A Personal Reflection

July 6, 2008

      At the end of 1966 Jean and I were sent as appointed missionaries of the Episcopal Church to the Church in Nigeria. I arrived in late December 1966 and Jean (with our first baby) in mid February 1967. We were assigned to the Port Harcourt Project in the then Eastern Region of the Federation of Nigeria. The year 1966 had been marked by terrible massacres and there was increased speculation of a breakup of the Nigerian Federation and the possibility of a civil war.
      At the time we arrived there was a major crisis in the Federation at least once every six weeks. Shortly after there came a major crisis every month, then every three weeks, then every two, then every week, and then multiple times a week. At a certain time the Eastern Region seceded as the Republic of Biafra and the civil war began.
      We observed the nature of the “dialog” between the Federal Government and the Eastern Region Government in the conflict. Each side operated on exactly the same premises: “Whatever I say must be taken exactly at face value; and whatever you say must be searched for the hidden and opposite meaning which is surely there.” Both sides were talking past each other and both sides were claiming the oil revenues that flowed from the Eastern Region.
      Jean and I have observed to each other many times as the pace of crises has picked up in the Anglican Communion that there are many parallels between what is happening now in the Anglican Communion and what happened then in Nigeria. We regret that neither side then nor now has been able to see the integrity of the other side’s position. Nigeria plunged into a civil war with a couple hundred thousand soldier and civilian casualties. Already there are casualties in the beginnings of the civil war in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
      I still remember the morning of July 6, 1967 as the Biafra National Anthem was played for the first time: It was the hymn, ” Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side” played to the tune from “Finlandia” by Sibelius. I still cry whenever I hear this hymn or “Finlandia”. Who will cry for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as they are rent by civil war?


Our Wounded Anglican History: Roses with Thorns and Disappearing Princes

July 6, 2008

This is Part 1 of a 15 part series that will examine the historical antecedents of the Anglican Communion.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish. . . . The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

Psalm 146: 3 – 4, 9

In 1455, open war broke out in England between supporters of rival families claiming the right to the English throne—the Houses of York and Lancaster. This civil warfare would continue, off and on, for the next 32 years. Supporters of the House of York often wore a white rose as a badge, while Lancastrians wore a red rose. These wars came to be known as the Wars of the Roses.

The House of Lancaster had the throne under Henry IV. His son, Henry V, was one of the most able military leaders Britain has ever known. At the Battle of Agincourt, in 1415, he scored a stunning defeat against vastly superior French forces. Many of us are stirred to this day by Shakespeare’s account of this battle, which had Henry rallying his troops with a speech that included the famous words, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.” Unfortunately, Henry V died unexpectedly a few years later, and his son, Henry VI, proved to be a weak and ineffectual king. By 1455, Yorkist forces began open armed conflict to oust him and press their own claim to the throne. In 1460, the Yorkist army captured King Henry and the following year the Duke of York was crowned King Edward IV.

The elder of two sons of Edward IV, also named Edward, was next in order of succession. Edward IV died in 1483. Before Edward V could be crowned, the late king’s younger brother, Richard, a very able general, had the boy’s guardian arrested for treason and executed. Richard took Edward, the heir apparent, along with his younger brother, under his own protection. He installed them in the Tower of London (which at the time was in use both as a residence and as a prison). Richard then declared that the marriage of Edward IV to the boys’ mother, Elizabeth Woodville, had been illegitimate because, he claimed, Edward was already married to someone else when he married Elizabeth. Parliament passed a bill declaring the marriage illegitimate, de-legitimizing the princes and making Richard, as brother of the late king, next in line for the throne. He was crowned Richard III in July, 1483. The young princes were never seen again. Many suppose that they were murdered by Richard. He never publicly stated what had happened to them. In 1674, during renovations to the Tower of London, the skeletons of two children were discovered under a staircase.

Meanwhile, the Lancastrians still hoped to regain the throne. They pinned their fortunes on the grandson of Owen Tudor, who at one time had been the wardrobe keeper of Queen Catherine, the widow of Henry V. Queen Catherine and Owen had been secretly married, and their son, Edmund Tudor, was a half-brother of Henry VI. In 1485, Edmund’s son, Henry Tudor, landed in England with troops, arms, and supplies he had obtained from France and Scotland, and began gathering English supporters.

Father, we have sinned against heaven and against you. We have sought to seize power for ourselves to advance our own political and material ambitions. We have conspired. We have betrayed. We have done acts of violence. We have murdered. We have rebelled against the status that you have given us, even when that status is one of wealth and position.

Father, the sins of our ancestors continue to this day. We remain dissatisfied with the circumstances in which you have placed us. We seek political power and material gain at the expense of others. We seek to usurp your own throne and worship ourselves instead of you.

