There could be no Resurrection on Easter Day, were it not for the Crucifixion of Good Friday, and no Salvation and Forgiveness, had Christ not been sinless.
For more than a month, I was very ill and on my back in bed – with half of that time in hospital – and it gave me the opportunity to examine where I am with my own congregation, and where I believe God would encurage change in The Anglican Independent Communion – Worldwide. I would value your prayers for a full recovery – by the Grace of God.
The New Testament uses many images to depict ‘The Church’ – that was birthed on the Day of Pentecost: body, family, bride, living temple, vineyard and even an army, each of which shows us ‘The Church’ was intended as a ‘living’ organism – rather than an institution or organisation.
The church we read of in the New Testament was “ORGANIC”, in so far as it was born from and sustained by spiritual life, instead of constructed by human institutions, controlled by human hierarchy, shaped by lifeless rituals, and held together by religious programmes.
An ORGANIC church would be one evolving NATURALLY – when a group have personally encountered Jesus Christ – and the DNA (of Our Saviour) can develop in them and their congregation without hindrance.
All life forms have a DNA – or genetic code. The skeleton, flesh, nerves, etc. build not only outward appearance, but also inner plumbing to sustain growth.
As Anglicans we inherit ‘Canons’ as a point of reference on a day-to-day basis, but at best we refer to them to prove when we are ‘right’ or others ‘wrong’ and to ignore what they say if they undermine a position we’ve taken!
Hopefully, the new website (aicwonline.com) has DNA, even though it is still being assembled – and (if you read the Canons) you will notice that I have DELETED a word (and printed it in RED) that ceases to make it a disciplinary offence for any of us to ATTEND a Civil Partnership (CP) or Same-Sex Marriage (SSM). The ban of OFFICIATING in any way remains. The change reflects that you (like Ann and I) likely have friends who follow the route of SSM, and absenting ourselves will not help us show the love of Christ. As well as prohibiting clergy from taking any part in SSM or CP ceremonies, they are prohibited from wearing clerical clothes.
It is important to remember the AICW policy on Sexual Behaviour:
If you are unmarried you are expected to remain celibate, and if you are married (one man to one woman till death do us part) remain faithful to your partner. We have no separate policy for same-sex or heterosexual people.
On a personal note, I support CP (for reasons of natural justice as regards tax, health and pensions entitlement – whether it be a same-sex or heterosexual couple) but I am totally opposed to SSM (which I find disgusting and abhorant, as well as against everything on the subject in Scripture). It has always been my belief that if Governments had approved CP, the question of SSM was unlikely to have been raised. As Governments adapt to social pressure, the pressure on you and I to do the same will grow, but we – and the AICW – are not here to be ‘blown like a reed in the wind’ but to represent the Unchanging Christ in a world that disregards everything of eternal value. Don’t ever doubt my commitment to our Canons.
We need to adapt to the changing needs and demands of those who are without a personal relationship with God (through His Son, Jesus) and I pray that all of us in AICW will promote the ‘Minor Orders’ of Deacon and Deaconess. When I was Installed as Archbishop of Europe in 2007, I made few friends when I said the most important people in our churches were ‘the sheep in the pews’ and the least important the Archbishops.
We must recognise that there are those whom God ‘calls’ or ‘raises-up’ (for us to recognise) as Deacons or Deaconesses – people who only want to SERVE. No doubt some Deacons will be called to the priesthood, but we should NOT expect it.
I read recently of a man who was a Deacon for 26 years before ordination as a Vicar, explaining “I was enjoying helping people so much and wanted to avoid the responsibility of administering a church!”
When I ordained my first Deaconess in October of 2010, I issued her with a Letter of Authority, if the need should arise for her to use it (intended mainly in the mission-church situation where the nearest AICW priest may be many miles away) to:
- Anoint the Sick
- Bless and Administer the Holy Eucharist,
- and Confirm (subject to prior approval of each candidate).
I would urge ALL of you who have active congregations to do the same, as you recognise the willing service and examples of servanthood, of those who look to you as their local leader. Sadly, the denominations with which I have recently been associated, have been ‘top-heavy’ with Bishops and Archbishops who appear not to have clergy and congregations, and were rewarded to the Episcopacy on account of loyalty to an individual – rather than Commitment to Christ as Saviour and Redeemer.
I can do nothing to undo what has been done, but the AICW will recognise those who have – and can show – a calling on their live’s to serve Christ and mentor others.
My first ‘duty’ once Invested as Primate Archbishop of AICW in October 2013, was to Invest Bishop Bruce Taylor as AICW Archbishop of the United States. Please uphold him in your prayers. He is building a team around him – initially in California.
I am intentionally sending these words to those with whom I had fellowship in other denominations. I want you to know that AICW is invoking the Power and Anointing of the Holy Sprit AFRESH – at this Easter of 2014 – to encourage all who read these words to Spiritual Humility and Greatness.
It saddened me greatly to receive these words (from a brother bishop I have never met) which need no clarification!
I have noticed that historically most of the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Anglican Independent Communion Worldwide have not lasted long-term in their tenure & have often been denounced by their successor . . . . so I will look forward to your successor with whom I will be able to negotiate with?
Anglican Independent Communion – Worldwide
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