Messages from our Bishops

The Rt. Rev. William S.H. Downey, Archbishop of The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States, shares messages with us from time to time. His messages are archived here, as well as other messages from our Bishops.

+William crozier Retreat

The Rt. Rev. William S.H. Downey
Regionary Bishop


Transfiguration 2021

A Message from the Most Rev. William S.H. Downey
Presiding Bishop of The Liberal Catholic Church

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia :

The Armenian bishop Gregory Arsharuni (about 690) ascribes the origin of this feast to St. Gregory the Illuminator (d. 337?), who, he says, substituted it for a pagan feast of Aphrodite called Vartavarh (roseflame), retaining the old appellation of the feast, because Christ opened His glory like a rose on Mount Thabor. It is not found however in the two ancient Armenian calendars printed by Conybeare (Armenian Ritual, 527 sq.). It probably originated, in the fourth or fifth century, in place of some pagan nature-feast, somewhere in the highlands of Asia.

The Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated by various Christian denominations. The origins of the feast are less than certain and may have derived from the dedication of three basilicas on Mount Tabor.[24] The feast was present in various forms by the 9th century, and in the Western Church was made a universal feast on August 6 by Pope Callixtus III to commemorate the lifting of the Siege of Belgrade (1456).[46]

In the Syriac Orthodox, Indian Orthodox, Revised Julian Calendars within Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic, and Anglican churches, the Feast of the Transfiguration is observed on 6 August. In those Orthodox churches which continue to follow the Julian Calendar, August 6 in the church calendar falls on August 19 in the civil (Gregorian) calendar. Transfiguration is considered a major feast, numbered among the twelve Great Feasts in the Byzantine rite. In all these churches, if the feast falls on a Sunday, its liturgy is not combined with the Sunday liturgy, but completely replaces it.

In some liturgical calendars (e.g. the Lutheran and United Methodist) the last Sunday in the Epiphany season is also devoted to this event. In the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, however, the Feast is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Trinity, the eighth Sunday after Pentecost.

In the Liberal Catholic Church we have placed the Festival in our Liturgical Calendar on January 25th so that the Major Events in the Life of Christ are commemorated in a more or less sequential manner.

We have been discussing the Church Festivals which occur in the first half of the Liturgical year and how these festival reveal to us the story of the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ and at the same time reveal to us the great stages along the Path of Spiritual Unfoldment which are open to all Christians.

Have you ever been homesick?  I mean really homesick.  Maybe when you were a child and the first time you were separated from your parent.  Or maybe it was when you came to this country for the first time with all of its strangeness and fear.  Or maybe you have experienced the loss of a loved one through death and you have missed that one with the same feeling of emptiness. It is a horrible feeling you can almost feel it physically.  Well, that is the same hunger and emptiness the Soul feels separated from God.

This hunger exists in every human heart which nothing can satisfy or appease.  Many who do not know its source try to satisfy it with money or success or fame or relationships or alcohol or drugs or prestige or power.

Perhaps they try to satisfy it by trying to live their lives through others a spouse or their children.  Whatever the substitutes are in the end, that is all they are …substitutes.  Substitutes for the real, the lasting, or perhaps I should say the everlasting, the eternal, the sublime. The Source of this longing, though most do not know it, is a homesickness brought about by the Soul-memory of our spiritual abode, whence we came and towards which we are now on our return journey. Your True Self came forth from the Throne of Bliss, the eternal abode of Peace, but it comes forth unconscious of its true nature; and your journey and task in this Life is to discover who you truly are and where you are going.

In this Journey, if we consciously turn toward the Eternal as St Paul has encouraged us to do in his epistles, there are steps—or we could call them mile stones. In some books they are called Initiations. 

The word initiate comes from a Latin word initium: "a beginning; an entrance." And there are many kinds of initiations, but most if not all provide a portal or entrance into another state of awareness.  Sometimes they are moments of elation, inspiration and transcendence.  Sometimes they are frightening, challenging or painful.    

We have talked about the Birth of Christ as the 1st Initiation or step where the physical body is brought under control. We discussed the Baptism of our Lord as the control of the emotional nature and of the mental body of the Christian in the 2nd Initiation or step.

Now we come to the 3rd Initiation on the Path to Self-discovery. Here we find the Initiate reaches a stage of progress where his Higher Self is able to manifest in a degree of fullness down here on  a lower level of existence. Now—because the Spiritual Pilgrim has brought his physical body under submission and his emotional nature in control and his mental body is aligned with the Will of the Most High—now it is at this stage that the Spiritual Self, the True Self Shines through.

