Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bishop Terry Flynn's Advent Message

“The circle of life” – “The circle of the seasons” – “The circle of the year”. There are many circles that we refer to in conversation and in our thinking, sometimes we call them cycle.

Today, the First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new “liturgical cycle”. We will take four weeks or so to think of the promises God made over the centuries leading up to the birth of His Son Jesus in the Bethlehem stable. For the Eastern Church this season is called “the Little Lent” and is mainly penitential – for the Western tradition it is more hopeful but still sombre. For us let it be sombre but filled with anticipation and joyful hope.

As a small, young church it falls to us to look forward and not dwell on negatives, nor on our age or our size. Our sins we put behind us and rely on God’s merciful forgiveness, we do not dwell on their impact and beat ourselves up over them. Instead we should be dwelling and meditating on the promises that are ours and the promise that we show.

The Last Supper narrative in John’s Gospel is full of promise for the future of the Church to be founded on the Apostles, a promise summed up in John 16: 23-24: Anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name. . . Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.

That is the simple message for Advent – we need the confidence of Mary in her response to the Angel (Luke 1:38) and we need to pray with that confidence, knowing that what we ask will be granted.

Having said that I want to remind us all of the beautiful (UK) television advert that everyone is talking about – the impatient little boy waiting for Christmas – so he can give his parents the gift he has for them.

When we ask in Jesus’ name, and when we are confident to get what we ask for that will only be the case when we ask for it for the good of others.

So, what am I asking for this Advent? That the gift of Christmas be life, strength and growth for our small family to become the earth-shifting power of a faith that moves mountains.

We already see the seeds of growth in several parts of the world – let us rejoice in that and feed that growth with the fertiliser of our prayer, good works, and above all love.

May this Holy Season bring forth it’s fruit abundantly in each and every one of us.

Presiding Bishop UECC,

Metropolitan for Europe and Bishop Ordinary of ECC UK

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Russia: a bill to silence millions

Political leaders in St. Petersburg are about to vote on law that will make it illegal for any person to write a book, publish an article or speak in public about being gay, lesbian or transgender. The ruling party led by President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin could make millions of people invisible with the stroke of a pen.
Human rights defenders around the country are doing everything they can to stop it. They are risking their freedom to organize flashmobs and protests, but they are afraid that it won't be enough.

Right now, the world needs to speak up and tell Russian authorities to drop the bill. Join this call to leaders around the world to reach out to their counterparts in the Russian government - and ask them to reject this discriminatory and anti-democratic law.

Sign the petition here.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Austrian Priests Initiative Update . . .

Thanks to "Pray Tell" blog for an update on the Austrian Priests Initiave. . .

"A survey on the “Appeal to Disobedience(Pray Tell reported here) gives explosive results: more than 70% of Austrian priests support, at least in part, the demands of the “Pastors’ Initiative.”
Two-thirds of the priests in Austria see a “dangerous stalling out of reform” in the Catholic Church and a “dramatic gulf” between the Church and modern culture. More than 70 percent of them have a fundamentally positive view of the priests’ initiative for disobedience initiated by Fr. Helmut Schüller and see it as a stimulus for necessary reform. This is the main outcome of a recent study of over 500 priests in Austria."

to continue reading click here