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Praying in Second Life for the upcoming ACNA event

June 17, 2009

acnaA complicated decision – what to do about the ACNA event?

An answer for everyone: PRAY FOR IT!

On June 22-25, Anglican delegates representing about 100,000 North American Anglicans will come together with the purpose of forming a new church.

This is an exceedingly controversial event. Many see it as a seed of splitting within the Anglican Communion. Others see it as a beacon of hope. However, no matter how controversial, and whatever one’s position on whether this new church should be formed or not: it is also an exceedingly important event – and whether or not one wants to support this church’s formation, one should be praying for this church – and especially for this very important moment of its formation. However we look at this picture, it is certain: this event, and how it occurs, will influence history and the Church at large. It will be, perhaps, one of the most significant events in Christianity of this decade.

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We can all pray for: God’s will; for dedication on the part of this church’s leaders to seek God’s will, and to teach and act in accordance with what God wills. And we can pray for unity, and for healing.

Because of the controversy around this event, but also the relative lack of resources for raising awareness, due in part to crippling lawsuits which have been initiated by various entities within The Episcopal Church, we fear that relatively few will be praying for this very important event and the formation of the new church, relative to the immense importance both carry – whether one endorses the new church, or not.

I have searched for a few articles which, together, would begin to do justice to it; but as I begin to consider all the intersecting problematics which come to the fore in this event – issues of church unity and church authority, interpretation of Scriptures, tragically also litigation, and woefully: even Christology.

Many Episcopalians who uphold the authority of Scriptures and believe in Christ wish that parishes and dioceses would not leave the Episcopal Church of the USA – for a number of legitimate reasons: because it compromises church unity, and because those leaving will no longer exercise leadership within the Episcopal Church, leaving a larger portion of leaders within that organization who do not uphold the authority of Scriptures or what Christ taught us about Himself – His divinity, that He died for our sins, that He rose from the dead. Indeed, the very question of to which degree top leaders of the Episcopal Church uphold these things is even, in some quarters, a matter of controversy, though abundant facts in the form of public statements are available for anyone who wishes to investigate this matter.

However, some within the Episcopal Church also support the formation of this new church, despite these issues.

Anglican provinces around the world are also divided about the formation of this new church. The issues surrounding it are so grevious, and sometimes contorted, that simply researching them for the finding of relevant facts can be an enormously disheartening experience; one turns away from the task in bereavement or shame. The resulting lack of informedness on the part of church authorities then furthers the spiral into disarray, anger, and despair. This cumulative effect presented itself perhaps most evidently at the last meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Kingston, Jamaica.

We’ve therefore decided to organize within Second Life an opportunity for people to come together while watching the event online, for discussion and prayer.

We expect many from parishes coming together in the ACNA to be there. Therefore:
– this event will not be for the purpose of venting criticism of the formation of the ACNA, or those who have have left TEC.
We also expect many from TEC to be there. Therefore:
– this event will not be for the purpose of venting criticism of TEC.
By no means does this mean that we consider all criticisms of either ACNA or TEC to be illegitimate; criticizing these churches is simply not the purpose of the gathering.

It is unlikely that we will be able to stream the event live into Second Life. However, in any case, we can come together in Second Life for some discussion and prayer together, while watching the event.

Consider joining us in Second Life for some discussion and prayer during this event.

More information available shortly regarding times and places within Second Life.

The event will be streamed at http://anglicantv.org/live .

Press / publicity announcement (please consider re-posting, re-printing, distributing, including in a church bulletin insert):

On June 22-25, a number of Anglican churches representing about 100,000 churchgoers will come together to form the Anglican Church of North America. Given the unique situation of the Anglican Communion, and the place of these churches within it, the formation of this church (or province) is likely to be one of the most important and formative events in Christendom of the decade, in the opinion of the Anglican Ecumenical Society.

No matter what one’s position is regarding the formation of this new church, there is one thing we all can do: pray for God’s will to be done, and for God to lead this newly formed church according to His will.

Please pray; if you wish to view the convention forming this church, you may do so at Anglicantv.org – http://anglicantv.org/live . Speakers will include Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Metropolitan Johah, Metropolitan of All America and Canada for the Orthodox Church in America, and the Rev. Todd Hunter.

An event (or possibly, events) will be organized within Second Life during the assembly, with the purpose of praying for this new church, by the Anglican Ecumenical Society. More information will be available at http://AnglicanEcumenicalSociety.wordpress.com. Please consider joining us within Second Life for praying for this new church.

Also available: bulletin insert-sized pdf format notice – suitable for welcoming table, coffee urn table, or as bulletin insert: https://anglicanecumenicalsociety.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/acna1.pdf

Some of you may be asking, “what is Second Life”? Second Life is a virtual world environment where people build things, get together, and do things together. At any moment there are usually about 70,000 people online there. Christian organizations like ourselves are involved there in various outreach and discipleship programs, speaking to people about “real life” (i.e., not about fantasy, role-play, or avatars, but about what is going on in real life), nourishing them spiritually, and when the time comes, urging them to get involved in real life fellowship with other Christians for further discipleship.

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