Lee GatissEvangelicals in the Episcopal Church are invited to St Stephen’s, Delmar NY, April 24-26, for the first national gathering of Anglican Evangelicals for some years. The theme is Evangelical Identity in the Episcopal Church, and the keynote speaker will be Lee Gattis, Director of Church Society, which has been supporting and encouraging evangelical ministry in the Church of England for almost 200 years. Many of the great names of Anglican evangelical history are associated with the Society, including Bishop J C Ryle, W H Griffith-Thomas, Philip Hughes and J I Packer. Lee has been Director of the society since 2013.

Other speakers are Thomas Isham, author of A Born Again Episcopalian: The Evangelical Witness of Charles Pettit McIlvaine, and the Revd Dr Philip Wainwright, author of Biblical Reasons for Staying in the Episcopal Church. Workshops will also be offered on a variety of subjects. More details can be found at http://www.evangeliontec.org/conference-2015.html. Details of the talks will be posted on this blog as they become available.

Save the dates!

Drop and ripplesThose interested in attending the Evangelical Identity conference in Delmar, NY in April (see post at top of this page) should check the Conference web-site at http://www.evangeliontec.org. A special rate has been arranged for those needing hotel accomodation: $95/night for hotel rooms has been established with the Comfort Inn, Glenmont NY (less than 5 mins from St Stephen’s Episcopal Church). Call 518-465-8811 and mention the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Group Rate. The conference schedule and information about speakers has also been updated. Hope to see you there!

Towards the Conversion of EnglandThe Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has called for the Church of England to put evangelism back at the top its agenda in his most recent speech to the General Synod, which can be read here. His speech included a reference to the 1944 report, Towards the Conversion of England, to which John Richardson worked so hard to bring attention before his untimely death. Plenty of information and discussion here. Welby praises the report particularly for its ‘constant theme that unless the whole church, lay and ordained, become in a new sense witnesses, then there can be no progress in spreading the good news of Jesus.’ The 1944 report inspired many in the church to a new determination to spread the gospel, but Welby admits that its vision ‘is as yet unfulfilled. It is that, for the effective and fruitful proclamation of the good news to be made in this country, every person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ plays an essential role as a witness of Jesus Christ.’

The same applies to the Episcopal Church; we cannot be the church that arose from Christ’s charge in Matthew 28.19f until all members of the church, lay and ordained, understand themselves as witnesses, sent to make disciples of others. May God set their church and ours, and all churches, back to their work.

The Work of The LordI Corinthians 15 is perhaps one of the most theologically rich chapters in the New Testament. Here Paul defends the resurrection of Christ and the future resurrection of believers. After holding out the wonderful hope that while we now bear the image of the first Adam, one day we will be conformed to the image of the last Adam—the Lord Jesus Christ—Paul gives a charge to his readers: Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:58). The response to Christ’s victory and the hope of a future, glorified resurrection body is to stand firm and to abound in the work of the Lord. But what does Paul mean by “abound in the work of the Lord”? I want us to simply do two things—work out what this phrase actually means, and then think through its implications.

Read on here

Swaddling ClothesWhen I was a small child, I was much impressed by the fact that the baby Jesus was wrapped in ‘swaddling clothes’. My mother’s explanation that this just meant that Jesus was wrapped up tightly in a cloth or blanket, and that this was something done with all babies because it made them feel good, clearly wasn’t correct (although at the time I was too polite to contradict my mother). After all, the angel told the shepherds ‘this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes'; how could they be a sign, if all babies wore them? Swaddling clothes must be the dress appropriate for the Saviour of the World, just as sheep’s clothing was the correct attire for false prophets, soft raiment for those who live in kings’ houses, and long robes for the Scribes and the Pharisees. The woman with an issue of blood who sought to be healed un-noticed by touching the hem of Jesus’s garment knew what she was doing.

In our house when our children were growing up, Christmas was a time for pyjamas. They wore them till dinner time on Christmas Day, and the entire day on Boxing Day, and it was one of the things they most loved about Christmas. That seems more appropriate now than it ever did, and I may do the same this year. Just before the outbreak of the second World War, a Cambridge professor suggested that if Hitler and Mussolini would wear carpet slippers rather than riding boots, the world would be a lot better off. His tongue was in his cheek, no doubt, but his instinct was as sound as that of the woman with the issue of the blood, and Jesus said that her faith made her whole. Pyjamas are probably the closest thing we have to garments of peace, clothes we only wear when we feel safe and secure, and therefore an appropriate acknowledgement of the angels’ proclamation of peace on earth at the birth of the Saviour.

When Isaiah proclaimed the acceptable year of the LORD, he concluded by saying I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. Let my pyjamas symbolise all that this Christmas!

Christmas blessings to all

From all my lame defeats and oh! much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score;
From cleverness shot forth on Thy behalf
At which, while angels weep, the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of Thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.

Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead
of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head.
From all my thoughts,
even from my thoughts of Thee,
O thou fair Silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.

C.S. Lewis, Poems (1964). For a thoughtful discussion, click here

All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Anchorage, Alaska is in a search for a new rector. All Saints is one of the parishes listed on our website as an evangelical parish, and their parish profile contains the following

All SS Alaska Position Description

The profile is on-line at http://www.allsaintsalaska.org/#/about-us. They are still eager to hear from interested clergy despite being a bit behind the schedule set out in the profile.

Jim Basinger, an occasional contributor to this blog, retired last year after 22 years of good evangelical ministry there, and I doubt that there is any Episcopal Church in the country that would respond better to new evangelical ministry. The first goal, just about the only achievable goal in most places, of an Evangelical rector is ‘by the time you leave, they will be willing to have another Evangelical’. Jim achieved that and more, and if I were younger I wouldn’t be sharing this.

If you know anyone who would be interested, pass this on.

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