ANGLICAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
Diocese of the Northeast
Rt. Rev. Brian Marsh, Bishop
Diocese of the Northeast

 

Presiding Bishop's November Message

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

It occurs to me that, glancing at the title, this might be more aptly renamed "Bishop's Periodic Newsletter," as it has been at least two months since I have written to you all. But I must confess that October was the busiest and most challenging month I have experience since being elected to the episcopate nine years ago. So I beg your understanding. I am aware that many of you do read the newsletter and I shall endeavor to bring you all up to date. And there is a goodly amount of news to share.

 

PRELIMINARIES
Before moving to the news items, I feel compelled to remind all faithful Christians to recognize the damaging effects of blogs. Given the availability of the blogosphere, anyone who has access to a computer can set up shop as an "expert" blogger. Beware. Though a few people with a website do their best to abide by good journalistic standards, most do not. The worst, and their number is legion, have an axe to grind and they take their anger online. At times, it may be difficult to separate the truth from the half-truth or the outright untruth. Blogs can do very damaging and indeed diabolical work. There are no standards or regulations for such activity and bloggers are hardly self-regulating.

 

I bring this up because, now and again, someone will ask me about something they have read on a blog. I usually welcome such questions, because it allows me to set the record straight when necessary.

 

St. Mary of the Angels in Hollywood, California has been captive of the blogosphere for some time. In this particular case, the blogosphere has made the art of distortion into a masterpiece. You cannot believe everything you read and I do pray that the truth will out in the end.

 

On another matter, the ACNA has been involved in strange activity with at least two of our parishes in two different dioceses. ACNA clergy have either represented that they were rectors of an ACA parish or that they ran missions out of an ACA parish. Neither was or is the case. We are not in communion with the ACNA. Though we may, on occasion, invite ACNA clergy to preach, they are not allowed to celebrate Mass or distribute the elements. When inappropriate behavior like this occurs, the clergyman's bishop is contacted immediately and such activity is stopped. While some may regard such activity as the overzealous actions of inexperienced clergy, it could also signal predatory behavior. Whatever the event, we must maintain jurisdictional integrity until communion agreements are reached.

 

Now for the news...

 

CLERICAL NEWS
As most of you know, The Rev. Mr. Stephen Peter Rugg was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at Trinity Anglican Church in White River Junction, Vermont. Deacon Rugg is pursuing a course of study in Biblical languages this year and plans to apply to doctoral programs as well. He has been charged with creating a program of evangelism and has begun offering the program at Trinity Church. He also presented a short program in evangelism from the Biblical perspective at our recent synod. We appreciate his work for God's church and offer our prayers for his future ministry.

 

Father Martin Mahoney, who has served Holy Cross in Webster, New York on an interim basis will leave that parish in August, 2016. He has served his parish with great dedication and pastoral skill. We certainly wish he and his family all the best as they make this transition.

 

The Rt. Rev. George D. Langberg has retired as Rector of St. Elizabeth's Anglican Church in Tuxedo, New York. A celebration of his ministry was held on Sunday, October 11. Many people attended this very joyous celebration. Bishop George has served his parish, diocese and national church with distinction for over thirty years. The outpouring of love and support to he and his family made the retirement celebration a memorable and deeply moving event.

 

Deacon Al Ryan will be moving to Florida in 2016. He has served St. Augustine of Canterbury church exceptionally well over the past several years. We wish he and Claudia the best as they relocate to the Orlando area. Deacon Al wishes to retain his license in the DNE. He will, however, likely serve in a parish of the APA, our sister jurisdiction. I have spoken with Bishop Grundorf about Deacon Ryan and he is eager to put him to work.

 

PARISH NEWS
We have several parishes that are in transition. Our process in the diocese involves several steps when a parish priest signals his retirement or desire to move to another parish. Canon Hendy Webb has written a very useful pamphlet on the transition process and made this available to the vestries of parishes in transition.

 

Trinity Anglican Church in Rochester, New Hampshire is currently served by Father Andrew Faust. Father Andrew is currently serving as interim and has done a wonderful job shepherding the parish for the last year and a half. Michael McKinnon, chair of the search committee, has just completed a superb Parish Profile. Next, the parish will receive, through the bishop's office, a list of clergy candidates. I commend the work of this committee, which has been meeting twice weekly for the past two months.

 

As mentioned, Holy Cross in Webster, New York will be entering the search process shortly. We pray for the Mahoney family and for the parish as it develops its own parish profile. Jason O'Neil, the senior warden of Holy Cross, will soon appoint a committee to begin that process.

