February 19, 2015
On an almost daily basis, we are seeing horrific images in the media from the Middle East. ISIS terrorists, in bondage to Satan, are committing unspeakable acts of evil. Christians are their particular target and faithful followers of Jesus are going to their deaths for their refusal to renounce the Savior and convert to Islam.
This Lenten season is a time of renewal of our spiritual disciplines of prayer, reading and studying Scripture, fasting, sacrificial giving of our money and our time for the sake of others.
Especially during this season, would you commit to making prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters a central part of your devotions? Would you pray more earnestly for their witness and for their deliverance? Would you pray for God to turn even these acts of evil for his Kingdom purposes?
And would you pray for the terrorists themselves to repent and turn to Christ? Did you know there’s even a website where you can find profiles of terrorists so you can adopt one and commit to pray for him to repent and come to Christ. It’s Adopt a Terrorist for Prayer.
The site offers insightful suggestions as to how to pray for a terrorist. I’m praying for Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS, to repent and turn to Christ. So I’m using the Adopt a Terrorist for Prayer guide to intercede for him, praying…
- for irresistible pursuit by God’s Spirit: “Holy Spirit, relentlessly pursue Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to the depths of his hideout, that he may not escape your grace.”
- for powerful demonstrations of God’s grace: “Lord, expose Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to the precious testimony of Jesus’ followers.”
- for vulnerability: “Dear God, strip from Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi all his defenses that he may turn to Jesus for hope and salvation.”
- for conviction of sin and sense of shame: “Jesus, confront and overwhelm Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi with his shameful deeds and sinful nature till he becomes desperate for righteousness from you.”
- for God’s honor: “God, may the redemption of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi clearly display your character and glory.”
- against spiritual blindness and bondage: “Lord, release Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi from Satan’s grip and open him to sense and know your grace in Jesus.”
Our God is mighty to save. Let’s cry out to him this Lent (and beyond!) for justice for his precious children.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey
Click here for Bishop Guernsey's article in PDF format.
Archbishop Beach issues call for prayer
My friend and colleague, Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt, who prayed over me at my investiture, has today written to his people about these events. I ask that you join me in praying with them.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” ~John 12:23-25
In an effort to support their families, 21 Christian men from Egypt left their country to find work rebuilding Libya. Over the last twenty four hours, the story of their kidnapping and martyrdom on the shores of North Africa has now made its way around the world.
My friend and colleague, Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt, who prayed over me at my investiture, has today written to his people about these events. I ask that you to join me in praying with them:
“…for peace in Libya, Egypt, and the entire Middle East. Please pray the international community will act in wisdom, correctly and efficiently, and support Egypt in its war on terror. Please pray the churches of Egypt will comfort their sons and daughters, encouraging them to resist fear and hatred. And please pray for the perpetrators of this terrible crime, that God would be merciful to them and change their hearts.”
I commend to you his whole letter which can be read here.
It was also from the shores of North Africa that Tertullian recognized that, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” As we pray for the persecuted today, we do not need to go far to find a contemporary example of how God has built his Church through suffering. It is 38 years to the day that Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda was killed for his faith. His death was not broadcast to the world, and yet today he is being celebrated in Uganda as a model of faithfulness in the face of tyranny.
Please join me in mourning with the families of the 21 Egyptian Christians who gave their lives for Christ, and please join me in prayerful expectation for what the Lord may be preparing to do in North Africa.
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America
Statement from Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt
It is with great sadness I write you today about the heinous murder of 21 Egyptian Christians at the hand of the so-called Islamic State branch in Libya. These men from the Upper Egyptian city of Samalout are no different from thousands of other Muslim and Christian Egyptians in Libya, seeking employment to support their families back home.
Except that these 21 were specifically chosen for their Christian faith. The video of their beheading expressed the Islamic State’s intention to increasingly target the Copts of Egypt.
This morning the Egyptian government launched airstrikes on Islamic State positions. It has declared a week of mourning, banned further travel to Libya, and will work to facilitate the return of all Egyptian citizens. The foreign minister has been dispatched to the United Nations to discuss the necessary international response.
The Anglican Church in Egypt and the world expresses its deep condolences to the families of these men, and also to his Holiness Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Please join me in praying for peace in Libya, Egypt, and the entire Middle East. Please pray the international community will act in wisdom, correctly and efficiently, and support Egypt in its war on terror. Please pray the churches of Egypt will comfort their sons and daughters, encouraging them to resist fear and hatred. And please pray for the perpetrators of this terrible crime, that God would be merciful to them and change their hearts.
Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Such cheer may seem impossible, but it is God’s promise. Please pray for us, that we may live lives worthy of his name, and hold to the testimony exhibited by the brave Egyptians in Libya.
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa. He is Chairman of the Anglican Global South Global Trustee of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund.
Sally Hoover ordained to the Vocational Diaconate
We celebrate the ordination of the Rev. Sally Hoover to the Vocational Diaconate on Saturday at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, VA. She serves at Potomac Falls Anglican Church
, Potomac Falls, VA. To God be the glory!
The Two Shall Become One Flesh: Reclaiming Marriage
The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Most Rev. Foley Beach is among the signers of this landmark statement on traditional marriage by Catholics and Evangelicals together. It is now available in its entirety in the March issue of First Things magazine.
In the Gospel of St. Mark, the Lord Jesus teaches that “from the beginning of creation ‘God made them male and female.’” He then declares a great and beautiful truth inscribed in creation: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:6–8).
For centuries, Christians have proclaimed these words at weddings, for they express the gift of marriage long recognized by all humanity and acknowledged by men and women of faith: Marriage is the union of a man and a woman. This truth is being obscured, even denied, today. Because of that, the institution of marriage, which is essential to the well-being of society, is being undermined.
