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Repairing the Ruins

The Lord is quietly doing a mighty work in the United Kingdom. As the Church of England enters into a new phase in its storied history, one marked by an unfortunate adherence to the modern orthodoxies surrounding human sexuality over a commitment to biblical fidelity, new works are being wrought throughout England.


One such endeavor is the the revitalization of Emmanuel Church in Morecambe. Yesterday morning, Bishop John Fenwick, Primus of the Free Church of England ("FCE"), licensed and installed the Rev. Brett Murphy as the new Rector of this once powerful parish church in the seaside town of Morecambe. Over the past couple of decades, the congregation dwindled down to a handful of parishioners to the point where the parish was only comprised of the church's Senior Warden and his dear wife. That all changed yesterday morning.

Due to Fr. Brett's significant presence on social media through his Youtube Channel (see revbrettmurphy on Youtube), the congregation gathered for Fr. Brett's installation included two (2) young men who found the new Rector via Youtube and reached out to him for spiritual support and encouragement. One of these young men drove over three (3) hours to attend the installation. In visiting with this young man just before the service began, I learned he is interested in seeking Holy Orders and, God willing, will begin theological studies at the London School of Theology in the coming months with an eye on being ordained within the next three (3) years within the FCE. Aslan is indeed on the move.


Bishop Fenwick's vision for Emmanuel, one shared by the parish's energetic and influential new Rector, is that it become once again a "cathedral" type presence in the FCE, a mission-sending congregation and even a sight for theological training and support for new and seasoned clergy within the FCE. The vision is a grand one and wonderfully in step with the biblical reality of God being a God of "small beginnings" (Zechariah 4:10).


Later in the same day, my wife Cherie and I traveled with Bishop Fenwick and Fr. Murphy through the beautiful countryside between Manchester and Sheffield to worship with a small congregation of Iranian Christians, several of whom had been baptized within the past month. What a delight to worship with these dear fellow believers in Christ Jesus. As we began worshipping together in a blend of English and Farsi. I was immediately struck by a sense of wonder that must have been present amongst those gathered on the Day of Pentecost.

After the service of worship, our small band of visitors to this delightful congregation was treated to a traditional Iranian meal and enjoyed a time of warm fellowship. During our meal, Bishop Fenwick reminded us of the significance of the moment. In the West, we often think of ourselves as being at ground zero in terms of the Christian Church's significance and influence. On this day, we Westerners were reminded that we are not, in fact, at the ecclesiastical center of the universe. The dynamic renewal of the Church has shifted South and East.


As we worshipped with believers whose lineage stretched right back to the literal birth of the Church, we were reminded that on the Day of Pentecost those filled with the Holy Spirit who began to speak in divine utterances were the Parthians, Medes, Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia - all modern day Iranians. What a glorious moment and reminder of God's continuous work to reach all nations with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Please join me in praying for these new beginnings, specifically Fr. Brett and his family in Morecambe and Fr. Karim and his congregation in Sheffield.

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