaeus (AD 120-202) was pupil of St. Polycarp, who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Later he became the Bishop of Lyons in Celtic Gaul (modern France). His great work Against Heresies was written between AD 182 and AD 188. In refuting the Gnostic heretics of his day, he wrote, “But our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and spirit. For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to eternity” (Against Heresies).

St. Athanasius of Alexandria (AD 295-373), the great champion of the Orthodox Faith during the Arian crisis said, “But when the great and wondrous prayers have been recited, then the bread becomes the body and the cup the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Sermon to the Baptized).

St. Cyril was an early Bishop of Jerusalem, the Mother Church of Christendom. Around the year AD 350 he delivered introductory lectures to his classes of catechumens. Regarding the Eucharist he said, “The bread and wine of the Eucharist, before the invocation of the holy and adorable Trinity, were simple bread and wine; but, after the invocation, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine becomes the blood of Christ” (Mystagogical Lecture 1.7).

St. John Chrysostom was the Archbishop of Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul, Turkey. He was born between AD 344 and 354 and died in AD 407. Some Christians say that St. John Chrysostom is unparalleled among the Fathers, while others believe that he was only equaled by St. Augustine of Hippo. Speaking of the Eucharist, St. John Chrysostom said, “When the word says, ‘This is My Body,’ be convinced of it and believe it, and look at it with the eyes of the mind” (Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew, AD 370).

St. John Chrysostom says that the bread, “when once Divine Grace has, through the intervention of the priest, sanctified it, is worthy to be called the Lord’s Body, although the nature of bread remains” (Epis. ad. Caes).

St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430), was the greatest theologian that Western Christendom has ever produced. St. Augustine taught the doctrine of the Real Presence clearly and simply. He said, “I am mindful of my promise. For I promised you, who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the Sacrament of the Lord’s Table, which you now look upon and of which you last night were made participants. You ought to know what you have received, what you are going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word God, is the Blood of Christ. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend his Body and Blood, which He poured out for us unto the forgiveness of sins” (Sermons).

Gelasius, Bishop of Rome (AD 492), taught, “The grace of the Body and Blood of Christ which we receive is a divine thing, wherefore also we are by the same made partakers of the Divine nature; and yet the substance and nature of bread and wine ceaseth not to be” (De daub. Christi naturis).

The Reformers all agreed with the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church in believing in the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The first major religious leader to dissent from the historic doctrine was Ulrich Zwingli; and Luther reacted strongly against him and refused to be in communion with him or his followers. According to Zwingli, the Eucharist is a bare sign, a mere memorial. Rather than the Real Presence, he taught what amounts to be the real absence of Christ in the sacrament. Unfortunately, modern evangelical Christianity and most of modern protestantism long ago embraced Zwinglian sacramental theology. With such a theology they cannot be in any way heirs of the primitive Church or the Reformers.

John Wycliffe, the “Morning Star of the Reformation,” said that the change that occurs in the Eucharist, “effects the presence of the body of Christ…Not that the bread is destroyed, but that it signifies the body of the Lord there present in the sacrament” (De Eucharistia).

Jan Huss, the great Bohemian Reformer of the 15th century believed likewise. He said, “The humble priest doth not…say that he is the creator of Christ, but that the Lord Christ by His power and word, through him, causes that which is bread to be His body, not that at that time it began to be His, but that there on the altar begins to be sacramentally in the form of the bread what previously was not there and therein.”

Jan Huss was a faithful Catholic priest who was martyred by the Roman authorities for trying to restore communion in both kinds to the laity. As late as AD 1095 the Council of Clermont, under the presidency of Urban II, Bishop of Rome, decreed that “no one shall communicate at the altar, without receiving the Body and the Blood separately and alike, unless by urgent necessity and for caution.” The withdrawal of the chalice from the laity and Communion in one kind only began in the 12th century, although in the 13th century St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of the primitive practice lingering in some places. Communion in one kind did not become the general practice in the Britain until after the burning of Huss at the Council of Constance (AD 1415), which decreed it. This error was of short duration in Britain as the chalice was restored to the laity by a unanimous act of Convocation on December 2, 1547.

Martin Luther, who launched the Reformation in AD 1517, firmly believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. In his famous and still popular Small Catechism, Luther wrote, “What is the Sacrament of the Altar? It is the true Body and Blood of Christ, under the bread and wine.”

