Saturday, March 29, 2008

From Bishop David Anderson, 28 March 2008

The following is an excerpt:

This disregard for the rule of law by TEC means that KJS and her Chancellor DBB are functioning as police, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner, and most of the other TEC bishops fall in dutifully behind them. One must ask, "Where are the sometime "Windsor Bishops" in all of this? We see no protests except from Bishop John Howe and now from South Carolina; have the "Windsor Bishops" lost their voices? " Speak now or forever hold your peace," would be one way of phrasing it.

Since the legality of the deposition of JDS is in serious doubt at the present moment, the position of Bishop of San Joaquin may not be vacant! How can KJS call a Special Convention for San Joaquin, nominate Bishop Lamb as the next San Joaquin Diocesan, chair the meeting and elect her nominee? This doesn’t look like a good government model for the free world, instead it looks like a pogrom against orthodox Anglican church leaders still in TEC as well as those whose departure was recent (and hastened by the abuse to which they have been subjected).

American journalist Steve Levin of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Jefferts Schori will begin to poll bishops nationally in April in an effort to move the deposition of Bishop Bob Duncan ahead to May. She has perhaps several agendas at work, one being to depose him soon so that the Archbishop of Canterbury has the excuse to "dis-invite" Bishop Duncan from Lambeth publicly and further undercut the orthodox Anglicans. A second reason is so she can declare the Diocese of Pittsburgh vacant and move her minions into position. The Diocese isn’t set to formally decide on staying or going from TEC until the October-November time frame, but without a bishop, she can begin the attempt to undercut the Standing Committee of the diocese.

Read it all: An Inconvenient Truth: Ecclesial Warming Ahead

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Call for review after trial ‘flouted Church rules’

by George Conger

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori failed to follow the procedural rules governing the trial of Bishop William Cox for “abandonment of the Communion” of the Episcopal Church an investigation by The Church of England Newspaper has found.

In a March 12 press conference, Bishop Schori stated she had not followed rules governing the requirement that the 88-year old retired bishop be granted a speedy trial, that he be informed of the charges against him in a timely fashion, and that the consent of the church’s senior bishops be solicited by the Presiding Bishop to suspend him from office pending trial. A subsequent investigation by CEN in conjunction with The Living Church magazine revealed an insufficient number of votes to convict were cast also. . . [edited]

. . . On March 15, Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe urged the Episcopal Church’s three senior bishops to review the case, saying he was under “no illusions that the outcome of the despicable vote to depose John-David [Schofield] and William [Cox] will be reversed, but at least we might want to obey the canons.”

Read the entire article here:

Call for review after trial ‘flouted Church rules’

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bishop Iker's Sermon at the Chrism Mass

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

During the course of about eighteen years as a parish priest in the Diocese of Southwest Florida, I attended many ordinations, perhaps as many as four to six a year. And it was the custom in that diocese at the beginning of the service for the bishop to have a priest stand up and read to the congregation assembled the Preface to the Ordination Rites found on page 510 of the Prayer Book. (Don’t go looking for it now!) It was read as a way of stating before the service began what our church understood about what we were about to do in ordaining a deacon or a priest. It begins with these words, “The Holy Scriptures and the ancient Christian writers make it clear that from the apostle’s time, there have been different ministries within the Church. In particular, since the time of the New Testament, three distinct orders of ordained ministers have been characteristic of Christ’s holy Catholic Church.” And then it goes on to briefly summarize the essence of what a bishop is, what a priest is, and what a deacon is.

Part of the awesomeness of this service today is that all three orders are present here at one time and place to renew and reaffirm the sacred vows which each of us took when we were ordained. And I want to simply begin with the reminder that the first theme of what we do today is “continuity and fidelity.” Continuity and fidelity. We promise to continue the apostolic ministry of Word and Sacrament as we have received it from the New Testament Church. We promise to be faithful to the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them. The Preface then goes on to state, “It is also recognized and affirmed that the three-fold ministry is not the exclusive property of this portion of Christ’s holy Catholic Church.” In other words, at each ordination we were reminded that neither the Episcopal Church, nor indeed the world-wide Anglican Communion, owns in any sense, or possesses in any sense these three-fold orders of ministry. We have received them from the apostolic Tradition of the catholic Church. They are not ours. That is to say, we cannot add to, nor can we subtract from, the giveness of the Apostolic Succession. We can’t vote in conventions to alter what we have received by the ordinance of Christ and the apostles. It belongs to Him, not to us. We can only continue in fidelity to that which we have received and assure that we hand it on intact, unchanged, undiminished, unblemished, to those who shall succeed us. It is an awesome thing and a great privilege, my brothers and sisters, to do what you and I are doing today. There is nothing “ho-hum” about it. It is an exciting and challenging time to serve as a bishop, or priest, or deacon in God’s Church today. [the sermon continues]

