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Texts for Common Prayer

Reflections from the College of Bishops


The bishops encourage ministries to the poor, commend the work of racial reconciliation, support the development of resources for both married and single people, and announce new liturgies for baptism and confirmation.

Philippians 4:4-7 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America met from June 23-24, 2015, and the College of Bishops met for two days following that meeting to pray, share fellowship, and approve new resources for the use of our Church. 

We were grateful for our hosts, the Anglican Network in Canada, the leadership of their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Charlie Masters, and the wonderful hospitality of Church of the Good Shepherd, Vancouver.  They served us in an exemplary manner, exhibiting their deep commitment to the mission of the Province.

On the last day of our meeting, the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex “marriage” was released, and it was a blessing to be together as a College to address this issue.  You can read our statement here.  While this decision required an immediate response, it was only a part of our work together.  This reflection highlights some of the other important aspects of our Church’s common life that were covered during our meeting. We recognize that in this work Christ has gone before us, and calls us to follow Him faithfully.

Last year at his investiture, Archbishop Beach spoke of four marks of modern Anglicanism. In his address to the Provincial Council, our attention was again drawn to these important aspects of our common life. We found that many of our conversations naturally revolved around these themes:

    A Repenting Church
    A Reconciling Church
    A Reproducing Church
    A Relentlessly Compassionate Church

A Repenting Church
It is a great comfort and a Gospel truth that genuine repentance leads to new life in Christ.  Therefore, it is with joy that we commend new liturgies for the rites of Baptism and Confirmation to our congregations.

As with the rest of the Texts for Common Prayer, the use of these texts are not compulsory, but are offered as a faithful contemporary rendering of the best of the Anglican tradition.  We thank Archbishop Emeritus Robert Duncan, and the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force for their diligent work on these texts, and invite our churches to use these liturgies and then offer feedback to the Task Force. 

A Reconciling Church
Earlier this year, leaders from the Anglican Church in North America gathered in North Charleston, South Carolina where our predominantly African American diocese, the Diocese of the Southeast REC, hosted a discussion on race relations and multiethnic ministry.

Our hearts were broken when Myra Thompson, the wife of one of our own Diocese of the Southeast clergy, lost her life with eight others while leading the Bible study during the horrific massacre at Emanuel AME Church. In the midst of this great evil, however, there are signs of great hope. We give thanks for the powerful words of forgiveness spoken by Fr. Thompson and the other family members of the victims, and the role that Bishops Alfonza Gadsden, William White, and Steve Wood, and many of our clergy and members have played to build Christian unity both before and after the shootings.

A Reproducing Church
Healthy churches and healthy families go hand in hand. We are pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll is leading the newly formed Task Force on Marriage, Family, and the Single Life.  We are excited about the potential that their work has to strengthen families and amplify the giftings of those who are single.

A Relentlessly Compassionate Church
The ministry of Jesus touched the weak, wounded, poor, and dispossessed. Following in His footsteps we celebrate the creation of the Matthew 25 Initiative which will provide greater funding for ministries to the poor in our Province.

A truly compassionate Church offers welcome to all, recognizing that we are all in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The Rev. Canon David Roseberry is heading this initiative and more detailed information can be found on the Provincial website.

It is truly an exciting time in the life of our Church.  As we press forward in each of these areas, we invite you to share these new resources and opportunities with the members of your congregation and diocese that we might reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ!