A LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP ROBERT DUNCAN FOR LENT
To all who share in the life of the Anglican Church in North America :
Beloved in the Lord,
We have come again to the awesome season of Lent. The name of the season comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning spring. Our English word lengthen comes from the same root, for this is the season when days lengthen in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the season when we, too, are lengthened or stretched because we are invited to get our relationship with our God and our relationships with each other restored and renewed. Getting things right is hard work, often painful work, but from the effort comes the immense fruitfulness of an Easter and Pentecost – a summertime, if you will – or our souls. Lent is when I must prune my roses – and when I need to allow my Lord to prune me – so that a riot of color and beauty and fragrance can occur in a couple months' time.
As I have said my prayers in recent days, I have had a very strong sense that it was time to write you again, both to invite you into the opportunity of Lenten discipline and devotion and to share with you the results of some of the corporate pruning our God has already been engaged in.
Self-examination and confession are foundational to the Christian life. Whether it is the “sinner's prayer” that invites the Lord Jesus in the very first time, or the penitential opening of daily morning and evening prayer, or the regular accountability of the sacrament of reconciliation, we cannot make progress without personal repentance and conversion. Because we are sinners, the need to restore right relationship – with God, with our spouse, with our parents, our children, our friends, with our priest (or our people), with fellow-workers and fellow-worshippers, with neighbors, with the poor and needy – is as constant as our need to breathe and our need to give thanks. “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a Holy Lent.”
Immersion in God's Work and contemplation on the mighty acts of our Savior in His Incarnation, Passion and Death-on-the-Cross are also means by which our lives – both individually and corporately – are anchored in Christ. There is no substitute for them and there is no exercise more central to our discipleship than these twin enterprises.
I continue to find young people drawn to the Anglican Way , and particularly on college campuses and in urban settings. Many will have seen the Christian Broadcasting network's six-minute story entitled “ Anglican Fever: Youth Flock to New Denomination. ” I think there is a direct tie between our “joyful acceptance of the confiscation of our property” [Heb. 10:34] and young people seeing in us those willing to follow Jesus whatever the cost. It seems to me that what so many of us found to be painful pruning in the loss of properties and possessions has produced abundant new fruit in a generation looking for something (someone) worth living for. What is more, among the generation that is experiencing the “loss” I see very little bitterness or anger, but an abundance of the fruit of the spirit [Gal. 5:22-23] and amazing hopefulness about the future.
The Executive Committee of the Province and the Archbishop's Cabinet met together recently at St. Peter's Church, Tallahassee . On the minds of most were that we are now half-way through the first five-year term of an archbishop. Once again there was extraordinary evidence of how far the Lord had brought us. All the difficulties and challenges we have faced because of our stand for “the Faith once for all delivered to the saints,” have generated remarkable developments.
Anglican 1000 has changed us profoundly. We passed our 200 th plant just before the Tallahassee meeting. We have a long way to go, but church planting increases exponentially. The catalytic work, led from Christ Church Plano, that turned an archbishop's call into church-side reality is first and foremost something for which we are thanking God. The subject has changed. We are not looking in the rearview mirror any more. We are all about reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ through ever-increasing numbers of missionary congregations.
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund has also reached a new stage of growth and maturity. The notion of objective philanthropy and measurable change has so caught on that we changed our bylaws to allow for an ARDF-Australia, an ARDF-Canada, and an ARDF-US.
10-10-10 stewardship has also grown significantly, as has extra-mile and founders fund giving. More and more of our people are embracing the biblical tithe as their own personal basis for giving. At the same time congregations are committing ten percent to their dioceses and an ever-increasing number of dioceses are making a ten percent gift to our Province.
Our “first gathering of the whole Church since Bedford/Plano” (2009) will rally at Ridgecrest , North Carolina , June 7-9, 2012. The themes for Assembly 2012 are “captivating disciples, multiplying churches, and transforming communities.” The faithful will gather from all over the United States and Canada , and from all over the world. Everyone is welcome. The task force laboring on the Prayer Book will have more work to share. There will be great worship, inspiration, learning, fellowship and recreation. Anglicans of every age will come together.
I return to the Lenten theme. “It is often easier to take the people out of Egypt than it is to take Egypt out of the people.” We have come a very long way, but it would be easy to fall back. There are lots of stresses. It would be easy for us to regress from the new life which is our call. And we are sinners. The best way to keep the enemy from breaking in and sowing division or discouragement is to embrace what Lent has to offer us. Remember our partners around the world who are suffering so much – in Northern Nigeria and Syria , in Sudan and Ethiopia and Myanmar , and here at home too. Give thanks for all that God has done for us, and don't fall back.
The Rev. Canon William Jerdan and his wife, Diane, were with us Sunday, February 12, 2012. Canon Jerdan preached at the 10:30 service. He and Diane showed a video and discussed RE missions during the coffee hour in the Parish Hall. God is doing great things in various parts of the world.
Rev. Levi and Rev. Phil Tjoelker attended the Church Growth Seminar at The Cathedral of St. Mattias in Katy , Texas , February 16 & 17, 2012. It was an inspiring and informative time. Rev. Canon Bill Jerdan was in attendance as well.
Lent began Ash Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2012. The day was observed with a soup supper followed by a service in the chapel.
SOUP & SALAD SUPPERS & SERVICES
Wednesdays, March 7 – 28
Soup Supper 6:30 p.m. Service 7:30 p.m.
Those who wish to purchase lilies for Easter in honor or memory of loved ones, please turn in forms and money by Palm Sunday.
GOOD FRIDAY SERVICES
Stations of the Cross at 3:00 p.m.
Evening Prayer Service at 7:30 p.m.
Breakfast and Egg Hunt at 9:00 a.m.
Easter Comminion Service at 10:30 a.m.
ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 11, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012, at 9:30 a.m.
Mark your calendars now!
NEW MISSION OUTREACH of the MONTH
Please pray for the REC Anglican Mission in Sweden , a Protestant Episcopal Church, under Bishop Royal U. Grote and Asst. Bishop Gerhard Meyer.
Rev. Dr. Derrick Hassert
by Jo Anne Arrowood
Of all the gifts since time began
There's one that's best by far,
The One God gave in Bethlehem
Beneath the eastern star.
For through that Babe He gave His love
For all mankind to share;
And for this love, Christ gave His life,
Our earthly sins to bear.
Oh, to have been in Bethlehem
That night that He was born,
And heard the heavenly angels sing
That glorious Christmas morn!
For to be sure, God's Gift, His Son,
Was beautiful to see.
He's God's great Gift to you, my friend,
And God's great Gift to me!