...continued here

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Doubts over deposition trial

March 19th 2008

by George Conger

The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops has deposed the Bishop of San Joaquin and the retired suffragan Bishop of Maryland for “abandonment of the Communion” of the Episcopal Church following a closed trial in Texas on March 12. However, a joint investigation by The Church of England Newspaper and The Living Church magazine has revealed procedural and legal inconsistencies that may render the vote a nullity.

The ecclesiastical trial of Bishop John-David Schofield was a necessary part of the Episcopal Church’s legal strategy to secure the property of the Diocese of San Joaquin, US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on March 12. However, the flawed trial has created a legal anomaly leaving Bishop Schofield in place as Episcopal bishop of San Joaquin, when neither he, nor Bishop Schori, want him to hold that post.

“The current public dispute over the canonical legality of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops’ recent vote to depose Bishops Schofield and Cox amounts at best to a severe embarrassment to the Presiding Bishop, her advisors, and the House itself; at worst, it exposes a travesty of Christian justice and prudence,” the Anglican Communion Institute noted.

“The result of this dispute and the failures of good order leading up to it will inevitably be the further erosion of [the Episcopal Church’s] standing in the public’s eye and in the Communion’s councils,” it said. [the article continues]

Read the full article here:

Doubts over deposition trial

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Deposition Votes Failed to Achieve Canonically Required Majority

From The Living Church

Posted on: March 14, 2008

Slightly more than one-third of all bishops eligible voted to depose bishops John-David Schofield and William J. Cox during the House of Bishops' spring retreat, far fewer than the 51 percent required by the canons.

The exact number is impossible to know, because both resolutions were approved by voice vote. Only 131 bishops registered for the meeting March 7-12 at Camp Allen, and at least 15 of them left before the business session began on Wednesday. There were 294 members of the House of Bishops entitled to vote on March 12.

When questioned about canonical inconsistencies during a telephone press conference at the conclusion of the meeting, Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina said the bishops had relied on advice provided to them by canonical experts, and did not examine canonical procedure during plenary debate prior to the votes to depose bishops Schofield and Cox. . . .

[The article continues]

The complete article is here: Deposition Votes Failed to Achieve Canonically Required Majority

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Episcopal House of Bishops Votes to Depose Network Bishops

From the ACN:

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church today voted to “depose” two bishops related to the Anglican Communion Network. The bishops are the Rt. Rev. John David Schofield of the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Rt. Rev. William Jackson Cox, retired Bishop Suffragan of Maryland. Before the action was taken, both bishops had come under the care of another province of the Anglican Communion, rendering the action of the House of Bishops a symbolic, but essentially meaningless, gesture.

“This is a bit like saying ‘you can’t quit, you’re fired!’” said the Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton, Chief Operating Officer for the Network. “It will have no practical effect on the ministry of these two godly leaders, but instead makes crystal clear the scorched earth policy that the current leadership of The Episcopal Church intends to prosecute against those who can not in good conscience follow them out of the Christian mainstream.”

“There is no question that both Bishop Cox and Bishop Schofield remain bishops in the Anglican Communion and will continue in ministry. We at the Network are thankful for their willingness to witness for the truth of the Gospel and fully intend to support them in their ongoing ministry,” he added.

The original article is here:

Episcopal House of Bishops Votes to Depose Network Bishops

Encouragement from Abp Venables

March 12, 2008

The Rt. Rev. John David Schofield
4159 East Dakota Avenue
Fresno , CA , 93726 , USA

Dear Bishop John David,

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has called us to faithfully represent Christ in a difficult time in history. To bear faithful witness to Christ, however costly for us, is less of a price than that which must be paid by those who deny His saving grace.

We are deeply honored to have you as Bishop and your Diocese as full members of the Southern Cone. We will continue to proclaim the Gospel together as brother bishops. May God richly bless you and give you peace.

