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|Newsletter Volume 4 December
"Prayer is not a last resort: it is our first resource." -Judson Cornwall
Greetings to one and all in this busy season of Advent. It is so good to pause and reflect awhile on the origin of our faith and as the shepherds did long ago, to follow his star and stand, awestruck, at the wondrous birth.
The last few weeks have been very busy for me as Diocesan rep for the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. There have been four great workshops and a national conference. They were as follows:
1. November 1 ..... Harbour Breton ..... we held a full day information/prayer workshop attended by thirty people from all the towns in that deanery. Rev. Karen Freake spearheaded the event and her husband, Hubert, provided music.
2.) November 7,8 ..... Port Rexton ..... Power House of Prayer workshop spearheaded by Rev. John Gillam and attended by eighteen people.
3.) November 28, 29 ..... Bonavista ..... Power House of Prayer workshop spearheaded by AFP Parish reps Ron Pearce and Linda Hicks and attended by thirteen people.
4.) December 5, 6 ..... Trinity, Trinity Bay ..... spearheaded by Rev. Nelson Chatman and attended by twelve people.
Each workshop was an event in its own right. Each followed the same agenda but each was different as God was moving in different ways in each place. I feel so blessed to be allowed to do this work and I pray that each parish has also been blessed and gained a little something to inspire their prayer times together and individually.
November 21-23 found me in Canmore, Alberta for the National Conference. Truly the setting was magnificent with the snow covered Rocky Mountain peaks, especially the Three Sisters, standing guard all around the town.
The theme of the conference was "Nurturing the Gift of the Divine Within."
Plenary speakers were Lutheran Bishop Telmor Sartison of Saskatchewan who "shared the joy of signing the Waterloo Declaration with Archbishop Michael Peers in 2002" and Rev. Carlotta (Lottie) Cochran of Virginia who began her tenure as Executive Director of the U.S. Anglican Fellowship of Prayer in April, 2002.
A few highpoints of this conference.....
Bishop Telmor Sartison
"Let me not just grow old. Let me grow."
Bishop Sartison spoke on Romans 8:26 ... ‘...the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans too deep for words.’
He also spoke on John 17 ... ‘Father, the hour has come.’ ... "God is glorified because it is finished. Christ had done what he was called to do. At the end will I be able to say I have glorified his name?"
Rev. Lottie Cochran
Rev. Lottie spoke on "Images around Advent"
"In Celtic days as the winter season and the darkness started to close in they would take a wheel off the farm wagon and they would literally put lights on to stave off the darkness - hence our Advent wreath.
Rev. Lottie also gave us a model for group Lectio Divina which I would like to share with you as it was agreed by all that this is a very powerful way to pray in a group using the scriptures.
Lectio Divina is a slow, contemplative reading of a passage of scripture so we may be brought into a deeper union with God. It consists of 1.) slow reading 2.) Meditation 3.) Allowing Christ to call us forth.
The selected passage for our session was Psalm 42.
A model for how to do group lectio divina:
In a group read the passage silently and slowly three times. After the reading pose the following for meditation and discussion.
1.) Which phrase stands out for you?
2.) Where does the content of this reading touch my life today?
3.) Share what you hear or see.
4.) I believe that God wants me to do this.......
5.) Finish with prayer. Pray aloud for the person seated at your right.
Fourteen workshops were offered of which delegates could do two. My second workshop was on Desert Spirituality with the Rev. Richard LeSueur. This was deeply inspiring and meant to encourage when we are, individually or as the church, in that silent, lonely place called the spiritual desert.
"Christianity was born in the wilderness. The desert shapes God’s people for the future they are being called into."
"Christians have been used to being mainstream but we are not really that any more. We are in the desert and don’t quite know how it will come out at the other end."
FOUR RULES OF THE WILDERNESS
1.) You never go alone - it is too dangerous. We are never meant as Christians to go it alone.
2.) Take only what you can carry. The church will look very different fifty years from now. There are things we will have to shed.
3.) Expect anxiety. Life in the desert is stressful. There is mourning that the old shape of the community (church) no longer fits. But the community must hang together and support one another.
4.) You have to wait. ‘They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.’ The time will come when the still voice of God will be heard in the whistling wind. The bush will burn; the desert WILL bloom again.
National Conference to be held in the diocese of Western Newfoundland October 14, 15, 16 at Kildevil
Camp. International Conference to be held in Hendersonville, North Carolina, April 19, 20, 21.
AFP Partner’s Mid-Day Prayer
Lord Jesus, give to your church
a renewed desire to pray,
that together we may know your will,
be filled with your love
and experience your grace and power
for the healing of your world
to your glory.
Wishing you a Christmas filled with
the peace, joy, and love of Christ!
Your comments and suggestions are welcome.
Diocesan Rep, Central NL
24 Park Avenue, Clarenville, NL, A5A 1V4