Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The St John youth, with their youth leaders Jeremiah and Kathryn Aberlich, sacrificed a portion of their Christmas holiday break to assist those less fortunate. They donated their time and energies to help sort food and supplies at the Gleaners Food Bank. Gleaners was founded in April of 1977, and it is one of the oldest food banks in the U.S. Its mission is “to turn surplus food, which otherwise would go to waste, into millions of nutritious meals for hungry people in southeastern Michigan..” It distributes more than 30 million pounds of food annually, the equivalent of 476,000 meals per month. We at St John are blessed to have young people not only aware of the struggle many are going through but who are willing to roll up their sleeves, and do the work needed to meet the need. Missionaries indeed!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
As a Society goes about its life and work, a Rule develops and takes shape. The delegates to the General Assembly of Missionaries of St John, meeting in Hurst, Texas in October, approved the Rule of Life for the Society. A culmination of two years of work, the Rule now reflects the ordering our ministry and life together.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
While not all traditions mark the day, among Anglican Catholics, the Feast of St Nicholas is usually marked by celebrating his life, his fidelity to orthodoxy and remembering his acts of great charity.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
29 Nov 2009, 1st Sunday of Advent
The MSJ mission through the Office of Foreign Missionsof OFM provides ministry education in places where such education is hard to get. Classes have started in Geita, an African town around 100 kilometers south and west of Mwanza. Geita contains the only working gold mine in Tanzania. The gold mine is a big operation.
There are two Anglican churches in Geita itself, a larger one in the center of the city, a smaller one on the outskirts, and many other Anglican churches in the surrounding area. I teach at the larger church in Geita, Christ the King, whose pastor is named Mathias. He is the biggest supporter of the classes. I currently stay with a local family.
The classes are held in the church itself. High temperatures often drive us outside to under a large shade tree. Rain occasionally drives us back into the church. There are 20 students, none of who speak any English, all who come from different Anglican churches in the area. All students are evangelists, each pastoring a church under the infrequent and distant supervision of a priest-pastor. From the data sheets I collected, the highest education level attained was 7th grade by the way we measure. Only by grace, by some knowledge of Scripture, and by personal hard work do they succeed as pastors.
One day, I asked some questions of my students. All 20 of them are lay people, evangelists and church teachers. Priests rarely come to their churches. All the students normally lead Sunday services, doing a service of the Word. In reality, they are the pastors. I asked each to describe the ministry at their church, how many members they had, and what was their average Sunday attendance. These 18 people pastor over 2,500 people and collectively serve an average of 2,000 people on Sunday.
An important moment occurred on Tuesday. I had perceived some feelings of inferiority among my students and I was asked, “Why is it that some parishes are pastored by priests and some parishes are pastored by evangelists?” I thought – Oh this is an important question. Lord, help me to give them your answer.
The reply, “The churches of most countries do not have evangelists in the same way as you do. In those countries, almost every parish has a priest who is supposed to be the evangelist. Here in Africa, you do not have enough priests for all parish churches because the education system cannot support the development of all those who might be called by God to be a priest. Yet, God wants to provide ministry and leadership for his people. In Lake Victoria, a boat without a rudder wanders aimlessly about, subject to every wind and wave, and cannot complete the journey. A church without leadership and ministry is like a boat without a rudder on Lake Victoria. So, God gives a gift to each parish without a priest; He gives them an evangelist to lead the church.” They beamed.
Initially, class was very hard for them. Translation makes progress slow. Lack of ministry education makes most material new. Prior bad teaching and bad assumptions means that they have to unlearn some things they thought they knew. There were many misconceptions about Trinity, Virgin Birth, Dual nature of Christ, and others. Changing such misconceptions is a big challenge, but they work at it.
The Holy Spirit moved mid-week. The students began to understand better. They became more participative. They thought and answered questions and discussed issues. One lady evangelist witnessed to me how she thought that God had touched her life in the class and I was able to affirm that it was God.
Thursday, I met Rev Donat and nine other priests who were visiting from the Diocese of Gahini in Rwanda, and here in Geita for an evangelization crusade. They must have talked to someone here because they asked if I would come to Rwanda and teach. I gave them my card and asked them to contact me after I returned to America.
