The Apostolic Catholic Church
"A church of second chances and new beginnings"
We welcome all as Christ.
We are firmly rooted in Scripture
affirm the presence of Christ in the poor, the needy
and the oppressed.
In the apostolic catholic tradition, we find
"communion" in community and
relationship as well as in sacrament.
We welcome all to share in Christ as
His arms and legs in this world through Apostolic
Bishop Chuck ..... Actually
For several years the Apostolic Catholic Church
has been spearheadinga grassroots effort to
get a Medicaid/Medicare eligible clinic in the SulphurSprings
area of Tampa. After a long neighborhood struggle that includedtwo public meetings chaired by members of the Apostolic Catholic Churchand four nonviolent demonstrations we have succeeded far beyond our wildest dreams. Tampa Family Health Center, a local non-profit, together with the county health department will be opening a medical and dental clinicwithin one block of our Tampa church. The clinic will cater to the uninsured as well as to Medicaid and Medicare patients. No patient will be turned away for lack of ability to pay. The cost of the clinic is
estimated at $4.7 million. $1 million
dollars which many of our memberslobbied for
is being provided by the Federal government.
Catholic Church (ACC) has entered into a fraternal relationship with the International Council of Community Churches (ICCC). Both pledge continuing fraternal relationship
and seek other
avenues of cooperation and communication within the limits of each party's resources and capacity. Mutual cooperation in programs and projects of compassionate Christian service will witness
and both parties will pray for one another on a regular and continuing basis.
National Council of Churches in Christ in the USA
Chuck Leigh of the Apostolic Catholic Church has been appointed to the governing board of
the National Council of Churches in Christ, USA.
This time in history is most difficult for
the people of God and especially for the ever growing number of poor who scripture tells us are most favored by God.
Many families, not just a few, are without housing and literally living on the street. At the same time huge
numbers of houses in the inner city are boarded up and empty having been seized by predatory lenders with the help of an
ungodly justice system that serves those lenders. The social welfare net is collapsing for many. Just to live, good
people with families have little real choice but to steal and for that they are being brutally punished with unconscionably
long prison sentences. Many people are literally camping out in vacant lots. The plight of the poor has never
been so bad in my lifetime and there have never been so many homeless in my memory. Some independent sacramental churches working together with sister
Protestant churches have been able to pressure some politicians to require that lenders actually follow the same rules that
are imposed on borrowers in foreclosure proceedings. Some good Christian people have taken the homeless into their
homes and churches. In all of this where have most of the independent catholic churches been? Increasing numbers of the working poor and even
those who once considered themselves middle class are unemployed or under employed. At the same time the basic infrastructure
of the inner city continues to deteriorate. Only a few churches are holding political and business leaders accountable.
Farm workers remain underpaid, exploited and
even virtually enslaved. Only a few church leaders stand with them in the fields and in the picket lines. Very
few independent catholic groups engage their time and resource in standing with these who are so badly exploited.
I cannot help but believe that in this present emergency
as we read the signs of the times church leaders are called to be in the street leading their people in doing God's justice,
not in conference rooms and on phone calls strategizing the dynamics of Power, Position, Politics and Possession. Is
the driving and motivating force within the independent catholic leadership in these difficult times the Kingdom of Heaven
or the establishment and protection of kingdoms and fiefdoms? Are independent Catholics truly the Body of Christ or are
we corporate structures based on individual and group egos? I may indeed be a jackass, but even a jackass can read the signs of the times
when they speak so loudly. If independent Catholics cannot give up their very selves and together become the Body of
Christ that stands with the poor at this crucial time in history, then they have lost all relevance in the Kingdom of God.
A church that is not relevant is not a church and therefore has effectively ceased to exist. Chuck Leigh, Bishop
Apostolic Catholic Church10/25/2010
In its present incarnation
the Apostolic Catholic Church was envisioned concurrently by a number of clergy people from different mainline denominations
who had recently returned from service in the third world. They sought to recreate in this country the vibrant Eucharistic
communities they had experience in the Third World. As these several communities grew, they realized they all shared the same
essential catholic nature centered in the love and freedom of the Body of Christ. The people of the various communities formed
a communion based on the structure of the church in Apostolic and sub-Apostolic times and the Apostolic Catholic Church took
The Apostolic Catholic Church, rooted
in the New Testament, affirms the empowerment and the dignity of the poor, the needy and the oppressed by adopting a preferential
option for those disenfranchised and marginalized in this society. Apostolic Catholicism is radically committed to the unconditional
acceptance of all who are in need. The special mission of the Apostolic Catholic Church is to be Christ's arms and legs,
reaching out to those who suffer and are ignored by the world. We choose to serve others, ever mindful of the example of Jesus,
who "did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave." (phil. 2;
6-7) The Apostolic Catholic Church celebrates and draws nourishment from the experience of community. The Apostolic
Catholic Church has established an intimate community experience where its members are at once accepted, affirmed and challenged
to further their commitment as the Body of Christ. We seek depth of relationship with God and with one another that is demanding
as well as liberating.
