Friday, October 29, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons

When the Gospel was first preached in Britain, the island was inhabited by Celtic peoples. In the 400's, pagan Germanic tribes, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, invaded Britain and drove the Christian Celts out of what is now England into Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The new arrivals (called collectively the Anglo-Saxons) were then converted by Celtic missionaries moving in from the one side and Roman missionaries moving in from the other. (They then sent missionaries of their own, such as Boniface, to their pagan relatives on the Continent.)

In the 800's the cycle partly repeated itself, as the Christian Anglo-Saxons were invaded by the Danes, pagan raiders, who rapidly conquered the northeast portion of England. They seemed about to conquer the entire country and eliminate all resistance when they were turned back by Alfred, King of the West Saxons.

Alfred was born in 849 at Wantage, Berkshire, youngest of five sons of King Aethelwulf. He wished to become a monk, but after the deaths (all in battle, I think) of his father and his four older brothers, he was made king in 871. He proved to be skilled at military tactics, and devised a defensive formation which the Danish charge was unable to break. After a decisive victory at Edington in 878, he reached an agreement with the Danish leader Guthrum, by which the Danes would retain a portion of northeastern England and be given other concessions in return for their agreement to accept baptism and Christian instruction.

From a later point of view, it seems obvious that such a promise could not involve a genuine change of heart, and was therefore meaningless (and indeed, one Dane complained that the white robe that he was given after his baptism was not nearly so fine as the two that he had received after the two previous times that he had been defeated and baptized). However, Alfred's judgement proved sound. Guthrum, from his point of view, agreed to become a vassal of Christ. His nobles and chief warriors, being his vassals, were thereby obligated to give their feudal allegiance to Christ as well. They accepted baptism and the presence among them of Christian priests and missionaries to instruct them. The door was opened for conversions on a more personal level in that and succeeding generations.

In his later years, having secured a large degree of military security for his people, Alfred devoted his energies to repairing the damage that war had done to the cultural life of his people. He translated Boethius' Consolations of Philosophy into Old English, and brought in scholars from Wales and the Continent with whose help various writings of Bede, Augustine of Canterbury, and Gregory the Great were likewise translated. He was much impressed by the provisions in the Law of Moses for the protection of the rights of ordinary citizens, and gave order that similar provisions should be made part of English law. He promoted the education of the parish clergy. In one of his treatises, he wrote:

"He seems to me a very foolish man, and very wretched, who will not increase his
understanding while he is in the world, and ever wish and long to reach that
endless life where all shall be made clear."

He died on 26 October 899, and was buried in the Old Minster at Winchester. Alone among English monarchs, he is known as "the Great."

The writer G K Chesterton has written a long narrative poem about Alfred, called, "The Ballad of the White Horse." In my view, it would be improved by abridgement (I would, for example, terminate the prologue after the line "And laid peace on the sea"), but I think it well worth reading as it stands, both for the history and (with minor reservations) for the theology.

by James Kiefer

Collect and propers here.

A Prayer for Central KY Anglicans

Prayers to be used in Storms at Sea.

O MOST powerful and glorious Lord God, at whose command the winds blow, and lift up the waves of the sea, and who stillest the rage thereof. We thy creatures, but miserable sinners, do in this our great distress cry unto thee for help: Save, Lord, or else we perish. We confess, when we have been safe, and seen all things quiet about us, we have forgot thee our God, and refused to hearken to the still voice of thy word, and to obey thy commandments: But now we see, how terrible thou art in all thy works of wonder; the great God to be feared above all: And therefore we adore thy Divine Majesty, acknowledging thy power, and imploring thy goodness. Help, Lord, and save us for thy mercy's sake in Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, 1662
Prayers to be used at Sea

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letter from Archbishop Duncan



Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America boldly proclaim that "the people of God are the chief agents of the mission of the Church" and that "the fundamental agency of mission in the Province is the local congregation." Ours is a church whose focus is on converted individuals in multiplying congregations. Ours is a church also built on the tithes of the faithful: the household to the local congregation, the local congregation to the diocese, the diocese to the Province.
Tithing and Discipleship

God led us to build our Province on committed disciples, the local congregations and the tithe: all for the purpose of reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. The Holy Scriptures caused us to do things this way. We had (and have) a special stake in basing the whole of our life on the direction Scripture gives. While it is only one aspect of discipleship, imagine what God could do through us if all of us tithed! No congregation would any longer be "short," no diocese would lack for funds for new works, and the Province would rightly live within the tithes sent to it. We need to start challenging one another about this at the local level. God promises (Malachi 3: 8-10) to open the windows of heaven if we cease to "rob Him" and give Him our "full tithes."

