Monday, August 29, 2016

Wesleyan-Anglican Society Dues WAIVED for the 2016-2017 Year!

Good news!

The officers of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society have decided to WAIVE ALL MEMBERSHIP DUES for the 2016-1017 year!

This is a great opportunity for those interested in "things Wesleyan/Anglican" to check out the Constitution and to consider becoming a member of the Society.

The Constitution and the application for membership can be found in the membership section of the Wesleyan-Anglican Society website.  Just click on the WAS link on the sidebar of this blog.

Also, since there have been some turn-over in leadership, and since elections are set to take place in 2017, this is a good opportunity for those who might be interested in participating in Society leadership.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment, below.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Methodism & the Church of England

Dr. Lester Ruth served as the keynote speaker at the recent inaugural meeting of the Wesleyan Liturgical Society at Point Loma Nazarene University.  (I hope to post more about he meeting in the near future.)  -  Dr. Ruth was my primary professor and my faculty mentor during my doctoral studies at Asbury Theological Seminary.  -  I hadn't had the chance to see him since I graduated back in 2007.

During his presentation, Dr. Ruth gave a great quote for us "Wesleyan-Anglican" types.  The quote is found in his book, Early Methodist Life and Spirituality, and comes from Leslie F. Church.  The quote is:

"Methodism is Church of Englandism felt."
Church was originally referring to early British Methodism, but I like it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

During this Lenten season, having finished up a Wednesday study with both, Main Street United Methodist and Heartland Nazarene, on the "Means of Grace," I felt that we ought to spend our Wednesdays in prayer.  So, having discussed both, extemporaneous and written prayers, I have been leading the churches in, first, praying the Daily Office, followed by a time of extemporaneous prayer.  Main Street, which meets at 1:30 in the afternoon, is praying Morning Prayer, and Heartland is praying Evening prayer.  The text that we are using is a blending of the new Anglican Church in North America office and Wesley's The Sunday Service.  (Perhaps I will survey the people and report back in another post how they have been affected by these prayer times.)

I have included in the Daily Office, at the point of the "sermon," a time of reflecting on the "feast day" of a particular "saint," either from The Episcopal Church's Lesser Feasts and Fasts, or from the material provided by the Order of St. Luke.  -  Today, we anticipated by one day, the Feast of St. Patrick. 

As most people know, St. Patrick's Day is March 17. It is a day when we celebrate all things Irish and when everyone gets to wear green, my favorite color. (I'll either wear my green clergy shirt or my Green Lantern shirt!)  - Still, the day is about more than the color green!
On this Feast Day we remember Patrick's inspired 5th Century missionary work. - As a boy, Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved as a shepherd in Ireland. After his escape back to Britain several years later, he was ordained a Presbyter (i.e., Elder or Priest) and consecrated a Bishop. Then, God amazingly called Patrick back to Ireland, where, by God's grace, he was used to convert much of Ireland to Christ. In this process, Patrick "Christianized" Pagan sacred places and objects.  (One can see this as either the triumph of Christianity over paganism, or as a great example of God's prevenient grace.)
Of course, Patrick is also said to have used the three-leafed clover to teach about the Holy Trinity.  It was an interesting, though insufficient illustration.  (Cf., our Lutheran brothers' quite funny video about the deficiency of Patrick's illustration, here.)
One of the most powerful prayers attributed to Patrick is The Lorica, or St. Patrick's Breastplate. It is likely that it was not actually written by the good bishop.  Still, it is said to be well expressive of his faith.
The Nazarene hymnal, Sing to the Lord, includes an abbreviated form of the Breastplate.  I have included, below, the more complete version.  

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
his riding up he heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet “Well done” in judgement hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
the hostile men that mar my course;
of few or many, far or nigh,
in every place, and in all hours
against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
against false words of heresy,
against the knowledge that defiles
against the heart’s idolatry,
against the wizard’s evil craft,
against the death-wound and the burning
the choking wave and poisoned shaft,
protect me, Christ, till thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.  
(This article is based on a previous post.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Prayer Book Videos

Are you a Prayer Book Christian who attends a non-Prayer Book congregation?  Are you a pastor in a Wesleyan tradition church who would like to incorporate some of how Wesley worshipped in your current church worship practice?

The Prayer Book Society has provided a great resource.  They have provided videos of various Prayer Book services as examples of how these services are conducted in the Church of England.  The services included from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (the Prayer Book that Wesley, himself, used) are:  Holy Communion; Morning Prayer; Evening Prayer; Baptism; Marriage; and Burial.  Each of these are provided in a narrated version and a version without narration.

It should be kept in mind, these are in a Church of England setting and they are read services.  That is to say, they are not culturally American, nor is any singing or music provided.  -  Further, it should be kept in mind that the services are from the 1662 BCP.  That is to say, they are not in contemporary language usage.  If one is using Wesley's version, you will see where Wesley abridged the services.  If you are using the American 1928, you will notice some differences.  If you are using the 1978 version, you will notice a lot of changes.  The new services from the Anglican Church in North America provide a contemporary language version that also differs, but not as much as the 1978.  (For my part, what I have used where I serve is a contemporized version of John Wesley's The Sunday Service, using the ACNA material as a guide to contemporize.)

One can follow this link to find the videos.  -  They also include a couple of services from "Series One," and a bonus video about Archbishop Cranmer and the Prayer Book Tradition. (which I think I have reproduced here, in a previous post).

