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Centurio Epistula – James, Bishop of Jerusalem & Martyr – October 23

Almighty God, whose servant James exercised leadership and courage in the early Church, grant that thy bishops might guide us to keep and guard the historic faith as given to us by the Apostles; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

On October 23rd, the Church remembers James, the “brother” of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the 15th Chapter of Acts, James headed the council to consider the pleas of Paul and Barnabas; they did not want the Gentiles to have to come under the Mosaic Law in order to be in fellowship with the Church. James spoke for the council about setting minimum requirements for inclusion in the communion. There could be diversity about some things, but not all things.

In thinking of James and of current events, I cannot help but think of the Windsor Report issued on just a few days ago on 18 October
and the role that the Archbishop of Canterbury must now play with this fractured communion. Ironically, James addressed one issue that now confronts the Anglican Communion in that meeting in Jerusalem in 60 AD. James said, “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication [Greek: PORNEIA] : from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”

Let us pray that all bishops, will display the same type of courage and leadership in doing what is right, and in disciplining the Church in charity, that James did. See Scripture and homily here

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