Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bishop Lawrence: "We cannot allow the need for consolidating to replace the need for advancing the gospel."

Photo Credit: Good Shepherd, Charleston via Facebook
Here is the full text of Bishop Mark Lawrence's brilliant address to the 223rd Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina. I have highlighted some of the most important points.
“The Church exists by mission as fire exists by burning.” So wrote the Swiss theologian, Emil Brunner, several generations ago. And it was clearly under the burning fire of the Holy Spirit that the apostles moved out to engage the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. For what God had done in Jesus Christ for the world must be made known to the world. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?” wrote St. Paul. “And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!’ … faith comes through hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10: 14-17) So these early Christians sent out and so they went out. Pressing on, as one missionary statesman has written, “… going from city to city as heralds of the King, not staying to argue with gainsayers….” We spend too much time arguing with those within the church who do not believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be proclaimed to all people while we remain in guilty silence about the Gospel in the presence of its many cultured despisers. It was not so for the early disciples. Inflamed as they were with a saving message and filled with an unspeakable joy they brushed off the dust of those who had rejected their message and moved on looking for the next opportunity. The Holy Spirit never allowed them to let the need to consolidate what they had gained to replace the need to advance. In fact advancement became the method of consolidation. I am gripped by these words from Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, writing about the church’s need to press forward “… both to the ends of the earth and the ends of the world, rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God.” Of the Church’s need to press on in the strength of the Holy Spirit, living by grace, turning outward to engage the world, resisting the constant temptation to play it safe, he writes:

“When she (the church) becomes settled, when she becomes so much at home in this world that she is no longer content to be forever striking her tents and moving forward, above all when she forgets that she lives simply by God’s mercy and begins to think that she has some claim on God’s grace which the rest of the world has not, when in other words she thinks of her election in terms of spiritual privilege rather than missionary responsibility, then she comes under His merciful judgment (of God) as Israel did.” (p. 132)

Pressing forward in mission and rejoicing in hope: that is the glorious calling which we need to rediscover at the heart of our common life. One profound characteristic of the exploding growth of Anglicans in many parts of the Global South is their joy—joy in the midst of deprivation; joy in midst of persecution; joy in the midst of temporal uncertainty; joy that is rooted in the new life in Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. I yearn to see such unspeakable, irrepressible, iridescent joy within the life of our congregations, and frankly in my own life as well. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44) The man recognizes that the treasure is worth more than all that he has and with joy he does what we too often fail to do—he acts according to what he has discovered!

In this address I will take up three dimensions of our calling as a diocese to make biblical Anglicans for a global age. The first is the call to do this within our congregations and local communities. The second is the call to do this in the larger playing field of emerging Anglicanism. Finally, I want us to deepen our understanding of our God-given identity and to embrace our providential opportunities.

Every Congregation Engaging Every Generation

Much has been written and discussed in recent years regarding the challenge traditional churches have in reaching across the generational divides in our society. But, it is not just the traditional churches or congregations that are experiencing this problem; and not just the church either. The broader society struggles with it. When Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman published their book, When Generations Collide—raising questions about who these generations are? Why they clash? How to solve the generational puzzle at work?—They hardly knew what to expect from the reading public. But they didn’t need to wonder for long. Soon media outlets from CNN, Time magazine, local news stations, and even corporate businesses wanted in on the action. Still the questions hang there, challenging us as a diocese to find ways to help equip each congregation to engage every generation with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Three of our four workshops at yesterday’s pre-convention sessions were focused on some aspect of this challenge. Three of our diocesan staff members regularly engage this very work—Joy Hunter in communications strives to keep us current as we become more hi-tech savvy through E-Newsletters; an attractive, useable website; and a diocesan facebook page. She also leads workshops to help our smaller congregations create websites; works with Jan Pringle, Canon Lewis and others on press releases; and has even gotten the bishop blogging.

Then there is our diocesan Youth Coordinator, Dave Wright. You will hear from him later. It is a widely known when we were in TEC that we had the most successful diocesan youth program and more effective parish programs than any diocese in the national church. It would still be so today; and is equally true of the dioceses of the Anglican diaspora. But we have no reason to rest where we are. Too many of our churches do not have youth ministries or know how to start them. We want to help change that. Dave will have more to say about this later in this convention.

