Archives For Diocese of the Carolinas

Absolutely wonderful news for the Diocese of South Carolina and St. Andrew’s!

Here’s the money section:

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED,
1. The Plaintiffs are the owners of their real, personal and intellectual property.
2. The Defendants have no legal, beneficial or equitable interest in the Plaintiffs’ real, personal and intellectual property.
3. The Defendant TEC, also known as The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America and Defendant The Episcopal Church in South Carolina and their officers, agents, servants, employees, members, attorneys and any person in concert with or under their direction or control are permanently enjoined from using, assuming, or adopting in any way, directly or indirectly the names, styles, emblems or marks of the Plaintiff as hereinafter set out, or any names, styles, emblems or marks that may be reasonably perceived to be those names, styles emblems or marks . . . . . .
4. The Dorchester County clerk is directed, upon the filing of this order, to refund the sum of $50,000.00 to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina.
5. The Defendants counterclaims are dismissed with prejudice.

Here’s the link to the full court ruling.

 

Dear friends,

As you know we run on a 1 September – 31 August Ministry/Fiscal year, meaning that our new year has just begun.  If you were at Vision Sunday (7 September) you will remember that I presented you with partial year-end numbers.  Below, you will find them in total.  By God’s grace, we had a good year.  Thanks be to God.

As I said on Vision Sunday, we are all recipients of God’s undeserved grace and these numbers are not in anyway intended for us to think how great we are, rather, how great He is.  They represent His work calling, drawing and growing His people, by His Spirit, through our parish.  It is always an amazing joy to watch His work through you.

2013-2014 Ministry/Fiscal Year
3748 Members
2512 Weekly Attendance

45 Baptisms
42 Youth Confirmations
171 New Adult Members
38 Weddings
17 Funerals

866 youth under 18 years old
91 LifeGroups
1238 active in lay ministries

327 participated in the Alpha Course
45 average Emmaus Course attendance
163 average Ridley Institute attendance on site. Additionally, we had16 remote locations connected via livestream including these sites outside the USA: UK, Canada, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Kenya, Australia

$4,072,188 in member giving
$830,002 invested in church planting, Domestic & International Missions

With continued gratitude for the joy of being your Rector,

+Steve

 

Dear St. Andrew’s Family,

As many of you will know I am just home from the Anglican Church in America’s electing conclave, Provincial Council and Assembly. Thank you for your prayers.

As a bishop in the church I joined with 50 of my colleagues for 3 ½ days of prayer and conversation as we sought to discern the Lord’s will as to who would succeed Archbishop Bob Duncan. I wish I could tell you more of our time together – I wish I could tell my kids of our time together. It was rich. It was honest. We clearly saw the Spirit bring us to a profound unity. And, the consequence was the unanimous election of +Foley Beach, the Bishop of the Diocese of the South, as our next Archbishop. We did, though covenant with one other to keep the details of our time together private amongst ourselves – a commitment I believe which allowed the depth and honesty of our conversations to unfold and ultimately bear fruit.

The days following saw the genuine enthusiasm of the wider church gathered as we both conducted the necessary business of the church and were fed by some of the finest teaching I’ve encountered.

One of the highlights of the week was Archbishop Bob’s report to the Provincial Council in which he noted the various signs of our growing Province’s maturation. Spiritually, ++Bob noted that in these past five years we have seen the development of liturgical texts to assist our congregations in the deepening of their spiritual lives. Additionally, we have developed a catechism to assist our congregations in Christian formation. The fruit of these efforts? The fruit of the Spirit’s life and ministry in our churches? ++Bob reported to us the overwhelming news that in in the past 5 years we have planted almost 500 congregations! And, in the past year we have seen over 3000 conversions to Jesus Christ and a 13% increase in membership. Incredible!

