Sonntag, 4. Juni 2006

+Lord Leon Checkemian

miter002_tn+LEON CHECKEMIAN, D.D.,LL.D.
He arrived in England in 1885.
He dreamt of weakening the power of the Church of Rome by promoting
Reformed Episcopal Churches among indigenous Christians outside the
immediate sphere of influence of Anglicanism.
Independent Anglicans are an historic part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and have their primary origins in the Ancient British Church. We will examine the traditions of the Western and Eastern lineage herein. Independent Anglican Churches in the United States bear
the Apostolic lineage from the Roman Catholic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, The Anglican Church, the Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands, the Syrian Jacobite (Oriental) Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as many other traditions...
The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church do not wish to do away with our offices and liturgy. We are one in heart, in spirit, and in faith with our Founders and Pioneer Reformed, who at the very beginning of the existence of this church sought to mold and fashion the ecclesiastical constitution which they had inherited from the Armenian Catholic Church and the Church of England and we return to their position and claim to be the old and true "Free Protestant Episcopal Church"® of the days of its founding and we claim an unbroken historical connection through the Reformation, the Church of England, with the Church of Christ from the earliest Christian era and will not depart from it.

Leon Checkemian, the son of Jacob and Rose Checkemian (neé Gruchian) was born in 1848 at Malatia (the ancient Melitene) as a subject of the Ottoman Empire. Although originally a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church, at the age of thirteen he met Dr. Leon (Ghevont) Korkorunian (1822-1897), who had not long been ordained Armenian Catholic bishop of that city. Under his influence the family transferred its allegiance to the Armenian Catholic Church and, according to his own account, the young Leon travelled via Aintab and Aleppo to Iskenderun where he took the steamer to Beirut, crossed the Lebanon Mountains to meet the Patriarch. Presumably this was the celebrated Antony Hassun, who had served as spiritual leader of the community from 1845-48 but did not resume his office for a second term as Patriarch until 1866-1880. Although styled ‘Patriarch of Cilicia’ the church headquarters were at Bzommar near Beirut at that date, but moved to Constantinople from 1867-1928.As further evidence of his status Checkemian quotes from Medgemovie Havidis, a daily paper published in Constantinople. In its issue of 28 December 1881 it reports,

"The Most Honourable Lord Doctor Leon Checkemian, who was ordained to the most honourable degree of Doctor by the Right Reverend Chorchorunian, most Illustrious Archbishop, and who was for a long time in Malatia, on his arrival at this time in Constantinople, directly went to St. Jean Chrysostom Church, and there with his brethren in the priesthood holding Communion unanimously yesterday in the same church, celebrated High Mass in the presence of crowds of people, which was heard joyfully. May the Almighty God again, with such help, make the nation glad and bring down men of evil thoughts."

Sonntag, 19. Februar 2006

...

TIFPEC - NEWS
Why do I believe that the Churches in Germany (and in other countries) are losing members?
The reason for this thesis goes back into the 19th century. With the enlightenment, the theologians began to think of the Bible more as the word of human beings than of the word of God. They developed extremely sophisticated systems to find out what the original intention of the author was, and therefore came closer to the meaning of many, otherwise strange appearing, sections of the Bible. Many statements which were based on the cultural and historical background were left behind or re-interpreted. However, this re-interpretation did not take place in front of the congregation. It was hidden behind the walls of the colleges. As soon as a pastor was produced, he had to translate his knowledge into a statement which did not reveal the fact that the Bible is the word of human beings. In fact, he had to continue to call it the word of God. This went on until about 30 years ago, when in the 60s and 70s some pastors made statements which were rather shocking to the congregation, like that they do not believe in the Bible as the word of God. However, this statement was based on good reasons, yet never fully explained to the congregation. The congregation got to know the facts from people who began to see a strong market for this knowledge. These people were often also criticizing the churches in a way that many people felt strengthened in their desire to cancel their membership. While they got to know that what the church continued to tell them was not true, they felt betrayed and misused. The drive of cancelling membership is very much based on logical reasoning. The biggest mistake of the church is probably that it tries to remind the people of the emotional factors of being a church member, instead of enlightening them about the facts, and then searching a new approach to the facts of Christian Faith. WE need "Christian Freedom instead of Sacred Lordship."
The International Free Protestant Episcopal Churchaac_crest3warm
Autonomous Province of the world wide Anglican Communion
The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church is an autonomous province of the world wide Anglican Communion. It believes in the traditional teachings of the Christian faith as laid out in the historic creeds and holds to the tenets of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888, which is an instrument of Anglican unity throughout the world. Holy Spirit, you want to give us hearts that are quite simple, to the point that the complicated things of life do not bring us to a standstill. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev.2:3) The Church "found" me!" Were this not the case, and were it not for the splendid education and guidance of the late Archbishop Dr E.S. Yekorogha and late Bishop Primus Dr Charles Dennis Boltwood, I would not be in this position of furthering an ancient and eternal work. The daily experience living among the people of other faiths and our faith in Christ gave us light to start the work based on the spiritual and social growth of The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church.We stand against oppression, injustice, violence and war in several parts of the world.Please keep our persecuted brothers and sisters in your prayers throughout the year. TIFPEC supports advocacy against sexual abuse and violence among children and youth.
THE INTERNATIONAL FREE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
AIMS
We are committed to: the conversion to Jesus Christ of all people and that in the Gospel we find the liberating truth about what it means to be truly human in relationship with God and each other the intrinsic authority and trustworthiness of the Bible which is to be interpreted in context and with insights from the world-wide and historic Church working for the renewal of Anglicanism at local, national and international levels. We are open to: surprises of the Holy Spirit learning from other traditions within Anglicanism working ecumenically with other denominations positive fruit of biblical scholarship issues of justice which are integral to holistic mission the central significance of sacraments and liturgy to Christian worship learning from other faiths ordination of women to the three orders of the Church roots as part of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion we embrace the full breadth of our roots in the Christian tradition from the Apostles, the Ecumenical Councils, and the faithful witness of the medieval Catholic and Orthodox Church onwards. We value specifically our Reformation heritage, renewed in the Great Awakening, and given expression through the cross-cultural missionary movement that formed the global Anglican Communion. We affirm and uphold as the doctrinal core of our unity the Basis of Faith of the Church of England Evangelical Council (full text appended).
GOALS
We seek to: Represent open and charismatic evangelical Anglicans in the media Articulate open and charismatic evangelical Anglican responses to particular issues Explore evangelical theologies of mission, discipleship and spirituality, church and'communion' To achieve this we will seek to: give voice to a nourishing, generous orthodoxy within Anglican evangelicalism create spaces for fair, hospitable and rigorous debate among Anglicans within which to work out disagreements develop within the evangelical constituency a strong ecclesiology, rooted in Anglicanism, which recognises that each part of Anglicanism is mutually constitutive of the'whole'The above commitments take shape in particular ways in the following three key areas: I) the inter-relationship of mission and Christian unity; II) the nature and shape of the church; and III) the inter-relationship of theology and ethics.
TIFPEC BASIS OF FAITH
appendix :
1.1 Introduction: As members of the Church of England within the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church we affirm the faith uniquely revealed in the holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, of which the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are a general exposition. Standing in the Reformation tradition we lay especial emphasis on the grace of God - his unmerited mercy - as expressed in the doctrines which follow.
1.2 God as the Source of Grace - In continuity with the teaching of holy Scripture and the Christian creeds, we worship one God in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God has created all things, and us in his own image; all life, truth, holiness and beauty come from him. His Son Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, was crucified, died, rose and ascended to reign in glory.
1.3 The Bible as the Revelation of Grace - We receive the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the wholly reliable revelation and record of God's grace, given by the Holy Spirit as the true word of God written. The Bible has been given to lead us to salvation, to be the ultimate rule for Christian faith and conduct, and the supreme authority by which the Church must ever reform itself and judge its traditions.
1.4 The Atonement as the Work of Grace - We believe that Jesus Christ came to save lost sinners. Though sinless, he bore our sins, and their judgement, on the cross, thus accomplishing our salvation. By raising Christ bodily from the dead, God vindicated him as Lord and Saviour and his victory. Salvation is in Christ alone.
1.5 The Church as the Community of Grace - We hold that the Church is God's covenant community, whose members, drawn from every nation, having been justified by grace through faith, inherit the promises made to Abraham and fulfilled in Christ. As a fellowship of the Spirit manifesting his fruit and exercising his gifts, it is called to worship God, grow in grace, and bear witness to him and his Kingdom. God's Church is one body and must ever strive to discover and experience that unity in truth and love which it has in Christ, especially through its confession of the apostolic faith and in its observance of the dominical sacraments.
1.6 The Sacraments as the Signs of Grace - We maintain that the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion proclaim the Gospel as effective and visible signs of our justification and sanctification, and as true means of God's grace to those who repent and believe. Baptism is the sign of forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Spirit, new birth to righteousness and entry into the fellowship of the People of God. Holy Communion is the sign of the living, nourishing presence of Christ through his Spirit to his people: the memorial of his one, perfect, completed and all-sufficient sacrifice for sin, from whose achievement all may benefit but in whose offering none can share; and an expression of our corporate life of sacrificial thanksgiving and service.
1.7 Ministry as the Stewardship of Grace - We share, as the People of God, in a royal priesthood common to the whole Church, and in the community of the Suffering Servant. Our mission is the proclamation of the Gospel by the preaching of the word, as well as by caring for the needy, challenging evil and promoting justice and a more responsible use of the world's resources. It is the particular vocation of bishops and presbyters, together with deacons, to build up the body of Christ in truth and love, as pastors, teachers, and servants of the servants of God.
1.8 Christ's Return as the triumph of Grace - We look forward expectantly to the final manifestation of Christ's grace and glory when he comes again to raise the dead, judge the world, vindicate His chosen and bring his Kingdom to its eternal fulfilment in the new heaven and the new earth.

