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“Pastor Anglicano” is a collaboration between Anglican Pastor and Caminemos Juntos to deliver translated and original content in Spanish.

The English original of the following piece is: “Are You Still Charismatic?” by Greg Goebel.

Habiendo crecido y pastoreado dentro de la tradición pentecostal/carismática, las personas a menudo me preguntan si todavía soy un carismático, ahora que soy anglicano.

Afortunadamente, ser Anglicano no requiere que uno deje de ser carismático, y siento que he continuado en eso.

Pero ser Anglicano ha cambiado mi comprensión de lo que significa ser carismático. Tiendo a decirle a la gente que creo que la mayor parte de la experiencia y renovación carismática del último siglo ha sido un movimiento del Espíritu Santo y ha tenido un efecto milagrosamente bueno. Y, sin embargo, al mismo tiempo, tiendo a no estar de acuerdo con gran parte de la teología y la práctica del movimiento carismático.

Sin embargo, cuando comparto eso, la reacción es a menudo “Espera un minuto. ¿Puedes hacer eso? ¿Puedes ser un carismático que no esté totalmente de acuerdo con la práctica o teología carismática?”

Creo que sí. Déjame explicar.

Nuestra experiencia de Dios es una cosa, y nuestra reflexión sobre ella es otra. Y, además, después de reflexionar sobre un mover de Dios, tratamos de poner en práctica lo que hemos experimentado. En otras palabras, primero experimentamos a Dios. Luego reflexionamos sobre esa experiencia (teología) e intentamos captar esa experiencia y transmitirla a las generaciones futuras (práctica o reforma).

Mi sensación es que las renovaciones pentecostales y carismáticas fueron y son un milagro de Dios. El Espíritu Santo dio nueva vida a la Iglesia cristiana, comenzando con personas pobres y marginadas a fines del siglo XIX y principios del siglo XX (calle Asuza), fluyendo hacia la fundación de las Asambleas de Dios y la Iglesia de Dios como denominaciones pentecostales clásicas.

Fluyendo alrededor de y dentro de ese movimiento pentecostal, la renovación finalmente se extendió a las iglesias principales (por ejemplo, Terry Fullam y el “Milagro en Darien”) y la Iglesia Católica Romana. La gente hablaba en lenguas, cantaba alabanzas y su fe en Jesucristo estaba cobrando vida. Muchas personas comenzaron a leer las Escrituras con nuevos ojos. Se despertó un nuevo fervor por los dones espirituales. No solo los dones carismáticos, sino todos los dones florecían en muchos lugares. La gente una vez más comenzó a creer que cada Cristiano era un ministro de su comunidad. Cada Cristiano puede tener poder y talento para servir.

En términos de la Iglesia Episcopal, el movimiento de renovación carismática era prácticamente lo único que convertía a las personas y las acercaba a Cristo. De hecho, hoy en día, la mayoría de los Anglicanos ortodoxos mayores de cuarenta años en Estados Unidos rastrean su conversión o renovación a ese movimiento.

Mis propios padres se convirtieron a través de un servicio de sanación carismático en el que mi papá tuvo una visión de Jesús. Creo que eso fue real, y era de Dios. Doy gracias a Dios todos los días por ello.

Y esta nueva renovación fue un movimiento que produjo raíces. Los pobres se llenaron con el Espíritu Santo y dirigieron la mayor parte del movimiento temprano. Surgieron comunidades multiétnicas. Las personas en las naciones empobrecidas fueron atraídas a Cristo.

Las jerarquías de la iglesia no sabían qué hacer con esto. Por un lado, millones de personas se estaban convirtiendo o experimentando renovación. Por otro lado, no había sido su plan o idea. Era desordenado. Era populista. No fue planeado. Por supuesto, muchos líderes de la iglesia querían detener este tren antes de que se descarrilara.

Por supuesto, las personas que estaban experimentando este gran movimiento comenzaron inmediatamente a tratar de entenderlo en las Escrituras y en la teología. Para mí tiene sentido que, dado que muchos de ellos estaban hablando en lenguas, asumieron que hablar en lenguas debe ser la señal de ser llenado por el Espíritu. O que una experiencia enfervorizada del Espíritu debe ser una especie de segundo bautismo. O que las jerarquías de la iglesia siempre deben ser prohibitivas al movimiento del Espíritu, etc. Todas estas cosas tienen sentido en términos de personas que intentan comprender su experiencia. Pero en términos de una reflexión cristiana que toma en cuenta todo el Evangelio y toda la historia de la Iglesia, se quedan cortas.

Como es cierto en la mayor parte de la historia humana, los carismáticos y aquellos que se resistieron a ellos estuvieron en lo correcto y en lo incorrecto. Los que se resistieron lo hicieron por algo real que estaban viendo: un rechazo hacia cualquier tipo de autoridad. Un deseo de poder. Un liderazgo manipulador que pretendía no liderar. El movimiento carismático de hecho ha tenido algunos desastres masivos. La obsesión con los milagros y dones, el evangelio de la prosperidad y el anhelo de poder personal (especialmente para los líderes del tipo de “culto a la personalidad”) han causado mucho daño. Y, sin embargo, al mismo tiempo estaban sucediendo cosas maravillosas. Los carismáticos y los “no carismáticos” tenían razón. Dios estaba trabajando en este movimiento, pero él no estaba inspirando un motín o una rebelión. Por otro lado, él no estaba inspirando una nueva burocracia o simplemente deseando que surgieran cursos en los seminarios como “Estudios de Espíritus”. Él estaba respirando nueva vida en la Iglesia. Creo que todos hemos malinterpretado eso. Y, sin embargo, eso está bien. Lo que nos queda hoy es discernir cómo esa reforma puede ser a la vez carismática e institucional. Ambas son importantes.

El mismo Pablo dijo que “no todos hablan en lenguas”. También dijo que “no prohíbas hablar en lenguas” y que él mismo habló en lenguas. Pablo escribió que “todo debe hacerse decentemente y en orden” y nombró ancianos en cada ciudad. Y, sin embargo, él enseñó que cada cristiano, en el bautismo, se le había dado el Espíritu Santo y era ungido. Y, sin embargo, también alentó los encuentros experienciales con Dios. Según Pablo, recibimos el Espíritu Santo en el bautismo, pero luego debemos orar para ser llenos continuamente. Pablo parece haber creído que los dones carismáticos eran para algunas personas, y esas personas servirían a toda la Iglesia a través de ellos. Él parece haber creído que el orden y el gobierno de la iglesia no eran opuestos a los dones espirituales o a los movimientos orgánicos. Parece que él vio todas estas cosas juntas, en lugar de en oposición.

Así que, para mí, ahora como anglicano, siento que los dones carismáticos siguen operando. Pero necesitan operar dentro del orden y la estructura de la iglesia. El Espíritu Santo está presente tanto en expresiones espontáneas como en oraciones escritas. Él trabaja a través de obispos y trabaja a través de evangelistas callejeros. Él les da a algunos el don de lenguas y a otros el don de administración. Los carismáticos son una parte importante de la iglesia, pero junto con otros grupos, deben tener influencia y, al mismo tiempo, estar abiertos a aprender de otros con otras experiencias y dones. Este carismático “holístico” es el tipo que estoy tratando de llegar a ser.

Por ejemplo, cuando crecí en la tradición pentecostal/carismática, a menudo teníamos personas que se levantaban en la iglesia y daban una palabra de conocimiento, una profecía o un mensaje en lenguas (que luego era interpretado). Para mí, este tipo de dones todavía son parte de la Iglesia de hoy. Sin embargo, la forma en que se expresan no tiene que ser la misma todo el tiempo. Ponemos al Espíritu Santo en una pequeña caja si pensamos que solo puede usar estos dones de repente y en medio de un servicio de adoración.

¿Por qué el Espíritu Santo no puede dar una palabra de conocimiento en un miércoles?

