Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Anglican Leaders Join Supporters of the Anglican Church in North America


The leaders of three Anglican Provinces have recently joined a number of others formally supporting the Anglican Church in North America.

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer H. Anis, president bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East wrote: “Our prayers are for you and for the new Province to continue to stand firm in faith as you have always done. May the Lord keep your unity in order to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ in North America!”

Also writing to offer support was the Most. Rev. John Chew, of the Province of Southeast Asia. “Today you are making a very historic and apostolic stand. Please be assured of our full and deep communion in the Lord”

On June 23, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda “resolved that it warmly supports the creation of the new Province in North America, the Anglican Church in North America, recognizes Bishop Bob Duncan as its new Archbishop, and declares that it is in full communion with the Anglican Church in North America.”

Archbishop Peter Jensen of the Diocese of Sydney and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans wrote: “I send my warmest greetings and congratulations to the new Anglican Province. We recognise that authentic Anglican brothers and sisters have come together in a wonderful new fellowship in the service of the Lord Jesus. We pray that your faithful witness to the gospel will prosper and that as you live under the authority of God’s word you will maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Support also came from England. Bishop Wallace Benn and Archdeacon Michael Lawson sent greetings on behalf of the Church of England Evangelical Council: “We wish you to know that we consider it a privilege given by God that we are joyful to be in full communion with you all. We are especially grateful for your unity expressed among Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical traditions, and recognise that this is in part a fruit of the Jerusalem Conference where the Primates present encouraged you to form a new and orthodox entity in North America. You are of course in fellowship with 80% of the Anglican Communion who share with us in the historic orthodox faith. It is for this reason that we call on many more of our brothers and sisters worldwide to affirm that they recognise the authentic marks of the Apostolic church and true Anglican identity in your witness,” they wrote.

Anglican Mainstream Convener, Philip Giddings, and Canon Dr. Chris Sugden wrote: “It has been our privilege to stand with you in fellowship and prayer…We rejoice to see the Lord’s hand of blessing on you witness as he adds daily to your number those who are being saved.”

Anglican leaders from around the world have welcomed the formation of the Anglican Church in North America. A total of nine Anglican provinces sent formal delegations to the Inaugural Assembly in Bedford June 22-25. Many others sent personal greetings to Archbishop Robert Duncan.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Backpacking and the Kingdom of God

Backpacking and the Kingdom of God
Dcn. Dale Matson
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:31-33).
On a recent backpacking trip with my sons on a portion of the John Muir Trail I was reminded how much one has to pack to comfortably sustain oneself in the spring season Sierra Wilderness. It amounted to about thirty five pounds of gear carried in each of our backpacks for the four days we were out. This time of year it can and does even snow at the higher elevations. The basics of backpacking are warmth in dressing and sleeping, protective clothing and shelter from wet weather, food, water and navigation. If it were simply a matter of pure travel survival for four days, one could get by with just shelter and warm garments and a sleeping bag. There is plenty of potable water in the fast running creeks and rivers. Thus, one can either survive with minimal equipment or comfortably travel with a few added items. A fit and sound person can carry on his or her back an equipped and portable home. Even though this sounds like a lot of equipment to carry, it is minimal when compared to what we have surrounded ourselves with in the materialist culture that calls out to us that we are incomplete unless we have this or that in addition to what we already have. Those who have moved to a different home in the last few years still remember the rummage sales and throw away items. Moving is a wonderful opportunity to divest. In a way, the backpacker could be considered both a pilgrim and a monk traveling to a particular destination with simplicity.
Now, how does this compare with the totality of what each of us possess? Perhaps I could also say those things that possess us. When it comes to the point that folks have a home but need to rent a storage shed for their belongings, it seems that they have become possessed by their possessions. We are a society that is rich beyond measure even in our poverty. King Solomon himself would be envious of what any one of us has. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’" (Matthew 19:23-24)
Backpacking is a way of getting back to the basics and getting back to the Kingdom.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Constitution Passes: The Anglican Church in North America is Constituted

“We have done the work dear brothers and sisters the Anglican Church in North America has been constituted,” said Archbishop Robert Duncan on the ratification of the Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America . . .

Delegates to the inaugural Provincial Assembly gathered in Bedford, Texas, ratified the constitution of the Anglican Church in North America today, officially constituting the Church. The constitution is posted to the Assembly website.

Following ratification at 4:23 pm Central Time, Archbishop-designate Robert Duncan said, “We have done the work, dear brothers and sisters. The Anglican Church in North America has been constituted.”

