Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Finding Grace in Jimmy Buffett


Sermon preached at the Funeral service for Jimmy Cain, my brother-in-law and friend 2013


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Free Soda, Our List and God's Grace


Sermon preached at confirmation visit to Holy Comforter, Spring, Tx Fall 2013


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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Go to Texas Young Man


Sermon preached at Josh Condon's Celebration of New Ministry Holy Spirit Houston 2013


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Faith in a God of the Small Things


Sermon Christ Church Cathedral Houston Fall 2013


Check out this episode!

Tenemos Un Dios De Cada Dia


Sermon Christ Church Cathedral Fall 2013, Spanish


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

I chose you and I appoint you to go to...Texas!


Sermon preached at the Rev. Josh Condon's Celebration of New Ministry, Holy Spirit, Houston, 2013


Check out this episode!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Saints, Wild Beasts, and Trophic Cascade


Sermon preached on All Saints at All Saints, Austin, 2013


Check out this episode!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Unabashedly Episcopalian Gardeners.


Talk at Diocese of Wester New York. 2013


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God is no Unjust Judge


Sermon preached at Trinity, Houston 2013.  The first in a series on naming the names.


Check out this episode!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Last Full Day in Cape Coast, Ghana, October 17

This morning began early. We had to all be ready for the bus to take us to the service at the Cathedral.  Yesterday I had been asked to preach at the service commemorating The Rev. Thomas Thompson and The Rev. Philip Quaque.  I thought it would be a little service; then a few of us would take the wreath over to his tomb and that would be that.

So here is the story in brief...The Rev. Thomas Thompson was an SPG missionary and he brought the Anglican Church to the Gold Coast during the slave trade era.  He essentially was a colonialist (SPG even had been given several plantations that profited from the slave trade).  It is REALLY a wild story.  So Thompson decides to take three eleven year old boys back with him to England to learn to be priests and then they could be sent back to spread Anglicanism throughout the area of Cape Coast.  Two of the boys died in transit the third was Philip.  He grew up in England, lost his tribal tongue and traditions and then married a white woman.  He completed his studies in England and he returned to the Gold Coast to start the church.  He was given a small room at the "slave" castle and a room from which to do services.  Just below the room were three dungeons housing over 1,000 men for shipping to the Caribbean and United States.  Philip had an awful time and really couldn't get much started; no one today is surprised. Beyond the slave trade issues, Philip's ministry was hampered by bad luck and a lack of funding.  Even his wife died in childbirth.  Philip did not give up though and did begin a small school.  Thompson (who had theologically defended slavery) and Quaque (who tried to do mission to a native population from a slave castle) are complicated figures in the least.

What was interesting is that as I would speak to our new friends here and I would say these two men are very complex figures in the history of this country and our own!  I would ask, how do you deal with the problems that flow through their narrative?  The answer was always the same.  Without Thompson there is no Quaque to bring the Anglican Church here, without them we might not be here.

God has a way of redeeming the world.  God has a way of redeeming us.

Philip remains highly regarded for being the first African ordained in the Anglican Church and the first African missionary.

The service was anything but small! There were a lot of people there. There were tons of school children for this is a holiday after they go to church.

We had a beautiful service.  I will upload my sermon; with translation.  And, some videos. Everyone was taking videos of the service...including the seminarians, so I joined in during the offertory.

When the service was over the Bishop led us out of the Cathedral and across the street to the slave castle where we laid a wreath at the tomb of Philip Quaque who is buried in the middle of the Cape Coast Castle compound.  It was truly powerful.  As I laid the wreath on the tomb I was so mindful of our own history in Texas with the slave trade and our part in participating in an abomination that is difficult to fathom and describe.



When the service was over our group received a free tour.  We started out with a video that described the world of Ghana prior to the arrival of the traders.  Then how the trading industry grew from gold and spices to people until it was a massive industry; the British, Portuguese, and Dutch even giving weapons to the people so they could be at war with one another and then turn their captives over to the slavers.  We then took a tour of the museum which was well done.

I wasn't allowed to take pictures. I will say that it was powerful and moving and sad.  One part of the museum was where we walked into a room that was built like a ship and learned about how the africans were crammed into the ship.

Then we walked out of that room onto an auction block - very moving indeed.  One of our group ask how many died and why did they keep doing it with so many deaths?  The answer was that, "Over half of the men and women taken into slavery every made it to an owner.  But the price was so high for the individual human beings that it remained a profitable export."

The castle was originally built by the Portuguese who lost it in war to the Swedes. The Swedes lost it to Norway and Norway in turn lost it to the British.  The British took over in 1664.  For over two hundred years they would house 200 men and women per cell rotating them out.  