On the last day of our Assembly, our Archbishop-elect, Foley Beach, had a 30 minute time of Q & A. He began his conversation with us by sharing his testimony. It was quite moving. I’ve included the video, below, so that you might see and hear for yourself the man whom the Lord has tapped to lead our church:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJcqw77qJR4[/youtube]

Lastly, in his first sermon as Archbishop at the closing Communion service, ++Foley presented a challenge to the church. Noting that Christ’s command was to go and make “disciples” (not Christians and certainly not Anglicans) he commended to every delegate – and I would say to every member of the ACNA – that over the next year we each befriend one person who does not know or follow Jesus. And, as our friendship with this person grows we commit ourselves to praying for that person and to sharing our faith with that person. Additionally, ++Foley suggested that each person come along side one younger believer for the purpose of encouragement and discipleship. Two very good suggestions, I think.

And so I commend his encouragements to you, my St. Andrew’s family. Develop a friendship with someone who does not name the Name of Christ and in the course of your friendship, undergirded by prayer, gently share what Christ has done in your life. Come along side a younger believer and encourage them. Walk with them. Teach them what it means to be a disciple.

Friends, I am thrilled at where the Lord has brought us – as a parish, as a diocese and as a larger North American church – these past several years. I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness and His goodness. I hope you, too, know the joy of Christ in your life and I pray your continued obedience to Christ’s words, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28.19-20)

In the family,

+Steve

PS – It would be impossible for me to report the above to you without noting my profound gratitude for our now retired Archbishop Bob and his wife, Nara. Very few understand the sacrifices made and wounds received as he – as they – sought to create a home in North American for displaced Episcopalians/Anglicans. ++Bob led with vision and courage and Nara was there each step of the way. And, to them, I say, “thank you.”

TRI-Logo-Transparent-BkgdDear Friends,

I am delighted to share with you very good news. After months of prayer, discussion, and work Trinity School for Ministry announced last night that they have entered into a formal partnership with The Ridley Institute to advance the Christian faith in the Charleston area. I’ve posted the announcement in full below.

As you know, one of our core commitments is to equip every member of St. Andrew’s in the faith by returning theological education to the heart of the local church. Many of you have participated in the various courses we’ve offered. When we launched The Ridley Institute you will remember that we stated three specific aims:

1.  We aim to develop men and women in the Christian faith so that they might live distinctively Christian lives in the home, marketplace and social networks of their lives.

2.  We aim to develop, equip and send out church planters for the purpose of re-evangelizing our society and transforming our culture with the gospel message.

3.  Finally, we have an aim to offer degreed course work so that men and women seeking full-time Christian ministry might be effectively formed by the doctrines of grace and released into ministry.

While the overwhelming majority of our participants are members of St. Andrew’s, we do have students that drive from as far away as Columbia, Beaufort and Myrtle Beach to participate in our school as well as a host of local churches that send their staff and leaders to be trained at our school of theology. In addition to this, we have churches throughout the Carolinas, across the country, as well as far-flung locales such as Australia, Canada, Chile, England, and Kenya asking how they can participate in this theological training. The Lord has clearly given us something that has been a blessing to St. Andrew’s with the potential to be a blessing well beyond the walls of St. Andrew’s.

The Ridley Institute seeks to instill in the hearts of our participants the same passion for the Gospel and Biblical truth that lit the fire of the Anglican Reformation.

You can participate in the Ridley Institute in one of three ways:

1.  Participate in the Learner’s Track: Twice a year the Ridley Institute will offer 8-week introductory courses in Theology   aimed at the man or woman in the pew. Folks in this track will, over 2-years, participate in our core courses: Biblical Theology, Systematic Theology, Worldview, and the Christian Life. Each evening includes lecture, small group time and a follow-up question and answer time with the lecturer.

2.  Take a Certificate in Christian Leadership Course: Our certificate course in Christian Leadership for the Marketplace is an intellectually and spiritually rigorous nine-month course aimed at equipping Marketplace leaders to succeed in business and influence the city with the Gospel. The Certificate for Christian Leadership in the Marketplace takes place over two semesters and will require five hours of on site participation per week. The Certificate in Christian Leadership in the Marketplace consists of:

      • Four Core Courses: Biblical Theology, Systematic Theology, Worldview, Spirituality.
      • Leadership Training: Intro to Christian Leadership, Leading for Influence in the Marketplace.
      • Ministry Experience: Participants will receive real world ministry experience by participating in evangelistic and prayer initiatives of St. Andrew’s. 
      • Learning Huddle: Each participant will be expected to participate in a Learning Huddle for theological reflection and prayer.