Here on the Mount called Tabor, and in another place in the Gospels it is called Mt Hermon.  Both Tabor and Hermon in the Hebrew language mean “High Place.”  So if we look at it from a symbolical viewpoint we realize that this experience of Spiritual unity with the True Self must occur in a High Place of Consciousness.  We are called to come apart from the vast multitude, to go up higher in thought and aspiration, higher than the masses of people. Our thought life must be on a higher plane. Remember the words of the Sursum Corda in the Mass: “Lift up your hearts”...”We lift them up unto the Lord.”  We can no longer be given to the small petty selfish thoughts and desires, we must strive for the Majestic Mountain Consciousness which looks beyond the limitations of time and circumstance.

We must take with us Peter, whose name means rock and therefore represents the Will within, or we can say it represents the firm rock-like Faith.  We must take John, whose name in Hebrew means “Jehovah bestows mercy.” You will remember John was the beloved disciple, who therefore represents Love. And finally we must take with us James, whose name in Hebrew means supplanter. He represents Activity.  So we see for one to ascend in to the Holy Mountain we take with us our complete triple nature, completely harmonized and under the authority of the Christ-self.  Matter, Soul, Spirit… Mind, Emotions, and Body…Will, Love, Activity.

And when this complete synthesis and union of our whole nature happens, what then do we encounter?  A whole new vision of Life appears.  This integration of the person becomes a reflection of the work of the Alchemist, turning base metal into gold. I am reminded of the story of Job in the Old Testament. He went through some difficult times and one might call them initiations of sorts. He said in the midst of despair, “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me…But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;  when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” [Job 23]  Job felt alone in his trials, he experienced what St John of the Cross referred to as the dark night of the Soul, yet at the end he did indeed come out as pure gold.

In the Life of the Christian Initiate as in the Gospel story, all is transformed and as a result of this transformation all becomes transfigured. Let us look at some of what will appear.

Moses Represents the LAW and the OLD Testament. He is the embodiment of all that has gone before, all that we have been, the good and the bad; he is the PAST.  Elias is the greatest of the Prophets. He represents all that we shall become, all that is to come; the Prophet points to the FUTURE. Christ stands between the PAST and the FUTURE; He is the ETERNAL NOW.  In the Book of Revelation Christ says, “I am the Apha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The one who was, who is, and who is to come.”

At this point of Oneness and Unity with the Christ nature we have the opportunity to bring the Spirit to bear upon the soul and body and the whole personality becomes enlightened.  We bring a little bit of the heaven life into this life and here to share it with those around us.  Through this process the Life of the Spirit becomes dominant in our lives.  Look at the lives of persons of great spiritual accomplishment like Mother Teresa—What light she brought into our dark world!!  Jesus said Ye are the Light of the World. What is the light supposed to do?    Shine. . . 

In the Holy Eucharist after the second censing and following the Orate Fratres,  the Priest will pray, “for here we offer and present unto thee and here we offer unto thee ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be holy and continual sacrifice unto thee. May our strength be spent in thy service and our love poured forth upon thy people.”  This is our calling as Christians: to provide a doorway, to be that doorway through which Heaven may find entrance to Earth.

This glorious event has been related in detail by St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, while St. Peter and St. John, two of the privileged witnesses, make allusion to it. On the Mount the disciples were for the first time confronted with the Real Christ. Up until this point they had seen only the man Jesus, impressive though he may have been; but on this occasion, in the High Place, they saw him in His Divine Personage, in His full Glory!

Christ the Son of the Living God was and is the same yesterday, today and forever!  Jesus lived a life completely and absolutely transparent of the God within. I believe the transfiguration of Christ was not so much a change in the Person of Jesus as it was and is within the consciousness and perception of the disciple! When the disciple ascends to a High Place in consciousness and awakens from his sleep, he or she sees with eyes of clarity. Transparency, clarity, lucidity, Light! 

Each of us is called to see with clear vision and contemplate the Divine in all things, in all people and in all circumstances. If we recognize that Reality and Oneness in All, we will effect a living Transfiguration and transformation within ourselves. 

The Scripture in Matthew 17:8 says that though this experience was new and frightening to the disciples, “when they looked up they saw no one except Jesus.”  If we allow ourselves to be so transformed we will go forward and in all things see only Jesus! 

