• Bishop's visit to USA
• Cathedral gets new Provost
• ACNA recognized by Church of England Synod
• Lent 2010
Bishop's visit to USA
[ Gavin Mitchell, Rector Groot Drakenstein and Secretary Anglican Mainstream SA ]
Bishop Bethlehem visited the USA during January to attend the Anglican Mission in America Winter conference in Greensboro North Carolina. This was arranged for him by Anglican Mainstream and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in Southern Africa. The trip was undertaken to give Bishop Bethlehem the opportunity to meet with as many of the leaders of the newly formed Anglican Church of North America, for him to gain a better understanding of the situation in the USA and to assure them of the status and leadership of the FCA in Southern Africa.
Bishop Bethlehem and Gavin Mitchell from FCA were hosted in the Washington DC area by the Nigerian Province’s affiliate CANA, (Convocation of Anglicans in North America). He was invited to preach at the Church of the Apostles in Fairfax VA and the Church of the Epiphany in Hearndon VA. Both of these churches are part of a group of parishes that have found themselves unable to remain in the Episcopal church since the radically liberal moves in the last decade. He was told of the lawsuits that face these churches as the Episcopal church seeks to gain control of the properties and assets of these parishes. These churches continue to grow and be committed to evangelism and the biblical faith of the Anglican Church. It was heartening to see the resilience of the church when it is persecuted, the sadness is that this persecution is being done by fellow Christians of their own denomination. Bishop Bethlehem and Gavin were kindly hosted in the home of the Stevenson family, both involved in the lay ministry of Church of the Apostles.
Bishop Bethlehem met with the international leadership of SOMA and Bishop John Guernsey, the bishop of the Ugandan Province’s affiliated parishes in the ACNA. These meetings really provided an inside view of the situation in North American Anglicanism. The new province, formed last year, is in the process of forming a very exciting church with a combination of geographical dioceses and groups that have the freedom to organise themselves differently, and plant churches where there is greatest need.
In Greensboro Bp Bethlehem was the guest of Amia. The winter conference is the annual gathering of this mission that was given spiritual leadership by the province or Rwanda. The conference is an exciting gathering of this Mission which seeks to embrace the three streams evangelical, charismatic and catholic - the worship is uplifting and there is a wide range of teaching workshops available to delegates. The regional networks of the mission also take a little time to do the “business” needed for the year ahead. The Mission has a house of bishops that seems to consist of burning evangelists and church planters, the mission has set its sights on the 130mil unchurched North Americans. While there Bishop Bethlehem and Gavin met with Archbishop Emanuel Kolini and Bishop Murphy of Amia, at these meetings useful insights were shared about the state of the Anglican Communion globally and in Africa. They were very interested in the place of ACSA on the continent, and offered encouragement to Bp Bethlehem and FCA. There was also a lot of concern about the Anglican Covenant, and the opinions of the present form of that covenant, there remains some concern about the acceptance of this draft since there is no recognition or relief for the orthodox in North America. A highlight of the conference was the daily bible teaching by Dr JI Packer. It was stimulating to sit at the feet of one of the great evangelical teachers of the 20th C his teachings were on three passages from the final discourses in John’s gospel.
The conference also attracts a large collection of mission and ministry agencies, as well educational institutions. This has proved to be most useful in the connections Bishop Bethlehem has been able to make with many possibilities for ministry and mission initiatives for the diocese being discussed.
On the way home Bishop Bethlehem and Gavin were treated to 10inches (2.25mm) of snow in the Washington area, this was very exciting and very cold!
I feel sure that the results and effects of this trip will be felt in the life of our Bishop and diocese for some time to come. It has also been a time for Bishop Bethlehem and Gavin to make good and encouraging connections for the FCA in Southern Africa, particularly in the support and fellowship experienced from other Bishops in the African Provinces of the communion. This is especially useful in these trying times for the Anglican Communion in general.
Pics:Top - Bishop Bethlehem was able to have time with the Dean of the Anglican Church of North America
Middle - Archbishop Emanuel Kolini and Bishop Murphy of Amia.
Bottom - Bp John Guernsey of SOMA
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Cathedral gets new Provost
Saturday 6 February saw the installation by Bishop Bethlehem of Michael Julius as the second Provost of the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin.
Michael takes over the reins from Shane Fraser who re-located to Pretoria to join the staff of the Bible Society of SA.
Unfortunately, iindaba had not received photos nor a report on the installation by the time of going to press but wishes Michael a very blessed term of office at the Cathedral.
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ACNA recognized by Church of England Synod
[ www.anglicantv.org/content/coe-2010-acna-press-conference ]
The General Synod of the Church of England passed the following motion on Wednesday 10 February:
That this Synod, aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada
a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family
b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011
Votes for 309, against 69, abstentions 17
More news on: http://anglicanchurch.net/?/main/page/76
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“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12
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