En mi parroquia, yo he animado a gente con estos dones a orar por palabras de conocimiento o mensajes para la iglesia durante la semana. Les pedí que se reunieran conmigo y compartieran su sentido de la dirección de Dios. Les pedí que confiaran en que el Espíritu Santo nos guiaría a discernir para quién era esta profecía o palabra de conocimiento, si se debía compartir, y cuándo. Sentí que la mayoría de la gente de nuestra parroquia no habría recibido un mensaje repentino y aparentemente intrusivo. Sentí que nos distraería de nuestra adoración en ese momento. Pero en varias ocasiones, pude compartir estos discernimientos con nuestra junta parroquial, nuestra iglesia o a individuos. Sentí que esta era una manera holística y bíblica de expresar este don en nuestro contexto.

Si soy sincero, la mayoría de las personas que he conocido en el anglicanismo que son carismáticas no parecen aceptar este enfoque inicialmente. A veces, han sido entrenados por líderes carismáticos para infiltrarse en las iglesias (no de una manera siniestra) para tratar de que todos en esa parroquia actúen, hablen y piensen igual que ellos. Tratan de hacer que la gente levante sus manos más, que llore, que hable en lenguas, que escuche los mensajes de Dios todo el tiempo y que siga a los mismos líderes espirituales que ellos siguen. A veces las personas no te aceptan como lleno del Espíritu a menos que estés de acuerdo con su teología o estrategias, o que expreses su jerga. He visto muchos no carismáticos frustrados, y muchos carismáticos decepcionados.

La otra cara de la moneda es la gente que piensa que todos los carismáticos son fanáticos peligrosos. Pueden volverse cínicos con respecto a los dones espirituales y tener miedo de cualquier cosa fuera de lo común. Pueden sentirse incómodos con alguien que es expresivo. Es posible que quieran aplastar cualquier cosa que no se ajuste a nuestro sentido del orden. Para esas personas, creo que es importante escuchar que no tienen que estar de acuerdo con la teología de los carismáticos, o incluso con las estrategias carismáticas típicas, para apreciar la perspectiva y la presencia carismáticas. Una vez que los no carismáticos se dan cuenta de que pueden aprender de los carismáticos sin tener que estar de acuerdo en todo, a menudo se vuelven más abiertos. De hecho, a menudo se dan cuenta de que también son carismáticos, pero que simplemente no lo sabían.

En lugar de presionarnos mutuamente para que lleguemos a un acuerdo sobre especulaciones sobre los dones espirituales y las expresiones carismáticas, todos debemos traer nuestras experiencias y dones a la iglesia y ofrecerlos. Deberíamos ofrecerlos de una manera que se ajuste a esa comunidad, que honre a sus líderes y que lleve a las personas al Evangelio, y no a nosotros. Después de todo, Jesús dijo que el Espíritu Santo dirigiría la atención de las personas a Jesús, no a sí mismo. El Espíritu Santo se manifiesta en la liturgia, en el bautismo y en la eucaristía, en nuestra vida diaria, en los milagros y en las experiencias enfervorizadas. Él no está limitado.

Si queremos descubrir dónde está trabajando el Espíritu Santo hoy, no deberíamos buscar nuestras propias experiencias o expresiones reflejadas en otros. Debemos buscar el fruto del Espíritu. En cualquier lugar donde alguien ama a Jesucristo, ama a su prójimo, cree en el Evangelio y lo ama, allí es donde actúa el Espíritu Santo. ¿Eres carismático? Genial. No todos lo son. Busque el fruto del Espíritu, y cuando lo vea, regocíjese, incluso si la persona no habla en lenguas o no ama bailar en el Espíritu. ¿Eres un no carismático? Genial. Algunas personas lo son. Busque el fruto del Espíritu, y cuando lo vea, regocíjese, incluso si la persona no ama el canto de salmos o la sucesión episcopal.

Prefiero no agregar palabras como “carismático” o “evangélico” o “católico” delante de “Anglicano”. Pero para mí, eso es lo que significa ser un anglicano que también es carismático, y me siento en paz en ese lugar.

Greg Goebel es el fundador del sitio “Anglican Pastor.” El es un pastor Anglicano dentro de la Iglesia Anglicana de Norteamérica. Sirvió en una iglesia evangélica sin denominación antes de ser llamado a server dentro de la Iglesia Anglicana en 2003. Ha servido como pastor asociado, administrador parroquial y rector (pastor principal). Sirve actualmente como el canónigo del Obispo para la Diócesis Anglicana del Sur (Anglican Diocese of the South).

Traducido por: Matias Flores, miembro del equipo de Comunicaciones de Caminemos Juntos.

The post ¿Sigues siendo carismático? appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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My Anglican adventure began when I left home to go to a foreign country called Durham, North Carolina.

Foreign to me, because I am from East Los Angeles. I grew up surrounded by the stories of a loving family and an eclectic neighborhood’s influences of the ’60s. In the words of the spiritual, “My soul looks back and wonders; how I got over.” The fabric and the aroma of everybody’s Sunday Soul food cookin’, always accompanied by a euphony and cacophony of sounds.

My Upbringing

My spiritual rearing and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord at eight years old was paramount. I grew up in a Baptist/Pentecostal home and was mentored by the family preachers, prayer warriors, and, musicians. As a young child, I learned how to distinguish my voice, their voices, and God’s voice. This distinction would prove to be helpful when I moved forward into adulthood. My upbringing gave me a solid foundation that prepared me for the future.

In addition, the preparation for my Anglican journey included personal training in the areas of music and preaching.

As a young teen, one afternoon, my grandmother (who directed the Senior choir at church) placed a sacred choral work and conducting book in front of me and said, “be ready to direct the choir, Friday night!” She then walked away.

Of course, I did, and I had a great time. Little did I know that I would perform this task as choir director a few more times! I conducted my first orchestra at twenty-one years old at my university.

Furthermore, as a teen, I accepted invitations to speak at numerous Youth conferences. And I always sang, everywhere I went.

Ministering and Teaching Music

Several years ago, while teaching high school algebra, I accepted an interview for one of the largest churches in Los Angeles County (some 15,000 members). I was hired as Minister of Music to teach music in their church school and to lead a hundred voice choir.

As in other church positions, whether in the area of music or teaching/preaching the Word of God, I pressed hard into the Word of God while depending on the anointing of the Holy Spirit to rest on me, especially when touching so many lives.

After I completed my Master’s in music education, I was accepted into a Ph.D. program at Indiana University in the area of Ethnomusicology. At that time, I knew that I had to pay attention to the prophetic pastoral call on my life. Then everything fell apart.

I no longer had a teaching job, so I called a relative to pray for me and she asked me to send my resume to her. I sent her my resume and the following week, I had two music job interviews in Durham, NC.

Once I got into the classroom, however, I did not like teaching in their school system. So, on a dare, I filled out an application to Duke Divinity School. The registrar at Duke called and asked me to come to a visitor’s day.

Duke Divinity School

When I drove on the campus, I knew this was where I was supposed to be. I was accepted into their M.Div. program right away.

Toward the end of my first year, one of my professors said, “You know, the Episcopal Church needs you!” My immediate reply was: “I do not need them!” But my professor would not relent: “We need strong preachers like you.”

Later, near the end of the school year, the presence of God met me in my office. The passage in Ezekiel 37 spoke to me clearly: “Will you prophesy for me?” I said yes. Then, an admonition: “Stay out of all politics. Just preach my Word.”

I was favored by the Rector who believed I would do well in the church. After I was confirmed, I taught one of the confirmation classes, and I began the ordination process as an aspirant in the Episcopal Church in Chapel Hill, NC.

New York City

After graduation, the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee made the decision to send me to the General Theological Seminary in New York City.

I lived on campus at General. As seminarians, we were given many assignments, including serving at Trinity Wall Street Church on Ash Wednesday. This was shortly after 9/11, and it would involve imposing ashes on the hundreds of people who came.

My heart was deeply moved as I stood there in that place for almost three hours. I thought my heart would burst during the ashes, tears, and prayer. I am a priest, I said to myself. The office of pastor I will do, another yes, to God.

Closed Doors, Open Doors

While waiting on the Holy Spirit to open an Anglican door for ministry, an unexpected door opened to pastor two UMC churches in North Carolina. I pastored for a short time there, before returning home to Los Angeles. Often, I would watch God work with these wonderful people.

My Anglican journey has required a lot of faith. Little did I know that saying yes to God would involve and invite hurt, rejection, and misunderstanding. But, as a result, I have gained joy, strength, discernment, godly wisdom, love, patience, and compassion.

The twists and turns of the Anglican journey continued, but my soul was anchored in the Lord. I continued to submit applications and respond to interviews to churches in the South and on the West coast.

At last, reality struck me that those doors were not going to assist me on my quest. Unfortunately, there were some who made it very clear that there was no room in their churches for someone “like me”—an African American and a female.

Finally, I wrote a letter of introduction to Archbishop Robert Duncan. I wished to be heard by the head of the church, I wished for him to know that I exist. Five years ago, I voiced my concerns to him. I felt rejected for being an African American and a woman.

Archbishop Duncan immediately replied. He expressed his concern and spoke of St. John’s vision in Revelation of a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language—a vision that cannot come soon enough. His letter is dated March 5, 2014.

Yet again, the Lord has opened a door. On August 11, 2019, I will be installed as the Rector of St. Paul’s City Church in Murrieta, CA. Now I would say to Archbishop Duncan that the first leg of the relay, my Anglican adventure, has begun!

A “Bapticostal” African American Anglican

Oftentimes, people ask me: “How in the world did you get into the Anglican Church since you are an exuberant ‘Bapticostal’?!”

I laugh and say to them: “Have you taken time to prayerfully read or sing the liturgy of the church?”

A celebratory worship experience and style is a part of the fabric of my soul. And our Anglican liturgy is very rich! At times, it is almost like listening to a polyphonic choral work by Palestrina.

Finally, perhaps you’re wondering why I’ve returned to and remained within the Anglican tradition, despite the difficulties I’ve faced as an African American woman.

Part of it is the richness of the liturgy that I’ve just mentioned. Part of it is my theological commitment to orthodoxy.

But, ultimately, in spite of the mess I’ve been through, I never gave in to the negative talk or looks because I love the body of Christ and this section of the body called Anglicans.

Throughout my Anglican adventure, I very clearly sensed God’s call to “GO,” especially when facing persecution or suffering. What if Jesus had changed his mind because the people were so cruel? 

I was not sent to join a club but to be a healing presence everywhere I go. Growth takes place out of great suffering, and I continue to grow.

The post My Anglican Adventure, by Antoinette Burwell appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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Los Anglicanos suelen leen cuatro pasajes de las Escrituras durante el culto dominical del domingo. En voz alta.

Lo mismo ocurre con tradiciones como la Católica Romana, Ortodoxa, Luterana y otras. No estamos compitiendo con nuestros compañeros creyentes en otras tradiciones, pero sí leemos muchas más Escrituras en nuestra adoración que la mayoría de muchas iglesias llamadas “Bíblicas.”

¿Por qué hacemos esto? ¿Cómo seleccionamos las lecturas? ¿Cómo pueden otras iglesias empezar a hacer esto?

Por qué leer las Escrituras en voz alta

Aquí hay una gran razón: Pablo literalmente nos dijo que leyéramos las Escrituras públicamente, en voz alta. Él escribió a Timoteo: “dedícate a la lectura pública de las Escrituras, a la exhortación, a la enseñanza”. Y a los tesalonicenses, “te pongo bajo juramento ante el Señor para que esta carta se lea a todos los hermanos”.

Jesús se puso de pie en la sinagoga y leyó las Escrituras. Los judíos leen las Escrituras en voz alta porque Deuteronomio dice que lo haga: “Reúnanme a la gente para que les permita escuchar mis palabras, para que aprendan a temerme todos los días que vivan en la tierra y que puedan enseñar así a sus hijos”.

La lectura pública de las Escrituras no debe considerarse como algo opcional. No es lo mismo que leer solo por ti mismo. Y no es lo mismo que escuchar un pasaje leído antes de un sermón. Leer las Escrituras en voz alta es algo propio, y es una práctica antigua, bíblica y útil.

Cuales libros

Leemos del Antiguo Testamento, los Salmos, los Evangelios y las Epístolas.

La lectura del Antiguo Testamento es importante. Es el libro que prepara el camino para Jesucristo. Nos conecta con el Pueblo de Dios hasta la creación de la humanidad.

Orar en voz alta un Salmo juntos es la manera bíblica de alabar y orar como respuesta al resto de las lecturas.

La lectura de las Epístolas cumple la directiva de Pablo de leer las Cartas en voz alta y transmitirlas. Estas cartas también nos enseñan el significado y el efecto del Evangelio.

La lectura de los Evangelios es el momento culminante. Aquí es donde escuchamos las palabras y los hechos de nuestro Señor. Como cabeza de la Iglesia, él nos habla.

Cuales pasajes

No seleccionamos los pasajes para que estén listos localmente (con excepciones de vez en cuando). Compartimos un leccionario común (listas de pasajes asignados a cada semana).

Esta es una antigua tradición que se remonta incluso a las prácticas judías antes del tiempo de Jesús. Al compartir las mismas lecturas, estamos adorando junto con los cristianos de todo el mundo.

Y el Leccionario también tiene el efecto de evitar que la personalidad del pastor domine demasiado los temas y el enfoque de la adoración. El pastor puede no querer hacerlo, pero si una persona selecciona todas las lecturas personalmente, durante todo el año, inevitablemente seguirá un estrecho patrón de interés personal.

Cómo leer las Escrituras en la adoración Primero, predique un sermón más corto.

No es necesario predicar durante 35 minutos cuando se leen más Escrituras. Deje que la Biblia hable y luego predique sobre un aspecto, particularmente con la lección del Evangelio como el enfoque principal.

Segundo, entrene a la gente a leer.

Imprimimos las lecciones y, a menudo, las enviamos por correo electrónico a las personas antes de la adoración. La mayoría de las iglesias anglicanas tienen un horario de lectores entrenados. Aliente a las personas a usar una voz de lectura normal (en lugar de una voz que suene religiosa). También es una excelente manera de involucrar a los jóvenes en la adoración. Y anima a todos a traer una Biblia y leer.

Tercero, usa un Leccionario.

Mi iglesia ha publicado recientemente un  leccionario  adaptado del Leccionario común. Es gratis para cualquier iglesia que quiera adoptarlo.

En cuarto lugar, proporcionar introducciones y respuestas.

Los Anglicanos dicen tradicionalmente “Una lectura de… [libro], [capítulo] y que comienza en el verso [número]” antes de las lecciones del Antiguo Testamento y la Epístola. Después, el lector dice: “La Palabra del Señor” y la gente responde: “Demos gracias a Dios”.

Para el Salmo, es tradicional leer responsivamente (el lector dice una parte y el pueblo la siguiente). Después del Salmo una costumbre es decir la Gloria Patri.

Los Evangelios se anuncian: “El Santo Evangelio de nuestro Señor Jesucristo según [Escritor del Evangelio]” y la gente responde: “Gloria a ti, Cristo Señor “. Después de leer, el diácono o lector dice: “El Evangelio del Señor.” Y la Gente responde: “Gloria a ti, Señor Jesús”.

Finalmente, sea lo que sea, no dejes de leer las Escrituras. Esto no es negociable para ninguna iglesia cristiana. Y dará fruto en el evangelio.

Greg Goebel es el fundador del sitio “Anglican Pastor.” El es un pastor Anglicano dentro de la Iglesia Anglicana de Norteamérica. Sirvió en una iglesia evangélica sin denominación antes de ser llamado a server dentro de la Iglesia Anglicana en 2003. Ha servido como pastor asociado, administrador parroquial y rector (pastor principal). Sirve actualmente como el canónigo del Obispo para la Diócesis Anglicana del Sur (Anglican Diocese of the South).