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.~ Rumi

Message in This Challenging Time

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

As people of Faith we are living at a most challenging time.  It is easy to become overwhelmed with the daily onslaught of negative thought forms that seemingly assail from every side, be it via the mass media or simply by living in the psychic atmosphere of race consciousness.  But because we are people of Faith it is obligatory upon us to respond from that position of higher awareness.

I think it is particularly apposite that this monumental challenge comes to us at this time when we as Christians are about to celebrate the most important symbol of our faith, the Feast of the Resurrection. In the Collect for Easter we give thanks and worship for the “glorious Victory which in it is commemorated and symbolized, thou hast given us the sure and certain witness that good shall finally triumph over ill and that death is but a gateway to the ineffable splendor of eternal life in Thee.”

As Light Bearers we are given the responsibility and privilege of illuminating this World at a most needful time.  “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5 (NIV)

With every blessing and expectation that In Christ shall all be made alive.

The Most Rev. William Downey
Presiding Archbishop of The Liberal Catholic Church


In Memoriam Mrs. Laura McGinnis

Dear Friends:

When Bishop Robert McGinnis  passed to a Higher life of service on June 12, 2017, it was my privilege to travel to New Orleans with our Presiding Archbishop Graham Wale in order to officiate at Bishop McGinnis’ funeral.  At that time we were able to spend some quality time with his widow Laura.

It had been said by many people through the years, within our Province and Internationally, that +Robert was a perfect example of a true “Southern Gentleman.”  He was indeed gracious, kind, cultured and refined. He was to me a dear and trusted friend. 

Laura McGinnis

Laura McGinnis

If Bishop McGinnis was a living example of a Southern Gentleman, then Laura his spouse was the epitome of the “grand Southern Lady.”  Laura was not only a wonderful help-mate for +Robert, as the wife of a Bishop, she was indeed truly his Soul-Mate.  Theirs was a real Love Story.  It has been my pleasure and honor to be their friend for more than forty five years.

Any of our LCC family who may have had opportunity to meet or get to know Laura and Robert will know what wonderfully splendid people they were.

After +Robert’s passing I tried to keep in contact with Laura from time to time. About two months ago I tried to call and email her with no response. This week I went online to search for her and discovered her Obituary. Laura passed over in December. I am confident that Laura and Robert will continue to labor for our Blessed Lord and Master from higher realms.

May the souls of the faithful rest in Peace and may Light Perpetual shine upon them. Amen

The Most Reverend William S. H. Downey
Presiding Archbishop
The Liberal Catholic Church

A Prayer in time of General Sickness

From Presiding Archbishop William:

Almighty God, who art the strength of all them that put their trust in Thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who have been impacted by the present health challenge, all the sick and oppressed, all in fear and worry, all those who are suffering. Give us the due sense of your Will and abiding presence that we may know the truth of the words of sacred scripture, ”All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Keep ever before us the words of St Paul who said “nothing can ever separate us from the Love of Christ.” We invoke thy Healing Power upon our World and we trust in the Law of Good that rules all of Creation, in Christ’s most holy name we pray. Amen.

In Memoriam The Rt. Rev. Hein Van Beusekom

Dear Friends: 

BpHein

Bp. Hein, 1996

It is my duty to report to you news of the passing to Higher Life of our dear brother and fellow laborer for Christ, Hein Van Beusekom. Bishop Hein was born August 31, 1925. He joined the Liberal Catholic Church through baptism on October 22, 1950. He was baptized by Bishop Adriaan Vredde  who was at the time Regionary Bishop of the Netherlands. +Hein was ordained to the sacred order of the priesthood June 9, 1957 by Bishop August Goetmakers. +Hein immigrated to the USA and served as a priest of this Province for many years until he was elected to the Episcopacy and was consecrated February 7, 1987 as Auxiliary Bishop by Bishop Gerrit Munnik. He was appointed Regionary Bishop of the USA May of 1999 to August 2000.

In his secular life +Hein was a Medical Physician and practiced traditional medicine. Later +Hein studied the Ancient Chinese methods. Bishop Hein was a lifelong member of the Theosophical Society and served the Society in a number of positions of responsibility a long time resident of Krotona Theosophical Community. He was also a member of Co-Masonry.

It was my privilege to have worked with Bishop Van Beusekom for many years here in Ojai and to have had benefit of his wise counsel. He was a very spiritual person and a great student of the esoteric side of life.