Estimates of the number of slaves transported from Africa vary from 12 million to 25 million – one estimate says that in 1700, at the height of the slave trade, more than 650,000 slaves were exported in that year alone – but whatever the numbers, they're huge, and most of these slaves came from West Africa and the Congo-Angola region. The trade started in the 1500s and over the next 300 years they were shipped out in what has become known as the African Diaspora, with one-third ending up in Brazil, one-third in the Caribbean islands and the rest throughout the Americas. The slave trade did not completely end until the 1870s, though Britain abolished its slave trade in 1807, signaling an end to Cape Coast's role in transporting slaves.

There were over 40 such forts across the coast of Africa, 30 were in Ghana. Two are within a 30 minute drive from one another.

After we were finished began to make our way through the castle.  We first went past the trading room where the slavers would bargain for the shipment, then we made our way through to the court and then the living quarters.  


We then descended into the slave cells.  





Only after excavating underneath the human waste in 1974 did they realize there was a brick floor beneath.

The men were taken through a tunnel to the front of the fort.  The tunnel began in this room which is the sorting room.  Only the strongest were sold; the others were left to die in the cells. The guide reminded us that the slave trade was not just about slavery but the control of the population still at home through the means of torture and terror.  

We then went to the women's cells.  The cells were even worse for the women.  A greater percentage of the women died because of the illness and disease.

We then made our way out of The Door of No Return.  Here our pilgrimage walk ended.





We paused together and prayed asking God's forgiveness upon us and all humanity.  We were surrounded by fishermen.  We were quiet for a long time.

The guide told us to look up and there on top of the door on the outside was written "the door of return."  



We were told that in 1974 people began to make their way back to Ghana from the islands and the US and South America...everywhere people settled after slavery, and, they would make their return voyage home...so it is here that I begin our journey home as well.  



As I walked out I saw one of our members sitting and visiting and learning how to mend nets.  



I will post the sermon and some videos on my Facebook page soon.



Our Third Day in Cape Coast, Ghana, October 17




We were up early for a long day of visiting people today.  We were greeted with a bit of a rainy morning.

We began our day at an eye clinic which sees over 16,000 people a year and helps with every kind of thing you can imagine. They do basic eye care as well as surgery.  The staff is doing amazing work and the place was well cared for and in the process of expanding. They desperately need new equipment and would like to raise the money to get the equipment overseas.  They will need approximately 30,000 U.S. dollars to get everything in and set up.  This will enable them to do cataract surgery the way we do it in the U.S.  They have the trained doctors, just need to get the equipment here.  This is their cost for an up to date clinic.  They are continuing to add on. Amazing work...truly amazing.





We then made our way to St. Nicholas Seminary.  It was founded in 1975.  It is the center of training for West Africa. It is an Independent Anglican Seminary and its dean (Victor) has been elected the new bishop of the Cape Coast. He has served on the Anglican Doctrinal Commission, The Covenant Design Group, and now the Indaba group.  

Today Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Guinea, Sudan, and Western Sierra Leone all have students there.  It has raised up and trained 4 missionary bishops.  Currently there are 40 students. We were able to visit with them and they were wonderful!  They train men and women; though they don't have the dormitory space they would like. So, they are building the dormitory as we speak as well as a new chapel.





They were wonderful hosts and sang with us and we shared our experiences as leaders and as seminarians. I love spending time with seminarians anyway...so this was a delight.

We closed the day with a trip to one of the finest and best run boys school in Ghana...its name...you guessed it St. Nicholas.  It was begun as a school to raise up African priests.  Its first buildings were built in the afternoons by the students after class and can still be seen today.  They have all faiths at the school but have Anglican worship for all the main school events and on Sundays (with other worship provided).  Here are pictures of the school bell tower that rings the kids to awake and to class, the hand bell at the head's desk in the cafeteria, and a sign from the cafeteria that reads, "manners make the man."




We were able to go to the hotel for a little while. My friend the horse greeted me. We did a quick turnaround and were at a nice reception at the bishop's home to visit with the diocesan leaders.




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Second Day in Ghana, October 15



Today we woke up and had a lovely breakfast overlooking the Cape Coast. We then piled into the bus for what was going to be an exciting day!  We went first to the Bishop's Court.  There we met with Bishop Daniel in a more formal setting.  He welcomed us and we were given water. In the tradition of the tribe here water is a sign of a hospitality. We received our water and then we were introduced to the Bishop Coadjutor elect Dean Victor.  He is the dean of the seminary and a rector.  We also met the various leaders of the diocese including the headmistress of the school at the Bishop's Court.