Yours in Christ,

The Most Rev. Gregory J. Venables
Primate of the Southern Cone

Bishop Schofield responds to the HOB decision

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, a member diocese of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America, was disappointed by today’s decision of the Episcopal House of Bishops but he was not surprised by it.

“It is a shame that the disciplinary process of The Episcopal Church has been misused in this way,” Bishop Schofield said in responding to the news that the Episcopal House of Bishops voted to depose him. “The disciplinary procedures used by the House of Bishops, in my case, were intended for those who have abandoned the Faith and are leading others away from orthodox Christianity, as held in trust by bishops in the Anglican Communion – and which The Episcopal Church had previously upheld also.”

“The question that begs to be answered by the House of Bishops,” said Bishop Schofield, “is, why bishops who continue to teach and publish books that deny the most basic Christian beliefs are not disciplined while those of us who uphold the Christian Faith are?” He added, "At least I am in good company. It is a privilege to know that I am standing along side of one of the outstanding theologians of our time, J. I. Packer, who is under similar discipline by the Canadian Church and who, also, has placed himself under the authority of the Southern Cone."

“I have not abandoned the Faith,” Schofield observed. “I resigned from the American House of Bishops and have been received into the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone. Both Houses are members of the Anglican Communion. They are not – or should not be – two separate Churches. It is the leadership of The Episcopal Church that is treating itself as a separate and unique Church. They may do so, but they ought not expect everyone to follow teaching that serves only to undermine the authority of the Bible and ultimately leads to lifestyles that are destructive."

"The fact remains," Schofield observed, "that a canon law specifically designed to protect the people of God from wrong teaching and schismatic movements has been used in a clumsy way. I do not think it is a coincidence that the canon that was used was the one that involves the least due process. The decision to act against me was not made by the House of Bishops as a whole. It was made behind closed doors by a small review committee and, only then, presented to the larger body for an 'up or down' vote." The bishop added, "Tragically, what drives this action of The Episcopal Church is neither the Christian Faith nor the Communion they say I have abandoned. In the end, it appears as though the real motivation behind all of this is the use of raw power and coveting property. If this is so, then any attempts by The Episcopal Church to seize our property directly ignore Saint Paul's warning not to take a fellow Christian to a civil court. [1 Corinthians 6:1-8]"

Bishop Schofield resigned from the House of Bishops as of March 7, 2008. “I am still an active Anglican bishop, and I continue to be the bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin,” Bishop Schofield affirmed.

Breaking News: Episcopal Encyclical Letter

"Now the outrages which have been committed against us and against the Church are these. While we were holding our assemblies in peace, as usual, and while the people were rejoicing in them, and advancing in godly conversation, and while our fellow-ministers in Egypt, and the Thebais, and Libya, were in love and peace both with one another and with us; on a sudden the Prefect of Egypt puts forth a public letter, bearing the form of an edict, and declaring that one Gregory from Cappadocia was coming to be my successor from the court.

This announcement confounded every one, for such a proceeding was entirely novel, and now heard of for the first time. The people however assembled still more constantly in the churches, for they very well knew that neither they themselves, nor any Bishop or Presbyter, nor in short any one had ever complained against me; and they saw that Arians only were on his side, and were aware also that he was himself an Arian, and was sent by Eusebius and his fellows to the Arian party.

For you know, brethren, that Eusebius and his fellows have always been the supporters and associates of the impious heresy of the Arian madmen, by whose means they have ever carried on their designs against me, and were the authors of my banishment into Gaul. The people, therefore, were justly indignant and exclaimed against the proceeding, calling the rest of the magistrates and the whole city to witness, that this novel and iniquitous attempt was now made against the Church, not on the ground of any charge brought against me by ecclesiastical persons, but through the wanton assault of the Arian heretics.

For even if there had been any complaint generally prevailing against me, it was not an Arian, or one professing Arian doctrines, that ought to have been chosen to supersede me; but according to the ecclesiastical Canons, and the direction of Paul, when the people were ‘gathered together, and the spirit’ of them that ordain, ‘with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ all things ought to have been enquired into and transacted canonically, in the presence of those among the laity and clergy who demanded the change; and not that a person brought from a distance by Arians, as if making a traffic of the title of Bishop, should with the patronage and strong arm of heathen magistrates, thrust himself upon those who neither asked for nor desired his presence, nor indeed knew anything of what had been done.