 

Father Ed Kalish is currently serving as Interim at St. Thomas in Ellsworth, Maine. Canon Webb has been working with senior warden, David Simmons, to develop the profile and begin the search process.

 

Prayers for all parishes in transition.

 

OTHER PARISH NEWS
St. Thomas of Canterbury in Halfmoon, New York was formally admitted to the Diocese of the Northeast during our last synod. David Bullard, senior warden of the parish, recently reported that attendance had increased substantially since that time. Father Jim Hurd is currently serving the parish. As many of us know, Father Jim is a great preacher. Perhaps the two facts are somehow related.

 

St. Joseph's Anglican Church in Brooklyn, New York hosted our last synod. We deeply appreciate the parish's service to the diocese and to God's holy church. Though the weather was rainy and the parking a bit elusive, the warmth of the congregation and the terrific synod banquet more than made up for weather inclemencies and the vagaries of city traffic. The Rev. Mr. Steve Rugg delivered an excellent presentation on evangelism. The Rev. Zachary Braddock was the keynote speaker.

 

St. Joseph's church is a beautiful, historic church in the Locust Hills section of Brooklyn. It is in need of repair and it is our responsibility, as stewards of God's church, to assist the parish in making necessary repairs and improvements. Mr. Chip Garre has been tasked with raising funds to this end. Your bishop has made the first pledge. More information on this project will be forthcoming.

 

St. Luke's Anglican Church has been named temporary Pro Cathedral of the diocese. This assignment was made in consultation with Trinity Church, which is currently in transition. A large diocesan shield was commissioned by your bishop as a gift to the diocese. It will be placed in any church designated the Pro Cathedral. The shield currently hangs above the cathedra in the chancel at St. Luke's. It will be formally blessed during the Episcopal visit of November 15.

 

NATIONAL CHURCH NEWS
The synod of the Anglican Catholic Church was held in Athens, Georgia. Bishop Jim Hiles and I attended and were warmly and graciously received by Archbishop Mark Haverland. We were granted voice in both the House of Bishops and the synod itself. There is an enormous change in relations between all continuing Anglican jurisdictions. Indeed, Archbishop Haverland noted that we are already in de facto communion with each other. We have set the goal of signing a formal agreement of inter-communion in 2017. The jurisdictions involved will be: The Anglican Church in America, The Anglican Province of America, The Anglican Catholic Church and the Diocese of the Holy Cross. It is my hope that by Christmastide we will have signed a letter of "Jurisdictional Cooperation," pledging to work toward greater cooperation and eventual inter-communion. Wouldn't that be a wonderful Christmas gift!

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS
During October, I was invited to attend the Synod of the Traditional Anglican Church in Britain (TACB). Bishop Ian Gray is the current Bishop Ordinary and a very good friend. During the several meetings I attended while in Lincoln, England, I assisted the TACB in working with other orthodox Anglican bodies. Bishop Gray has been impressed with how effective our ecumenical work in the US has been with the other Anglican jurisdictions. Accordingly, after a series of talks, a Letter of Intent was signed between TACB and the Free Church of England (FCE), an Anglican body that was organized in the Nineteenth Century. The Letter of Intent signals greater cooperation and perhaps inter-communion between the TACB and the FCE. A Letter of Intent was also signed with the TACB and the Nordic Catholic Church (NCC). The NCC is not technically an Anglican body, though most of its members come from the Church of England. This latter Letter of Intent focuses on ways the jurisdictions can support each other.

 

BISHOPS' SCHEDULES
Sunday, November 15. Episcopal Visit, Reception and Confirmation. St. Luke's Anglican Church, Amherst, New Hampshire.
Saturday, November 21. St. Augustine's Anglican Church, Elizabeth, New Jersey. Parish meeting.
December 1-4. Episcopal consecrations in Guatemala.
December 5-6. Episcopal Visit and Confirmation. St. Nicholas Anglican Church, West Seneca, New York. Bishop Hiles.
December 10-11. Clericus. Westfield, Massachusetts. Bishop John Vaughan, guest speaker.
Saturday, December 12. Holy Cross, Webster, New York. Parish meeting.
Sunday, December 13. Episcopal Visit and Confirmation. Holy Redeemer, Canandaigua, New York.
December 15. St. Augustine of Canterbury, Saco, Maine. Parish meeting. Blessings to you all for a Holy Advent.

 

Your Brother in Christ,

+Brian