The third diocesan staff person engaging across the generations is our Faith Formation Coordinator, Peter Rothermel. He is on the cutting edge of this field. His working to strengthen Christian families, helping grandparents share their faith with their grandchildren, and our parishes to engage in men’s ministry has been transforming for many of our congregations. For instance confirmation at St. James, James Island has become a unique parent-youth rite. Or take just this past month, I spoke at the Christian Men’s Conference at St. Christopher here in the Diocese of South Carolina—almost 300 were in attendance—many men attending with their sons. Most were from the diocese but others came from across the state and even farther afield. In recent months Peter has been helping the Diocesan Church Women rethink this new chapter of their ministry post-TEC. It is an exciting, re-visioning time for them.

I mention these three diocesan staff persons because they are, like all our diocesan staff, Canon Lewis, Nancy Armstrong, Beth Snyder, Susan Burns including your bishop, here to build up and strengthen the parishes and missions of the diocese. You are not here to serve us—we are here to serve you with every gift and resource that the Holy Spirit makes available. To that end, no conversation in the diocese about engagement across generations would be complete without referencing the dynamic ministry of the diocese at St. Christopher every year—Buddy Camp (for parents and children), Family Camp, Youth Camps for all ages. These are stunningly effective examples of ministry to the various age groups and generations. This year we’re offering a new Grandparent Camp designed for grandparents and grandchildren 6-12 years of age. If you are a person who’s concerned that their grandchildren may not know Jesus Christ because they’re not going to church, sign up! Is this cutting edge engagement for Christ across the generations? You bet!

How I wish you could join me on my travels around the diocese to see the incredible ministries that our congregations are engaged in—from St. Luke’s Hilton Head to our several congregations on the Grand Strand. The Cross, Bluffton’s Buckwalter Campus is filled with children during the week at the Cross school and then filled again on Sunday morning with a contemporary worship service—The Cross, one church on two campuses, added over 220 new members just this past year of 2013 as they ministered across generations! In Beaufort, St. Helena’s sponsorship of Holy Trinity Classical Christian School in its second year of existence is nurturing children in a unique educational approach that may well do for North America what the Irish did for Western Civilization in the early Middle Ages.

So many of our congregations are engaged in re-missioning, or helping with church planting, I haven’t time to name them all. I made a list last fall that included 11 congregations that were struggling or faced with very significant difficulties. I spent a lot of time with them. Of these 11 at least eight and perhaps even nine are presently moving forward in positive ways. It is by helping them advance not helping them consolidate that a difference is made. This is true for even our strongest parishes. Take for instance St. Philip’s Charleston’s partnership with one of our new church starts, Church of the Resurrection, North Charleston. God-willing, Resurrection will be fully received at next year’s convention—but thanks be to God they are here with us today. How encouraging it is witness the Mother Church of the diocese stepping once again into her historic nurturing role in yet another century—the fourth and counting! Now, St. Paul’s, Summerville, in partnership with the diocese and one of its members, Mr. Gary Beson, who was this week approved for ordination after three years at Trinity School for Ministry, is exploring the possibility of planting a church on the east side of I-26. And up on the historic Waccamaw neck, quietly and without much fanfare a miracle has been taking place. Grace Church, Waccamaw, a congregation of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has prayerfully chosen to become members of this diocese. Equally as remarkable is the way Christ the King, Waccamaw and Grace Church have been walking together, merging their life and ministry for the sake of the kingdom of God. It is a work only the Holy Spirit moving in the hearts of his people could accomplish. In some ways it is a merging of different generations for the sake of the gospel. Together they are congregations more equipped than ever to engage every generation with the good news of Jesus Christ. How grateful we are to have both parishes and their rector seated at this Convention. And farther to the north and just received as a mission of this diocese is Grace Church, North Myrtle Beach. I must tell you that without the sacrificial ministry of the Reverend Linda Manual this would not have been even a remote possibility.

I wish I could tell you about the exciting ministry going on by the priests, deacons and lay members of the diocese in such places of education as—Porter-Gaud, the Citadel, Francis Marion University, and Coker College. If time permitted I could tell you one story after another —where young people’s lives are being changed, baptisms are taking place, and where biblical Anglicans for a global age are being made.

The more I see the hand of God working among us the more I realize that to enable every congregation to engage every generation with the good news of Jesus Christ is a realistic, achievable, and transformational goal. If you get a chance ask Mr. Pinckney Thompson, Sr. Warden at Redeemer, Orangeburg about the ministry he has as layman among the young members of his congregation and community. While you are at it, ask the Ervin brothers, Joe and Bill at St. Matthew’s Darlington about the youth ministry they lead there. Let us never forget my friends — the first order of ministry is the lay order. We have some remarkable lay men and lay women in ministry in this Diocese of South Carolina—some in Cursillo, Faith Alive, Brotherhood of St. Andrew, DOK, DCW, Men’s Conference, but most of all in congregations from Holy Apostles, Barnwell to St. David’s Cheraw—from Walterboro to Pinopolis to Bennettsville. Where there is trust in the power of God’s Holy Spirit and the willingness among God’s people, God will make a way. We don’t talk enough about ordinary people doing extraordinary ministry under the power of the holy spirit.

So far I have been speaking about our calling locally to make biblical Anglicans for a global age within our churches and local communities— equipping every congregation to engage every generation. I have only mentioned a handful of parishes. There are so many other stories I wish I could share of congregations moving forward in mission and ministry. But I need to move along to the larger scene in North American Anglicanism and the emerging scene in the larger Anglican Communion. Here, too, I believe we have our part to play.

Helping to Shape Emerging Anglicanism in the 21st Century

… has been an important part of every bishop’s address since I became your bishop in 2008. This year will be no different. Let me retrace some of the significant happenings since last year’s diocesan convention. After the New Wineskin’s Conference in Ridgecrest, N.C. (at which we had a large number of parishioners and clergy attending) we were visited by seven bishops of the Anglican Communion—from Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Ireland, Egypt, the Horn of Africa, and then later in the fall by Bishop Rafael from the Anglican Church in Bolivia. Each spoke in various congregations and diocesan settings. I mention this among other reasons because it is amazing the way mission can help us engage across the generations. Just one story to illustrate—but there are many like it: When Robin Quick heard Bishop Rob Martin tell of a Tree-Church congregation in his Diocese of Marsabit, Kenya that was losing the huge tree it met under by river erosion she went back to Christ Church, Mt Pleasant’s Sunday School and set about to raise $25,000 to construct a building for this Tree Church. In raising the last dollars they planned a 5-K run. So, as you might imagine, when I was asked to run in the race what could say but “Yes!” I have to tell you I won first place in the over 60 category and Fr. Ted Duvall won first place in the 50 and over. Never say the clergy of the Diocese aren’t fit! The 5K run got parishioners and unchurched people ages 5—75 involved in this project! Remember God’s mission engages God’s people across every generation!

This past June Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) invited us to be observers at their Provincial Synod. Dean Peet Dickinson and Mrs. Suzanne Swank from the Standing Committee and I attended. We were welcomed warmly and were encouraged by their vision and by their common life. God willing we shall send another delegation as observers at their upcoming June Provincial Synod. Then last October we joined a substantial delegation of Bishops, priests and lay persons from the ACNA in attending the Global Anglicans Future Conference (GAFCON II) in Nairobi, Kenya. Representatives from the diocese were Fr. Greg Snyder, President of the Standing Committee, and Fr. Robert Lawrence, chair of the ACD Committee, my wife, Allison and I. This was one of the largest and most remarkable gatherings of Anglicans in history—over 300 bishops and 1000 priests and laity. As you know one of the resolutions before this convention is affirming the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) and the Jerusalem Declaration both of which are key to the GAFCON movement. Let us pray that God continues to bless such movements of renewal, mission, and ministry in the Holy Spirit among fellow Anglicans. God is doing a new work within the communion. We’re glad to be a part of it.

Again last year at Archbishop Duncan’s request we host a meeting at St. Christopher for the various bishops of or connected with ACNA who have overlapping jurisdictions in South Carolina. It was agreed that I would function as convener at future meetings several times a year. These will be meetings for conversation, prayer and for mutual support. All these bishops were present at our Opening Eucharist last evening—Bishops’ Gadsden and White of the Reformed Episcopal Church, ACNA Bishop Steve Wood of the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas, Bishop David Bryan of PEAR of the Southeast (also with ACNA) and Bishop Paul Hewett (FACA). I pray that this is a harbinger and a sign of our growing fellowship and unity as we work towards a united, orthodox Anglicanism in North America.

There are two other noteworthy events for the diocese on the broader stage that I want to briefly celebrate. This past February St. Michael’s Charleston hosted their annual Global Impact Celebration—what an exhausting and exhilarating week it was. Along with bringing all their missionaries they help support, this year they invited Baroness Caroline Cox as their keynote speaker. She has been justly called the Anglican Mother Teresa. Her challenge to the some 450 members of St. Michael’s and parishioners from around the diocese who gathered at the Charleston Music Hall for witness and worship was hauntingly memorable—she challenged each of us by her words and life to engage more fully in mission for the gospel and in mercy for the suffering and persecuted Christians around the world. It was an emboldening call to move forward in mission to the ends of the earth.

Then the preceding week was the Mere Anglicanism Conference. This annual event which was begun by Bishop Allison and dean emeritus, William McKeachie has for the past two years been led by the Reverend Jeffrey Miller. This year’s conference because of the numerous luminaries on the schedule and its theme “Faith and Science” was a landmark event. It filled the Charleston Music Hall with some 650 attendees from all over the world. But for me at least seemed more than a conference. Yes, the parishioners of St. Helena’s gifts for hospitality were in splendid display. But there was something else at work this year. This was not just Episcopalians and Anglicans getting together to talk about the in-house problems of the Church. Here were Christians across the denominational spectrum gathered to engage one of the great issues of the culture, but done amidst dynamic Anglican worship and within the Diocese of South Carolina. I could not help but believe it represented a profound shift in our diocesan life. Sure many from within the diocese were not in attendance and perhaps had little knowledge and even less interest in what was taking place. Nevertheless it felt like another divide had been crossed. No longer were we held back by the gainsayers within the Church. We were discussing an issue of the day which the world sees as important and for too long (because of our denominational squabbles) we had failed to engage. I tell you friends I saw our diocese in new light. I saw it through the eyes of others. And I pray that I saw it through the eyes of Jesus Christ - resplendent with new possibilities not just for North American Anglicanism but for the role we might play by God’s grace on the larger scene of global Anglicanism.

It is for now an embryonic dream and I have debated with myself if I should even share it with you at this convention. But since I’ve been speaking about moving forward so let me give you glimpse of something I’ve only a glimpse of. What if we established in this diocese an institute to bring emerging Anglican leaders from across the world for 4 -6 weeks of residential study, prayer, renewal and reflection with seasoned Christian leaders and scholars? Imagine what a season—building relationships of gospel affection and a missionary vision for reaching the secular and the religious cultures of the 21st Century—might mean for those who labor in demanding vineyards under great depravation and persecution. Perhaps we might call it the St. Augustine or the Theodore of Tarsus School for Anglican Leadership Development. Imagine what it could mean for emerging Anglican leaders to come here from various parts of the communion for a season of study, renewal and refreshment and to have our clergy here study and pray alongside them under men such as Michael Nazir-Ali and many others who come quickly to mind. Imagine what remarkable vision and perspective these young leaders and our own priests might be given. We already have seminaries to train our future ordinands. There are programs for advanced degrees in our colleges. That’s not what I have in mind here. This would be designed for emerging leaders and those in mid-stride who have been ministering for 10, 15 or perhaps even 20 years who would be strengthened by such a time for prayer, study and visioning with other leaders to deepen their confidence in Gospel. Do you know that even now The Cross, Bluffton brings priests and laity from Ireland for a week every year to learn principles of congregational growth and to be refreshed and renewed in the midst of a lively congregation? I wonder who gains the most when all is said and done—those who minister or those who are ministered to? So I ask that you might dream and pray with me about this. We have not yet even scratched the surface of what we might do for God’s kingdom and Church.