Traducido por: Matias Flores, miembro del equipo de Comunicaciones de Caminemos Juntos.

The post Leyendo la Escritura en el Culto Anglicano appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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Editor’s note: Here at Anglican Pastor, we feature content from low church to high church, as long as it’s written with both clarity and charity. Even if you would never consider an “ad orientem” Holy Communion in your own church, I invite you to read about how and why Fr. Ben Jefferies has made the switch in his parish.

It comes as a shock to many Anglicans to find out that, prior to the 1950s, Anglicans never stood behind the altar to face the people for Holy Communion.

In fact, architecturally, it would have been impossible to get behind most altars, because almost all altars were placed up against the far wall of the sanctuary—usually the eastern wall.

Why east?

Well, churches have traditionally been built on an east-west axis. This was already an old tradition in the late 4th Century. The liturgical “reason why” was given by St. Basil to be:

“Thus we all look to the East at our prayers, but few of us know that we are seeking our own old country, Paradise, which God planted in Eden in the East” (On the Holy Spirit, 27.66).

One other common interpretation is that, in facing the direction of the rising sun, we recall to mind the natural symbol that the prophet Malachi speaks of as picturing Christ’s coming again, as “the sun of righteousness” (Mal 4:2).

Whatever the mystical meaning may be, the eastern orientation remains a prevalent fact of church architecture throughout the centuries. In situations where it was not possible to build a church on an east-west axis, the far wall of the sanctuary is nevertheless still referred to as the “east wall”, it being the “liturgical east” even if the compass wouldn’t say so.

Which way should we face?

In the 1950s, some liturgical scholars theorized that, in the ancient church, the celebrant would have stood behind the table, facing the people (Latin: versus populum) in a way that resembles how most Anglican priests now celebrate today.

In the wake of Vatican II, the idea caught on like wild-fire among Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Churches everywhere slid their altars out from the far wall, and priests stood behind them to celebrate Communion.

The felt gain from this new liturgical positioning was that it made the Eucharist feel more friendly and communal—the priest was not some distant figure “over there,” but was one of the people, standing in a circle, resembling a head-of-household at the head of the table. The old, east-facing way (latin: ad orientem) was sneered at, derisively referred to as “worshiping with your back to the people.” Thus, the new way became the new norm.

Now, to be clear, facing the altar vs. facing the people is certainly a secondary issue one way or another. That is, it’s one of the ritual things that the Church in every era and time has authority to determine on. It’s non-essential to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless, my point is that the decision to face the people instead of the altar was not a win-win. For while something was gained, much was lost.

My personal experience.

I have been serving the Church as a priest for five years, and with every passing year, one of the things that kept nagging at my mind more and more when I was celebrating the Eucharist was: Why am I facing the people? I am praying to God the Father, why am I looking at the church? The people are supposed to be joining in my prayer to God, why are they looking at me?

Standing behind the altar, facing them, started to feel more and more odd as a posture of prayer.

In addition, with the ups and downs of life and ministry, on Sundays when I was feeling less than brilliant, I felt the strange need to emotionally rise to the occasion, to present myself in a certain way during the Eucharist. After all, all eyes were on me.

The thought occurred to me that, although this versus populum position was supposed to be less “clericalist,” I actually felt like the “spotlight” was shining very brightly on me.

If instead I were facing the cross on the altar, the people wouldn’t see my face and every expression, and I would be free to focus on the task at hand: praying.

So, I started to do a little reading on the subject of ad orientem celebration of Communion, and I learned that the claims of the liturgical scholars about what was the norm in the early church stood on very shaky and contested ground.

I learned that, at first-century tables, all the guests reclined on the same side of the table, while the servants came to the other side to serve. Thus, at the Last Supper, Jesus was shoulder to shoulder with the Apostles as he instituted Holy Communion (Da Vinci was right!).

In addition, I learned that many examples in both archaeology and liturgical texts indicate that an east-facing position was almost certainly the norm for Eucharistic celebrations in the early church. At the very least, it was the norm for the 1500 years prior to 1950, revealing that the mind of the Church clearly thought there was something to it.

I therefore decided to try out the ancient way, virtually lost since 1950, of celebrating east-facing. I pushed the altar-table up against the wall, and began to celebrate facing it. I did this as a trial period, accepting the feedback of the congregation I serve.

To my surprise, there was no sustained objection to my trying it, and indeed, it has “stuck” as a practice. It is now the norm for us at the church I serve.

The experience of celebrating Holy Communion in the east-facing position has confirmed in real life what I had read about in theory in the liturgical books.

4 reasons I now celebrate Communion facing the altar, not the people.

I would like to share four tremendous advantages that have made me a life-long fan of this return to the old-ways. I commend ad orientem to the consideration of all priests who, like me, have until now never known anything other than a versus populum celebration.

1. It is much less clericalist.

The spotlight is no longer on you, as a person, and the experience you are or are not having. Rather, you become subordinate to the role you are there to fulfill: the role of priest.

In addition, spatially and visually, it is much clearer that you the priest are merely one of the people of God, who has stepped forward about 8ft further than the congregation, to offer prayers on their behalf. Especially following a procession, to emerge from out of the midst of the congregation, standing just a few feet ahead of them, offering prayer to God — it is clear that you are not on some totally different plane of existence, that in fact, you all face God the same way, praying together.

2. It is much more prayerful.

For me, being able to look at the altar-cross, and not at the faces of the people, profoundly impacted the prayerful nature of what is supposed to be a prayer: The Eucharistic prayer.

It enabled me as a priest to focus on talking to Almighty God, rather than accidentally slipping into talking to the people, or, worse still, as if somehow the Eucharist was merely a re-enactment of the past, that I was “performing.”

Instead, I can speak in the reverent, prayerful tones that I am accustomed to speaking in when I pray to my Father in secret. I can invite the congregation to join with me in that intimate prayer.

3. It is much more priestly.

The late Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, describes a priest in his perennial classic The Christian Priest Today as an appointed one who stands before God at the Altar, with the people in his heart.

The priest is supposed to be an intercessor for the people—pleading for mercy and help from God for them. The ad orientem position makes this relationship visually much clearer.

In the pulpit I am to preach God’s Word to the people. But in the Eucharistic prayers, I am to take the people’s spiritual needs to God, as an appointed intercessor. My sense of connection and ministration to the people in the prayers dramatically increased in this way, because I wasn’t looking at them, but looking to God with them.

4. It tacitly communicates a more robust theology of worship.

Ad orientem Eucharists in their very shape implicitly teach a robust theology of worship.

That is, the aspect of offering spiritual sacrifice to God is made much clearer. As the priest, I am presenting things to God, to please him. This is the essential definition of worship.

But what is pleasing to God? What can we present to him, that he will find acceptable? Certainly not our merits or works or anything from us, or even, anything in the created world whatsoever.

The only offering that is pleasing to God is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross at Golgotha. That was the one pleasing, propitiatory sacrifice. The only acceptable oblation to God the Father. The only act of true and acceptable worship.

Therefore, how dare we bring before Almighty God anything of less value! Therefore, the best (and only!) thing we can offer is a memorial of that one sacrifice on the cross. A remembrance to God, that we spiritually lift up before him, asking for him to accept in our place. We ask God the Father to accept the oblation of Jesus on our behalf, and in a mysterious way, we make this plea through the celebration of Holy Communion.

The only thing that we can offer to God of ourselves is our gratitude: Our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (to use the words of the Eucharistic prayer). And besides that, our whole selves, which we also offer in the prayer.

But even as we offer ourselves, it is not as ourselves that we render ourselves to the Father. Rather, as the Body of Christ, as part of Christ, we the Church present our lives, body and soul, to God, as part of Christ’s own offering of himself to God.