A final local comment:
This brief survey of formative influences and defining features shows how Anglicanism has developed as a way of being Church which enables it to find root in many different settings and be of service to Christians from diverse parts of the Global Church. To enable this richness to serve God's purposes, I suggest two areas of awareness are necessary. Firstly, that Anglican Christianity is not monolithic. Within broad boundaries of expression, a range of spiritualities, local responses and initiatives can be developed and flourish within a single communion or fellowship. This is very useful in a setting such as the Diocese in Europe where our congregations are always marked by many dimensions of diversity. A second necessary awareness is that while we are formally part of the Church of England our sensitivity and adjustment must range much broader afield than England. It is the diversity and experience of the Global Anglican Communion that resonates well in an international church rather than those of an English parish. The extent to which we appreciate this will determine whether we consider ourselves an Anglican Church or an English Church.

Mittwoch, 11. Januar 2006

Canon Law and Communion

aac_crest3warm


I should like us:
First: to reflect on Anglican experiences of church order and law.
Second: to identify the role which the legal system of each Anglican church plays in the context of the global Anglican Communion - especially how collectively these systems point to an unwritten common law of the Anglican Communion.
Third: to consider some practical ideas about how the law of each church might be developed to enhance global communion.
The Meanings of Canon Law
Like all major institutions in any society, which have a visible social structure, each church has its own internal legal system. Canon law is the title given to the legal system which churches of the catholic and apostolic tradition create to regulate their internal life - their government, ministry, doctrine, liturgy, rites and property.
For Anglicans canon law has three meanings. First, it is understood in a narrow sense: canon law is simply the code of canons of an Anglican church. Canon law is one category amongst several bodies of law within a particular church.
Secondly, canon law is understood in a wider sense: it is the formal collection of several bodies of law within a particular Anglican church. Canon law embraces all formal laws, and includes the constitution, the code of canons, and other formal legal instruments.
Thirdly, in its widest sense, canon law may be understood as the entire system of ecclesiastical regulation in a particular Anglican church. It signifies a wide range of regulatory experiences: all those humanly-created entities used to regulate church life - such as unwritten custom, pastoral regulations or directions of bishops, and even decisions of church tribunals. These entities may or may not appear in the formal, written law of the church (the constitution or canons). But they are used to regulate conduct; they are equivalent to canon law. Informal administrative rules may also be used to regulate church life: policy documents, guidelines and codes of practice. But these are different from canon law in the strict sense.
The Relationship between Canon Law and Divine Law
Canon law is different from the law of the State. It is also different from divine law. In canonical tradition, the revealed divine law (as expressed in Holy Scripture and interpreted by tradition) is usually seen as distinct from canon law. Divine law is the dynamic behind all canon law. Canon law is of human creation. Generally, divine law is a source of humanly-made law and, therefore, is strictly distinguished from canon law. Divine law binds morally and is used to fashion canon law which binds juridically.
THE ANGLICAN EXPERIENCE OF ORDER AND DISCIPLINE
In the context of order and discipline, through living out the gospel, Anglicans have two experiences: the juridical experience of the legal system of their own particular church; and the moral experience of the global Anglican Communion.
The Juridical Order and the Purposes of Canon Law: Ecclesiology and Service
First, the juridical experience. On the one hand, Anglicans live, in their particular church, in the context of the gospel at work in a juridical order. They function in the framework of their own church and its particular legal system. Each church, as a visible society, is subject to its own binding juridical order, consisting of enforceable canon law. Anglican churches are canonical churches. Canon law is the servant of each Anglican church: it seeks to facilitate and order communion amongst the faithful within each particular church. Canon law is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end. Canon law, as servant, exists in each church to enable it to fulfil its particular mission, to live out the gospel. It is an instrument of unity and communion within a particular church.
On the ecclesiological level, canon law seeks to put into practice the revelation of God: God reveals; the church reflects on revelation; the church formulates theology; theology provides the church with a vision and definition of its purposes and Christian values; and each church implements these in the form of law. Canon law provides norms of action to implement values designed to serve the purposes for which the church exists. So: canon law has a theological basis: theology works through law; canon law is applied ecclesiology, and, for some it has a sacramental quality. The gospel may not be sufficiently evident in all the rules of canon law: but it is its foundation; canon law should be a church's testimony to the gospel.
On the practical level, the purposes of canon law are to facilitate and to order the life and mission of the particular church. Canon law, in a fundamental, practical way, constitutes the particular church: it liberates and it requires self-restraint. Canon law provides facilities to enable the church to serve God and the people; it gives meaning to these facilities by conferring jurisdiction, and by defining relationships within a church through rights and duties. Also, canon law is an instrument of ecclesial order - it exists for spiritual welfare and for the common good: it sets limits on the exercise of jurisdiction, it protects rights, and provides for resolution of conflict. Canon law facilitates and orders communion in the mutual relations of the faithful within the particular church. This is the juridical experience of Anglicans in the particular church.
The Moral Order of Inter-Church Relations: Communion and Autonomy
On the other hand, Anglicans live, in the wider environment of the Anglican Communion, in the context of the gospel at work in a moral order: the Anglican Communion functions in the framework of its own non-legal, moral or conventional system. In turn, the community of churches (the Communion) is the subject of its own non-binding, persuasive moral order. In the global environment, the principles of communion have no direct juridical force or enforceability.
The Anglican Communion is a community of self-governing churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, and with each other. Fundamental to this fellowship of faith is the moral principle of communion: communion embraces a range of relationships. Anglican churches are assembled under the moral authority of the instruments of Anglicanism. First, the moral authority of the instruments of faith: Holy Scripture, Tradition and Reason; churches are held in communion by loyalty to scripture, the sacraments of baptism and eucharist, the historic episcopate, and common patterns of worship. Adherence to these is a matter of faith, moral choice for each church.
Secondly, the moral authority of the institutional instruments: at the global level, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates Meeting, the Lambeth Conference, and the Anglican Consultative Council, exercise no legal authority over individual churches: their authority and leadership are moral; their decisions do not bind particular churches, unless and until incorporated in their systems of law.
Thirdly, the principle of autonomy: each church is free to govern itself. This principle of autonomy is conventional: 'the true constitution of the Catholic Church involves the principle of the autonomy of particular Churches based upon a common faith and order'. The churches 'promote [in] their territories a national expression of Christian faith, life and worship'. But communion and autonomy are about facility and order, freedom and self-restraint. The Lambeth Conference has enunciated several principles to promote these in inter-church relations. For example: each church should respect the autonomy of each other church; two bishops should not exercise jurisdiction in the same place; no cleric should minister in another diocese without the consent of the host diocesan bishop; churches should co-operate to further mission; and dioceses should develop companion dioceses.
All these instruments and principles have a persuasive, moral authority, at a global level, over churches of the Communion. They are exhortatory not mandatory. They have juridical force only if incorporated in laws of particular churches. This is the moral experience of Anglicans in the global context of the Anglican Communion.
The Anatomy of Inter-Church Conflict: Causes and Effects
How do these two experiences of Anglicans relate to contemporary disagreements between churches? It is difficult to identify precisely the anatomy of disagreements between Anglican churches. Problems are complex and multi-faceted: theology, tradition, culture, human experience, and even civil law, would all seem to play a part.
The Role of the Moral and Juridical Orders in Cases of Conflict