The Apostolic Catholic Church maintains rich sacramental and liturgical traditions which reflect centuries of practice
and evolution. Our liturgies, rooted in the early church, express commitment to ritual, narrative and spirituality that demonstrate
sensitivity to the needs of a church that is inclusive in image, word and action. We welcome all to share in our community
life of worship, prayer and apostolic service.
Bishop Charles (Chuck) Leigh
Coalition of Immokalee Workers Win New Agreement!
"The wall comes tumbling down," The Nation, 10/18/10
"Farmworkers score again for justice," Ft. Myers
"Victory long time coming for Florida tomato
pickers," St. Petersburg Times, 10/16/10
Bishop Chuck Leigh
and Rev. Russell Meyer celebrate
with Rabbi Mark Borovitz
Helping to Declare
Let Justice Roll Like A River!
On the Occasion of the Groundbreaking Agreement between the
Coalition of Immokalee Workers and
Pacific Tomato Growers
"Today we celebrate the groundbreaking agreement
between the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Pacific Tomato Growers. We are grateful to witness this display of
social responsibility. This agreement will bring about basic rights for farmworkers. We hope and pray that the spirit of
collaboration exhibited by the CIW and Pacific Tomato Growers leads the way to a future in which farmworkers and farmers
work together with respect for the dignity of all persons whose labor makes possible our nation's food.
Creating a food system that
respects the rights of farmworkers involves all of us: consumers, retailers, farmers, and farmworkers. This agreement recognizes
the unique role farmworkers can and must play in eliminating workplace abuses by ensuring them a voice in the protection
of their own rights. It also recognizes the vital role of tomato growers in standing against abuses and implementing systems
for greater social responsibility in partnership with farmworkers.
This new partnership models the advances that can be made by working
together in good faith with the common goal of fairness and the spirit of cooperation. We pray this inspires all growers
and retailers to join in the efforts at cultivating a fairer, more humane agricultural industry. May God Bless the CIW,
Pacific Tomato Growers and farmers and farmworkers everywhere."
Bishop Edward Benoway
Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Rabbi Mark Borovitz
Temple Beit Tshuvah
Bishop Leo Frade
Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida
Bishop Charles Leigh
President, Florida Council of Churches
& Apostolic Catholic Church
Rev. Russell Meyer
Executive Director, Florida Council of Churches
Conference Minister, Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ
of the United Methodist Church
(See Additional on Church News Page)
"Take care to do all things in harmony with God, withthe bishop presiding in the place of
God and with the
presbyters in the place of the council of Apostle, and the deacons who are most dear to me, entrusted with the business of Jesus Christ"
"The preaching of the Church truly continues without change and is everywhere the same and has
the testimony of the Prophets and the Apostlesand all their disciples."
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, of the
Greek Orthodox Church expressed this in a similar way in a 2008 address:
"Within the communion of saints, each of us is called to "become like fire" (A saying of the Desert Fathers),
to touch the world with the mystical force of God's Word, so that - as the extended Body of Christ - the world, too, might
say: "Someone touched me!" (cf. Mt 9.20) Evil is only eradicated by holiness, not by harshness. And holiness introduces
into society a seed that heals and transforms. Imbued with the life of the sacraments and the purity of prayer, we are able
to enter the innermost mystery of God's Word. It is like the tectonic plates of the earth's crust: the deepest layers need
only shift a few millimeters to shatter the world's surface. Yet for this spiritual revolution to occur, we must experience
radical metanoia - a conversion of attitudes, habits and practices - for ways that we have misused or abused God's Word, God's
gifts and God's creation.
Such a conversion is, of course, impossible without divine grace; it is not achieved simply through greater effort or human
willpower. "For mortals, it is impossible; but for God all things are possible." (Mt 19.26) Spiritual change occurs
when our bodies and souls are grafted onto the living Word of God, when our cells contain the life-giving blood-flow of the
sacraments, when we are open to sharing all things with all people. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us, the sacrament of "our
neighbor" cannot be isolated from the sacrament of "the altar." Sadly, we have ignored the vocation and obligation
to share. Social injustice and inequality, global poverty and war, ecological pollution and degradation result from our inability
or unwillingness to share. If we claim to retain the sacrament of the altar, we cannot forgo or forget the sacrament of the
neighbor - a fundamental condition for realizing God's Word in the world within the life and mission of the Church.
as a Peace Church
After several years of prayer and study, the people of the
Apostolic Catholic Church
in union with their bishop have come to the consensus that ours is a "Peace Church".