Bishop Hein is survived by his loving wife Pauline and three adult children and their families.

 +Hein had been on the inactive status of the church for a number of years due to the advance of age related problems. But he remained a regular attendee until recently. He will be greatly missed on the physical plane but ever in our hearts and our thoughts.

I can imagine the voice of the Master welcoming our brother with the beautiful words of the Gospel of Matthew, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” 

The Most Reverend William S. H. Downey
Presiding Archbishop
The Liberal Catholic Church


In Memoriam The Rt. Rev. Ruben Cabigting

It is my solemn duty to report to you that the Right Reverend Ruben Cabigting passed peacefully in his sleep to the Higher Life on Sunday, 22 December at 1:25 pm. Chicago time zone. 

Bishop Ruben was born 27th August 1926 in the Philippines. He served with distinction in the US Navy. Ruben joined the church in the Philippines in 1976 and was ordained to the sacred order of the priesthood in 1977 by +Sten VonKrusenstierna.  +Ruben was consecrated to the Episcopacy November 14, 1993, by +Lawrence Smith assisted by Bishops Maurice Warnon and Robert McGinnis. 

BpRuben (1)

Bp. Ruben at his consecration, 1993

Bishop Cabigting served as Auxiliary Bishop in the USA nobly and faithfully and supported the work of the Church around the World.  He was always ready to serve and most generous with his time and resources. 

Bishop Ruben was a lifelong member of the Theosophical Society and lived and worked at Olcott in Chicago. He was also a 33 degree Co-Mason. He shall be greatly missed. We ask of your charity to add his name to your suffrages. 

With Kindest regards,

The Most Reverend William S. H. Downey
Presiding Archbishop
The Liberal Catholic Church

In Memoriam The Most Rev. Graham Sidney Wale

Dear friends:

Our dear Father in God, Graham Sidney Wale, has graduated to Higher Life. I was honored to be at his side when he made his ascension. A unique era in our church history comes to a close. I’m sure the Halls of Heaven resound with the words “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

+William


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The Most Rev. Graham Sidney Wale

“Rest in the eternal grant unto him, O Lord,
and let light perpetual shine upon him.”

Graham Sidney Wale was born on the 4th December 1945, in Hammersmith, London, UK.

He trained as a draftsman and worked in the UK and in South Africa, where he took the position of engineer.

In 1993, on Easter Sunday, feeling at a loose end, he attended the Eucharist at the Liberal Catholic Church in Pretoria. The Service was celebrated by Bishop Johannes Van Alphen. Graham left the Church that day, feeling that he had, at last, found a Church that he could accept and believe in. Before then, he had consistently been searching for a “spiritual home”, one where he did not have to give something up or compromise.

He continued to attend Church Services each Sunday and a few months later, he asked Bp Johannes to become a server.  Bp Johannes made Graham wait a whole year before he was admitted as a server. A few months later he received the Minor Orders.

Graham and Kylann Descy were married in the Liberal Catholic Church in Pretoria on 22nd October 1994.  Graham continued to attend the Eucharist every Sunday and also became Bp Johannes’ Church Secretary and assisted the Bishop in all matters clerical.

On 23rd June 1996, Graham was ordained to the priesthood by Bp Johannes.

In February 1997, believing that it was his duty to look after his elderly parents, he and his wife left South Africa to live in the UK. 

On 15th April 2000, Graham was consecrated as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Liberal Catholic Church at the Church of St Francis at Tekels Park, Camberley, UK, and adopted the Christian name of “James” to his name. Two years later, he was appointed Regionary Bishop for the Province of Great Britain and Ireland.

On 29th January 2005, Bp Graham was elected Presiding Bishop (now known as Archbishop Primate) for seven years and enthroned at the Chapel of St Michel, at Paris, by Bp Christian Schoch, Regionary Bishop for France, Switzerland and Francophone Africa. Bp Graham served the International Church faithfully and in 2012 was elected for another seven years, which, sadly, he did not complete by the end of his life on 8th October 2018.

Archbishop Graham will be remembered and cherished for his warmth, his compassion, his wit, and his great and unending dedication to Christ’s work.

(a fuller biography will appear in the Christmas edition of Ubique)


Experiencing Holy Unction

The Rt. Rev. Thomas Miller & Donna Miller interviewed artist Richard Trice after a service of Healing at St. Gabriel & All Angels LCC, Fairfield, Iowa. 