The bishop then spoke these words: "I am Bishop Daniel and I am the servant of the servants of God."  Wow!  What a wonderful way to begin.  He then talked with us for a while focusing his conversation on the unity of God's diverse creation.  He was passionate about God's love and joy in diversity; unity and not uniformity.  Then Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, and Canon John Peterson, former Secretary General and current President of the Compass Rose Society spoke.  We each introduced ourselves.  It is at these moments that I am proud to represent the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.  Both Bishop-elect Victor and Bishop Daniel were delightful. Bishop Daniel was humble and kind.  He is very wise to be sure.




When we were done we were taken by Bishop Daniel to meet the tribal chief of the Cape Coast.  His name is Osabarimba Kwesi Atta, the second.  We were brought in with drums and singing.

We then greeted the tribal council and they greeted us. We were given water to refresh us. Then there was an exchange of greetings. Once again there were introductions all around.  Afterward I found out that one of the woman chiefs (for both men and women can serve as a tribal chief/elder) has a sister in TEXAS! It is truly a small world.  Then there was a lot of dancing.  I joined in of course and there was a great deal of love and happiness and joy in the room. It was a powerful experience of welcome.


Then Chief Osabarimba talked with us.  He is an Anglican choir member and often is known to speak and quote the bible at the local church where he attends.  He did so in fact with us and he repeated the message that we are all part of God's family, that we are to love one another, that we are to follow Christ and to serve God.  Bible verses floated in and out of the message he had for us.

Afterwards we shared smoked octopus while we talked a bit.  Then the most gracious thing happened. We had of course presented the chief with the Jerusalem tile of the Compass Rose, in turn he gave each pilgrim a gift.  Truly generous!  Then I was humbled to be invited to pray a blessing upon the chief which I did.  What a gracious moment for me.  Afterwards we took pictures with him and visited with the tribal council before going to visit the Cathedral Church.

Christ Church Cathedral is across from the British slave trading fort! Today it is a lively center of the Ghanian Church here in Cape Coast.  With a mix of worship from drums to the hymn book they are a growing and thriving congregation.  The Dean greeted us as did the staff and we were able to hear about the work they are doing.  We learned that Canon Peterson and Canon Kearon would be made honorary Canons of the Church of the Cape Coast an the Cathedral there!



We had lunch, then journeyed to see the Portuguese slave trading cite. We will visit the British Castle on Thursday. Here is the entry to the slave castle.



What I am amazed at is how the tragedy of war and slavery and the diversity of tribal communities has impacted the culture here in a very profound way.  The focus of ministry here is unity, love, a focus on Jesus and the spreading of the Gospel, and a true desire to be Anglicans and to form Anglicans.  Because, Anglican spirituality is a faith of reconciliation and love where all people can come together and be one family.

It was a good and beautiful day.




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our First Day in Ghana: Monday, October 14

We slept well and were up and at breakfast which was a lovely omlette and fresh fruit with coffee.  We immediately packed up and got on the bus and headed to the Cathedral to greet the bishop, see the cathedral and to visit the tomb of the first African president of Ghana.

We arrived and took a tour of the cathedral.  The Anglican Church of West Africa was founded here in Ghana; we would find out that is was spicifically founded in the Gold Coast area.  




The great missionary work was undertaken by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG).  They sent out bishops who then raised up leaders and missionaries to further spread the Gospel throughout the mission districts. 



Trinity Church once collected rain water into a great cistern in order to provide clean water for the people.  Here is a picture of the rain gutter.



It also started schools.  While the cistern doesn't work anymore the diocese in Accra is growing and seeking to become self sufficient.  Below is a picture of one of the school houses and a picture of a few boys.  They were in trouble and so had been sent out to the carpark to get their hair cut.  The young man cutting the hair was doing a fine job and the boys were willing to visit and drag out the plan (skipping as much school as possible).








The next stop was the Presidential Tomb of Kwame Nkrumah.  While he was exiled after a coup (sponsored by the U.S.) he had been a builder of Ghana's future. He had built a great deal of infrastructure including a very important dam project. He was part of the Independence from the colonial power of Britain and proclaimed Ghanian Independence on the polo field - which is now the presidential tomb and museum complex.






We then visited with the Bishop Torto of Accra.  He is called Bishop Daniel (there are two bishop Daniels here in Ghana).  We greeted the bishop and talked about the mission of the communion and the mission of the Compass Rose Society.  Bishop Daniel has been a bishop for one year.  He was delightful.  We talked about his focus on liturgy (bringing in drums), mission and growth, and youth as his priorities.  The Diocese is engaging in a number of projects to increase the Independence of the diocese.  He said that the diocese was focused on empowerment of leaders, spirituality, financial stability, ecology and health.  He was presented with a Jerusalem made tile of the Compass Rose.  




