Archives For Mission

An exhortation from the clergy of St. Andrew’s Church, Mount Pleasant; Park Circle, North Charleston; Goose Creek; and City Church, Charleston – preached on all campuses this morning: 

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16.33)

On Sept 15, 1963 a bomb was detonated inside an Alabama church killing four little girls. One bystander was reported to have cried out, “My God, you’re not even safe in church!” And though the words were uttered over fifty years ago, the anguished cry of that particular bystander could have, and very likely was uttered in the hearts of many a man, woman, and child as we collectively came to terms with the terror done in downtown Charleston. “My God,” you might have said, “you’re not even safe in church.” And you’re right. Terrible, senseless evil can happen even in church. But dear friends, we must admit, some churches are less safe than others.

A church was bombed in Birmingham on Sept 15, 1963. But it wasn’t just any church that was bombed. It was a black church that was bombed. Segregated churches seem like something that should be a legacy of the past but sadly they are not. Here in North America Christian people of all races have failed to fully realize the words of the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the Ephesian Christians:

Christ himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility . . . that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God through the cross thereby killing the hostility.

Through some spiritual defect, and deep indwelling sin, our sad racial divisions are every bit as evident this Sunday morning as they were five decades ago. Because we have failed to come together, we cannot simply say a Christian church was terrorized last Wednesday night, but a black Christian church. And this is surely cause for prayer, confession, and repentance before God our and neighbor.

There is something else we must bring up, if we are to be honest before God and before our neighbor. Fifty years ago – within the living memory of many of us gathered this morning – black people were terrorized throughout this country. This was particularly true in the South. Many of us would like to believe that such bigoted violence is some relic of the past, but surely the events of the past year have shown this not to be the case. And in case anyone remains unconvinced, it wasn’t five decades ago, but five days ago, that a young white man wandered into a black church because, and I quote, he “wanted to shoot black people.”

Of the victims of the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham, Martin Luther King Jr. simply said: “They died between the sacred walls of the church of God. And they were discussing the eternal meaning of love.” Surely we could say the same of our neighbors who were murdered last Wednesday night at Emanuel AME Church. And we could say the same of us, that we are here between the sacred walls of the church of God, discussing the eternal meaning of love.

And yet there is at least one difference. We are alive. Not only are we alive, but as a predominantly white church, we have (most likely) never known the terror of predominantly black churches such as Johnson Grove Baptist TN, or Mt. Zion AME SC, or Little Mt. Zion Church in AL, or Cypress Grove Baptist Church in LA, or St. Paul CME in MS, and countless other predominantly black churches which were victims of violent, racist attacks within the past fifteen years. “My God,” you might say, “you’re not even safe in church.” And you’re right. Terrible, senseless evil can happen even in church. But friends, some churches are less safe than others.

Here we are, discussing as King so eloquently put it the “eternal meaning of love,” and we must ask: What does love require of us? Or to put it more pointedly, what debt of love do we owe to our blood bought brothers and sisters in Christ and neighbors made in God’s own image who are vulnerable and still subject to much violence and systemic oppression? What do we owe our “less safe” brothers and sisters? To put it quite simply, friends, what will you and I do about this? I would ask each and every member of St. Andrew’s, in Goose Creek, North Charleston, City Church, and Mount Pleasant to bring this very question before the Lord.

And while we wait for His guidance there are nevertheless things that may be done.

We will pray.

We will certainly do this. We will pray today for our city, for our churches, and especially for those of us most vulnerable. And I would ask you to be mindful of opportunities to pray with the broader Christian community in Charleston – and I respectfully ask for your humble and reverent participation in prayer vigils as they are announced and shared on social media.

We will repent.

Surely each of us has things that we must repent of in regards to such matters. Some must repent of racism. Some must repent of cowardice. Some must repent of ambivalence, but each of us must repent. And I humbly ask each of you to come before the Lord and do business with Him that you may receive grace and healing.

We will help.

We will begin helping today by giving. The immediate request before the Charleston community is for financial assistance for the families of those killed. Our cash offering this morning will be donated in full to the Mother Emmanuel Hope fund, a fund established to offer support to the families victimized by this tragic evil. If you were not prepared this morning to give we will accept your offerings through the week and we will pass them on to the Mother Emmanuel Hope Fund.

Beyond this, we will seek the guidance of our African American brothers and sisters in our own congregations, as well as African American church leadership in our community. We will seek their guidance on how they believe we may best stand with them in the coming days in response to this evil. And I believe it is important that we learn to stand with this community on other issues where African Americans are unfairly made vulnerable and victimized by unjust structures. I humbly ask for your prayers, your wisdom, your ideas, and your support as we seek to understand how best to do this and when the time comes, I humbly ask for your support and action.

