Advent 2017 Offering

Dear Reformed Episcopal Brothers and Sisters:

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace!

I write regarding a special Advent Offering primarily for our Reformed Episcopal mission work in Cuba and also a new parish recently planted in Berlin, Germany. We have a $10,000 matching opportunity. The generous giving opens a way to provide financial help to other RE missions, whom we want to encourage in their important work.

As you may know, we have been doing mission work in Cuba for over fifteen years. We have twelve congregations and another twenty-four small groups and missions at various points of development. Bishop Charles and Claudia Dorrington have been the key missionaries who have spearheaded this wonderfully blessed mission effort. Many others have also joined them over the years in support and visits.

If we are able to match the $10,000 gift bringing our total offering to $20,000, we have some wonderful opportunities to help in Cuba and Berlin. Thankfully the recent Hurricane Irma did not do much damage to our parishes in Cuba. Only a few of the parishioners lost portions of their roofs. Nevertheless, we have included a portion of our budget to help those who need to repair their homes. Below is a complete summary of what we want to do with our contributions:

• $5,000 for hurricane relief in Cuba
• $10,000 for Cuba development:
• $5,500 to complete payment on Diocesan Ministry Center
• $2,000 for material to build an addition for the growing San Lucas (St Luke's) Parish
• $2,500 to send an REC Professor to Cuba in the coming year for classes with the clergy
• $5,000 “seed money” for the REC Church Plant in Berlin Germany

As you can see, we have an extraordinary opportunity to help our Reformed Episcopal brothers and sisters in Cuba and Berlin. Please plan on a special Advent Offering in your parish. Ask each member to consider making a donation toward matching the generous gift of $10,000. May the Lord bless you all as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ to redeem the world from sin.

In Christ,
+Ray Sutton

For a printable brochure (PDF) that you can use in your parish, click Here

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Supporting our Retired Clergy & Widows

Dear REC Brothers and Sisters:

Often we add a request to our prayers before meals that goes something like the following, “O Lord, make us mindful of those who are especially in need.” The petition is offered to help us remember and even be receptive to learning of those with special needs.

I write concerning a group of dear servants of the Lord who do indeed come to mind as those requiring our assistance. I’m referring to some of our retired clergy who are quite up in their years, and ministered in the REC before we had a pension fund. For many years, we have had annually a special offering for our retired clergy. This money is divided among them to supplement their retirement.

Furthermore, the offering helps to provide a modest Christmas gift for our retired clergy. They need to know that we will always value and remember their service in the Lord’s Church. We do not forget the servants of the Lord in the REC.

Once again we ask you to give to the “Retired Clergy.” They always express profound appreciation for this offering of love. They write and express just how much our thoughtful giving means to them. They tell me in my travels as they did my predecessors just how grateful they are that our church has not forgotten them.

Please consider what you and your parish might do for this offering. You may place your gift in the offering plate at church. When you donate, simply designate that this is for “retired clergy.”

Thank you for acting on a prayer that we’ve all prayed, “O Lord, make us mindful of those who are especially in need.” Your gift will make such a difference in the lives of the faithful servants of God who ministered with all they had. May the Lord bless you in your giving,

Sincerely in Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Ray R. Sutton

Donations can be made payable to and mailed to:

Board of Pensions & Relief
200 Glen Gary Dr.
Havertown, PA 19083

If you have any questions regarding the Retired Clergy & Widows Fund, please contact the Board of Pensions and Relief at (610)-449-6267 or by email at pensions@rechurch.org

Printable Bulletin Insert

Affirmations & Study Guides

Dear REC Brothers and Sisters:
Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ!

Attached to this communication is an introductory letter from Archbishop Foley Beach regarding some affirmations/study guides that have been produced by our ecumenical dialogues with our fellow Christians in the North American Lutheran Church. This group of Lutherans is a counterpart to us in the Anglican Church in North America. They are the Gospel conservatives who left the liberal Lutheran Church (ELCA) shortly after ACNA was formed. They have also been involved in the ecumenical dialogues with the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.