We then went and had a traditional meal in Ghana outside under this stunning tree.  I had fish, pepper sauce, and banku (a dough you eat with your hands combining the peppers and fish together).  Kofi, our leader and a priest, seminary professor, and rector said, "You are a brave man."  It was good to be sure...though a little messy.

We then headed off to the Cape Coast.  Along the way there were many street vendors selling plantain chips, cd's, sweet rolls, nuts, clothing items, and souvenirs...all walking up and down the street.




It was a four hour bus drive to our hotel and we got in very late.  We arrived late and Bishop Daniel (of Cape Coast) was there to great us!  We ate a quick bite to eat after checking in and went to bed in order to get some rest.




General Information on The Anglican Church of Cape Coast

The following information is taken from the history section of the Cape Coast Diocesan web page.  You can learn more about their ministry and projects here:  

http://capecoast.anglican.org/capecoast/Diocese.html

The Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast is co-terminus with the Central Regional Administrative area of Ghana, with Cape Coast as the seat of the Diocesan Bishop. The size of the region is 3815 square miles with a total population of 1,593,000 and the percentage of Christians is 46%.

At its inception in 1981 the Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast had one Archdeaconry and six priests who ministered to 24 congregations in six parishes, with a total numerical strength of 3000 members.

Ghana as a whole covers an area of 239,460 square kilometres with a total population of about 20 million. The Diocese is one of the seven Anglican Dioceses in Ghana; the oldest is Accra, established in 1909. Kumasi was carved from Accra in 1973, followed by Cape Coast, Koforidua – Ho, Sekondi and Sunyami – Tamale in 1981. In February 1997 Sunyami – Tamale was divided into two autonomous units, Sunyami Diocese and Tamale Diocese.

Cape Coast Diocese can currently boast of five Archdeaconries and five Deaneries. There are 21 priests currently ministering to 37 congregations in sixteen parishes and six Titular parishes with a total membership of nine thousand five hundred members. There are also twelve Catechists serving in some of the outstations.

Post Ordination training and development of the Clergy and Laity for effective mission and ministry in the Diocese is of great importance to the leadership of the Diocese. A good number of the Clergy have thus benefited from U.S.P.G. bursaries for overseas training, whilst some of the laity have also benefited from overseas training sponsored by the Diocese. Beside the USPG funding for overseas training, the Diocese encourages the Clergy and Laity to make use of local institutions e.g. the Universities and GIMPA.

The role of the Diocese in the development of education in the Central Region cannot be over emphasized. There are 54 Day Nurseries, 62 Primary Schools and 74 Junior Secondary Schools under the administration of the Anglican Educational Unit. There are two Senior Secondary Schools in the Diocese.

With regard to the provision of health care the Diocese has two medical facilities: a health Clinic at Dominasi in the Upper Denkyira District and an Eye Clinic at Cape Coast. There is yet a third clinic to be established at Birimso, a village near Cape Coast.

To enhance and facilitate the training of evangelists, Catechists, Guild and society leaders and other Church workers the Diocese has acquired a property to be used as a Retreat and Lay training Centre.

It is hoped that with the acquisition of the property for the above purpose, more evangelists, catechists and other lay workers and leaders can be trained to assist with the mission and ministry of the Diocese. It is worth mentioning that the property was acquired with a Festina from USPG.

To promote evangelism and the printing of Christian literature the Diocese has established a Desktop Printing Unit in addition to the Printing Press, also through a Festina Loan obtained from USPG. The Desktop Unit also serves as a source of income for the Diocese.

The plan of the Diocese to establish an Apprenticeship Centre for the youth in the region, for them to learn a trade and enable them to earn a living has not yet been abandoned. The project is still on the priority list of the Diocese, despite the financial loss experienced by the Diocese in 1995.

The Diocese since its creation has struggled to survive until now, the first two bishops have done their part by laying the foundation. The vision and the zeal they had, to spread the Gospel, to open more Anglican Churches in the region, to build a Spirit-led church, and to put the Diocese on a sound financial footing should vigorously be pursued and sustained for the advancement of the mission and ministry of the Diocese.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Where is Ghana?

Here is a map of the continent of Africa with Ghana highlighted:


Here is how the country is divided into regions:

We will be in the southern part near Greater Accra and then making our way to the Cape Coast.

The Journey to Ghana Begins

This morning I am heading to Heathrow to join the other 20 some pilgrims of the Compass Rose Society who are making their way to Ghana.  