The Apostolic Catholic Church in witness to its understanding of
the Gospel affirms human
all circumstances, at all times without exception. All life belongs to God alone and
no one has the right to take life for any reason. In accordance with our understanding
Gospel, Apostolic Catholics
reject abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment and war.
We understand that these are hard teachings and that other
people of goodwill may believe
differently. We strongly
oppose condemnation of our brothers and sisters who do not understand
the Gospel as we do on this matter, but we do stand as a clear witness to them.
We affirm that our rejection of abortion
and euthansia impose the heavy obligation to care for and
nurture children as well as the obligation to uphold the dignity of all humanity. However we see these
obligations not as burdens, but as the natural practice of Jesus and therefore
our natural practice.
We urge our brothers and sister to
pray and study these issues and to follow the example of Jesus
they continue to form and inform their conscience.
The Deification of Americanism
I was very uncomfortable. I had just been asked
a question about the land in which I had been born. I hadn't lived in the land of my birth for almost two decades and was
out of touch with what was happening in America. I wasn't quite clear what the questioner was really asking. I didn't understand
the context of the question.
I was serving as a missionary, in very rural villages,
in Southern Africa. I had traveled a few hundred kilometers to the big city for a Church meeting. The person asking the question
was a Bishop, in the denomination I was serving. Overcoming my uncomfortable feelings I began asking the Bishop some clarifying
questions. He had spent an extended period of time in America observing a particular denomination in the Protestant Church,
their various agencies and several Conferences. He was obviously disturbed and sad at what he had found. He was a kind; humble,
but yet a person who had great discernment. His question was neither cynical nor critical. He asked me not because of any
great knowledge that I possessed but I was the only American he knew who was living in Africa. He simply asked, "Can
an American be a Christian?" He then went on to share some observations. He found the American Church, of our particular
denomination, to be more about money, politics and power than about the gospel. He had attended some Church Conferences where
Bishops were elected. He was appalled at the blatant politics of the process. Those experiences and others he shared were
behind the question he asked. He stated, "I wondered if there was a dollar bill under every altar and an American flag
in every Church."He perceived the Church as more American than Christian.
Having been out of the American Church and culture for a few decades. I had little data to answer his question.
I thought it was more a reflection he was sharing with me rather than a question I could even begin to answer. But it stayed
When I returned to American, some years later, I experienced all the
cultural shock that many new residents must feel. I loved the grocery stores and all the food that was available, the many
amenities like electricity and running water.
other dynamics, in the culture, that troubled me greatly. I observed activities and mindsets in the Church that caused deep
reflections within me. I began studying this strange land and different Church that I was now participating in to better understand
her. I had done the same when I moved to the Caribbean and later to Africa. It was a study to understand how people lived
and what gave their life meaning, to understand the stories they lived by in life. It was a quest to determine how can a person
like me, live in a place like this, with a people like I was experiencing? It was a "How do I fit in?" How does
this culture fit into the work of the Kingdom of God? I became like a foreign observer studying the culture and the Church,
not to find fault but to understand. The more I observed, read and researched the more the Bishop's question echoed in my
brain, not only relating to that denomination but to Protestant Churches in general. I found, like the Bishop found, that
the dynamics of Power, Position, Politics and Possessions had become the driving and motivating forces at work within the
Church that both he and I knew.
Certain religious writers, in and of this culture,
researchers and other returning missionaries began enforcing my observations and conclusions. There is far too much data to
share at this point to include all the information. However there are some observations and data that might be of interest.
The purpose of this article is not to be negative or tear down but
to raise an alarm. I do not have the skills or the gifting to be a prophet but hopefully there is something of the prophetic
in what I write. The motivation is one of love. It is a deep desire for the American Church to return to her first love and
to recognize the deception, the seduction of the culture and what it has done to her.
Over the years, George Barna, has been a great gift to me. He has enabled me to validate that
what I was personally observing was more than my observations. He has also been a gift to the American Church. For those of
you that do not know of him he is the founder and director of Barna Research. For over two decades George has carried on research
through nationwide telephone polls. He is a professional Christian researcher. He has developed a research staff enabling
the American Church to keep tabs on the pulse of Americans and American Church persons in regards to their views, attitudes
and beliefs. Many of the leading denominational leaders use his research to formulate their policies, strategies and plans
as a denomination. His studies reflect research he has done on both Protestant and Catholic Churches and their members.
