There are two events coming up for which I would enjoin your prayers:
2014 Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America
and the election of a new Archbishop
The annual assembly of our denomination (or “province,” to use Anglican-speak) is gathering next week in western Pennsylvania. At this meeting will be gathered all the bishops and lay delegates of every diocese of the national church, including representatives of our own diocese, CANA East. Reports will be given about the current state of our province, and important votes will be taken regarding various amendments to our governing documents, the provincial budget, new trial liturgies for Baptism and Confirmation, and various other things. The full collection of reports as well as drafts of the new liturgies can be found here.
Among the reports to be submitted are the results of the congregational surveys all parishes were required to fill out earlier this year. That report is quite encouraging: it shows 40% net growth in the number of congregations since 2009 (from 700 congregations then to 983 congregations now) and 16% growth in average Sunday attendance (from 69,197 then to 80,471 now). Overall, the membership of our church nationally has grown from approximately 100,000 in 2009 to somewhere between 113,000 and 130,000 today. The Lord has truly blessed our work! May we continue to and indeed ever more so walk in step with Christ’s Spirit.
One of the most consequential activities of this upcoming Assembly is the public announcement of the new Archbishop to succeed retiring Archbishop Bob Duncan. As of the sending of this email, all the bishops of our church, including our own bishops +Julian and +Dave, are gathered together in prayer and deliberation to elect ++Bob’s successor. I encourage and indeed beseech you to pray earnestly for them and for our church, that God’s man for the job will be found out. Bishop Bob has leaves behind large shoes to fill.
Our own Bishop Dave will be us on the Sunday following the Assembly and he will give us a report during our normal service. Also, I have allocated some of my own discretionary budget to pay the registration for our senior warden, Jim Ferguson, to attend the Assembly. We will be well represented!
Instructed Eucharist to conclude Confirmation Preparation this Sunday
When Bishop David Bena is with us on Sunday, he will confirm two of our membership, Hannah Bryan and Drew Meschter. Be sure to congratulate them when you see them!
In anticipation of the service, we as a whole parish have been going through a five week Anglican essentials course called Following Christ the Anglican Way. That course concluded officially last week. However, as a final bonus before Bishop David’s arrival, I will be leading an instructed Eucharist after our service this coming Sunday at the same time the confirmation class had been meeting. The format will be simple: we will use our bulletins from the Sunday service and walk through the structure and symbolisms of our liturgy.
Why do we process in and out? Why do I wear fancy robes? Why do I face the altar during parts of the service? Why do we even have an altar? Why do the Gospels get their own special book and procession? If you ever wondered about these or other parts of our service, stick around after the service this Sunday and find out. At the very least, pray for me that the time would be honoring to Christ Jesus.
I will see you all this Sunday!