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Friday, August 31, 2012

UPDATED 9/6/12: Don't Be Cruel Reprise

Oh well.  Here we go again.

I've been told that Church of the Atonement Carnegie has returned to the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh on the decision of the Vestry which met without the Priest in Charge, the Rev. Dab Carr. Deb was informed of their decision this past Tuesday and that her services were no longer needed.  The Senior Warden, an ACNA supporter, was unable to attend the meeting.   In Deb and Chuck Carr, they lost a tithing family.  I wonder if the new TEC clergyperson will tithe to Atonement?  Many in the small parish were not informed that the Vestry was making this decision.

It's been no secret that St. Paul's Monongahela has been preparing to leave their building for many months.  They planned to turn over their building, relinquish their name and start over as True Vine Anglican Church in a former Italian Club that they have bought and are rehabbing. They planned to leave on September 30. You would think TEC would be grateful they are getting a building free and clear and work with the Anglicans. But no,  they have been pressured to leave early so their last Sunday services are this weekend and they must vacate by next Friday.   The have been invited to share space with a local congregation of another denomination while they finish getting their new building ready. And just like our departure from St. David's the TECsters are refusing to honor the wishes of the congregation concerning memorial gifts.  Been there, done that, got the tee shirt.

I remember the words of their soon-to-be-retiring bishop, Ken Price, posted by me just one year ago,  “We have some principles to uphold, but we don’t want to be cruel,” said the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., Bishop of Pittsburgh, in an interview with The Living Church. Price said the diocese consulted with David Booth Beers, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s chancellor, throughout the negotiations.

UPDATE: 9/6/2012

Dear Friends-

Fr. John and the Anglicans at St. Paul's Church in Monongahela have departed the building and will be moving into a renovated bar that we have converted into a church.  The new church will be consecrated by Archbishop Duncan on Sunday, October 14th.  Until then we will be worshipping at the First Christian Church.  Please make note of the new email address which is effective immediately.  There is also a new website which is still under construction at

We praise the Lord for all He has done for us as we have journeyed to His promised land.  Please keep us in your prayers that we will remain faithful and obedient to His Will.

Fr. John+

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Two Congregations Celebrate Pentecost in New Locations: Redeemer Parish and Prince of Peace mark new beginning after loss of their buildings

From the latest issue of Trinity newsletter of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

The Anglican Parish of Christ the Redeemer, formerly St. David’s Anglican Church in Peters Township, and Prince of Peace Church in Hopewell celebrated Pentecost in their respective new locations on May 27. It was with great joy that both parishes were able to celebrate God’s provision of new buildings after the loss of their buildings. Both parishes relinquished their former properties to the local Episcopal Diocese at the end of May. Both parishes were able to secure new buildings from other denominations where congregations had merged to accommodate their mission and ministry.

Read it all and check out the pictures:  click on link and scroll down to page 20-21

Sunday, August 26, 2012

350 Anniversary of the Great Ejection

I lifted this entire posting from the Rt. Rev. Steve Wood's blog "Treading Grain".  Steve was consecrated the first bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas (ACNA) yesterday at the parish he serves as rector, St. Andrew's Mt. Pleasant.  May God bless your ministry Steve, and thanks for the posting.    
In church history today is famous not just for the Great Ejection in England in 1662, but as the day in 1572 that about 3,000 Huguenots (French Protestants) were killed in Paris in what is now referred to as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. 