Ghana is in West Africa, right along that little bump that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.  The name Ghana means "warrior king" and is what the medieval kings were called.  The country was colonized for its Gold and eventually became a key to the slave trade. After a number of military and civilian governments it today stands as an emerging economic hub in Africa.  It is rich in natural resources.  

We will be going to Southern Ghana flying into Accra.  Then we will make our way to the Cape Coast which was the center of the slave trade. We will pilgrim to one of the sites that is said to have been the port for largest export of human trafficking during that awful period of global exploitation which lasted the longest in our own country and has had a lasting impact on the U.S.  I expect this to be a very powerful part of our trip.

We are going as members of the Anglican family to see the ministry of the Church in Ghana.  It is alive with Television programming, emerging mission communities, strong women's ministry and youth programs.  They are very focused on being and forming Anglicans.  We plan to visit the cathedral as well as other congregations and ministries.  

I am grateful for their hospitality and for allowing us to share int he richness of God's work in Ghana.  As we pray in one of our Eucharistic prayers - that we may see God's hand at work in the world around us.  I know this will be true as we make our way to Ghana. God is doing great things there through the Anglican Church and The Most Rev. Torto and his flock. I am excited and interested to make connections.  I am proud to represent the Diocese of Texas and to represent the Compass Rose Society.

Here is information on the history of the Anglican Church in Ghana taken from their website.  It was written shortly after Archbishop Torto's election but before his leadership began.

The website may be found here: http://www.accraanglican.org



Diocese of Accra (Anglican / Episcopal)

In Memoriam Our Ancestral Leaders.
The Diocese of Accra, carved out of the Diocese of Equatorial Africa in 1909, was the fruit of the work of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), now United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG), which started in Cape Coast in 1751. Through some two centuries the mission spread through the Gold Coast. In response to that growth, and in consonance with the Anglican polity of "Synodically Governed, Episcopally led" the Diocese of Accra was created in 1909. The succession of Diocesan bishops to date have been Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Temple Hamlyn (1909 – 1910), Rt. Mowbray Stephen O'Rorke (1913 – 1923), Rt. Rev. John Orfeur Aglionby (1924-1951), Rt. Rev. John Charles Sydney Daly (1951 – 1955). Rt. Rev. Reginald  Richard Roseveave S. S. M (1956 – 1967). So for the duration of the colonial story of Gold Coast, the Anglican Diocese was led by expatriate bishops who were, time and again, lampooned as colonial bishops. Though not official established Church of the British Colonial nation the Gold Coast, Anglican Church appeared to be closest to the British government.

Native Leadership 
However,  with the metamorphosis of Gold Coast to the Sovereign independent  nation of Ghana on 6th March 1957, the Diocese of Accra which covered the whole landscape of Ghana,  began to have natives leaders – Rt. Rev. Ishmael Samuel Mills LeMaire (1968 – 1982) Rt. Rev. Francis William Banahene Thompson (1983 – 1996) and Rt. Rev. Justice Ofei Akrofi (1996 – 2012). At the time of writing a coadjutor bishop has been elected to be consecrated on 24th  June 2012 to succeed Rt. Rev. Akrofi, who retires 29th October, 2012.

Native Assistant Leadership  
With the increasing volume of the mission Bishop Daly initiated an African Assistant Bishop, first native bishop Rt. Rev. Ezra Douglas Martinson and Rt. Rev. Richard Roseveare in his time had three Assistant bishops – Rt. Rev.  I.S.M LeMaire (1968-1982), Rt. Rev. John Benjamin Arthur as assistant but located  in Kumasi (1966-1973) and Rt. Rev. Major Aruna  Kojo Nelson (Rtd) as Assistant Bishop (1966-1977) who served as Provost of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity  , Accra.

Two Diocesans were also Archbishops of CPWA
Diocese of Accra has been part of the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA) from its inception in April 17th , 1951. The Diocese of Accra has provided two of the Archbishops – Most Rev. I.S.M LeMaire (1981-82), the second African Archbishop of West Africa) and Most Rev. J. O. Akrofi (2004-29 October 2012). Straddling the two offices was taxing and demanded the charism of a conductor of an orchestra and ability to appreciate and encourage the use of others' charisms

Division of Diocese of Accra- Smaller Area: Daughters and Grand-daughters
In the episcopacy of Rt. Rev. I.S.M. LeMaire a number of Dioceses were carved out of the Diocese of Accra – Dioceses of Kumasi June 1973; Dioceses of Cape Coast, Koforidua , Sekondi and Sunyani-Tamale in October 1981. So the Diocese of Accra  has daughters and granddaughters like Diocese of Ho, Wiawso, Sunyani, Tamale, Dunkwa-on-Offin. With these daughters and grand-daughters, it can be said the Diocese of Accra has been alive-vibrant, vital and viable.

Space does not allow us to deal with each episcopate in the Diocese of Accra  as she is today. So let us concentrate on the last 15 years. 

Self-Understanding as Liturgical and Spiritual Renewal
1)    First in pursuit of Anglicanism's self-understanding as liturgical and spiritual renewal, the Diocese on the watch of +Justice Accra  has established a Retreat and renewal Centre at Ashaley Botwe. She is struggling to complete accommodation for would-be patrons, the Diocese has produced the Ga Hymnbook , Ga Anglican Asafo Solemo kε lala Wolo, 2010 (cf Article XXIV of The Thirty Nine Articles).  and reissued the Book of Common Prayer  in a more acceptable form (2012). The Diocese also instituted  Prayer Warriors  who Prayerfully accompany the Diocesan, especially on all major endeavours.
 
2)    In 2000 the Diocese the Diocese, for the first time, drew up a Diocesan Corporate Plan (DCP) which has gone into a second edition, as the road map of her mission and ministry. The DCP is unequivocal that the Diocese defines herself, above all, by mission . So while Anglicanism has tended to be urban, now the Diocese had been more oriented to be in more rural mission, the fruits of which include Dangbe  East & West eg. Ada Foah, Ningo, Buerko and Ga Rural like Ablekuma and Otinibi.

Traditional Handmaids of Mission: Education and Health
The traditional handmaids of mission education and health have continued to be maintained. With the help of partners through Dr. Maria Araba Akrofi, the bishop's wife, the Halton International Eye Team twice a year does clinics in the Diocese, to date at La General Hospital, Ridge Hospital, Tema General Hospital, Ningo, Buerko Through this ministry 4000 plus have been screened; excess of 2416 have received glasses and 796 surgeries, all of these free of charge. In this respect the Diocesan Health Professionals Guild has been established to collaborate with foreign associates. The Diocese now has one rural clinic at Akramaman. Mission has further defined as a composite of proclamation, making disciples (evangelism) and following the demands of Christ in social, economic and political life.

In addition to the Diocese's continuous work in formal education, the Diocese in collaboration with the Branches of the Vine of USA and England; a Senior High School has been established in reasonably modern buildings at St. Paul's Anglican Church, La and St. Justine's Vocational Technical School at Ablekuma

Quality Priests in Fidelity to High Church Tradition
Diocese of Accra in the Tractarian High Church tradition has a high demand for ordained priests, so as to honour the sacramentalism of the tradition. While in 1966 there were 41 priests, today there are priests in excess of 98. While in 1996 there were only six graduates among the 41 priests, today there are 40 graduates among the 98 plus priests. In other words, there is a conscious attempt at developing quality priesthood, including one with doctorate in Missiology. There is also effort at developing diversities of ministries in the ordained priesthood. So non-stipendiary priesthood has been encouraged, constituting about one half of the clergy strength. They include Professor Emeritus of Theology, Professor of Hematology, Doctor of Agriculture, Personnel Manager of Ghana Water Company, a Managing Director of Ghana Electricity Company, and a former manager of African Christian Press. 

As if increased numbers of clergy ranks, development of quality priests and diversities of ministries were not enough, the incumbent bishop doggedly and patiently and in the face of some opposition got the Diocese to ordain women priests. This is a pursuit of a more inclusive ordained ministry.

At Once Priest-Centred, And Yet Priesthood of All Believers
However, these developments have not been at the expense of the other Anglican principle of the priesthood of all believers. The catechist has been the unsung hero of African-Ghanaian  Church history. Somehow the catechists have declined in numbers with the introduction of Lay Ministers whose effectiveness may not be as of the former catechists. Be that as it may, Diocesan Akrofi established the Diocesan Lay Ministerial Training School at St. Barnabas , Osu which to date has turned out inclusive of hundreds of Eucharistic Lay Pastors, Lay Readers, Sunday School Teachers, Chalice Assistants. The School also served as music school, training organists for the congregation of the Diocese. Since Africans are culturally singing communities, music resource is vital and to the point.

The School was established with the assistance of Professor Brobbery Ellis, Bishop Akrofi's Professor at Yale Divinity School, to the tune of US$20,000. From the same grant the Pipe Organ of the Cathedral Church was rehabilitated to the tune of $10,000 as well as the above mentioned Music School.

Financial Viability of the Diocese
Finances of the Diocese have for long been touch-and-go. So it was uppermost in the mind of Bishop Akrofi. The contributions of Halton International Eye Team, Branches of the Vine  and the Ellis grant were all also attempts at securing the financial viability of the diocese. However, in Akrofi's episcopacy, efforts were made through the finance Committee of the Diocese to rationalize the finances of the Diocese. Such projects as the Hostel and Conference Centre of the Retreat Centre, the Transit Quarters at Kwabenya, the five year Diocesan Endowment Fund I established   2002 and revised in 2010 as five year, Fund II (2009) were all attempts at securing the financial backbone of the Diocese .

While earlier attempts like the Diocesan Press and the multistoried offices on prime land of High Street were not successful, the Diocesan has continued to dream and take initiatives vis-à-vis Desk Top Publishing which not only will be a service  to the faithful but also generate quick money for the Diocese; a revised vision of a multi-storied  edifice on High Street on a build, operate and let, use and return to the Diocese after some years, cassava-starch Project which collapsed not because of mistaken vision but other factors.

The unrealized visions are there for  Bishop Akrofi's successor to evaluate and come  to a mind on their viability.

Re-envisioning Threefold Formula
The Diocese of Accra has lived to actualize the three-self formulae of mission: self-governing, self-propagating and self-supporting. At least, from Diocesan LeMaire, the Diocese of Accra has lived the Anglican polity of being synodically governed and episcopally led. From even before the first African Diocesan, Diocese of Accra has been missionaries to them. Even if catechists, unsung heroes of African Church history, have dwindled in their numbers, native clergy and others have been leading the mission and therefore, have fulfilled the missionary principle of being self-propagating. The Diocese is conscious to be rid of dependency syndrome, overdependence on assessment and is seeking ways of being self-supporting.

However, Akrofi's Synod charge of 2008 stated the need to revise and reenvision the three fold principle of mission. The focus on self support should become the more dynamic principle of self-motivating for moving things. The vision of self-propagating should endeavour to be self-contextualizing, focusing on the quality of the message and the whole identity of the local church. The self-governing formula should be reworked as also self-critical, opening up to prophetic voices with mission rather maintenance of structures as the overriding concern.
These efforts have been attempts at building on the vision, work and contribution of our forbears. Vision of the particular episcopate may not be monopolized by even the dreamers of the vision. But history tells us to build on the work of others . But successors of one generation should feel free and indeed, are entitled to re-evaluate the work of their forbears and prayerfully chart their own course in the belief that what is of God will be  blessed by God and what is not of God will be purged by God, so that God's Kingdom may be realized on earth as in heaven through humble human efforts.

Other Interesting Data
The Diocese reorganized its archdeaconries in five clusters: the Cathedral cluster, Accra North, Accra West , Accra East and Tema. The aim was to have a more efficient, more rational and consequent administration . It is also mooted that Tema Archdeaconry may be a putative diocese which, some day and with proper nurturing, can become a full-blown diocese.  Documentation in the life of the Diocese leaves much to be desired. Statistics of Diocese and parishes have been difficult  to come back. The Diocese conscious of this weakness has employed two persons to help rectify the situation. This stems from the consciousness that accurate planning is shortchanged by unclear resources human and otherwise in hand.


For further reading: 
1.    John S. Pobee The Anglican Story in Ghana , From Mission Beginnings to Province of Ghana ,Accra: Amanza 2009
2.    Diocesan Corporate Plan and Updates
3.    Constitution of Diocese of Accra


Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, D.D.
IX Bishop of Texas
Sent while out of office.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

God Loves Us - Dios Nos Ama


Sermon preached at San Mateo Houston 2013 September Baptized and received over 60 people 


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Live the life you Pray


Sermon for St. Thomas 75th anniversary and rededication of chapel, September 2013


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Whooping Cranes and their Disciples


Sermon preached at St. John's La Porte, Texas, September 2013


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Las Grullas Blancas y Los Discipulos


Sermon preached at Santa Maria Virgen, Houston Sept 2013


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

60 Years Ago Began The Healing


A sermon celebrating the 60 faithful years of ministry at St. John's Church, Center, Tx and connecting that ministry with the image of healing that is present in Luke's Gospel between Jesus and the crippled woman.


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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

You Can't Take It With You Jane Austen


Sermon preached at St. Aidans, Cypress and Christ Church, Eagle Lake


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It only take a little bit to change the world


Sermon in Spanish at Christ Church Cathedral, August 2013


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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Packing our Bags


Sermon preached at Trinity Episcopal Church, Midtown, Houston 6.16.13


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thank You St. Luke's Family


Sermon preached at Evening Prayer at Christ Church Cathedral Houston in thanksgiving for the St. Luke's Family and in recognition of the transition to Catholic Health Inititiatives.


