The big news of the past week was the Anglican Joint Synods, which were held in Atlanta, Georgia. Our national church, the Anglican Province of America, held its national synod, while the national synods of the Anglican Catholic Church, Anglican Church in America, and Diocese of the Holy Cross were being held concurrently. Our Diocesan Synod was also held during the week. Representing All Saints were Deacon Louis, Bill & Barbara Fishburne, Doug & Cynthia Hensley, my son Peter, and me.
The yearly Diocesan Synod came off without a hitch last Wednesday, as it usually does. This synod is very much a family affair as we gather to work, worship and fellowship with our wider church family. An all-time high budget was adopted and the parishes made short work of it with their pledges, exceeding the necessary funds to operate our diocese. Most of the work of the church happens on a diocesan level and we are led by our most capable Diocesan Bishop Walter Grundorf. It is my considered opinion that our diocese is undoubtedly the healthiest and most Gospel-minded in our traditional Anglican Movement (I am prejudiced, of course!). One of the highlights of the diocesan synod were the parish reports. It was my privilege to report on the outstanding parish life enjoyed here at All Saints. I had to cobble down my report so that the delegates wouldn’t be overwhelmed with all that is happening here!
Our national Provincial Synod, which meets but once every three years, met on Thursday. This synod is where the work of the wider church gets done, both nationally and internationally. We heard reports from all of our dioceses in this country. Of special interest was the report from our national office of Global Partnerships where we heard the state of the work of the churches in union with us in India, the Caribbean, Ecuador, and the Philippines. The most significant business considered at the Provincial Synod was the approval of an intercommunion agreement between all four national churches in attendance in Atlanta. Our House of Bishops approved the agreement and presented their approval to the Houses of Clergy and Laity at the Synod. The Clergy and Laity affirmed and supported the decision made by our Bishops. We also learned that the other three churches had also approved the agreement.
On Friday morning, October 6, the presiding bishops of all four churches gathered together to sign the agreement in the presence of all the clergy and laity present in Atlanta. The execution of the agreement was greeted by shouts of joy from those present and the entire gathering spontaneously sang the Doxology in thanksgiving for this historic moment. You can see the video of the signing, as well as the text of the agreement, on our national website. This agreement has been a long time in coming and allows us to be a part of a much wider Communion and Fellowship as part of a united traditional Anglican witness. What I find to be a most hopeful signal from this agreement is the wording in the agreement that pledges to seek “full, institutional, and organic union with each other.” Let us pray that we may make it so, sooner rather than later.
Below, I have included Bill Fishburne's thoughts and reflections so you can see the Joint Synods from a layman's perspective.
Now on to some news around here.
Christmas Craft Market
The Christmas Craft Market sponsored by our Ladies of All Saints was an absolute success. Many of the vendors were very pleased with the turnout and have already signed up to come back for next year. The Bake Sale sold nearly everything in the larder and the pork BBQ prepared by Jeff Wyatt, with sauces by Seth Linn, sold out all 32 pounds in less than 2 hours! Thanks to everyone who participated by helping out in any way and certainly for supporting our vendors. The day ended with the raffle of the beautiful baskets donated by Verna Shipman and her daughter Melanie. I am happy to report that 3 of the baskets were won by parishioners (Alice Owen, Kathy Zwingert, & Loretta Reynolds), with the fourth going to one of our vendors. Click here to see the video of the raffle drawing on our Facebook Page.
Friar’s Friday Fall Fish Fry
It is that time again. Our Fall Fish Fry is happening this coming Friday, October 13. Take-out begins at 5 PM and dine-in service begins at 6 PM. All of our presale tickets are gone! But you can still come out and purchase at the door…and I encourage you to do so. Dinner is $10/plate and children under 12 eat free. See you Friday night.
Our Suffragan Bishop Chad Jones will be here for a visit on November 5. He will confirm many of our new members and young people. He will also receive several into our Anglican Way of Christianity. You definitely should make plans to be here on that day to support our children and new members. And if you have never met Bishop Chad, you are definitely in for a treat!
That is it for now. Please read on with Bill's "report" and the announcements below and keep on praying!
Synod from a Layman's Perspective
This past week I was privileged to join with Fr. Erich, Deacon Linn, Doug and Cynthia Hensley, Peter Zwingert, and my bride, Barbara, as participants and observers in the first ever joint synod of four Churches in the Anglican communion, meeting at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia in Dunwoody, GA , for the purpose of establishing full communion with one another.
These churches were:
Anglican Church in American (Bishop Brian Marsh),
Anglican Catholic Church (Bishop Mark Haverland),
Anglican Province of America (Bishop Walter Grundorf), and
Diocese of the Holy Cross (Bishop Paul Hewett).
These churches are acknowledged to be the four most established and self-sufficient continuing Churches in the Anglican communion in the United States. They have grown increasingly close in recent years and look to the Congress of Saint Louis (1977) and The Affirmation of St. Louis as foundations of their shared theology. The Churches are united by commitments to creedal orthodoxy; to traditional Anglican worship rooted in the historic Books of Common Prayer; to the three-fold Apostolic ministry of male bishops, priests, and deacons; and to traditional morality in issues affecting the sanctity of life and human sexuality.
