Monday, May 25, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Heading on Retreat

Today I'm headed down south the go to the annual Anglican Men's Retreat put on by the men of St. James Anglican Church, Newport Beach, CA. Yes, the very same who've been under such legal attack.

This will be my third time going - and I look forward to this event every year - but the greatest blessing of all is hearing from Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda and those who come with him. For this is not a weekend of church politics (although I'm certain some of that will surface, because that is our American experience right now...) but about about our unity in Jesus Christ! this is a time that reminds me of who the Anglican Communion really is!

Nearly a year ago there was an important gathering in Jerusalem called "GAFCON" (Global Anglican Future CONference) - and nearly a year later here in North America in June we will see the birth of a new Anglican Province: ACNA - the Anglican Church in North America.

But as I head on retreat I offer you this "video portrait" of GAFCON. I know its a year old but watch it anyway; and as you do take a look at who the Anglican Communion really is! For these are representatives from nearly 3/4's of the world's Anglicans. It's a sea of color and variety, old and young, men and women, clergy and laity, those broken and on their way to wholeness, celebration, learning, and prayer.



Isn't that what the Church is supposed to be? Why is it that the Episcopal Church just doesn't want any part of it? Why is it that the Episcopal Church is so hostile to it? (Of course, you and I both know the answers to those questions, don't we?)

Our Lord is the LORD Jesus Christ! ...
... THE way, THE truth, and THE life - and THE only way to God - for a lost and aimless world!


Blessings to all!

John+

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What was happening during Prayer Time yesterday...

Yesterday was a busy time of Prayer.

Knowing full well that our Anglican Chancellor (lawyer) was going before the court to argue our case - my day began (and continued) in fervent prayer.

On Monday the Honorable Adolfo Corona issued a tentative ruling siding with the "Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin" to deliver a "Summary Judgment" against Bishop Schofield. What this really means is that TEC is trying to avoid any kind of a "real trial" in trying to take over what they believe we "Anglicans" took with us when we voted out of the Episcopal Church in 2007. In their view, all the facts are self evident: They are right and we are wrong. Surely the Court should agree and simply rule in their favor.

I'm not a lawyer (I don't even play one on TV) and there is a very good reason God never called me to that profession. I have been enormously grateful to people like our Diocesan Chancellor Rusty VanRozeboom and Alan Haley (widely known as the "Anglican Curmudgeon" who blogs at: http://accurmudgeon.blogspot.com/) To help me along the way of understanding these legal matters. If you are interested in details Mr. Haley's blogsite has all the info you'd ever want!

Things seems simple enough in TEC's eyes - that is of course until you begin to look at the facts. And THAT is what Rusty was able to get the Judge to do yesterday. The following is from Virtue On Line (VOL) at http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=10398 and I highly recommend this article too. His staff writer says:

The law suit brought by TEC against the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin and its rightful bishop, The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, is multi-layered and very complex. Issues include: the status of The Episcopal Church as a hierarchical structure, California's neutral principle rule of law in land disputes, Bishop Schofield's canonical status, California corporate entities, the canons and constitution of the Episcopal Church and how they are understood and applied, the understanding of canonical and legal documents, and the shifting of conflicting evidence to determine the legalities involved. The Anglican diocese feels that its side needs a fair hearing before the people of California in a courtroom setting.

As I said before, I'm not a lawyer BUT what really interests me is the power of PRAYER. I know that there were many who were praying yesterday - and I prayed without ceasing from 3:30 - 5:00 PM simply asking God to bless Rusty and his staff; to thwart and confuse the arguments of our opponents; and to open the heart and mind of the Judge to understand the deeper issues. All the time I was praying blessings - on Rusty, on our adversaries, on the Judge.

Mr. Haley says this at his site:
There are normally two kinds of outcome to this kind of oral argument after a tentative ruling. In the first, the judge listens politely to all the parties, lets them have their say, and then issues an order affirming his tentative ruling a day or so later---he scarcely changes a thing.
In the second type of outcome, the points made at the oral argument cause the judge to revise and rethink his ruling, and so he takes the time he needs to do so, whether it is one week or two, or even a month or more... I am hopeful, based on what I heard, that the second type of outcome will be closer to what happens here.
Of course we'll have to wait for the final decision, but even so the fact is our prayers were heard and answered!

There was a time in my life when I used to consider pray little better than a "waste of time" - and there are a lot of people who still think that way. BUT I'll tell you over the last 15 years or so, and even today, I truly believe that prayer is HUGE!!! God is listening and our prayers are incredibly important and powerful. Would the outcome yesterday have been any different if I hadn't lifted these people in prayer? I don't know - something tells me yes they would have. Even so, I am convinced that our prayers made all the difference!

Now, I'll bet TEC had its people in prayer too - I don't know - if they did that may account for their polished perform ace in court. But just maybe God wants us to have our day in court - that's all we want - to let our arguments be listened to and weighed according to the law. But as I've said before, "We have a 'legal' system not a 'justice' system." Our "justice" will one day come from the Lord!

For those who are on the side of Bishop Schofield and us Anglicans here in San Joaquin - please keep praying for our day in court, and for the Lord's will to be done. For those on the other side, I hope you'll keep praying too! But I would ask you why you are so afraid of letting us have "our day in court?" What are you afraid of?

What is our goal? Simply put, it is this:
The central California diocese's goal is to get its case before a jury and let
the jury decide the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin's fate based on the facts
presented to it by its diocesan chancellor and attorneys. -- (again VOL)

Read the referenced articles above and know: Our prayers make a difference! What a great and awesome God we have!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Prayer Psalm For the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin

Psa 109:26-31 ( NRSV )

26 Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love.

27 Let them know that this is your hand; you, O LORD, have done it.

28 Let them curse, but you will bless. Let my assailants be put to shame; may your servant be glad.

29 May my accusers be clothed with dishonor; may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a mantle.

30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng.

31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save them from those who would condemn them to death.