In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.
As we have been taught, it is certainly right, just, and our bound duty to give thanks to our Lord. So, before we get into the message I feel called to share with you, please take a moment to pray together with me;
"Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love. We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of His life; for His steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for His dying, through which he overcame death; and for His rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your spirit, that we may know Christ and make Him known; and through Him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen" (BCP)
As we begin this new chapter in the wonderful and blessed life that our Lord has set before us, I would like to give my most heartfelt thanks to the Most Reverend Rouville Fisher, our Archbishop Emeritus, for the vision he has for our great portion of the one, holy catholic and apostolic church here on earth. A few short years ago, my dear friend, Archbishop Fisher, along with the clergy of our church, after much prayer and discernment, made the decision to take such efforts as would be needed to clearly separate our province of "Old Catholics" from those whom, all too often, in our most humble and learned position, have erred and moved, in many cases, away from the solid theological teachings of Holy Scriptures, and of the Fathers of the Church. Then, at our last national meeting of Clergy, Archbishop Fisher was so gracious to lay out a "Five year plan" which he felt was important to lay both a firm foundation, and to grow of church in the United States.
"Thank you, Archbishop Fisher, for your years of dedicated leadership, and for your insight in setting us on the right path"
Shortly after that last national meeting of our church, our Lord, in His infinite wisdom, and through His unending grace, saw fit to gift me with a vision that would, as I have come to find out, assist in granting me the strength and knowledge that would be, and is, needed to navigate through the many challenges that have and will be placed before us as we do the work He has set before us. It is my hope, and prayer, that by sharing this with you, you too might be better able to navigate through difficult challenges on your journey.
In this vision, I found myself walking across a "rope style bridge" with the goal of reaching this box type object at the other end. The box looked much like a large metal frame of something made of rusty and old metal. It had a shape, but in it's present state, I could not clearly see anything of beauty. I just knew that the Lord had instructed me to make the journey, and that this is the place I was to travel to, so I went! Well as I was at a point on the journey where it would be difficult to turn back, I could more clearly see the empty state of this object ahead, I could also see that there was no foundation under it and it was like it was suspended in air over some type of liquid which might well consume it. It was at that time that the winds came (I was to discover they were the "winds of change). These winds were very strong and as a result, they caused this box type object to thrash around, often dipping beneath the surface of the liquid. Well, as you might imagine, this also caused the rope bridge to move around and made holding on almost an impossibility. I PRAYED HARD! Then I began to notice a change in the object of my journey, with each dip into the liquid it made, rust was removed and replaced until the time that the winds ceased, and the object came to rest on a very solid surface. As I recovered from my fears I looked ahead again and was amazed beyond belief at what I saw. This once empty frame that wash shaped as a box, and was nasty and rusty had become a glorious and shining house, a wonderful church which glistened like the most highly polished gold one has every seen.
God has placed us, here in ICCONA on this journey. Our task is to "Rebuild His Church". This, like the story above, is and will be a difficult and sometimes dangerous journey. It will be that way because of the terrible secularization the church has experienced in our world for way too long. It will be that way because, unfortunately the pride of man, even men of God, has and will likely for a time, continue to cause separation of denominations. We are, I am afraid to say, somewhere along that "rope bridge", we should and can expect many struggles along our journey, but if we continue that work our Lord has called us to do, If we hold tight to the rope hand rails our Father has provided us in both Sacred Sriptures and in Sacred Traditions, and when we stay focused and move towards that object of our journey, God will reveal what He, working through each of us, has created. We will see His wonderful, glorious church emerge and be revealed showing forth the brilliance of His light for all the world.
May God grant each of us the faith and strength that will be needed to stay on the journey, to slowly move forward, to hold onto the ropes, so that we might be able to witness His glory, amen
Archbishop Albert W. Harvey