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MERCY FOR ME, MERCY FOR YOU
FEBRUARY 2, 2016
Let’s eat mercy in a big brown shoe…
(sorry, there’s a whole section of my brain programmed with song lyrics from the 90’s)
Today’s a snow day here in Denver. (Which means something quiiiiiite different once you’re on the other side of the school bus, turns out. But I digress.) My boys have been pawing at the backdoor since breakfast, and we finally released them into the 14 inches of fluff coating the back deck. At almost 4 and 5.5 years old, they’re finally at the point where they stay outside longer than it takes me to suit them up in their cold weather gear. Which is awesome.
The 2 year old wants to join them. Of course she does. She’s been up whining and throwing dramatic tantrums and falling gracefully face first onto the carpet since about 7 am. She doesn’t feel great, we can tell, but she’s determined that she’ll have the same fun her brothers are having.
After 20 minutes of plaintive whimpering at the back door and many more dramatic faux fainting spells, we concede the point, stuffing pajama clad legs sausage-style into hand me down black snowveralls, size 3T. They’re too big, but she’s delirious with joy. I wrestle tiny boots onto footie pajama feet, telling her we’re almost ready. She fights me like an adult catfish, writhing in anticipation of the wintery freedom that awaits her out the back door.
Finally, she’s suited up and released into the wild. She toddles into a drift that is above her waist and promptly face plants. Crying, she raises her arms for a daddy rescue. And off again, toddling to the edge of the deck and crouching down to roll into a waiting drift (only a 12 inch drop, fear not). I watch from behind the picture window in the warm, waiting house, counting down the minutes until she surrenders. She’s been out the door for 90 seconds so far and one mitten is gone.
At the 6 minute mark I look up and see her appear at the backdoor in Daddy’s arms, kicking and screaming. She has clumps of snow in her hair and stuffed up the legs of her pants, encrusted along the tops of her boots. He grins and shrugs, handing her off for a warm bath before disappearing back into the tundra.
I ask my now sobbing 2 year old if she’s ready to warm up and she shoots me a look of unadulterated rage. I peel her out of 17 layers of snow gear, shedding clumps of ice all over the family room floor, and carry her to the waiting tub. Once the water starts running she has a whole new list of demands including “fishy,” “dirty dogs,” “Princess Leia,” and “cockadoodle.” We have a weird bath culture in our home.
As the tub fills she relaxes, finally happy after a morning of high drama delivered the way only a 2 year old can – continuously. She’s laughing and singing about Star Wars, and I’m laughing to myself because she’s.so.stubborn.
And she’s just like me.
There are so many times I’ve been like “God, this is what I want and THIS IS HOW I WANT IT.” And I’ve pushed and pleaded and begged and insisted until, finally, I get what I want, and the consequences be damned.
And it’s the craziest thing, but they usually are.
And I’m not always keen to admit it, but there have been moments of grace-filled hindsight where, after He’s picked me up and brushed me off and shown me to the warm bath, I can see that while He uses all things for good for those who love Him…there are definite areas where I demanded not thy will but mine be done. And it shows.
Because usually? It’s so much more painful. So much less fulfilling. So much more likely to end in regret and remorse and potential injury.
And of course He is always there to pick me up, to brush off the snow, to welcome me back into the warm house and draw a bubble bath, allowing the steam and the soap to coax feeling back into my numbed and reddened skin. But it still hurts. Sometimes healing does. Maybe even often.
I think that’s what the Year of Mercy is about, at it’s heart: God the Father standing at the door, waiting for us to come back inside so we can be wrapped in His welcoming bath towel of healing and reconciliation.
(I mean, it’s an imperfect analogy.)
So He waits. Standing patiently in front of us, watching us flounder in deep snow, shedding mittens and exposing delicate parts of ourselves to the sting of frostbite and the punishing elements. And He won’t force us to come back inside, because free will. But He’s gonna rip that door open and catch us the second we come running back, pulling off those wet layers of sin and regret and washing us clean. And while there might be a little pain involved, the pain is not the point. It’s just the natural consequence of the rehab He’s doing on our little frozen extremities.
And because He’s God, He probably won’t even roll His eyes while picking up our pile of frozen laundry, muttering something about how He warned us we would get too cold out there and that we should have just stayed inside.
(Note to self: work on that part. ^)
And that, my friends, is how the Jubilee Year of Mercy is a little like waiting for toddlers to come in from the snow.
By Jenny Uebbing
From Mama Needs Coffee
Morocco Declaration: Muslim Nations Should Protect Christians from Persecution Christianity Today
Published in Christianity Today by Morgan Lee on January 27 2016, this article addresses the violence of Muslims against Christians in a surprising way. Muslim leaders draw on their own history of peaceful living with Christians among them to implore an end to violence. We need to hear about this serious work of Christians and Muslims working jointly to end persecution wherever it is practiced.
Many people are reflecting on the Primates’ Gathering held in Canterbury January 11-16. Among them is our ACA Past Chair, The Rev. Canon Dr. Murray Henderson, Rector of Christ Church St. James, Etobicoke. His perspective comes from years of being part of this debate in the Anglican Church of Canada where he played a leading role in the decision to form ACA, a group of Anglicans who have chosen to remain within the church as a minority faithful to the traditional, scriptural view of marriage. Click the link below to download the essay.
ACI-Canada, a chapter of the Anglican Communion Institute in Canada, released a response to the Primate's Meeting from a Canadian perspective:
Response to the Meeting of Primates in Canterbury, January 2016
If you drop a penny from your hand to the ground, no one notices. Drop it from the 18th floor, and everyone pays attention. If you shoot an arrow from a distance, and it leaves the bow off only by a fraction, no matter how smooth the shot feels, it will still land far from the target.
"Anglican Ink" A Good Resource for Primates Gathering
There are many accounts emerging on the Primate’s Gathering in Canterbury this week. Anglican Ink can be counted on for good, balanced reporting with the latest news. Click on the video of George and Kevin which offers a fascinating description of some of the surprising dynamics at work.
News Unfolds as the Primates' Meeting in Lambeth Approaches
"With the latest Primates Meeting set to take place in Canterbury from January 11-16, Primates from across the worldwide Anglican Communion will soon be making their way to England to address some of the most pressing concerns for Anglicans around the globe.
Each of the 38 provinces that make up the Anglican Communion is autonomous, yet part of an interdependent whole. The Primates Meeting is one of four Instruments of Communion that help bring the provinces together, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury—who serves as symbolic spiritual leader of the communion—the Lambeth Conference, and the Anglican Consultative Council." (Quoted From: The Primates Meeting: Bringing Together Parts of one Whole)
A Letter From GAFCON
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray you will take a moment to read this important message.
GAFCON was formed in 2008 to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching and teaching which frees our churches to make disciples by clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in all the world.
Sadly, that truth continues to be called into question in the Anglican Communion and I am writing to invite you to partner with us as a decisive moment approaches.
I write to make you aware that the Archbishop of Canterbury has called together all the Primates of the Anglican Communion for a meeting in Canterbury 11th – 16th January 2016 . At this gathering a basic church-defining principle will be at stake:
Will Christ rule our life and witness through His word, or will our life and witness be conformed to the global ambitions of a secular culture?
Together, by the grace of God, we are praying that the Communion will emerge from its current crisis repentant, renewed and restored for its global mission of proclaiming the gospel which is good news for all people, in all places and at all times. This is the hope and testimony of the GAFCON Primates as they approach this gathering.
So please do stand with us in this historic task by urgent prayer and practical support. The following link provides details on how you can stand with us at this crucial time in history: www.gafcon.org/crossroads
Thank you so much for your partnership in the longing we share to see Christ glorified in his church.
Yours in Christ’s service,
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council
Hiltz: Primates' Meeting 'not a decision-making body'| Anglican Journal
December 16, 2015
By André Forget
A number of primates within the Anglican Communion are pushing for a Primates’ Meeting agenda that “reflects not only concerns within the domestic life of the church, but around the urgent issues within our common humanity,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
Returning from his December 9 meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Hiltz said he was informed by Welby that this particular call “is not coming from just certain parts of the Communion—it’s coming from every part of the Communion.”
While Hiltz acknowledged that issues aroundsame-sex marriages will be an important topic of conversation at the meeting, he said he has encouraged Welby to make sure that the meeting's agenda tackles important issues affecting the church and the world.
Earlier, Hiltz identified poverty, the global refugee crisis and climate change as key concerns for churches.
In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Hiltz said he was pleased with how receptive Welby was to this message. “He’s very open to that, and he said that a lot of the primates are calling for an agenda that reflects both.”
Hiltz also said that after his meeting with Welby, he came away “encouraged by his [Welby’s] clarity in terms of what the Primates’ Meeting is and what it’s not.”
The Primates’ Meeting “is not a decision-making body—it’s a body for people that come together to pray and discuss and discern and offer some guidance. We don’t make resolutions,” Hiltz said.
Where are all the Christian Refugees? | Voice For Justice UK
We are all keen to assist with the Syrian refugees landing in Toronto and Montreal. There has been lots of encouraging and warm media coverage of these welcome events. But there is something amiss. While not wanting to diminish the importance of bringing Muslims from refugee camps, it must not be forgotten that Christians fleeing Syria are the most persecuted religious group in the world at this time. Where are they and why, given their great vulnerability, are they not especially given the protection they need in the West through immigration? This question needs to enter our discussions in our newspapers and media channels. Churches sponsoring refugees may want to ask this question of our government. The following article addresses this issue:
Compassion to Refugees, Not Capitulation to Islamic State | Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
The human tide of refugees, economic migrants, young men fleeing conscription and others who have arrived on Europe’s shores shows no sign of receding. As always, there are heart-rending stories of why people have undertaken hazardous journeys by land and sea. The human toll in terms of suffering and loss of life is enormous. There is also the seamier side of this huge migration, with traffickers making fortunes out of human misery. How then should we respond to this new reality on our doorsteps?
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali was the 106th Bishop of Rochester, for 15 years, until 1 September 2009. He is originally from Asia and was the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England. He was appointed in 1994. Before that he was the General Secretary of CMS from 1989-1994 and prior to holding this position was Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan.
Canada has just welcomed its first group of refugees from war-torn Syria. Many of these, if not all, adhere to the Muslim faith. As Christian Canadians we need to welcome them into our hearts and homes. Being acquainted with some of the features of Islam will facilitate better understanding.
Holy Trinity Brompton, Home of Alpha, to Breath New Life into Montreal Anglican Church
Something new is happening in an old Anglican Church in Montreal! Yes, Montreal, that super secular city where church attendance has been winning the race in going to the bottom. The Anglican churches have shared in these steep declines such that many beautiful historic churches have moved from being hallowed halls to ones hollowed out of liturgy, music, and people. Visit St. James Montreal to see an introduction to an amazing story of God’s grace and wonderful creativity in a rich combination:
"Our vision is to love Jesus, build community and transform lives. We hope to do this in active learning partnerships with friends from all parts of the church – evangelical, sacramental, charismatic and more. Led by Rev. Graham Singh and Céline Singh and a growing team of volunteers, we are particularly inspired by a new movement of church planting from London England and led by a church called Holy Trinity Brompton, home of Alpha. Alpha is a 10 week course including a meal, short talk and time for questions. We will be running Alpha regularly in both English and French.”
St. James Montreal has opened its doors to HTB and placed The Rev. Graham Singh as the Rector to revitalize a beautiful building with shrinking numbers. This short YouTube video outlines the model that St. James plans to follow:.
Wishing for God's Plan: Mary's fiat in Luke 1:38 | First Things
By Sarah Klinetic Wear
"Mary’s response in the Annunciation highlights her supreme, humble obedience to God’s plan. But in this humility lies something earth-shattering. Mary’s response to God’s plan is nothing short of radical. For, she does not merely accept this plan—a plan so terrifying its messenger finds need to warn her “be not afraid”—but she prays for it. Mary’s holiness lies in not merely accepting God’s path for her, but in wishing for it."
Dr. Sarah Klitenic Wear is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Steubenville, USA, where she navigates with ease in that world so removed from most of us, classical languages and literature. As a Christian she also brings the Spirit’s gaze to her reading of the Greek New Testament and the Latin Vulgate in a manner that is amazingly enlightening. In this Advent Season, we are especially drawn to the Annunciation and the grace of Mary’s reply to Gabriel. Sarah writes as an academic of course so take up the challenge of this short article and be blessed!
CLIMATE SCIENTIST KATHARINE HAYHOE ON FAITH, CLIMATE CHANGE & UN PARIS SUMMIT
Climate Scientist Katherine Hayhoe shares on what it's like to be a Christian scientist, climate change and what's at stake at the upcoming UN Paris Summit.
Related: Watch an interview with Katharine Hayhoe on Climate change.
Katharine Anne Scott Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, where she is director of the Climate Science Center.
Thank you to all those who attended, supported, and contributed their time and talents to our 2015 Desiring the Kingdom Conference. We offer thanks to God for such bountiful blessings!
Miss the conference? Not to worry, audio lectures given by our keynote speaker, Dr. James. K.A. Smith are now available. Just click below to begin listening!
"You Are What You Love: Worship as the Heart of Discipleship"
"You Might Not Love What You Think: Learning to Read 'Secular' Liturgies"
"The Spirit Meets You Where You Are: Historic Worship for a Postmodern Age"
"What Story Are You In? Why Form Matters"
Honor Your Inner Monk: An Update for the St. Meinrad Archabbey Prayer App
The Chuck Colson Centre for Christian Worldview | Breakpoint
A Time for War? Isis and the Attack on Paris | Eric Metaxas
November 18, 2015
It’s been a dark few days. In the wake of historic bloodshed, we need to pray ceaselessly. And then we need to ask ourselves whether being a peacemaker might mean taking up arms.
Thank You, Toronto Star, For Ignoring My Work |Dr. Miriam Grossman miriamgrossmanmd.com
The full article below was taken from Dr. Grossman's blog, found here.
Thank you, Toronto Star, for ignoring my work.
A few weeks ago, at the invitation of several parent organizations, I traveled from New York to Toronto and addressed a crowd of almost one thousand people. It was dinner time and mid-week, but we ran out of chairs. When the topic is graphic sex education for children, people show up.
The sex ed portion of the curriculum imposed by liberal premier Kathleen Wynne, I explained, is not about health, but about molding the attitudes of children. The goal is to produce students who respect and affirm nearly any type of sexual lifestyle. Teachers will promote an ideology which has nothing to do with disease prevention and everything to do with sexual license.
My talk (watch it here) and accompanying PowerPoint included lots of hard science: the immature cervix, the physiology of the vagina and rectum, the differentiation of the embryonic brain, and the prefrontal cortex of the adolescent.
You see, Premier Wynne’s curriculum omits all that. It fails to provide students with the science they must know, especially the biology that explains the dangers of sexual activity in adolescence.
Instead, it instructs students: there are three types of intercourse. Wait until you’re older, and always use a condom.
There are lots of problems with that, but I focused on the “wait til you’re older” portion.
For a seventh grader, “older” can mean eighth grade. In seventh grade he didn’t have sex. In eighth grade he did. He waited til he was older, right? Just like his teacher said.
We can’t just tell kids “wait til you’re older”, I explained. We must say “the urge is healthy and wonderful, but sex is a very serious matter and even with protection, carries high risks for a teenager. One encounter can change your life forever. Sex is for adults.”
I stated that the curriculum first and foremost fails to protect boys who are attracted to other boys. Because of the high risk of transmitting HIV through anal intercourse (even with a condom) and because gay males on average have a higher number of partners and therefore more exposure to infected individuals, boys must be warned.
It was clear to the audience: these are facts that cannot be denied. This is science that students must know. It could save their lives.
Why, then, is it missing from the curriculum? Because, I explained, they undermine the notion of sexual freedom upon which it is based. When science contradicts the dreams of social activists, they’re ignored. They don’t exist.
The audience, the most diverse I have ever addressed, appreciated my words. They gave me a standing ovation.
While the event was certainly newsworthy, it was covered only by conservative media. So I was surprised when I got this email:
I am a reporter with the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation daily paper. Working on a story about sex-ed protests here in Ontario over the new curriculum, and I understand you have been speaking to groups here about your concerns about it. I will need to speak with you today 416 xxx xxxx. Many thanks KR
A journalist from Canada’s equivalent of The New York Times! Could some balanced reporting come from her? I doubted it. If she acknowledged my biology-based arguments, it would be a first.
I called KR and gave her an abridged version of my lecture, including a good amount of hard science. She asked, “Are you anti-gay?” I said, “To the contrary – I’m trying to save their lives. The curriculum fails to warn them of risks, that’s one reason I oppose it.”
She thanked me and agreed to send a link to her article in the morning, but there was no email the following day, so I went to the Toronto Star website. Maybe it didn’t run yet? I wrote KR and got this:
It ran today — the quotes from you were trimmed because of space — but thank you so much, I will keep them on file for future stories. I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me.
Here is her article. As expected, not a word about the inaccuracies of the curriculum, or the omissions that place young lives at risk. No mention of my lecture, my professional credentials, the huge audience. Poof! None of it happened.
“The quotes from you were trimmed because of space”? I think not.