If you are not already doing so, this would be a great year to take the leap. The tithe to your local congregation is the beginning point. If not yet tithing, even to move a percentage point a year over the next several years will make an amazing difference, both to the Church at every level, and most significantly to your own personal relationship with God.

Extra Mile Giving

Our Church, like Scripture itself, also teaches that the tithe is the beginning of our giving. Many of us give more than a tithe - Nara and I do so. It is all about thanksgiving to the Lord for what He has done. Some give to a point of sacrifice. They are among my heroes. Jesus and the apostolic Church most often teach either 50/50 or 100 per cent giving. Most of us who heard our friend Dr. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church speak to us at our Inaugural Assembly cannot forget the witness he and his wife make in giving away 90 percent of their income and just keeping 10 per cent. He is actually not alone in this practice that only a few can undertake, but most of us can stretch farther than we do. Pray and ask the Savior what He wants of you.

Our Provincial budget is based on the tithe of our dioceses, just as diocesan budgets are based on the tithes of their congregations. When all our local congregations get to right order, and all our dioceses get there too, we are convinced that the Province will well be able to live within these tithes for our annual operations. We have a distance to go before all our members are Biblical tithers. So at present we have a gap. For several years we know that we will have to ask some of our people and some of our congregations to "go the extra mile" beyond their tithe to help meet Provincial needs. This is not the long-term picture.

The Provincial Gap and Extra Mile Fund

The very good news is that we are almost half of the way to where we need to be to fund the base-line Provincial work. That is quite an accomplishment given the fact that the Province was only birthed 16 months ago! For now I need to ask for "extra-mile" giving to fill the gap.

At the August Executive Committee meeting an "Extra Mile Fund" was established to stand alongside "the Founders' Fund." Gifts to each - beyond your tithe to your own parish - will make it possible for our Province to be well launched in these "gap" years in which I will be serving you as first archbishop. Parishes that are able are also asked to consider gifts - beyond their diocesan tithe - to the Extra Mile or Founders' Funds.

Individuals and parishes are asked to consider a direct gift to the Province this year, and perhaps during several of the next years. We do not yet have all our households and congregations tithing, but as discipleship improves the need will diminish. This is the Archbishop's gap appeal. Individual and parish gifts directed for the ACNA of up to $10,000 will be credited to the Extra-Mile Fund. Gifts over $10,000 will be credited to the Founders' Fund. We need some $480,000 for this year's operation on top of the $900,000 already committed by dioceses, parishes and individuals. Please remember that the Province is providing both direct and subsidiary support to 20 Dioceses and more than 640 congregations in North America.

Help me, please, in these "gap" years to be your archbishop and do what the Provincial Council believes is essential. We started a year ago as a Province and have come a very great distance. For the long-haul, tithe and teach the tithe and the windows of heaven will be open for your parish, your diocese and our province, as well.

God bless you each and every one.

Faithfully in Christ,

Archbishop and Primate

[1] Canon I. 10, Section 1
[1] Constitution Article IV, point 1.
[1] Canon I. 9, Section 1 and Canon I. 10, Section 2, point 5.

[1] Typical are Lk 3:11; Lk 12:33-34; Acts 2:44-45; Acts 5:40-42; Lk 9:23-24.


If you wish to be part of the Extra Mile Fund there are two ways to make a contribution:

You can send a check payable to:
Anglican Church in North America
800 Maplewood Ave.
P.O. Box 447
Ambridge, PA 15003

Please note in Memo section: "Extra Mile Fund"

Or contribute online at :

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Translation of Edward the Confessor

Edward was born in 1003. He was the last Saxon king to rule (for more than a few months) in England. He is called "Edward the Confessor" to distinguish him from another King of England, Edward the Martyr (c962-979), who was assassinated (presumably by someone who wished to place Edward's younger half-brother on the throne), and who came to be regarded, on doubtful grounds, as a martyr for the faith. In Christian biographies, the term "confessor" is often used to denote someone who has born witness to the faith by his life, but who did not die as a martyr. Edward was the son of King Æthelred the Unready. This does not mean that he was unprepared, but rather that he was stubborn and willful, and would not accept "rede," meaning advice or counsel.

Æthelred was followed by several Danish kings of England, during whose rule young Edward and his mother took refuge in Normandy. But the last Danish king named Edward as his successor, and he was crowned in 1042. Opinions on his success as a king vary. Some historians consider him weak and indecisive, and say that his reign paved the way for the Norman Conquest. Others say that his prudent management gave England more than twenty years of peace and prosperity, with freedom from foreign domination, at a time when powerful neighbors might well have dominated a less adroit ruler. He was diligent in public and private worship, generous to the poor, and accessible to subjects who sought redress of grievances.

