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Developing Healthy
Missional
Congregations
A note from Bishop Steve Wood
 
Dear Friends,

As our diocese continues to develop our common life Nancy Bryan has helpfully begun a regular e-newsletter of sorts to ensure we stay connected one to another. Included in these e-newsletters will be a brief article from me. During this Lenten season I thought I'd write you about that which is closest to my heart; developing healthy missional congregations.


Over the course of my ordained life I have continually observed that when a congregation goes flat it is usually because one aspect of their life is out of balance.   As Anglicans entrusted with the great treasure of a rich liturgical life, we tend to do worship well. And, as I've traveled from parish to parish across our diocese we tend to love one another well. Most commonly it is the missional focus that has been lost. 
 
So, how can you - and your parish - develop a heart that will grow an outwardly minded (mission minded) church?  Here are five suggestions:
 

Missionaries Allen and Rachel Hill

by Dr. Sharon Pullen

 

Allen and Rachel Hill arrived in the U.S. in the heat of the summer of 2016. Besides leaving behind the mild South American winter, they also concluded a successful 16- year mission assignment, said goodbye to many close friends and associates, and left the only home their sons, James and John, have ever known. The Hills were sent to Peru in 2000 by the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS) and have come to Raleigh on a study leave assignment. Both Allen and Rachel were ordained in Peru and are canonically resident in the Anglican Diocese of Peru.

Allen’s arrival in North Carolina was a homecoming. He grew up in Raleigh, attended St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, and graduated from Broughton High School. His undergraduate studies in philosophy at Guilford College forced him to question and evaluate his beliefs and worldview. During his freshman year, Allen joined a small group Bible study. He says he heard the Gospel stated clearly for the first time and embraced a personal relationship with Jesus.

Allen attended Trinity School for Ministry in Pittsburgh where he earned a Master of Arts in religion. He was intentional about his decision not to pursue a Master of Divinity, believing that a strong laity is vital to the growth of the Church.

During his final days in Pittsburgh in the summer of 1997, Allen met his future wife, Rachel Godfrey. He was preparing to leave for India on his first overseas mission assignment. Rachel was beginning her first year of seminary and admits she wasn’t thinking about marriage. Her reluctance to date Allen was the very thing that set the stage for their relationship to develop. They agreed to write to each other during the year Allen was in India, and both eventually realized their friendship had caught fire. They became engaged when Allen returned and were married in 1998. Two years later they would leave for Peru.

 
A REAL GOD
with Real Women, Real Life, Real Men & Real Courage
 
February began with God calling 84 women from St. Paul's Greenville to Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC for SPC’s Second Annual women’s overnight retreat.  Our time together consisted of prayer, diving into the Word of God, small group discussion, praise and worship, meals together, social time, and fellowship.
 
The excellent teaching was led by Van Weston of Pawley’s Island, SC. This was her second year leading the retreat, and the women agreed that though they thought it impossible to top year one, God did. Her teaching focused on Jesus encountering the Samaritan woman at the well. Throughout our time together, Van reminded us that Jesus loves us, Jesus is for us, and Jesus is with us. She encouraged each of us to embrace our relationship with Jesus and embrace the “life benefits” that Jesus has for us. Each woman left renewed, praising God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Our time together was indeed life changing.  All praise to Jesus.

The Men held their 4th Annual Men’s Retreat the following weekend. With 66 men in attendance, it was a wonderful time of joy and fellowship as well as a time of worship and hearing from God’s Word. Bishop Thad Barnum spoke to the men on Friday night and Saturday about real courage from the life of Jacob. Together they dealt with fear, anxiety, and the need to let go of control and let Jesus work in our lives.
 
The retreat closed with a prayer service, where the men from St. Paul’s were encouraged to lift up their hands, let go of their control, and receive the Father’s work in their life. Finally, they gathered around the communion table in the chapel for Eucharist and a final blessing. The Holy Spirit was at work in a mighty way and men have come away refreshed and excited about what God is doing in them as individuals and as a group at St. Paul’s Church. All praise to God!

Church Spotlight: St. Andrew's Park Circle

by Dave Libbon

St. Andrew’s Park Circle was planted three years ago out of a desire to see the people of North Charleston be “transformed by the power and presence of Jesus Christ”. It was then, and remains, our mission. What we have learned, since that first meeting in my living room, is what any good missionary would tell you. Namely that culture plays a massive role in reaching a people group with the gospel.
 
North Charleston is the state’s third largest city and has been experiencing great renewal in recent years. A revitalization of neighborhoods, new schools being built, and families moving into the area are common. What that also means is that with rising home prices, those on fixed incomes get stretched thin. New schools are great, but when the child is sleeping in a hotel room on a pile of blankets, learning still is a problem. With new families moving in, the demand for housing has rocketed in what was once a very urban blue-collar town. With growth looking up (literally up in the sky as Boeing has started to build airplanes here) the question still remains how do we faithfully plant in this multi-layered city. The answer has come through a series of conversations and a great desire to serve people.

People ask “When are you going to get your own building?” Our answer - “Hopefully not for a while!” St. Andrews Park Circle meets in the North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary School The school creates a natural bridge between the culture and the kingdom. NCCAE is a Title 1 school and the majority of children attending qualifies for free or reduced lunch. We began by asking the principal “how can we serve you?” Initially, we were met with skepticism but after a long season of serving, trust has grown. We have engaged with a mentor program and championed getting at risk kids lunch buddy mentors. With a foster home a few blocks away, we provide dinner each month, which builds relationships with the workers and children, giving a great inroad into our community.

The most unique opportunities have come when the un-churched and de-churched are invited to do these things with us. We see that our neighbors, coworkers, and friends are ready and willing to lend a hand for the good of the community, even if they struggle to define why they desire such things. Then we watch God work in and through their lives. We have invited our neighbors over to our backyard for Christmas cookouts encouraging them to bring along a toy for toys-for-tots. We partnered with a local brewery to brew a beer whose proceeds benefit our mentor partners. (The mentor partners provide training for more mentors in local schools).  We have started hosting a local “Pappy Hour” monthly for dads to connect in our city.  St Andrew’s Park Circle continues connecting non-Christians to serve our community, which allows us to live the gospel in their midst, share the gospel with them and watch them be “transformed by the power and presence of Jesus Christ”. Learn more here.
Simeon Fellowship Launched & Going Strong
By Lucy Albert


Ten students met in September for the inaugural gathering of the Simeon Fellowship cohort of Columbia, SC.  That first meeting took the form of a retreat held in Black Mountain over two days and two nights.  After sharing meals, small groups, and guided large groups together, the eight men and two women left knowing each other better and excited about the next two years.
 
Simeon Fellowship is a two-year course aimed at providing new and upcoming clergy with pastoral formation which is often neglected in seminary training.  Canon Art Going pioneered the class and set its curriculum and reading list; ours is the first group to be shepherded by another priest.  Fr. Chip Edgar of Church of the Apostles serves as overseer, while Bishop David Bryan offers additional support and guidance.
 
Seminarians usually graduate with biblical and theological sophistication, but often lack spiritual and practical formation. The Simeon Fellowship—Columbia equips the next generation of church leaders in the context of local Gospel-centered churches. Participants mature within a covenant learning community and finish with a lifetime commitment to ongoing professional and personal growth.

The group gathers monthly ten times a year over two years.  Five of those gatherings take the form of retreats, while the remaining meetings consist of day-long sessions that begin with Morning Prayer.  We then engage in learning about that month’s topic as directed by a guest speaker.  Our preparation includes having read an assigned book on subjects that have thus far included liturgy, preaching, culture, and gender & sexuality.  We anticipate our remaining time together to be rich as we continue to explore what it means to “…tend the flock of God” that is in our charge. (1 Pet. 5:2)

Multi-Generational Relationships
by The Rev. Fred Pinkston

I was working in the yard one day several months ago and had a vision.  It was a picture in my mind’s eye like the seventy 70+ plus logo above.  It came without instructions.

I shared my vision with the Rev. Canon Filmore Strunk, rector of All Saints, Charlotte, and the Rev. Randy Forrester, rector of King of Kings, Charlotte, over lunch at Five Guys following our regular monthly meeting of the Anglican House at Gordon-Conwell.  Both seemed to think the vision had something to do with older men and women serving as patriarchs or matriarchs in the church.  “There is wisdom to be shared”, they said.

EVENTS


DIOCESE OF THE CAROLINAS SYNOD
Holy Trinity Church
March 23-25, 2017
Raleigh, NC

 



NEW BUILDING DEDICATION

All Saints Anglican Church
June 25, 2017
Charlotte, NC


 


Assembly 2017:
Mission on Our Doorstep

June 27-30, 2017


Draws Anglicans from across North America and the world.

Register Here

 

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Address: 440 Whilden St, Mt Pleasant, SC
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