Have mercy, Father. Use the blood shed by Jesus on the cross to cleanse the sins of our ancestors and our own sins. Wipe clean this stain on our history. Restore us. Break the cycle of repeated sins. Free us from bondage to this history. Begin a new creation in which you are our God and we are your people.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord and true King.


From Morning Prayer (1662 and 1928) and Mark 1:14-15

July 6, 2008

From Morning Prayer (1662 and 1928 )
Minister: The Lord be with you.
Answer: And with thy spirit.
      Jesus, we pray that you will replenish with your Holy Spirit the spirits of those who minister to us.
Minister: Let us pray.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
      Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
      Holy Spirit, please help us throughout the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion to know and acknowledge our need for God’s mercy.

      ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
      Holy Spirit, please help us repent and believe in the gospel.

      Holy Father, move the hearts of those at the Lambeth Conference to repent and believe in the gospel.

      Holy Jesus, you have fulfilled the law and the prophets, help us live lives worthy of our calling in you. Thank you.

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church.
      ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men; We humbly beseech thee most mercifully to accept our [alms and] oblations, and to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty; beseeching thee to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant that all those who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity and godly love. We beseech thee also, so to direct and dispose the hearts of all Christian Rulers, that they may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue. Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and other Ministers, that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth thy true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments. And to all thy People give thy heavenly grace; and especially to this congregation here present; that, with meek heart and due reverence, they may hear, and receive thy holy Word; truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life. And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succour all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity. And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

A word received: Pray for my people.

Sunday: 111, 112, 113; Numbers 27:12-23; Acts 19:11-20; Mark 1:14-20
Monday: 4, 7; Numbers 32:1-6, 16-27; Romans 8:26-30; Matthew 23:1-12

      Notes from the Front Line

***** A Novena for Vocations to the Community of St. Mary

      Prayers to be Said Daily

      St. Mary’s Convent, 242 Cloister Way, Greenwich, NY 12834-7922
      (518 ) 692-3028, http://www.stmaryseast.org e-mail: melizcsm@aol.com

      “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8 )

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

      Collect for the Community of St. Mary:
Almighty God, who chose the blessed Virgin Mary to be the Mother of your Incarnate Son, grant to us your servants who bear her name so to yield ourselves to the operation of the Holy Spirit that we may be acceptable in your sight and may bring forth to you the fruit of good works, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Seventh Day: For Inquirers, Aspirants and their Families
Almighty and everlasting God, guide and strengthen all inquirers and aspirants to the Community of St. Mary. Bless their families, friends and communities at home with understanding and joy in their choice to explore the possibility of religious vocation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Albany Intercessor

Our pagan roots

July 6, 2008

O Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
We have crucified You, and God has raised You from the dead. Salvation is found through You alone. In all the world and through all of time, there is no one else whom God has given who can save us.
In times far past and present, spirits of death, war, the otherworld, and phantoms have been worshipped in Britain. They can hold influence even in ignorance of their existence. Without the power of God a curse will remain upon this nation and church, causing pain and sorrow unto future generations. Therefore, in obedience to God’s word, we confess that our ancestors in the United Kingdom and the Anglican Communion, and we Anglicans today, listened to Satan and followed his ways. In following the ways of Satan, evil was released and many lives were taken and broken in brutal ways.
We claim Your name against these and all other spirits of death: Morrigan, Badhbh, Arawn, Pluto, Cerberus, Freya, Hel, the spirit of murder, the spirit of war, the spirit of abortion, the spirit of human sacrifice, and the spirit of animal sacrifice.
You taught us that not only does violence kill, but words kill as well. We confess our personal sins of physical and verbal violence. (Pause.)
Jesus, You are the Lord of Life. You have come that we may have life and have it in abundance. Bless Great Britain, the House of Windsor, the Church of England, the Anglican Communion, and the Lambeth Conference with Your life, Your abundance, and Your renewal. Amen.
Acts 4:10-12

July 6th Lambeth Prayer post

July 6, 2008

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, look with mercy on [the Anglican bishops and primates, especially those who will be attending the Lambeth conference], maintain them in truth and renew them in holiness, that by word and good example he may faithfully serve you to the glory of your name and the benefit of your Church; through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, now and for ever. (adapted from CoE Common Worship Collects)

Selected Passages from today’s lectionary:

Ps. 111:6-10 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. 7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 8 they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

All of Lent & Beyond’s Lambeth prayers and resources are here.

For another site devoted to encouraging prayer for Lambeth, see here: http://www.praylambeth.org/

(posted by KB)

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