John Calvin concurred. In his Short Treatise on the Holy Supper Calvin wrote, “It is a spiritual mystery which cannot be seen by the eye nor be comprehended by human understanding. Therefore it is represented for us by means of visible signs, according to the need of our weakness. Nevertheless, it is not a naked figure, but one joined to its truth and substance. With good reason then, the bread is called body, because it not only represents, but also presents it.”

When people describe mere memorialism as Calvinism they are mistaken. It was Zwingli, not Calvin, who taught mere memorialism: that the Sacrament of Holy Communion is merely a sign or symbol. Unfortunately, most Reformed theologians and denominations embraced Zwinglian sacramental theology long ago, and that is why Zwinglian sacramental theology is often described as Calvinism today.

In the Catechism of the historic American Book of Common Prayer is presented the Anglican understanding of the Sacrament of Holy Communion:

“Question. What is the outward part or sign of the Lord’s Supper?

Answer. Bread and Wine, which the Lord hath commanded to be received.

Question. What is the inward part, or thing signified?

Answer. The Body and Blood of Christ, which are spiritually taken and received by the faithful in the Lord’s Supper.”

Queen Elizabeth I, gave testimony of her faith in the words of this short poem:

“He was the word that spake it, He took the bread and break it; And what his word did make it, That I believe and take it.”

IS THE EUCHARIST A SACRAMENT OR A SACRIFICE?

The Eucharist is both a sacrament and a sacrifice. While Christians do not re-sacrifice Christ or sacrifice Him anew on the altar, the Eucharist is a commemorative sacrifice in that Christians re-plead the one sacrifice of Himself that Christ offered upon the cross. It is also a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (Greek: Eucharist), an offering of bread and wine, souls and bodies, tithes and offerings to God through Christ the great High Priest.

Long ago in the second century, St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote, “Again, giving directions to His disciples to offer to God the first-fruits of his own created things – not as if He stood in need of them, but that they might be themselves neither unfruitful nor ungrateful – He took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and said, ‘This is my body.’ And the cup likewise, which is part of that creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His blood, and taught the new oblation of the new covenant; which the Church receiving from the apostles, offers to God throughout all the world, to Him who gives us as the means of subsistence the first-fruits of His own gifts in the New Testament, concerning which Malachi, among the twelve prophets, thus spoke beforehand: ‘I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD Omnipotent, and I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun, unto the going down [of the same], My name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is My name among the Gentiles, saith the LORD Omnipotent’ [Malachi 1:10-11] – indicating in the plainest manner, by these words, that the former people [the Jews] shall indeed cease to make offerings to God, but that in every place sacrifice shall be offered to Him, and that a pure one; and His name is glorified among the Gentiles” (Against Heresies).

Malachi 1:11 is a prophecy of worship under the New Covenant. It reads, “From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place [no longer just in the Jerusalem Temple] incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.” All of the Church Fathers who quote this prophecy apply it to the Holy Eucharist; and overwhelmingly the prophecy most often applied to the Eucharist by the Church Fathers was this one from Malachi.

WHO CAN OFFER THE HOLY EUCHARIST?

From the very beginning of Christianity only an apostle, a bishop who is a successor of the apostles, or a presbyter (priest) ordained by such, may properly offer the Holy Eucharist. In his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans (c. AD 105), St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote, “See that ye follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he entrusted it [a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

SHOULD THE HOLY EUCHARIST BE CELEBRATED WITH REVERENCE?

Yes. The Holy Eucharist has ever only been offered by a bishop or presbyter (priest), often with a deacon and other ministers (readers and acolytes) assisting. It has always been celebrated with great reverence, often with incense as foretold by the prophet Malachi.

Reverence for the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ extended to the Holy Table, the altar, and to the chalice and paten (plate), and other articles used in the Eucharistic Liturgy. Tertulian (c. AD 160-230) describes chalices decorated with images of Christ (On Modesty); and in AD 303, during the Roman persecution of Christianity and ten years before Constantine’s edict of toleration, a Roman court in North Africa recorded the items seized from a house-church. The confiscated items included two golden chalices, six silver chalices, six silver dishes, a silver bowl, seven silver lamps, two torches, seven short bronze lampstands with their lamps, and eleven bronze lamps on chains.

