Bishop Kirkland

greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I received this message today. Pastor Paris

FOR WIDEST DISSEMINATION MESSAGE FROM BISHOP T. LARRY KIRKLAND, OFFICE OF ECUMENICAL AND URBAN AFFAIRS, AND PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL OF BISHOPS: - - AMERICA UNDER ATTACK - THE CHURCH'S RESPONSE - - TO: MEMBERS OF THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AND THE ENTIRE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY:

GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH, AN EVER-PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE. THEREFORE, WE WILL NOT FEAR, THOUGH THE EARTH GIVE WAY AND MOUNTAINS FALL INTO THE HEART OF THE SEA, THOUGH ITS WATERS ROAR AND FOAM AND THE MOUNTAINS QUAKE WITH THEIR SURGING.

THERE IS A RIVER WHOSE STREAMS MAKE GLAD THE CITY OF GOD, THE HOLY PLACE WHERE THE MOST HIGH DWELLS. GOD IS WITHIN HER. SHE WILL NOT FALL, GOD WILL HELP HER AT BREAK OF DAY.

NATIONS ARE IN UPROAR, KINGDOMS FALL; HE LIFTS HIS VOICE, THE EARTH MELTS. THE LORD ALMIGHTY IS WITH US; THE GOD OF JACOB IS OUR FORTRESS. (PSALMS 46: 1-7 NIV) IN THE LAST WEEK, OUR COUNTRY HAS SEEN DEVASTATION ON THE HIGHEST ORDER. OUR LIVES HAVE BEEN FOREVER ALTERED AND SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, WILL GO DOWN IN INFAMY. OUR SORROW IS INEXPLICABLE. IT IS WITH A HEAVY HEART AND DEEP SORROW THAT THE AME CHURCH AND ITS 3 MILLION MEMBERS OFFER THEIR PRAYERS AND CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILIES AND LOVED ONES OF THOSE WHO PERISHED IN THE MONSTROUS ATTACK ON OUR COUNTRY.

I SAT AND CRIED AS I WATCHED THE WORLD TRADE CENTER COME TUMBLING DOWN. I CRIED AS IF ONE OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS WERE IN THAT BUILDING. IN A REAL SENSE, THEY WERE MY FAMILY MEMBERS. THERE ARE NO WORDS TO EXPRESS THE DEPTH OF PAIN, FEAR AND ANXIETY WE ALL FEEL. MANY OF US ARE ASKING OURSELVES: WHY DID SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPEN? WE ARE BLAMING U. S. INTELLIGENCE, U. S. AIR CARRIERS; WE ARE BLAMING THE GOVERNMENT, FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS; WE ARE BLAMING NATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WE ARE BLAMING OSAMA BIN LADEN; AND SOME FOLKS ARE EVEN BLAMING GOD.

WE WANT TO SAY THAT THIS IS SOMEONE'S FAULT. TO BE SURE, IT IS THE WORK OF SOMEONE WITH HUMAN HANDS JUST LIKE OURS. BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT THIS KIND OF ACT IS THE WORK OF SATAN HIMSELF. WE KNOW WE CANNOT ALWAYS STOP EVIL OR UNDERSTAND IT, BUT WE CAN ALWAYS OFFER THE WORLD JESUS CHRIST WHO ENABLES US TO COPE WITH TRAGEDY AND EVIL.

THE BIBLE TEACHES US THAT "WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD BUT AGAINST THE RULERS, AGAINST THE AUTHORITIES, AGAINST THE POWERS OF THIS DARK WORLD AND AGAINST THE SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY REALM."

WE MUST NOT BE TEMPTED TO FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE. WE MUST CERTAINLY PROTECT OUR BORDERS AND OUR CITIZENRY, AND THE PERPETRATORS AND MASTERMINDS OF THIS DEVASTATION MUST BE CAUGHT AND PUNISHED. BUT WE MUST REMIND OURSELVES, THROUGH OUR TEAR-STAINED EYES, THROUGH THE DUST AND ASH, THROUGH THE PAIN AND SUFFERING, THAT THE WEAPONS WE FIGHT WITH ARE NOT THE WEAPONS OF THE WORLD. ON THE CONTRARY, THEY HAVE DIVINE POWER TO DEMOLISH STRONGHOLDS. WE DEMOLISH ARGUMENTS AND EVERY PRETENSION THAT SETS ITSELF UP AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND WE TAKE CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT TO MAKE IT OBEDIENT TO CHRIST. AND WE WILL BE READY TO PUNISH EVERY ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE ONCE OUR OBEDIENCE IS COMPLETE. (2 COR 10:4-6 NIV)

OUR GOD WILL FIGHT FOR US. WE MUST YIELD OURSELVES TO HIS LOVE AND WILL, AND BECOME WHAT HE WOULD HAVE US BE IN THE WORLD. THE REASON THIS IS OF SUCH PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE IS BECAUSE THE EVIL ONE WILL CONTINUE TO ENLIST PEOPLE TO CARRY OUT HIS MISSION AND PURPOSE. BUT WE MUST REMAIN TRUE TO OUR MISSION AND PURPOSE.