Finally, and most importantly, we will lift up Him who died for us, Jesus Christ the Son of God. The Apostle Paul reminds us that it is only the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. We will continue to clearly present the Gospel in our churches, setting forth the power of God that delivers human beings from the bondage of sin, hate and hostility and reconciles them back to God and their neighbors. This Gospel, the power of God, has been at work not only changing the eternal fabric of heaven but also the temporal fabric of earth.

Unthinkable progress has been made towards racial reconciliation in the past half century done in no small part to the power of the Gospel at work in the Christian church. The national media reporting on the citizens of Charleston’s response reflect the fruit of the Gospel on display in our city’s life. The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial entitled, “A Bow to Charleston.” A Philadelphia paper’s headline simply read, “The Grace Card.” We have come far and we have made progress. Last Wednesday is surely a devastating setback. But setbacks, even devastating ones, ought not deter God’s people. As Dr. King also said:

There is something at the very center of our faith which reminds us that Good Friday may reign for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the Easter drums.

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, I ask you to take heart, to have faith, to muster up your courage, to preach the Gospel, to lend a hand, and do not be discouraged. In this world, we will certainly have tribulation. But Christ has overcome the world. And with this hope, we boldly prepare to serve Him in these days in which He has called us.



From Christianity Today:

As the nation’s largest Protestant group prepares to meet in Columbus next week, it reported its largest annual decline in more than 130 years—a loss of 236,467 members.

With just under 15.5 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) remains the largest Protestant group in the United States. But it has lost about 800,000 members since 2003, when membership peaked at about 16.3 million.

This past year, however, the number of SBC churches grew by 1 percent to 46,449. That’s in part due to church planting efforts, aimed at starting new churches. Southern Baptists started 985 new churches in 2014, up 5 percent from the previous year.

Still, challenges remain.

A new major survey from the Pew Research Center shows a similar decline for the SBC. In 2007, Pew found that about 6.7 percent of Americans claimed to be Southern Baptists. In 2014, 5.3 percent of Americans were Southern Baptists.

Pew also found that Southern Baptists are aging, with the median age rising from 49 in 2007 to 54 in 2014. That makes them older than Nazarenes, “nones,” and nondenominational Christians, but younger than Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Methodists.

Other news from the recent Annual Church Profile (ACP) report released by LifeWay Christian Resources, which compiles SBC stats:

Read it all.

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to announce that we are bringing our New Wine Conference back to St. Andrew’s April 14-16, 2016!

What is New Wine?

New Wine is an opportunity for the St. Andrew’s family along with other friends from many other congregations to gather in an encouraging environment to get recharged and refreshed in our faith. Our time together with revolve around worship, Word and ministry.

Our theme this year is, God’s Empowering Presence and I am pleased to announce that Sam Storms has agreed to be our speaker. Sam is currently the Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. Sam is on the board of both Desiring God and Bethlehem College & Seminary, and also serves as a member of the Council of The Gospel Coalition. Previously, Sam has also served as the President of Grace Training Center at Metro Christian Fellowship in Kansas City, and as associate professor of theology at Wheaton College. Sam has also established Enjoying God Ministries, which serves the larger church. Many of you will be familiar with Sam through his books, several of which we stock in our bookstore, Common Grounds.

Who Should Attend?


Whether you attend by yourself, with your friends or your family, you need to be here. While the conference is held at St. Andrew’s we expect folks from churches across the region to participate. Our last New Wine Conference had folks from 27 different churches participating!

What’s the Program?

Worship ::

Everyday will begin in and end with times of extended worship led by praise team members from across our community.

Teaching ::

You will have many opportunities to hear His Word. Each day begins and ends with a plenary session. In between there will multiple breakout sessions offered. These sessions will be led by a variety of gifted Christian leaders.

Ministry ::

At New Wine, you will have opportunities to experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. There are regularly scheduled times and trained ministry teams to lead people into times of healing, equipping and release.

Is There Anything for Youth and Children?


High School ::

Grab a coffee or water and come on over to the youth venue for worship, talks and small groups – but most importantly lots of space to meet God.

Middle School ::

An action-packed program of worship, talks, discussion groups, seminars, crazy games, and all the other usual New Wine madness!

Preschool & Elementary ::

a fun-filled weekend that includes great teaching, crazy games, arty crafts, plus the chance to make new friends and catch up with old ones.

Nursery ::

A loving, safe and caring environment with trained, supervised care-givers


We’ll have more details soon about registration rates and we’ll let you know when registration opens.

I hope that you’ll join Jacqui and me for a great family weekend!