Prior to consideration of the constitution, Bishop Duncan reported on the work of the College of Bishop this past week. The bishops completed the election of eight bishops for several dioceses and officially elected Bishop Duncan as the Archbishop-designate of the Anglican Network in Canada.

Nine provinces in the Anglican Communion have official representatives at this Inaugural Provincial Assembly: West Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya (Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi), Southern Cone (including Archbishop Gregory Venables), Jerusalem & the Middle East, Myanmar, South East Asia and Rwanda. For a list of bishops-designate, see the Assembly website.

In addition, a number of ecumenical guests are at the Assembly, including: Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church, Bishop Walter Grundorf of the Anglican Province of America, the Rev Dr Samuel Nafzger of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, and Bishop Kevin Vann, Roman Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth. For a list of delegations and ecumenical guests, see the Assembly website.

The Anglican Church in North America unites some 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes into a single church. Jurisdictions which have joined together to form the 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation of the Anglican Church in North America are: the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin; the Anglican Mission in the Americas; the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; the Anglican Network in Canada; the Anglican Coalition in Canada; the Reformed Episcopal Church; and the missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda, and South America’s Southern Cone. Additionally, the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are founding organizations.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Congratulations from Abp Venables

June 18th, 2009

To The Bishop and Clergy of The Diocese of San Joaquin
Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America

Dear Brothers,

Greetings in the wonderful name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to you on the eve of the launch of the new Anglican Church in North America. You are to be congratulated for your faithfulness in the Gospel and in your cooperation with the organization of the new Province. It is likely that it will take some time before the institutional structures catch up to the realities of the present day situation in the Communion. Until that time, you can be sure of your dual status with us in the Southern Cone. This is true not only for Bishop John-David, but also all of the priests and deacons who received licenses under my authority when your diocese came to us.

You may have heard negative things about your ministries and orders from some quarters, but I can assure you of your good standing and favour with me and this Province under me as Primate.

Last year, even Archbishop Rowan Williams himself assured me of Bishop John-David's status as a bishop of the Anglican Communion. Any other assertions are, in our view, completely unfounded. What is important is that people are brought to saving faith in Christ and to maturity in Him. We need your full energy to be devoted to that task. The harvest is indeed plentiful, and the workers few! Thank you for your faithfulness.

Yours sincerely,

+ G. J. Venables

The Most Rev. Gregory J. Venables
Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone of South America

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anglican Christians from the Central Valley to participate in historic event.

Bishop John-David Schofield and eight delegates from the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin will be attending the first assembly of the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), which meets June 22-25 at St Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas.

Bishop Schofield observed, “The founding of this province opens remarkable opportunities for new forms of ministry, simplicity in structure and a return to the biblical emphasis of outreach by following the patterns and teaching given to us by Jesus.”

The Anglican Church in North America includes over 100,000 members from the United States and Canada. This number already exceeds the membership of 12 of the Anglican Communion’s 38 National Provinces. 232 Delegates representing 700 Anglican parishes from 23 dioceses and 5 dioceses in formation look forward to confirming Pittsburgh Bishop, Robert Duncan as the first Archbishop and Primate of ACNA.

ACNA’s governing documents provide a province in North America for orthodox Anglicans who have been alienated by the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the U.S. These older bodies have deviated from the beliefs and Biblical teaching, commonly held by the majority of Christians and especially Anglicans throughout the world.

Three Christian leaders will be guest speakers at the four-day National Assembly. They are:

Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church, will speak on June 23rd. Warren, a longtime friend of orthodox Anglicans, has been repeatedly recognized as a key spiritual leader in America. Saddleback Church, founded by Warren in 1980, is an innovative evangelical congregation of 22,000 in Lake Forest California.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, the Archbishop of Washington and New York and the Metropolitan of All America and Canada for the Orthodox Church in America [OCA], will speak on June 24. Originally an Episcopalian before joining the Orthodox Church in 1978, Metropolitan Jonah was elected primate of the OCA in November of 2008. Metropolitan Jonah’s writings on Eastern Orthodox spirituality have been published in numerous Orthodox Christian publications, including “Divine Ascent,” the journal of the Monastery of St. John.

The Rev. Dr. Todd Hunter is the Director of West Coast Church Planting ( for The Anglican Mission in the Americas and author of Christianity Beyond Belief. Hunter will speak to delegates and guests on the morning of June 25th. Hunter is an adjunct professor of evangelism and postmodern ministry at George Fox University, Fuller Seminary, Western Seminary and Wheaton College. Earlier in his career he served as the Church Planting coach for Allelon Ministries and the National Director for the Association of Vineyard Churches.

