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Posts Tagged ‘Episcopal Church.’

I am an Episcopalian. Proud of my Anglican heritage. I believe in the Anglican ideals. I love the Book of Common Prayer. I love our rich liturgy. I love the freedom and love that flows out the doors of our parishes.

What I do not love is the fighting. I do not love the hate within the church. I do not love the moral apathy. One can argue that the Episcopal church is not alone in these problems. That might be true, but the problems within my own church are the ones that directly affect me.

From the get go I have struggled to make sense with many things that seemed so senseless. I found peace in my prayer book. The Book of Common Prayer was my anchor. It was the banks that the living waters of the Episcopal church flows.

Years now I have been serving, praying, and working alongside some of the best Christians I have ever had the pleasure to be in contact with. I love them with my whole heart. I see the gospel being brought forth with truth and love.

Recently some things were voted on at general convention. I was aware of them, and for the most part was unmoved by them. It was not until the passing of these ideas that I started to really struggle. Now mind you I don’t think my problem rests in these decisions alone. It is something much larger.

I started look look at the world we live in. Looking honestly at my church and the church as a whole. I find myself less and less happy with how things are going. More often then not my family feels out of touch. My children especially are feeling this. They struggle to make friends. Between the minimal amount of children at our parish, and the type of children in our neighborhood. They are limited on having quality friendships. My oldest who is a teenager feels this the most I think. She longs for other friends.

So what is one to do? We could find a larger Episcopal church. Maybe one that is more conservative. We could stay at our parish, and try to find outlets for our kids to make friends. In the end I am still stuck struggling with my overall moral differences. I will leave my struggle with the governance of the ECUSA out of this.

I do not know what we are going to do. I have talked to my Abbot and my Priest. They have encouraged me, and bless whatever decision we decide to make. So if you read this please keep us in your prayers. We have never thought about leaving a parish and it be a bitter sweat deal.

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O, Queen of Heaven, rejoice! Alleluia.
For He whom thou didst merit to
bear, Alleluia,
Hath arisen as He said, Alleluia.
Pray for us to God, Alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia.
For the Lord hath risen indeed. Alleluia.

Let us pray
O God, who, through the Resurrection of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, Didst vouchsafe to fill the world with joy; grant, we beseech Thee, that, through His Virgin Mother, Mary, We may lay hold on the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

Bring back to the right way of salvation all those who are living steeped in sin, Comfort the afflicted, provide the needy. Strengthen the fearful, defend the oppressed, give health to the infirm. Grant eternal rest to those departed, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. We ask all these things with the intercessions of our mother Mary and through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

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William Wilberforce was born in 1759 and served in Parliament from 1780 to 1825. A turning point in his religious life was a tour of Europe. In the luggage of a travelling companion he saw a copy of William Law’s book, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. He asked his friend, “What is this?” and received the answer, “One of the best books ever written.” The two of them agreed to read it together on the journey, and Wilberforce embarked on a lifelong program of setting aside Sundays and an interval each morning on arising for prayer and religious reading. He considered his options, including the clergy, and was persuaded by Christian friends that his calling was to serve God through politics. He was a major supporter of programs for popular education, overseas missions, parliamentary reform, and religious liberty. He is best known, however, for his untiring commitment to the abolition of slavery and the slave trade. He introduced his first anti-slavery motion in the House of Commons in 1788, in a three-and-a-half hour oration that concluded: “Sir, when we think of eternity and the future consequence of all human conduct, what is there in this life that shall make any man contradict the dictates of his conscience, the principles of justice and the law of God!”

The motion was defeated. Wilberforce brought it up again every year for eighteen years, until the slave trade was finally abolished on 25 March 1806. He continued the campaign against slavery itself, and the bill for the abolition of all slavery in British territories passed its crucial vote just four days before his death on 29 July 1833. A year later, on 31 July 1834, 800,000 slaves, chiefly in the British West Indies, were set free. – written by James Kiefer

Prayer

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, enkindle in your Church the never-failing gift of love, that, following the example of your servant William Wilberforce, we may have grace to defend the children of the poor, and maintain the cause of those who have no helper; for the sake of him who gave his life for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Through our baptism we are called to be ministers in Christ’s church. Some are called to be Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious, and the most noble of all orders, the Laity from which all orders come. We are all called to a holy vocation, a royal priesthood. No office or position is greater. We all serve Christ’s church on our path to salvation.

There are various types of Religious. The Holy Spirit gives each Order a specific charism so that the church may be served and strengthened. For some time I have felt a call to monasticism. You might be curious as to what exactly monasticism is or Monastic Life. In a monastic vocation an individual feels called to renounce worldly pursuits and to devote ones self to spiritual work. The craft of the monastic can vary from Science to crafting beer. Yet, for Benedictines their core work is prayer. Following a moderate rule of life monastic’s pray the Liturgy of the hours, sometimes called the Work of God.

The Church for centuries has recognized the importance of monastic prayer and have called their work the “prayer engine of the church.” While many people attention is directed to things of this world, the monastic’s offer up prayers for the world. They are the beacons of light that shine in an often dark world. Monasteries are set like a city on the hill; offering refuge, healing, and direction to a sick and dying world. Through the centuries many have forgotten about Religious life, this is especially true in the Anglican/Episcopal Church. Religious life disappeared after King Henry VIII banished Religious life from England when he broke away from Rome to secure an another wife. Benedictine life did not return to England until 1904 and in the United States until about 65 years ago.