One study, in particular, is important to give us a view of the spiritual health
of the Church and of American Christianity in general. This study indicated that only 4 percent of Americans, Protestant and
Catholic, had a "biblical" worldview. There was little indication that American Christians, in general, had integrated
or had any desire to integrate biblical principles into their core being where they made their decisions about how to live
life. The Protestant institutional Church also operated out of a cultural model rather than a biblical one.
I thank brother George for his excellent research. There are very concrete reasons
for the "unbiblical" worldview dynamic. There has been a gradual, in one sense, rapid in another sense, shifting
of the worldview of the American culture for the past eighty to one hundred years. In the late eighteen hundreds a philosophy
of secular humanism began to take root in Western Culture. It was not really new but is as old as time. The Kings and prophets
of Israel fought against it. Paul struggled with it in the Greek-Roman world of his day. It rose again in the eighteen hundred's
with new wording but was really no different than older philosophies. It has become the worldview of the West, and America,
for over ninety percent of the population. The Church in America, and her people, embrace such a view. It is from that point
of view most decisions are made. The ‘biblical' worldview is not part of an individual's or an institution's thinking
process. This is not a statement of criticism but rather a reporting of what most research in this area has clearly indicated.
It has become the religion that Americans live by.
Humanism is the ‘gospel' clearly promoted, believed in, and evangelistically promoted by, television, film, music newspaper,
magazines, books, the world of education and even the institutional Church. Who could escape such a heavy influence? The answer
is no one raised and living in this culture could or can escape. The theology of our culture is more a manology. There are
some exceptions but let me leave that for later. The end result is we have a culture, and a "Christian" Church that
operates out of a gospel of a god that I have called SHIM.
decisions, of individuals and institutions, are made on the basis of a secular, humanistic, individualistic and materialistic
worldview (SHIM). There seems to be an abundance of knee jerk reactions to anyone or thing that smacks of authority. Put another
way this culture sees rebelliousness as a virtue. The Protestant Church often gives the impression she is theologically uncertain,
is ignorant of scripture, ethically eclectic and sounds like religion is a side issue in their day-by-day operation. Even
the many models and programs for church renewal embrace and use the SHIM understanding of life to bring about transformation.
More often than not such programs and models merely further reinforce a way of life that is counter to the Gospel. The God
of scripture, traditions of the Church historic, reason and experience has been relegated to a peripheral place in making
decisions and living life.
The spirituality that emerges, from such a dynamic,
is more secular than sacred. It is a spirituality that is egocentric. In doing spiritual direction, this author has noted
that, for some people in our culture, having a spiritual director is like having one's own physical trainer at the gym. It
is status oriented and a status symbol. It is a spirituality that produces isolation rather than community. It is a spirituality
that produces neurotic individualism rather than redemptive community. It is a SHIM spirituality that is neither sacred nor
holy. It is a spirituality that produces further brokenness rather than healing or salvation. It is a spirituality that rejects
scriptural holiness and replaces it with political correctness. It is a spirituality that is infected by a consumer society.
It is a spirituality that is competitive and produces isolation rather than healing. It is a spirituality that wants to fix
things and give answers rather than stand before the unfixable and the Mystery in life.
We have shifted from being a people under God to a culture that thinks we are gods. Following
the god of SHIM has become the American way. Interestingly enough the viewpoint, philosophies and lifestyle of those who embrace
SHIM are diametrically opposite of the values of scripture and the Kingdom of God.
As a result there has arisen an American Christianity that is neither scriptural nor Christian.
Therefore we find many former Christians searching for a genuine spirituality among the Eastern religions. At some level they
know that what the "Church" is selling isn't providing what the God of the universe is offering. The American Church,
of any denomination or stripe, has become synonymous with the culture. Some people at some level know our culture or our cultural
religion is not working. There is a God inspired hunger for God's truth. According to a very recent survey 26% of Americans
suffer from some sort of mental illness. Rural Africa has a mental illness rate of 4.7%. One author commented that if the
social scientists of the world sat down together for the purpose of designing a culture that would produce poorly functioning
human beings they couldn't have done a better job than in what we have evolved in America.
There is some difference between the Protestant Churches and those of the Roman Catholic faith.
It is dangerous to generalize but nevertheless the structures of the Protestant Church seem to have embraced a SHIM orientation
and blend themselves into the culture thereby deifying it. The average American feels right at home. In the Roman Catholic
Church with its universal orientation, at the ecclesiastical level, embrace a more scriptural and traditional orientation.