This is a great mystery, but it’s one that I (and others in the congregation) are beginning to peer into a little further, thanks to the more offering-like shape of a priest facing east, facing an altar and a cross, with bread and wine in his hands, praying to God.

Sure, but is it “missional”?

While switching to an ancient, unfamiliar way of celebrating the liturgy might not seem to be that mission-minded, it is perhaps worth noting that the rate of congregational growth we have experienced has increased since making the switch.

I have received many comments, both from long-time Anglicans and brand-new Baptist visitors, to the effect of:

  • “I just love how much the priest is not front and center.”
  • “I feel like I am able to really encounter God in the service, without the things of man getting in the way.”
  • “I feel like I am re-learning reverence in worship.”

These are just a few of the sentiments I have heard. They have profoundly affirmed my theorizing and personal experience on the matter. I can say confidently that I shall celebrate facing east for the rest of my ministry.

The post 4 Reasons Why I Now Celebrate Communion Facing The Altar, Not the People appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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¿Por qué bautizar a los infantes?

El verso lema anglicano para niños tendría que ser: “Dejen que los niños vengan a mí y no los obstaculicen, porque a tales pertenece el reino de los cielos”.

Comenzando muy temprano en la vida de la Iglesia cristiana, los niños cristianos fueron vistos como miembros de la comunidad de fe del pacto. Así como Israel llevó a sus hijos a la señal del Pacto, la circuncisión, llevamos a nuestros hijos a la señal del Nuevo Pacto, llamado bautismo (véase Colosenses 2:11-13).

Por lo tanto, tratamos a nuestros hijos como Cristianos, enseñándoles desde el principio cómo vivir como miembros del Cuerpo de Cristo, y no negándoles la gracia que necesitan a través de Cristo para crecer en esa fe. En otras palabras, creemos que estamos “dejándolos venir a Jesús” como él lo mandó.

San Pedro, predicando el evangelio a la gente, dice:

—Arrepiéntase y bautícese cada uno de ustedes en el nombre de Jesucristo para perdón de sus pecados —les contestó Pedro—, y recibirán el don del Espíritu Santo. En efecto, la promesa es para ustedes, para sus hijos y para todos los extranjeros, es decir, para todos aquellos a quienes el Señor nuestro Dios quiera llamar. (Hechos 2:38-39, NVI)

Durante la Reforma, todos los reformadores principales retuvieron el bautismo infantil, un hecho que sorprende a muchos protestantes estadounidenses en la actualidad.

Lutero lo miró de esta manera:

Dado que nuestro bautismo ha sido así desde el principio del cristianismo y la costumbre ha sido bautizar a los niños, y dado que nadie puede demostrar con buenas razones que no tienen fe, no debemos hacer cambios y basarnos en argumentos tan débiles. Porque si vamos a cambiar o eliminar las costumbres que son tradicionales, es necesario probar convincentemente que éstas son contrarias a la Palabra de Dios. (“Relativo al rebautismo”, pág. 353).

Calvino siguió a Agustín al ver el paedobaptismo como un reconocimiento del pecado original y la gracia absoluta. El bebé indefenso nos recuerda que todos somos como bebés en la presencia de Dios.

La Iglesia no dividida y los reformadores creían que los infantes indefensos eran candidatos apropiados para el bautismo. La tradición no suele alinearse a lo largo de esas líneas. Casi todo el mundo ha creído que los hijos de padres cristianos deben ser bautizados. La Biblia parece ordenarlo, ya que Pedro dijo que el bautismo era “para sus hijos”. Jesús nos advirtió que no le alejáramos a los niños. ¡Veo un patrón aquí!

Pero ¿qué pasa con la salvación de los infantes?

En lugar de imaginar su venida a Cristo como un evento de una sola vez, creemos que debemos llevarlos continuamente a Jesús de muchas maneras diferentes y en muchos momentos diferentes cada día.

Lo estamos haciendo a través de los Sacramentos, el Espíritu y las Escrituras. Confiamos en que Jesús obrará en sus corazones y los alentamos a crecer en su fe en él.

¿Tendrán experiencias dramáticas y personales de Cristo? Tal vez no dramáticas (¡aunque eso también es bueno!) Pero siempre estamos buscando las señales del Espíritu y haciendo lo que podamos para avivar las llamas del amor.

Greg Goebel es el fundador del sitio “Anglican Pastor.” El es un pastor Anglicano dentro de la Iglesia Anglicana de Norteamérica. Sirvió en una iglesia evangélica sin denominación antes de ser llamado a server dentro de la Iglesia Anglicana en 2003. Ha servido como pastor asociado, administrador parroquial y rector (pastor principal). Sirve actualmente como el canónigo del Obispo para la Diócesis Anglicana del Sur (Anglican Diocese of the South).

Traducido por: Matias Flores, miembro del equipo de Comunicaciones de Caminemos Juntos.

The post Bautismo Infantil: ¿Por qué los Anglicanos Bautizan a los Bebés? appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has recently released its 2019 Book of Common Prayer (BCP).

For most ACNA churches, the revised translation of the Nicene Creed will likely be the most apparent liturgical change on a Sunday morning. This is at least the case for our church (Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, TN).

The Nicene Creed is the Church’s ancient statement of faith.

With the exception of one tiny clause, it can be confessed, or at least its contents affirmed, by every Christian tradition and denomination. The Church has said it as part of our liturgy since the fourth century A.D.

The version of the Nicene Creed we say is, of course, a translation of the Greek original. With all translations, there are certain disputed elements. Revising it, therefore, will continue to happen over time. The translation that Redeemer has used until now was first introduced via the Episcopal Church in 1979.

When I was a kid, I memorized a much older version of the Creed. When the new one came, the one we use now, I had to change. It was a much greater change than the one we’re about to experience. I remember disliking it.

However, since I’ve used this translation of the Creed for 40 years, I’ve grown quite accustomed to it. I expect I will occasionally stumble over the new one.

Below, you’ll see the revised translation next to the current 1979 one. As you compare them side by side, you’ll see there are only a few changes.

I have marked all the changes in red, with the previous words marked in blue. To learn more, read my comments about the changes below.

1979 BCP

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord,
Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate
from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at
the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father
and the Son.
With the Father and the Son
he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

2019 BCP

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, visible and invisible.

We believe in one Lord,
Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit 

and the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at
the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father
[and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son
is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Notice the following changes.

1. “Visible and invisible”, rather than “seen and unseen.”

This change aligns the new translation more closely with the original Greek (ὁρατῶν τε πάντων καὶ ἀοράτων). I see it as making the scope larger.

Unseen things may just be things I can’t see right now, but can be seen later. For instance, I can’t see the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville right now, but I can see it later if I want.

Invisible things, however, can be things no human being can ever see. They are spiritual things, things beyond my comprehension.

2. “Only-begotten,” rather than “only.”

Once again, this change aligns the new translation more closely with the original Greek (τὸν μονογενῆ). Also, it is more correct.

Christ isn’t God’s only son in the sense that you and I are also his children (sons). However, he is the Father’s only begotten son.

Of course, we don’t precisely understand what it means that he is begotten. But, whatever it means, he’s the only one.

3. “Was incarnate” from the Holy Spirit, rather than “by the power” of the Holy Spirit.

You guessed it, this is a better translation of the Greek (σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου).

By removing the “power of the Holy Spirit,” it seems that the newer translation is removing an artificial degree of separation between God and the Virgin Mary at the Incarnation.

4. “And the Son.”

This is the sticky widget of the Nicene Creed, the one phrase that has caused the most historical drama.

The original version of the Nicene Creed did not include this phrase. For the past thousand years or so, the Western Church has included the phrase, while the Eastern Church has not.

Here’s what the ACNA College of Bishops stated about the Nicene Creed in 2013:

RESOLVED, The normative form of the Nicene Creed for the Anglican Church in North America is the original text as adopted by the Councils of Nicaea (325 A.D.) and Constantinople (381 A.D.). This form shall be rendered in English in the best and most ac-curate translation achievable.