More information can be found at ACNA

New Anglican Church poses dilemma

Challenges representation of denomination in U.S., Canada

The Anglican Church in North America will be formally founded next week, challenging the legitimacy of the U.S. Episcopal Church and posing a dilemma for the worldwide Anglican Communion over who represents Anglicanism in the United States and Canada.

When 232 delegates to the ACNA convention at St. Vincent's Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, approve the organization's constitution and canons on Monday, Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan will become archbishop for this "emerging" 39th province of the communion, consisting of several groupings that have left the Episcopal Church over issues related to sexuality and biblical authority.

A ceremony celebrating Bishop Duncan's installation is set for June 24 at Christ Church in the Dallas suburb of Plano, the ACNA's largest parish, with more than 2,000 members. Also among the ACNA's members are 11 Northern Virginia parishes, including the historic The Falls Church and Truro parishes, which left the Episcopal Church to found the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

At a news conference in December, Bishop Duncan said God is "displacing" the Episcopal Church in favor of the ACNA. The Texas gathering is the conservative alternative to the Episcopal Church's triennial convention next month in Anaheim, Calif.

There is no precedent in the communion for a country to have more than one recognized province, and Episcopalians who back the move have maintained that the U.S. and Canadian churches no longer preach and believe historic Anglicanism.

Read the entire article from the Washington Times

Healing Prayer and Spiritual warfare

Healing Prayer and Spiritual warfare
Dcn. Dale Matson
It would seem that the church Sanctuary would be a place of safety and a place of peace yet it can be a place of conflict also. Following each of our Sunday services, parishioners with special needs are invited to the altar area for individual prayer and unction. There are as many reasons for prayer as there are individuals who come forward for prayer. Those of us who remain after the services to pray for others are people that could be referred to as spiritual warriors but we are in fact very ordinary and vulnerable people with our own share of burdens also. We are willing to be there not because each of us has a strong sense of Holy efficacy. It is not even that we have a stronger faith than others. We believe we are called by our Lord to be there and we are obedient to that call. That is simply why we are there. We know that many of the struggles our brothers and sisters face are spiritual battles at the core. This is not to say, however that individuals do not present with genuine physical or psychological difficulties. One of the additional problems each of us faces as intercessors are the spiritual attacks that each of us must deal with in our attempt to intervene on behalf of our Lord. There are those doubts that crop up in our minds. What are you doing here? What makes you think you can help things? You really don’t believe your prayers will have any effect do you? These doubts and personal attacks are from Satan and thus the battle is engaged. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks to us also and offers reassurance that this is where we need to be and this is what He would like us to be doing. It is a battle fought on two fronts. We are attempting to offer comfort to those who have asked for it and we are fighting off the negative thoughts coming our way. Who would guess that this kind of warfare would be going on in the church Sanctuary? It is also an opportunity to see the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation as different intercessors offer parts of a picture. One person may have a vision, one a word of knowledge and one, discernment. It is as if the army of the Lord has gathered as infantry, cavalry, and artillery to face the enemy each with unique gifts but each needing the other parts of the body to complete the mission. It is during these times that we struggle with our doubts, fears, inadequacies and distractions but it is also these times that we minister to Christ in the form of our brothers and sisters. The Holy Spirit honors us with His healing presence and many are helped to deal with physical infirmity, psychological torment and in some cases spiritual oppression. Physical and Psychological illness can drain us of our faith and our hope. It is at these times that we through the power of The Holy Spirit offer can some respite.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Dcn Dale Matson
Fear may be seen as a kind of negative faith. If faith is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1), then fear is the substance of things not hoped for. Job exclaimed, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me” (Job 3:25). Job was a righteous man but he was not a man of faith initially. For many fear is the anticipation that something ill may befall them and the best course of action in life is to avoid taking risks. The problem with this is that many folks have had to settle for second best on many occasions in their life. Fear has put up obstacles in the path of life and those folks have steered a course around those obstacles. How many times have you said, “I’m not interested in doing that.”, when if you were honest, you were really afraid to do something? Maybe there has been a desire to change careers, have children or for some even leave the house. We can be in bondage to our fears. Fear is not of God. “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
I had a fear of flying that developed over time and kept me out of airplanes for twenty five years. I lived in Wisconsin and had an opportunity to interview for a teaching position at Fresno Pacific University. I needed to fly to make it happen. It would have been logistically impossible to interview any other way. With God’s help, I was able to face that fear and the rest is history. Since that time I have flown all over the world. I’m still not that comfortable on a plane but fear no longer keeps me grounded. So, how does one deal with this fear that can cause us to avoid a path that would help us to grow as individuals?
My mentor at F.P.U. was Dr. Bob Wilson. He was a fearless man and I remain envious of this quality in him. For years I believed that he was fearless because he had made peace with God following a diagnosis of a deadly form of Cancer. He had said to God, “Thy will be done.” He lived twelve years after his diagnosis. Over time I have come to understand better his fearlessness. Bob genuinely loved everyone and our Lord. It was not so much the passing through the dark night of the soul of the Cancer diagnosis; it was because he was a man with love in his heart. The most poignant Scripture passage for me in dealing with fear has always been 1st John 4:18. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.” We do not pray to not be afraid. We do not pray to be fearless. We pray that God would grow in us the fruit of love.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Wounded Healer