However, the person at the pew level generally buys into the SHIM model and ignores the orientation of the Church universal.
I believe it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. But one must first
recognize that one is in darkness. We, in America, have been calling darkness light and light darkness and trying to spread
our myth to "less developed countries." The we includes the American Church. Our first step, as Americans, and for
those who call themselves Christians and recognize the problem, is to recognize the darkness and the depth of our apostasy
Let me share some of the exceptions I have found
in this land. It is usually found among those folks who, for whatever reasons, have been able to become detached enough from
our culture and our society to look at our American Church and culture with some objectivity and come to the conclusions indicated
above. I have had the privilege of knowing some Catholic and Episcopal Sisters living out their lives in a cloister situation.
The monks, the monastic movement and religious orders, in many ages and in many cultures, have tried to address this problem
by becoming a sign and a symbol of an alternative life style. Hopefully they are then encouraging the surrounding culture
to evaluate the way the people in the culture are living. Those choosing such an approach see clearly the illness of our society
and Church. Their solution is to live a life style that stands in contradiction to our culture. They work with people through
example and presence. During the last fifty years there have been groups of Christians hungry for authentic Christian community.
In response there arose such groups as E. Stanley Jones' Ashrams, the Lay Witness movement, the Cell group movement and the
Walk to Emmaus. Indeed they provided opportunity for the hungry Christians to experience a deeper scriptural walk with God
and a sense of committed Christian community. But alas they made little impression on the structures of the Church and her
way of doing God's business. There are some priests and protestant ministers who see the darkness and are using the same approach,
of an alternative life style, except they are trying to renew the Church from within rather than as a witness from without.
Is that the same as putting a new coat of paint on a barn with dry rot? A good question to ask is, "If the system, the
institution has a structure that is built on the wrong foundations and is thoroughly diseased in the marrow of its bones can
some individuals bring about the transformation?" I do not know the answer to such a question. I tend to be a bit skeptical.
I know what Jesus said about faulty foundations. I do not know what God has in mind. God can bring about a change and God
can and does use whatever and whoever He chooses to use. But God usually wants folks to do it His way. History indicates that
God rises up a new people and sends His Spirit to new arenas when people no longer are obedient to kingdom values. The old
fades away and dies. His Spirit moves on.
Is the Church
doomed? Of course it is not doomed. Its perversions might be doomed. I lived, worked and served much of my adult life in third
world countries, in far different cultures. I experienced a Christianity and Church that acted out its life on Biblically
sound principles. It believed the gospel and took it seriously. As a result the Church in some of these areas is growing,
is meeting the spiritual needs of people and is transforming lives.
I have talked with other missionaries, who have been out of this culture for a few decades, their stories are all the same.
It reflects what I have shared above. Our culture is pagan and our American Church embraces those same values or lack of them.
It seems the American Church has lost its way. I do not hear such people speaking words of condemnation or ridicule but from
a deep pain within. It is a pain that I share. They were motivated to share the gospel in remote lands. They saw the gospel
come alive and God's Church blossom. They returned to find a land that had become more pagan than the lands they went to serve
and a Church that echoes those same pagan values.
exception I experienced. As a young man in the sixties I became part of a Protestant (mostly Methodist) group called the Ecumenical
Institute. I was part of that community for a year. There were several such Religious Houses across the nation and later the
world. One was in Atlanta, Georgia. We lived together in common in all things: living space, finances, community discipline
and decisions. They stood as a sign and symbol over against a rapidly emerging secular culture and Church. The institutional
Church saw it as a threat and as too heretical. It was neither. It was an attempt to live out the Gospel mandates in the world
of the sixties. It did its work well. It was not for everyone. It was not generally popular. But it was a counter culture
to the emerging god of SHIM. It was a sign and symbol that caught the Church's attention. Did it reform the Church? No! I
think it was a good approach like the many communities that arose before and after it. It did foster a remnant that wanted
to be faithful to a Church that was not cultural.
As we look
at Church history we find many periods where the institution and leadership had the gifting of sin rather than scriptural
holiness. It was out of some such eras that God raised up monastic movements to stand in sharp contrast to so called worldly
Christians. The test of time has shown that the monastic movements had and have such a purifying effect on Christian Life
and the Church. There are many such movements within and outside of the institutional Church. I see them as a gift from God.
There are many such communities and movements I could mention but I do not intend to be comprehensive in my illustrations.