A century later, St. Jerome, the great Bible Scholar who translated the Holy Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, the language of the Western Roman Empire of his day, wrote of the need “to instruct by authority of Scripture ignorant people in all the churches concerning the reverence with which they must handle holy things and minister at Christ’s altar; and to impress upon them that the sacred chalices, veils, and other accessories used in the celebration of the Lord’s passion are not mere lifeless and senseless objects devoid of holiness, but that rather, from their association with the body and blood of the Lord, they are to be venerated with the same awe as the body and blood themselves” (Letter 114.2).

From its very institution by Christ on the night of the Last Supper, Christians have believed that the Sacrament of the Altar, Holy Communion, is the very Body and Blood of Christ. For some 1,500 years this was the belief of all Christians East and West. This was also the belief of the Reformers of the 16th century. It was not until Zwingli that some began to dissent from the universally held belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and Zwingli and his followers were condemned by Luther in the strongest terms. Those Christians of today who consider the Lord’s Supper to be a mere memorial, that the bread and wine (grape juice?) are merely symbols representing Christ’s broken body and shed blood reminding believers of His death on the cross nearly 2,000 years ago, are dangerously out of step with the clear teachings of Christ, the apostles, and with the teachings of historic Christianity. When the Lord Jesus said, “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood,” He meant just what He said. Dr. E.B. Pusey summed up the doctrine of the Real Presence when he said, “It is truly flesh and blood, and these received into us cause that we are in Christ and Christ in us.”

WHO MAY RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION?

Baptized Christians who have been admitted to Communion, and who:

1. Are repentant; steadfastly purposing to lead a new life, having a living faith in God’s mercy through Christ; and being in charity with all men.
2. Believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
3. Are spiritually prepared to receive the Blessed Sacrament. According to the historic practice of the Church, the Sacrament of Holy Communion should be received fasting.

C. 2011, by Rev. Victor E. Novak.

—-Fr. V. E. Novak is a priest of the Diocese of Mid-America of the Reformed Episcopal Church/Anglican Church in North America, and the rector of Holy Cross Anglican Church in Omaha, Nebraska. His parish website can be found at www.holycrossomaha.net. Fr. Novak can be reached by phone at (402) 573-6558 or by e-mail: venovak@hughes.net

Update from Dorathea

After being in labor for over 24 hours, my granddaughter (Janet Adducchio’s daughter) gave birth to Wyatt Joseph Baird at 7:36 p.m. tonight. He was delivered by C-section because of complications that both he and my granddaughter had, but both are doing well (she’s tired!). Janet is higher than a kite. He weighed 7 lb 6 oz, was 21″ long, has blond curly hair and is beautiful. What baby isn’t?! I must admit that I, too, am a very happy great-grandma!

Janet is still undergoing chemo; despite the grim reality facing her, she hasn’t accepted death yet. We’re going up (Wilson Memorial Hospital in Sidney) tomorrow and we’ll be sure to get a four generation picture. Since I was the oldest generation at 24, you know that God has blessed our family greatly by this most recent arrival.

Thanks to everyone who has kept Janet and our family in your prayers. Prayer has kept me uplifted when at times I have felt sad or overwhelmed. I love each of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Faithfully,
Dorathea Fortener

26 JUNE 2011, FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Tomorrow, at Christ our Hope Anglican Church, the 9:30 a.m. Adult Sunday Forum will continue with the study of Galatians 1:10-24.  At the 10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Br. Thomas Rafter will make his Simple Vows as a Friar of the Franciscan Missionaries of Divine Compassion. As a monastic, he will be taking on the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. May God richly bless him on this very special day!

THE COLLECT FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in you, mercifully accept our prayers and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you, grant us the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

THE COLLECT FOR SIMPLE VOWS

All powerful, all good God, you have inspired our brother with the resolve to follow Christ more closely in the Franciscan Order.  Grant a blessed ending on this journey on which he has set out, so that he may be able to offer you the perfect gift of his loving service.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who is alive and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI

Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi.  We will celebrate Holy Eucharist today at 12:00 p.m. (noon) to commemorate this great feast of the Church.

ARCHBISHOP’S STATE OF THE CHURCH ADDRESS

Archbishop’s State of the Church Address: Provincial Council 2011

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[Given by the Most Reverend Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, on 21 June A.D. 2011, at Long Beach, California.]

Your love, O Lord, forever will I sing;
From age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
[Psalm 89:1]

These words from the first verse of Psalm 89 are our words as this Provincial Council opens.  Our God has been so abundantly good to us – despite all the challenges we have faced – that we are profoundly aware of His love for us and His faithfulness to us.  My task in this annual State of the Church Address is to rehearse some of what has happened, especially in this last year, and to remind us of how God’s hand of blessing has been so obviously upon this movement to rebuild a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.

The Anglican Church in North America came together at Bedford, Texas, when its Constitution and Canons were adopted two years ago this week.  Since then, the Provincial Council has met at Toronto, Canada; at Amesbury, Massachusetts, and now at Long Beach, California.  We have covered a great deal of territory, both literally and figuratively.

We are now 22 dioceses stretching from Arctic Canada to the Rio Grande, and from Newfoundland to California.  Three new dioceses were organized in preparation for this meeting of Provincial Council: the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas and the Southwest.  A fourth, Cascadia – originally built from congregations that had been under Recife and from congregations of the Reformed Episcopal Church – sought change of status from diocese-in-formation to diocese.  One Diocese has asked this Council for discharge, for recognition that its call as a diocese has been completed.  The Diocese of the Holy Spirit grew out of the Missionary Convocation of Uganda.  All of its congregations and clergy have now been dispersed to other dioceses and a remarkable chapter in our early history is closing.  Holy Spirit’s bishop, John Guernsey, has been elected Bishop of the Mid-Atlantic, a diocese principally formed by parishes that had been under Nigeria (chiefly in CANA’s Anglican District of Virginia).  But Mid-Atlantic also draws in some congregations that had been part of Southern Cone and others part of Uganda.  In microcosm we see the transition from our early history of global protection and sponsorship toward domestic geographical coherence.

There are many evidences of God’s favor toward us, not because we deserve it, but because we continue to work so hard to align ourselves with His will.  As this Provincial Council meets, I am announcing a re-organization of my team of advisors (my “cabinet”) to reflect where we are headed, rather than where we have been.  This change is like the change represented in the diocesan stories just told.  The Lead Bishops of the Common Cause Partnership – representing all the jurisdictions and organizations out of which the Anglican Church in North America was gathered – were the original Executive Committee of the Anglican Church in North America.  Last June the transition was made to an Executive Committee of six clergy and six laity, chaired by the Archbishop.  Yet because we are – in the best Anglican fashion – to be “episcopally led and synodically governed” [Lambeth Conference, 1930] the need for wisdom from Lead Bishops representing our jurisdictional and organizational roots caused me to retain a body that had literally led us together into unity.  They ceased to be the Province’s Executive Committee, but became the Archbishop’s Cabinet.

Now comes the next step.  We are becoming one church.  I think everyone here now recognizes that our most important identity is as members of the Anglican Church in North America.  We treasure our originating bonds, whether as part of the Reformed Episcopal Church of as part of the Province of Kenya or Uganda or Forward in Faith or whatever, but we are now chiefly all Anglican Church.

So with this Third Annual Provincial Council I am re-shaping my chief advisors group to reflect the program and mission of the Church, to reflect where we are going, where we are being called.  The Cabinet will have two arms, one provincial and one global.  The provincial arm will include the leaders of five key domestic initiatives (Catechesis, Anglican 1000, Engagement with Islam, Ecumenical Relations, and Liturgy and Common Worship), as well as some others.  The global arm will include many seasoned bishops long-known to you, but also the Executive Director of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund.  This re-organization also means that not all the members of my Cabinet will be bishops.  In two years the Lord has brought us very far and blessed us very much.  In order to keep the synod in its rightful place (governing) alongside the bishops (leading) I will also ask that every meeting of the Executive Committee have from one to three reports from members of the Cabinet on the initiatives Cabinet members are themselves leading or undertaking on behalf of us all.

A year ago at Provincial Council on the East Coast (Amesbury) we agreed to the request of the Anglican Mission in the Americas to move from diocesan status to ministry partner status.  This change enabled the Anglican Mission to be first a “missionary outreach of the Province of Rwanda” and then a ministry partner with us.  Two of their bishops, Doc Loomis and Terrell Glenn, have been named the regular representatives in Provincial Council and College of Bishops, and one of the Mission’s key priestly leaders, Ellis Brust, is also part of their Ministry Partner deputation at this meeting.

We rejoice at our partnership in the gospel.  We rejoice that the Anglican Mission was the first to champion church planting as the way forward for Anglicans in the North American context.  We rejoice that the AM is here with all our other Ministry Partners.  A sign of the partnership shared with both the Anglican Mission and the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (a second Ministry Partner with congregations) is cooperation among our congregations, clergy and bishops at the local level, and the identification of all Anglican congregations, whether ACNA, AM or FACA in the Anglican Church’s church finder web tool, the most visited single feature of the Anglican Church website.