The Wounded Healer

Dcn Dale Matson


Henri Nouwen authored “The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society” (1974). Briefly it is how our own woundedness connects us to the suffering of others in our ministry. As someone who worked in the human services profession for many years, it became evident to me that many in that field were attracted because of their own story of suffering. Perhaps these individuals were touched by the suffering of a family member with chronic physical or mental affliction. Thus their work as caregivers was a professional extension of the role they played in their family of origin. Perhaps they themselves were survivors of dysfunctional families and were abused in their family or later in a marriage. Whatever the situation, they met someone along the way who helped them to deal with their situation and the attendant pain. It is at this point that one is reminded of one of St. Paul’s statements. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforted us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Cor. 1:34). God has worked through His people to bring His comfort to others. How often has the abused woman been helped at a shelter for battered women and herself volunteered at a shelter later?

On a more personal note I can say that as a college sophomore I was struggling with feelings of loneliness and anxiety. I actually attempted to break my hands on a door because physical pain would have been a relief and a welcome distraction. I was treated at the University Clinic and found to have no fractures but a visit to the campus counseling center was recommended. As I told the Psychologist my problems, he looked at me and said, “You’ve been suffering a great deal haven’t you”? I don’t think I have ever cried as much as I did following his statement. He understood. I was not alone. From that moment I wanted to bring the same comfort to another that I was given. I eventually became a licensed Psychologist and School Psychologist. The children who were my best fit were those who were social isolates, anxious, shy and withdrawn. God has given me the gift of exhortation and it has served Him well as I ministered to those who needed it.

Last but not least, there is one more wounded healer. It is Christ Himself who asked Thomas the doubter to place his hand in His wound. Our God understands and connects to us through our woundedness and suffering because He has also experienced the temptations and the pain. He offers us His consolations as we experience suffering. We too can offer this comfort to others that we were comforted with.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What They Saw Is Exactly What They Got

Journalists and others frequently ask for a factual list of what the problems/trends are with The Episcopal Church. For those of you who have looked for such a detailed list, here is an excerpt from an informative list and analysis posted by the Anglican Curmudgeon:

2. The amount of its resources which ECUSA is devoting to litigation in the civil courts has multiplied even more enormously. As detailed in this post, ECUSA's budget for litigation went from an original estimate (at GC 2006) of $300,000 for the triennium 2007-2009 to a currently budgeted $4,704,138 for that same triennium, plus a further $1.8 million proposed to be budgeted for the next three years, for a total of over $6.5 million.

3. The number of clergy deposed since November 2006 (when the Presiding Bishop's term began) comes to 121 --- and counting. (With the recent action in San Joaquin, the number more than doubled.) That number is up from just 36 in the years 2004-2006 --- nearly a fourfold increase. (The details---excluding San Joaquin---are on pages 22-25 of this Report.) And now there are a potential 72 more depositions scheduled in Fort Worth.

4. Three bishops were "deposed" (not canonically) under the current Presiding Bishop, while she "deemed" another six to have voluntarily renounced their orders --- without their ever having in fact done so (see page 25 for details). That makes nine bishops removed in less than thirty-six months without bothering so much as once to observe the canonical procedures. (Previously, such an abuse had occurred only once in Presiding Bishop Griswold's term, and once in Presiding Bishop Browning's term; no one saw them for the canonical violations they were at the time, but an illegality can never serve as a precedent. And counting those two, there had been just five bishops of ECUSA deposed in the entire four-hundred year history of the Church, before Presiding Bishop Schori started her current campaign.)

The entire post is here.

Scripture Must Be a Part of Our Strategy