The day began on Sunday for the College of Bishops with morning worship at the church hosting the Provincial Assembly, St. Vincent's Cathedral, Bedford, Texas. St. Vincent's Cathedral and the Diocese of Fort Worth are the center of Anglo-Catholic Anglicanism in the new Anglican Church in North America. St. Vincent's has five services each Sunday:
7:05 Morning Prayer
7:30 Holy Eucharist
9:00 Choral Eucharist
11:30 Holy Eucharist
6:00 Evening Prayer
For the second week in a row, I worshiped in Anglo-Catholic fashion. The service was high church formal with incense, santus bells, and chanted liturgy. Even the Gospel reading was chanted. Benjamin Nzimbi, the Primate and Archbishop of Kenya, delivered the sermon. He preached on Mark 4:35f. After exegeting the passage, he applied the text to the new thing which God is doing in America with the Anglican Church in North America. He reminded us that Jesus is in the boat and there will be storms, but we must call upon Jesus to still the storms we encounter -- not only in ministry, but in our lives. He reminded us we are called to preach the Gospel of Jesus and when we do, people will receive Christ, people will repent of their sins, and people will walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. He said: "It is through repentance that God will do a new thing so we must humble ourselves."
After lunch we had another teaching by Archbishop Gregory Venables, the Archbishop and Primate of the Southern Cone. Using John 11 and the story of Lazarus, he noted that after Lazarus had been raised from the dead, others had to unbind the grave clothes. He could not do it himself. He then called the bishops of the church to a holy life and that there are still grave clothes which need to be unbound -- some which we cannot undo ourselves, but must go to others, humble ourselves and receive help. He said Jesus is calling us to be NORMAL CHRISTIANS, not American Christians, not Anglican Christians (although we are Anglicans), but "raised from the dead, unbound Normal Christians." He called us to be Holy Leaders and models. He then listed some areas which he said many leaders need to deal with...
* very hardened hearts -- it is a barrier holding back the Spirit of God
* sin that we will not let go of -- What God has called sin is sin! Sin is doing what God has told you not to do.
* fear of trusting God - too many us only trust Him when there is no other option. Don't allow fear to stop you from trusting God. "God is greater than our greatest fear."
* terrible emotional or psychological bondage -- get a counselor and get some help
* a refusal to deal with our addictions -- don't let your addictions destroy your ministry
* a bondage of having to dominate (control) or be dominated (have others tell you what to do) -- we must step up and be leaders who do not Lord over the flock, but are "leaders."
* problem of pride -- we never see it in ourselves. If we see something in others, it is probably because it is in us. Be vulnerable to others and deal with pride.
* bondage of negative attitudes -- especially resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, and taking on a victim mentality.
* skeletons in the closet -- make sure you have dealt with your family history, your personal history in regards to the occult, evil practices, etc. Cover it with the Blood of Jesus. Learn to discern oppression which is the result of a curse -- there are those who will put a curse on you and you must break that curse with the Blood of Jesus and power of the Cross.
He summarized his teaching by telling us that if we leave our 1st Love, none of it is worth it. The secret of not doing this is: BE LOVED FIRST. We love because He first loved us (1 Jn.4). Bath in God's love daily and often. Remember, HE LOVES YOU.
Later in the afternoon, we officially inaugurated the new Province, the Anglican Church in North America. The overseas bishops and Archbishops signed the document first, then the bishops who were present, and the we who were Vicar Generals were able to sign as "witnesses" since only bishops can officially sign this document. The Provincial Assembly will hopefully affirm this and the New Church is official.