While in exile, he had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Rome if his family fortunes mended. However, his council told him that it was not expedient for him to be so long out of the country. Accordingly, he spent his pilgrimage money instead on the relief of the poor and the building of the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, better known as Westminster Abbey, which stands today (rebuilt in the thirteenth century) as one of the great churches of England, burial place of her kings and others deemed worthy of special honor. He is buried there as well.

He died on 5 January 1066, leaving no offspring; and after his death, the throne was claimed by his wife's brother, Harold the Saxon, and by William, Duke of Normandy. William defeated and slew Harold at the Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066), and thereafter the kings and upper classes of England were Norman-French rather than Anglo-Saxon. Edward is remembered, not on the day of his death, but on the anniversary of the moving ("translation") of his corpse to a new tomb, a date which is also the anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Hastings, the end of Saxon England.

Clyde McLennan - Round the Lord in glory seated .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

O God, who called your servant Edward to an an earthly throne That he might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave him zeal for your Church and love for your people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ruth: Providence in Your Darkest Days

Proper23C Ruth - Providence in the Darkest of Days from Fr. Chris Larimer.

A sermon preached at Holy Apostles in Elizabethtown, KY. The text is Ruth 1. It focuses on how God's good providence is seen in the ordinary actions of ordinary people in the darkest days of history - in order to bring the Light of the World. The sermon is 26 minutes long

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Foley Beach and Robert Grosseteste

I'm in Atlanta for the consecration of Dr. Foley Beach to the holy episcopate. It's an exciting day for me because this is also the Feast of St. Robert Grosseteste. Grosseteste was an Oxford scholar and pastor before he was appointed bishop of Lincoln. After his episcopal consecration, he surprised his diocese by actually taking the lead in caring for the priests and parishioners under his care. He visited the rural deaneries (way out in the country) and taught the clergy at diocesan synods. Instead of simply making decrees from his episcopal seat and hoping they would be carried out, he visited parishes and told the clergy why certain decisions were made. He refused to admit men to livings (pastoral appointments with a certain income) if he knew they would be sub-letting their cure (paying a poor curate to perform their pastoral duties). That form of abuse was rampant in the medieval church, but Grosseteste even refused to admit a nephew of the pope to a living when he saw that the man was unfit.

Auspiciously, today the Anglican Church is again being given a bishop who is a faithful pastor, a stalwart defender of the faith, a capable teacher, and a true pastor to pastors in raising Foley Beach to the Sacred Order of Bishops. He is surrounded by people who can testify to his commitment to see people's lives changed for the sake of the Gospel. He maintains a full teaching / speaking role even while serving as rector of a growing church. And he has discipled so many young men in their role as presbyters in the Church of God. I couldn't be happier to be here. I couldn't be happier to be part of this movement.

Let all faithful Anglicans thank God for the example of Robert Grosseteste, and his spiritual heir, Foley Beach.

Holy God, our greatest treasure, you blessed Hugh and Robert, Bishops of Lincoln, with wise and cheerful boldness for the proclamation of your Word to rich and poor alike: Grant that all who minister in your Name may serve with diligence, discipline and humility, fearing nothing but the loss of you and drawing all to you through Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Neo-Nazis Become Orthodox Jews

CNN is playing a documentary on a couple of Polish Neo-Nazis who discovered that they were actually Jews. Their families had hidden their ethnicity & religion during the Nazi era. Now, they have converted to Orthodox Judaism!

It's amazing what we forget about who we truly are. We were created in the image of God. Those who passed through the baptismal waters have had that image repristinated by being grafted into Christ.

What would happen if the Church - you and me and all the baptized - were to, like this couple, rediscover who we really are? Would it require a radical break with who we were? Would it require a reorientation of our priorities? Our daily life?

What would need to change for you?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ten Cheers for Tyndale

Today is the commemoration of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, translators of the Holy Scriptures into English. Tyndale's New Testament served as the basis for the populace of England being converted to Justification by Grace through Faith. Coverdale, whose Psalm translation still deeply effects the BCP's psalms, came along and published an Old Testament / Apocrypha along with a slightly altered Tyndale NT. This Bible was the first to receive broad use in England and can still be read today.

Let us render hearty thanks to God for these two servants. And let us take up their cause by reading the Scriptures for ourselves in "a language understanded of the people" and applying it to our lives.

COLLECT: Almighty God, you planted in the heart of your servants William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale a consuming passion to bring the Scriptures to people in their native tongue, and endowed them with the gift of powerful and graceful expression and with strength to persevere against all obstacles: Reveal to us your saving Word, as we read and study the Scriptures, and hear them calling us to repentance and life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Below is an excellent video that gives an accessible visual rendering of the history of the English Bible.