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The Provincial Assembly begins!

The day begins with the Opening Eucharist in the Basilica. The Rt. Rev. Donald Harvey, Dean of Province, is the Celebrant. The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, is the preacher. Video from the Opening Eucharist will be available soon.

Opening Eucharist, Anglican Assembly 2014

By Susan Fertig-Dykes

With every pew in the Basilica filled and faces of the congregation suffused with joy, the organist abruptly moved from soft, contemplative, melodic music to the triumphal, powerful, full-volume chords of “The Church’s One Foundation.” The body of Christ rose as one and turned toward the Narthex at the back, as a seemingly endless stream of Anglican priests, bishops, and archbishops in their various vestments began to flow forward, following the Crucifers in a thrilling procession.

It was not only the music that was triumphal. Everyone present could only be filled with thanksgiving–the opening of the second provincial gathering of the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) was profound validation of the accomplishments and leadership of the retiring first Archbishop, the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, and the successful deliberations leading to the election of a successor, Archbishop-elect Foley Beach of the Diocese of the South. Four years ago, some scoffed that the infant Anglican province would not last long enough to elect a successor to Duncan. Now, with both the original, founding congregations supplemented by nearly 500 new church plants, along with the sound foundation Duncan helped lay for the future, ACNA is thriving, growing, and leading.

The Basilica reverberated, every voice raised enthusiastically to sing the hymns and taste the familiar-yet-new proposed liturgy. Shortly another procession occurred, coming around the Altar to move down the center aisle for the reading of the Gospel. Acolytes, two bearing candles, one serving as Crucifer, and one holding the Bible, came forward, faces shining, yet somber with responsibility, to stand facing the Deacon who would read. The congregation stood, turning to face the Bible, reverentially listening to the Word from Matthew 10:16-33.

When outgoing, much-beloved Archbishop Duncan got up to give the sermon, he set the scene for what he was going to say–that he wanted to distinguish between what we were not here for and what we were here to do in the next few days.

• “We are not here to reference all the wonderful things God has done for us—that was yesterday.
• “We are not here to say goodbye to me—that is Friday night.
• “We are not here to transfer authority—that is Saturday.
• “We are here (this morning) for me to preach to you the Kingdom of God.”

He went on to say that we must be about conforming ourselves and our lives so that “…when people look at us, they see Him.” He spoke of how The Kingdom comes, through compassion, courage, conversion, quoting the earliest preaching in Jesus’ time, when John cried out, “Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand!” In other words, turn around; turn away from our sin and turn towards our Savior.

“We are called to be agents of conversion. As we love others, they are converted,” asserted the Archbishop. “We are not of the world, but we are in the world.”
We need to be able to understand and articulate, he said, “what it is to be Justified…to have power and hope for what is coming.”

Duncan testified, “He leads others in through us.” And in final words of encouragement, he said that courage is just Trust; we know that God’s Kingdom will supplant this world.

Susan Fertig-Dykes is Communications Manager at The Falls Church Anglican, Falls Church, VA.

A press conference which includes the current Archbishop Robert Duncan and Archbishop-elect Foley Beach is scheduled for 12:00 noon today.

Live Stream:

The first Plenary with Eric Metaxas:

Eric Metaxas is the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, which was named “Book of the Year” by the ECPA. Bonhoeffer also won the 2011 John C. Pollock Award for Biography awarded by Beeson Divinity School and a 2011 Christopher Award in the Non-fiction category. Called a “biography of uncommon power,” Bonhoeffer appeared on numerous 2010 “Best of the Year” lists and was featured in theWall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, The New Republic, Harper’s, Kirkus (starred review), NPR, FoxNews, C-SPAN’s Book TV, Christianity Today, The Weekly Standard, and First Things.

Here are notable quotes from the Eric Metaxas Plenary session as reported by the Rev. David Trautman:

• “Most people aren’t atheists. They are just drifting.”

• “I went to sleep believing that you couldn’t know this stuff and then I woke up knowing it.”

• “If you go to a church that is Jesus’ church it doesn’t matter what denomination it is.”

• “Jesus lived among the disciples. Truth is a person.”

• “When people see compassion and courage together, it leads to conversion.”

• “When you exhibit courage, you inspire others to be courageous.”

• “Jesus is not for Christians; He is for every human being.”

UPDATE: Report from the Breakout Session of
Proclaiming Christ in a Post Christian Age

By Susan Fertig-Dykes

Monday afternoon’s breakout session on “Proclaiming Christ in a Post-Christian Age,” led by plenary speaker Eric Metaxas began on a positive note. “The good thing about living in a post-Christian world,” Metaxas said, “is that it forces us to be [truly] Christian, not just culturally Christian.” Nominal Christians, especially those in leadership roles, produce cynicism in unbelievers, he noted. But where Christianity is a distinctive, with a different message from the cultural norm, Christians can offer truth, compassion, and hope to broken and hurting people.

In fact, our own era may not be so different from the rest. “The golden past does not really exist,” Metaxas urged. Even the Victorian era, which produced generations of missionaries, was not saturated in piety. Rather, in every age, “there has always been a holy remnant.”

Revisiting a theme from the earlier plenary session, Metaxas reminded the 200 or so men and women in the room that Jesus is Truth, and that anything true is of Jesus, and biblical principles can be found outside religious precincts. Noting the universal human instinct to avoid suffering, he suggested that those who hurt often look for relief in destructive behavior that only ends in more pain. Christians, he said, can offer a true remedy. “We have a way to alleviate suffering that’s not going to lead to more suffering.”

He encouraged Christians to reach out to the world with humility. “If the term sin is too loaded use other words,” Metaxas said in response to a question. “Start by sharing your own brokenness.”

“We are in the business of stooping.” An overbearing approach to sharing the Gospel may fail, but “humor can show humility, because we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

Finally, he urged those present to believe scripture and “be anxious for nothing” – not even saving souls – because “anxiety comes across.”

“Some people are not reachable now. Try the person who is halfway there.

Susan Fertig-Dykes is Communications Manager at The Falls Church Anglican, Falls Church, VA.

Archbishop Ben Kwashi and his wife Gloria speak at Assembly 2014 this evening. Here is the live stream:

The Most Rev. Dr. Benjamin Argak Kwashi is Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jos and Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Jos in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). He and his wife, Gloria, live in Jos, Plateau State, in Northern Nigeria. They have six children; Hannatu is a doctor, Rinji is a priest currently studying for his master’s degree, and two more are away at University. They now also have over thirty orphans living with them at Bishopscourt.

Plateau State is Bishop Kwashi’s home: he was born in the village of Amper in 1955. He grew up in a Christian home, and his father was a noted teacher and educationalist. He attended the Nigerian Military School, but when he received a clear call to go into the church’s ministry in 1976, he turned his back on a military career. He trained for the ministry at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria, and it was there that he met Gloria. After ordination and marriage they served in a variety of rural and urban parishes and settings in Kaduna Diocese (northern Nigeria) until in 1990 he was appointed Rector of St. Francis of Assisi Theological College. From there he was called to be Bishop of Jos, where he was consecrated and enthroned in 1992.

Both the Bishop and his wife hold Bachelor of Divinity degrees; the Bishop is also a Doctor of Ministry and a Doctor of Divinity. The Bishop has held many positions on Boards and Trusts both within Nigeria and internationally. He is currently the International Chairman of SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad). In 2003 he was conferred with the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).

UPDATE: See the photos from the First Day of Assembly 2014: Click Here

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