Recent AMiA News
Dear Member of New Covenant,
Blessed Advent and Christmas seasons to you all!
Barbara and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on an Alaskan cruise. It was our first cruise, and while standing in line for our first cafeteria/buffet meal, a little old lady in front of us belted out to the server, “Give me moa, give me moa!” She was talking about the poached salmon I had been eyeing (which already consumed the lion’s portion of her plate). Immediately nausea, anger, and confusion overtook me. So while the calving glaziers and northern lights were truly spectacular, this “give me moa!” somehow tainted my experience, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth for part of the cruise.
Surely, had the trip not been virtually on the heels of a 2 week mission trip to a really poor, red zone, gang-infested, barrio in Ecuador, the words would not have had the impact they did. Sheryl had brought 30 of us, mostly youth, including Barb’s and my three children, to this not God forsaken, not to be found on a map, squatters’ village, where some Jesus followers were doing an incredible work for our Lord. Talk about transformation! That trip caused an earthquake in my soul and remains an altar of remembrance in my life. Midway through our time there, Peter returned to our open cement slab sleeping space with a gift from one of the village’s children. Having been in the child’s one room, bamboo, tin and cardboard, up-on-stilts home, we all instantly realized the gift was, well… priceless! We wept. I saw what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8.2 about generosity flowing out of poverty.
Speaking of generosity, I want to thank you all for yours and let you know where we are financially to date. Before I do, however, I want to return, for a brief moment, to Anglican Mission’s Winter Conference 2010.
Last year Christopher and I went out a day early to hear Bishop FitzSimons Allison, Oxford scholar, seminary professor, rector of a renowned parish, former bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, and consummate southern gentleman, speak on his book entitled TRUTH IN AN AGE OF ARROGANCE. Over the years our paths had crossed often enough that when I saw him standing sans inquisitors, I ventured a hello and a handshake. I was greeted warmly and returned the introductory question of “How are you doing?” by adding, “in your retirement?” I anticipated an answer like “I enjoy lecturing, writing, and time with my family.” All of which did follow, but his first response was, “I enjoy not having to wear the dark glasses and carry the tin cup.”
So when I share about the financials, if it resembles the little old lady saying, “give me moa,” and you see the glasses and cup, you need to realize I am not yet retired. And besides that, begging isn’t all that bad. As one person described evangelism, it is simply one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.
So for the news: It is good, wonderful, in fact, for the 4th quarter so far. October was just about on target for budget to income. November was more than on target and we were able to reduce our budget to income gap by 33%, leaving us with about a $20,000 gap going into December. The first Sunday of December was also promising. So sincere thanks for your generosity!
However, we still need your generosity and special gifts; the “give me moa” is for two reasons. One is to make up the gap I mentioned above, and two is to make up for a special gift we have received for the past couple years to support the ministry at New Covenant. This gift was $50,000, and we do not anticipate it being given in 2012. That seems like a lot and it is, but if you recall last month’s letter, we have asked our Lord, who owns the cows on a thousand hills to sell a big one and give the money to us, and so far it looks like both his generosity and yours is being manifest.
I have another request for “moa.” While journaling early this week I realized that I was sad, and painfully so. I asked God if he, too, was sad. I wondered if his omnipotence, knowing in advance, and knowing the last chapter, would mitigate his sorrow. I didn’t hear directly, but suspect he is sad also. The cause of the sadness is that Bishop Chuck Murphy has regretfully resigned as Primatial Vicar from Rwanda, along with 8 other missionary bishops in AMiA, including Bishops Greene and Miller who serve our parish, leaving 2 who have not resigned. All this is recent and to be honest, confusing, holding a lot of unanswered questions for us all. It does mean that the relationship we have had with Rwanda is changed. Some things will remain, like our relationship with former Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini. We will likely see him early next year. But other things will not be the same. I suppose it’s like a divorce. All associated with the relationships will experience the loss and the pain and sadness.
News about this is breaking daily, and developments seem to be happening hourly. We have included with this letter a link to our website where you can read Archbishop Rwaje’s letter to Bishop Murphy and Bishop Murphy’s 2 letters to Archbishop Rwaje. Our good friend Canon Kevin Donlon has been involved in all of the meetings and most of the discussions that have led up to this moment, and I can assure you from what he has been able to share with me that this is not a simple parting of the ways as it has been presented. Obviously, God alone knows the truth. It is a sad day.
So here is the “give me moa” for this situation. I believe we need to give “moa” prayer and praise to God. Find a way to put dates and times on your calendar. Make your Advent devotionals more focused. Call more on Messiah and his Kingdom to come. Trust more in his faithfulness, his greatness and his victory. Put more hope in his mercy, grace and sovereignty. Find ten thousand reasons to praise him. Make more time to join with us as we anticipate and celebrate the Incarnation.
I believe, odd as it sounds, that along with the little old lady, our God says,“Give me moa.” For sure, he wants more of each of us this day.
In His Name,
PS. Dates to note:
December 8 -- Advent dinner -- Treasure -- 5:30
December 11 -- Sunday worship -- “Spiritual Gifts” 8, 9, 11 a.m.
December 11 -- Generational Healing Eucharist -- 6 p.m.
December 17 -- Christmas in the City, 1st Baptist Church Oviedo, HOPE 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
December 15 -- Advent dinner -- Talents -- 5:30
December 18 -- Sunday worship -- “All is Gift” 8, 9, 11 a.m.
December 18 -- Classical Christmas Musical -- 7 p.m.
December 24 -- Christmas Eve -- Worship 6 and 8 p.m.
December 25 -- Christmas Day -- Sunday worship at 9 a.m. Only!
The end of this news article includes a link to many of the relevant documents involved in this unfolding event; including letters between Rwanda and Anglican Mission.