I hope you find these helpful, or at least interesting!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Begun, The Lenten Journey Has

(Most of the following is copied from my post from a couple of years ago.  There have been a few updates.)
Yes, it's true.  I'm not just a "liturgy nerd."  I'm also a "sci-fi nerd!"  So, obviously, the title to this post is a take off of Yoda's "Begun, the clone war has."  -  Ya' gotta' love Yoda! (And then I had to add a pic of Mace Windu, because he uses a purple lightsaber, and it is Lent . . .)


 In any case, today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the forty day (not counting Sundays) season of Lent. Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The season is a preparation for celebrating the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. Historically, Lent began as a period of fasting and preparation for baptism by converts and then became a time for penance by all Christians.

Most churches that observe the season of lent will mark their worship space with somber colors such as purple (cf., Mace Windu's lightsaber!) or ash gray and rough-textured cloth as most appropriate symbols.

Ash Wednesday provides us with the opportunity to confront our own mortality and to confess our sin before God within the community of faith. The form and content of the Ash Wednesday Service focuses on the themes of sin and death, but it does so within the context of God’s redeeming love in Jesus Christ.

The use of ashes as a sign of mortality and repentance has a long history in Jewish and Christian worship, and the Imposition of Ashes can be a powerful and tangible way of participating in the call to repentance and reconciliation.
During the season of Lent, many Christians engage in specific efforts at prayer and fasting and various forms of abstinence.  Sometimes these special efforts are viewed as a kind of legalism imposed by certain denominations.  (Some Roman Catholics view it this way, though that is not the intent of the Roman Catholic Church.)  Others see this as a way of simply "proving they can do it."  And there are those who see Lent as a time to jump-start their diets.  (Though the loss of weight may be a favorable side effect, that is not the purpose of fasting!)

There are others, however, who recognize that fasting and the various forms of abstinence are truly spiritual disciplines with the intent of opening us up to God's presence and grace in preparation for the great celebration of Easter. 

Coming from a branch of Methodism that has thoroughly embraced the Camp Meeting and Revivalism, I have always told our people that Lent is revival preparation!  -  When we would schedule a revival with an evangelist, we would do more than schedule the revival.  We would set aside specific times for prayer and fasting, seeking God's face for the revival services, the evangelist, the lost in our community, the Church, and ourselves.  "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)  -  That, very much, is what happens during Lent.

Additionally, in the congregations where I have served, I have made it a practice of distributing to everyone a "World Methodist Call to Prayer and Fasting and to Faith-Sharing" bookmark on the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday.  This book mark, produced by World Methodist Evangelism, calls our people to participate in the "Wesley fast."

The WME website says this about the bookmarks:

The 2001 World Methodist Conference in England called upon Methodists around the world to "follow the Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting, focusing on spreading the gospel of Christ Jesus through word, deed and sign" by participating in the same weekly fast which John Wesley observed most of his life. Because of this commitment, Methodists in 130 countries go without solid food after their evening meal each Thursday until mid-afternoon each Friday.

This time of fasting is focused in prayer on the vision that those who follow Jesus in the company of the Wesleys would be empowered to become channels for the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.  Methodist churches and groups are encouraged to participate in the Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting during Lent and/or during the period between Easter and Pentecost.

The Wesleyan-Anglican Society has taken up this fast as a part of our regular spiritual discipline, as well.

These ENGLISH PRAYER AND FASTING CARDS are usually available free of charge, in reasonable quantities, for congregations or groups wishing to participate in this worldwide commitment. The 2 3/4 x 8 1/2 inch laminated cards contain an explanation of the Prayer and Fasting Commitment plus special prayers for Thursday Evening, Friday Morning, Friday Noon, and Friday at the time of breaking the fast.

I would usually encourage all pastors in denominations that are members of the World Methodist Council to order these free bookmarks by going to the WME website, here.  However, WME is undergoing an overhaul.  The website is currently under construction.  I had to personal message the director and they were able to get me some un-laminated copies of the newly designed prayer and fasting cards.  -  With or without the cards, I would encourage the "Wesley Fast" for those who are a part of a World Methodist Council denominaton, or anyone in the Wesleyan/Methodist/Anglican traditions. 

In the United States, the denominations that hold membership in the World Methodist Council are:

African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Church of the Nazarene, Free Methodist Church,

The United Methodist Church, and The Wesleyan Church.

Indeed, may we "see the Methodist movement alive, vibrant, growing and yearning to spread the good news of Christ Jesus in a world that so desperately needs healing, hope and salvation."  And may we see lives marvelously transformed by the great grace of God!  In the name of and for the glory of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jesus Lover of My Soul

(by Charles Wesley)
1. Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O receive my soul at last!
2. Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me:
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
3. Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find:
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is thy Name,
I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am,
Thou art full of truth and grace.
4. Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the Fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee:
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Prayer For Holiness by A. W. Tozer

     Our Heavenly Father, we have heard Thee say, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."  But unless Thou dost enable us by the exceeding greatness of Thy power how can we who are by nature weak and sinful walk in a perfect way?  Grant that we may learn to lay hold on the working of the mighty power which wrought in Christ when Thou didst raise Him from the dead and set Him at Thine own right hand in the heavenly places.  Amen.
(from "The Knowledge of the Holy")