Anglican Fellowship of Prayer
Newsletter of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer
Our Mission: The Anglican Fellowship of Prayer serves the church by encouraging, facilitating, and promoting the understanding and discipline of prayer in the Anglican Communion.
Why seek the living here among the dead? Jesus has risen just as He said.
Remember how He told you back in Galilee, "They'll try to put me in the ground but I will be set free"?
He was singing "Alleluia, Alleluia, death is not the end. Spring has broken through the winter,
Love has come again."
Scott Wilkinson, 1971
This song was inspired by the passages where Mary and a few other women go to Jesus' tomb on the third day to anoint his body, and they see a man in a white robe sitting by the tomb. I like to recall it every year before Easter, because I know I would be in that same mindset as Mary and the others, wanting to believe yet not believing. Sure, they had all seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead and heal many of sickness and disease, bring sight to the blind, and predict his own resurrection, but they were not really sure. Has He risen? Was He still in the tomb? They were up early before dawn and went to see for themselves.
We live on this side of the cross and therefore know the end of the story. Let us put ourselves on the other side of the cross with Mary and the women and imagine us being there also. Mary sees the tomb but the stone has been rolled away. The tomb is empty and she wonders, "Did someone take Him away?" Then she heard it.
"Why seek the living here among the dead…?"
She still did not believe. "Where have they taken Him? Where was He? We need to anoint the body." Then she recognized Him.
She turned around and there He was, right before her eyes. He called to her, "Mary." She said, "Rabboni."
"Now do not cling to me, I've work for you do. Go and tell the others I will see them, too."
He was singing, "Alleluia, Alleluia, death is not the end. Spring has broken through the winter,
Love has come again."
It was true. Jesus was alive! She had seen Him. She wanted to touch Him but Jesus said "No. Go and spread the word to the others." She
did. Mary and her companions ran one race, Peter and John ran with one another back to the tomb. They looked in, saw the way the grave clothes were lying and were convinced once and forever. Then they spread the word. Peter spoke to a crowd, and hundreds became believers and were baptized. Jesus' followers preached the resurrection and the word was spread to the then known world. Now, from that small beginning, for milions of people of every nationality all over the world, Easter has become the happiest day of the entire year. In hundreds of languages, passing from one time zone to the next, people of the "Great Easter Procession" will say, "Alleluia, Christ is Risen" and be answered by "Christ is Risen Indeed, Alleluia." In churches of every denomination Christians will rejoice that Christ is alive today.
Do I believe this? Could a person beaten, scourged, pierced with a sword, hung on a cross until he was pronounced dead, and sealed in a tomb for close to 36 hours actually push away the covering stone which was actually locked in place from the outside and walk out of the grave and pronounce to his follwers that He had overcome death? The proof is in the lay of the clothes, and in the completely changed attitude of the disciples from a cowering, depressed group to a forceful, excited convinced group proclaiming triumphantly, shouting the glorious news to anyone who would listen. The resurrection is true. Jesus is alive!
This is not just an intellectual assent to the resurrection. This is "pistuo," putting their entire trust in it; something to which they would devote their lives and for which they would lay down their lives. Because of that the world was turned upside down. Yes, I believe. Spring has broken through the winter, Love has come again.
Alleluia, the Lord is risen, indeed.
William C. Williams
President, U.S. Council
The AFP U.S. Council was delighted to welcome Paige Grimball (Province IV), our newest board member, at our meeting at Kanuga March 8-11. Paige is a fine musician, a teacher of Christian ethics, the mother of three young sons, and the wife of an Episcopal priest. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina.
As mentioned in our last newsletter, we are very happy to welcome Patricia Hayes (Province VIII) back on the board. Pat is from Beaverton, Oregon, where she is very active in local AFP ministry. One of her projects right now for the U.S. Council is to replenish the list of Diocesan Representatives; we need enhanced communication links to all Dioceses and parishes. Please see "How you can Help Carry Out the Ministry of the AFP" below.
We very much enjoyed being at Kanuga during the Lenten Retreat, which was led by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Guenther. The theme was "Let's Take a Walk." AFP Board member Paula Claire Hall+ (Province VII) gave a workshop on prayer gardens, which included pictures and information on the one she is building at her home in western Louisiana.
U.S. Council President Will Williams (Province III) led our meetings and challenged us to move forward in our ministry of prayer, so much needed in our church today and in the wider Anglican Communion.
We are exploring having a representative at General Convention in July--more later.
Recording Secretary Mary Leberknight (Province VIII) was unable to be present because of illness, but sent ideas for us to consider (see "how you can help the ministry of the AFP" below), and is encouraging special prayers for General Convention and for diocesan prayer events (see below).
We need more board members, preferably at least one from each of the Nine Provinces of The Episcopal Church. We do not have members from Province I (New England), Province II (New York, New Jersey, Haiti, The Virgin Islands, the Convocation of American Churches in Europe), Province V (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan) Province VI (Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado), and Province IX (Colombia,
Dominican Republic, Central and Litoral Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Venezuela). We currently do not have a bishop on our board.
At present, we are stable financially. Our sources of income are donations and (in a minor way) profits from book sales. Although we have curtailed our book ministry, some of our older books are still selling (like the
Personal Prayer Notebook and The Parish as a Center of Prayer), and we are very pleased at the success of the
third edition of Bishop Donald Hulstrand's The Praying Church. If you would like to order books, see our website at <www.afp.org> or call 724-463-6436.
Celinda Scott (Province III), Corresponding Secretary and website coordinator, is collecting e-mail addresses for AFP members who would like occasional e-mails with news and special prayer requests. Please contact her at <firstname.lastname@example.org>if you would like your name and address to be added.
HOW YOU CAN HELP CARRY OUT THE MINISTRY OF THE AFP
1. Pray, and encourage others to pray. As Partners in Prayer we are called to prayer for each other and the Body of Christ.
2. Let us know if you would be willing to be a Diocesan Representative: we badly need you, if you are called to this ministry. Please contact Pat Hayes at <email@example.com> if you are willling, or if you have questions.
3. Keep in touch if you are planning a diocesan prayer teaching or an event in your diocese so we can pray for it, and can mention it on our website. Let us know also when you would like us to join you in prayer for other gatherings in your diocese or province. Contact: Mary Leberknight at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or our web coordinator at <email@example.com>.
4. Spread the word about the value of small group prayer. Bishop Hultstrand's book, The Praying Church, is a great help in getting prayer groups started.
5. We would like more visitors to our website (<www.afp.org>) ! Please visit it regularly yourself, and let us know your ideas about how we can reach more people in this way.
6. As the General Convention begins on Wednesday, July 8, let us, as Partners in Prayer, join to pray on Wednesdays for the General Convention the next three months. Watch for more prayers on the website for prayer for the convention. Also on the website: there will be a link to Prayer Vigil information for General Convention.
PRAYERS FOR GENERAL CONVENTION
Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding: be present with those in preparation to serve at the House of Bishops and House of Deputies this summer for renewal and strengthening in our common faith, and for the mission of your Church. Teach them in all things to seek first your honor and glory Guide them to perceive what is right, and grant them both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hate or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Pres.: Dr. William C. Williams Rec. Sec'y.: Mrs. Mary Leberknight Corr. Sec'y: Mrs. Celinda Scott, 1106 Mansfield Ave., Indiana, PA 15701 < firstname.lastname@example.org> 724-463-6436 . Other Board Members: the Rev. Paula Claire Hall, Mr. Robert Barry, and Mrs. Patricia Hayes