RESOLVED, The Anglican Church in North America acknowledges that the form of the Nicene Creed customary in the West is that of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, including the words “and the Son” (filioque), which form may be used in worship and for elucidation of doctrine.

5. “Who” rather than “he.”

OK, just one more time: the new version of the Creed is more faithful to the original Greek.

In the original language of the Creed, the Holy Spirit is, linguistically, neuter (as opposed to masculine or feminine).

While the Holy Spirit is a person and not an “it,” the Bible itself is often non-specific about the Spirit’s gender. Neutral pronouns are often (though not always) used, with both masculine and feminine words and images assigned to the Spirit.

It seems that, for this and possibly other reasons, the original writers of the Creed preferred “who” to “he,” “she,” or “it.”

The post A New Creed? The ACNA’s Revised Translation of the Nicene Creed appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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¿Qué creen los Anglicanos acerca de la Santa Comunión? Esto puede ser difícil de precisar.

En primer lugar, porque la Santa Comunión tiene muchos nombres:

  • La Misa,
  • la Eucaristía,
  • la Cena del Señor,
  • O simplemente la Comunión.

Sin embargo, la Santa Comunión se describe en el Artículo 28 (XXVIII) de los Treinta y Nueve Artículos de la Religión. Esto ofrece una visión de lo que los Anglicanos creen acerca de la Sagrada Comunión, y lo hace en dos partes.

  1. La primera es una descripción positiva de la visión anglicana de la Cena del Señor.
  2. La segunda es una breve discusión de lo que los Anglicanos no creen acerca de la Cena del Señor, seguida de una clarificación en la que tratamos de, a la vez, de evitar posiciones extremas.
¿Qué creen los anglicanos sobre la santa comunión?

Aquí está el texto de la primera parte positiva:

La cena del Señor no es solo una señal del amor que los cristianos deben tener entre sí, uno al otro, sino que es un sacramento de nuestra redención por la muerte de Cristo: tal como para los que de manera correcta, con dignidad y fe reciben lo mismo, el pan que partimos es tomar parte del cuerpo de Cristo, y de igual manera la copa de bendición es tomar parte de la sangre de Cristo.

Esta parte del Artículo XXVIII afirma lo que ya se ha dicho acerca de la naturaleza de los sacramentos (ver Artículo 25 [XXV]), en que la cena es tanto un signo como un sacramento.

Deja claro que los Anglicanos sostienen lo que se llama una teología “recepcionista.” Es decir, creemos que Dios usa los sacramentos para transmitir la gracia solo a aquellos que los reciben por fe. Por supuesto, como Cristianos de la Reforma, creemos que la fe es un don de Dios.

Esta parte también afirma que tomar el pan es participar del cuerpo de Cristo y beber la copa es participar de la sangre de Cristo.

Lo que los anglicanos no creen acerca de la santa comunión

Pero aquí es donde los escritores y reescritores de los Artículos se pusieron nerviosos. Sabían que la Iglesia Católica Romana creía, y exigía que sus miembros creyeran, en algo llamado “transubstanciación”, por lo que este artículo va más allá:

La transubstanciación (o el cambio de la sustancia del pan y el vino) en la Cena del Señor, no puede ser probada por la Sagrada Escritura, pero es repugnante a las claras palabras de la Escritura, derroca la naturaleza de un Sacramento y ha dado ocasión a muchas supersticiones.

El cuerpo de Cristo se da, se toma y se come en la Cena, solo de una manera celestial y espiritual. Y el medio por el cual el cuerpo de Cristo se recibe y se come en la Cena es la Fe.

El sacramento de la Cena del Señor por la ordenanza de Cristo no estaba reservado, ordenado, elevado o adorado.

El artículo describe la “transubstanciación” como la creencia/enseñanza de que el pan y el vino realmente cambian sustancialmente en carne y hueso.

(Esto incluye la distinción aristotélica entre la sustancia/esencia y los accidentes de una cosa. Es útil saber un poco sobre esto para comprender la transubstanciación. Haga clic aquí para obtener más información).

Nadie en ese día creía que el pan y el vino se verían físicamente como carne y sangre. Pero la Iglesia Romana creía que Dios había reemplazado la sustancia o realidad del pan y el vino con la carne y la sangre de Cristo, y que en este reemplazo el sacerdote ofreció a Cristo de nuevo a Dios y al pueblo como sacrificio.

La Reforma se opuso a esta creencia, rechazando la idea de que el pan y el vino eran sustancialmente de carne y hueso. Pero los anglicanos, en su mayor parte, estaban preocupados por no abandonar demasiadas cosas, especialmente porque fue Cristo mismo quien tomó el pan y dijo: “Este es mi cuerpo…”

Entonces, la solución fue afirmar que el pan y el vino son su cuerpo y sangre de manera espiritual, y luego calificar que, aunque la comida es celestial o espiritual, es, sin embargo, una verdadera participación del cuerpo y la sangre de Cristo.

El creyente debe acercarse a la mesa en esta fe, que Cristo se entrega a su pueblo a través de este pan y vino. El Espíritu Santo hace esto posible, haciendo que Cristo esté presente en el pan y el vino, haciendo de esta comida una verdadera participación en Cristo.

La frase más simple que se usa para expresar esta visión matizada es la frase “presencia real”. Esta es una afirmación de que lo que sucede durante la comunión es real, es objetivo y que Dios lo asegura. Afirma también que Dios está presente, y que debemos creer y confiar en que él está.

Pero esta frase evita deliberadamente describir el mecanismo de cómo exactamente Dios hace esto. Cómo Cristo se hace presente, entonces, se deja en el reino del misterio. Eso es asunto de Dios.

Debemos acercarnos a su mesa con fe, confiando en que él hará lo que prometió y se hará presente a nosotros en el partimiento del pan. En este ambiente de misterio, los Anglicanos han apreciado una amplia gama de sentimientos desde el memorialismo (recuerdo simbólico) hasta la consubstanciación (Cristo está con el pan y el vino), mientras evitan una teología demasiado técnica de la Eucaristía.

Recibiendo la eucaristía

La práctica real de recibir la Eucaristía (que significa “acción de gracias”) tiene una historia variada.

Los Cristianos de los primeros días se reunían todos los días para una fiesta de amor, seguido de la comida ceremonial de pan y vino, generalmente por la noche.

A lo largo de los siglos, cuando el clero comenzó a dominar la adoración y la gente veía cada vez más el pan y el vino como objetivamente poderosos, la gente comenzó a temer la recepción. En la Edad Media, la mayoría de los cristianos recibían solo el Día de Pascua, después del período de cuarenta días de arrepentimiento durante la Cuaresma, que creían que los prepararía para recibir el cuerpo y la sangre del Señor.

Pero durante la Reforma, muchos dentro y fuera de la Iglesia Católica Romana comenzaron a trabajar para restaurar la antigua visión de que la Comunión debería ser una garantía de la gracia, no un instrumento de condena. Debemos animar a la gente a recibirla regularmente.

Esta realidad, incluso en las iglesias protestantes, tardó mucho tiempo en difundirse. No fue hasta mediados del siglo 19° que las iglesias ofrecieron Eucaristía con más regularidad. Y no fue hasta el siglo pasado cuando las iglesias de las muchas tradiciones cristianas comenzaron a celebrar la comunión semanal.

Hoy en día en muchas de las iglesias anglicanas la comunión semanal es la práctica común.

Greg Goebel es el fundador del sitio “Anglican Pastor.” El es un pastor Anglicano dentro de la Iglesia Anglicana de Norteamérica. Sirvió en una iglesia evangélica sin denominación antes de ser llamado a server dentro de la Iglesia Anglicana en 2003. Ha servido como pastor asociado, administrador parroquial y rector (pastor principal). Sirve actualmente como el canónigo del Obispo para la Diócesis Anglicana del Sur (Anglican Diocese of the South).

Traducido por: Matias Flores, miembro del equipo de Comunicaciones de Caminemos Juntos.

The post ¿Qué Creen los Anglicanos sobre la Santa Comunión? appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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Too often, our ministries feel choked by limitations.

There aren’t enough volunteers, there isn’t enough momentum, and—of course—there isn’t enough money. We feel as if we are always pinching pennies and squeezing stones. This is especially true in summer, when attendance (and giving) begin to wane.

As we celebrated Pentecost this summer, I was reminded again of the essential abundance and overflow offered to us in Christ. Jesus promised us that we wouldn’t be left alone, that we wouldn’t have to fight for every inch of ground gained in the church’s mission. God’s economy is not a zero-sum game—through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we have been invited to drink from the spring of eternal life, which breaks forever the cycle of thirst and want (John 4).

The needs of the world can stagger us. The financial realities of church work can overwhelm us. But this season assures us that we have been equipped for the task.

The Generosity Box can help your church grow in generosity this fall.

The Evergreen Project wants to equip you to build a culture of generosity in your church.

That’s why I’m thrilled to invite you to receive The Generosity Box, a yearly subscription to receive resources and training in generosity and stewardship, including our fall campaign package.

That’s right, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has created resources for your parish’s fall stewardship emphasis. You don’t need to start from scratch!

When your parish purchases The Generosity Box, you’ll gain access to resources and training, including this year’s fall campaign: The Joy of Giving Up, based on my book.

It’s a holistic call to living generously as a formational and evangelistic practice. When we ‘give up’, we invite Christ in to every part of our lives and we send the gospel out to a world in need.

What’s in the box?

The Generosity Box will include campaign materials to equip you and your leaders to address generosity from every angle.

Here’s a preview of the teaching and resources that you’ll receive in our fall campaign.

Biblical Teaching: A 5-Week Sermon Series

You’ll receive outlines and other resources for a 5-week sermon series for teaching on generosity.

In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul instructs his young church about the call to the generous life. Paul’s challenge to the Corinthians provides us with a roadmap for helping engage our cultural climate in practices of sacrificial giving.

These texts unfold with wisdom for your congregation that will dismantle both the pervasive materialism of secularism and its religious cousin, the ‘prosperity gospel.’ Help your church learn to give out of gratitude for God’s abundance with a joy that weathers all circumstances.

Engaging Discipleship: Small Group Resources

We will give you digital and print individual devotions and small group study materials

Small groups may have studied how to faithfully steward their personal finances, but have they connected their own generosity with the generous life of Jesus and the generous mission of the church?

In curriculum that can walk alongside your sermon series, small groups will discuss just how it was that the church became famous in its earliest days and rediscover the life of a disciple that begins with giving. They will be reminded that God doesn’t merely desire to transform their beliefs or their thoughts, but desires that their hearts would be transformed by the daily, committed actions of their lives.

Nurturing Community: A Toolkit for the Congregation

You’ll get a toolkit of resources to help laypeople draft and deliver their ‘giving testimonies’ to call and inspire others to embrace the generous life.

Talking about generosity in church often creates an unhealthy dynamic between the rector and the congregation. The rector preaches from on high about the call to give and most parishioners try to avoid eye contact.

But the generous church should embrace giving as a communal act of worship, free from judgement and filled with inspiration.

By allowing laypeople the opportunity to speak honestly about their experience in giving, you can foster a more open conversation about what God desires from everyone.

Casting Vision: A Year-Round Plan

We provide a year-round planner for crucial conversations, pastoral letter templates, and communal discernment about generosity in your church.

A fall focus on generosity will get the conversation started in your church, but the question remains: Ok, now what?

Calling people to give sacrificially must be accompanied by a clear-eyed sense of purpose and an intentional plan to sustain the effort. Otherwise, it became ‘just another initiative’ that fell by the wayside.

Your church needs a roadmap at the end of the year for planning next year’s goals, setting next year’s budget, and continuing the conversation about giving so that it becomes part of your church’s DNA.

Not just a resource. A community!

We get it. There’s no shortage of books and materials for stewardship campaigns. In fact, there’s an avalanche of helpful resources out there.

But The Generosity Box isn’t just a resource dumped on your doorstep. Instead, it’s access to a thoughtful community of fellow practitioners. You’ll receive training and content tailored specifically for the needs of the Anglican Church in North America.

Here’s a look at some of the fall campaign training webinars available to subscribers:

  • Implementing The Joy of Generosity Program: Making it Work in Your Church
  • Vestry and Leadership Insight: Trends in Attendance, Membership, and Generosity
  • Giving a Generosity Testimony: How to Discover, Prepare, and Share God’s Work in You
  • Clergy Preaching Suggestions: Preaching for the Generous Heart

This parish-wide program will include much more to help you, your staff, your vestry, and volunteers lean into the generous way of Jesus.

To order the Generosity Box, fill out this order form and email it to Kelly@LeaderWorks.org.

You can also earn more and subscribe at theevergreenproject.org.

The Evergreen Project Can Help Your Church Grow in Generosity - YouTube

The post Want to Grow Your Church? Think Inside the Box! appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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For the last two years, I’ve been teaching Scripture, theology, and ethics at a small Christian high school that shares space with a local church. It took me a year and a half to realize that, on one of my classroom walls, half-hidden behind a filing cabinet and obscured beneath a coat of paint, was a Bible verse, written in red:

“Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12.

Do you ever have one of those moments when something happens and you think, “Uh, is this a metaphor?”

Yes, Virginia, there is a metaphor.

After two years of teaching Bible to freshmen and sophomores, I’ve realized something that pastors, youth leaders, and anyone interested in the word “discipleship” need to know.

Teenagers are called to preach. You should welcome them to preach in your church. You should do it today.

What happened?

How did I come to this conviction? It began when I was given the opportunity to teach “Scriptural Interpretation” as part of my course load.

Students at my school had already received Bible survey classes in middle school, so my project as their high school instructor was to plunge them deeper into the task of interpretation. As I designed these classes, I realized that the primary way we encounter scriptural interpretation is through preaching.

Since the students were already learning the basics of rhetoric in other courses, the next step was gleefully simple: my group of 14 to 16 year olds would each be assigned to preach a sermon.

Many of my students came from evangelical, “Worship and Word” churches (45 minutes of singing, 45 minutes of sermon), so naturally they were a bit aghast when I informed them they would write and preach a sermon to their classmates (and any other teachers who wanted to listen in). But they soon discovered that my assignment was not a 45-minute gallop, but rather what Anglicans know as a homily: 10-14 minutes, rhetorically precise, with differing structures and effects depending on the passage selected. Their relief was palpable.

This last year we studied the interpretation of the Old Testament and their task was to preach a Prophetic Sermon. They had to (1) choose a group or audience, (2) identify an idol that their chosen group worships, and (3) speak from Scripture God’s word of judgment and mercy to that group.

We began by studying Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, looking at the pathos of prophetic poetry, the way the Word of the Lord brings both judgment and mercy. We researched artists who embody prophetic critique and watched pastors issue bold calls to their congregations. And then, after weeks of preparation, I called them up to preach.

“Prophets make people uncomfortable,” I told them in their pep talk, “so make us feel uncomfortable when you preach.”

Little did I know.

For audiences, they chose their youth groups, the school they attended, and American churches of comfort and privilege.

They spoke about idols: self-regard, disunity, consumerism, comfort, tribalism, and nationalism. They brought attention to the inconsistent ways Christians love each other, the masks we wear, how churches will split over buildings and ignore the poor, and how resistant we are to completely surrendering our lives to God.

They declared God’s mercy in “building longer tables instead of higher walls,” and that every opportunity to love someone is an opportunity to delight in God.

They cried in front of each other without shame. They declared God’s values with boldness, God’s priorities with insight, and God’s judgment and mercy with love.

But, most of all, it is what they told me after the assignment was finished that moved me to write this piece.

Preaching as Discipleship

Discipleship is a dialogue—necessarily so. You are always someone’s disciple. Obedience, assent, and liturgical practices are all dialogic acts. They can never be done in isolation, without an other.

As Christians, that other is first and foremost Jesus Christ, our Creator, Lord and brother. As he did what he saw the Father doing, so we also enact what we see him doing. From that primary relationship, it is no great leap to say that preaching is rightly and properly done by all baptized Christians, all members of the Lord’s family. As Jesus proclaimed the good news, so do we.

What I discovered in watching these teenagers learn to preach, and in hearing the words they were given, is that we need more preaching, not less.

We need this because, as one student said to me after finishing her sermon, “I was able to find my voice through preaching.” That, right there, is why I am writing.

Fr. John Wallace, my mentor during my diaconal year, used to say to me, “We all have a sermon in us. Mine is ‘God is so much better than you think he is.’” We don’t know what that sermon, that word, is until we are called to speak it. For those of you who preach, you know that preaching has made you a more dedicated, responsible, and dependent disciple.

Fr. John also knew when I preached a bad sermon—and I preached several. He showed courage and vulnerability by letting the pulpit of his new church plant be a place where I could learn to preach. “But we don’t have to put that one on the website.” Merciful words.

How many places in your parish do young people have to find their voice, to enter into the dialogue of discipleship with the Lord?

Where can the Word of the Lord come to them and where can they objectively act on it?

Where can the community recognize them as examples to follow, “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity”?

Let me suggest one place all Anglicans have for young people to preach more regularly.

Small Graces

Sometimes the fine print is really amazing. Does that mean I read through every iTunes user agreement? Nope. But a great thing about the Prayer Book fine print is that it gives you some amazing details about Anglican life and liturgy.

You can start preaching at the Daily Office.

“A sermon may be preached after the Office; or, within the Office, after the Readings or at the time of the hymn or anthem after the Collects.” 1979 BCP, p. 142.

“A sermon may be preached after the lessons, after the hymn or anthem following the Collects, or after the conclusion of the Office.” 2019 BCP, p. 56.

The Daily Office is a perfect place to welcome youth to preach regularly in your parish.

Invite a high schooler to speak for five minutes on one way that morning or evening’s readings might change our lives. What word from the Lord do we need to hear in this place? What daily challenge can be brought to the Lord?

Anglicans have more opportunities to preach built into our liturgy than we really know what to do with. Instead of passing them by, let’s take them up and give them to our young people who are looking for ways to find belonging and belief in our churches. Give them a daily, Scripture-filled venue to find their voices in God. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

If your parish has a youth group, then invite them to preach there. One of the students from my class was asked to preach her sermon again to the whole school during our weekly chapel. Her sermon was about the biblical call to love our neighbors, especially the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. It was a moving sermon. But what riveted me was seeing 4th and 5th grade boys and girls sit completely still and focused on what she was saying. They were listening. A dialogue was starting. Discipleship was happening.

My own first sermon for the Sunday liturgy was during a summer internship. This was a unique church that, unlike most Anglican parishes, didn’t see a slowdown in attendance over the summer. If you’re a clergy person reading this and thinking, “yes, the summer slowdown! I’m going to welcome a young person to preach in late July!” Don’t. Let’s give young people opportunities to preach that engage your whole community.

I mean, don’t take Trinity Sunday away from the Associate Priests and Deacons, not that far…I tease. But give youth opportunities to be welcomed into the regular rhythm of parish life, times when people will show up.

I live next to a baseball field and regularly hear balls smashed against metal bats at 10:30pm and parents cheering with abandon. That’s faithfulness in the liturgy of sports. What about the Kingdom of God? If we are inviting young people to preach in the liturgy of God’s Church, let’s make sure they have a supportive and eager audience. Give your young preacher a team of people to pray for them and give them feedback when they finish.

We need to broaden our vision for preaching in the Anglican Tradition and take every opportunity to live into the fullness of the Church’s liturgical call. When the Prayer Book says “may”, let’s imagine what could happen if we read “should”. We need more preaching, by more people, with a multitude of voices.

The Word of the Lord is already coming to our young people. Will we equip them to speak it and will we be there to listen when they do?

Next Steps

So, let’s say you are thinking, “Ok, I see your point about letting youth preach and I’d like to, but I’m a busy pastor and don’t have time to teach preaching to the youth group. What should I do?”

First, start small and think with a cultivation mindset.

Ask a young person to give a short testimony as an illustration to your sermon.

Have young people regularly participate as Readers in the liturgy. Reading Scripture is the first step in interpretation. Ask your readers, “If you had to preach a sermon on this passage, what would you say?”

From there, it’s a small step to having a reader share a short meditation during small group or the Daily Office.

Second, form a cohort.

Set ambitious goals and give young people a community to travel with.

Have them listen to sermons together, analyze them, ask how the words are working to form emotion and argument.

Ask them to tell about their favorite artist or musician, how they create their songs.

Read Scripture together and have them preach to each other.

Show them how to listen for the Holy Spirit, and what word the Spirit might be prompting into a sermon.

Offer ways to grow for next time.

Third, don’t look for perfection and don’t let perfection become an idol.

Amos was blunt. Ezekiel was visionary. Jeremiah was pathetic. All spoke the Word of the Lord.

Commit to giving youth multiple opportunities to preach and be open about the mistakes you’ve made as a preacher. A blooper reel sets everyone at ease.

If they were not raised Anglican and have different expectations or internal habits about what constitutes a “sermon,” help bring those out and affirm the diversity of preaching. I remember listening to a 25-minute sermon and being disappointed because it felt like a mere introduction compared to the sermons I grew up with. Help them see the impact you can have with 3 minutes of speaking.

Fourth, share the vision.

Share a vision with your youth ministry team for what catechesis can look like in your parish. Catechesis comes from the Greek word katékhéo, a compound word (kata-ekheo) that can mean “to echo down,” another dialogic activity.

This isn’t just making sure kids have the right ideas, but is about sharing a form of life with them, one in which they are bodily participants. If we spend time in church preaching to them, and since preaching is vital to our life as Christians (Rom. 10:14), we should help them imitate that form of life and make it their own.

Fith, take risks in faith.

Pray for boldness for yourself and for your young preacher.

How many sermons have you walked into the pulpit completely calm and ready to preach? Oh, zero? Me too.

No one is ever completely ready, but we are called to speak.

Let the kids preach, and do not hinder them, for the Word of the Lord comes to such as these.

The post Pastor, Let the Children Preach: Why You Should Let the Youth Group Invade Your Pulpit appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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Just wanted to share the following main sessions from the Anglican Church in North America’s 2019 Provincial Assembly in Plano, TX.

You can also read a recap of Assembly at the ACNA website here.

Opening Eucharist Processional

I’m including this mainly because the music and singing were absolutely spectacular.

2019 Assembly Procession Opening Eucharist - YouTube
Opening Eucharist Sermon: Archbishop Foley Beach
2019 Assembly Opening Eucharist Sermon - YouTube
Plenary 1: James Bryan Smith

Note that these plenary address videos contain a fair bit of interview material at the beginning.

Skip to about 47:34 if you’d like to just watch the plenary.

2019 Assembly Plenary 1 - YouTube
Plenary 2: Russell Moore

Skip to 50:40 for this video.

2019 Assembly Plenary 2 - YouTube
Plenary 3: Ravi Zacharias

Skip to 56:59 for this video.

2019 Assembly Plenary 3 - YouTube
Plenary 4: Archbishop Laurent Mbanda

Skip to 46:09 for this video.

2019 Assembly Plenary 4 - YouTube
Closing Eucharist
2019 Assembly Closing Eucharist - YouTube

You can follow the ACNA’s Youtube channel here.

(Want to learn more about the ACNA’s 2019 Book of Common Prayer? Read our Rookie Anglican Guide!)

The post Missed the ACNA’s 2019 Provincial Assembly? Watch These Videos appeared first on Anglican Pastor.

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