As Christians, it is our responsibility to bear witness to the truth about marriage as taught by both revelation and reason—by the Holy Scriptures and by the truths inscribed on the human heart. These age-old truths explain why Christians celebrate marriage—the coming-together of a man and woman in a binding union of mutual support—as one of the glories of the human race. Marriage is the primordial human institution, a reality that existed long before the establishment of what we now know as the state.
As the most venerable and reliable basis for domestic happiness, marriage is the foundation of a just and stable society. Yet in our times this institution has been gravely weakened by the sexual revolution and the damage it has done to marriage and the family: widespread divorce; the dramatic increase in out-of-wedlock births; the casual acceptance of premarital sex and cohabitation; and a contraceptive mentality which insists that sex has an arbitrary relation to procreation. In this environment, families fragment, the poor suffer, and children are especially vulnerable and at risk. The decline of marriage culture is evident throughout the world, and where it is evident, the common good is imperiled.
Christians have too often been silent about biblical teaching on sex, marriage, and family life. Too many have accommodated themselves to the spirit of our age. As Evangelicals and Catholics who speak to and from our various communities of faith, we are committed to setting forth the Christian teaching on marriage. In a few matters, we do not speak with one voice: We hold somewhat different views about the morality of contraception, the legitimacy of divorce, and clerical celibacy. But on the crucial and fundamental truth that marriage is a stable union based on the complementarity of male and female, we are fully united.
In this statement we speak as Christians to Christians, using the language of the faith. Our hope is to clarify and reclaim the truth about marriage. If we are to remain faithful to the Scriptures and to the unanimous testimony of Christian tradition, there can be no compromise on marriage. We cannot allow our witness to be obscured by the confusions into which our culture and society have fallen. Drawing our confidence from the Lord’s own word, we take to heart the apostle’s injunction: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).
Read the entire statement here.
How Lent can change us forever
By Andy Morgan
One of the great strengths of the Anglican tradition is that we follow a calendar which gives a rhythm to life through the various seasons of the church. The aim of the church seasons is to allow us throughout the year to meditate and focus upon various aspects of the life, ministry and passion of Jesus Christ.
Today is Ash Wednesday. Traditionally today is where we recognize our mortality, repent of our sins, and return to our loving God. We recognize life as a precious gift from God, and re-turn our lives towards Jesus Christ. On Ash Wednesday Christian’s often make resolutions and commit to change their lives over the next forty days so that they might be more like Christ and so prepare themselves for the feast and the wonderful message which is Easter.
While the seasons of the church may be a great strength it can also be a great weakness. It is a weakness because for too long, too many Christians have followed seasons such as Lent, or advent out of religious duty and tradition and not from a living, vibrate, spirit filled, passionate relationship with Jesus.
What do I mean by religious duty? Religious duty is when we come to an Ash Wednesday service, and then from now until Palm Sunday, life goes on almost as the same except we may have given up coffee or candy, or TV, for the next forty days or we may be reading a book or praying a prayer each day. Some may even fast. But when the forty days finishes, we will drink coffee again. We will eat candy, watch TV and probably not read anymore of those books until next year and well, fasting, we don’t need to do that again until Advent. If that is your Lent then it is a complete waste of time.
Our reading from Isaiah captures the point so well. The prophet tells the Israelites that their religious devotion, their fasting and praying is a complete waste of time because you are fasting to please yourselves. And that is perhaps the very best definition of a Christian who acts out of religious duty—it is to please themselves. Then the very next words explain why that is true—even while you fast you keep oppressing your workers. What good is fasting when you keep fighting and quarreling?
The prophet tells the people that he knows they are simply going through the motions or performing a religious duty because nothing else has changed in their life!
What we do in Lent should never be just about forty days—it’s not about what am I going to give up for the forty days or what am i going to do for forty days—the point of Lent is what am i going to change and repent of and take up for the rest of my life.
The question we need to ask this Ash Wednesday evening is this: "How will what I do in Lent change me forever?"
That is what Isaiah challenges the people with in v6-7:
"[T]his is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help."
In other words, the fasting the Lord seeks is fasting that changes things forever—it is a fasting that transforms us, transforms how we are and how we act. It is about a spiritual transformation which has a lasting impact.
Each and every Lent we are meant to grow and be transformed through what we shed from our life and from what we take up. We don’t give up coffee or candy or a TV program for 40 days, rather we decide to give up an addiction to which, with the help of the Lord, we will never return. We do not read more of the Bible, or pray a prayer or read a devotional book over forty days; we decide to take up a spiritual discipline which will transform us over the years.
When the world looks at the church and looks at us during Lent what do they see? Religious people doing a religious duty? Or do they see transformed people being transformed? Paul says in our epistle reading, "We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry."
We must be careful not to make our religiosity, or rigidity about tradition a stumbling block to those who watch us. Jesus commands us to watch out in our gospel reading. Watch out for what? That what we do does not stem from being good Anglicans who keep the rules well and follow the prayer book and keep our festivals—but that we do it because we desire, we long, we seek to be transformed and changed more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. That our giving and our acts of charity and our prayers are not about impressing others but about our love and passion for Jesus. That we are not interested in what people think about how holy we are but that we are more interested in what the Lord thinks of us.
Lent is about far more than just the next forty days—Lent has an eternal outlook. And this is so important. When we fast from coffee or candy or TV for just forty days we have shown that our treasure is on fact here on earth because we return to those things after the 40 days have finished. We can just about cope without them for 40 days, but we can’t wait until Easter Day so we can enjoy our Starbucks coffee or the Big Bang Theory show, or a Snickers bar again because frankly, we can’t live without them.