As the Ecumenical Dean for ACNA, I have participated in many of these meetings and approved together with our College of Bishops (including the Council of Bishops of the REC) the attached affirmations/study guides on the subjects of Jesus Christ, Holy Scripture, Baptism and Holy Communion. As our first steps in confessing the faith once delivered together, I commend these affirmations/study guides to you and your ministries. I also encourage you to consider working through these affirmations/studies with our fellow Christians of the North American Lutheran Church in your area. May the Lord bless you as we make these ecumenical efforts in obedience to our Lord’s High Priestly prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 17), to the end that “we might be one . . . that the world might believe.”

Sincerely in Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Ray R. Sutton

View Document

A Pastoral Letter 2017

The bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) met at Church of Holy Communion, Dallas, Texas on October 2, 2017, for prayer, fellowship, planning for the renewal and planting of Reformed Episcopal parishes, and discussion of other matters concerning the church. Reformed Episcopal bishops from Canada, England, Croatia, Germany, and Brazil were present by teleconference call.

Among the topics discussed was the recent statement issued by the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North American (ACNA), regarding the ordination of women. This statement arose from the conclave held in Victoria, British Columbia, September 5-7, 2017, and represents the first attempt by the ACNA College of Bishops, since the completion of the study by the Task Force on Holy Orders, to address the differing positions on this issue among the dioceses of the ACNA.

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REC Houston-area Flooding

Donate to the REC Diocesan Flood Relief Fund

You can also mail checks to:

Diocese of Mid-America
4142 Dayflower Dr.
Katy, TX 77449

(Please put a memo that it is for flood relief and if there is any parish or individual you desire for us to consider)

MOST RECENT UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 3

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the REC:

As the waters have receded in most of Houston, I’ve been able to obtain a fuller report from our churches. I’ve learned more about some of our clergy whom I mentioned in my first update. We were aware that one of the assisting clergy (a deacon) and his family were flooded out and lost both of their cars. Also, one of our priest’s working with an Latino outreach had his apartment flooded. We have been apprised in greater detail just how damaging the effects of the hurricane was to these two families in particular.

The deacon and his family were hit particularly hard. They have flood insurance but this does not pay for full recovery. Their home will probably have to be completely leveled and rebuilt. They also have many immediate needs as the insurance is worked out. Although they are able temporarily to live with a relative, they have to find another place for their own family dwelling as soon as possible.

The Venezuelan minister mainly lost possessions, since he lived in an apartment. He too will have to find another place for his family. These needs can be addressed in a reasonable amount of time, but they are all unexpected financial needs for which there are no personal resources.

These families need our help as soon as possible. We want to be able to respond quickly to the immediate needs of clergy like the ones I’ve mentioned in our own RE diocese. Therefore the important update for you to know about in addition to greater detail of need, is a diocesan fund that also has been set up, the REC Diocesan Relief Fund. The link to give is now attached to my original, updated communication on this web site. If you would like to make special gifts to families with more emergent needs like the ones to which I’ve referred, please consider giving to the diocesan fund. Based on IRS regulations, you cannot designate your donation to specific individuals. However, you can offer a name and request that we consider that need. Be assured, we will use these donations to meet the greatest needs of our members and our parishes. Thank you for your response of prayer and any giving to those affected by the hurricane in our RE Diocese of Mid America.

Blessings in Christ,
++Ray Sutton
Presiding Bishop

ORIGINAL UPDATE - AUGUST 30

The Eleventh Tuesday After Trinity
August 30, 2017

Dear REC Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I know we all have been praying and expressing our concern about the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Harvey, particularly the massive amount of rain producing flooding in Houston, Texas. I write to give you an update as of today, Tuesday, August 30. The good news I have to report is best summarized by the Very Rev. Canon Jason Grote, Rector of St. Matthias Cathedral, Katy, Texas: “While you certainly see the devastation of the flooding in Houston on your national news, I can thankfully report that most everyone in our REC parishes have been spared from much of what you see.”

For your information there are many Anglican Church in North America congregations in the Houston area. As for the Reformed Episcopal Church, we have seven congregations in Houston and one in Corpus Christ, Texas, totaling eight in this large area hit by the hurricane. Through the past weekend and the first part of the week I’ve spoken by phone with all of our rectors either directly or by way of text/voicemail exchanges. The good news is that as of today, as far as we can tell, none of our church buildings (and rectors homes) were flooded. One of our parishes, St. Thomas where Archdeacon James Payne is Rector, reports some water around one of the windows and a puddle in the parish hall, as well as a parking lot covered with inches of water, but no flooding in the church, thanks be to God.

