A Letter To The Church
From The Most Rev. Leonard W. Riches, Presiding Bishop
[To The Clergy and Parishes Of The Reformed Episcopal Church]
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On June 29, 2008, the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Global Anglican Future Conference, meeting in Jerusalem, issued the Jerusalem Declaration, calling for “the formation of a province in North America for the federation currently known as [the] Common Cause Partnership”. The Fifty-second General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church, gathered in the Church of Our Lord, Victoria, British Columbia on October 22, 2008, endorsed the Jerusalem Declaration by a rising vote of affirmation.
The new Province called for by GAFCON is now a reality. On December 3, 2008, in suburban Chicago, IL, the Province of the Anglican Church in North America was inaugurated. The GAFCON Primates’ Council, meeting in London on December 6, 2008, welcomed the establishment of the Province with their blessing. The Reformed Episcopal Church, as a member of the Common Cause Partnership, stands as a founding member of this new Province. This historic event marks the dawning of a new day for faithful Anglicans in North America and around the world. A new reformation of the church is underway, and God has granted us the privilege of participating in it from its earliest stages of its planning and development. “The Lord has done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” (Psalm 126:3)
It is of significance to note that within the relationships of this new Province the integrity of each member jurisdiction is retained and protected. In particular, the following provisions in the Constitution and Canons may be of interest. Article VIII of the Constitution of the Province stipulates that “the member…jurisdictions shall each maintain all authority they do not yield to the Province by their own consent”. The same Article goes on to specify that “the Province shall make no canon abridging the authority of any member dioceses…with respect to its practice regarding the ordination of women”. Canon 6 provides that “all books of Common Prayer and liturgies previously authorized by the originating jurisdictions shall be permitted in use for this Church.”
The GAFCON Primates, in welcoming the new Province, noted that in recent years departure from the clear teaching of Holy Scripture in belief and practice has left many faithful Anglicans without a spiritual home. The Primates’ stated that the new Province “will draw together in unity many of those who wish to remain faithful to the teaching of God’s word, and also create the highest level of fellowship possible within the wider Anglican Communion.” It is to be expected that people will soon begin to seek out parishes based on affiliation with the new Province. In order to benefit from this new relationship, our parishes should begin to represent themselves before the public as being affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America. One effective way to do this is to begin to identify the local congregation as (for example):
“St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church”
You will note the modification that has already been made to this letterhead reflecting our new provincial affiliation.
The Province remains in a formative stage of development with much work still lying ahead. Reformed Episcopalians are actively involved at virtually every level of that process, giving us a vital stake in the life of this new and promising effort. Formal recognition of the new Province by faithful provinces throughout the Anglican world is expected to be received during the days and weeks ahead. It is anticipated that a gathering of the Provincial Assembly, to be convened in Fort Worth, TX from June 22-25, 2009, will act as a constitutional convention, bringing this initial stage of formation to culmination.
The Jerusalem Declaration concludes with these words.
“It is our hope that this Statement on the Global Anglican Future will be received with comfort and joy by many Anglicans around the world who have been distressed about the direction of the Communion. We believe the Anglican Communion should and will be reformed around the biblical Gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations.”
It is my hope that this report on the inauguration of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America, and of our place in this new fellowship, will bring a renewed sense of hopeful encouragement, joyful expectation, and deep gratitude to the heart of every Reformed Episcopalian, as we undertake together this new phase of our witness and mission in the church. May you experience all the rich blessings of observing the Advent and Christmas seasons.
Faithfully yours, in Christ,
The Most Rev. Leonard W. Riches, Presiding Bishop
Missionary of The Month
Greg & Helena Wright. Home Office Computer System. Arab World Ministries. Upper Darby, PA.
Annual Parish Meeting
March 29, 2009. A potluck luncheon will precede the meeting.
During coffee hour, Sunday, February 8, 2009. Money raised to support the work of the Woman’s Guild.
Feb. 3 – Adele O’Brien
Feb. 7 – Michaela Smith
Feb. 9 - Mike Acke, Sr.
Feb. 12 – Sara Hassert
Feb. 14 – Edwina Greco
Feb. 18 - Lawrence Klingen
Feb. 23 – Lori Conn Stultz
Feb. 23 – Raphael Ebisi, Sr.
Feb. 28 – Larry Woodard
Feb. 28 – Dorothy Novak
Why Should We Observe Lent?
(1) We observe Lent because it causes us to STOP.
Lent says, “Stop and rest awhile.” Lent says,
“Stop doing wrong.”
(2) We observe Lent because it says to LOOK.
Look inward for an honest self-examination,
Look upward to see the Cross of Christ with
healing and love. Look forward to the hope
of the Resurrection.
(3) We observe Lent because it says to us, “LISTEN.”.
Listen to the words of Christ, listen to the
voice of God, listen to the winds of the Spirit
Just as these three words, STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN,
are important for our safety in travel, they may also be
helpful for our journey through Lent.