One practical feature of inter-church conflict is that it is in part encouraged by the relationship between the juridical and the moral orders. There are fundamental similarities and differences between these two orders. Both have similar purposes: canon law seeks communion amongst members of the local church, the moral order seeks communion between churches; the local juridical order enables episcopal oversight in the particular church, the moral order seeks to facilitate episcopal counsel globally. These similarities are not the cause of inter-church disagreement.
The differences between the two orders are clear. The global order consists of persuasive principles and instruments, not binding on individual churches, the local order binds churches legally. The global order is unenforceable, the juridical order is enforceable. These differences might contribute to inter-church disagreement. There is no developed marriage between the juridical and moral orders, no concerted translation of the moral order of global communion into the juridical order of local communion in each church. Translation, into the juridical order of the particular church, would make the moral order binding and perhaps reduce the possibility of conflict. In short, the exercise of autonomy, freedom given by the local juridical order, and the unenforceability of the moral order, increase the potential for conflict.
Ecclesiastical and Secular Parallels
We might compare the Anglican experience of disagreement with other ecclesiastical and secular experiences. For example, as we know, in secular politics, to manage disagreements, and to promote mutual values and partnership, States enter treaties and conventions with each other, within the moral order of the comity of nations. These agreements may have status in international law, but only a moral force within States; they have direct effect within States only if incorporated in their laws. Anglican churches have no treaties or conventions to regulate their relations. Comity between Anglican churches, in the global moral order, is not based on inter-church treaties which might be incorporated in their domestic laws. The principles of communion and inter-church relations are left suspended in the global moral order.
CANON LAW AND THE PROMOTION OF COMMUNION
The Role of Individual Canonical Systems
Canon Law as a Centripetal Force
Examination of the legal systems of Anglican churches shows that global communion is a juridical reality for some churches in certain contexts. Law in a church promotes global communion, it is a centripetal force pulling that church towards Canterbury and towards other Anglican churches. There are many examples of communion law in particular churches.
Laws occasionally identify a church with the See of Canterbury and with the Anglican Communion. Sometimes laws declare a church's membership of and commitment to the Anglican Communion. Laws of this sort range from descriptive statements, to rules imposing a duty to maintain communion. In one church communion is treated as indissoluble. Such provisions do not appear in the formal laws of most Anglican churches, nor usually does formal law even define the Anglican Communion.
Incorporation of the Anglican instruments of faith, in law, forbids legislatures to make law contrary to these instruments. Indeed, some laws require alteration of the Fundamental Declarations of a church to be 'endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as not affecting the terms of Communion between [that church], the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion'. Communion law of this sort is exceptional. Very few laws explicitly state that executive discretions (in bishops, for example) must be exercised in accordance with the instruments of Anglicanism.
In ministry, occasionally laws require bishops to 'respect and maintain the spiritual rights and privileges of all Churches in the Anglican Communion'. Sometimes, laws forbid parallel episcopal jurisdictions. In some laws, if the electoral college fails to elect a bishop, the appointment passes to Canterbury. Sometimes laws formally recognise orders in other Anglican churches, but they forbid clergy of other Anglican churches to minister in a diocese without the consent of the bishop of the host diocese.
In doctrine and liturgy churches are united because laws agree about the sources of doctrine as normative in matters of faith: scripture, the creeds, the dominical sacraments. Some laws require a church to avoid any change that would affect Holy Scripture and 'other norms relevant to the faith of the Anglican Communion'. The laws of other churches disclaim a right to depart from the standards of faith and doctrine. Again, sometimes laws provide for referral of a doctrinal disagreement to the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the ACC, or the Primates or other bishops of the Anglican Communion.
Canon Law as a Neutral Force
In contrast, most canon law in a church is neutral or indifferent towards the Anglican Communion: it is introvert law; it has no obvious function to effect bonds between that church and other Anglican churches. Law does not look outwards to the global Communion, but inwards to the internal regulation of the church, its domestic affairs.
But, extrovert law also, ironically, illustrates the neutrality of laws towards the Anglican Communion. Laws governing ecumenical relations between Anglican churches and non-Anglican churches are more fully developed than those dealing with inter-Anglican relations. Increasingly, churches now promote and regulate ecumenism by means of law.
Extrovert law implements ecumenical agreements for communion between Anglican and non-Anglican churches. Relations of full communion or intercommunion are defined in a concordat. To operate in the Anglican church, the agreement is incorporated in its law: it then enters the juridical order of the Anglican church and becomes binding.. The Anglican law defines, implements practically the communion between the churches, as rights and duties; the Anglican church recognises that in the other the sacraments are duly administered; each church welcomes one another's members 'as members of our own'; clergy are allowed to serve in the church in accordance with its own laws. And so on.
So: from the legal evidence, relations between Anglican churches are based on conventional links (of the moral order), whereas those of Anglican and non-Anglican churches are increasingly being based on juridical links - juridical bonds between Anglicans and non-Anglicans may be stronger than those between Anglican churches.
Canon Law as a Centrifugal Force
Centrifugal law also exists in Anglican churches; some laws are antagonistic to global communion; they push Anglican churches away from each other. The robust canonical expression of autonomy acts as a centrifugal force. Like secular States, Anglican churches have territorial and jurisdictional borders. Laws not uncommonly provide: 'in explaining...the standards of faith...and discipline', this Church 'is not bound by any decisions except those of its own'. Laws sometimes assert the idea of independence, rather than autonomy. Each church, then, institutionalises in law its own separate identity from other Anglican churches. Law does not spell out the part the church is to play in the global communion; laws convey a sense of isolation of the particular church.
The exercise of autonomy may result in the apparent conflict of laws. Law in one church, which permits ordination of women as priests, does not authorise consecration of women as bishops, but law of another church does. In most laws, deposition from holy orders is irreversible; but other laws allow reversal of deposition. And so on.
Canon law sometimes creates divisions within churches, or fails to resolve internal conflict. This failure reverberates in other Anglican churches, causing divisions between churches and, ultimately, problems for the Anglican Communion itself. Most laws seek to prevent disagreement about proposed legislative initiatives by procedures for law-making designed to achieve consensus. Also, all churches have some system for resolution of internal conflict. However, systems are less well-developed in managing conscientious dissent by minorities following initiatives within a particular church; provision of alternative episcopal oversight is a recent innovation to manage this. The use of conscience clauses in church law is not common. Indeed, lack of developed law in churches on inter-Anglican relations increases the likelihood of conflict. Finally, ecclesial conflict may cause litigation in State courts, raising issues of religious freedom.
The Role of Anglican Canon Law and Canonical Tradition
Fundamental Anglican Canon Law: The Anglican Common Law
There is, of course, no formal binding canon law globally applicable to all churches in the Anglican Communion. But by implication fundamental Anglican canon law exists as an objective reality. When compared, there are profound similarities between the actual laws of each particular Anglican church. From these similarities many shared principles can be induced. This process of induction indicates the unwritten common law of the Anglican Communion, its ius commune. The collective effect of similarities between individual canonical systems is the ius commune, fundamental Anglican canon law. This common law is not imposed from above; it grows from the similarities between Anglican legal systems. Each church, through its own legal system, contributes to the common law.
Identifying the principles of this common law is a scientific task. These similarities, and the principles flowing from them, indicate well, even define, the nature of the Anglican Communion: they are a concrete expression of the very character of Anglicanism and Anglican polity. And the ius commune indicates that 'communion' is a whole, rich range of relationships. From the juridical evidence in each church, it is possible to state the principles of the common Anglican canon law: some facilitate, others order and limit; most are familiar, and many self-evident. Some examples:
In ecclesiastical government: final competence to legislate for a church rests with its central assembly representative of the bishops, clergy and laity; churches are episcopally led and synodically governed; governance should be according to law; disciplinary processes must give rights to be heard, to representation, and to appeal. The common law of ministry includes the principles that: ordained ministry is exercised by the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons; diocesan bishops should be elected; bishops exercise oversight in the governing, teaching and liturgical life of the diocese; removal of bishops is for the collective action of bishops in an individual church; ordination must be episcopal; clerical ministry must be authorised by the diocesan bishop; clergy owe canonical obedience to the bishop. With doctrine and liturgy: liturgy must be consonant with the doctrine of the church and should be characterised by flexibility. With rites: no minister should refuse baptism of infants; exclusion from holy communion ultimately belongs to the bishop; the seal of the confessional is inviolable. There are many more.
The Canon Law Tradition: Challenge and Principles
The canonical tradition too links Anglican churches to each other, to the global Anglican Communion, and to other ecclesial communions. Roman Catholic law, and that of the Eastern Catholic Churches, recognise formally the canonical tradition, as does the law of some Anglican churches: in the law of the Anglican church in Southern Africa if any question arises about the interpretation of the laws of the church, 'the interpretation shall be governed by the general principles of Canon Law'.
All these churches live out, in their juridical orders, the canonical tradition. Whether they are conscious of it or not, Anglican churches belong to the canonical tradition. The generic canon law exists independently of the laws of particular communions and particular churches. The canonical tradition is merely particularised in individual canonical systems, in the same way that civil law, or common law is, particularised in a single civil law system or a common law system of an individual secular State.
The principles of the canonical tradition are foundational, expressing the basic values of the church and its juridical order. They include: the salvation of souls is the supreme law; laws ought to conform to divine law; in the exercise of rights the faithful must take into account the common good of the church, the rights of others and their duties towards others, and, laws must be applied with canonical equity. These principles have a high theological content.
CANON LAW AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNION
The Canonical Contribution to Global Communion: Assessment
Strengths of the Canonical Contribution:
The collective effect of the similarities between individual legal systems is the unwritten ius commune of the Anglican Communion. This is a major contribution to Anglican identity and cohesion; it should be recognised as such and made more evident.
Each church belongs to the canonical tradition: it particularises that tradition to its own circumstances. This is a real contribution to global unity, and ecumenical dialogue.
Global communion is a juridical reality for many churches in certain areas of their life. Best practice is found in communion law of some churches, which pulls a church towards other Anglican churches.
There is evidence that canon laws seek to effect freedom for each autonomous church and at the same time impose restraints on the exercise of their autonomy.
Weaknesses of the Canonical Contribution:
The distribution of centripetal law amongst churches is inconsistent. No church has a systematic body of communion law dedicated to inter-Anglican relations.
Centripetal laws often lack precision, and are often unclear or underdeveloped.
The principles of the moral order, governing inter-Anglican relations and the limits of autonomy, are not consistently incorporated in the laws of individual churches.
As canon law may cause division within a particular church, so centrifugal canon laws contribute to global divisions, disagreement and conflict between Anglican churches. No church has law to avoid or to resolve inter-Anglican conflict.
The Potential of Canon Law for the Development of Communion
So: generally, Anglican canon laws are ambivalent to global communion. Yet, the canon law of each Anglican church should be a true reflection of global communion between Anglican churches. The canon law of each church has potential to develop communion: it is a means to an end, the servant of the church; it exists for facility and order; it is binding within the individual church; it already contains the materials necessary to enhance global communion; and its use is a normal human function, not a last resort.
The canon law of each church could be more fully developed to enhance communion. This would be consistent with the principle of autonomy and in line with the Virginia Report and resolutions of the Lambeth Conference 1998. Exploration of the canonical option might move these recommendations forward. It would also mean that individual churches would be responsible for enhancement of communion.
Canon law in each church has real potential to make global communion a binding, juridical reality in each church. Crucially, canonical development could translate the imperatives of the moral order into the juridical order of individual churches. Translation means working with the practical reality that juridical authority lies with particular churches. Canonical development would provide corporate discipline at the critical level: the particular church. Distinct communion law in each church might achieve this, as a long-term measure.
One obvious model for such a development is the existing laws of some Anglican churches on ecumenical concordats and their incorporation in canon law: this is a practical experience of translating the moral order of communion, defined in an ecumenical concordat, into the juridical order of particular churches.
Practical Realisation of the Canonical Potential
A process of canonical development, to lead to fulfilment of the canonical potential, could be an initiative of the Primates' Meeting.
The Primates' Meeting might begin the process by acknowledging the living reality of the ius commune of the Anglican Communion, the unwritten common law based on the profound similarities of individual Anglican legal systems. Each Primate could take this acknowledgement back to their own church.
The Primates Meeting might institute an examination of: (a) individual legal systems, to identify the extent of centripetal, neutral, and divisive law, the principles of the Anglican common law, and the canonical tradition; and (b) other models (ecclesiastical and secular) which reconcile community and autonomy, including systems for the resolution of conflict, and ways in which these might be adapted to the Anglican context.
The study could recommend to the Primates Meeting ways for each church to develop its own communion law to increase the profile of communion, to define inter-Anglican relations, and treat inter-Anglican conflict. The Primates could draft a statement of the ius commune, in a draft concordat, for each church to implement.
This draft would be circulated to all individual churches in the Anglican Communion, for consultation with their central legislatures.
The Primates Meeting would consider and where appropriate adopt the results of consultation. A Declaration of Common Anglican Canon Law and Polity could be issued by the Primates Meeting, in the form of a concordat: all Primates would be signatories. The statement would not of itself be law, issuing from the global moral order, but rather would set out the programme for canonical revision in each church.
It would be essential for the primates and bishops, with feedback to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, to stimulate reflection in churches on the need to implement the Declaration.
Individual churches, perhaps in groups by means of covenants (with a lead from the Church of England), would begin work on incorporation of the Declaration into their legal systems. Each church would have a body of distinctly Communion Law.
The Declaration could be subject to periodic review and development by the Primates Meeting and individual churches could review periodically both the incorporation and the administration of their communion laws, perhaps with reports to the Primates Meeting.
CONCLUSION:
Acknowledging the existence of the ius commune would make more evident what Anglicans share. It would not be new but a statement of what already exists. A declaration of the principles of Anglican canon law would be rooted in theology and based on the best practice of churches, the Anglican common law, and the canonical tradition. It could be issued by the Primates Meeting in the form of an inter-Anglican concordat, would define inter-Anglican relations and the meaning of communion. With this lead, and its promotion of canonical values, it would then be the responsibility of each particular church to enhance global communion by implementing the statement in its own legal system in the formation of distinctly communion law. Subsequent incorporation of these principles into individual canonical systems would convert the existing moral force of inter-Anglican communion into a binding reality for each particular Anglican church. Incorporation of the inter-Anglican concordat into actual canon laws, by means of canonical revision in each church, would be a long-term solution both to enhance global communion, at the binding juridical level of each church, and to reduce likelihood of the occurrence of inter-Anglican conflict.

+Horst-Karl, TIFPEC

Montag, 24. Oktober 2005

In den Kriegen unserer Zeit -TIFPEC Newsletter

aac_crest3warmDie 17-jährige Safi berichtet über ihr Martyrium

Es gibt keine Rücksicht und keine Grenzen. In den Kriegen unserer Zeit werden Mädchen und Frauen gezielt vergewaltigt oder jahrelang missbraucht. Im umkämpften Nordosten der Demokratischen Republik Kongo unterstützt UNICEF ein Hospital für die Opfer der Gewalt. Die 17-jährige Safi berichtet über ihr Martyrium.

Als es an einem Abend vor knapp zwei Jahren an ihrer Hütte klopfte, dachten Safi (Name geändert) und ihre Familie an einen Besuch der Nachbarn. Stattdessen drängten sechs bewaffnete Männer herein und verlangten Geld. Als sie keines fanden, richteten sie ihre Gewehre auf den Vater und befahlen ihm, mit der eigenen Tochter zu schlafen. Verzweifelt bat der Vater um Gnade – doch die Milizen lachten nur und erschossen ihn und die Mutter vor den Augen der Kinder. Safi wurde von drei Männern gepackt, in den Busch verschleppt und brutal vergewaltigt.

"Es war wie in einem schlechten Film", erzählt das Mädchen, das heute in einem von UNICEF unterstützten Krankenhaus in der Provinzhauptstadt Goma lebt. "Ich konnte nicht glauben, dass wirklich ich dort am Boden lag." Über ein Jahr lang hielten die Milizen Safi gefangen. Bevor die Männer zum Plündern loszogen, vergewaltigten sie Safi. Wenn sie abends zurückkamen, wurde sie wieder missbraucht. Als Strafe für einen Fluchtversuch prügelten sie das wehrlose Mädchen so sehr, dass es vor Schmerzen ohnmächtig wurde.

"Irgendwann war ich kein Mensch mehr, ich war wie tot", sagt Safi. Ihr wurde klar, dass sie von einem ihrer Peiniger schwanger war. Verzweifelt wagte sie einen letzten Fluchtversuch – und er gelang. Safi konnte sich bis ins Krankenhaus von Goma durchschlagen, wo sie medizinisch betreut wurde. "Wären die Krankenschwestern nicht so nett zu mir gewesen, ich hätte mich umgebracht", sagt die heute 17-jährige.

Für die Ärzte der Organisation "Doctors on Call for Services" (DOCS) ist die junge Frau kein Einzelfall: Seit April 2003 haben sie im Kongo mehr als eintausend vergewaltigte Frauen und junge Mädchen behandelt. Einige von ihnen haben so schwere innere Verletzungen erlitten, dass sie mehrfach operiert werden müssen.

UNICEF hilft, das Krankenhaus zu erweitern und eine neue Station speziell für die Mädchen einzurichten. Die Ärzte erhalten von UNICEF zudem Medikamente und Verbandszeug. Um den Mädchen bei der Rückkehr in ihr Dorf zu helfen, unterstützt UNICEF die Ausbildung von Helfern für die psychosoziale Betreuung und vermittelt Kleinkredite, damit sich die Opfer eine Existenz aufbauen können.

Am 7. Januar kam Safis Kind zur Welt, ein gesunder Junge. Safi nannte ihn - nach einem ihrer Betreuer im Krankenhaus – Fred. Schon in den ersten Lebenswochen hat der Kleine eine wunderbare Wendung bewirkt. Safi scheint ihr Martyrium zu vergessen, wenn sie ihn im Arm hält. Sie hat wieder Interesse am Leben gewonnen und sogar ein neues Zuhause gefunden: Eine Tante, die den Krieg überlebt hat, wird Safi und Fred aufnehmen.

Die Wahrheit macht Euch frei!

21.08.2005 um 20:56 Uhr
Die Wahrheit macht Euch frei!news.h31
von: Fredericus



Der Papst jetzt seinen Thron besteigt,Charles-Frederic Euch die Wahrheit zeigt! Ich hoffe, die freie Meinungsäußerung ist uns Protestanten noch geblieben.

Rom - Als Glaubenshüter im Vatikan hat Joseph Ratzinger in den vergangenen 24 Jahren die theologische Ausrichtung der katholischen Kirche wesentlich mitgeprägt. Seine Position zu umstrittenen Fragen in Stichworten waren:

- ABTREIBUNG: Um eine indirekte Mitwirkung der Kirche an Abtreibungen auszuschließen, setzte sich Ratzinger erfolgreich für einen Ausstieg aus der Schwangerenkonfliktberatung ein.

- AUFKLÄRUNG UND MODERNE: Ratzinger ist skeptisch gegenüber dem Freiheitsdenken der Moderne und warnt vor einem Abgleiten in einen zügellosen Liberalismus.

- BEFREIUNGSTHEOLOGIE: Der lateinamerikanischen Befreiungstheologie warf Ratzinger eine marxistische Gesinnung vor; Theologen wie Leonardo Boff wurden gemaßregelt.

- BIBEL: Der katholische Glaube orientiert sich nicht nur an der Heiligen Schrift, sondern auch an der kirchlichen Tradition. An diesem Unterschied zur reformatorischen Theologie hält Ratzinger fest.