3.  Participate in the Master of Arts in Religion: Because of this new partnership with Trinity, students can take classes towards a Master of Arts in Religion degree within a cohort located at the Ridley Institute. Courses will be taught by Trinity’s expert faculty both in person and online. The first class offered will be Introduction to Old Testament with Dr. Erika Moore. The class will begin with two days of teaching on August 28-30, 2014 and will continue throughout the fall.

I hope you share my excitement over the rich and robust development of the adult equipping opportunities offered through The Ridley Institute. More importantly, in the months and years ahead I hope that you will participate in the course offerings so that you might grow wise and deep in your faith.

For His glory,

+Steve

TSM_interim_logo_wideAnnouncement from Trinity:

Trinity School for Ministry to Partner with the Ridley Institute

Trinity School for Ministry is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Ridley Institute at St. Andrew’s Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC. With this new partnership, students can take classes towards a Master of Arts in Religion degree within a cohort located at the Ridley Institute. Courses will be taught by Trinity’s expert faculty both in person and online. The first class offered will be Introduction to Old Testament with Dr. Erika Moore. The class will begin with two days of teaching on August 28-30, 2014 and will continue throughout the fall. Registration is now open via Trinity’s website (www.tsm.edu/RidleyInstitute/register). The course is open to anyone who is interested, membership at St. Andrews is not required.

“We are thrilled by this opportunity to partner with the Ridley Institute” commented the Very. Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry, Trinity’s Dean and President. “Trinity has long desired to make theological education available to people where they are. This partnership will allow people in the Carolinas to have excellent, graduate-level teaching, combined with a community of learning, all without having to relocate.”

“Trinity has a proven track record of producing theologically sharp, mission minded, evangelical Anglicans” Remarked the Rev. Robert Sturdy, Director of the Ridley Institute. “We’re honored by their willingness to bring their expertise in scholarship and ministerial formation to the Ridley Institute where we’re seeking to form the next generation of church leaders for the work of planting and re-missioning Anglican churches in the Reformation tradition.”

The Ridley Institute is a school of theology at St. Andrew’s Church, Mt. Pleasant, SC. The aim of the Ridley Institute is to honor Nicholas Ridley’s dying thought, that through God’s grace his labors and suffering might light a Gospel flame that would never be extinguished. The Institute seeks to spread the flame of the Gospel by recruiting, equipping, and deploying the very finest Christian leaders formed in the Gospel centrality of the Anglican Tradition.

Trinity School for Ministry is an evangelical seminary in the Anglican tradition. Begun in 1976, the seminary has trained more than 1,000 graduates and many others who serve in ministries all over the world.  As a global center for Christian formation, Trinity continues to produce outstanding leaders who can plant, renew, and grow churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.

Register now for Introduction to the Old Testament

Nice article in the Moutlrie News about their worship team’s new album.

Download it here.

To those seeking ordination Scripture lists certain qualifications (1 Timothy 3.1-16 and Titus 1.5-9) that should be noticeably present in the life of the inquirer. Particularly, they should be sound in the faith. They should have an ability to communicate the Gospel, teach and disciple others in the faith. Their lives should reflect holiness and discipline which brings honor to Christ and which causes them to be well thought of by those outside the Church. They should demonstrate wisdom and discretion. There should be visible fruit of their faith as well as a public affirmation by their local congregation of their sense of call.

Read the rest.

I’ve linked the below to the most easily accessible documents – i.e., if they must be bought, they link to Amazon.  If they can be downloaded free, they then link to those free sites, like googlebooks.

Titles with an asterisk(*) are required reading. If not indicated, the titles link to Amazon.com.

