Episcopal Church Doings


Tom IshamReaders of this blog will be familiar with the 19th century leader of the evangelical party in the Episcopal Church, bishop Charles Pettit McIlvaine, having read about him here and here. Tom Isham has a new article about McIlvaine in the latest issue of Crossway, the quarterly magazine of Church Society, arguing that he is America’s equivalent of England’s J. C. Ryle. Ryle is also familiar to our readers—too many posts about him to list here, type his name in our search box and you’ll find dozens.

More information about Crossway, including a subscription form, can be found here; the new issue also has articles on the life and ministry of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, the advantages of long-term persistent expository preaching, an article on “preaching the negatives” as well as the positives, and a helpful look at the confusing subject of transgenderism, and how Christians should respond to it.

 

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Evangelion 2015The recent gathering of Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church, known as Evangelion, was seen by many around the church, as well as those present, as the best thing that has happened in PECUSA for quite some time. Bruce Robison has invited the Evangelicals in Pittsburgh who were unable to be present to attend anyway, hosting a video replay of the entire event on June 19th at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Highland Park. Nine people have signed up to attend, and no doubt there will be some walk-ins. This made possible, of course, by the video recordings made by Kevin Kallson of Anglican TV, to which there are links in the posts below.

If you’re not on Bruce’s mailing list, but would like to attend, the address of St Andrew’s is 5801 Hampton St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (412-661-1245). Let him know you’re coming via the ‘comment’ link to this post and he’ll make sure there’s a chair for you.

Seems like an easy way to spread the encouragement around, and I suspect that other readers of this blog might be able to get a similar group together. Let’s pray that Evangelion I keeps rolling round the country till it’s time to register for Evangelion II, the dates and location of which should be confirmed shortly.

At the recent conference of Evangelicals in the Episcopal Church, Tom Isham brought a wonderful message from the leader of the evangelical wing of the 19th century House of Bishops (believe it or not, Evangelicals and Revisionists were pretty evenly matched in those days): no matter how few of you there may be, keep a high view of Scripture, a warm spirituality, a sound and well defined theology, an informed conscience, and the courage of your convictions. Check it out here:

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!

Bishop McIlvaineAn evangelical layman, Tom Isham of Trinity Episcopal Church in Marshall, Michigan, is working with the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to add the 19th century evangelical bishop, Charles Pettit McIlvaine, to the calendar of the Episcopal Church. The Commission is more likely to do this if there are already commemorations of McIlvaine taking place in some Episcopal Churches, and clerical readers of this blog are asked to consider using the propers below, and the brief biography, on or near March 12, the anniversary of his death.

Readings:

Proverbs 4: 20-27
Psalm 119: 121-136
Romans 8: 31-39
Mark 8: 31-38

Collect:

O gracious God, you kindled in your servant Charles Pettit McIlvaine a burning zeal for the salvation and sanctification of souls, and equipped him to those ends with great gifts of leadership, preaching and writing. Grant us to heed the example and teaching of this your servant Charles, that we too may have a hand in bringing to faith those whom you have called; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Biographical note:

As a man of great and varied gifts, Charles Pettit McIlvaine did many things and he did them well. Combining evangelical fervor and liturgical dignity in equal measure, he distinguished himself as a leader, author, scholar, educator, preacher, revivalist, reformer, ecumenist, and Sunday school pioneer. His literary and scholarly gifts advanced the evangelical cause in the Episcopal Church, defended Christian doctrine, and addressed social issues. He was an active delegate at the first Lambeth Conference.

Throughout his career, Bishop McIlvaine emphasized spiritual rebirth. Hence he preached at numerous revivals, conducting them in good Episcopal fashion, ‘decently and in order.’ His awakening at age seventeen matched the experience he recommended. ‘It was in the college of which I was a student,’ he recalled. ‘It was powerful and prevailing, and fruitful in the conversion of young men to God; and it was quiet, unexcited, and entirely free from all devices or means, beyond the few and simple which God has appointed… In that precious season of the power of God, my religious life began. I had heard before; I began then to know.’

Though raised in the East, McIlvaine served as Ohio’s second bishop for forty-one years. Earlier, he served churches in Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, N.Y.; twice served as U.S. Senate chaplain; lectured on Christian evidences at the University of the City of New York, and served as chaplain and professor at the U.S. Military Academy, where he transformed the reigning secular ethos into one of Christian awareness, setting a new tone for the nation s officer corps.

During the first dozen years of his episcopate, he also served as president of Kenyon College and Seminary. He stabilized the college’s finances, built academic structures and faculty housing, and set the standard for racial harmony.

Early in the American Civil War, he served President Lincoln as envoy to Britain, where his wise counsel and diplomatic bearing assured the British would not ally themselves with the Confederacy. Later, he brought the Gospel to soldiers in the field, tended the wounded, and sought reconciliation between victors and vanquished.

It will be important to report any commemorations held to the SCLM; any reports added to this post as a comment will be forwarded to them, or you can e-mail Tom directly at ishamthomas [at] sbcglobal [dot] net.

Living Out logoHere’s a link to the best resource I’ve yet found  both for understanding homosexuality and for showing the most effective Christian response. It can be easily recommended to someone experiencing same-sex attraction, and to people who believe that the Church’s response to it should be to ignore the Bible’s teaching on the subject, but its biggest benefit to me has been showing me a better way to respond personally to people in either of those categories. It’s run by Christians living with same-sex attraction but who don’t reject the Bible’s teaching. In current circumstances, it’s a resource for all Christians.

Building on HistoryA recent project in the diocese of London has shown local churches how to put their own history to work for the benefit of their life today, and can be easily used by parishes in the Episcopal Church in the US. From 2007 to 2011 two church historians worked with the diocese (whose own recent history is an interesting exception to the contemporary pattern of decline found in most major cities) to set up a web-site that could be used by parishes to do an ‘audit’ of their history and the history of their local community during the 19th and 20th centuries, and to train members of those churches to apply the insights gathered from their history to the problems and opportunities they face today.

Several trends of interest to local parishes emerged in London. First, ‘church attendance was never in the last two centuries anything approaching universal’, which means that poor attendance today is not necessarily a symptom of inexorable decline; second, the surrounding culture is not as hostile to Christianity as it is sometimes portrayed, but still has an element of ‘diffusive Christianity’ that is ‘potentially responsive to effective mission’; third, current controversies over sexuality are not much different in emotional content from past controversies over churchmanship.

The diocese also had something to learn: during the 1960s and 1970s, change in the nature of certain localities led the diocese to close many churches. The ‘audit’ shows that this was ‘short-sighted and premature’, and that some other option should be looked for in similar cases today.

The resources used for the project are still on line here, and can be used by any interested parish or diocese. The site is currently being hosted by the Open University, but may be moved in the future to the Lambeth Palace Library’s web site. A search on ‘Building on History: the Church in London’ should lead to the right web site fairly quickly, regardless of host.

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