Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Path of Peace: A Precondition of Evangelistic Fruitfulness

Dear Truro Family,
Below are words of encouragement that I received from some of our best leaders of the church, as we pioneer a peaceable way into God’s future:

We are so looking forward to welcoming Bishop Shannon Johnston and Tory Baucum to our Leadership Conference in London. Our prayers are with them –and all our brothers and sisters at Truro Anglican Church and throughout the diocese of Virginia – as you work together to bring peace, unity and healing.
Nicky Gumbel
Vicar, Trinity Brompton

Faith, hope and love are commended to us in God’s word and you have shown all three virtues. I give thanks to God for the faith you have shown in standing firm, for the hope you’ve expressed in stepping out and, most of all, for the love you have shown in staying gracious. May the God who led Israel through the wilderness go with you in the days ahead.
The Reverend Canon J. John
Conventry Cathedral

I am truly delighted to hear the news and progress regarding Truro Church from the Rector and the Bishop. This is indeed a true act of reconciliation. Therefore it is a true act of Christ as we are all called to be Ambassadors of Reconciliation (II Cor. 5.20). It always involves love and compromise but ultimately always demonstrates the love of Christ.
Canon Andrew White
Baghdad, Iraq

Tory Baucum and Bishop Shannon Johnston have built a friendship and respect despite disagreements, that provides a valuable model for the rest of the Anglican Communion.
Reverend Dr. Graham Tomlin
Dean, St. Mellitus College, London

We are delighted and heartened by all that Tory Baucum, Bishop Shannon Johnston and Truro are doing to restore relationships within the Anglican communion and to bring greater unity within the Body of Christ.
Nicky and Sila Lee
Holy Trinity Brompton

I warmly applaud the deep and patient commitment to peacemaking, and a continued relationship, that Truro Church and Bishop Shannon Johnston of the diocese of Virginia have made. When Christians profoundly disagree they are still to relate to one another as Christians. Rector Tory and Bishop Shannon, and all those who have worked with them during this painful and demanding process, have set a vital example of what this can mean. Miroslav Volf wrote that the question we need to ask today is ‘What resources do we need to live in peace in the absence of the final reconciliation?’ You have begun to provide a tangible answer to that question, which I pray will be reproduced in many other divided parts of Christ’s Church. I applaud you, will pray for you, and encourage you to continue of this way.
+Graham Cray
Archbishop’s Missioner for the Church of England and Leader of the Fresh Expressions Team

Division, dislike and even hatred are the quickest ways to kill churches. The first to leave is the Spirit of God. Reconciliation and modeling difference without enmity to a world in desperate need of it is both healing spirituality and effective testimony to Christ. I was privileged to be with Tory and Elizabeth and Bishop Shannon recently and it renewed my vision.
+Justin Welby
Bishop of Durham

It was a delight to welcome the Rector and the Bishop to London and to share a meal with them. I was deeply impressed by the spirit in which they were determined to work together for the common good and cause of the gospel. I believe that the ball is at the feet of the Christian community in this very distressful time for the world. We need to do everything we can to promote the spirit of reconciliation and offer the hope there is in Jesus Christ to a very needy world.
The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres
Bishop of London

We in the diocese of Kigezi thank God  for Truro’s “partnership in the gospel” (Phil 1:5) with us. You have “partnered in the Gospel” with us in ministry, visits, financial support (for the Diocese, Rugarama Hospital, and Bishop Barham University College), sponsorship of orphan children through TOUCH & Compassion International, support for missionaries, friendships, and more. You have become a precious part of our lives. Laura and I have appreciated being with you, at your invitation to strengthen the relationship. Though you cannot see the outcome, trust the Lord, for He knows what is best. Be assured that He sees your trials and He is with you in your tests. We pray that in the days ahead, Truro will “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power … by putting on the whole armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:10.11).
+George Katwesigye
Bishop of Kigezi, Uganda

Jesus asked us to love one another and lay down our lives for our friends. The Apostle Paul spoke of Christians as “ambassadors of the Kingdom of God”. I am delighted to publicly brag about Tory Baucum and Truro and to identify you as outstanding examples of what Jesus and Paul called for: kingdom  ambassadors who lovingly, in word and deed, make real the rule and reign of God for the good of others. I am proud to call you friends!
+Todd Hunter
Assisting Bishop to the Bishop of Pittsburgh/Churches For the Sake of Others

I don’t have the facilities to make a video tape greeting, but please extend my greetings and best wishes to all of the greater Truro community. The Parish and Rector are “always in my mind” –with great fondness and thanksgiving. The “Truro years” were the best in our lives.
Warmest regards in our Lord,
+John W. Howe, Ph.D., D.D.
Retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, former Rector of Truro Church

Elizabeth had brain surgery shortly after our special service and I never had the opportunity to thank and recognize all the leaders who are wishing us well in our peace-making endeavors.  So I write a general thankyou to all my friends who are walking with us in the path of Christ, the prince of Peace. I also write a particular thank you to Bishop Howe who opened doors closed to me and to Nicky Gumbel who created a great environment for truthful and redemptive conversation.

 These quotes represent not only our most orthodox leaders in Anglicanism but those who are evangelistically effective leaders, the ultimate test of orthodoxy.   (Those on the right and left who remain coiled for action and are riven in spiritual sterility are seldom as orthodox as they claim.)  But these leaders walk the talk of obedience to Jesus.  

I will be sharing more about the importance of these alliances in our work and witness in the months ahead.  

Two of these leaders are serious contenders for Archbishop of Canterbury.  Please keep Bishop Chartres and Bishop Welby in your prayers.  They are dear men of God and dear friends to Truro. 

What common themes do you find in their comments and in their lives?

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