An Anglican Overview

*Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: A Life
Ashley Null, Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love

Anglican Formularies

*The 39 Articles (web article)
*The Homilies (web article)
*1662 BCP Ordinal (Google book)

Historic Texts Addressing Anglican Identity

*Thomas Cranmer’s Answer to Stephen Gardiner (Google book)
*Nowell’s Cathechism (Google book)
*John Jewell, The Apology of the Church of England (Google book)
John Jewell’s Challenge Sermon (Google book)
Thomas Rogers on the 39 Articles (Google book)

Anglican Theology and Practice

J.C. Ryle, Knots Untied: Being Plain Statements on Disputed Points in Religion
W.H. Griffith Thomas, The Principles of Theology: An Introduction to the Thirty-Nine Articles
C. FitzSimons Allison,The Cruelty of Heresy: An Affirmation of Christian Orthodoxy
Michael Green, Baptism: Its Purpose, Practice, and Power
Oliver O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order: An Outline for Evangelical Ethics
John Stott, Between Two Worlds: The Challenge of Preaching Today
Graeme Goldsworthy, The Goldsworthy Trilogy: (Gospel and Kingdom, Gospel and Wisdom, The Gospel in Revelation)

What is Reformation Anglicanism?

Perhaps the easiest way to describe Reformation Anglicanism is simply by defining the words. By “reformation,” we mean that expression of the Christian faith that arose in the 16th century, commonly called the Protestant Reformation, which sought to reform the church according to the teaching of the Bible and the practice of the early church. By “Anglican,” we mean those Christian reforms that took place in England during the Protestant Reformation.

There is of course more to be said and we hope to say much more in the future.  For now it may be useful to set forth a few boundary markers to help identify partners and shape future dialogue.

Reformation Anglicanism is Gospel-centered

Of the many things that could be said about the English Reformation, one aspect that is consistently overlooked is that it would not have been possible were it not for the experience of men and women receiving the good news of Jesus Christ in a personal and transformative way.  Take for example the experience of Thomas Bilney, who recounted his own conversion in the following words:

At the first reading (as I well remember), I chanced upon this sentence of St. Paul (O most sweet and comfortable sentence to my soul!):  ‘It is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be embraced, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief principle (1 Tim 1.15).

This one sentence, through God’s instruction and inward working (which I did not then perceive), did so exhilarate my heart, being before wounded with the guilt, of my sins, and being almost in despair, that immediately I felt a marvelous comfort and quietness, insomuch ‘that my bruised bones leaped for joy’ (Psalm 51.8).

Through what would eventually become one of Cranmer’s famous “comfortable words,” Bilney learned that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” and that meant that Christ Jesus came into the world to save men like him.  This good news, that Bilney found in the Scriptures is the Gospel, something that William Tyndale said “makes a man’s heart glad and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy.”  The Gospel said Tyndale:

Is joyful tidings and, as some say, a good message declared by the apostles throughout all the world of Christ, the right David, who has fought with sin, with death, and the devil, and has overcome them. By this all men who were in bondage to sin, wounded with death and overcome by the devil are, without their own merit or deserving, loosed, justified, restored to life and saved. They are brought to liberty, and reconciled to the favor of God, and set at one with Him again.

The scriptures teach us of Christ alone reconciling sinners to God by grace alone and not by works, for God’s glory alone and received simply by faith alone.  Reformation Anglicans are passionate about the Gospel not only because the Reformers were, but because we believe the Gospel still heals bruised bones, still makes the sad and sorrowful leap for joy, and still gives victory over sin, death, and the devil reconciling the child of God to himself and leading God’s people in liberty.

Reformation Anglicanism is Catholic

A caricature of the Reformation Anglicans is that they ignore the patristic witness and the contributions of the undivided church in favor of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.  Not only could this not be further from the truth but this is also a serious misreading of the English Reformation.  The English Reformers very much saw themselves in continuity with the patristic church.  This is why Cranmer begins many of his homilies with support from such early church theologians as Athanasius, Augustine, John Chrysostom and many others.  Cranmer’s implied point is that there is Patristic support for the theological points at the heart of the Reformation.  More explicitly, John Jewel argues that “God’s holy Gospel, the ancient bishops, and the primitive Church do make on our side.

The English Reformation did not believe it was charting a new course but rather recovering an old one.  The English Reformers believed that the Medieval church had lost its way and therefore needed to be re-formed.  Modern Reformation Anglicans see themselves, like their forbearers as reformed catholic Christians in continuity with the historic church and bearing the doctrine and substantial marks of early Christianity.