Such proceedings tend to the dissolution of all the ecclesiastical Canons, and compel the heathen to blaspheme, and to suspect that our appointments are not made according to a divine rule, but as a result of traffic and patronage"

Encyclical Letter. Circular Letter. St. Athanasius the Great, 339AD.

What it truly means to ‘remain Episcopal’

From Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sharing Our Faith Conference April 11–13, 2008

April 11–13, 2008
St. Paul’s
2216 Seventeenth Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Sponsored by the Anglican Communion Network’s Good News Initiative and three Bakersfield churches: All Saints Anglican Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and St. Paul’s Anglican Church.

We welcome all of our Common Cause Partner parishes and other ecumenical congregations who are committed to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with a hurting world.

Friday Training Day: Clergy, spouses and lay leaders–$20, Seminarians–$10

Saturday Training Conference: $40, Students–$20

Everyone is welcome to attend the Friday night worship service at 7:30 p.m. at All Saints Anglican Church, 3200 Gosford Road, Bakersfield.

Questions? Call Fr. Richard Menees at 949.675.0210,
or e-mail

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bishop's Response to Charge of Abandonment

Feast of St. David, Bishop of Wales
March 1, 2008

The Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, and
Members of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
815 Second Avenue
New York, N. Y. 10017

Dear Bishop Schori and Members of the House of Bishops,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and only Savior Jesus Christ! Please accept this letter as my formal response to the charge of abandonment of the communion that has been lodged against me.

On December 8, 2007, the Diocese of San Joaquin was forced to make the painful decision to leave The Episcopal Church. This action enabled the diocese to participate in the provision of the Province of the Southern Cone of South America to become a member diocese on an emergency, temporary and pastoral basis. This drastic action was necessary because The Episcopal Church failed to heed years of warnings from all quarters of Christendom to turn back from false teaching and to accept Holy Scripture as the supreme authority for life. On September 25, 2007, The Episcopal Church and, specifically its House of Bishops, vetoed a plan created by the Anglican Communion Primates, and previously agreed to by Presiding Bishop Schori while in Dar-es-Salaam, that would have offered a spiritual safe harbor to the Diocese of San Joaquin and other orthodox dioceses. This defiance of the collective will of the Anglican Communion clearly demonstrated that The Episcopal Church fully intends to remain on a path that is irreconcilable with God's word and the Anglican Faith.

The evidence in the public record reveals that the Diocese of San Joaquin was left with no choice but to separate from The Episcopal Church to preserve Biblical truth and the historic Anglican Faith and Order. It is important to note that this is separation and not schism. Separation, by definition, is the Biblical answer to unrepentant and public false teaching and immorality. The Diocese of San Joaquin consequently made the appropriate and courageous decision at its Annual Convention by an overwhelming vote in both clergy and lay orders (Pro 173 to Con 22) to realign itself with an orthodox province of the Anglican Communion made possible through the heroic action of both Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Provincial Synod of the Southern Cone of South America meeting in Valparaiso, Chile November 8, 2007.

Immediately after the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to accept the invitation of the Southern Cone, the Annual Convention was greeted by these words of Archbishop Venables: “Welcome home. And welcome back into full fellowship in the Anglican Communion.” It is my hope and prayer that one day The Episcopal Church will hear these same words. After the Diocese of San Joaquin had voted to become a member diocese of the Southern Cone, I was received into membership of the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone as the Bishop of San Joaquin. At this moment, therefore, I am a bishop in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone, and I am the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin. The Episcopal Church has no jurisdiction or authority to affect my status in any of these capacities. This leaves only my status as a member of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church to be determined. Rather than force the House of Bishops to a vote, I herewith tender my resignation as a member of the
House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church effective midnight EST, March 7, 2008.

The Episcopal Church and Bishop Schori will remain in my prayers and the prayers of all parishes and missions in the Diocese of San Joaquin. The door of reconciliation will always be open.

May God bless you and keep you.
Sincerely, in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield
Bishop of San Joaquin

Only the Black Notes: Amazing Grace

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians

Chapter VII.—An exhortation to repentance.

"These things, beloved, we write unto you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling on the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. Wherefore let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling. Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look stedfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens to the covenant of God."