The ministry is working. One week has been successfully completed. The students have learned much new material about what the beliefs of the church are and what is ordained ministry. Two more weeks of instruction will follow.
Thank you God. Thank you people of God. Your prayers and financial support are bearing fruit here in East Africa. The teachers of God’s people are being taught. Without you, all this does not happen. This ministry, the students in Africa, the rural church in Africa all rely on you and all thank you. Asante sana!
Fr Francis Wardega MSJ
Mission Station Geita, Republic of Tanzania
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Almighty God, who anointed thy well-beloved Son with the Holy Spirit, that he might preach the Gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim deliverance to the captive, and recovery of sight to the blind; to set at liberty those held in the bondage of oppression and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’s favour: pour out, we beseech thee, this same Holy Spirit on the Missionaries of St. John the Evangelist, that, following their Lord’s example, they also may proclaim, by words of power and deeds of mercy, the everlasting Gospel of repentance, reconciliation and restoration, and draw those who hear this Gospel from the power of darkness into the Kingdom of thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, livest and reignest, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Christ Community Church is still expanding. With two phases of the three phases in place, the Community gathers for worship each week even while the work continues. With over 65 worshippers in attendance, the southern Kentucky parish hosted Bishop Fick for an episcopal visit this past Sunday.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Fr James Guill of Forward in Faith, North America will be giving the homily at this evening mass.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
"In the Footsteps of Tikhon and Grafton" — Nashotah House to Host Anglican-Orthodox Ecumenical Conference with St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary
Nashotah, WI, September 1, 2009 – An ecumenical conference between scholars of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox traditions will be held at Nashotah House Theological Seminary on October 8-10, 2009. Entitled “In the Footsteps of Tikhon and Grafton - Anglican and Orthodox Identity, Ministry and Mission in the 21th Century,” the Anglican-Orthodox Conference will feature discussions and addresses by representatives of Nashotah House and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY, together with several worship services representing the spiritual riches of both traditions. The conference will conclude with the signing of a “Covenant Partnership,” pledging continued prayer, fellowship and ecumenical cooperation between the two schools.
Speakers will include the His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, Orthodox Metropolitan of All America and Canada, who is President of the St. Vladimir’s Board of Trustees, and the Very Rev. Chad Hatfield, an alumnus of Nashotah House who is now Chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. The Conference is free and open to the public but advance registration is required. For more information, telephone Fr. Steve Schlossberg, Director of Communications, at (262) 646-6506.
“St. Vladimir's Seminary is committed to working out a new relationship with Nashotah House that honors our common legacy and heritage,” says Fr. Hatfield. “Together we can take the work and witness or our forefathers and reclaim the voice of Christian orthodoxy that this world is starving to hear once again. Not to do so would be to fail to build upon the foundations of both seminaries and the two traditions that they represent. Now is the time to act boldly, and together we will in common witness to the truth of the Gospel of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. May it be blessed.”
The Very Rev. Dr. Robert S. Munday, Dean and President of Nashotah House expressed his conviction that this new relationship between the two seminaries “is an important step in furthering a renewal of Anglican—Orthodox ecumenical dialogue, which is the oldest ecumenical dialogue between Christian traditions." Dean Munday added, "It is particularly appropriate that Nashotah House should resume the ecumenical efforts begun over 100 years ago by Bishop Charles Grafton (2nd Bishop of Fond du Lac and Chairman of the Nashotah House Board of Trustees) and Saint Tikhon of Moscow (who was archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America, and who was made an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Nashotah House in 1905, later becoming Patriarch of Moscow and head of the Russian Orthodox Church)."
Bishop Frederick Fick, MSJ will be attending this conference on behalf of the Society.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
+ Keith Ackerman spent a bit over three hours with the Texas Chapter at Holy Trinity Church in Hurst on Saturday, 19 September. During that time, Bishop Ackerman spoke frankly and personally to our questions, questions which are shared by many people. He acknowledged that there are flaws in the ACNA, but that this is the group that God has given us to work His will through, and that the ACNA is of an open mind, especially to the Anglo-Catholic mind.