“A testimony of the experience of Divinity. Filling all places of my individual emotional and physical body with the tangible space of that eternal personality. Revealing the immensity of my soul’s relationship with that personality out of which I have been created. Healing my deepest wounds. Wrapped in the ancient, elegant structure of Holy Unction at The Liberal Catholic Church in Fairfield, Iowa.”
Richard Trice

“A truly delightful experience. Thank you for sharing this with me and please convey my thanks to Richard. I always have felt a heart connection with Richard, he has the true artist’s soul. Thanks for sharing this, I hope it develops into a valuable process for parish growth and health.”
Rt. Rev. William S. H. Downey, Archbishop of the Province of the U.S.A.

“Richard’s heartfelt personal experience beautifully highlights the wonderful work the angelic kingdom so generously provides to those who approach the work of the church with reverence and devotion. The liturgy of the Liberal Catholic Church is the gateway through which we are able to regularly and reliably obtain their divine help. The Service of Healing (Holy Unction) at St. Gabriel and All Angels has been over the years a source of upliftment to those who regularly partake, and a way to gently clear away mental and emotional entanglements and straighten out distortions in the spiritual body.”
Rev. James Palmer, Rector, St. Gabriel and All Angels Church

We thank Bishop & Mrs. Miller and the parish of St. Gabriel and All Angels Church for sharing this video with us.

Ascension

A message from Bishop William, Archbishop of The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States, Ojai, California, 21 May 2017. This year the Feast of the Ascension falls on Thursday, May 25.

During the Liturgy for Ascension Day, after the reading of the Gospel, the celebrant proceeds to reverently extinguish the Pascal Candle saying, “The Great forty days are over; the Lord hath ascended into heaven; and so in His Name I extinguish this pascal candle, which for forty days has symbolized among us his risen body, for a token that as its light, leaving this lower world, passes to higher realms, so may we in heart and mind thither ascend and with him continually dwell.”

Tradition holds that during the forty days from the time of Our Lord’s Resurrection until his Ascension the Savior was amongst his disciples teaching and training them in preparation for their ministry. Much of what he taught is not revealed to us in our canonical scriptures. But we can be assured he was busy in preparing the church. John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

His Ascension, His ultimate and complete reunion with the Father is accomplished. This mystical union presages for us as his disciples our own conscious union with the Father. His Ascension foreshadows our own Theosis that, in taking upon Himself our humanness, Christ lifts all of Humanity into the presence and experience of Divinity.

So even though the physical light of the Pascal candle is extinguished, we must daily remind ourselves that the Eternal Light within the heart of each and every one is never extinguished; it is the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:9

That Light burns ever brightly in the heart of every person and we are called to look for that light within ourselves and within the hearts of all, so that we may in heart and mind ascend with Christ and dwell continually with Him in conscious union. 

Transfiguration

A message from Bishop William, Archbishop of The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States, Ojai, California, 22 January 2017:

Dear Friends,

I send my sincere good wishes for a very blessed New Year. May this year bring you joy and happiness, peace and contentment but most of all a closer walk with God upon the Path that He has ordained for you.

As I sit in my office and look out upon the orange orchards that stretch all the way to the foot of the mountains, bathed in much needed rain; I am tempted to think of how the countryside will soon be transformed into a lush verdant landscape by this much neededmoisture.  How appropriate such musings as we approach the Feast of Our Lord’s Transfiguration!

This glorious event has been related in detail by St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, while St. Peter and St. John, two of the privileged witnesses, make allusion to it. On the Mount the disciples were for the first time confronted with the Real Christ. Up until this point they had seen the man Jesus, impressive though he may have been, but on this occasion, in the High Place, they saw him in His Divine Personage, in His full Glory!

Christ the Son of the Living God was and is the same yesterday, today and forever! Jesus lived a life completely and absolutely transparent of the God within. I believe the transfiguration of Christ was not so much a change in the Person of Jesus as it was and is within the consciousness and perception of the disciple! When the disciple ascends to a High Place in consciousness and awakens from his sleep he or she sees with eyes of clarity. Transparency, clarity, lucidity, Light!

Each of us is called to see with clear vision and contemplate the Divine in all things, in all people and in all circumstances. If we recognize that Reality and Oneness in All, we will effect a living Transfiguration and transformation within ourselves.

The Scripture in Matthew 17:8 says that though this experience was new and frightening to the disciples, “when they looked up they saw no one except Jesus.”  If we allow ourselves to be so transformed we will go forward and in all things see only Jesus!

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi


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