Reformation Anglicanism is Confessional

The Articles of Religion were passed by Parliament in 1563.  It is clear by the preface to the Articles that these were to serve as the measuring stick for English Protestant Orthodoxy or as we might say, Anglican Orthodoxy.  The preface reads as follows:

 

Articuli, de quibus in synode Londinensi anno Domini, iuxta ecclesiae Anglicanae computationem, M.D.LXII. ad tollendam opinionum dissensionem, et firmandum in uera Religione consensum, inter Archiepiscopos Episcoposque utriusque Prouinciae, nec non etiam uniuersum Clerum convenit. Articles whereupon it was agreed by the Archbishops and Bishops of both provinces and the whole clergy, in Convocation held in London in the year of our Lord 1562, according to the counsel of the Church of England for the avoiding of diversities of opinion and for the establishment of consent regarding true religion.

 

As can be seen from the above, the Articles of Religion were meant to establish orthodoxy within English Protestantism.  Clergy in the Church of England, to demonstrate their orthodoxy subscribed to the Articles of Religion.

The significance of the above is as follows:  one did not become a Cranmerian.  Unlike the Lutherans, there is no such thing as a Cranmerian Church.  Rather, one subscribed not to the teachings of Thomas Cranmer (or Ridley, or Parker, or Hooker, etc.) but one subscribed to the Articles of Religion.  Reformation Anglicanism is informed by the various personalities of the English Reformation but it is identified by a confession of the faith of the Protestant Church of England.

Some may rightly ask “but what of the Book of Common Prayer?”  To which we respond:  the doctrine is the seed, the devotional (Prayer Book) and institutional life (Ordinal) is the flower.  The Book of Common Prayer is the fruit of the scripturally founded, Gospel-centered doctrine discovered in the Articles.  From here we note three things:

1)   That Reformation Anglicans are “confessional” does not imply they are not catholic.  Explicit in the Articles is an embrace of the early councils and creeds grounded not upon their institutional authority, but rather because “they may be proven by certain warrants of Holy Scripture” (Article VIII).  We note with pleasure that the Jerusalem Declaration of the GAFCON movement “upholds the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

2)   Reformation Anglicans judge authentic Anglicanism according to conformity to the historic confession of the Church of England.  Again, the Jerusalem Statement:  “We uphold the Thirty-nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.”

3)   Reformation Anglicans embrace the ordinal and historic prayer books of the settled church (1559, 1662) as authentically showing forth the fruit of the doctrine contained in the Articles.  Again, we stand in line with the Jerusalem Declaration which notes:  “We rejoice in our Anglican sacramental and liturgical heritage as an expression of the gospel, and we uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.”

 As many of us seek to recover our great Anglican heritage we must first acknowledge that as a work of recovery, we are as men stumbling about in a room that has been neglected for quite some time.  As a room that has been neglected for some time, the primary work is to help turn the lights on, uncover the furniture, and dust off the paintings.  We must re-familiarize ourselves with this tradition.  Towards that end, we urge each of you interested in this movement of Reformation Anglicanism to dedicate yourself to a deep familiarity with the Articles of Religion and we strongly encourage you to read the following:

Reformation Anglicanism is not a slogan.  Rather it is a Christian tradition, indeed the most historic Christian tradition within Anglicanism.  As a tradition, it deserves to be studied, meditated upon, and prayed over.  In the Diocese of the Carolinas, the Ridley Institute aims to provide a Reformation Anglicanism Bibliography for all its Ordinands to complete and be prepared to be examined upon by the end of their theological training.  We would encourage all those interested in this movement to take the study of it seriously.

Reformation Anglicanism is not a historical fetish.  Rather, we see in the English Reformation and the 39 Articles of Religion a clear, vibrant, and costly articulation of the saving power of the Gospel as proclaimed by our Lord Jesus and set forth in the Holy Scriptures.  In this time of global Anglican turmoil, Reformation Anglicanism acts as an anchor rooting us within faithful, historic, Gospel-centered Christianity.  It is the Gospel-centrality that exalts the glory of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit that we cherish above all else.  Reformation Anglicanism is simply a gracious reminder that Anglicans who cherish such things do not need to look beyond their own tradition to be resourced for mission both now and in the future.

A message from the College of Bishops following our January meeting.

January 10, 2014

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

The bishops of the Anglican Church in North America met in Orlando, Florida from January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, to January 10th. We were blessed to be joined by the Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters, Bishop of Peshawar, Pakistan. This has been our largest meeting, with only a few bishops absent due to inclement weather or overseas assignment. The bishops of the Anglican Church in North America have made it clear that it is a high priority to be together to pray and meet in council to carry forward the apostolic ministry of the Church. This week we again met in an atmosphere of mutual support and affection, with much prayer for one other. Bishop William Ilgenfritz, Missionary Diocese of All Saints, served as Chaplain for the College.

In our opening Eucharist, the Rt. Rev. Todd Hunter was invested as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Churches for the Sake of Others, commonly called “C4SO.”

We were blessed by Biblical teaching each morning from Dr. Wesley Hill, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity School for Ministry. In this season of Epiphany, we were encouraged by Dr. Hill’s teaching on the nature of our triune God as both transcendent above his creation and present with us in our suffering.

It was a thoroughly productive gathering in which the bishops were able to address a range of topics, working to establish consensus and maintain fraternal relations. We were encouraged by our times of sharing about the fruitful ministries in our dioceses and by testimonies of God’s grace and answered prayers.

Following two years of work by the Catechesis Task Force, the bishops unanimously approved a new Catechism for trial use, with mechanisms for feedback and refinement planned over the next two years. The Catechism, written primarily for adults, is designed to speak to those who are exploring the faith, as well as to disciple Christians to greater knowledge and spiritual maturity. The Catechism, produced to uphold and communicate apostolic faith through pastoral application, is invitational in approach, drawing inquirers to faith in Christ, pursue a loving relationship with the Father, and welcome the power of the Holy Spirit in everyday life. We are eager for trained catechists to be raised up to use this wonderful tool, as well as for additional discipleship resources to be developed and shared across the Church.

As we continue to develop a Prayer Book to enrich our common liturgical life, the bishops worshiped using the Province’s approved texts for Holy Communion and daily Morning and Evening Prayer. We did initial work on a first draft of liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation and Admission of Catechumens, refining them to help insure that those liturgies are accessible and reflect the richness of the historic Anglican faith and tradition. The College continues to look forward to the day when the Province will have its own Book of Common Prayer.

As Archbishop Duncan is retiring as Archbishop in June, 2014, the bishops also discussed and prayed about the process of electing a successor and the subsequent transition. Archbishop Duncan reflected with the College on his experience in the office and the bishops expressed gratitude for his courageous and persevering leadership. Archbishop Duncan then graciously absented himself so we could pursue facilitated conversation with Dr. Cynthia Waisner, who again served as our consultant. Seeking to avoid a political process, the bishops committed to a covenant of behavior and a season of prayer as we move toward the bishops’ conclave in June. The College of Bishops will have regular days of prayer and fasting in the coming months, and then gather the week before the Provincial Assembly to discern in prayer the one whom God is calling as successor to Archbishop Duncan.

The Rt. Rev. Humphrey Peters shared with us about ministry in his diocese in Pakistan. It was All Saints Church in his diocese that was attacked by suicide bombers after Sunday worship last September, killing more than 100. We were all touched by his reports of both the challenges and the rewards of pursuing Gospel ministry in Pakistan. Bishop Humphrey presented Archbishop Duncan with gifts from his diocese and Archbishop Duncan responded with the presentation to Bishop Humphrey of a signed copy of our new Texts for Common Prayer.

The tragic conflict in South Sudan was also forefront in our prayers. We sent greetings and encouragement to our brothers and sisters in the Church in Sudan and promised to call the Anglican Church in North America to intercede for peace and justice in South Sudan.

We heard an excellent presentation by Dr. Louise Duncan Jakubik about mentoring, which was helpful to our work of discipling Christians and developing leaders.

We received a report from Canon Nancy Norton, Executive Director of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund. We were encouraged to hear that more than $1.2 million was given for development projects in nine countries, and for disaster relief in Oklahoma and Colorado. The bishops were enthusiastic in praise of Canon Norton and her accomplishments as she looks toward retirement at the Provincial Assembly.

