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Conservative Anglicans U.S. Propose England Clergy Swap

Conservative Anglicans in North America are inviting priests in the Church of England to take part in a clergy swap as a show of solidarity.

Formed last year by conservative Anglicans who broke away from The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in North America is proposing the swap in the wake of the consecration of TEC’s first partnered lesbian bishop last Saturday.

ACNA said the clergy swap would be an opportunity for Church of England parishes and clergy to express their solidarity and friendship with ACNA churches.

According to the proposal, participating clergy would be matched to churches with similar preaching and ministry styles and serve the pulpit for a period of three to four weeks in January and July or August next year.

In a letter of invitation to Church of England clergy, Paul Perkin, chair of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Chris Sugden, executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream, said the swap would be of “mutual benefit.”

“We are writing in the wake of the letter from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to the Primates of the Anglican Communion that her consecration of a woman in a partnered same-sex relationship represents the mind of the majority of elected leaders in the Episcopal Church,” wrote the conservative Anglican leaders, referring to the letter from Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

“Institutionally the CofE seems to be sitting on the fence. The Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the worldwide Anglican Communion) has said that the consecration of Mary Glasspool in TEC is ‘regrettable'; yet the CofE has not fully embraced ACNA,” they added.

“An important contribution at this stage will be for parishes and clergy to express solidarity and friendship with clergy and parishes in ACNA,” they concluded.

Following the consecration of Glasspool as one of two new suffragan bishops in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, Anglican Mainstream said The Episcopal Church should withdraw or be excluded from the Anglican Communion’s representative bodies.

The consecration of Glasspool has forced traditionalists in the 77 million-member global Anglican body to further distance themselves from The Episcopal Church – the U.S. arm of Anglicanism.

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Piper Leaves Megachurch with Hope for Revival

Pastor John Piper began his eight-month leave this past weekend.

Now filling the empty pulpit at Bethlehem Baptist Church is Kenny Stokes, who had been on a sabbatical these past several months.

Stokes, who previously served as the church’s Downtown Campus pastor, was approved unanimously by the elders at the Minneapolis church last week to serve as Interim Pastor for Preaching while Piper is away.

The elders determined that continuity, consistency and stability were most important and thus decided to have one primary preacher – rather than a rotation of varied speakers – to serve as the temporary shepherd.

“Few things are more important in the life of a church than the faithful preaching of the word of God,” said Piper in his final written commentary to his church of some 9,000 attendees. “I trust Kenny.”

“Under Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, I am happy to leave you under his preaching,” he added.

Piper, 64, announced late March that he would be taking his first-ever leave of absence from ministry this year to focus on his marriage, his family and his soul. His break was not prompted by a particular sin but by “ongoing character flaws” – including pride – and the stresses they have caused to others.

He told his congregation that he felt his marriage, soul and ministry pattern needed a reality check from the Holy Spirit.

The renowned preacher and author stopped tweeting just after making the announcement and has also let go of other forms of online communication, including Facebook and blogging. During his leave, Piper will also disengage from book writing, preaching and speaking at events (with a few exceptions).

In his last sermon on April 25 to Bethlehem, Piper cited Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a 19th century minister in the Church of Scotland who also took eight months away from his parish in 1839.

M’Cheyne asked William Burns to take over the pulpit and wrote to him: “I hope you may be a thousand times more blessed among them than I ever was. Perhaps there are many souls that would never have been saved under my ministry, who may be touched under yours; and God has taken this method of bringing you into my place. His name is Wonderful.”

Revival did come to St. Peter’s Church while he was away.

With that, Piper left the Bethlehem pulpit with the same hope and prayer:

“O Lord … show your great power in my absence. Send a remarkable awakening that results in hundreds of people coming to Christ, … wayward children coming home, long-standing slavery to sin being conquered, spiritual dullness being replaced by vibrant joy, weak faith being replaced by bold witness, disinterest in prayer being replaced by fervent intercession, boring Bible reading being replaced by passion for the Word, disinterest in global missions being replaced by energy for Christ’s name among the nations, and lukewarm worship being replaced by zeal for the greatness of God’s glory.

“Bless this church beyond anything we have ever dreamed.”

Just as M’Cheyne returned to his flock and served nearly four more years before he died at the age of 29, Piper hopes to return to the Minneapolis church to preach for at least five more years.

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by Lillian Kwon

www.christianpost.com

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