The Grace of God and Anglican 1000

March 6, 2012

One of the first people I ran into this afternoon at Anglican 1000 was Matt Kennedy (from Stand Firm in Faith).  He’s here live-blogging.

This morning he wrote this fantastic article on the gathering we are here for.  Here’s a snip:

So why are we here and what is Anglican1000?

Three years ago Archbishop Duncan called North American Anglicans to plant 1000 new churches in 5 years. The first Anglican1000 Summit was designed to support and equip leaders to meet this call.

Back then, many people, myself included, were dubious.

How could a new church-body boasting less than 700 congregations, many of which were beaten, bloodied, and depleted after long, painful and often losing legal struggles with the Episcopal Church, possibly hope to more than double itself in less than half a decade?

The congregation I lead, Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton New York, newly departed from The Episcopal Church, had only five months earlier lost our church building and the rectory (home to me, my wife, Anne, and then four children) in a lawsuit filed by our former diocese. My people were reeling. Anne and I were heartbroken and embittered. We were fighting for survival. Planting a new church was something far beyond the realm of what we considered possible.

Good Shepherd’s story was far from unique. Anglicans across the country had lost buildings, left homes, suffered church splits, and lost leaders. It was dark.

Three years later, things feel a lot different. David Roseberry, rector of Christ Church Plano, writes: “Inside the Anglican 1000 office, we can barely keep up. Churches are being planted, congregations are launching satellite works, seminaries are retooling their curriculum, students are being trained, and the Gospel is going forward church by church, life by life, heart by heart.”

The Anglican1000 website provides tangible evidence of this forward movement with story after story from the field of new congregations and new networks emerging across the continent.

I don’t know the numbers—I’m not sure if anyone does—so I can’t say how many new congregations have been planted in the last three years nor how many are in the works now (that’s a number I hope to be able to report at some point) but, what three years ago seemed an overambitious, improbable, even absurd goal, appears now to be within reach . . . .

But there’s a new scent in the air. It doesn’t smell like death anymore. There’s less sitting around in the rubble picking at our scabs and far more sword and shovel work. The walls are being rebuilt. The temple is being re-consecrated.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus established His Church and against it the Gates of Hell will never prevail. He has been and will be the victor both through his people and even despite them. Samuel Stone’s famous hymn comes to mind, “Though with a scornful wonder Men see her sore oppressed, By schisms rent asunder, By heresies distressed…” but soon, the hymn reminds us, “the night of weeping Shall be the morn of song.”

 Read the rest.

One response to The Grace of God and Anglican 1000

  1. Heather Griffin March 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Very encouraging! Thanks for sharing, Steve! I’d be interested to hear how they are retooling seminary curricula.