Thursday, November 29, 2007

Boycotting Lambeth

Boycotting Lambeth would be ‘missing the point’, Bishop says! ,

Thursday, 29th November 2007. 2:54pm

By: Ed Beavan.

THE Bishop of Ripon and Leeds has joined the growing chorus of prelates urging their Episcopal colleagues not to boycott next year’s Lambeth Conference.Speaking during his annual Advent Address at Ripon Cathedral today, the Rt Rev John Packer said bishops threatening to withdraw from the ten-yearly gathering on issues of principle were ‘misguided and missing the point’. He said the whole point of the conference was for Anglican bishops to discuss divisions and differences, since its inception in 1867 by one of his predecessors, Charles Longley, the first Bishop of Ripon and Leeds.

Prelates including the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, and the Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Rev Peter Akinola, may boycott the conference over the gay row which is plaguing the worldwide Communion.Bishop Packer gave his unequivocal support to the Conference and said both he and his suffragan, the Bishop of Knaresborough, the Rt Rev James Bell, would be in attendance.

He said: “There could not be a greater contrast between the attitude of the bishops at Lambeth in 1867 and those who appear unwilling to attend in 2008 who I believe to be misguided and missing the point.“[In 1867] there was no sense of a need to achieve unity before meeting, or refusal to attend on the grounds of the deep divisions which then split Anglicans from each other. “Indeed the fact of such divisions was the chief incentive to meet.” Bishop Packer urged bishops to avoid trying to create the ‘perfect Church’ and said controversy could not be avoided. He concluded his Address by calling for all bishops to attend despite their differences.
“We shall only grow in Christ if we are prepared to listen to one another and learn from one another,” he said. “For the bishops they can only hear one another if we go in our disunity to Lambeth as bishops have done every decade since 1867. “To argue for unity before we can pray or talk together would mean that we shall never, ever be enabled to grow in Christ through his ministry and through each one of us.”

Bishop Packer’s comments follow recent calls by the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens, and Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Tom Butler, for prelates to support the Archbishop of Canterbury and not boycott Lambeth.

Thats pretty good bishop! I wholeheartedly agree!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scrutinized to Death?

by The Rev. Jeffrey A. Mackey
a priest in the Diocese of New York
and canon theologian of
the Anglican Order of Preachers.

On a recent Sunday, I worshiped in a parish served by a faithful and good priest — a woman. Normally I do not have any reaction to such a reality since long ago I settled in my own mind and heart that “faithful and good” were the adjectives I wanted to apply to a priest, and that gender was insignificant to any discussion of call and integrity.

My convictions have not changed. But my perceptions are changing in light of the multiplication of “Anglicanisms” in the world. I fear I must be honest, for there are many faithful and good female priests.

I used to joke with my Baptist friends that they belonged to the “Heinz 57 Variety Denomination.” There were Southern, Northern, American, Missionary, Independent, Fundamental, Free-Will, and seemingly infinite other numbers of Baptists. I have many Baptist friends, and when we are together, we agree to drop the modifiers. Now Anglicanism is giving our Baptist brothers and sisters a run for the money. There seems to be a new acronym weekly. We have CANA, AMiA, REC, CAC, AAC, CCAC, ad infinitum. Each of these factions — and let’s be honest, they are factions — has its own position on catholicity, scripture, ritual, gender, et al. And no one knows all the nuances of all the factions.

I remember being an Independent Baptist for 14 months. It was a fearful thing, for one night at about bedtime, several deacons appeared at our door to determine if Mrs. Mackey, my wife, was wearing pajamas with “legs in them.” For anything with legs was, of course, meant for men! She was safe, I assure you, and we were allowed to remain undisciplined in the church.

I am fearful that we may be on the verge of vigilante tactics in the church as various groups will not tolerate certain ritual, certain clergy dress, certain scripture translations, certain genders to do sacerdotal ministry. Might it happen? It already is happening. In parish churches, institutions, and other church-related organizations, people are being put under severe anti-Christian scrutiny. I fear for many.

But I digress. Back to the wonderful priest a few Sundays ago. I looked at her doing her ministry, fulfilling her calling. She wore an alb and chasuble, read the morning lessons from the New International Version of the scriptures. I prayed that some of the acronym-hungry Anglicans were not present, for there was a real sense that where this woman was as a priest and leader of a congregation was due precisely to the actions and vision of those who would not be part of the acronym groups that are generally out of step with The Episcopal Church. I thought, “You are in a precarious place, dear priest and pastor.”

First, many of those who have found that they cannot continue in The Episcopal Church are people who find much catholic ritual, including vestments, unacceptable. The so-called “low-church” view of ritual and vesting is sufficient and the regalia of catholicity is anathema to many of the acronym-related crowd. I hoped there were no spies in church that Sunday. Had it not been for the progressive liturgical movement, the priest would not have been so arrayed that Sunday morning.

Then I knew that she had employed the New International Version for scripture readings. The very fact that this is allowed rubrically over the historic King James is a sign that The Episcopal Church progressives sought to broaden our experiences in hearing the scriptures.

Finally, a woman at the altar was a testimony that progressive visionaries reread the scriptures and found that indeed Paul may have just meant that in Christ there “is no male or female.” And so I fear for all my female priest friends, that they may find themselves the focus of inattention at best and defrocking at worst as much of emerging Anglicanism is not favorable to female priests. It happens, I know, for an ordained Southern Baptist friend of mine was recently sent a letter telling her that her ordination from some 20 years ago was no longer valid.

And I fear as well that those who are faithful saints in the acronym crowd will not succumb to the works-centered righteousness of fundamentalism. Newfound power can corrupt just as much as long-held power. And those who think they stand may need to watch, lest they fall. So my fear is for those who have reaped the benefits of progressive visionary thinking and praying and acting as well as for those who, ignoring previous progressive visionary thinking and praying and acting, are acting out of a non-Anglican ethos and are falling headlong into an individualistic congregationalism with bishops.

A thoughtful piece!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

+ Epps... Bishop!

Father David Epps, pastor of Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church, will be consecrated as a bishop in the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC) on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. The service will be conducted in the sanctuary of Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, Highway 54, Peachtree City.

Epps, 56, was elected at the U. S. House of Bishops in Orlando during October to serve the Mid-South Diocese which includes Georgia and Tennessee. The election was made necessary when, in June 2007, the Diocesan Bishop, The Most Reverend John W. Holloway, 53, suffered a debilitating stroke. Epps will serve as auxiliary bishop with Holloway remaining the diocesan.

The consecrators for the service will be The Most Reverend Charles Jones, Archbishop of the Southeast Province, The Most Reverend David Simpson, Bishop of Florida, and The Most Reverend Gene Lilly, Auxiliary Bishop of the Southeast Province.

Epps, who first began ministry as a youth worker in 1971, was licensed to preach by the United Methodist Church in 1975 and was later ordained in the Assemblies of God in 1978. In 1996, he was ordained a priest in the ICCEC.

Prior to 1983, Epps served United Methodist and Assembly of God churches in Tennessee, Virginia, and Colorado. In June 1983, he became the pastor of Fayette Fellowship Assembly of God, Peachtree City, which later relocated to Sharpsburg and was renamed Trinity Fellowship.

In September 1996, Epps and 18 other people planted Christ the King Church which met for six years at Carmichael-Hemperly Funeral Home in Peachtree City.In November 2002, the church relocated to its present site on 12 acres in Coweta County. The church currently has approximately 250 people who claim the church as their home. In addition, Christ the King has assisted in the planting of other congregations in Hogansville, Fayetteville, and Champaign, Ill.

Epps is a graduate of Berean College of the Assemblies of God, East Tennessee State University, the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, International Seminary, and Berean Graduate School of Divinity, an institution founded by Carrie Nation. He is a current doctor of ministry candidate at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry.

Epps, a karate black belt and former instructor, also received an honorary doctorate for his work with youth and martial arts ministry from Great Plains Baptist College and Seminary. For 18 years, he has served as the chaplain for the Peachtree City Police Department and is a graduate of the police academy in Fulton County.

Within the ICCEC, Epps has served as canon to the ordinary for the Mid-South Diocese, canon to the ordinary for the Archdiocese of the Armed Forces, chair of the Diocesan Commission on Ordained Ministry, as a member of the Mid-South Diocese Bishop’s Council, and as a member of the Provincial Council for the Southeast Province.

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Epps also served with the Tennessee Army National Guard and served as a chaplain (with the rank of captain) for the Georgia State Defense Force, an auxiliary of the Georgia Army National Guard.
Epps has been published in over 20 magazines and journals and he has served as a regular weekly columnist for The Citizen newspapers for nearly 11 years.

He is married to the former Cynthia Douglas, a professor of nursing at the University of West Georgia. They have three adult sons and nine grandchildren.

The consecration service, which will be followed by a reception, is open to the public.

Article courtesy of The Citizen