Updated: Oct 31
Among the other successes at this month’s (“G-3”) Anglican Joint Synods, the Continuing Forward committee hosted three workshops related to evangelism, mission and church renewal. Each workshop featured 100-150 attendees from among the 300+ registered at the Synods.
The first (Oct. 10) session was intended to lay the groundwork both for the rest of the synod, and also for our efforts in the coming year. The full video is on the AJS playlist, a compilation of videos from the synods posted to the new Continuing Forward YouTube channel. Below is a summary of the speakers.
The keynote speaker was Abp. Chandler (Chad) Jones (APA Presiding Bishop). Perhaps a key passage:
We have the immediate need and unique opportunity to act, and we do not know how long our window of opportunity will be open. Healthy churches pursue a specific way of worshiping and fostering faithful community. The “elephant in the room” is that only Churches that are healthy will survive and thrive – a conversation topic some Continuing Anglicans apparently prefer to avoid, but one we must now address head-on.
To have healthy Churches, we must make our primary emphasis what the Church has always been called to do: to be faithful to the Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition and to make disciples. Thus, the entire Church, not just the clergy, should focus on baptising new members, reaching the unchurched and those who have fallen away, and building up the faith of those already in the Church.
Next up was Joel West, one of the CF committee members, talking about results from a survey of Continuing Forward readers (see results here). The top priority was on unifying the G-3 into a G-1, and cooperating with other Continuing Anglican jurisdictions.
After that, Bp. Paul Hewett of the ACC — both a CF committee member and one of the founding G-4 bishops — updated the audience on …
G-3 bishops will meet January 16-18, 2024 in Charleston, S.C. to brainstorm possible options for creating a unified church
As an alternative, Bp. Hewett has been encouraging G-3 parishes to move towards geographically compact dioceses, starting with … and …
The three remaining speakers focusing a specific programs of church renewal and planting.
First, Bp. Stephen Scarlett of the ACC talked about his work over the last eight years to develop his Remnant Mission program, a program of spiritual formation to prepare missionaries for a relational approach to evangelism. He promised at 2024 follow up to the 2022 Mission Retreat co-hosted by Bp. Scarlett and Abp. Chad.
Next, Fr. Matt Mirabile (a CF committee member) talked about the ACA’s new PRIME (Parish Renewal, Investment, Mission and Evangelism) program. He emphasized the need to support smaller missions and parishes that are at the risk of burning out, while helping these churches with renewal, mission and evangelism. He discussed what he is doing at the ACA Diocese of the Northeast to use PRIME to bring a “person centered” renewal in the diocese.
Finally, West returned to provide an overview of the church planting process. Continuing Forward is preparing plans to offer one or more introductory workshops in the coming year for prospective planting clergy and laity.
The opening workshop was forwarded by two other workshops: Bp. Hewett on practicing a “Kingdom Thinking” approach to renewing evangelism, and APA clergy describing their success in clergy formation.