That is not about storing up treasures in heaven.
No, Lent must be about the eternal perspective. Lent must be when we say to the Lord “Father, what needs shedding from my life. Where am I tied to the world in a bad way. What do I need to let go of” Or. “Lord, what do I need to add to my life -what do I need to do more of”. Whatever it is it is not about the next 40 days but about the rest of our life.
In a few moments we are going to have the imposition of ashes. As you are marked with the ashes let it not be an outward sign of piety or religiosity - but an inward spiritual sign that this Lent you will seek a fast that has an eternal significance.
Let today be the beginning of a Lent in which our desire is to be transformed not just for 40 days but for every day for the rest of our lives. As we come to the Lord this evening let’s open our hearts to ask Him to minister his grace to us—that he might show us where in our life we might be practicing our piety in order to be seen. Let's ask God to root out religiosity in our lives. Let us approach the Lord this Lent and ask Him to remove any falsehoods from our faith. Let us ask Him to show us where we might be laying up treasure which is of the earth and instead ask Him to show us how to store up treasure in heaven.
Isaiah shows us the result of a fast which is focused upon the Lord. Verse 8 of our reading says, "Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind."
When we come before the Lord seeking to truly change inside and out and asking God to transform our heart, He promises to have our back—He promises to protect us - He promises that we will be restored and that we shall shine like the light—shine with the glory of God. In other words we shall be a witness to the world. That is what the world should see from the church and from Christians during Lent.
And in verse 11 we are given a wonderful promise—that the Lord promises to be with us continually! The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
We know from the scriptures (and especially from John 7) that water often relates to the Holy Spirit. As we seek to be transformed by the Lord the Lord promises His Holy Spirit will be with us.
So, this evening, will we commit ourselves to a true Lent. Will we come before God seeking Him and asking what we should do to be transformed - not for 40 days - but for the next 1000, 5000, 10,000 days? Will we ask him to root out what is not good in us? Will we ask him to give us a generous heart and a generous spirit so that we may indeed shine forth like the dawn to the glory of God?
The Rev. Andy Morgan is rector of Christ the Saviour Anglican Church, Alexandria, VA.
Thinking exponentially to grow more churches
By Tom Herrick
I still remember a very animated conversation I had years ago with my friend Canon William Beasley, who heads up the Greenhouse Movement—an Anglican church multiplication network based in Wheaton, IL. It was March 2011, and William had come to visit and put on a weekend conference to help us think more creatively about how to plant lots of new churches. The conversion centered on our need to think more in terms of multiplication than addition when it comes to church planting. He was standing firm in his belief that addition does not just lead automatically into multiplication when it comes to church planting. In other words, when our mindset is to think in terms of planting one church at a time, we will never just naturally grow into planting lots and lots of new churches simultaneously.
Part of my reticence to accept his point of view stemmed from my belief that most of us are thrilled just to see one new church get started occasionally. After all, a new church plant means more people coming to Christ, another community being served, and the Kingdom of God expanding. What’s not to like? William was contending that it is a question of expectations and the kind of culture we are creating in our diocese. In a multiplication paradigm, we think exponentially and grow to expect that our churches will reproduce on an ongoing basis.
Is it really possible for us to get there? William thought so. Now, I do, too.
In his new book, SPARK: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication, Todd Wilson, a close personal friend and one of the founding members of the Exponential Church Planting Network, shows how creating this type of culture actually results in being able to plant more churches with less effort. As if he was listening in on my conversation with William, Todd states that you can’t just go from Addition to Multiplication, but you can go from Multiplication to Exponential Growth, where “multiplication generates a chain reaction that increases the output in every succeeding cycle.”
After seeing how the Lord is blessing us with new churches in recent years, I now believe it’s critical to think in terms of multiplication. Doing so will not only make reproduction a normal part of who we are in the Diocese of the MId-Atlantic, but will also lead us to exponential growth. As part of our call to be a learning community and discover resources for our diocese, the Great Commission Committee read Ralph Moore’s book, How to Multiply Your Church. It’s the amazing story of how Ralph’s church embraced the principle of multiplication and went on to start over 700 churches. 700!!! Is that possible for us in our diocese? I truly believe it is. The key is learning to think in terms of multiplication.
Exponential 2015 is April 27-30, 2014, in Tampa, Florida. In order to help us make this shift in our thinking, the Great Commission Committee is once again sponsoring scholarships to cover the cost of registration and lodging for all who wish to attend the Exponential Conference. The theme this year is SPARK: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication, inspired by Todd’s book. There will be over 100 speakers representing the best church planting leaders in the country.
In order to take advantage of your complementary registration and lodging, please contact my Executive Assistant, Desiree Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, Exponential has asked me to do a bonus session the day before the conference begins to share the Anglican experience gained in planting 500 churches the past five years. This session, Church Planting in the Sacramental and Liturgical Tradition, will be offered on April 27, 2014, by Dan Alger, Provincial Canon for Church Planting, Dr. Winfield Bevins, professor of church planting at Asbury Seminary, and myself. We would love to have you join us. The conference will be in Tampa, Florida, this year from April 27-30, 2014. We look forward to your joining us and to multiplying your church in the years to come.
The Rev. Dr. Tom Herrick is Canon for Church Planting for the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. For more information on Exponential East 2015, please see the article "Exponential 2015: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication," in this issue of the Mid-Atlantic Messenger.
Exponential 2015 ignites a culture of multiplication
By Jenni Bartling
"In every believer lies the heart of a movement for God."
What an eternity-changing concept!
The Titus Institute for Church Planting and Multiplication invites you to join your Anglican brothers and sisters and thousands of other church planting leaders for four days of inspiration, encouragement and equipping at the Exponential East 2015 church planting conference in Tampa April 27-30, 2015.
The theme for this year’s conference is SPARK: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication (inspired by St. Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Tim. 1: 6-7). This is the largest gathering of church planting leaders in the world, and features more than 100 speakers, 125 workshops, and nine focused-interest tracks. (See the complete list of speakers and topics at http://www.exponential.org/2015east/.)
Titus is once again partnering with Exponential to provide a terrific deal on the registration costs. Register through February 28 at the deeply discounted rate of $159 and $39 for spouses. (These rates represent tremendous savings over the current registration prices of $199 and $99 for spouses, and will increase as the conference date nears.) The 2014 conference sold out months before the event; don’t delay.
There is also a unique opportunity for all Anglican church planters and leaders to gather for prayer and planning in the midst of this national conference. Exponential has invited the Titus Institute to offer a bonus session prior to the beginning of the main conference. Canon Tom Herrick, Canon Dan Alger, and Dr. Winfield Bevins will present a workshop titled “Church Multiplication in Sacramental and Liturgical Traditions” Monday, April 27, from 1-5 p.m. There will also be time provided that evening for participants to brainstorm and strategize next steps together to foster the ACNA’s call to plant 1000 churches. This Bonus Session is free, when you register for any Pre-Conference Lab for an additional $59.
"Titus is thrilled to support the passionate commitment of the Anglican Church in North America to the work of church planting in North America by offering the bonus session and these special rates," notes Dr. Tom Herrick, executive director of Titus. "It's been impressive to see the number of Anglican participants increase at Exponential over the past nine years. Our representation has grown immensely since our little group of seven attended the first event nearly a decade ago!"
Register for the conference at http://tinyurl.com/poq4ylh. Titus has also secured a block of discounted accommodations for attendees via AFC Travel. The conference rate at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Tampa is $119/night and includes hot breakfast and wifi. Please contact Sara at AFC Travel to book rooms by calling 952-886-7624 or emailing email@example.com. Hotel reservations must be received by March 24; any reservations received after that date will be requested based on availability only.
You can learn more by visiting www.tituschurchplanting.org or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenni Bartling is Regional Director for the Titus Institute for Church Planting.
What we can do when we get stuck
By Susan Yates
This blog was previously posted on Sara Hagerty’s Every Bitter Thing is Sweet Blog
When I was a young mother with five small children I got stuck. Most of the time, I simply felt like a failure. I wasn’t living up to my expectations of myself as a Mom or a wife or a ministry partner. With colicky two-month old twins, two, four, and seven year olds, I was sleep deprived. We’d recently moved; I had no friends, and no local family. My husband was in his first job as a Senior Pastor. He got up each morning excited about his day. I woke up just longing to make it through the day.
For almost two years I prayed, “God make me a better Mom and wife. Please give me peace and joy in this season.” Only silence answered back. I felt like I’d been put on hold by the Lord. I was stuck.
I continued to pray for Him to make me a better Mom and wife. But I was not seeing any progress.
One morning I read a passage in Jeremiah 33:3 and I finally heard an answer.
God said through Jeremiah, “Call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not know.”
Thinking about this promise I changed my daily prayer. Father I’m stuck on praying about my issues. Please show me something that I don’t know. I just need to see your hand at work.
As I opened myself to God’s showing me something new He began to reveal to me that I had lost perspective. I was evaluating my life from a wrong assumption of God. I was acting as if God approved of me when I was successful but in my season of life there was no visible success. I had to realize that God didn’t love me because I was a good mother, or good wife, or doing great things for Him. I wasn’t. He loved me because I belonged to Him. Period. But there was an even deeper lesson. As I read the words of Jeremiah I realized that in my misery God had something “other” to teach me. I call this the “Principle of the other.”
This little principle has had a huge impact on my life even though I still get stuck sometimes.
Recently I was on a plane returning from speaking oversees. I was exhausted and scrunched in a middle seat next to a snoring man. In my miserable state I began to think about my kids. They were adults now but I couldn’t wait to get my feet on the same continent as theirs. As I thought about one particular child I began to imagine a problem this child might have. The more I thought about the child the more the problem grew. I’ll read my Bible and that will help. It didn’t. OK, I’ll pray. The more I prayed about the issue the bigger it grew. Finally I cried out to the Lord, “help.” While I did not hear an audible voice what came to mind was unmistakably from Him. Two words that were to impact my life once again: “Remember Me.”
What I realized was that I had let my concern over a child become bigger in my head than God was. I needed to begin to focus more on how big God is than on whatever issue is on my heart at any given moment.
Whatever season of life we are in we all get stuck and we all have issues-a child, relationship, financial need, marriage or singleness. It’s so easy to grit our teeth and try to trust God with the issue. But walking with Christ is not gritting our teeth. It’s focusing on His character traits—filling ourselves up with who He is and then our issue will be seen from a healthier perspective. It won’t completely go away but it will be less likely to control us.
I still get stuck but I have learned to use the “principle of the other” from Jeremiah to call on God and ask Him to show me something unrelated to my current issue. Knowing that He has something special to teach me gives me hope. It generates vision within my shriveled heart. I become expectant. My view of God is enlarged and I am refreshed because I look forward to seeing Him do something new in my life.
To help me focus on God, I begin each day asking Him to give me one character trait of His to meditate on throughout that day.
When no one else can understand me or my situation, you do—completely Oh Lord.
“Great is the Lord and mighty in power, His understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5)
I find that when I discipline my mind to think about who He is instead of focusing on my current issue my joy is greater. In His presence is fullness of joy.” (Psalm 16:11)
And so I pray for each of us:
Lord, open our eyes to see the “other” things, the new things you might teach us that will broaden or understanding of How Great Thou art.