The Rectors are confirming that nearly all of our parishioners in these congregations were not flooded out either. I have heard that some assisting clergy families, and two homes of our laity, were overcome by the rising waters. One clergyman lost his home to the flood and both their cars. Another clergyman had his groundlevel apartment flooded. Certainly a number of others did have leaks and took water but not to the point of having to evacuate. It will take a while to obtain these reports, since communications are just now starting to come back in so many areas.

Two of our rectors had to evacuate their homes. The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Bernier, Rector of Providence REC in Corpus Christi, left last Friday with his family. Officials were recommending evacuation. At that time it looked as though the city was going to receive a direct hit from the hurricane. Thankfully this did not happen although the effects of the hurricane were still strongly felt in the city. Dr. Benjamin and family have now returned. Providence REC was spared.

The other rector is the Rev. Canon Rusty Ellisor at Church of the Resurrection in Crosby, Texas, southeast of Houston. He and his family had to evacuate yesterday due to concerns that a nearby ammonia plant had been compromised possibly to the point of explosion. The Ellisors were able to stay with friends last night. They are expected thankfully to be able to return to their home later today.

On another positive note, one of our congregations, Holy Trinity where the Rev. Carl Lund is the Rector, has even had opportunity to help neighbors who were flooded out of their apartments down the street from the church. Holy Trinity opened up its parish hall where as many as seven families have been staying. There will be many more opportunities for God’s people to be the hands and feet of Christ in this tragic situation.

Therefore we are all grateful to our Lord that all REC churches, and most of our people have been spared. Of course, Houston is only today experiencing sunshine for the first time in many days. Reports are that in most areas the waters are rapidly receding. There are still parts of Houston, however, that are near dams and rivers overflowing. They will be in harms way for some time to come.

Let us also not forget the storm continues to move across the country. It has spread into Louisiana where we have two REC congregations, St. Paul’s in Baton Rouge (Rector the Rev. Dr. Randall Toms) and All Saints (Priest-in-Charge the Rev. Tony Welty) in Shreveport. The storm is also headed toward Mississippi where we have a parish in Jackson, St. Stephen’s REC (Rector Jonathan Kell). The effects of this horrible hurricane will be felt for days to come. We cannot assess the full extent just yet. Please continue to pray for those in Louisiana and the other states where the storm is going.

What can we do? First of all, please pray without ceasing. Second, please consider giving. There are two funds in particular you can help donate towards. One is a Reformed Episcopal Deanery fund within the Diocese of Mid-America. These funds will go directly to help those directly impacted within the Diocese of Mid-America of the Reformed Episcopal Church. You can also donate to the larger church efforts of the ACNA and the parishes and parishioners. Bishop Clark Lowenfield is coordinating the efforts for the ACNA relief and you can donate through the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF).

Donate to the REC Diocesan Relief Fund

(Please note this will be go through the Cathedral of St. Matthias' Paypal account but will be forwarded to the Relief Fund)

You can also mail checks to:

Diocese of Mid-America
4142 Dayflower Dr.
Katy, TX 77449

(Please put a memo that it is for flood relief and if there is any parish or individual you desire for us to consider)

Donate to the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ACNA)

Donate to ARDF

Thanks for whatever you can do. This is an extraordinary catastrophe of incredible magnitude that touches many of our brothers and sisters as well as millions of others. Not only our fellow Christians, but so many are suffering. May we, and especially our brothers and sisters so close to the crisis, be enabled to share the transforming love of Christ through word and deed to the end that many would call upon His Name.

As we know more about the needs and other ways we can pray and help, I’ll let you know. For now, let us all remember what the Psalmist says, “The Lord sits enthroned above the flood” (29:10). Nothing is more powerful than God Almighty! Even in the midst of tragedy He is over all. In His absolute sovereignty and infinite mercy He will provide some how some way for this precious community in Houston, Texas.

Other updates may also be found on the ACNA Website. Bishop Clark Lowenfield and The Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast are based in Houston, Texas and will be coordinating the relief effort among ACNA in the region.

Blessings,

In Christ,

++Ray R. Sutton
Presiding Bishop and Ordinary