Our global commitments remain strong and we continue to be seen as “gospel partners” and bearers of “authentic Anglicanism” (South-South Encounter IV) by most of the world’s Anglicans.  The GAFCON Provinces accord our Province status as the North American Province and I am seated as a Primate in the Primates Council.  I was privileged to be present at Archbishop Ian Earnest’s invitation at the All Africa Bishops Conference (of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa) last August in Entebbe and was accorded a seat there for public and state events as one of the archbishops of the provinces.  It is the greatest of joys to welcome Archbishop Ian Earnest – Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean and Chairman of CAPA – to this Provincial Council as speaker, observer and friend, and to our College of Bishops as Bible teacher and consultor.  It is also a privilege to welcome Fr. Thomas Seville, CR, of the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England here as participant and observer, in partial response to the action of the General Synod of the Church of England in February 2010 regarding consideration of an appropriate form of recognition or relationship with the Anglican Church in North America.

The Anglican Relief and Development Fund, the official relief and development arm of the Anglican Church in North America, is a significant aspect of our global commitment, and of the growing respect for us as true partners with Anglicans throughout the world.  The Primates of Southern Cone, West Africa, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Sudan, Congo, and South East Asia (as well as of ACNA) all serve on ARDF’s Global Trustees.  What is more is that national expressions of ARDF are beginning to emerge in developed countries beyond the U.S. and Canada.  ARDF-Australia is the first to be fully formed, embracing the concept of objective philanthropy with measurable results piloted by ARDF-US, so that ever-more first-world Anglicans can invest in the sustainable transformation of the Global South in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Two years ago we were 706 congregations.  The annual parochial and diocesan reports for 2010 – the first year for which we have a system of statistical reporting in place (another provincial milestone) – identify 952 congregations as part of the dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America and its ministry partners.  Statistically this represents a 34 percent growth in congregations at the end of the first 18 months of Church life.

We focus on the centrality of local congregations as the “chief agency” of our mission in the Anglican Church in North America.  [Article IV of the Constitution]  If we are to “reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ” the principal way we will do this is through the local congregation. We say that every Anglican Church congregation is “accountable to the Holy Scriptures, accountable to the Tradition, and accountable for the transformation of society.”

We understand that congregations are where disciples are formed and that it is through congregations that surrounding environments are changed.  We have a clarity about all of this – about the absolute centrality of congregations – that allows us to focus as a Province.  Bishops, archbishops, dioceses, structures, programs all exist in order to make the local congregation strong.
At my investiture as Archbishop, the second anniversary of which is this Friday (St. John the Baptist Day), I called for the people, the congregations and the dioceses of our Province to plant 1000 new churches in our first five years.  This call has captured the imagination, the prayers and the energies of the Province.  Dave Roseberry and Daniel Adkinson will be here tomorrow to report on progress.  We can point to nearly 150 new plants since June 24th, 2009.  Their stories are told on the Anglican 1000 website (www.anglican1000.org).  Given that there are three ways we go about planting – jurisdictions planting, congregations planting, and indigenous groups planting – and given that church multiplication is geometrical in its effects – the goal remains entirely possible.  It will be God who gives the growth.

We sometimes say that our “provincial method” is “converted individuals, in multiplying congregations, fueled by the Holy Spirit.”  So how shall we make converted individuals?  A catechesis task force has been working for two years.  Its co-chairs are Prof. Phil Herrold of Trinity School for Ministry and Dr. Jack Gabig of Nashotah House.  Their report and recommendations are published for this meeting.  What they are modeling, proposing and undertaking will change the face of our Church.  The title of a just completed national conference “Ancient Wisdom: Anglican Futures,” presented in conjunction with the Robert Webber Center (Wheaton College), gives us a glimpse of where they (and we) are going as we seek to do the necessary work of forming disciples able to make disciples, converted individuals who can make our congregations true agencies of societal transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is so much more that I could comment on.  The Ordinal comes forward to the College of Bishops at this meeting to be authorized for use in this Province.  The product is graceful, classical, and scholarly, as well as adaptable to both the traditional and contemporary idioms.  It fulfills my original and continuing mandate to the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force: “Produce a Prayer Book that is so attractive that the faithful will want to use it.”  With a task force as diverse and gifted as J.I Packer, Keith Ackerman, and Andy Pearcy we excitedly await the next liturgical texts.

At this meeting we will preview a new Provincial website.  Present with us for this meeting is Megan Franko of CRC Public Relations, one of a team of three professionals who serve the Province as we seek to communicate both internally and with the world, by every means open to us.  A sign of our commitment as a Province to getting the word out effectively, both provincially and at the diocesan level, is a simultaneous meeting of diocesan communicators from across the country.  What an exciting time for us!

There will be many “thank yous” to be said in this meeting.  A sign of our maturing into more ordinary provincial life is that some among us who have served us valiantly are completing their service: Canon Daryl Fenton; Bishops John David Schofield, Richard Boyce and David Bena; Lynne and Bob Ashmead, Sally Cline and Cheryl Chang – to name the ones known to me.

I could speak about Engagement with Islam, or about the adoption of Seminary Standards for Anglican Seminaries and for Anglican Tracks within Ecumenical Seminaries.  I could speak about the extraordinary developments that continue in ecumenical relations and about our involvement in Lausanne III at Cape Town in October.  I could speak about the work of the Committees of Executive Committee and the Budget to be presented.  I could speak of our amazing success at raising the funds we have needed, about those who have invested in us and about the growing commitment to the tithe from individuals, congregations, and dioceses.  I could go on and on, but I will let these things unfold in the reports that will be offered today, and tomorrow, and in the College of Bishops.  I could speak about the amazing staff that serves us in our Provincial Office, led by Mr. Brad Root – without each and everyone of whom we would not be where we are.  I could also speak of the sacrifices of those who serve us locally, and at diocesan level, and across the Province, clergy and countless laity.  God has been so very good to us.

I will just share one final detail.  It is a small one, and hidden in the statistical reports.  (There is so much to be found in the materials prepared for this meeting.  I commend it all to you.)  According to the data submitted in the Annual Parochial Reports there were, in the year 2010, 987 baptisms of adults over thirty, 424 baptisms of young people aged sixteen to thirty, and 1647 baptisms of children in the ACNA dioceses, not including the congregations of our Ministry Partners.  What is so stunning about this data is that the number of baptisms of those 16 and older is almost equal to the number of children baptized.  What this says is that we are reaching adolescents and adults who have never known Christ, never been part of a church.  This is to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ, one sign among many that something quite extraordinary is unfolding.  To God be the Glory!

Your love, O Lord, forever will I sing;
From age to age my mouth will declare you faithfulness.
[Psalm 89:1]

CELEBRATING THE AUTHORISED VERSION

Brothers and Sisters of Christ our Hope:

As most of you know, this year the world is celebrating the 400th anniversary of The Authorised Version of The Holy Bible, commonly known as The King James Version.  His Grace, The Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, spoke at a service to celebrate its printing.  I provide, here for you, the text of his presentation at this special service for your edification.  Bishop Chartres has some extremely important things to say to us as Christians who are to be salt and light in a very tasteless and dark culture.

Fr. Greg

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Lord Bishop of London

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Hats off to the Stationers’ Company! The final revision before the publication of the King James or Authorised Version of the Bible in 1611 was made possible by the generosity of your Company. The revisers were assembled in Stationers Hall hard by the palace of the Bishop of London, George Abbott who kept a close eye on the business and who had been a member of the Oxford Company responsible for the translation of the greater part of the New Testament.

Your company supported the enterprise by paying a stipend of 30 shillings a week to the scholars who included the Reverend John Bois, a Cambridge Greek lecturer. His notes of some of the 10 months of discussions survive and give us an insight into the process of revision. They worked through the whole text with earlier translations open before them. The result was offered as a revision not a new work and this is the reason why the AV when it was published was not entered on the Stationers’ Register.

Bois had his idiosyncrasies. His biographer reports that he had started his academic career by reading medicine until in reading many books on the subject “he was conceited that whatsoever disease he read of, he was troubled of the same himself.”

In Cambridge John Bois supplemented normal teaching with a 4 am Greek Lecture read in his bed to such young scholars who preferred “antelucana studia before their own ease and rest.” [Fuller]

Finally in 1611 the finished product was sent to the Royal Printer, Robert Barker. The first edition of the King James Version was printed in Northumberland House near Aldersgate.

The work was done in haste and teems with misprints easier to understand and forgive if you have ever struggled to read the black letter gothic type face which was used. In the 1612 study edition yet another inaccuracy was introduced in the text of Psalm CXIX: 161 which reads, “Printers have persecuted me without a cause”. The most notorious error appeared in the edition of 1631. The negative was removed from the 7th commandment in Exodus XX and this made adultery compulsory.