- FRAUEN: Zum Priesteramt sollen weiterhin nur Männer zugelassen werden. Den Feminismus lehnt Ratzinger ab.

- KIRCHENLEHRER: Ratzingers theologische Vorbilder sind platonisch geprägte Kirchenlehrer wie Augustinus und Bonaventura, weniger der aristotelisch gesinnte Kirchenlehrer Thomas von Aquin.

- KOLLEGIALITÄT: Ratzinger wandte sich zuletzt gegen einen übersteigerten römischen Zentralismus und sprach sich für mehr Mitsprache der Bischöfe und Ortskirchen aus.

- KRIEG UND FRIEDEN: Mit der Wahl seines Papstnamens Benedikt XVI. knüpft Ratzinger an die pazifistische Tradition von Benedikt XV. an, der sich während des Ersten Weltkriegs um Frieden bemühte.

- LAIEN: Trotz des zunehmenden Priestermangels sollen Laien nicht predigen oder Messfeiern leiten dürfen.

- LITURGIE: Ratzinger schätzt die alte lateinisch-römische Messform, die nach dem Zweiten Vatikanischen Konzil durch volkssprachliche Gottesdienste ersetzt wurde.

- ? ÖKUMENE: Ratzinger betont den Vorrang der katholischen Kirche vor anderen christlichen Kirchen und lehnt gemeinsame Eucharistiefeiern ab. Als Katholik spendete er dem verstorbenen Protestanten Roger Schutz das Abendmahl, umgekehrt wäre es wohl nie von Ratzinger angenommen worden.

- PILLE UND KONDOM: Ratzinger lehnt künstliche Empfängnisverhütung ab und hält eheliche Treue für den besten Schutz vor AIDS.

- SCHEIDUNG: Ratzinger ist gegen eine Zulassung wiederverheirateter Geschiedener zur Kommunion.

- UNFEHLBARKEIT: In Glaubens- und Sittenfrage ist der Papst unfehlbar - an diesem Lehrsatz des Ersten Vatikanischen Konzils hält Ratzinger fest.

- WISSENSCHAFT: Ratzinger betont den Vorrang des römischen Lehramts vor der Freiheit der Theologie.

- ZÖLIBAT: An der vorgeschriebenen Ehelosigkeit von Priestern will Ratzinger nicht rütteln. Alles nur eine (Geld) Frage der Erbschaften für den Vatikan. Alle Menschen sind vor dem Gesetz gleich... nur einige werden bevorzugt !

Editor@online.ms

Dienstag, 4. Oktober 2005

The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church®

Welcome - Welcome - Bienvenue
TIFPEC NEWSLETTER 2005
Bienvenue à tous et merci de nous rendre visite.
WE NEED MESSENGERS OF PEACE AND GOODWILL

Today's Scripture
Venerable Brothers,

Dear Sons and Daughters of the Church


Know Your Enemy

__________________

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour

1 Peter 5:8 KJV

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The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:9 NIV

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No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

2 Corinthians 11:14,15 NASB

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Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 RSV

__________________



Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
is the object of our faith; the only faith
that saves is faith in Him.

Today's Scripture
Redeemed! Set free... Ransomed...Bought back

__________________

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Ephesians 1:7,8 NIV

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Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 9:12,14 KJV

__________________

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.

This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:23-26 NASB

__________________

‡ Horst-Karl, BP Xth,TIFPEC


We have learned of the assassination of
† Brother Roger and send you a fictive letter from our late Brother...


My Dearest Friends,

I suppose it's fair to assume that by the time you're reading this, I'm no longer here with you.
I hope that you haven't cried and worried yourself to much upon my account, because it's a far, far better place I am in then where you are now. After 90 years, it was my time to go, and haven written this letter so far into the past, I, myself don't even know how I passed on, but I assure you that it was the way it had to be.

Bearing in mind, I might have been gone a long time before you've gotten a chance to read this letter, I pray this; I hope you remember me. The way I used to be, so long ago. Before I became heartless and evil, as many of you believed me to be. Remember me, in the best moment. Remember my laughter, my eyes, my voice, and remember each moment we spent together in which you knew I truly cared for you. I may not have shown how I felt to many of you, but I cared about you. My friends kept me sane and kept me alive through a lot of things. You all meant so much to me and sadly you'll never really know how much I may have loved you.

In life, I learned so many things from so many of you. Even when you thought I wasn't listening or didn't really pay attention, I remembered every word you said.

+Rt. Rev. Spyridon Chaskos,DD has been elevated to Metropolitan Archbishop TIFPEC - Japan.
Reverend James Crowson has been elected Titular Bishop for THE INTERNATIONAL FREE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH® USA
+Rt.Rev. Dr. P. Bradley Carey has been elevated to Metropolitan Archbishop of THE INTERNATIONAL FREE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH - USA
I send my Apostolic Benediction to All of you. GOD BLESS, Amen

TIFPEC has always argued that the duty of evangelizing the culture is the job of the laity. Since I came to TIFPEC over forty years ago, I’ve sounded that theme over and over again. Not only have I written about it and encouraged others to do it, but I’ve participated in the battle on the ground. What the laity is called to do cannot be accomplished from an armchair, even if it happens to be surrounded by the greatest books ever written. Informed Christians must take the field, and indeed they have.

If I have learned anything over the past decade it is that information is power, and if it is widely and effectively disseminated, faithful people will be jarred to action. This is what I’ve hoped to accomplish for the world and our Church. I pray that it is.
I wish the active participation of the whole Church (bishops, clergy, and laity) in every aspect of the Church's life.“[Man] must be liberated from fixation upon his own subjective needs and compulsions, and recognize that he cannot fully become himself until he knows his need for the world and his duty in serving it. In bare outline, man’s service to the world consists not in brandishing weapons to destroy other men and hostile societies, but in creating an order based on God’s plan for his creation, beginning with a minimum standard for a truly human existence for all men. Living space, law and order, nourishment for all, are basic needs without which there can be no peace and no stability on earth.”
"There is no place for apathy in a world which sees 30,000 children die each day because of poverty related conditions. The bible teaches that whatever we do to the poorest we do also for Jesus. We believe God judges nations by what they do to the poorest."

We are Universal, Ecclesiastical, Episcopal, Evangelical, Missionary.
The Protestant faith corrects the errors of Rome and Orthodoxy on this point, and after nearly 500 years the tradition of the Protestant faith has as much weight as any of these other traditions. We share a common heritage as catholic churches of the Reformation. Despite our previous geographic, linguistic and cultural differences, in recent years we have discovered in one another a shared faith and spirituality. This discovery has called us into a search for more visible unity in mission and ministry.

We recommended "that where between two Churches not of the same denominational or confessional family, there is unrestricted communio in sacris, including mutual recognition and acceptance of ministries, the appropriate term to use is 'full communion,' and that where varying degrees of relation other than 'full communion' are established by agreement between two such churches, the appropriate term is 'intercommunion.'
"Think globally, act locally" is an adage that applies not only to humanitarian and justice work, but also to the quest for Christian unity.
The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church is an autonomous province of the world wide Anglican Communion. It believes in the traditional teachings of the Christian faith as laid out in the historic creeds and holds to the tenets of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888, which is an instrument of Anglican unity throughout the world.
Holy Spirit, you want to give us hearts that are quite simple, to the point that the complicated things of life do not bring us to a standstill. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev.2:3)
The Church "found" me!" Were this not the case, and were it not for the splendid education and guidance of the late Archbishop Dr E.S. Yekorogha, Liberia and the late Bishop Primus Dr Charles Dennis Boltwood, I would not be in this position of furthering an ancient and eternal work. The daily experience living among the people of other faiths and our faith in Christ gave us light to start the work based on the spiritual and social growth of The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church.
Anglican hostility and Orthodox indifference

Anglican hostility and Orthodox indifference, together with a lack of resources, meant that the Church was barely able to begin the missionary endeavour for which it had originally been established:

Archbishop Checkemian although endeavouring to advance the work of the Church and to unite various groups which sought Orthodox alternatives to Anglicanism or Roman Catholicism, was essentially a visionary and a scholar, rather than a practical administrator or evangelist. He had a somewhat naive trust in those who approached him, and often left himself open to exploitation by men seeking the appearance, rather than the reality, of Orthodoxy. It was almost as if he believed that the truth of Orthodoxy was so self-evident and profound that anyone being exposed to it would not only accept it and be converted, but undergo an inner conversion of life as well. The simple-hearted charity with which he received potential converts often led to the pain of betrayal.


What can we find in this formal theological discourse, far removed in time and place from everyday concerns of the troubled spirit? Powerful words of hope in an age that is dealing with the loss of hope and the destruction of innocence, a uniting of the quest for an individual identity with the affirmation of common humanity. An ecumenical vision of Christianity in a world of religious diversity without recourse to a paralyzing relativism or surrender of authentic Christian heritage in faith. A history of reconciliation rather than a history of retaliation calling for retribution. An informed and intellectually challenging account of the Christian faith as a rich and continuing endeavor, positioned to incorporate closer dialogue and fellowship among Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, historic Protestant, and Evangelical Christians. A presentation of Christianity that is able to look to the future, sharing the excitement and challenge of science and history as the arena of God's creative and reconciling love while preserving the treasures of two millennia of the life of the Church must be our aim.
Today as the world struggles to find new political and social orders while holding tightly to religious and ethnic identities in the midst of open hostility, terrifying chaos and chilling indifference, I like to lead you to an informed discussion of the past linked to a fulfilling notion of the future which makes use of the difficulties of the past and present to ground our appreciation for God's future for us and our brothers and sisters in the world.
We stand against oppression, injustice, violence and war in several parts of the world.
Please keep our persecuted brothers and sisters in your prayers throughout the year.
TIFPEC supports advocacy against sexual abuse and violence among children and youth.
A monk by the name of Martin Luther has begun a Christian revolution 500 years ago with the Protestantism. Protestants cannot be silent from church-diplomatic consideration to all.

"Compromise must not be made with those responsible for killing innocent peoples".
In Liberia, whose economy--like so many others--has been destroyed by the war, schools and churches either have been knocked down in the fighting or fallen down after the years of emptiness when the war kept people away. Because so many children were forcibly conscripted into the military, there are serious aftereffects and emotional trauma that must be addressed through special ministries with these children. The church must rebuild and find a way to bring care to these people.
Rape as a weapon of war is being used in many countries worldwide to target defenseless people, usually women and children. The underlying message in war is that if a state is so weak as to allow this to happen, how can it possibly have the political and moral strength to govern a population? But there are other reasons beyond the weakness of a state. Those who rape women and children do it because it is easier to attack a defenseless person than it is to attack one who has the means to defend him- or herself. If we tolerate rape, we have no rights to call us Christians and to be a civilized nation.
Child soldiers, abducted, abused, repudiated, abandoned. The unimaginable fates of child soldiers in the north of Uganda, etc. are shocking.
Please make a donation to help us.
We appreciate your support. We can't do...without you.
Why do I believe that the Churches in Germany (and in other countries) are losing members?
The reason for this thesis goes back into the 19th century. With the enlightenment, the theologians began to think of the Bible more as the word of human beings than of the word of God. They developed extremely sophisticated systems to find out what the original intention of the author was, and therefore came closer to the meaning of many, otherwise strange appearing, sections of the Bible. Many statements which were based on the cultural and historical background were left behind or re-interpreted.
However, this re-interpretation did not take place in front of the congregation. It was hidden behind the walls of the colleges. As soon as a pastor was produced, he had to translate his knowledge into a statement which did not reveal the fact that the Bible is the word of human beings. In fact, he had to continue to call it the word of God. This went on until about 30 years ago, when in the 60s and 70s some pastors made statements which were rather shocking to the congregation, like that they do not believe in the Bible as the word of God. However, this statement was based on good reasons, yet never fully explained to the congregation. The congregation got to know the facts from people who began to see a strong market for this knowledge. These people were often also criticizing the churches in a way that many people felt strengthened in their desire to cancel their membership. While they got to know that what the church continued to tell them was not true, they felt betrayed and misused.
The drive of cancelling membership is very much based on logical reasoning. The biggest mistake of the church is probably that it tries to remind the people of the emotional factors of being a church member, instead of enlightening them about the facts, and then searching a new approach to the facts of Christian Faith.

WE need "Christian Freedom instead of Sacred Lordship."

A Word to the Church:

Episcopal News Service:
It is a difficult but
very truthful time in which our understanding of one another's contexts and the burdens each one of us must bear were made abundantly
clear. I have ever greater respect and affection for these brothers of mine and for the ministry they carry out, often in the most difficult and seemingly hopeless circumstances.
The unity of the Christian faith and the promotion of fellowship between Christians of all names and all ages are considerations which should make us careful with pen or spoken word lest we condemn, without properly taking into consideration that interior devotion to Christ and His kingdom - which seems to be quite compatible with divergencies in doctrinal statement or ceremonial habit.
Bishops must respect the autonomy and territorial integrity of dioceses and provinces other than their own, we call on the provinces concerned to made adequate provision for episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities within their own area of pastoral care in consultation with the Bishop Primus on behalf of the Church.
I appreciate with a sense of gratitude for all of the members of our church, regardless of our various points of view. I am grateful even for our struggles in which we so openly and honestly engage.

This brief word to the church comes with my love and my blessings.
We confirm ones more :
This Church is wholly under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Bishop Primus and Canonical obedience is required. It has been a custom since our Church was founded in 1897 for all Bishops to inform the Bishop Primus of all their diocesan activities on at least a monthly basis. This is required by our Ecclesiastical Constitution and Canons. "However obstinate disobedience may be, it does not become schism so long as it involves no revolt against the function of the Bishop Primus or the Church.
"I believe my work in mission and evangelism has prepared me well for the challenges facing the church in this new century. I hope and pray that my love for and understanding of the different traditions of the Church of England will enable me to be a focus for unity in the Reading Episcopal area. I'm honoured that the Church has put such trust in me, to ask me to be their Bishop Primus for TIFPEC. "
It's certainly not a bad idea to strive for the perfect world, as long as you keep in mind that, while your objective most likely won't be obtained, you will be able to make things better.