Susan Yates is the author of thirteen books and speaks both nationally and internationally on the subjects of marriage, parenting, and women’s issues. Her books include And Then I Had Kids: Encouragement for Mothers of Young Children; And Then I Had Teenagers: Encouragement for Parents of Teens and Preteens; Barbara and Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest (with friend Barbara Rainey) and Raising Kids with Character That Lasts, co-authored with her husband, the Rev. Dr. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church Anglican. Be sure to read her blog here.
Pilgrimage to Israel: There and Back Again
By Bill Haley
Our pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine had several purposes. We went to meet the peoples of this land. We went to better understand the reality and complexity of the contemporary Holy Land. We went to walk where Jesus walked. Most importantly, we went to learn how to live like Jesus lived, so we can be his presence now in the world.
The trip was what we thought it would be–mind blowing, heart expanding, gut wrenching, awe inspiring, and life changing. Of course it’s powerful to walk where Jesus walked. The Bible comes alive, the reality of the Incarnation settles more deeply in. Being in Bethlehem and Nazareth and on the Sea of Galilee and then Jerusalem never ceases to drive home the fact that Jesus was real, was human, and was here in time and space on our earth. God became flesh and dwelt among us, yes, but right here!
And on this trip, it’s even more powerful to meet people who are trying to walk as Jesus walked right now and trying as best they can to follow his command to “love your enemies.” We met many people like this, those who are trying to be peacemakers in a land and region where peace is hard to find.
Those we met who were most inspiring were those who had gone to great lengths to overcome immense obstacles and pain to love “the other.” Those in this camp included both Israelis and Palestinians as well as those who were Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. What they shared had some strikingly similar themes:
- Every human being, as an individual, has immense dignity and is of infinity value. The person across from you, even your enemy, is an image bearer of God.
- Forgiveness is hard, and is a process.
- Love matters more than anything. In the words of one Palestinian evangelical Christian, “Love is the worldview.” And Love is very hard work. Sometimes we simply choose it and do it.
- What we want for our own children is what we must want for another’s children, and more specifically, the other’s children.
- It is imperative not to pick sides with regards to this conflict. You must be both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian or else you simply add to the seeming intractability of the conflict.
- There are ways to find peace in this conflict if there is the will and courage to pursue it. And the lack of finding peace in it’s own land is the most pressing threat to the state of Israel.
- Making peace is very hard work. But there is no other viable option that will lead to the flourishing of all in this land, or any.
Time and time again on this trip, when hearing from these folks, I felt like I was in the presence of greatness, that I was privileged simply to be in their presence, and that they had tapped into and were living out the Deep Truth that I aspire to know and to follow. Simply put, being on this pilgrimage left me again wanting to be a better man, and more committed to peace and reconciliation in the contexts where God has me, as well as rekindling my prayers for the ‘peace of Jerusalem’ and also for the work of Todd Deatherage and the Telos Group
At the conclusion of our trip, as an epic sandstorm raged outside in Tel Aviv, Todd led us through an authentic Christian response to what we had seen, and he shared an insight from Henri Nouwen: “It is possible for men and women and obligatory for Christians to offer an open and hospitable space where strangers can cast off their strangeness and become our fellow human beings…That is our vocation: to convert the hostis into a hospes, to convert the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.” May there be more like this in the Holy Land, and may we be such people wherever we are.
The Rev. Bill Haley is an Associate Rector at The Falls Church Anglican (Falls Church, VA) and Executive Director of Coracle, and the Director of Formation at the Washington Institute.
Celebration Anglican raises awareness on drug addiction
You are invited to a Town Hall Meeting and Worship Service on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at Celebration Anglican Church (meeting at First Christian Church, 1501 Washington Ave., Fredericksburg, VA 22407).
The topic is “The Faith Community and Drug Addiction." Drug addiction is something that does touch our community of faith and witness.
Come experience and be a part of a CBS Television filming. A CBS Television Network crew for its “CBS Religion and Culture Series” will be at Celebration Anglican Church in Fredericksburg, to film part of a 30-minute special to be aired on CBS affiliates nationwide in April. This investigative piece will look into how the faith community is responding to the rising problem of drug addiction among young people in this country.
This is a good opportunity to gather with a growing group of others who care about this challenge, some of whom whose lives and families have been deeply affected.
Meet the members of the Fredericksburg Drug Addiction Task Force forming to help address this growing epidemic. The Rev. Dr. Richard Cizik, who lost his 23 year old son, Richie, to an accidental heroin overdose, will lead this Town Hall Meeting, 4-5pm. Participants will be invited to share their stories of loss, the triumph of love, and the role of the church in the process.
A Message by The Rev. Toby Larson on The Unstoppable Love of Friends, will be at 5:15 p.m., followed by a celebration of Holy Communion for those who wish to participate.
Join others in a candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who have died in our community, and prayer for our response to this local and national epidemic. Over a dozen young people have died in our area from drug overdoses in the past year alone.
Click here to RSVP.
Celebration Anglican Church
meeting at First Christian Church
1501 Washington Avenue,
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Town Hall Meeting 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Worship Service 5:15-6:30 p.m.
See also online at PBS.org
the report, “Heroin and the Faith Community,” aired nationally on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. PBS filmed in Fredericksburg and at Celebration Church.
The Rev. Toby Larson is rector of Celebration Anglican Church in Fredericksburg, VA.
Finding real freedom in our relationships
By Liz Gray
Are there pockets of your personal life story that are unfaced or misunderstood? If so, therapist and author Dan Allender contends that your story is keeping you bound in your relationship with yourself, others, and God.