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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Business of Selfless Giving


Sermon preached on the occassion of giving thanks and praise to God for the life of Mary Josephine Manual Pearson; my mother in law.  Preached at Grace Episcopal Church, Houston.


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

The duty of a love that reaches out and grabs you


Sermon preached at Christ Church Cathedral and St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Houston, May 2013.


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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Once and Future Church: If You Can't Open It You Don't Own It


Bringing some thoughts together on the future of the church and what will be needed.  With Shout outs to Bob Johansen, Brene Brown, and Simon Sinek. See if you can spot the references.


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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Celery Test


A shout out to Simon Sinek and the Celery Test from Start With Why, Sermon on Easter 5C, Palmer Houston


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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Nothing Can Snatch You From The Hands of a Loving God


Reflections on The Feast of Lights, Boston, and West tragedies.  St Francis Houston 2013


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Things are not the way they are supposed to be


Trinity Longview 2013

Sermon on the resurrection appearance of Jesus on the shore of Gallilee.


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Being Lost


Shout out to stories from Radio Lab episode "You are Here" http://www.radiolab.org/2011/jan/25/you-are-here/

Preached at St John the Divine Houston, Srping 2013


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Thursday, April 11, 2013

If you can't open it you don't own it


Sermon on the occassion of the blessing of St. Joseph's, Salado, Tx, 2013.  Introduction stories taken from Bob Johansen's Leaders Make the Future


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Friday, March 29, 2013

Jesus Thirsts for Righteousness and Thirsts for Us


Sermon preached on Good Friday 2013, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston


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Easter Message 2013


St. John of Damascus, called the golden tongued doctor of the church, an Arabian, a Christian, a priest, and mystic monk, reflected in the eighth century on the Easter feast:

Thou hallowed chosen day! That first
And best and greatest shinest!
Lady and Queen and feast of feasts,
Of things divine, divinest!
On thee our praises Christ adore,
For ever and for evermore.

Come, Let us taste the vine’s new fruit
For heavenly joy preparing:
In this propitious day, with Christ
His resurrection sharing:
Whom as true God our hymns adore
For ever and for evermore.
The Holy life of Jesus, the Holy Meal with friends, the Holy Cross alone, and the Holy Tomb have birthed for us (our friends, our families, the church, for all of creation) a new life of freedom and resurrection. Whereas the cross was the end of bondage to sin and death, and the invitation to live a new transformed life; the empty tomb is our new beginning, our recreation. In the empty tomb we find the nativity of Christian faith and the renewal of Creation through communion with God and reconciliation with one another.

We inherit from our faith ancestors an experience of a new and more powerful presence of Jesus Christ. Centered in Jerusalem and in ever expanding circles like the ripples in a pond, the resurrected Jesus appears in different ways to those who love him. He appears to them as traveler along the road and in the midst of locked lives tucked away in upper rooms. Jesus was present powerfully and emphatically. This resurrection and the experience of Christ led the first Christians to pronounce a new covenant story that includes an ever embracing family of God.

Today, we are beckoned to join the resurrected Christ in a newly planted Garden of Eden. We claim resurrection as stewards in God’s creation. We are the family of god, and God is with us as we seek to recreate, renew and restore God’s creation. We do not claim the work of the cross, the empty tomb and the garden for ourselves alone but for the whole of creation. We are at work in God’s garden, we are the workers in the field, the sower of seeds, and God’s human hands at work in the world.

Formed in the Episcopal Church and later a Roman Catholic, pacifist, suffragette and the founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day understood the work of the resurrected community of Christ.

We must practice the presence of God. [She wrote.] He said that when two or three are gathered together, there He is in the midst of them. He is with us in our kitchens, at our tables, on our breadlines, with our visitors, on our farms…”

[She said:] What we would like to do is change the world – make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. Add to a certain extent, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the worker, of the poor, of the destitute – the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words – we can to a certain extent change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever-widening circle will reach around the world.

In the season of Easter we share in and offer to the world resurrection. Our eyes are focused. Our vision is clearer. Our hymns, our prayers, and our worship adore Christ and encourage us out into a world desperate to hear the voice of a loving living freeing God.

This Easter, most hallowed of days, queen of feasts, all creation resounds in shouts of praise and thanksgiving feeling and knowing that from east and west and north and south, the great family of God is being gathered in so that it may be sent out. You and I are changed in the emptying of Christ’s tomb, and as we gather in the sunlight of a new Easter garden we see that the world is changed…forever and forevermore...

Quotes

  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball