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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ at this time of new beginning!
The beginning of a new year in the Church is Advent, which means “coming.” During Advent, we celebrate the second coming of Jesus Christ in preparation for commemorating His first coming. As in most things, the end of a matter helps us better to understand the beginning. The end of all things is the initiation of a new heaven and a new earth. Advent gives us a fresh sense of all things in Christ and is an appropriate time for us to give toward four new projects for our mission fields.
I’m pleased to announce that we have our first new missionaries this triennium. At our last General Council (2017), I called for us to ask God to raise up three new missionaries. Thanks be to His Blessed Name, the Lord has stirred the Rev. Canon Robert Gresser and his wife Traci, along with their two youngest children, to go to the mission field. After a twenty-year career as an Army chaplain, Robert entered a Ph.D. program in Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has been called to teach at an Anglican seminary in Malawi. They hope to begin a shortterm mission in February 2019.
Our second project is to provide funding for a small printing and copying ministry for the REC Church in Cuba. This equipment will be used to copy such items as church programs and education materials for Bible teaching.
The REC in Germany also has a new church planter in need of funding. Fr. Marc Jankowski and his wife have been specifically called to church planting. At present, Fr. Marc is priest-in-charge of three new missions.
Furthermore, our work in Croatia needs a new building for their parish in the ancient fortress city of Karlovac. The REC parish in this city is currently renting space. They need their own permanent location not only for the church but also for an extension of their strategic seminary in Osijek, the Mihael Starin Seminary.
Therefore, I ask all our parishes to take up a special offering for foreign mission this Advent. You will find an enclosed brochure that provides more detail for the worthy projects to which the Advent Offering will be applied. At this time when we celebrate so much that has and will come to us through Jesus’ comings in history, let us give so that others might receive the gift of His coming into their lives. To this end, may the Lord bless and keep you.
The Most Rev. Ray R. Sutton, Ph.D.
PREFACETO THE FAITHFUL MEMBERS OF THE REFORMED EPISCOPAL FAMILY OF CHURCHES;
On behalf of all the Bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Churches, we bring you greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
We write to commend an important teaching document produced by us, Understanding the Declaration of Principles in the 21st Century. The need for this work results from the significant growth of our part of the Lord’s Church over the last century or so. In particular, much has happened during this long period which reflects how the Holy Spirit has led our understanding of the Declaration of Principles.
Over the years our mission and growth have necessitated many changes. Constitutions and Canons have been updated, liturgical provision has been revised, and our engagements with other Christians (most recently within the GAFCON movement) have required us to express our faith in present-day terms. In all of this our intention, and that of our predecessors, has been to ensure that the substance of the faith is kept entire, though some of the language we use may differ from age to age.
In light of commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ, to the infallible Word of God Written, and to all our doctrinal statements, we therefore provide the teaching, Understanding the Declaration of Principles in the 21st Century. We hope that this instruction will further us in the classical Anglican heritage that we represent. Bishop Cummins called this legacy “The Old Paths . . . with unbroken succession through the Church of England, with the Church of Christ from the earliest Christian era.”
It is our earnest desire that the instruction by the Bishops of your church would be prayerfully considered and received. Out of pastoral love we present this teaching for the Glory of God and for the edification of all Reformed Episcopalians and those who seek to understand us better. To these ends, we trust our Lord to continue His blessing on this faithful portion of His Church.
Sincerely in Christ,
The Most Rev. Ray R. Sutton, Ph.D. Presiding Bishop, North America
The Most Rev. John Fenwick, D.D. Primus, The Free Church of England
Feast of St Augustine of Hippo 28th August 2018
The body of the Document is only available to view in pdf format.