The King James Version was not an immediate best seller. For one thing the puritan inspired Geneva version continued to be printed in its easy-to read roman type face. There were about 70 editions of the Geneva Bible produced between its publication in 1560 and 1640. It is estimated that about a half a million copies were sold in England alone. When it was discouraged by authority, false imprints were used on the title pages to suggest overseas provenance or that they were old editions.

It was Laud, as Archbishop of Canterbury who succeeded in leaving the field clear for the King James Bible by energetic efforts to ban the importation of better printed and cheaper foreign bibles on the plea of protecting the domestic printing and publishing trade. By 1644 there were only King James Versions available for sale and it became simply “The Holy Bible” – there was no other.

The King James version, however attained this status partly because of the success of King James’s intention to detach the translation he commissioned from the taint of religious polemic at a time when he still hoped that a great Council could be assembled to bring peace and repair the unity of Christendom. The panel of translators contained doughty puritans like George Abbott. The bible which he helped to translate was not intimately bound up with the Laudian regime and did not share its fate. It was the fruit of a reign in which tensions in the English Church had not developed into an overt breach.

Hence it was, that the version exported to the nascent English speaking colonies in the New World was that of King James. In America the King James Version has preserved an iconic status. Our guest, Barach Obama swore the presidential oath on the bible Abraham Lincoln used at his inauguration in 1861. Jimmy Carter and George Bush Senior used George Washington’s copy which he in turn had used in 1789.

The question remains however whether the events of this 400th anniversary year will prove to be a long and ceremonious leave-taking or whether re-assessment of the significance of the 1611 translation will confirm its place in the living culture of the English speaking peoples and renew its life as a sacred text used in the worship of the church and not merely cherished as a literary artefact.

The King’s instructions to the Translators directed that they were to use “circumlocution” and language in which meaning was to be “set forth gorgeously”. There was to be light but as Adam Nicolson says, there was to be “no terror of richness” – richness of the kind found in Jacobean art and decoration. The English of the Authorised Version was never the language of the street but a middle way between the demotic and Greek and Hebrew. Plainness was to be married to majesty in stately language which has had a profound influence on English sensibility ever since.

Our first lesson was the work of the company meeting at Westminster under the chairmanship of the Dean, Lancelot Andrewes.

Andrewes and his company had been charged to consult previous translations and as is well known they were largely dependent on William Tyndale’s pioneering work but it is instructive to compare the Tyndale and Andrewes versions of the very first words of Genesis. Tyndale begins, “In the begynnynge God created heaven and erth. The erth was voyd and emptie, and darcknesse was upon the depe and the spirit of God moved upon the water.”

Andrewes’ version reads, “In the beginning God created the Heaven, and the Earth, And the earth was without forme and voyd, and darkenesse was upon the face of the deepe: and the Spirit of God mooved upon the face of the waters.”

The sense is very much the same but Andrewes includes the definite articles before heaven and earth in his desire to adhere as closely as possible to the style of the Hebrew original. The effect of the whole is less racy but more stately in a version that was after all designed to be read and heard in public.

Much nonsense has been talked about the alleged incomprehensibility of the AV. The tens of thousands who listened to Martin Luther King’s speech at the great civil rights march in Washington did not find that his rhetoric, derived from the prophet Isaiah in the King James Version, jarred – it was neither obscure nor lacking in contemporary resonance.

There is of course a place for the demotic in conveying biblical teaching and there is no denying that language has changed and that we have changed over the past four hundred years but the evidence of huge appreciation of the King James Bible in this quatercentenary year should not be ignored.

The philosopher John Gray in an article in the New Statesman argued that “the return of religion as a pivotal factor in politics and war is one of the defining features of the age, and it is time that Paine, Marx and the other secular prophets were gently shelved in the stacks … the books that have most formed the past and are sure also to shape the future are the central texts of the world religions.”

Political discourse and analysis has been confined to narrow channels in a stultifying recital of economic indicators. Just how one- dimensional our view of the world has become was revealed by the visit of a senior Chinese Communist official at the time of the Beijing Olympics. We had been introduced by a mutual friend and despite the urgings of his Foreign Office minder that he should move on he plied me with questions about Christian faith, the state and society prefaced by a stern injunction “Don’t try to deceive me, I have read the New Testament.” In a very pragmatic Chinese way he acknowledged that every society needed spiritual glue and a shared moral compass. He was wondering whether Christians might be useful allies at a time when there were signs of fragmentation in China.

