VOLUME XX No. 4 October – December 2014
As we enter the month of November, it is a time to reflect on the Christian year that is rapidly drawing to a close and to think about the challenges of the future. For a number of our people, life is a struggle with health, finances, aging and so on. With others, the struggle is more about providing for the family, getting a decent job, concern about family members be they parents, or children off at school or separated for other reasons. Each new Christian year brings with it hope not because of some empty dream but because of the ‘drama of our redemption.’ It reminds us once again that the Word was made Flesh and came among us. This is the blessed hope that in spite of circumstances we face in this world, our Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world. As we offer ourselves with all the baggage this life places upon us, we know from his promise that he is with us through whatever struggles we may face. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. May we face the new Christian year with joy, peace and resolve to make it, through the grace of God, the best year yet in our lives.
The month of October has been the month of Synods in the Anglican Province of America. The Diocese of Mid-America held its Fourth Annual Synod at Our Lady of the Snows, Belle-ville, Illinois October 15, 2014, a day before the Anglican Province of America Synod. The necesary Synod business was held which included the adoption of a budget for 2015 and the election to replace members rotating off of the Standing Committee and Provincial Council. The big news was the relocation of the Bishop Coadjutor Robert Todd Giffin to the San Antonio area of Texas. They are at present settling in there and Norma Jean is assuming her new duties with her new company. The Parish of St. Joseph, New Braunfels, Texas is in the area and plans are to start another mission in this large metropolitan area of West Texas. Bishop Ordinary, Larry Shaver will continue to assist in the DMA following his official retirement in June 2015.
The Provincial Synod of the APA and the General Synod of the Anglican Church in America (ACA) were held concurrently at the National Shrine of our Lady of the Snows (OLS). The plenary sessions of each of the provinces were held separately, but the worship services were held jointly with clergy from each jurisdiction sharing in officiating. The Synod Eucharist was a concelebrated Mass by Bishops Grundorf and Marsh. The Synod Eucharist Sermon was preached by the Rt. Rev. Chad Jones, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of the East (DEUS). Service music was provided by Richard “Rick” Watson on the lovely pipe organ in the Church of Our Lady of the Snows. All bishops in attendance were vested and seated near the Altar. The banquet held following the Mass was a joyful occasion for clergy and laity alike with music provided by Bishop George Langberg. Many took advantage of singing along with Bishop George as he did a number of familiar tunes of days gone by. It was a grand time of getting to know our intercommunion partners.
The APA Provincial Council and Synod were well attended considering the fact that the East had its Synod in July and the West was holding its Synod a week and a half afterwards. The business of the APA was conducted with the usual reports. One report that stood out was given by our treasurer, D.J. Fulton, concerned our giving to the Global Partnerships which we support. Since our last Provincial Synod in 2011, we have raised $586,802 for our Global Partners. This is amazing considering the size of our Province. It demonstrates the great love our people have for those Christians in foreign lands that are less fortunate than we. Also as an order of business, we elected or appointed new members of the Provincial Council to replace those finishing their terms: Officer, Debra Middleton, Secretary; House of Bishops, Rt. Rev. Robert Giffin; House of Clergy, Rev. Brad Cunningham, House of Laity, Robert Richter and Peter Moritz; and Diocesan Rep, Ben Lizak (DOW).
On the agenda and passed with a modification, was a proposed amendment to the Constitution under Article 1 Sec. 3 Of Provincial Synod having to do with the election of the next Presiding Bishop. This amendment provides for the election of the next Presiding Bishop rather than just the most senior Bishop Ordinary assuming the Office. It will require a 2/3 vote of the House of Bishops and a 2/3 each of the House of Clergy and House of Laity. Additionally, this amendment must be passed by two consecutive Provincial Synods in order to replace the original Article. The proposed Amendment is attached at the end of this Epistle.
DOW Synod and Ordination
The Synod for the Diocese of the West (DOW) was held October 28-29, and hosted by All Saints’ Anglican Church, Prescott, Arizona. The Synod was held jointly with the ACA/DOW for worship services and meals and separately for the business of each Synod. Our DOW held the election to replace members rotating off the Standing Committee and passed a budget for 2015. The highlight of the Synod was the joint Eucharist when Vincent Varnas of St. Michael’s Church, Wilsonville, Oregon was ordained as a Deacon. The Synod Eucharist was held in the beautiful All Saints’ Church and the host church provided lunch following the Service. It is anticipated that Deacon Varnas will work with St. Michael’s and the Rector Fr. Robert Hawkins in forming a new mission church in Corvallis, Oregon. Also, Fr. Creighton Barnes of St. Andrew’s Church, Jacksonville, (Medford) Oregon has announced his retirement as Rector of the church. Fr. Robert Hawkins will serve as Rector, and will have two Deacons locally, Deacons William “Bill” Baker and Christopher “Chris” Smith assisting. Canon Walt Crites was elected as the President of the Standing Committee and re-appointed as Vicar General of the Diocese. Fr. Robert Hawkins was appointed as the Assistant Vicar General of the DOW. We were pleased to have as an invited guest the Rev. Blake Schwendimann, Assistant Priest at St. Matthew’s Church, Newport Beach, CA.
News from the DEUS
We are pleased to announce the Ordination to the Diaconate of the Rev. Arthur Walker on Aug. 23, 2014 by Bishop Chad Jones. The new Deacon will be serving at St. Michael the Archangel, Charlotte, NC under the Rectorship of Fr. Richard Bakley. May God bless Arthur, along with his family, in his new ministry .
Diocesan Synod location and date determined
The Diocese of the East (DEUS) now has a date and venue for the 2015 Diocesan Synod. All Saints’ Church, Charlottesville, Virginia has agreed to host our next Synod the week of July 27, 2015. Thank you to Canon Glenn Spencer and the congregation for taking on this chal-lenge. We are looking forward to having the Synod at All Saints’ in historic Charlottesville.
News from St. Francis Church, Jonesboro, GA
We have three exciting bits of information from Fr. Allen Fisher at St. Francis Church, Jonesboro, GA. First, we have already reported on the arrival of Lucas Elliott to Fr. Allen and Kacey joining young Noah, his brother. Second, St. Francis’ Church held the celebration of the burning of the mortgage on November 15 and we hope to have pictures on the website soon. Thirdly, Fr. Allen reports that the parish, only 30 strong officially, has taken on the task along with First Baptist Church of Forest Park, of feeding itinerant workers under the program called “Feed the Hungry.” Every Monday their members head out to feed 50-55 day workers with sack lunches. He reports that the Gideons periodically come and distribute Bibles to the men which is something they regularly ask about. Fr. Allen will usually pray with 15-20 of them who want prayer and ask questions about scripture. They have other community programs which would make a good article for Ecclesia newsletter. God bless the folks at St. Francis’ Church.
APA Winter Clergy Conference
Our Annual Winter Clergy Conference will be held this January 2015 on beautiful Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach, Florida. No real chance of ice and snow here! The dates for the Winter Conference will be Wed., January 28 arriving and Fri., January 30 departing. Many thanks to Fr. Brad Cunningham and Holy Trinity Church, Fernandina Beach, FL for agreeing to host this gathering of clergy, clergy wives, and deaconesses. The Board of Examining Chaplains will be meeting in advance of the Conference and the Standing Committee will be meeting following the Conference on Friday morning. There will be a special presentation on Thursday for the clergy wives.
We are privileged to have as Presenters, Canon Michael Ward in the morning and afternoon sessions will be with Fr. William Martin. The theme of this Winter Clergy Conference is “Renewing Our Hearts and Minds.”
Updates on Global Appeals
Deacon Joel Arellano has been released from the hospital pending further treatment involving chemo therapy and radiation. He has stage three cancer which requires that he pay $5,000 for the treatment. A deposit of $2,500 would allow them to begin treatment. It is a very aggressive form of cancer. Please help with this emergency if you are able. Checks should be sent to our Treasurer, D.J. Fulton, and note memo field with “Deacon Joel Appeal.”
One of the desperate needs for our Presiding Bishop in South India is a vehicle to minister to his far flung, rapidly growing Diocese. He has been relying on a rented vehicle which is an expensive proposition. We are appealing for funds to purchase a suitable SUV which can be purchased for $10,000. I would like to see this vehicle acquired for Bishop Jaya Rao by Christmas. Again, donations should be sent to Treasurer, D.J. Fulton, with note of “India Bishop’s vehicle” in memo field.
APA Ecclesia Anglicana Newsletter
Fr. Conway has done an excellent job following his predecessor, Fr. Richard Bakley, who resurrected the Newsletter, the name, and got the initial issues printed. Ecclesia Anglicana is your newsletter and Fr. David Conway of St. James of Jerusalem Church, Sarasota, FL, wishes all of you to know this. Fr. Conway wants your parish news and would like you to voluntarily send a picture and an article to him, unsolicited. He has resorted to ‘bugging’ people for information when none has been volunteered, so please send your news directly to Fr. Conway at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood
On Sat., November 15, 2014, at St. Michael the Archangel Church, Charlotte, NC, I ordained the Rev. O. Michael Cawthon, Sr. as a priest in the Church of God, surrounded by Bishops Jones and Brewer, his rector, the Very Rev. Richard Bakley, and numerous clergy from around the Diocese. Fr. Cawthon completed the rigorous Master’s Degree Program at Reformed Theological Seminary. His wife, Debbie, and other family members and friends came to be with him on this glorious occasion.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Crownsville, MD, will bid farewell Bishop Robert “Bob” and Emily Loiselle after Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful celebration of their ministry with St. Paul’s Church at a banquet on Sunday evening, Nov. 9, 2014. The banquet was attended by over 160 people whose lives were touched by their love and ministry in this parish. It was a 14 year ministry, taking the church from near death to the present including the building of a new Church structure. They will be sorely missed by all and the church thankfully has the faithful ministry of Interim Rector, Fr. Thomas Burr. We wish all of them God’s blessing.
Christ the Redeemer Church, Warner Robins, Georgia will bid farewell to their Rector, Fr. Paul Gerlock and his wife, Linda, on December 6, 2015. This parish has an amazing ministry under the leadership of Fr. Paul beginning in the conference room of the Holiday Inn, acquiring property, remodeling a house for church services and now recently moving into their lovely, newly constructed church building. All of this was done while others his age would have been looking at retiring. They will be greatly missed by all. We wish them every blessing and a good long life together.
A reminder to all clergy, there is no scriptural precedent for retirement from your lifetime ordination, only a move on to a new ministry.
Congratulations on the new arrivals
We send our blessing and congratulations to:
Fr. Matt and Sarah Harlow on the birth of their son, John Christopher Harlow, born Sept. 2, 2014.
Fr. Allen and Kasey Fisher on the birth of their son, Lucas Elliott Fisher, born Sept. 19, 2014.
Bishop Chad and Megan Jones and the birth of their daughter, Caelin Meredith Lee Anne Jones, born Oct. 9, 2014.
In closing, I want to join Mary in wishing each of you a blessed Thanksgiving Day and, as we anticipate the Advent Season, a time of joyous preparation.