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Our Synodical Defects and Their Remedy

[The 3rd point of a sermon delivered by Bishop Charles Edward Cheney
at the Synod of Chicago, Oct. 29, 1891
]

I have reserved for my last words a point which is of supreme importance. The question may well be asked with heart-searching seriousness whether as ministers and laymen we have duly honored the Holy Spirit.

Shortly after the Reformed Episcopal Church was organized, our whole country was agitated by one of the most powerful religious revivals its history has ever known.

Here in Chicago was the focal point of its many-sided influences. Without an exception, our ministers heartily co-operated in that wonderful work. Many of our leading laymen are Christians led to Christ in that profound awakening. Nor only so. But some of our parishes were born of that spiritual quickening.

Attendants on the services of our mother Church, who felt the stirring of the pulses of a new life, found no sympathy with, and in some cases, bitter opposition to the prevailing religious quickening. It led them to seek a church which gave them their old liturgy, their traditional episcopacy, but also gave them the warmth and glow of a fervid spiritual life.

The revival itself speedily passed away. Its effects still operate. But may it not be true that as a Church we have forgotten how much we owe to those influences of the Holy Ghost upon our infant communion? In a word, have we not come to trust in other agencies of growth than the one all-powerful agency—the work of the Holy Ghost?

For so young a church we have been singularly blessed with the gifts of consecrated wealth. At the very threshold of our organization three laymen, one of whom represented afterwards a Chicago parish, provided means which carried on the work of Bishop Cummins and those associated with him, for an entire year. Soon after, another laymen took upon himself the whole cost of the stereotype plates and of the issue of the first edition of our Prayer book. The same gentlemen up to the time of his death, devoted large sums to church erection, and the other interests of our Communion.

At a later day we have seen our noble Seminary building, with its connected church, established by individual liberality. Crowning the whole, was the gift of $300,000, as the basis of a fund for Church Extension.

We surely have reason to rejoice in such splendid illustrations of Christian consecration of wealth. But have we no reason to fear that we have been led to lean upon these gifts, rather than upon the power of the Holy Ghost? Have we not secretly felt that our work must be crowned with success, when such a money power was behind it? Have we not lost out of our Bibles the solemn words,”Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord”?

As a Church we have justly glorified in our maintenance of reformation principles. We claimed with truth that we were the representatives of the men who laid the foundations of the English Church, and compiled the English Prayer Book. We are contending for the very principles for which such heroes as Ridley and Latimer died at the stake. But it may be well to ask ourselves whether we have not trusted in our position as the true successors of the English Reformers, rather that in the abiding gifts of the spirit of God. “Our fathers who ate the manna” of Gospel truth “in the wilderness” of the Reformation period, “are dead.” But the Holy Ghost lives and waits to bless the Church which is ready to receive Him.

Not only against the corruption of the ritualist and the sacramentalist has the Reformed Episcopal Church lifted up its voice. But in these days when the fundamentals of the truth are assailed in the house of its friends, our Church has stood like a rock for the principles of old fashioned evangelical religion. We have borne the reproach of being “narrow,” rather than allow a loose and rationalistic semi-skepticism to obtain foothold amongst us. No questions have arisen in our Church about the inspiration of the scriptures, the value of Christ’s Atonement, or the Divine nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But beloved, may not God be teaching us that the creed we hold may be as orthodox as that which bears the Apostles’ name, yet become a lifeless form? When men begin to trust in the mere possession of the truth, they forget that without the spirit of God, the best of creeds is but a perfectly tuned organ, through which the air has ceased to breath its vocal power. I charge you, beloved brethren of the Synod of Chicago, with this responsibility. Let there be in all our parishes united prayer for a great outpouring of the Holy Ghost.

On Carmel’s height, Elijah built his Altar with an orthodox precision. Exactly twelve great stones composed it. With absolutely accurate arrangement did he lay the wood in order. But had he trusted in the perfection of his altar, and the orderly placing of the wood, to call down fire from Heaven, the prophets of Baal would have triumphed. Ministers and laymen of the Synod of Chicago, we have in our creeds, our articles, and our declaration of principles, an altar “built four square,” of great stones of truth. Our Prayer Book and our polity have been arranged as carefully a Elijah arranged the wood upon his Altar.

Have we trusted in our accuracy of principles, and orthodoxy of belief, to kindle our hearts with the flames of love to God and Man? Then let this hour see our mistake corrected. Let us as one man cry for the fire of the Holy Ghost to fall from Heaven.

 

Sunday School Rally Day

Sunday School resumed classes September 9, 2007 after the summer break. Do be in prayer for the teachers and children. A picnic was held on the church grounds following morning worship. Everyone had an enjoyable time eating grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad and baked
beans, along with several deserts.


Episcopal Visit

The Rt. Rev. George Fincke will be with us on Sunday, October 7, 2007. The Vestry will provide a luncheon following the service.


Homecoming Sunday

Homecoming will be held in conjunction with Bishop Fincke’s Episcopal visit on Sunday, October 7, 2007. Invite others to come. Luncheon following the service.


Synod of the Diocese of Mid-America

October 18,19 2007. The Cathedral of St. Matthias, Katy, Texas. Do be in prayer for this important gathering.


Spaghetti Dinner

PLACE: St. Andrew’s Parish Hall
DATE: Saturday, November 3, 2007
TIME: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
COST: Adults $6.00
Child $3.00
Family $15.00
Spaghetti, Meat balls, Garlic bread, Garden salad, Cake and Coffee or Tea
All proceeds support Missions. Walk-ins welcome.


Missionary of The Month

Sue Brodish. Christian Kindergarten. Schwalmstadt, Germany.


VISIT OUR WEBSITE
www.andrewrec.org

 

 

 

Happy Birthday!

Oct. 1 – Diane (Stultz) Alverson
Oct. 1 – Raphael Ebisi, Jr.
Oct. 2 - Sophia Levi
Oct. 5 - Janet Novak
Oct. 8 - Louise Rich
Oct. 12 – Cheryl Yapp
Oct. 12 – Carla Yehnert
Oct. 27 – Annamarie Sellers

 

RICH REWARDS
by Helen Kitchell Evans

Fall brings us rich rewards;
The harvest of abundant grain,
A lingering warmth of feeling
Across the valley and the plain.

In this season we recapture the
Abiding love of our friends;
The wonders of God’s world;
His greatness never ends.

Today let’s go out for a stroll
And call upon someone in need;
Gladden the hearts of the aged or
Go wherever our Lord might lead.

 


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