For the Kingdom,


A Conversation on Race

and Mission Among African Americans

April 27-28, 2015


A Collect for the Human Family: O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Revelation 7:9-10 I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice,“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”


raceandmissionFrom Ferguson to North Charleston to Baltimore

In November of this past year, the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri became a further catalyst for our ongoing conversations about race across the United States and within the Anglican Church in North America. In response, Archbishop Foley Beach called together leaders from around the Church to discuss issues of race, systemic injustice, and our mission to reach all of North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. We recognize that this must include a deeper level of engagement with and among our African American communities.

In January, Bishop Alphonza Gadsden of the predominantly African-American Diocese of the Southeast (REC), graciously offered to host this dialogue at one of his parishes, New Bethel Reformed Episcopal Church (ACNA) in North Charleston, South Carolina.

At that time, we never could have anticipated the way North Charleston would become a part of the national conversation, nor could we have known that the unrest in Baltimore would unfold during the days of our gathering. The leaders of one of our newest church plants, Church of the Apostles in the City, Baltimore, MD were with us for this dialogue. Throughout the day their cell phones rang with first hand accounts from family members who were the victims of this violence. These are real people in our parishes, and we grieve together.

We had the opportunity to join them in prayer, interceding for the safety of the police officers, the citizens of Baltimore, and the perpetrators of violence. We have been encouraged by the witness of Baltimore’s clergy who took to the streets in an effort to end the violence that was destroying their communities.

There are no easy answers to the issues that plague our communities, but the spirit of unity that was in our midst this week testifies to the hope that we have through the cross of Christ, which reconciles us to God and one another.

Towards A More Diverse and Unified Future

We began with a frank assessment of the current challenges facing the Anglican Church in North America in our mission with and among African Americans. The Book of Revelation gives us the multiethnic vision of the Church in which members of every nation, tribe, people, and language offer up their unified praise before the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-10).

This biblical vision leads us to affirm a deeper commitment to both multiethnic and ethnic-specific expressions of the Church; a change that is critical if we are to remain in step with the Holy Spirit in light of the shifting demographics of North America.

Multiethnic ministry continues to expand within our Church. This emphasis includes Bishop Leung of Vancouver whose pioneering work in Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC) has now spread to the United States. Caminemos Juntos is a vibrant network of members committed to the growth of Hispanic congregations in North America. This week we have taken the first steps in addressing as a Province, the need for the intentional inclusion and growth of the African American community in our midst.

The Challenge Today

Few conversations are as timely and important to our life as a Province, and so while our hearts have been grappling with the tragedy of the present, our eyes are looking to the future.

To this end we:

  1. Ask each congregation to pray and work for racial reconciliation in their community,
  1. Intend to develop a Provincial team to lead our multiethnic ministries and we encourage the development of regional networks to support those who are called to multiethnic church planting, evangelism, and discipleship,
  1. Invite dioceses and parishes to consider how they might actively develop more effective multiethnic leadership pipelines,
  1. Invite dioceses and parishes to make a financial commitment to supporting multiethnic leadership.

Talk alone will not bridge the gap or bind us together, but if we are to move forward, action must be preceded by honest dialogue. Talk is not cheap. Risking these conversations in our present culture is costly. We invite all who love the Lord Jesus Christ to join us in moving the conversations in our communities forward, so that together, having cleared a foundation, we can build a common future that brings glory to God.


A Collect for Peace (prayed during the violence that unfolded in Baltimore, Monday, April 27, 2015) O God, the source of all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works: Give to your servants that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey your commandments, and that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

A Collect for Mission (prayed during Morning Prayer, Tuesday, April 28, 2015) O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate

The Rt. Rev. Alphonza Gadsden
Bishop, Diocese of the Southeast (REC)

Rev. Jay Baylor
Church of the Apostles in the City, Baltimore, MD

The Rev. Taylor Bodoh
Incarnation Tallahassee, FL

Mrs. Linda G. Butler
Grace Reformed Moncks Corner, SC

Mr. Ron Davis,
All Saints, Woodbridge, VA

Mrs. Rose-Marie Edwards-Tasker
Intercessor, Anglican Church in North America

Mr. Kevin Gadsden
New Israel Reformed Episcopal Church, Charleston, SC

The Rev. Canon Andrew Gross
Canon for Communications and Media Relations

The Rt. Rev. John Guernsey
Bishop, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
Dean of Provincial Affairs

The Rev. David Hanke
Restoration Anglican Church, Arlington, VA

The Rev. Christopher Jones
Incarnation Tallahassee, FL

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence
Bishop, Diocese of South Carolina

Mr. Peter Lebhar
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Tallahassee, FL

The Ven. Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog
Archbishop’s Canon & COO

The Rev. Esau McCaulley
PhD Candidate, St. Andrew’s University, Scotland

Mr. Drew Miller,
St. Andrew’s City Church, Charleston, SC

The Rt. Rev. William White
Bishop, Diocese of the Southeast (REC)

The Rt. Rev. Steve Wood
Bishop, Diocese of the Carolinas

Ms. Carletta Wright
Church of the Apostles in the City, Baltimore, MD

Just back from parish visits to St. Barnabas and All Saints in Charlotte followed by meetings with Bishop Steve Breedlove and his leadership team heading up the Simeon Fellowship so I missed posting this great article.  Such good news.