Precious Father, remind and admonish us, your children, to attend to all that is good and holy, that we may repent from our fruitless cares and turn to the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ, that we may be cleansed from all sin and that the Holy Spirit may lead us into prayer, fasting and the giving of alms, finally attaining eternal salvation through thee, o Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Check out a Great Anglican Blog Site


Anglican Catechism in Outline (ACIO) Interim Report

Follow the link to the Adobe Reader version of the outline. This discussion and these materials should be at the heart of our parish lives and discussions about how to fulfill the Great Commission!

Canada's largest Anglican congregation leaves ACC

World renowned theologian J.I.Packer also leaves ACC

By Sue Careless

J.I.Packer (left) and David Short, Rector of St. John's Shaughnessy (right).

The largest congregation in the Anglican Church of Canada has voted overwhelmingly to leave the ACC and realign with a more orthodox branch of the Anglican Communion based in South America.

In a secret ballot on Feb. 13, St. John’s Shaughnessy in Vancouver voted 475 to 11 (with 9 abstentions) to come under the episcopal authority of Bishop Donald Harvey and the Primatial oversight of the Most Reverend Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone. This move will ensure that the clergy and congregation, while under a new jurisdiction, are still part of the global Anglican Communion.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has told the leader of the ACC, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, that while he doesn’t support interventions across ecclesiastical boundaries, he is powerless to stop them.

Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster, has warned that the Diocese will pursue in court any parish that seeks alternative episcopal oversight.

However, according to Leslie Bentley, a spokeswoman for St John’s, sympathetic legal counsel has told the church that there is “a very strong argument to maintain the property.”

Each Sunday about 760 people worship at St. John’s. Of those, about 150 are children in the Sunday school. One hundred teens swell the youth group while “College and Careers” draws 40 people.

St. John’s was part of New Westminster until 2002 when the Diocese approved the blessing of same-sex unions and departed from what the evangelical congregation considered “biblical faithfulness.” With several other like-minded churches they formed the Anglican Communion in New Westminster, which was still part of the national body. Now St. John’s has left the ACC as well.

The rector, the Rev. David Short, and the assistant priest, the Rev. Dan Gifford, along with retired honorary assistant, Dr. James I. Packer, are expected to relinquish their ACC licences and receive new ones from Bishop Don Harvey to minister in the Anglican Network in Canada. Dr. Packer is a world-renowned theologian and prolific author probably best known for the Christian classic Knowing God.

For the past six years there have been no confirmations performed nor new clergy licences issued at St. John’s or the other dissenting parishes as they waited for more orthodox episcopal oversight.

In April 2007 the Primates of the global Anglican Communion had recommended a Pastoral Council to oversee distressed Anglicans and Episcopalians in North America but the scheme was never implemented by the ACC or The Episcopal Church.

Bentley said that the Primates had called for the Diocese of New Westminster and the ACC to repent by Sept. 30th and that when they didn’t the Southern Cone made the offer of “temporary emergency oversight” in November. “The offer of the Southern Cone is supported by Primates representing well over half the members of the Anglican Communion,” she said, “while the Diocese is in impaired or broken communion with over half the Communion.”

Three other Vancouver-area evangelical Anglican churches are holding similar votes in late February and are likely to also realign with the Southern Cone:

The Church of the Good Shepherd, a Cantonese-speaking congregation in Vancouver, attracts 300 people each Sunday with another 100 attending midweek services. St Matthias and St Luke in Vancouver has about 190 people worshipping in Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese. In Abbotsford, 290 people worship each Sunday at St. Matthew’s.

Two other churches in British Columbia, Church of the Resurrection in Hope and St. John’s in Richmond, are already affiliated with the Southern Cone.

On its website the Diocese reports considerable shrinkage: “In the history of our diocese, 124 parishes have been established, and 47 have been merged or closed.”

Bentley said, “There can be no good reason for the Diocese to take over the parish to protect [theologically] liberal members as there are six liberal parishes within a ten-minute drive of St John’s, which leads me to believe that the Diocese is only interested in protecting St John’s building and property. They either want the money or they just want us out.”

No diocesan money was used to start the parish; the Diocese only gave permission for it to be founded. The church was independently incorporated in the Diocese in 1932. This year the church exceeded its budget by $28,000. Bentley claimed that not only has Bishop Ingham “abandoned” St John’s for the past six years, but the Anglican Church of Canada has been “completely mute” as well. She said if Bishop Ingham locks them out “We’ll meet on the grass.”

See also the "Update on the Suspension of J.I. Packer", below.

Update on the Suspension of J.I. Packer

Commentary by Sue Careless

You know there must be something terribly wrong in the Anglican Church of Canada when one of its bishops threatens to suspend a world-renowned theologian whom Time magazine has called the 'doctrinal Solomon' of Christian thinkers.

The Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster, Michael Ingham, has sent Dr. J.I. Packer a letter threatening suspension from ministry. The letter claims that the Oxford scholar “abandoned the exercise of ministry” after the church where he serves as honorary assistant, St John’s Shaughnessy, voted to separate from the diocese and join the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone under the oversight of Anglican Archbishop Gregory Venables.

The Southern Cone is in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion. In contrast about half the primates or leaders of the 38 provinces of the global Communion have declared themselves to be in “broken” or “impaired” communion with the Diocese of New Westminster after Bishop Ingham approved the blessing of same-sex unions in 2002 and was a consecrator of Bishop Gene Robinson, an actively gay man, in 2003. Currently eight parishes in the diocese are permitted by Ingham to bless same-sex unions and another two have recently requested permission.

Dr. Packer, 81, has been described as one of the most important evangelical theologians of the late 20th century and has served as general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible.

Dr. Packer is a prolific writer who has authored or coauthored over forty books, including the modern Christian classic Knowing God. Other titles include Rediscovering Holiness, A Grief Sanctified and recently Praying: Finding Our Way from Duty to Delight. Packer is a scholar who can make theology (teaching about God) accessible to the layperson. describes Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs as offering “precise descriptions without sacrificing depth” and then adds: “Packer's philosophy is that theology is for doxology and devotion, and therefore he presents his material in a way that brings awareness of the divine presence.”

British-born Packer moved to Canada in 1979 and has taught and mentored dozens of priests across Britain and Canada. He currently serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Bishop Ingham also sent letters threatening suspension to the Rev’d David Short, the rector of St. John’s, Shaughnessy, and the Rev’d Dan Gifford, the assistant minister. Dr. Packer worships and still occasionally preaches at St. John’s, which, with an average Sunday attendance of 760, was the largest Anglican congregation in the Anglican Church of Canada until Feb. 13 when it voted 475-11 to leave the national church. However, under the protection of the Southern Cone it is still part of the Anglican Communion.

In February a total of 15 churches—including the largest Chinese Anglican congregation in Canada—voted to separate from the Anglican Church of Canada.

Articles in TAP by J.I. Packer:

* Jan 2008: Anglicans Adrift: Who we are and where we stand: A theological perspective

* Nov 2005: The Other Quadralateral: What is Anglicanism? It has four main characteristics: It is catholic, canonical, creedal and comprehensive

Articles in TAP about J.I. Packer's writings:

* Packer provides hope for the modern soul

See the original article for links to the above articles: Update on the Suspension of J.I. Packer

Monday, March 3, 2008

Southern Cone Primate to visit Fort Worth Diocese

Archbishop Gregory Venables, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, has accepted an invitation from Bishop Iker to make a pastoral visit to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth during the first weekend of May. He will be accompanied by his wife, Sylvia.

On Friday, May 2, Archbishop Venables will meet with all the clergy of the Diocese at the Church of the Holy Apostles, and then on Saturday, May 3, he will address a specially-called Convocation of the 2008 convention delegates at St. Vincent’s Cathedral. The purpose of the convocation is to provide information: Archbishop Venables will answer questions from the delegates, but no legislation will be considered. On Sunday, May 4, Archbishop Venables will preach in the morning at the Cathedral, and on Sunday evening at St. Andrew’s Church in downtown Fort Worth. Question-and-answer forums will follow the services at both churches.

Archbishop Venables was born in England and grew up near Canterbury. After he and Sylvia were married in 1970, the two felt called to serve as lay missionaries in Paraguay, where they moved to in 1978, sponsored by the South American Mission Society (SAMS.) According to a biographical sketch in a recent issue of the San Joaquin Star, it was while serving in Paraguay that Archbishop Venables felt called to the ordained ministry, and he was ordained a priest in 1984. He was consecrated to serve as Auxiliary Bishop to Peru and Bolivia in 1993 and elected Presiding Bishop of the Province in 2001. He has also served as the Diocesan Bishop of Argentina since 2002, and he and Sylvia reside in Buenos Aires. They have a son, two daughters and two sons-in-law, all of whom are serving in ministry within South America.

The Diocese of Fort Worth is considering aligning with the Province of the Southern Cone, and this visit will help clarify the practicalities, benefits, and possible drawbacks of such a move.

Common Cause Partners Has a New Map!

Check out the new parish map and other links at the Common Cause Website,

A New Name for an Old Church in Manteca

(Originally published as an Editorial in the Manteca Bulletin)

Several Manteca families founded St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in 1956. They were assisted by St. John the Evangelist in Stockton (founded in 1850 on land given by Captain Charles Weber himself)! The church moved to our current location, on the corner of Cottage and Louise, in 1960 surrounded at that time by fields.

Having been in Manteca for only a year, I have been blessed to be able to minister to some of those same founding members, their children and grandchildren, who continue to pray and work toward the Kingdom of God. The prayers and spiritual support of our oldest members has never been more important as we are facing our greatest challenge in leaving our former denomination, the Episcopal Church.

Like many of what are called ‘mainline’ churches, the Episcopal church does not require its members to teach that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, that Holy Scripture is the inspired word of God, suitable for teaching and correction. Also, they do not require that their members be faithful in marriage and celibate outside of marriage. As my great-grandmother used to say, ‘God instituted the family before He instituted the church.’

For Anglicans and the vast majority of Christians all around the world, as well as the people of St. Mary the Virgin, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Authority of Holy Scripture and sexual morality are non-negotiables. Our former denomination and the media like to play on the salacious details of this change in our church, but they will find none of that in the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin; we simply preach the Gospel and seek to build up and strengthen the Christian Family through ministries like Engaged Encounter which we hosted over President’s Day weekend.

You will still find that we offer our building for the Bread of Life ministry every Tuesday, for Alcoholics Anonymous, Al Anon, Hospice of San Joaquin Grief Groups, the California Alliance of Retired Americans and for the Manteca Pregnancy Center, among others. Our former denomination has threatened to sue us and to take our buildings. On learning about this, I was blessed to find ministers from the Greater Manteca Ministerial Association offering us the use of their facilities if we were made homeless for the sake of the Gospel. Christians all over this community have called us and written notes saying that they are praying for us and support us.

I want to thank this community for the support of our Christian family as we continue to seek and to serve the lost in the name of Jesus Christ. May we all have the opportunity to continue in the things that we have learned, knowing from whom we learned them.

How Now Shall We Live?

Clergy from the newly re-formed Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin met with Common Cause Partner clergy from around the Western States to discuss the vibrant future of Anglicanism in the Central Valley, California, the U.S. and abroad.

Congregations from across the Anglican spectrum shared their experiences with leaving the Episcopal Church and the new ministry that they have been blessed with. Members of the AMIA, the ACN, the CEC, fellow members of the Southern Cone and others were in attendance. They warned of pit-falls and of grief while recommending new submission to Jesus Christ, renewal of prayer and focus on Scripture while protecting and giving thanks for our Bishop, John-David Schofield.

“Ad Spots” were given for church planting conferences, outreach programs, and Men’s and Women’s Retreats. Updates on Anglican Church News, especially the state of and the next steps of the Common Cause Partners were discussed while the membership in the room was a testament to the ‘on-the-ground’ reality of the Common Cause Partnership and the desire for a united Anglicanism in North America.

Clergy from San Joaquin were the given opportunity to ask advice and insight into moving out of ‘wilderness wandering,’ which became the metaphor for the time within TEC, struggling against its heresy and bureaucracy. There was also an opportunity of the sharing of vision for the Diocese of San Joaquin. Among the visions offered were new ways of supporting and strengthening the episcopacy, of encouraging calls to ministry, of finding fellowship and sharing ministry across borders.

On focus through the day were the supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ, the necessity of the Great Commission and the blessing of fellow clergy and of Bishop John-David, who was spontaneously met with a standing ovation!

The day ended with prayer for the lost and those that the Lord is calling us to minister to, for each other, for our churches and for those brothers and sisters who were not with us.