The Church says only about 4% of Christians are called to Religious life. Through spiritual discernment I was drawn to a Benedictine community. I have been in relationship with the Abbot for about 2 and a half years. The Abbot and I believe that the Holy Spirit is calling me to be part of that 4%. It is a path to salvation that is built on structure, discipline, and prayer; of dying to self and becoming the man God called me to be at my baptism. Like all of us conversion is a work in progress. Mine will just be a bit more visible.

This past May I entered the religious community of The House of Initia Nova (New Beginnings). It is a Benedictine Community whose Mother House is in Houston Texas. They have lay members and religious all over the world. They also have a few who live in community at the Genesis Abbey.

I am currently in my postulancy. In this time I get to try on this life, and see if it fits. At the Abbey I was figuratively stripped of my garments, and clothed in the tunic of a monk. My name was changed to signify a new life in Christ. My new name and the black clothing is a continuing symbol of the renunciation to the world, and a new continuation in my life with Christ. For many my name change has been somewhat a struggle. To many I will always be Kirk, to other Kirkus, and that is ok.

After my postulancy I will enter the novitiate and from there into Professed life. Each step requires commitment and inward change. Some of the steps will be represented by some exterior change, an external symbol of an internal grace. It is my prayer and hope that over time my life and the symbol of my monastic life will become a blessing for me and for you. It is something that will be a slow progression in our life together. I do not want to be a distraction from our worship life together. Praying the daily office, and serving at the altar of our Lord I will continue as I always have.

If you have any questions regarding religious life, lay orders, or my call please feel free to ask. Thank you all for your continued support, love, and prayer.

Pax

Br. John-Paul, p/OSB (Kirk Broyles)

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Tomorrow the Bishop is coming to my parish. We have I believe 15 people being confirmed, one re-affirmation, and one baptism. I am so very excited for everyone. Especially those being confirmed. Some of them I know it has been a struggle coming to this point. I am excited to see them grow, and to see them find their place in ministry in the church.

For me tomorrow is a special day. It is a day that for so long was elusive. It will be a day that I find some sort of belonging. I will be on the receiving end of a sacrament that has been given to so many for centuries. Public declarations of my faith will be heard. Then the Bishop will lay hands on me. Filling me with the Holy Spirit. I will be transformed. Forever will I be a child of God. A servant to his Church.

Although externally nothing really is going to change. My duties at the parish will continue as they are. Most likely the Monday after will be very much like the Saturday before. Yet they will be different. Only because I will be different. My journey to find Christ does not end at this point. I have not attained holiness or some form of perfection.

I will continue on a path that so many have traveled before me, and will continue when I am dead and gone. This “yes” on my part will publicly unite me to a faith that I have so desperately sought after for many years. Uniting me to Christs church.

I have no idea what the future holds for me. Maybe I will discern to be a priest. Look into various forms of mission work. Kari and I have a strong passion and desire to work in missions either in the US or abroad. Or to be part of the faithful doing the work of the Lord in my parish. In time all things in this life are revealed. I joyfully welcome the pursuit.

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The Holy Spirit, Gift of God’s Love
By St. Augustine

There is no gift of God more excellent than this. It alone distinguishes the sons of the eternal kingdom and the sons of eternal perdition. Other gifts, too, are given by the Holy Spirit; but without love they profit nothing. Unless, therefore, the Holy Spirit is so far imparted to each, as to make him one who loves God and his neighbor, he is not removed from the left hand to the right. Nor is the Spirit specially called the Gift, unless on account of love. And he who has not this love, “though he speak with the tongues of men and angels, is sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal; and though he have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and though he have all faith, so that he can remove mountains, he is nothing; and though he bestow all his goods to feed the poor, and though he give his body to be burned, it profiteth him nothing.”

How great a good, then, is that without which goods so great bring no one to eternal life! But love or charity itself,–for they are two names for one thing,–if he have it that does not speak with tongues, nor has the gift of prophecy, nor knows all mysteries and all knowledge, nor gives all his goods to the poor, either because he has none to give or because some necessity hinders, nor delivers his body to be burned, if no trial of such a suffering overtakes him, brings that man to the kingdom, so that faith itself is only rendered profitable by love, since faith without love can indeed exist, but cannot profit. And therefore also the Apostle Paul says, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by love:” so distinguishing it from that faith by which even “the devils believe and tremble.” Love, therefore, which is of God and is God, is specially the Holy Spirit, by whom the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by which love the whole Trinity dwells in us. And therefore most rightly is the Holy Spirit, although He is God, called also the gift of God. And by that gift what else can properly be understood except love, which brings to God, and without which any other gift of God whatsoever does not bring to God? . . .

Wherefore, if Holy Scripture proclaims that God is love, and that love is of God, and works this in us that we abide in God and He in us, and that hereby we know this, because He has given us of His Spirit, then the Spirit Himself is God, who is love. Next, if there be among the gifts of God none greater than love, and there is no greater gift of God than the Holy Spirit, what follows more naturally than that He is Himself love, who is called both God and of God? And if the love by which the Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father, ineffably demonstrates the communion of both, what is more suitable than that He should be specially called love, who is the Spirit common to both? For this is the sounder thing both to believe and to understand, that the Holy Spirit is not alone love in that Trinity, yet is not specially called love to no purpose.

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