AS A CHURCH, WE MUST CALL THIS NATION (THAT HAS BECOME MORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY BANKRUPT) TO REPENTANCE, RENEWAL AND REVIVAL. MAYBE THIS IS A WAKE-UP CALL TO THIS NATION TO COME BACK TO GOD. IF WE'RE GOING TO CALL THIS NATION TO RENEWAL AND REVIVAL, THE CHURCH ITSELF MUST BE RENEWED AND REVIVED. EACH GREAT AWAKENING, THROUGH NEARLY 2000 YEARS OF CHURCH HISTORY, HAS EMPLOYED DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES FOR REVIVAL, SUCH AS ALTAR CALLS, CONCERTS OF PRAYER, CAMP MEETINGS, MEN'S BREAKFASTS, WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS, SMALL-GROUP MEETINGS AND A VAST ARRAY OF LITURGICAL FORMS TO HELP CARRY THE GOSPEL MESSAGE TO DIVERSE CULTURES. AN IDENTIFIABLE RENEWAL THEOLOGY HAS BEEN UNIVERSAL TO EVERY REVITALIZATION THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH.

IN EZEKIEL 37, THE PROPHET IS LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD INTO A VALLEY OF DRY BONES, BONES THAT REPRESENTED LIFE FROM ANOTHER TIME. A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION IS ASKED: "CAN THESE BONES LIVE?" (EZEK.37:3) CAN THERE BE LIFE AGAIN WHERE THERE IS NOW DEATH AND DECAY? IS TOTAL TRANSFORMATION POSSIBLE? CAN DRY INSTITUTIONS BE TRANSFORMED INTO VITAL MOVEMENTS? THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD TO THESE BONES, I WILL CAUSE BREATH TO ENTER YOU AND YOU SHALL LIVE. I WILL LAY SINEWS ON YOU, AND WILL CAUSE FLESH TO COME UPON YOU, AND COVER YOU WITH SKIN AND PUT BREATH INTO YOU AND YOU SHALL LIVE. I PROPHESIED AS HE COMMANDED ME, AND THE BREATH CAME INTO THEM AND THEY LIVED AND STOOD ON THEIR FEET AS A VAST MULTITUDE. (EZEK 37:5, 6, 10)

THIS PROPHETIC MESSAGE THAT CAME DIRECTLY FROM GOD, SHOWS THAT DEAD THINGS CAN BE REVITALIZED. IT IS A TRANSFORMING WORK OF THE SPIRIT THAT TURNS DRY BONES INTO THE LIVING BODY OF CHRIST AND MOBILIZES A VAST ARMY OF REFORMERS. RENEWAL IS GOD-BREATHED, NOT PROGRAM-PLANNED. NO MAN MADE CONCEPT CAN REVIVE, REVITALIZE, REFRESH AND RENEW AMERICA; ONLY GOD.

THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS COULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED SUCCESSFUL IN MANY AREAS. IT WAS A HARD-WORKING CHURCH THAT BELIEVED IN PRACTICING WHAT IT PREACHED. THE PEOPLE WERE KNOWN FOR THEIR GOOD DEEDS AND SOUND DOCTRINE. WHEN THE GOING GOT TOUGH, THEY DID NOT QUIT. THE BELIEVERS AT EPHESUS WERE COMMITTED TO THE WORK OF THE CHURCH IN BOTH GOOD TIMES AND BAD, YET, THEY HAD ONE CRITICAL FLAW " THE PEOPLE HAD FORSAKEN THEIR FIRST LOVE. THEY HAD BECOME SO BUSY DOING THE WORK OF THE LORD, THEY HAD FORGOTTEN THE LORD OF THE WORK. THE MESSENGER OF THE LORD CALLED UPON THEM TO REPENT AND RETURN TO THEIR FIRST LOVE. THE FIRST PRINCIPLE OF RENEWAL IS TO REMEMBER OUR FIRST LOVE. IF THE CHURCH IS GOING TO REVIVE THIS NATION, WE MUST HAVE CHRIST-CENTERED PASTORS AND LEADERS AND MUST ASK GOD TO RENEW HER.

AS I LOOKED AT THE PRESIDENT'S PRAYER BREAKFAST, I PRAYED THAT IT CONSISTED OF BELIEVERS DREAMING GOD'S VISION, BELIEVING CHRIST'S VICTORY AND LIVING OUT THE SPIRIT'S WORK. I PRAYED THAT THE EVIDENCE OF RENEWAL WOULD BE SEEN IN TRANSFORMED LIVES.