We reflected on our time at GAFCON-2 in Nairobi, which was attended by almost all of our bishops. We rejoiced at the continued growth of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) and its role as a vital Instrument of Communion. We discussed our international relationships and the challenges faced by the GFCA.

Transferring to the chapel of a nearby church, the bishops prayerfully consented to the election of the Rev. J. Mark Zimmerman as first Bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest. Fr. Zimmerman has served as rector of Somerset Anglican Church (formerly St. Francis-in-the-Fields) in Somerset, PA since 1999. His consecration is scheduled for February 28, 2014 at the Church of St. Clement, El Paso, TX.

The bishops also consented to the election of the Rt. Rev. William J. White as Bishop Coadjutor in the REC Diocese of the Southeast. Bishop White has served as Suffragan Bishop of that diocese since 2009.

The Bishops received with gratitude the report of the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders. Their work includes faithful scholarship and conversations of significance in an atmosphere of respect and trust that is important to our common life. Though the issue of Holy Orders is a sensitive one in the Church, we are thankful for the way that the Task Force is modeling a commitment to full theological inquiry and fidelity. This gives rise to the bishops’ expectation that we will emerge having faithfully found God’s guidance for our Church.

In reviewing the steps that the Task Force has taken, we approved its report on hermeneutical principles (i.e., principles for the interpretation of Scripture). This expresses the principles by which we approach the theological study of Holy Orders. This report will now be released to the Church and sent to the International Theological Commission of GFCA and our ecumenical partners, seeking their input. It is important to note that this careful, thorough and collegial study into Holy Orders has rarely been done before by Anglicans.

The next phase of the work of the Task Force will identify the ecclesiological principles (i.e., principles of the nature of the Church) of ministry and orders including what the Anglican formularies say about the nature of the church, the general character of ordained ministry, the characteristics of each order, and the relationship between the ordained ministry and Christ and his Church. The Task Force has formed sub-committees which will engage scholars and scholarship from the Anglo-Catholic, Charismatic, and Evangelical traditions (“three streams”). A draft of this work will be presented to the bishops in June.

Church planting continues to be at the heart of our Provincial life. We heard the exciting report of the Rev. Canon Alan Hawkins, Vicar of Anglican1000, about the work of establishing new congregations and worshiping communities across the Province. In the huge mission field with Hispanics, fifty-seven Spanish-speaking congregations have been planted. Particularly helpful was his emphasis that we are now engaged in planting just the first 1000 churches. Anglican1000 continues to support diocesan leaders, church planters, coaches and the church at large. Three regional events have been held in the past few months and there will soon be additional events in Phoenix and Atlanta. In addition, reflecting a growing focus on mission with college students, a conference on campus ministry will be held in Chicago in April. The Greenhouse Movement is also having a huge impact by catalyzing clusters of new congregations.

Bishop Ray Sutton, Provincial Ecumenical Officer, reported on the growing relationship with the North American Lutheran Church (NALC), which includes the recent decision by the NALC to create at Trinity School for Ministry a “seminary center” for the training of its ordinands. The College approved an agreed statement on Eucharistic hospitality with the NALC. Bishop Sutton also shared about upcoming dialogues with the Polish National Catholic Church and the Messianic Jewish community.

An Anglican Unity Task Force was established to address the issues that have arisen through the formation of new churches and dioceses, resulting in overlapping jurisdictions throughout the province. Bishops from this task force, together with lay and clergy leaders, will meet again this spring.

Mindful of the opportunities and challenges before us, this meeting of the College of Bishops has been characterized by Gospel joy. We are deeply thankful for the fellowship we share in Christ.

We are so pleased by the gracious service and support that many people offer to our Church. The Provincial staff is a devoted and truly productive team. We are deeply indebted to them, and to the many clergy and laity who serve on the various working groups of the Province, including those task forces which reported to us this week: Catechesis, Prayer Book and Liturgy, Governance, Ecumenical Relations, and the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders. We are grateful to the Anglican Chaplains who provided administrative support to GAFCON-2 in Nairobi.

We are blessed as a Church and humbled by what we have seen the Lord accomplish in our midst in these first few years we have been together as the Anglican Church in North America. We continue to pursue our life in Jesus Christ and the vision of a Biblical, missionary, and united Anglicanism. May God be greatly praised.