But one brief example might be helpful.
and Sisters of Charity, based in Arkansas, has attempted to blend together a monastic, in residence community, and a domestic
community to bring God's gift by being a sign and symbol in a culture that has lost sight of God and His Kingdom. But all
such movements are very clear, in their own thinking that America and the American Church have embraced the god of SHIM. These
movements do not approach the problem, with a holier then thou mentality, but rather, "Here is the way we understand
the faithful people of God are to live. We desire to be a sign and a symbol of those Christian values."
Regardless of the methodologies or movements God raises up there needs to be clarity
that Americans and American Christianity does follow the god of SHIM. We need to be clear that God, His Kingdom and the Kingdom
values proclaim a gospel that embraces what I have called, STED (Sacred, Theistic, Ekklesia and Detachment) as a way of life
that is faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Such a way
of life states clearly that all of life is sacred. I am not referring to a pantheistic point of view but that our Creator
God makes himself present to us. He reveals himself to us and is present in His Creation, within us, in other people, in the
events of life and the very creation itself. No decisions are secular. God is to be perceived not ignored in every decision
we make and every event in our life. As people of faith it is imperative to recognize that all of life is sacred from conception
to natural death.
The person of faith is called to focus all energy,
strength and resources towards God not man. The focus is on the Eternal not the mundane. We are called to be Theistic not
humanistic in our understanding of life. We live in the mundane but with the call and the vision to be guided by and focused
on God. Our hope is in Him not in man or man's schemes. This is one hundred and eighty degrees opposite of the secular and
humanistic values of our culture and cultural Church.
are called not to individualism, a perversion in God's sight, but to community: ekklesia. Who I am in God's Kingdom, and as
a person, is directly reflected in those I relate to in community. There is an African saying that roughly translated states,
"I am who I am as a result of those I relate to in my community." In America or in American Churches there seem
to be few if any communities that exist in the scriptural sense of that word community. The only exceptions are those monastic
type communities who have taken the call to be in community as serious. There is periodic interest in small groups, within
the Church, that are signs of the God given hunger for such a community based understanding of life and the Gospel.
The call is also a call where I consciously detach myself from SHIM. Detachment
becomes an intentional life style. It is where I investigate each cultural norm and measure it over against scripture and
tradition. It is not an attempt to justify the culture but a serious openness to let the Holy Spirit in to inform me how one
is called away from the SHIM Culture. By detachment I am not indicating I try to escape from the world, rather I make a conscious
decision to separate myself from the life style and understanding of life that is cultural and cultural Christianity. I intentionally
refute those values in my own life so I am freer to embrace and attach myself to the values of the Kingdom of God. It is to
enable one to "see" the Gospel with less influence of the cultural lenses.
In sharing this article with friends I found some questioned my love for country. With some
hesitation, I share that I served my country in the Korean War as a front line rifleman in three campaigns and still experience
pain and suffering from my wounds and injuries. No, my motivation is one of love for country that it could be all God intends
for this country to be.
All kinds of philosophies and man created ideas
bombard our senses. Which one is correct? We are a synergistic people: a consequence of blending together a lot of strange
thinking. We have become a SHIM people. The Old Testament prophets, Jesus and Paul clearly warn us such a concept of life
is a dead end street.
Our choice is clear. If we have come to know the
living Christ we will be a people who live and love under God not man. We embrace STED as a way of life, live in a world of
SHIM people but are not of it.
Perhaps the renewal of the Church will come through
many monastic communities springing up throughout this land. Perhaps they will call people to tend the holy and not be conformed
to this world but be willing to be transformed and indeed show and exhibit what is the perfect and acceptable will of God
for all of us.
Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your minds that ye might prove what is the perfect and acceptable will of God.
But my people have exchanged my Glory for worthless idols. Be appalled at this, O heavens, and
shudder with great horror, declares the Lord.
secular world the word vocation usually means the work in which one is regularly employed. However, for people of faith, the
word has a much more expansive meaning. It means a divine call to religious life or into a religious order. It means a divine
call to be a deacon or a priest. It is far more than a job or a means of making a living. In a real sense it is a call into
being of a special kind.
the priest, the deacon has heard the call, made the discernment that the focus of one's life is to be God. All other commitments,
focus fades in significance. There are many reasons why the Roman Church understands that call to also mean a call to the
single life and celibacy. One of the significant reasons is that it is difficult to serve God and a spouse. For those in groups
that permit marriage the expectation is God still takes the priority.
This author would also suggest that kind of priority is for all the baptized. Jesus made clear the
conditions of discipleship.
Matthew 16: 24. Then Jesus said to his disciples "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross and follow me."