RENEWAL IS PERSONAL, BUT IT ALSO SPILLS OUT ON SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS. EVERY GREAT AWAKENING HAS HAD A RESULTING MAJOR EFFECT ON THE MORAL, ECONOMIC, POLITICAL AND CULTURAL FOUNDATION OF SOCIETY ITSELF. HISTORIAN WILLIAM G. McLOUGHLIN GOES SO FAR AS TO SAY THAT THE GREAT AWAKENINGS IN AMERICAN HISTORY HAVE INFLUENCED MOST OF OUR NATION'S SOCIAL REFORMS. HE CONTENDS THAT THEY ARE THE "CATALYST FOR SOCIAL CHANGE." AS THE CHURCH BECOMES SPIRITUALLY RENEWED, IT MOVES AGAINST EVIL FORCES THAT OPPRESS THE PEOPLE. IT WAS A RENEWED CHURCH WITH A TRANSFORMED PEOPLE THAT FOUGHT SLAVERY AND ILLITERACY AND SENT ARMIES OF MISSIONARIES ACROSS THE WORLD TO TEACH, PREACH AND HEAL. THE CHURCH WAS AT THE HEART OF THE STRUGGLE AGAINST RACISM IN THE SIXTIES, LED BY OUR GREAT LEADER MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND A RENEWED CHURCH IS NEEDED TODAY TO CARRY ON THE CONTINUING BATTLE AGAINST THE DEMONIC FORCES OF ETHNIC AND CULTURAL PHOBIAS THAT ARE RAISING THEIR UGLY HEAD ACROSS THE GLOBE.

A MINISTRY THAT IS HOLISTIC, THAT SEES PEOPLE AS PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL BEINGS, THAT SEES PEOPLE WITH BOTH PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL NEEDS, MUST OCCUR IF THERE TRULY IS TO BE A RENEWAL OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. TRANSFORMATION WILL OCCUR IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE. THE JUSTICE OF GOD WILL BE SEEN IN THE COMMUNITY OF THE TRANSFORMED. AS A RESULT OF THE REVIVAL ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST, THE BELIEVERS SOLD THEIR POSSESSIONS AND SHARED WITH OTHERS AS THEY HAD NEED. THIS SPIRIT OF LOVE CAN BE MANIFESTED ONLY BY A WORK OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD, NOT BY GIMMICKS AND HUMAN ENTHUSIASM.

THE DAY AFTER THIS TRAGIC EVENT, SEVERAL BISHOPS, PASTORS AND OVER 5,000 PEOPLE MET AT THE FAITHFUL CENTRAL COMMUNITY CHURCH, IN AN ECUMENICAL GATHERING TO PRAY FOR THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD. (BISHOP KENNETH ULMER, BISHOP CHARLES BLAKE, BISHOP H. H. BROOKINS, DR. CECIL L. MURRAY, DR. LESLIE WHITE, DR. GREGORY HERNDON, THE REV. RON WRIGHT AND YOURS TRULY, T. LARRY KIRKLAND.) OUR PRAYER WAS THAT THIS NATION WOULD REPENT OF ITS SINS AND COME BACK TO GOD.

WOULD YOU JOIN US IN SINCERE PRAYER THAT THE AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AND OUR SISTER CHURCHES WOULD SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND, AND CALL ON HIM WHILE HE IS NEAR.

THE AME CHURCH WORLDWIDE AND PARTICULARLY IN THE NEW YORK AND D.C. AREA OFFERS ALL OF ITS RESOURCES TO ASSIST IN ANYWAY POSSIBLE.

BISHOP T. LARRY KIRKLAND, OFFICE OF ECUMENICAL AND URBAN AFFAIRS, AND PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL OF BISHOPS.

-- Anonymous, September 15, 2001

Answers

Rev. Paris:

Many thanks for sharing Bishop Kirkland's inspirational letter. I will share this letter in its entirety tommorow with my students, faculty and staff during the reconvening session of Church School. God Bless America. QED

-- Anonymous, September 15, 2001


Thank you very much Rev. Alton E Paris, for this message from Bishop Kirkland. The Namibia Annual Conference in the 15th Episcopal District has scheduled a Memorial Service in Windhoek, Namibia at the call of the Honourable Rev. Dr. Hendrik Witbooi, the Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Special Episcopal Consultant to Bishop Gregory Ingram. The AME Church has issued an Press Release right here in Windhoek, condemning the attacks and expressing sympathy and condolense to our brothers and sisters in the USA. We pray and trust that we will be able to forward this report to The AME Today, the AME Christian Recorder and other AME periodicals. Once again, thank you Rev. paris for this report. We share your sorrow.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2001

Send the honors to Bishop Kirkland, he wanted it sent out ot everybody.

Blessings

pastor paris

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2001


Dear Bishop Kirkland thank you for your powerful words of healing and encouragement. I read your response to my congregation today. And it touched everyone's heart. And Pastor Paris thank you for posting this in time so that it could be read during the church service. The letter from Bishop Kirkland made us proud to be Americans and A.M.E. God bless you both for your service to our denomination!

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