Dan will be leading the "To Be Told" conference on April 17-18 (Fri evening, Sat.) at Restoration Anglican Church, which will explore how our life experiences have shaped who we are today. Dan has found, in his decades of counseling and teaching, that so many of our reactions and responses to life, conscious but mostly subconscious, are dictated by our personal stories. Yet, until we face those stories—the good, bad and ugly—we are at their mercy as a driving force in most of what we think, believe, feel and do. Dan, in his engaging, exhorting and amusing style, will help us engage in our personal stories in order to find real freedom in all of our relationships.
More info and registration can be found at here
. Early bird rate ends March 31, 2015. We would really love to see you there!
The Rev. Liz Gray is Associate Rector for Discipleship at Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, VA.
Lenten Retreat to focus on forgiveness
Join David and Jan Takle of Kingdom Formation for a profound time away during this holy season.
The Lenten Retreat, sponsored by the Healing Center International, will be held at the Walker Nature Center
(11450 Glade Dr
The time together will be spent in contemplative exercises that improve our ability to connect to God, to know His heart, and to hear His voice.
The retreat will be held Friday, March 13, 7:00-9:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 14, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The cost is $165 per person which includes all sessions and coffee, tea, and lunch on Saturday. The retreat does not include lodging.
Click here for more information and to register
"Prayer at the Rail" training workshop offered
By Kathleen Christopher
The Falls Church Anglican and Christian Healing Institute are teaming up to bring you a personalized training conference for current or future healing prayer ministers.
The first workshop, a pre-requisite for the second workshop, is called: Entry-Level “Prayer at the Rail” Training. We especially hope that area churches of all types will send their potential prayer ministers to this training. It is a four-hours training workshop which will equip attendees to pray briefly for persons with general prayer requests. The second workshop, a week later, will be a day of more specialized teaching, hands-on training, and lots time for questions and answers. We’ll be teaching “how-to prayer” in certain areas of healing that we’ve found to be extremely effective.
Here are the dates for the upcoming workshops:
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Entry-Level Healing Prayer Training
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Specialized Training in Healing Prayer Ministry
Please visit our webpage for more details: www.tfcanglican.org/specializedtraining
. Click here
for the flyer.
The Rev. Kathleen Christopher is Director of the Healing and Prayer Ministries at The Fall Church Anglican, Falls Church, VA.
Coracle expands to Northern Virginia
By Wade Ballou
Greetings from Coracle in NoVA! A common sentiment among those who retreat at Corhaven is how powerful it is simply to step back from the noise, and be still, and create space for God to enter in and speak, and even more than that, to encounter God’s love again.
Simply stepping away from daily activities and entering into a period of listening and silence is critical to living the Christian life. Consider Jesus. The Gospels record that Jesus was a busy person. His days too were planned and unplanned encounters with others and always on the move. He was teaching and healing and confronting others, all of which are emotionally draining endeavors. Yet, Jesus is also shown as withdrawing from those he was with into a silent place to pray, often and regularly.
So think for just a moment about your busy life today. Where do you find even a moment’s relief? If Jesus needed his time with the Father through silence and prayer, how much more do we? Our new efforts in Northern Virginia seek to help those who want to enter more deeply into spiritual disciplines to make space for God. It’s starts this spring and will continue. We’re simply creating space–space for you, space for God, and space for you and God. And, we’re offering it in two ways.
SILENCE: 2nd and 4th Tuesdays–Beginning March 24, 2015: This group is open to anyone at any time for any session, and gathers simply to “Be still and know that God is God” through ancient spiritual practices that incorporate much silence like lectio divina, the prayer of examination, and, well, silence. The second and fourth Tuesday of each month we create a quiet space to be open to God and to open to God through a guided spiritual exercise. We’ll meet from 7:00 to 8:30pm in the Falls Church area. Email me to be added to the email list for this group or for more information. The location will be announced later.
SPIRITUAL DEEPENING: 1st and 3rd Tuesdays–Beginning March 17, 2015: This group gathers in the Falls Church area to learn more about spiritual practices that enable our spiritual formation and to experience God together. This first go around we will go through a DVD series by Ruth Haley Barton called Sacred Rhythms: Practices that Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your Life. The first Tuesday of each month we will do the DVD segment on a spiritual discipline, which includes some study and some practice. Members of the group are invited to practice this discipline for the next two weeks. On the third Tuesday we will review this discipline and again practice it. Email me to be added to the email list for this group. The location will be announced later.
Why I Said “Yes”: After 30 years on Capitol Hill and while still there, some have asked why I am taking on this responsibility rather than moving into retirement. You can find out why HERE .
Other Ways to Participate: Please join with us in prayer for this new work in Northern Virginia. It feels like a big step. You may also participate with us by helping us financially with a special designated gift for the work in NoVA, and that matters. You may do so by clicking here.
I’m excited about this! We hope to see you on a Tuesday starting in March 2015. Coracle continues strong at Corhaven and in many other places, but stay tuned for more about Coracle in NoVA!
Wade Ballou is Coracle’s Community Minister for Northern Virginia and offers spiritual direction through Coracle. He is a member at The Falls Church Anglican.
"Empowering for Transformation" is March 6-7, 2015
Come hear from leaders who have experienced first-hand, what it means to prepare for, and maintain, a community-wide spiritual awakening and lasting change!
Join us at Empowering for Transformation Conference March 6-7, 2015 in Leesburg, Virginia
Friday, March 6, 2015
6:30-9:00 p.m. and
Saturday, March 7, 2015
9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Free Leadership Summit
Friday, March 6, 2015
Alistair Petrie of Partnership Ministries will be sharing fresh insights on how the Fear of the Lord helps prepare believers for an authentic and deep encounter with God's Presence as a community. Having mentored hundreds of leaders and communities around the world, Alistair shares from experience as well as rich biblical foundations.
