Over the past year, Celeste and I have experienced the blessing of travel, some from obligation and some for enjoyment. Since moving to Jackson eight years ago, we have noticed two major changes in our travel experiences. First, it’s no fun flying anymore, although now I have an appreciation for how the animals on the Ark felt. The other, more positive change is we no longer have a problem finding an Anglican Church to attend on Sundays. There are now over 1,000 parishes in the ACNA—all of them established in the last 10 years and most within the last five!
In the past two years, we watched the church plant in Santa Monica go from one service with a hundred people to six services, with over 400 people attending a single service; furthermore, they just announced their own church plant last month. In Denver, we struggled deciding which of the nine Anglican churches to attend. We even had three choices in the San Francisco region! For those of us who travel frequently, this growth is one God’s great blessings. The Kingdom is growing!
We at All Saints believe we are called to grow the Kingdom. To be honest, we are an oasis of Anglicanism in West Tennessee. People travel from as far away as Corinth, MS and Dyersburg, TN just to be able to attend a liturgical church in our Anglican tradition. Like the ancient church, we should be reaching out to these communities, not the other way around. God willing, we will experience the same success as with our efforts as the ancient church’s disciples.
Recently, Barbara Reed, Kevin Vailes, and I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the planters on the frontlines of this effort at ACNA’s Always Forward Church Planting Conference. As members of the All Saints Church Planting Catalyst Team, we went to learn how our Parish could become a successful planting parish. It was a great learning experience for all of us!
If I had to sum up parish church planting, I would say it’s like learning to ride a bicycle: terrifying at the start, difficult at first with guaranteed cuts and scrapes, but it gets easier every time you try. Right now, we are standing in front of our bicycle, looking at it with some trepidation mixed with the excitement of the prospect of success.
Over the next few months in the Crown, we will be providing more details about our specific efforts. As we begin to work in earnest, we will need more involvement from the members of the congregation. The Church Planting Catalyst Team is looking for folks with a little time (talent optional, no treasure required) to contribute toward the expansion of God’s Kingdom. Please contact me, any other team member, or a clergy if you feel called to join this great adventure!