Of course I can imagine some thinking, “Bishop, this is the wrong time to be talking about such a bold venture what with law suits and litigation expenses before us.” I can only respond by saying we cannot allow the need for consolidating to replace the need for advancing the gospel. I believe emerging Anglicanism needs this; North American Anglicanism needs it; and our own diocese and clergy need it. And I believe by God’s grace we can do it. Now to my last topic:

Clarifying our Episcopal or Anglican Identity and Provisional Primatial Oversight

The question of identity has been confusing to some lay persons in the diocese since our departure from The Episcopal Church in the fall of 2012. They ask, “How are we to refer to ourselves now that we are not part of the national church? Are we Episcopalians? Are we Anglicans?” A variety of answers can and have been given both by me and others. This is neither the time nor the place for a thorough exposition of this question. But, yes, we can and have referred to ourselves as “Episcopalians” but then one has to define what that means—though of course many of us have been doing that for years! The simple truth is that the word “Episcopalian” is not the exclusive property of TEC nor has it ever been. One might also say we are “Anglicans”—but this also needs to be explained to many within our parishes and even more to those outside. But remember the identity in God has an even deeper origin for people of faith then such descriptive names. God reminded Israel through the prophet Hosea that after a season judgment and suffering his restoring power would grant them identity:

“And in that day, says the Lord
I will answer the heavens
and they shall answer the earth;
and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel;
and I will sow him for myself in the land.
And I will have pity on Not Pitied,
and I will say to Not my People, ‘You are my people’;
and he shall say, ‘Thou art my God.’” (Hosea 2: 21-23)

Bishop Lessile Newbiggin refers to this deeply captivating identity that comes to the Church from God’s mercy by calling us into fellowship with His Son with these challenging words:

“The Church exists, and does not depend for its existence upon our definition of it. It exists wherever God in His sovereign freedom calls it into being by calling His own into the fellowship with His Son. And it exists solely by His mercy…. To that end He is free to break off unbelieving branches, to graft in wild slips, and to call ‘No people’ His people.”

What is essential for us to remember is that though we have a centuries old history in this diocese and clearly demonstrate the “visible marks” of the Church, manifest first during the colonial era in a relationship with the Church of England which gave us Episcopal oversight (albeit from a distance), clergymen, and a Prayer book. This over-arching culture coupled with our well-known trait of independence made us much of who we were then and are now—sometimes through the established parish and clergy system and at other times through the preaching of Anglican revivalists like George Whitefield; then, in the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary War times this ethos continued to evolve and adapt given the dramatic change of context, and from this we emerged eventually in 1785 as the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina; and after 1790 through an association with the PECUSA; (then a several year sojourn as a diocese in The Episcopal Church in the Confederate States); then, again with PECUSA; and now we continue our sojourn under God as a diocese in the present era—an era characterized by a growing globalization within Anglicanism. None of this, however, can be our deepest identity. That is reserved for our call under God’s sovereignty: He who has called and continues to call ‘No people’ His people. We are who we are through his mercy and sovereignty in Jesus Christ. And He can bind us to whomever he chooses. Again hear some words of Bishop Newbigin:

“And if, at the end, those who have preserved through all the centuries the visible ‘marks’ of the Church find themselves at the same board with some strange and uncouth late-comers on the ecclesiastical scene, may we not fancy that they will hear Him say—would it not be like Him to say— ‘It is my will to give unto this last even as unto thee?’”

Yes, we have maintained the ‘marks’ of the Church for centuries within an ever changing context. But it is God in his providence that breaks off one and grafts on another, and calls in his mercy ‘No People’, ‘His People’. If we are not His People and do not have fellowship with His People, then it matters not who or what we call ourselves. So I remind us of an important truth that that doctrine theologians have referred to as God’s Providence has echoed again and again in the history of this Diocese . And this word, “Providence” or, rather its derivative, “providential” appears in what to my mind is the most important resolution to come before this 223rd Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina. In the final rationale for resolution R-3 “Response to Offer of Provisional Primatial Oversight” you will find this statement: “Most importantly, however, this resolution is the response others in the communion have created, and it provides a means for us to better make biblical Anglicans for a global age in this in between-time. We choose to see it as a providential provision which gives us further sacramental closeness with the global Anglican family which we so richly treasure.”

This final rationale reminds me of an address I made before the clergy of the diocese back on August 13, 2009:

Among the many doctrines of our Faith to which I might ask you to turn your thoughts this morning it is first to that wonderful doctrine of God’s Providence. It was to this doctrine that my distant predecessor, The Rt. Reverend Robert Smith, first bishop of South Carolina, turned when he addressed the Colonial Assembly which gathered at St. Philips Church in the early months of 1775 as the winds of war were blowing on the eve of the American Revolution. Of course he was not at that time a bishop. There were no bishops on these shores, though Anglicanism was well into its second century on this continent. Nor was he a bishop when he returned to Charleston from imprisonment and banishment in 1783 to give his homecoming sermon, where once again he spoke of an “overruling Providence”. As perhaps you know, his banishment to a northern colony was due to his having taken words and arms against his former king and country—and having thrown in his lot with his adopted home, he risked and lost everything. He was taken to Philadelphia bereaved of wife (she had recently died), and bereft of home and parish. But on that public occasion in February 1775, before he had ever fired a musket towards a British troop, this unlikely patriot declared his deepest allegiance:

“We form schemes of happiness and deceive ourselves with a weak imagination of security, without ever taking God into the question; no wonder then if our hopes prove abortive, and the conceits of our vain minds end in disappointment and sorrow. For we are inclined to attribute our prosperity to the wisdom of our own councils, and the arm of our own flesh, we become forgetful of him from whom our strength and wisdom are derived; and are then betrayed into that fatal security, which ends in shame, in misery and ruin.”

Notice how his eye looks upward; his mind striving to understand; his heart taking refuge in God’s ordering of things. Trusting the One “… who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. (Isaiah 40:21-24) It is under such a godly Providence that we live my friends—and it is under this godly providence, whether we act or merely stand firm in prayerful posture, that we in faith “shall mount up with wings like eagles … shall run and not be weary, … shall walk and not faint.”

So let us remember this comforting doctrine of God’s Providence. We have passed through much as a diocese. We have more challenges to encounter but we do not do so under our own power or by our own insufficient plans. There has come to us, as if by a providential hand, this offer from the Global South Primatial Steering Committee; an offer brought about not by our scheming or plans, but by the concern that others have for us; a concern that we do not walk this way alone. There’s an African proverb that wisely states—“If you want to go fast go alone; if you want to go far go together.” This offer of Provisional Primatial Oversight does not come with colonial intent or to burden us with a cultural mandate other than that of the Gospel; but rather to assure us that we are not on this long Anglican journey alone. I believe our prior relationships with so many of the Anglican Churches, our unity in the Holy Spirit, in the bonds of affection, and in the mission and gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ can only be strengthened by our accepting this offer of ecclesial relationship. This Primatial Oversight will bring us an extra-provincial diocesan status with an ecclesial body of the larger Anglican family. It will deepen our mutual responsibility in the Gospel. It will give our bishop a Primate with whom to seek counsel and fellowship; and bring us gracious oversight from one of the largest ecclesial entities within the Communion; one which includes Anglicans from a diverse body of believers from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, the Indian Ocean and many, many others. So without committing us to a hasty affiliation or alleviating our need to continue the work of ongoing discernment for a more permanent provincial relationship, it does bring us, as I have noted above, a needed mutual responsibility in the Gospel. And, yes, it strengthens our Anglican or Episcopal Identity.

So in conclusion, let me say it clearly, I fully support the passage of this Resolution, R-3. Should we pass it, along with the two other related resolutions, R-1 “Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans” and R-2 “Discernment of Provincial Affiliation” we will be placed, I trust by God, squarely in the midst of the emerging Anglican world of the 21st Century. From here we can continue to move forward in strength, fulfilling our God given vision of making biblical Anglicans for a global age—striving to equip every congregation to engage every generation with the good news of Jesus Christ; and in whatever way God chooses to enable us—helping to shape emerging Anglicanism in the 21st Century. For such a gift and calling I believe we all can be grateful—and proclaim—to God alone be the Glory!
For a full report on all the convention proceedings, see the diocesan website.