Saturday, March 13, 2010
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, Addresses St. John’s Cathedral in Albuquerque
By Brian Nixon
Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS) -- For many, a Friday evening is a time for movies, dinner with the family, or hanging out with friends. As great as these activities may be, my wife, Melanie, and I elected to attend an Evensong service at the Cathedral of St. John in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, on a recent Friday evening.
For those not familiar with an Evensong (evening prayer), it is a service composed entirely of music, Scripture reading, and prayer. The service structure is quite beautiful and majestic.
The last time Melanie and I attended Evensong together was in Canterbury, England at Canterbury Cathedral. The year was 2005, and I had just finished graduating from Canterbury Christchurch University.
Now five years later, we are back at an Evensong service, enjoying an evening of worship and music.
After the Invitatory and Old Testament lesson, taken from Hosea 14: 1-9, Lord Carey read from Mark 12, focusing on loving God with our mind, heart, body. His baritone voice and articulate inflection rang out throughout the sanctuary.
After the service it was time for Lord Carey, now a member of the British House of Lords, to address the people.
Carey was Archbishop of Canterbury for 11 ½ years, between the years 1991 to 2002. He was known for his Evangelical views and his humanitarian outreach. According to his book, Know the Truth, he became a Christian at the age of 17 years old.
He began his time by telling the group that the last day he participated in an Evensong on the Feast of St. Gregory (March 12th) was with Pope John Paul II in 1997, during the Celebration of Augustine of Canterbury’s arrival to England.
The title of this evening’s message was “The Story You Never Heard.” The focus of his sermon was on aspects within the Anglican Communion that are seldom told, or as Mr. Carey stated, “Three facets of the Anglican story you may never have heard.”
His second “story seldom heard” was on the ministry of Christians in Africa to help abolish poverty, political conflict, and disease. It was in this area Carey stated he was “being controversial.” For the last point he raised was the rise of Islam and the threats Islam posed to Christians living in various countries in Africa.
“We do not worship the same God,” he stated. “Islam does not value love, forgiveness, nor does it give due honor to Jesus Christ.”
The final facet in his story was on the Anglican ministry to AIDS victims and the push for education for women, stating, “women hold the future for Africa.” He told of a Pastor who has AIDS and has set up a home to assist those with AIDS, notably named the Carey House.
He concluded his speech by giving some statistics:
“40% of the world’s population lives below the poverty line, 2 million children die each year from preventable diseases, and women are persecuted and prevented from basic necessities of life and freedom.”
After his message Lord Carey took time to answer questions from the audience, ranging from “Apostolic succession,” the state of the Episcopal Church in America, and to “explain what he meant by Christians and Moslems worshiping different Gods.”
To this last question he added that he was not putting down the Islamic faith, but rather clarifying that, in predominately Islamic nations, Christians need the same freedom in promoting their faith and worshiping Christ, as the Muslims do in countries with a Christian base. Carey’s was a message of freedom and democracy.
Lord Carey and his wife, Eileen, were joined for a reception in the fellowship hall after the service.
Overall, I found Lord Carey to be an articulate and intelligent communicator, standing firm on Biblical truth.
I was thankful that such a high profile Christian leader was unyielding in his belief in the uniqueness of Christ. I was also pleased that Lord Carey was able to blend the social elements of his faith (outreach to the poor and needy) with a solid conviction for proclamation the Christian Gospel.
We need more Christian leaders like George Carey!
To learn more of the life, ministry, and outreach of Lord George Carey, also known as Lord Carey of Clifton, go to http://www.glcarey.co.uk.
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