Report from the Mission Retreat in Lake Dallas, TX
Enthusiasm abounds for the Mission Retreat!
Fr. Mirabile, pastor of Trinity Church (ACA) in Rochester, NH, on behalf of the Continuing Forward Workgroup reports:
The Mission Retreat, offered by the Diocese of the Holy Trinity, was held at the Montserat Retreat Center in Lake Dallas, TX on September 28-29th. The theme was A Remnant Theology of Mission, which was the subject of Bp. Scarlett’s earlier work. Some 33 clergy and postulants representing the ACC, APA, ACA and even the APCK, attended the event. Keynote talks by Bishops Stephen Scarlett, Chad Smith and Paul Hewitt, were followed by Mission Reports detailing the history, context, challenges and successes of the many churches that were represented.
Several ideas captured our attention, including the work of establishing Christian Academies, ministries that reach into the real needs of our communities, like The Deep Recovery Course, and grounding mission in the genuine spiritual vitality of the congregation through commitment to prayer and fasting.
Communion Services were dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel and, although the hymns were performed a cappella, the song selection and musical leadership created a wonderful and uplifting dynamic. "The entire event was marked by an uplifting atmosphere and everyone was encouraged, and was probably one of the best clergy events I have attended in many years!", said Fr. Mirabile.
Now the Continuing Forward group will turn its attention to follow up to this Mission Retreat, which will be the series of meetings planned for the 2023 synod. There will be special occasions for informal meetings over libations where mission-minded clergy can share and learn from one another, as well as meetings focused on particular tools that can be used to further mission in the G3.
Joel West, who administrative skills keep Continuing Forward on track, writes:
Last month, the Continuing Forward task force supported Bp. Stephen Scarlett (ACC) and Abp. Chad Jones (APA) in a mission retreat held at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House north of Dallas. A total of 31 attendees from all three G-3 provinces (plus other invited guests) met for two days of teaching, prayer and fellowship to discuss ideas for the renewal of the G-3.
The main theme of the retreat was Remnant theology, an approach to spiritual formation that builds on the writings of Martin Thorton's Pastoral Theology. Bp. Scarlett explained how his diocese has developed an approach for lay spiritual formation based on that model, calling both laity to regular observance of the Daily Office and Thorton's threefold Rule of life.
Bp. Chad Jones of the APA, discussed parallel efforts at his home parish to cultivate a Benedictine prayer book spirituality among the parish through a Rule of life. Other sessions discussed the formation of children and young adults, and how to harness the varied gifts found in any parish. Representatives of each of the 16 parishes represented discussed their own histories and efforts to cultivate mission.
Both days, the attendees worshipped together in morning prayer, a solemn High Eucharist and evensong. Finally, the meals and three evening fellowship events allowed attendees both to make personal connections and contrast efforts to develop the spiritual health of their respective parishes.
Building on this nucleus, the Continuing Forward task force is working with Bps. Scarlett & Jones to organize follow up events on spiritual formation and a rule of life for attendees at the 2023 Jt. Synod, to be held Oct 9-13 in Orlando.
Bp. Paul Hewitt writes:
Bp. Stephen Scarlett led a “Missions Retreat,” September 28-29 a working party deriving from the “Continuing Forward” Task Force on Church Planting and Renewal, to set the theme for next October’s Joint Synods in Oveido, Florida. The theme is the remnant theology adapted from Martin Thornton’s Pastoral Theology, A Re-orientation, which cultivates the soil in which our lives-in-Christ can deepen.
New life and growth come from our cooperating more with God’s graces, and becoming more committed to a corporate parish rule of life, a Benedictine regula. St. Matthew’s, Newport Beach, California, got this going years ago with a remnant in the parish who committed to prayer and fasting every Wednesday, becoming more intentional about their personal and corporate growth in the life of prayer. Another parish engages periodically in the nine days of prayer, the “Novena,” as did the apostles before Pentecost. Dovetailing with this teaching were inspiring stories of how parishes have been planted, how others have been renewed. There were also presentations on college campus ministry and the founding of parish and church schools.
Lew Ricker, a postulant for the deaconate from Trinity writes:
While I have attended retreats in the past, it has never been as part of a denominational retreat like this. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. Celebrating Morning and Evening Offices and Mass both days, and singing hymns and spiritual songs without the use of instruments was spiritually uplifting. The discussions on the Remnant Church were relevant, helpful, unifying - with the desire for constructive outcomes for our congregations and those who do not yet know Christ.
Seeing a good mix of ages represented, discussing the difficult issues facing the Church, gives one hope there is a Remnant willing and able to see the Kingdom of God flourish in the years to come. It was wonderful to meet others from other areas of the country and build relationships that will grow.
It is my hope we will see additional retreats and/or Zoom meetings to build upon what has been established in this retreat. Thornton's idea of The Remnant Church is even more important today than when he penned Pastoral Theology those many years ago.
By Fr. Wesley Walker (from his blog)
In Christian contexts, the word “mission” often makes us think of going to other parts of the world on short-term missions trips or missionary work in remote villages. These mental images are in no way wrong, but they are incomplete. When we use the term “mission” in terms of the Church, we’re talking about her vocation: the identity of the Church, the purpose of the Church, and what activities fall under that umbrella.
The Mission Retreat, organized by +Bp. Stephen Scarlett, the rector of St. Matthews in Newport Beach, California and the Bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Trinity in the Anglican Catholic Church, met this week for a retreat on the topic of mission in partnership with our own Diocese of the Eastern United States of the Anglican Province of America at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Dallas, Texas. Much was said at the conference by many exemplary ministers in our G3 communion of churches who are on the cutting edge of living out the Gospel in the 21st century.
This conference on mission was such an encouragement. I should say that there were members of all our G3 Communion: the Anglican Province of America, Anglican Catholic Church (including the Diocese of the Holy Cross), and the Anglican Church in America were all present. As the Psalmist says (133:1), “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
You can read more of Fr. Walker's article here.