First of all, “trimmed’ is the wrong word. KR, you are a journalist and should know about words. “Trimmed” means pared or edited. What I said was ignored.
Why? Because I exposed the curriculum as an ideologically-driven house of cards. Sadly, the Toronto Star is a mouthpiece for activists who sacrifice children on the altar of social agendas. Just like I stated at the event: if what’s seen under the microscope undermines their beliefs, it doesn’t exist.
KR, you had a chance to act with integrity and provide your audience with life-saving information. The readers of the Toronto Star may support the premier, but herpes, chlamydia and HIV infect their children too. These horrific bugs do not discriminate between conservative and liberal — you can trust me on that one.
Toronto Star, I wish your journalist had the courage to report the inconvenient truths I described. But in her failure to do so, I am validated. And for that, I thank you.
Aslan is on the Move: The Growth of Christianity in the Muslim World | Break Point
By Eric Metaxas
June 10, 2015
A Washington Post article tells the story of a tiny Baptist church near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The congregation had dwindled to just fifteen members. With bills stacking up, Deacon Larry Montgomery told the congregation, “We’re just not going to make it.”
Montgomery then told the people of Scenic Drive Baptist that there was a congregation who might want to buy the church. This congregation had been meeting in homes and had a pastor whose business card quoted John 4:35: “Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
Six Ways Your Phone is Changing You | Desiring God
By Tony Reinke
Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone at Macworld Expo 2007, and I got my first one a year later. I can’t remember life without it. For seven years an iPhone has always been within my reach, there to wake me in the morning, there to play my music library, there to keep my calendar, there to capture my life in pics and video, there for me to enjoy sling-shooting wingless birds into enemy swine, there as my ever-present portal to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. My iPhone is such a part of my daily life, I rarely think self-reflectively about it. That’s precisely what concerns David Wells, 75, a careful thinker who has watched trends in the church for many decades.
Flash Mob in Beirut Mall Sings 'Christ is Risen!'
The Pope is a Christian! | The New York Review of Books
By Gary Wills
At a recent I talk I gave about Pope Francis, a man asked me, “Why do more non-Catholics like the pope than Catholics do?” He was wrong, of course. A Pew poll two months ago found that 90 percent of Catholics like what the pope is doing—and the number is even higher (95 percent) among the most observant, Mass attending Catholics. The percentage of non-Catholics who view the pope favorably does not get above the 70s.
Should Britain Become a Secular State? | The Big Questions
What ISIS Wants | The Atlantic
By Graeme Wood
"The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it."
Metaxas Article Elicits the Largest Response in the history of The Wall Street Journal (online).
"Eric Metaxas (born 1963) is an American author, speaker, and TV host. He is best known for two biographies, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery about William Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy about Dietrich Bonhoeffer." (Source: Wikipedia)
Find his Wall Street Journal online article here
Click here to watch a Fox Business interview with Eric Metaxas
Re: Physician-Assisted Deaths
On February 6 the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s laws banning physician-assisted deaths. Here is testimony concerning physician-assisted deaths practices given before the British Parliamentary committee last July by Dutch Professor Theo Boer who has been a Member of a Netherlands Regional Review Committee since 2005. In the past 9 years he has studied almost 4000 such cases. Click below to read the letter.
Dutch ethicist - 'Assisted Suicide - Don't Go There' - EPC 2015-01-29.pdf
Size : 164.917 Kb
Type : pdf
Archbishop on the Commission's Challenges and the Way Forward | Episcopal News Service
Photo: Church of England
November 17, 2014
[Lambeth Palace] In his presidential address to the General Synod on Nov. 17, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke about the issues faced by the Anglican Communion and possible ways forward.
Christian Principles Hold Steady as the System Worsens, New York Times
By James K.A. Smith, June 25, 2014
Christianity isn't incompatible with free markets. But it may be incompatible with modern capitalism and its growing inequality and exploitation.
First Indigenous Diocese Celebrated, Anglican Journal
ByLeigh Anne Williams, June 6, 2014
On June 4, Bishop Lydia Mamakwa was installed as bishop of Mishamikoweesh, the new indigenous diocese in the Anglican Church of Canada. Photos: Anglican Video
It was a historic day for the Anglican Church of Canada as it celebrated the birth of the first indigenous diocese and the installation of its first bishop in Kingfisher Lake, Ont.
The Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh’s installation service for Bishop Lydia Mamakwa was held in a school gymnasium that had been transformed for the occasion with red and white banners, garlands and a profusion of flowers around the altar. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, offered the homily. Archbishop David Ashdown, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, formally seated Mamakwa as bishop and blessed the episcopal chair. National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald participated and offered a reflection. The service was in English and Oji-Cree. Bishops from across the country attended, along with many members of the 400-person Kingfisher Lake First Nation, which is located 350 km north of Sioux Lookout, Ont.
Andrew White: Being Jesus in the Kill Zone Christianity Today
May 6, 2014
Iraq is worse than ever. So says Andrew White, vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad, where he pastors the only Anglican church in Iraq. Since March, 2,100 people have died in sectarian violence. With 260,000 Christians left in the country, where 1.5 million Christians used to live, White works for reconciliation between religious and political factions in one of the world's most volatile areas.
Staying Put | First Things
Peter J. Leithart, May 23, 2014
When tensions grow among us, many consider their church environment as less than ideal and ask themselves, "Should I go or stay?" Here is an article by a well-known Presbyterian clergyman, Peter Letihart, that will give you pause for thought.
Image: Rumlin/Wikimedia Commons
In recent days, the Crimean peninsula has been at the heart of what some have described as the greatest international crisis of the 21st century. But this is not the first time the region has been so critical to international affairs. Many educated people have at least heard of the great struggle known as the Crimean War (1853-56), although its causes and events remain mysterious to most non-specialists.
If the conflict is remembered today, it resonates through the heroic charitable efforts of Florence Nightingale and the foundation of modern nursing. Actually, that earlier war deserves to be far better known as a pivotal moment in European religious affairs. Without knowing that religious element, moreover—without a sense of its Christian background—we will miss major themes in modern global affairs, in the Middle East and beyond.
Marriage Canon Commission Members Announced - Anglican Journal
January 6, 2014
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, today announced the appointment of the members of a commission that will carry out a broad consultation about changing the marriage canon (church law) to allow same-sex marriage.
"The 160-Year History Behind What's Happening in the Ukraine Today" - Philip Jenkins, Christianity Today
March 5, 2014
10 Things I like about Going to An Anglican Church
By Erin Ortlund
My family has been part of St. Aidan Anglican Church in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, for over 5 years now. I grew up Presbyterian, with a foray into the Vineyard Christian Fellowship during my college years, so I’m rather surprised to find myself here! I can’t say much about the wider Anglican Communion, or even other congregations in the Anglican Church of Canada, but here are 10 reasons I like worshipping with our specific body of believers:
The liturgy: Our church uses the Book of Alternative Services (BAS), which is similar to the Book of Common Prayer, but with more modern language. I have grown to love it, as the liturgical prayers have become familiar and soul-nourishing
The Eucharist: The Eucharist (communion) is the central part of the worship service, and it happens every week. It starts with one of several Eucharistic prayers, either spoken or sung.
The gospel focus: Our church focuses on the essentials of the Christian faith. Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ working through us in the world. There is very little emphasis on secondary theological issues that, at least for me, can be more distracting than inspiring. I have never detected any arrogance or sense of superiority in relation to other Christian denominations. Of course, this may be due to general Canadian politeness!
The music: There’s a nice mix of hymns, contemporary worship choruses, Taize songs, and traditional Anglican music. Many parts of the liturgy are sung as well.
Emphasis on Scripture: Every week, we hear passages from the Old Testament, New Testament, Gospels, and the Psalms. The sermon always relates to one or more of these readings.
The children’s ministry: The preschool and elementary age children at our church use the Godly Play program for Sunday school. Every few months, St. Aidan has an intergenerational worship service, where the kids stay for the whole service, participating in music, prayer, skits, and Scripture reading. We also have an Advent Brunch every year.
Connection to history: I like being part of a church that’s been around for a very long time. Also, many of my favorite authors are/were Anglicans: C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright, Madeleine L’Engle, and Alister McGrath.
Connection to the world: The Anglican Communion is worldwide. Our church has a special relationship with dioceses in Malaysia and England.
Outreach to the world: Our church has done a wide variety of outreaches, such as Operation Christmas Child, clothes drives, Vacation Bible School, outreach lunches after our church service, Habitat for Humanity projects, and ministry to immigrant high school students.
Diversity: We have college students, singles, families, and many elderly people. Some are lifelong Anglicans, and others have come from other faith traditions, or from none at all.