My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word. (Psalm 119:25)
Revive your church, LORD, for we are in great distress.
I have declared my ways, and you answered me; teach me your statutes. (Psalm 119:26)
No matter what happens, Father, help us declare your ways.
Make me understand the way of your precepts; so shall I meditate on your wonderful works. (Psalm 119:27)
Holy Spirit, give us understanding and a heart to respond to your marvelous works.
My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to your word. (Psalm 119:28 )
Jesus, our souls melt with heaviness at the evil being done in your church to your faithful people. Bless and protect Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina and Bishop Bill Love and the Diocese of Albany and all your other faithful bishops and dioceses. Thank you.
Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me your law graciously. (Psalm 119:29)
Lord, remove from the leaders and teachers of the Episcopal Church the lies and deceptions they have fallen into.
I have chosen the way of truth; your judgments I have laid before me. (Psalm 119:30)
Holy Spirit, please help us daily choose the way of truth and your judgments that you laid before us.
I cling to your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! (Psalm 119:31)
LORD, we cling to yo — do not let your faithful people be put to shame.
I will run the course of Your commandments, for you shall enlarge my heart. (Psalm 119:32)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Jesus, please help us run the way of your commandments and seek after the victor’s crown. Thank you for surrounding us with so great a cloud of witnesses.
A word received: Pray for my light for your path.
Wednesday: 38 * 119:25-48; Ecclus. 7:4-14: Rev. 8:1-13: Luke 10:17-24
Thursday: 37:1-18 * 37:19-42; Ecclus. 10:1-18: Rev. 9:1-12: Luke 10:25-37
Notes from the Front Line
*****. Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2012
From: Elizabeth Strickland
Subject: Prayer for Bishop Bill and Stecklines
Please add to your prayer list : Please pray for safe travel for Bishop Bill and Dcn Donna and Kevin Steckline who are traveling Sunday 10/21 to Southern Sudan and will be returning on Wednesday 10/31 as part of a joint mission trip with Bishop Harold Miller and others from the Diocese of Down and Dromore.
***** Subject: Diocesan Update, October 23, 2012
Bishop’s Update: The South Carolina Situation
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am currently in route to the Diocese of Maridi, South Sudan. It was with great concern and sadness that I learned a few days ago, while attending the Clergy Conference in our sister Diocese of Down and Dromore (Northern Ireland), that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has placed a “Restriction of Ministry” on The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, after he had been charged with “abandoning The Episcopal Church,” by a majority of the 18 member panel of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops of The Episcopal Church.
In a letter dated October 15th, the Presiding Bishop stated, “Accordingly, I have this 15th day of October, 2012, at noon EDT, placed a restriction on the exercise of ministry ‘until such time as the House of Bishops shall investigate the matter and act thereon.'” Unless a special House of Bishops’ meeting is called, the next regularly scheduled HOB meeting is March 8-12, 2013.
This latest action taken against Bishop Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina is indicative of the brokenness and ongoing division within The Episcopal Church and wider Anglican Communion over a number of important theological, moral, and societal issues, not the least of which include: the interpretation and authority of Holy Scripture as the Word of God; the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth and the life”; the responsibility and means by which a bishop is to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church”; the true purpose and nature of marriage as intended by God; as well as the never ending debate over human sexuality and sexual relations outside of marriage between one man and one woman.
Closely tied to all of this, is the current debate over the true polity or structure of The Episcopal Church which directly impacts the numerous lawsuits within the Church over property and assets (totaling untold millions of dollars).
I mention all of this, because I believe it plays a major role in the controversy over the constitutional and canonical changes approved by the Diocese of South Carolina and other actions taken by Bishop Lawrence, which unfortunately has led to the current charges accusing him of failing to fulfill his ordination vows to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church,” and the charge that he “abandoned The Episcopal Church by an open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church.”
One of the major issues at hand in regard to the case against Bishop Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina (as well as others before them) is what to do when a bishop and or diocese honestly believes that the legislation passed by General Convention, or the actions or views held by the majority are in violation of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, or are in contradiction with Holy Scripture and the ordination vows taken by the bishop.
Sadly, we seem to have reached a point in the life and history of the Church, that any action taken by a conservative bishop or diocese to uphold their understanding of Holy Scripture and the traditional teaching, polity and Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, risks having charges brought against them if their actions are deemed to threaten or challenge the majority view, particularly in regard to polity issues and the control of Church property and assets. If the conservative voice is to have any future in The Episcopal Church, there must be a way to address controversial issues and to differentiate from that which is believed to be inappropriate or offensive.
Bishop Mark Lawrence is and continues to be a dear friend and Brother in Christ. I believe he is one of the finest and most capable bishops to serve in the House of Bishops in recent history. Despite what some have been led to believe, he has been working extraordinarily hard under very difficult and unique circumstances to keep the Diocese of South Carolina together and remain in The Episcopal Church, while not compromising his or the Dioceses’ strongly held beliefs.
As one of the original founding dioceses of The Episcopal Church, South Carolina and its bishops have faithfully served God and His Church for well over 200 years. It has been and continues to be one of the strongest and most vibrant dioceses in the Church. The current state of affairs is not only unnecessary; it is tragic — adversely impacting the entire Church and the mission we have been given by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Great Commission.
It is my most sincere prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide and lead Bishop Lawrence, the Diocese of South Carolina, the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops in bringing about an appropriate and just resolution that will ultimately bring healing to all involved, glorifying God and building up His Kingdom. As the Bishop of Albany, I will do everything within my power to work toward such a resolution.
Faithfully Yours in Christ, +Bill
***** Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: THANK YOU…REBIRTH-DAY
It was three years ago today (10/23/09) that I was in a coma and my wife was told by the doctor they had done everything they could do, medically speaking, to save my life. She was told that my liver and kidneys were shutting down and that my legs were pooling. Apparently by the 25th I was pulling out of the death curve. It was about two weeks later that my pulmonary doctor said, “Nigel, I have never seen anyone so close to death, without dying, as you.”
A HUGE THANK YOU to God and to all of you who, through prayer, saved my life. God bless you. Lord I really appreciate every breath and the gift of life… Jesus, I give you all the glory….
***** Photo of St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in Belize City, Belize (courtesy of Fr. Shaw Mudge). This is the church where I was converted in 1961.