J.I. Packer opens his book,A Quest for Godliness, with this evocative image:
On a narrow strip in the northern California coastline grow the giant Redwoods, the biggest living things on earth.  Some are over 360 feet tall, and some trunks are more than 60 feet around.  They do not have much foliage for their size; all their strength is in those huge trunks, with foot-thick bark . . . Some have actually been burned, but are still alive and growing . . . The Redwoods (to use a much cheapened word in its old, strict, strong sense) awesome.  They dwarf you, making you feel your smallness as scarcely anything else does.
California’s Redwoods make me thing of England’s Puritans, another breed of giants who in our time have begun to be newly appreciated.  Between 1550 and 1700 they too lived unfrilled lives in which, speaking spiritually, strong growth and resistance to fire and storm were what counted. As Redwoods attract the eye, because they overtop other trees, so the mature holiness and seasoned fortitude of the great Puritans shine before us as a kind of beacon light, overtopping the stature of the majority of Christians in most eras, and certainly so in this age of crushing urban collectivism, when Western Christians sometimes feel and often look like ants in an anthill an puppets on a string.
Today commemorates one of the sadder chapters in Anglican history, the 350th Anniversary of the Great Ejection.  The Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, J. C. Ryle, reflecting on the Ejection, described it as an “injury to the cause of true religion in England which will probably never be repaired.”
The Great Ejection followed the Act of Uniformity 1662. This Act was part of the Clarendon Code, which sought to reestablish the supremacy of the Anglican church following Cromwell’s Commonwealth by enforcing uniformity of religion and its practice throughout England.  In the year leading up to the Act of Uniformity there were consultations and consideration of proposals for the uniformity of public prayers and administration of the sacraments. On the face of it there seemed to be a genuine attempt at compromise which at one point produced a watered down episcopacy that may have been acceptable to many non conformists, including some Presbyterians. However the final Act was severe and the date for implementation was changed first from Michaelmas to Midsummer Day and then to St. Bartholomew’s Day.
The Act of Uniformity was explicit in its directives.  It stated that “every Parson, Vicar or other Minister whatsoever” was required on or before the Feast of St Bartholomew (hereafter known as “Black Bartholomew’s Day”), 24 August 1662, to use the new Prayer Book and read Morning  and Evening Prayers in his church; and in the presence of his congregation to make a declaration:
I, ….. do here declare my unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained in and prescribed in and by the Book entitled The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England, together with the Psalter and Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung or said in Churches; and the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
A further and more stringent oath was required of all persons ecclesiastical, curates, teachers, schoolmasters, professors:
 I… do declare that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever ,to take arms against the King; and that I do abhor that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against his person, or against those that are commissioned by him; and that I will conform to the liturgy of the Church of England as it is now by law established: and I do declare that I do hold there lies no obligation upon me or on any other person, from the Oath commonly called The Solemn League and Covenant, to endeavour any change or alteration of government either in Church or State; and that the same was in itself an unlawful Oath, and imposed upon the subjects of this realm against the known laws and liberties of this Kingdom.
Any clergyman who failed to subscribe to this statement was to be ejected from the Church of England.
It is estimated that 2000 clergymen refused to conform to the edict and were ejected from their parishes and the Church of England. This group included Puritan luminaries such as John OwenRichard BaxterEdmund Calamy the ElderSimeon AsheThomas CaseJohn FlavelWilliam JenkynJoseph CarylThomas Brooks (Puritan)Thomas MantonWilliam SclaterThomas Doolittle and Thomas Watson. Biographical details of ejected ministers and their fates were later collected by the historian Edmund Calamy.
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, perhaps more than anyone else, recovered and restored the works of the Puritans to the modern church.  In 1962 he delivered an address at Westminster Chapel’s Puritan Conference commemorating the tercentennial of the Ejection; an event Lloyd-Jones considered a watershed event on almost equal footing with the Reformation itself.  You can read Lloyd-Jones’ address in his book, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors (in the chapter titled, “Puritan Perplexities – Some Lessons from 1640-1662″).
Following is a very brief summary of Lloyd-Jones’ delineation of the factors leading to Great Ejection and lessons learned from the Ejection.
Causes of the Great Ejection
The mixing of politics and religion. From the time of the English Reformation many prominent Anglican clergyman, and especially Archbishop Laud, held influence with the Monarch and other politically connected people. The Puritans had grievances with Laud and his party, as did others whose action were not motivated by religion as were the Puritans’. These disenfranchised parties banded together in an unscriptural alliance to fight a common enemy. “To mix politics with religion in the church is always a danger” (Lloyd-Jones, p. 61).
Divisions among the Puritans. “This is what makes the story a real tragedy. Fundamentally these men were all agreed about doctrine” (Lloyd-Jones, p. 61). But they had endless disagreements over other matters, especially the preferred manner of church governance. Among the various groups of Puritans, Lloyd-Jones particularly faulted the Presbyterians their divisive spirit noting that “they were the most intransigent” (p. 62). Ironically, the Presbyterians “were always ready to make agreements with the king,” but they tended to fight those with whom they were in agreement on the essential matters of the Christian faith.
The idea of a State-Church. “The Presbyterians believed in a State Church quite as much as the Anglicans” (p. 63). They inherited this position and continued to fight for their version of it rather than inquiring what the New Testament said about the nature of the church as it relates to the government. “The Presbyterians believed, quite as much as the Anglicans, that people should be compelled by Act of Parliament and the power of the State to submit to their particular view of the Church” (p. 65). While other groups simply wanted toleration to worship freely, the Anglicans and Presbyterians were fighting for supremacy, and the Anglicans won in 1662.
Lessons drawn from the Great Ejection
Gospel Priority.  The thing of supreme importance is “the gospel of salvation which is also ‘the gospel of the glory of God’” (p. 67).
Faithful Ministers.  “Coupled with that, there was their emphasis upon the necessity of having able and good ministers, and the primacy and the centrality of preaching.” (pp. 67-68).
Biblical Grounding.  Our view of the church should be in line with the New Testament. How should doctrine and practice be determined? Our faith should stand squarely on the Scriptures.
Careful Discernment.  Our divisions should be over the fundamental matters of the faith, not things of lesser importance. Lloyd-Jones argued against a divisive spirit that refused to budge on non-essential matters. He notes that to the intransigent there are no “non-essential” matters, every ditch is worth dying in, every matter of doctrine and manners are black and white.
The Battle is Spiritual.  And we must fight the battle “in a spiritual manner, and not with carnal weapons” (p. 70). Many Presbyterians actually allied themselves with those who despised and opposed them to gain political advantage. Some Puritans, like John Owen, stood against such carnality, and so should we. If we view party success as more important than the glory of God and the purity of the Church, “our cause is already lost” (p. 71).
The Ultimate Lesson?  Lloyd-Jones offers this: “‘The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.” (p.72)  At the end of the day the work is the Lord’s and He will sustain (sometimes at great personal cost) your stand on His Word.
Lloyd-Jones closed his address, speaking of those who were ejected, with these apt words:
“We thank God for the memory of these men, who, having seen the position clearly, acted upon it at all costs. May God give us grace to follow in their train!”

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Church Plant: All Saints' Anglican Church, Midland TX

From Virtue Online:  All Saints' rector, the Rev. Tom Finnie, is a longtime friend and was formerly the assistant rector of Church of the Ascension Pittsburgh and rector of St Peter's Church Uniontown PA 

Also on the orthodox side of the fence, All Saints Anglican Church, Midland, Texas, is open for business and welcomes new visitors. "We are an Anglican Church. We are part of the Anglican Communion-a worldwide fellowship of churches that trace their history back to the Reformation in England. With over 80 million Anglicans worldwide, we are the third largest group of Christians in the world. Our faith is in Jesus Christ and in his death and resurrection for us. We belong to the Anglican Church in North America and are part of the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest," affirmed Tom Finnie, its rector.

"We are a new congregation. Launched in May of 2012, we are a younger congregation with approximately 80 members-25 being under 18. Our worship is joyful and reverent with biblical preaching and Holy Communion each week. Our music includes the best of the traditional hymns and many newer songs you might hear on Christian radio.

"We worship at 5:30 on Sunday evenings. While we are seeking a permanent home, we worship now at Grace Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) at 3000 West Golf Course Road in Midland. Our Sunday School for all ages begins at 4:15pm with worship beginning at 5:30pm.

"We would love to meet you. Our members include lifelong Anglican Christians and those who have just discovered us. You can email us at with any questions or comments. We would be honored to hear from you."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our Daughter Hannah and the Olympics

Our daughter Hannah is a Senior Fashion Designer with Ralph Lauren, living and working in New York City.  She is the designer of the hats worn by the United States participants at the closing ceremony held this evening.  Ralph Lauren has been the designers of all the team uniforms beginning with the 1976 Olympic games.  There was a big hullabaloo when it was revealed that the uniforms for these Olympics were manufactured in China.  The media (excepting Fox News) and the politicians for the most part didn't address the issue as to why Ralph Lauren had the goods manufactured in China in the first place?  Perhaps it was the high cost of manufacturing clothing in the United States due to the high cost of labor, thanks in good measure to the textile unions.  Nonetheless, Ralph assured the faux angry politicians that even though it was too late to make changes in time for the 2012 games, from here on out all uniforms would be manufactured stateside.

Must say I am quite proud of our daughter and the artistic gifts she inherited from her mother!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Priest embraces latest chapter in career

by Dan Stefano, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Wednesday May 9, 2012

Wading through water above her ankles isn’t anything new to the Rev. Deb Carr.  In 2004, while starting an Episcopal church in Oakdale, she witnessed flooding left by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan.

The experience is now paying off for Carr, the new priest at Carnegie’s Church of the Atonement, where the basement has flooded more than once this summer.

“My daughter said to me, ‘Mom, God must think you’re in the flood-recovery business.’ ”

From moldy church basements to missions scattered across the globe, Carr’s life as an educator, priest and mother of four has been a busy one. Settled since July 1 in a role essentially the same as rector — making her the first woman to fill that position at the Washington Avenue parish — Carr is embracing the next chapter in her well-traveled career.

“I’ve always just wanted to be obedient to God’s call,” said Carr, who was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 2003 and previously served as assistant to the rector at St. David’s Anglican Church in Peters.

“The people here have embraced me and loved me and been very kind and accepting. It’s really a joy to be here.”

It took some time for Carr to officially gain her new title. She was a part-time preacher for seven months following the departure of the Rev. Paul Sutcliffe.

It’s a role she has prepared for all her life, though.  Growing up in Shillington, Berks County, Carr attended several churches before becoming an Episcopalian in 1985.

With a degree from Kutztown University in elementary education and special education for the visually impaired, she combined her passions and worked as a teacher, director of children’s ministries and preschool director.

In the meantime, missionary work sent her to far-flung locales such as Belize, Honduras, Kenya, Trinidad and Uganda. The trips would provide her with some of the most meaningful moments of her life.

“In all the places I’ve been in the Third World, people who have nothing have a great appreciation and dependence on the Lord, and they are so filled with the joy of the Lord,” Carr said. “It’s humbling, because we have so much.”

Carr singled out a prayer made by children in Uganda, a country ravaged by starvation and AIDS.  “They were praying, ‘Thank you, Lord, that we woke up this morning. Thank you that my mom and dad didn’t die,’ ” she said.

Deb Carr was on staff at our former church St David's in Peters Township  - 2003-2005 & 2007-2011 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

WatchWord Video Bible may hit pay-dirt: Super Bowl ad

I have known Jim Fitzgerald  (in picture right with gold shirt) and his wife Betty for over 25 years.  They are true missionaries and servants of the Word.  Jim and I served on many Cursillo and Anglican Fourth Day Teams together and were both in a Tuesday morning Reunion group in Sewickley.  I was in the group 1987-90 and Jim is still active in the group 