2. Luke 14: 26. If any man come to
me, and hate (miseo) not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sister, yea, and his own life also,
he cannot be my disciple. (miseo can be used as a comparative word that does not mean hate as it is used in the English language
but rather it means you love one so much, the Lord, that by comparison it is as if you hated the other because your love is
so great for the Lord).
3. Luke 14: 33. So likewise, whosoever
he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
John 8: 31. Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
5. John 15: 8. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye
be my disciples.
of these verses clearly point that to be a disciple of Jesus, and even more a priest or deacon, requires one's first priority
be to God and serving him. All else must be of a lesser priority. The mistake all religious and other people tend to make
is that some times we count busy work and other things as God's work and it is not that at all. For example, when this writer
works as a chaplain for hospice, it is clear it is not all God's work but corporate work. Such areas are up for grabs to grant
that time to lesser priorities. In the decades of being a pastor there were times this writer was so busy doing busy work
for the church and calling it God's work that time for spouse, children, etc. got unwisely put on the back burner.
In the places this writer has served there is a stark
difference in American Christianity and Christianity in the Caribbean and Africa. There are hardly even vague similarities.
As many realize American Christianity has lost the Gospel and it has become a consumer religion. Such a view so perverts the
Gospel call it can hardly bear the label Christian.
Modern psychology has had a great influence on the church. Some of that influence has been very positive. Some of
it has been misused. As a therapist, I have found that psychology is a great tool but a lousy god or substitute gospel. It
is an excellent tool to remove emotional and psychological blocks that inhibit relationships with God and people. Some have
tried to equate it with the gospel and that is a definite error. As a result American Christianity often becomes more of a
focus on how people can become happier, more adjusted, discover self and be obsessed with self. The call to come and follow
God gets lost in the process. In the last fifty years many seminaries have been caught up in this trap and produced clergy
who mistake the tool as their Lord.
stories may help to better make the point.
you imagine Clement at Rome saying; "You know I am not giving myself enough time to my personal development or to my
friends and family. The problems at Corinth are just going to have to wait."
In Ignatius letter to the Ephesians, in Chapter One he writes that he considers the fulfillment of
being a disciple of Christ as being willing to die for Christ, if not physically, then giving one's all for the sake of the
Gospel. He was not suicidal. He loved life. He was like a military man willing to give his life in battle. He is loving life
but willing to lose it for what he believed to be true to his cause. Some times it is easier to physically die that to give
one's whole life to the service of Christ.
is a striking difference between the attitude of Ignatius and the church of his day and the individualism and self-fulfillment
heresy of our day. Sacrifice for the sake of Christ, in the Early Church, was something to move towards not something to run
away from. They saw themselves as sacrificing for the sake of the Gospel. They were attempting, and succeeding in living the
gospel life. They lived by the truth of the gospel and were convinced of the deception of the world around them. Therefore,
it became a mandate for them to live different than the world and the values that surrounded them.
In our time, in the West, there is an embracing by the church and Christians
to embrace worldliness. Inclusiveness and acceptance of worldliness has become the new mandate. Adherence to the mandates
of God, Christ, Scripture and Sacred Tradition become complex and complicated because Christians try to live with a foot in
each camp. Such never produces disciples. It is not living out the call or vocation.
A Mission Group, I was training in Southern Africa, for three months, was completing their training.
They were needed to go to Mozambique. There had been a civil war there for ten-years and many of the missionaries had been
killed and replacements were needed. Several of them came to me for counsel and to air their fears and concerns. At the end
of long conversations and active listening I would leave them with the question, "What is your vocation?" When they
answered that for themselves their decision was made.
Within six months several of them had been killed and a young man from India and his wife were asked to replace one
of the outposts. He spoke with me about his fears and concerns for himself, his spouse and his child. The fear was real and
justified. But the question remained, "What is your vocation?" He went and he and is family survived.
Shortly afterwards a missionary, who provided nurse
like medical care for wounded and sick victims of the war, was hacked to death by a rebel. They needed a replacement. This
writer was only an advanced first aid instructor and CPR instructor and was asked to take his place. As I struggled with that
request the question came back to me "What is your vocation?" I went. Doing medical work that I never dreamed of
doing. We survived until a properly trained medical person could replace us. My spouse caught a variety of viruses there that
crippled her for nine months and suffers to this day from them.
None of us were heroic, brave, had suicidal tendencies but the gospel mandate was clear, as was the
question of the Holy Spirit, "What is your vocation?"
The Arms and Legs of Jesus Christ
"The Lord will bring about justice and praise,
in every nation on earth like flowers
in a garden."
Plough your fields, scatter seeds of
and harvest faithfulness. Worship me
the Lord and I will send My saving
down like rain.