According to a joint announcement of the Synod, “While all four Churches seek closer relations with other ecclesial bodies with Anglican backgrounds, they differ from most of them in a firm belief that innovations since the mid-1970s such as modernist liturgies and the purported ordination of women to Holy Orders constitute unacceptable developments that remove Anglicans from the central tradition of the Undivided Church of the first millennium.”
The four Churches have about 300 congregations in the United States as well as larger memberships in Africa, South America, Oceania, Asia, and England.
In the Anglican Province of America Synod two exciting PowerPoint presentations were made of mission trips undertaken earlier this year. First we saw excerpts from our Global Partnerships’ recent mission trip to central Ecuador. It was not a luxury trip by any means. Conditions on the trip were primitive and the participants commonly worked 17 hour days. As Fr. Erich has explained, we have become a sanctuary church for thousands of former Roman Catholics in the high plateau (8000 ft. and above) region of Ecuador who have basically been abandoned by the Roman church. We were placed in contact with these Christian people, descendants of former slaves of the Ecuadorian native population, through the auspices of Samaritan’s Purse. I hope Bp. Chad Jones can speak to us, when he comes in November, to show you the photos and introduce you to the dedicated Christians we are now serving.
The second presentation showed portions of our Global Partnerships’ mission trip to India, undertaken in February. Some portions of this presentation were extremely distressing as our mission party discovered the needs of Hindu girls forced into the Hindu temple prostitution system at very young ages. In meetings with Bishop Jaya Rao, the Anglican Bishop in the region, they visited the Good Shepherd School in Kollur, in the Mahbubnagar District of Telengana. The school is a four-hour drive from Hyderabad near the border with the adjoining State of Karnataka. The school was built using funds from the APA’s 2011 Lenten Appeal and is part of a larger rural development initiative among women and children at risk in this region. The initiative is directed most specifically towards temple prostitutes and their children and its purpose is to break the cycle of human trafficking that is prevalent in this area. After visiting the school the APA mission team met with their hosts and discussed the possibility of establishing another Good Shepherd School, this time in the Kadapa District of Andhra Pradesh. The APA team agreed that it was something that they could support and would commit to trying to raise the necessary funds to establish such a school, provided Bishop Jaya Rao was in agreement and provided that it could be located close to a village or several villages where the Anglican Church of India has a presence.
For more information on these mission trips including photos and reports go to https://anglicanprovince.org/
More news and positive developments are expected from both mission teams in the near future.
As for the remainder of the synod’s presentations, our All Saints Church, here in Mills River, was singled out for our having provided a motorcycle to a local Indian priest earlier this year. His only alternative was to travel on foot. The motorcycle is a huge improvement and will enable him to bring the word of God to dozens of nearby villages.
As for the joint synod itself, I came away impressed by the meetings and our joint purpose, but also by the serious and good intent of the people who participated. I had conversations with three of the bishops in venues ranging from the lobby to an elevator. I spoke with delegates from the other three Churches and found the hope and expectation, as is recorded in Acts 1:14, that “all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication...”
Readers can ask Fr. Erich exactly what the joining in communion means in a practical sense to the four Churches. That is beyond my scope but I trust and expect we will continue this process despite the foibles and failures that may yet arise. Nothing good in the Church seems to happen overnight; yet often the more something is discussed and debated the more likely it is that the horse you need will look like the camel that spits in your eye.
In my opinion it this joint synod means a far broader spectrum of resources and support including clergy, parishes and church members who can pass seamlessly between the four with the assurance they will be welcomed and will always be on the same theological and practical footing. The statement of concord gives us the foundation to build on. How the resulting structure will evolve is yet to be determined. Each Church has its own Presiding Bishop and at this early stage in our joint communion there are no plans to change that. God only knows how this will look five or ten years down the road but we have taken an exciting step and I am honored to have participated and to have cast my vote in support of the joint communion.
Yours in Christ,
Bill Fishburne, Rector’s Warden
· Interfaith Assistance Ministry here in Henderson County is this month’s recipient of our in-gathering of food stuffs.
Sunday Fellowship Lunch
· We always have a Sunday Fellowship Lunch following our 11 AM Holy Communion. Encourage any visitors to whom you talk to stick around and join us so we might get to know them better.
College Care Packages
· Only 3 months are left to sign up for. Sign up now! Please help us care for Ethan and Sam! The sign-up sheet is on the Youth bulletin board in the parish hall.
The Saints Evergreens
· Our Saints Evergreens fundraiser is back! We are selling Christmas Trees and Wreaths. This is a “pre-selling” campaign. We ask that all members of the church become our “salesmen” and get orders from family and friends to help make this a success. The students of Classical Scholars are also helping us with this. Selling brochures are available today. Get out there now. The ordering deadline is November 3. See Doug Hensley to get your order forms or if you have any questions.
· Children’s Sunday School is ongoing every Sunday at 9:45 a.m.
· Adult Sunday School is focusing on why Anglicanism is unique and distinct in Christianity. Class begins about 9:45 a.m. every week.
· Youth Confirmation Class is every Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
· Tuesday Book Study is studying C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Class starts at 11:00 a.m. Please read Letters 5-7 for this week.
· Wednesday Night Bible Study is studying St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. We have completed the first 15 verses in Chapter 1. Join us Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.