Summer is in full swing and I hope you are getting the chance to rest. One of the gifts of these months is the opportunity to break our regular rhythms of work and life with something different and restorative - time in silence and stillness, time with family and friends. In these extra-ordinary breaks we are often opened up in fresh ways to God’s goodness and presence. I hope and pray that you have a taste of such things this summer!
As many of you know, this past week was the bi-annual assembly for the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), our family of churches and branch in the global Anglican Communion. Both Andrew, our director of music, and Paul, our minister of mission and discipleship, had the opportunity to attend - along with 1400 others. I’m grateful that Paul and Andrew and their families were willing and able to sacrifice time together for this opportunity and I’m excited that they were able to connect with others in the ACNA.
I asked Paul and Andrew for their thoughts on their return and both pointed to the ecumenism of the gathering, with speakers from a variety of different Christian traditions and backgrounds speaking and sharing at the assembly. A strength of the ACNA is its willingness to listen to and learn from the diversity of good gifts of God’s global church. This breadth of people and expressions also extended to ethnic diversity, which is a joy to hear.
They also pointed to the emphasis on mission, as the theme of "Mission On Our Doorstep" suggested. One element of this emphasis was the appointment of a missionary bishop to England. As the ACNA is a part of the Anglican (read English) Communion, the sending of this bishop, to support and develop the spread of churches that proclaim and embody the Gospel for the sake of others is a big deal. On the global level, there are politics involved related to the different provinces of the Anglican Communion and their relationship. At the most basic level, however, what the sending of this bishop demonstrates is a commitment within the ACNA to faithful proclamation of the good news of God’s restoration of broken lives and a broken world through Jesus Christ, and that is to be celebrated. The moment of this bishop’s sending was, as I understand it, the high point of the assembly, involving prayer for the bishop and the church in England and praise to God for all He is doing in making Jesus known and the church's role in that work. Glory be to God!
May these same characteristics of commitment to the mission of God, and a generously openhearted posture be elements of our life together at COTC! Thank you, Andrew and Paul, for representing us and for the reports back on your time at assembly.