Church of the Beatitudes
Trainer , PA
What I like
best is showing kindness
and mercy to everyone on earth
to Jeremiah 9-24
Kids In Balance, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit
achievement center that provides a broad
range of individuals with access to therapy based activities, classes
and structured programsand a liturgy for their families
Justice and fairness
will go hand in hand
and all who do right
will follow along
the poorwere fed, clothed and shelteredat a personal sacrificethe pagans used to sayabout the Christians" "See how they love each other?"Feeding the Poor at a Sacrifice
|Bishop Chuck at the Church of the Beatitudes
Thank you for your continued encouragement and support.
An Important Message From Our Bishop
Yesterday I listened to the pain and desperation of a young mother whose husband's paycheck had been garnished by a subsidiary
of CitiBank. In light of the current corporate bailout, I could not help but recall Jesus' description of a very similar situation
in Matthew 18, as well as the reaction of the kingdom to such behavior. In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, after having
his own very large debt cancelled, the debtor then had another servant thrown into prison for the inability to repay a small
The bailout has thus far proved itself to be nothing less than another opportunity for the banking interest to practice unmitigated
greed. Instead of using the money given them to reopen retail credit markets, they have generally used the windfall to acquire
other banks and financial institutions. Many of bailout beneficiaries, including CitiBank, continue to operate highly profitable
predatory subsidiaries such as check cashing companies, payday loan companies and title loan companies that exploit the poor.
Each day more families, even those with young children, are being put on the street. Modest homes are being foreclosed at
an alarming rate. The wages of the poor are being garnished like never before to pay judgments obtained by bailout beneficiaries.
Instead of protecting the poor, the courts are continuing to facilitate these atrocities.
In the area around our Tampa Church, many families live in tents while several dozen boarded up foreclosed homes stand empty.
The Church cannot remain silent in the face of such suffering in our midst! To do so would make the Church irrelevant. To
do so would be to forget the priorities and example of Jesus. To do so would be to deny the presence of God with the suffering
poor. In its greatest periods, the Church, instead of simply accepting the worldly order, has always challenged the secular
order at point after point. Look again at the 17th chapter of Acts. It says that the early Christians were looked upon as
subversives who were turning the world from Caesar to another king, Christ. Consequently, it was said of them, "These are
the people who have turned the world upside down". If they had listened to the words of Jesus' mother in the Magnificat they
would have known this all along.
This bishop, with the approval of church leaders of various denominations, asked that a moratorium be placed on the foreclosure
of owner occupied homes under $70,000 in value until the benefits of the bailout could trickle down to the working poor. No
positive response has been received.
I believe God's poor should wait no longer for OUR response. The Church must stand in solidarity with them. I will be attending
several foreclosure hearings each week and telling the judges and lawyers that what they are doing is wrong. I also plan to
stand between the families and the police as a non violent witness when families are evicted from modest foreclosed homes.
I urge you to follow this example and to join with me. It is possible that if it takes twenty or thirty sheriff's deputies
to carry out one eviction, perhaps the authorities and the banks may be moved by publicity to slow down the process and make
an effort to renegotiate predatory mortgages.
Chuck Leigh, Bishop
Apostolic Catholic Church
The Apostolic Catholic Church is a servant church in the Catholic tradition deriving it's Spiritual Authority from Jesus Christ.
It listens always to "The Great Commission" and in doing so, sees Christ and the limitless potentials of Christ in every person.
It invites all to join us on the faith journey that is life, confident in the promises of a loving God.
Apostolic Catholics find faith in the ancient creeds which provide us with the integrity and the indivisibility of our faith.
We believe in one God. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ. We believe in the Holy Spirit.
We accept the diversity of gifts that God, who is both mother and father, gives lovingly to his holy people. We are firmly
rooted in Scripture which affirms the dignity of the poor, the needy, and the oppressed. We adopt a preferential option for
those disenfranchised and marginalized by our society. Apostolic Catholics are radically committed to the beatitudes of the
Sermon on the Mount and the unconditional acceptance of all in need.
Presently we need three priests or deacons for two established, thriving communities. If you would rather do ministry than
talk about it contact me. If you have an existing ministry with a similar charism and need encouragement and fellowship please
contact me. If you are a deacon or a priest or a minister or a lay leader within a Christian context and find the contents
of this site of interest let the Spirit lead and call me so that we may discuss possibitities.
Christ the Servant
Apostolic Catholic Church
In Special Standing Communion with ICCC
Celebrating Inter-Communion withThe Celtic Christian Church.
Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Church World Service Inc.