He spoke of his great joy in visiting with evangelical Anglicans around the world and demonstrating to them that their views were actually the historic Anglo-Catholic views, while dismantling the caricatures built up regarding Anglo-Catholics as more interested in Mary than in mission and the spread of the Gospel in Christ Jesus. He said that his one of greatest moments of joy in dialogue were when J.I Packer said, after one of Bishop Ackerman’s presentations, “Well, if anyone had told me twenty years ago that I would be agreeing with the Anglo-Catholic position on anything, I would have laughed in his face. Today, I find that I agree to the point of calling myself an Evangelical Catholic.”
Bishop Ackerman also spoke of the great strides made in ecumenical progress with the Orthodox, especially the Orthodox Church of America, and of his hopes for the Nashotah House conference. “We are close, very close, to having an understanding which will lead to a deeper relationship.” He also spoke of the extraordinary flexibility regarding the new FiF-NA Diocese of All Saints, in accepting groups who are Anglo-papalist, Anglo-Orthodox, classic English High Church, Oxford Movement High Church, as well as making provision for various societies and religious orders under its umbrella.
Finally, he spoke of practicalities, of the sharing of ministries and talents among Anglo-Catholics and with others in the ACNA. He spoke of his own desire to celebrate and preach at Holy Trinity, and was overjoyed when Fr. Bob assured him that Bishop Fick has already given his blessing to do so. He is scheduled to speak to our cluster again on a Saturday late in November on the topic of pastoral counseling and then he will indeed preach and preside at Holy Trinity’s altar the next day.
The meeting ended with the clergy anointing and praying for his steady improvement in health and ministry, and his episcopal blessing upon us. The entire visit was truly a blessing and each man returned to his home parish refreshed and encouraged.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Family and friends are invited as Hope Anglican Church, Oscoda, Michigan will be re-consecrated on August 9 at the 10:30 a.m. mass. Fr. Thomas Anderson announces that the century old Swedish Lutheran Church building, the home of Hope Anglican, will be officially be put back into sacred service following a year of remodeling. The Rt Rev Frederick Fick will officiate and the Rev Canon Francis Wardega will be preaching.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
OK, with the chancel furniture and altar restored to its place, the final photo of the new chancel at St John the Apostle Anglican Church, Clinton Township, Michigan. Sure, everyone is very proud of the clean new look. If some old "before" photos can be located, maybe we can do a "before" and "after".
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Orthodox Church Leader Rekindles Relationship with Anglicans
The leader of the Orthodox Church in North America has re-kindled the oldest ecumenical relationship in Christian history. Addressing delegates and attendees of the inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, said, “I am seeking an ecumenical restoration by being here today. This is God’s call to us.” This significant gesture represents the possibility of full communion being exchanged between the churches.
Metropolitan Jonah represents the North American branch of the Orthodox Church, a Christian denomination that has a long history of strong relationships with the Anglican Church. “We have to actualize that radical experience of union in Christ with one another,” Jonah said. Speaking for 45 minutes, the Metropolitan addressed the importance of looking past our differences in order to work together for mission. “Our unity transcends our particularity,” he said.
His Beatitude’s message was focused on unity but did not fail to address areas of contrasting beliefs between the two churches. Despite this, the Metropolitan told the audience that “our arms are open wide.”
Following the speech, a representative of an Orthodox seminary, St. Vladimir’s, announced a cooperative effort with Nashotah House, an orthodox Anglican seminary, that would help further these ecumenical relationships and what Jonah described as a “new dialogue between the Orthodox Church in North America and the new Anglican province in North America.
The Texas chapter of the Missionaries of St John, together with their bishop, gathered in Bedford, Texas, heartily rejoice and offer God thanksgiving for this timely address by Metropolitan Jonah and his "open arms" of invitation. Our hearts resonate with his call to the truth of the apostolic faith, and we humbly and joyfully embrace his call to unity in the "faith once given". Lord, hear our prayer.