My esteemed Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood, Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I extend my cordial greetings to you all. .
Apostolic Succession

The first Christians had no doubts about how to determine which was the true Church and which doctrines the true teachings of Christ. The test was simple: Just trace the apostolic succession of the claimants.
Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. All over the world, all bishops can have their lineage of predecessors traced back to the time of the apostles, something that is impossible in some Protestant denominations (most of which do not even claim to have bishops).
In its strict sense, apostolic succession refers to the doctrine by which the validity and authority of the Christian ministry is derived from the Apostles. Churches of the Catholic tradition hold that bishops form the necessary link in an unbroken chain of successors to the office of the apostles. The outward sign by which this connection is both symbolized and effected is the laying on of hands by the Bishop at ordination.
In its broader sense, apostolic succession refers to the relationship between the Christian church today and the apostolic church of New Testament times. Thus, apostolic succession refers to the whole church insofar as it is faithful to the word, the witness, and the service of the apostolic communities. Understood in this way, the church is not simply a collectivity of individual churches; instead, it is a communion of churches whose validity is derived from the apostolic message that it professes and from the apostolic witness that it lives.
The weakness of the argument of The Apostolic Ministry was its failure to explain the absence of the idea in the first two centuries of the Christian era. I affirm that the apostles left behind them three things: their writings; the churches which they founded, instructed, and regulated; and the various orders of ministers for the ordering of these churches. There could be no more apostles in the original sense of that word. The real successor to the apostolate is the NT itself, since it continues their ministry within the church of God. Their office was incommunicable. Three kinds of succession are possible: ecclesiastical, a church which has continued from the beginning; doctrinal, the same teaching has continued throughout; episcopal, a line of bishops can be traced unbroken from early times. This does not necessarily mean that the episcopal office is the same as the apostolic.
Most Churches Worldwide mention our first Archbishop Checkemian and the eight Archbishop Boltwood in their apostolic succession, but they have no religious or diplomatic courtesies to extend some cordial greetings to the Xth Bishop Primus of THE INTERNATIONAL FREE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

"Behind every good Bishop Primus is a supportive churchfamily.
"United we stand...Divided we fall".

Only when a man has suffered for his convictions does he attain in them a certain force, a certain quality of the undeniable, and, at the same time, the right to be heard and to be respected.

‡Horst-Karl, BP Xth,TIFPEC


OFFICE OF THE BISHOP PRIMUS: CHURCH - INFORMATION 2005

The 1870 Constitution and Canons of the Church of Ireland were adopted in 1897 for use in the new Free Protestant Episcopal Church.
We have Church branches and missionaries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. There are ongoing plans to establish further ministries and branches in other nations. Consequently, we welcome pastors and churches that wish to establish or become a branch of The International Free Protestant Episcopal Church and University 1897 , regardless from which country you are.
If you are interested in the work of TIFPEC, please contact: Dr. Horst Block

To all the Faithful, Beloved in Christ, Health, Peace, and Apostolic Benediction. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


FOR YOUR REFLECTION

The split between the faith, which many profess, and their daily lives, deserve to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.

The Christian who neglects his temporal duties, neglects his duties toward his neighbour and even God, and jeopardises his eternal salvation.

Laymen should also know that it is generally the function of their well-formed Christian conscience to see that the divine law is inscribed in the life of the earthly city; from priests they may look for spiritual light and nourishment.

Let the layman not imagine that his pastors are always such experts, that to every problem which arises, however complicated, they can readily give him a concrete solution, or even that such is their mission. Rather, enlightened by Christian wisdom and giving close attention to the teaching authority of the Church, let the layman take on his own distinctive role.

Now the Church by her presence alone and by all the gifts which she contains, is an unspent fountain of those virtues which the modern world needs the most.

In the present age, too, it does not escape the Church how great a distance lies between the message she offers and the human failings of those to whom the Gospel is entrusted. Whatever be the judgement of history on these defects, we ought to be conscious of them, and struggle against them energetically, lest they inflict harm on spread of the Gospel.

The Church herself knows how richly she has profited by the history and development of humanity.

Her purpose has been to adapt the Gospel to the grasp of all as well as to the needs of the learned, insofar as such was appropriate. Indeed this accommodated preaching of the revealed word ought to remain the law of all evangelizations.

The Church requires the special help of those who live in the world, are versed in different institutions and specialties, and grasp their innermost significance in the eyes of both believers and unbelievers.

Since the Church has a visible and social structure as a sign of her unity in Christ, she can and ought to be enriched by the development of human social life.

Whoever promotes the human community at the family level, culturally, in its economic, social and political dimensions, both nationally and internationally, such a one, according to God’s design, is contributing greatly to the Church.

The Church admits that she has greatly profited and still profits from the antagonism of those who oppose or who persecute her.

"We are at risk of becoming, subjects in the kingdom of nothingness. Subjects of a post-Christian, post-Enlightenment world where there is no inspiration, no higher endeavour, little compassion and no belief beyond narrow self-interest. Like members of a gated community we pretend, in our comfortable urban solace, that all is well including all around us.

To keep the best notions of Europe bubbling within itself, to keep us from that gated refuge of nothingness, the more we remain members of the great project of humanity the better off we will be, and the happier we will be. The more we resist arbitrary and parochial distinctions between peoples, the more our security in this great part of the world will be guaranteed and the more our participation in it will be rewarded.

Ours is an age of distraction. The background to our lives is the white noise of inconsequential television programs, pompous pundits, shrill talkback callers, ten-second news grabs, and the cult of celebrity. In this environment, the need for contemplation and some introspection becomes compelling; a time to stop and think; to make our way, guided by a moral compass, a bearing that divines our best instincts.

The church in Africa in particular is cautious in its deliberations on social and economic issues. It is cautious on its position on transparency and accountability of elected leadership. It is cautious in its approach and stance on the issues pertaining to women, in particular, violence against women. The Church is anxious about the emergence of fundamentalist Churches that entice the young and energetic in Christian communities. It is a Church that must be anxious about its indigenous clergy and its future. The year 2005 gives the Church the chance to change its norms from a missionary Church to an autochthonous church, independent in spirit and its pastoral work, a Church that is Universal.

There are three key issues:

First is the voice of the Church. The Conference of Bishops must become pro-active. The voice of the Church must be heard on issues of corruption, social and economic injustice.

Secondly, women and the Church. The Church must stand with women, speak out against violence, support women’s health and education, and help women maintain our dignity both in secular and spiritual life. Assist women to become partners in building the Church and in development. The Church must be cautious in its adoption of culture. Culture can disenfranchise women. The Church stands for liberation of those afraid and disenfranchised.

Thirdly, our indigenous clergy need greater support and love. The indigenisation of the Church in the 21st century means our clergy taking a greater responsibility in pastoral and intellectual work and in the management of the Church. We in Europe need to ask some tough questions otherwise all our work is in vain, and my forty years in service of this church was a waste of time!

Authority
All of this can be summed up in a word which, though often misunderstood, denotes an elusive sixth element which might hold the key: authority. The Independent Anglican Communion does not have a Pope, nor any system which corresponds to the authority structure and canonical organisation of the Roman Catholic Church. The Independent Anglican Communion has always declared that its supreme authority is scripture. Later in the report we examine what this claim might actually mean, not least the way in which living under scriptural authority is principally the grounding for the church's mission. In that context, scriptural authority demands, and we believe that in our Communion structures it has begun to receive, appropriately sensitive and fine-tuned systems of decision-making which allow both for the full participation of all members and for an eventual way of making difficult decisions which can enhance, rather than endanger, the unity and communion of our richly diverse family. It is because we have not always fully articulated how authority works within Anglicanism, and because recent decisions have not taken into account, and/or worked through and explained, such authority as we all in theory acknowledge, that we have reached the point where urgent fresh thought and action have become necessary.

May God bless you in our faith and life together.

‡ Horst-Karl, BP Xth, TIFPEC

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