As a pastor, Doug Abner from Manchester, KY ("Appalachian Dawn"), shares from his experience in leading a community from desperation into a place of miraculous encounters and community transformation. Personal and practical, Doug makes the journey real and encourages other community leaders to persevere unto a dramatic encounter of God's presence.
Early bird rates before February 20, 2015. Hotel information on the registration page
for more information and here to register
Spring Arts Festival: Open call for Artists!
By Kirsten Boyd
Open call for artists of all media! As part of the City of Fairfax’s Spotlight on the Arts, Truro Anglican Church presents its 5th Spring Arts Festival Art Show.
Work can be submitted in two categories: Adult and Youth. Work will be exhibited in the Truro Anglican Church Gallery and Undercroft from March 20 – May 22, 2015.
Cash prizes will be awarded to each age category.
Delivery of Work
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Thursday March 19, 2015
6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. with live music!
Join the 40 Days for Life to Pray
By Mary Ellen McElfresh
Christians everywhere are encouraged to take part in the 40 Days for Life campaign to save unborn babies from the tragedy of abortion and to save their mothers from a lifetime of regret. This campaign is an international effort of prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigils, seeking God's power to bring an end to abortion. Everyone can help in some way. The campaign includes three components:
1. Prayer and fasting (as the Lord leads) for an end to abortion;
2. A peaceful prayer vigil at the site where abortions are taking place; and
3. An educational outreach to the community.
The focus of the campaign is a 40-day prayer vigil outside of abortion facilities. This is a peaceful presence designed to save lives and to raise awareness about alternatives to abortion. Participants are encouraged to devote one hour or more each week to this activity, but any time that you can offer is greatly appreciated.
For more information, or to volunteer to help, please visit www.40daysforlife.com
to find information on the campaign nearest to you.
For more info or to volunteer, contact Mary Ellen McElfresh at email@example.com or 703-780-2922 or visit the website here.
Save the Date: Thriving DC 2015 Conference
By Deborah Torres
The Healing Center International is pleased to announce our dates for the summer THRIVING DC 2015 conference! See our flyer attached, with details printed below for your convenience.
This year we are going to do something new, prior to the conference we will teach our one of our 12 week classes in three days to make it easy for those who live out of the metro area to experience what we are doing at HCI.
Our conference and Leadership Advance themes are intimacy! Barriers to intimacy and intimacy for everyone. No matter what your family status, God made us for intimacy to be deeply connected to Him and to each other appropriately. For Jesus it was twelve men and a few faithful women. For us it may be a tight circle of friends or a more extensive spiritual family. Explore what makes intimacy so scary, where we get stuck and how we can discover joyful, life-giving intimacy.
If you are a leaders sign up for Thursday and learn to recognize narcissim in all its forms and what to do to keep it from robbing the job God intended for your group.
Our speakers are from Life Model Works: Ed and Martitza Khouri, and Jim Wilder!
They are the creators/contributors of the courses we offer (Restarting, Forming, Belonging, Joy Starts Here) plus much more! Very exciting to have them in our area.
Three events in Fairfax, VA
1) Pre-conference class (TBD) Monday - Wednesday June 22-24
2) Leader Advance (Barriers to Intimacy) Thursday June 25
3) Two-Day conference (Intimacy for Everyone) Friday & Saturday June 26 and 27
More details (locations, pre-conference course announcement, open registration) coming later!
Deborah Torres serves on the faculty of the Healing Center International.
Church of the Holy Spirit to host Paul Martini June 20, 2015
By Clancy Nixon
On Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20, 2015, Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican in Leesburg, VA, is hosting Paul Martini, evangelist with Global Awakening
, for a conference titled "The Stirring." The focus will be on the activation of spiritual gifts for use in ministries of healing and beyond.
Paul Martini, an Associate Evangelist with Global Awakening, travels the world extensively training, teaching and imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He has ministered in 26 nations and has preached on 5 different continents. Throughout his travels, he has seen blind eyes restored, deaf ears opened, and the crippled walk through the healing power of the Holy Spirit.
He is a 2011 graduate of Global School of Supernatural Ministry and holds a bachelor’s from Phoenix University of Theology. He has served Randy Clark with honor and humility traveling with him for over 3 years. In addition to healing and evangelism, Paul’s heart is to train and equip the body of Christ to impact their environment and culture.
More information now, but mark your calendars today!
The Rev. Clancy Nixon is rector of Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican in Leesburg, VA.
Malawi Flooding Affects More Than 600,000
By Ryn Manby
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF) has received an urgent relief appeal from The Rt. Rev. Brighton Vita Malasa, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire in Malawi. We urge your prayer and support for our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering displacement and destruction of property.
Torrential rain has been falling in Malawi since early January resulting in massive flooding throughout much of the country. The ongoing crisis has prompted Malawi’s president to declare a state of disaster in 15 of the nation’s 28 districts.
Thankfully, these floods have resulted in only 79 confirmed deaths so far, yet the scale of the disaster is staggering: more than 170,000 people have been displaced and more than 600,000 affected.
Local Anglicans in Malawi are among those suffering from displacement and severe property damage. As rain continues, the crisis has been intensifying and will require significant response over the coming days and weeks.
Please consider giving generously to our brothers and sisters in Malawi! Click here to donate.
Ryn Manby is the GROW Initiative Coordinator for the Anglican Relief and Development Fund.
Listen to the sermons and sessions from Synod 2014
Click here to listen to the sermons, sessions, and testimonies from Synod 2014.
You may also listen to DOMACAST, the official podcast of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, available for free here or here.
You may listen to episodes online, download to your device, or subscribe.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2014: OPENING EUCHARIST
Sermon: The Light of the World
The Rev. Bill Haley, Executive Director
Coracle, Quicksburg, VA
The Rev. Dr. John Yates, Rector
The Falls Church Anglican, Falls Church, VA
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014: SYNOD MAIN SESSION
Morning Prayer Sermon
The Rev. Becki Neumann
Rector, Christ Church, South Riding, VA
The Bishop's Report to the Synod
The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey
Bishop, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
Testimonies from New Mission Congregations
Hear inspiring testimonies from new mission congregations admitted to the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.
• The Rev. Jay Baylor, Church of the Apostles in the City, Baltimore, MD
• The Rev. James Swynford, Incarnation Church, Yorktown, VA
The Rev. Clancy Nixon honored for service on the Great Commission Committee
The Rev. Clancy Nixon, who has served as co-chair of the Great Commission Committee, steps down from the position and is honored by Synod 2014.
Report from the Great Commission Committee
The Rev. Dr. Tom Herrick, chair of the Great Commission Committee of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, presents his report to Synod 2014.
The Diocesan Treasurers Report
Gary French, Treasurer of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic, presents his report and the 2015 Budget.
Report from the Constitution and Canons Committee
The Rev. Erin Bair, Chair of the Constitution and Canons Committee, presents her report from the committee as well as several amendments for adoption by Synod 2014.
Report from the Protection of Children Policy Committee
The Rev. Becki Neumann reports on the development and implementation of the Protection of Children Policy of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.
The Ordination Process
The Rev. Jack Grubbs, chair of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic Ordination Committee, reports on the details of how the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic is approaching the ordination process.
An Introduction to the Thirty-Nine Articles
The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey
The Thirty-Nine Articles are the summation of the “confessed faith” that all Anglicans share from the Reformation forward, the statement of classic Biblical, Apostolic, catholic and reformed faith at the heart of the global realignment of Anglicanism today. This workshop introduces you to this wonderful resource of our faith, and the practical implications of this Confession for all Christians who seek to follow Jesus in the Anglican way.
The Spiritual Life of a Leader
The Rev. Canon Mary Maggard Hays
Christian leaders throughout the centuries have discovered the spiritual disciplines that have drawn them closer to God and enabled them to live the Christian life. This session investigates the qualities and skills of a godly and effective leader and suggest how particular spiritual disciplines can develop your leadership abilities and help those you serve to grow in Christ.
Raising Your Church’s Profile in the Community
The Rev. Dr. Tom Herrick
Are you tired of your church being the best kept secret in your community? Come hear what a number of churches are doing to become more “visible” to their neighbors. This workshop focuses on effective, inexpensive ways to get the word out about who you are and what you are doing to usher in God’s Kingdom in your community. You will be encouraged and motivated as you hear about practical ways you can easily put into practice to let your light shine even brighter.
Praying for the Persecuted Church
The Rev. Valarie Whitcomb and Sharon Steinmiller
As we are aware of the tremendous pressure that is upon persecuted Christians around the world, this workshop offers us to gather and pray for some of these critical situations facing our brothers and sisters. Led by two gifted prayer leaders with a heart for missions, this prayer time will also help equip you for more effective group prayer in your church.
Click here to listen online or subscribe to DOMACAST, the official podcast of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic.
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40 Days for Life
The Faith Community & Drug Addiction
Celebration Anglican Church
Church of the Apostles
Empowering for Transformation
Retreat on Spiritual Deepening
Coracle in NoVA
Falls Church, VA
Retreat on Silence
Coracle in NoVA
Falls Church, VA
Entry-Level Healing Prayer Training
The Falls Church Anglican
Falls Church, VA
"To Be Told" Conference
Restoration Anglican Church
Specialized Training in Healing Ministry
The Falls Church Anglican
Falls Church, VA
Spring Arts Festive Reception
Truro Anglican Church
"The Stirring" Conference
Church of the Holy Spirit Anglican
Healing Center International
Send us your events!
The Mid-Atlantic Messenger
THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER
OF THE DIOCESE OF THE MID-ATLANTIC
ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA
THE RT. REV. JOHN A. M. GUERNSEY, BISHOP
EDITOR: MARY AILES
EDITORIAL STAFF: HEATHER ADAMS, LYNN MILOGRANO
THE DIOCESE OF THE MID-ATLANTIC (ACNA)
14851 GIDEON DRIVE, WOODBRIDGE,VA 22192
703.590.5470 (OFFICE) 703.590.3296 (FAX)
ANGLICANDOMA.ORG • FB • Twitter
Diocesan Photo Project underway!
What is the Diocesan Photo Project?
Each congregation and mission is asked to email to the diocesan office a high-definition photo to represent your congregation. Please include a short paragraph on why the photo was chosen and how it represents the life of your congregation. The high-definition photos may be either portrait or landscape.
What will you do with the photo?
We will print the photos we receive, frame them, and then place them on the walls of the diocesan office for public display. We will also publish them in the Mid-Atlantic Messenger.
Where should we send our church's photo?
Your congregation's photo should be sent from the rector, communications staff, or other officially designated person. Please email your photo and description to Mary Ailes at
firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line please write Diocesan Photo Project. You can update your photos at any time.
Questions? Contact Mary Ailes at email@example.com, or call her office at (703) 590-5470 x123. Thank you!
Clergy Renewal of Vows
March 31, 2015
11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Church of the Epiphany Anglican
June 22-26, 2015
Vancouver, British Columbia