In the beginning according to the Bible, “God created man in his own image”. It is this idea which has done more than any other to provide a foundation for human dignity and equality and it is no accident that the cultures which have developed these notions have grown out of Judaeo-Christian soil and a biblical world view.

The great 20th century Prime Minister, Clement Attlee said that he believed “in the ethics of Christianity but not the mumbo jumbo”. One of the questions for the 21st century is whether the ethics have a sustainable foundation without what Attlee describes as the “mumbo jumbo”.

Professor Wolterstorff of Yale argues in a recent book [2008] Justice Rights and Wrongs that it is not possible. Inalienable and equitable rights were not possible within the accepted moral framework of the ancient world. Full and equal rights in democratic Athens for examples were confined to adult, male, free born citizens. The decision of the Christian ecclesia from the beginning to enrol women, slaves and children in the new Israel was seen as deeply subversive.

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This is not to argue for a “Bible-says-it-all-politics” which has been out of fashion since our disastrous flirtation with it 350 years ago. It is simply to recognise that all politics rest on assumptions; myths if you like, properly understood not as fairy tales but as archetypal stories about the human condition. Both our economic activity and our political life must have ground beneath them. Human beings are not just blind globs of idling protoplasm but we are creatures with a name who live in a world of symbols and of dreams and not merely matter.

The Christians in the New Testament used a venerable translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Their bible, the Septuagint, was over three hundred years old by the time St John set down his gospel. I hope that the celebration this year of our four hundred year old bible might make some contribution to releasing the energy of the scriptures to fertilise our rather one dimensional understanding of our destiny as a nation and as a human race.

Prayer Request

Please pray for Fr. Doug Mills and for his mother, who has been hospitalized with a fever; she has a cancerous growth by her pancreas.

O Almighty God, the giver of all health, and the aid of those that turn to you for comfort; We pray for strength and goodness in behalf of this your servant, that she may be healed of her infirmities, to your honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

4th of July pool party

Hi everyone,

After the Berger’s 4th of July parade party, you are all invited to the Forest Ridge Pool for the neighborhood pool party. No passes/admission fee is required. Just come and enjoy the day. There will be a concession stand and a cake walk game. Food will be available to purchase.

Hope you can join us at the pool!

Karla Herman

Fourth of July invitation

To our friends at Christ Our Hope and Christ the King –

It’s time for the Berger’s Annual Fairborn Fourth of July Parade and Pot Luck!

Join us for the parade, which starts at 10, we have the best seats in town. We suggest arriving between 9 and 9:30. Be sure to bring a chair. Then stay for a pot luck lunch. We’ll provide hamburgers and hot dogs and you bring your beverages and a dish to share.

Our address is 310 North Central Ave. 546-7248

We’re looking forward to having a FUN day with you and your family,

Tom and Martha

Fourth of July invitation

To our friends at Christ Our Hope and Christ the King –

It’s time for the Berger’s Annual Fairborn Fourth of July Parade and Pot Luck!

Join us for the parade, which starts at 10, we have the best seats in town. We suggest arriving between 9 and 9:30. Be sure to bring a chair. Then stay for a pot luck lunch. We’ll provide hamburgers and hot dogs and you bring your beverages and a dish to share.

Our address is 310 North Central Ave. 546-7248

We’re looking forward to having a FUN day with you and your family,

Tom and Martha

TRINITY SUNDAY

Tomorrow, Sunday, 19 June 2011, is Trinity Sunday.  This is an amazing feast day as we consider the depth and breadth of Who our God is in Tri-unity.  Our processional hymn tomorrow will carry with it the mystery of the Trinity, just as we will find when we confess our faith using the words of the Athanasian Creed.  May we come with ready minds and hearts; in awe and humility, before such a great God.

Celtic Hymn to the Trinity (Welsh)

“Teach me O Trinity, All men sing praise to Thee; Let me not backward be, Teach me O Trinity.

Come Thou and dwell within me, Lord of the holy race; Make here Thy resting-place, Hear me O Trinity.

That I Thy love may prove, Teach Thou my heart and hand, Even at Thy command, Swiftly to move.

Like a rotting tree, Is the vile heart of me; Let me Thy healing see, Help me O Trinity.”