Monday, June 30, 2008

Fr. Russell at GAFCON: Final thoughts

From Fr. Russell Martin of St. Timothy & St. Titus in San Diego (Southern Cone) via email [boldface mine]:

Dear Friends in Christ,

All is well with me. The Conference ended on a wonderfully high note as the amended Jerusalem Statement was approved. This was followed up by a closing Eucharist during which our own Archbishop Venables preached. It was wonderful. This is an extremely important and historic statement. It was marvelous as the Primates present all signed their names to the Statement and thus they began their work of working together to form a global orthodox Anglicanism devoted to faithfulness to Christ and the proclamation of His Gospel. I literally wept as the we all stood their brothers and sisters from every corner of the world united as one in Christ Jesus. It reminded me of the magnificent vision of St. John of the Great Multitude in Heaven. I still have much to process related to this incredible day in the life of the Church but I tell you the Holy Spirit was clearly present and we delighted in Him. It has been one of the most significant periods in my life to be amongst the privileged few to take an active part in this important council of the church. I feel so blessed and thankful to our Father in Heaven.

Following the close of the Conference I set out on the follow up tour with Bishop John Gurnesy et al. Our first stop yesterday was Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls where found. It was a wonderful site and very near the Dead Sea. We stayed about three blocks from the Dead Sea. I took in the Sunrise this morning as it came over the mountains from Jordan and illuminated the Sea with startling pinks and reds--like a beautiful rose unfurling. It was simply stunning. I sat with my feet soaking in the water as I did my morning prayers. It was very special. This morning following breakfast we headed for Massada -- the hill top fort build by Herod the Great and the site of a tragic siege that ended with the Jewish Rebels defiantly committing suicide rather than being captured by the Romans. We then went to the Ein Gedi, the place where King David fled and hid while Saul was seeking to take his life and David then cut off the fringe of Saul's cloak as he was relieving himself in cave in which David and his men where hiding (Cf. 1 Samuel 23 & 24). It was beautiful, and it gave meaning to 'streams of living water bursting forth in the wilderness. We then lunched in modern Jericho at a place named Temptation, no less! We then made our way to our next hotel, a Kibbutz on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where we will stay and tour from over the next two days.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and I pray that the fire and blessing of the Holy Spirit may embolden you in your witness to Christ and the Kingdom of God!


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