By Adam Wagner, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  

Published: Thursday, August 2, 2012, 9:22 a.m.Updated: Friday, August 3, 2012 

In his final years of coaching professional football, Tony Dungy spent a significant amount of energy figuring out how to upgrade traditional playbooks from the page to interactive technology, such as iPads.
Now, Dungy could play a major part in helping a local company transition the Bible — which Dungy compares to a playbook for religion — into new technologies.
“In terms of getting young people interested, there’s so much that they get visually now,” Dungy said. “They get their information via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter — sitting down and reading a book is not what young people do.”
Dungy, who won Super Bowl XLI with the Indianapolis Colts, has agreed to be featured in the first Super Bowl commercial with a Christian theme — if an Ambridge-based company that uses modern media to proclaim the Bible should raise the money to make the spot.
WatchWord Video Bible was established by Jim Fitzgerald, 66, of Sewickley. Its product, developed over 18 years, is a version of the New Testament, portrayed by actors on location in the Middle East, that went on the market in 2008 and has sold more than a half million copies, he said. Originally on video, the enacted Bible also has been on DVD since 2010.
Fitzgerald has taken to the road to get funds to upgrade an app for his Bible; his long-term goal is to also fund the Super Bowl commercial.
On Saturday, Fitzgerald left from the Point to drive cross-country, visiting 21 cities, including Columbus, Dallas, Denver and Salt Lake City. He will conclude meetings with religious leaders and churches in San Francisco on Aug. 17.
He is using a Kickstarter campaign to raise $200,000 before Aug. 19. Kickstarter is a website that helps people fund their ideas by accepting pledges.
Fitzgerald wants the upgraded app to allow his enacted Bible to be used across many platforms, such as Android, iPad and Kindle Fire, and a new version of it that could be downloaded to mobile devices.
He foresaw portability for the enacted Bible years ago.
“In 1994, when I saw the first four chapters, I said: ‘I think the best use of this would someday be handheld players,’ “ Fitzgerald said.
He said that since work on the project began in 1994, about $12 million to $13 million has been spent.. The existing app has been downloaded in 40 different countries since its release last year, and the videos have been translated into Arabic and Japanese.
Fitzgerald also dreams of WatchWord featured on the nation’s largest stage — the Super Bowl.
“The Super Bowl is one of the few places that you can speak to almost everybody at the same time. … Super Bowl ads stand out, and people pay attention to them,” Fitzgerald said.
Others with ties to the NFL support WatchWord, such as Justin Hartwig, a former Steelers offensive lineman who uses the app.
“What’s great about this is it’s in a really easy format where kids can understand the Bible or people who aren’t believes who may be intimidated by the Bible can understand it, and it’s more than just words on a page,” Hartwig said.

Today and last week at Christ the Redeemer

We had a great week and a wonderful day of worship at Redeemer Parish today.  Our Deacon Rege Turocy preached a strong message on the Gospel text.  The Holy Spirit showed up as Jeff, Val and John led the praise and worship.  We had a surprise visitor this morning -- our Archbishop and Bishop Bob Duncan and without his customary thick wire rim glasses!  He had eye surgery and he can now see without the need for spectacles! I know how that surgery changed, my wife, Gale's life and I imagine it will change his life too.  The Bishop shared how grateful he was for us and for the courage we exhibited in giving up everything and moving to Canonsburg.  It just reminded me, once again, of Rick Warren's words to us in Bedford TX in 2009, "They got the steeple but we got the people"; and, "They got the buildings but we got the blessings."

We were able get the carillons in the belfry serviced and working last week.  The system is 25 years old and hadn't been functioning in over three years. And we had two brand spanking new 70" Sharp Aquos Monitors mounted and functioning in the nave as well as an almost new Kawai grand piano which we bought through the annual piano sale of the Pittsburgh Opera.  We also added a new cast brass aumbry.  And guess what! All of it already has been paid for in full.

Next is the installation of a new sound system and the installation of a communion rail.  Both are in the works.      

Again, God is good, all the time - All the time, God is good
Because it is his nature!