 — The church near the corner of Peace and Blount streets looks as though it could have been there for centuries, with its peaked roof and mottled brick walls – except for the insulating wrap that still sheaths half its exterior. 

It’s the first new church building to be built in downtown Raleigh for half a century.

“We wanted to build a transcendent space,” said the Rev. John Yates III, his breath hanging beneath the arching steel bones of the sanctuary. To his left, a construction worker rode an accordion lift to finish the details of a window that reached toward the 60-foot ceiling.

An excellent review from Christianity Today of an intriguing book:

ordinaryIf we are justified by faith in Christ alone, then we need not be anxious to show how Spirit-filled we are by living extraordinary, radical lives. Having already received the promise of the Spirit in baptism—God’s promise, which we can trust he will keep—we are free to serve our neighbors with ordinary good works. We are freed from establishing our credentials before God or our own consciences. And we are even free, Horton states, to enjoy our neighbors as gifts rather than making them into our own projects, as if it was our job to transform their lives.

Horton argues that the underlying theology behind oft-heard calls to be wild and crazy radical believers—as if Christianity were an extreme sport—is works righteousness in a new, consumerist mode. For some time, radical has been a favorite word of advertisers and ideologues alike. Every website with something to sell now routinely promises a transformative experience.

Instead of another call to be radical, extraordinary, or transformative, Horton would have us return to the ordinary means of grace, those practices of the church in which God has promised to make himself known: preaching the gospel, teaching the faith, administering the sacraments, and worshiping with a local congregation. Instead of advertising life-changing experiences or the next big thing, the aim is a sustainable faith for the long haul. The great strength of being ordinary, after all, is that you can do it for a lifetime.

Read it all.

An Invitation to Park Circle

September 18, 2014

Coming soon to a church near you:

“It’s an unwitting decision to think that we don’t need to be held together by shared theology and a shared understanding of the gospel, but by relationships, shared institutions, and a general sense that we all want to do good in the world,” DeYoung said.

Losing unity over the gospel is a recipe for disaster, and numbers will slowly decline as churches head to more conservative denominations, he said. Most of the [Reformed Churches in America] RCA churches now filing to leave, including University Reformed Church, are heading for the Presbyterian Church in America.

It’s part of the “reshuffling of the deck” among American congregations, DeYoung said.

“This big sorting that’s happening in the mainline is also going to happen in evangelical churches, colleges, seminaries, and parachurch organizations,” he said. “You’ll find a stronger, more doctrinally robust evangelical church, even though it may be smaller than it once was.”

Read it all.

The Ridley Institute at St. Andrew’s is pleased to announce a week-long, seven-lecture introductory seminar on The Person and Ongoing Work of the Holy Spirit to be held on campus at the end of this month.  This course is part of Andy Piercy’s year-long School of Worship, but has been opened up for participation by the public.

The seven lectures will be given by The Rev’d Rob Sturdy over four days, 28 April – 1 May.  The schedule for the lectures is listed below – note that most lectures occur in the morning. The registration cost is $30. Participants will be expected to bring a Bible and notepaper, and can register on our website.

A full course on The Person and Ongoing Work of the Holy Spirit, spread over ten weeks with expert guest lecturers, will be held next spring (2015), and will cover more ground in greater depth than these four days can afford us.  However, this seven-course introductory seminar is an excellent chance to begin laying a foundation for our understanding of, and relationship with, the Holy Spirit.

I hope you are able to take advantage of this latest offering from The Ridley Institute.

Monday, 28 April
12:30-1:00 Registration, Coffee

1:00-2 Lecture 1: “The Holy Spirit, a Biblical theology”

Tuesday, 29 April
9:00-9:30 Coffee

9:30-10:30 Lecture 2: “The Holy Spirit: A Systematic and Historical Approach” 

10:30-10:40 Break

10:40-11:40 Lecture 3: “The Holy Spirit and the Ministry of Jesus” 

Wednesday, 30 April
9:00-9:30 Coffee

9:30-10:30 Lecture 4: “The Holy Spirit and Regeneration”

10:30-10:40 Break

10:40-11:40 Lecture 5: “The Sealing of the Spirit” 

Thursday, 1 May
9:00-9:30 Coffee

9:30-10:30 Lecture 6: “The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church” 

10:30-10:40 Break

10:40-11:40 Lecture 7: “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit”