Bishop’s Epistle

Anglican Province of America

XXIII No. 3                      July-September 2017

The Most Reverend Walter H. Grundorf, D.D.

Greetings to all as we begin the countdown for our historic Joint Synods October 2 through 6, 2017. I urge all who can possibly attend, to make your reservations for the hotel soon. You may find the links to register for Synod and make hotel reservations online from our APA website (www.anglicanprovince.org under the NEWS tab). Please remember to scroll down to bottom of each page to see “register” and “next” buttons. If you still need help with online registration, you may contact, Debbie Weaver at dweaver63@gmail.com. So there is no confusion, the first part of the Synod week will be when each jurisdiction will be doing its own regular business. The APA, Diocese of the Eastern U.S. (DEUS) will be having its various committee meetings on Monday and Tuesday. The APA/DEUS and the APA/Diocese of Mid-America (DMA) will begin their individual plenary sessions on Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. On Wednesday evening, after the evening events, the APA Provincial Council will meet at 8:30 p.m. in preparation for our APA Provincial Synod the following day. Thursday at 9:00 a.m. the APA Provincial Synod will hold its triennial Meeting scheduled until 5:00 p.m. All Worship Services, Holy Communion, Morning and Evening Prayer will be held each day and is for all jurisdictions to join together for worship. Each of the four Jurisdictions will take a day when they will be in charge of their respective Daily Services. The APA will be in charge of the Wednesday Services. Thursday evening, beginning at 7:30 p.m., will be the All Jurisdiction Banquet with special guest speaker, the Rev. George Clendenin, an original participant in the 1977 Congress of St. Louis.

Friday of the Joint Synods will be a Plenary Session along with all four Jurisdictions participating and the signing of the Official Intercommunion Document. It will indeed be an historical occasion and we pray the Holy Spirit will be our guide. This historic event will be followed by a Joint Celebration of the Synod Mass, with each of the Archbishops (Presiding Bishops) participating in the Service. It has fallen my lot to be the preacher at this Mass. We anticipate this will signal the beginning of a new era of cooperation as with great hope we move forward together into a promising future for Traditional Anglicans.
I would like to give a little background as to why we are in this position of calling together the four major jurisdictions of the Continuing Anglican Church at this time.
The 1960s were an unstable time in the U.S. with the Viet Nam War, the racial rioting in many of the major cities, the assassination of President Kennedy and then of Civil Rights Icon Martin Luther King, Jr., all contributing to division in our Country. The Episcopal Church (TEC) was always a symbol of stability but during this period became a Church unsure of itself, with Bishops denying major contents of the ancient Creeds and having their preaching and writings in this regard go unchallenged. TEC also became very much involved in liberal partisan politics. Those in TEC who were unhappy with the direction of the Church had two options, leave the Church or stay in and fight. Organizations such as the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen and the Foundation for Christian Theology were created to inform members of TEC of what was happening in their Church. Some left TEC and formed early versions of the Continuing Church. Those of us in this early iteration of the Continuing Anglican Movement found ourselves involved in establishing congregations as those who were leaving TEC needed a church in which to worship. These early churches formed a jurisdiction in 1968-1970 called the “American Episcopal Church.” While the Episcopal Church was using the ‘trial liturgies’ in those days, those of us who were ‘Continuing Anglicans’ were faithfully using the 1928 BCP or the Missal. Any conflicts in our newly formed Anglican congregations were usually centered around whether or not it was going to be Morning Prayer or Holy Communion, not about issues which later became much more concerning, e.g. Women’s Ordination and later the Ordination of Practicing Homosexuals.

In 1976, the General Convention of TEC officially voted to approve the Ordination of Women (WO) to all three orders of ministry. This led to the departure of a number of the Anglo-Catholic wing of clergy along with a number of the Broad Church traditionalists. A Congress was called by the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen. The Congress was held in St. Louis in September 1977 and titled the Congress of St. Louis. Importantly from this Congress, a document called The Affirmation of St. Louis was produced and is referenced in the Solemn Declarations of each of the four participating jurisdictions who will be a part of the October Joint Synods.

Leaving out much of the detail, the body remained intact under the name of the original Anglican Church of North American (ACNA) for a couple of years. No Episcopal Bishop had left TEC at this time, so there was a vacuum in leadership. The body elected four of their priests to be consecrated as bishops in the original ACNA. A retired bishop of TEC, Albert Chambers, agreed to be a consecrator although he never left the Episcopal Church. Each of the four bishops elected and consecrated in this fragile new jurisdiction separated from each other for one reason or another. The American Episcopal Church, our original jurisdiction, continued on in parallel with the other Continuing Churches from the Congress of St. Louis and managed to grow all through the 1980s which was a time when some of our most stable congregations, such as St. Alban’s, Orlando (Oviedo), FL; St. Barnabas’, Atlanta (Dunwoody), GA; All Saints’ Charlottesville, VA; and St. Mary’s, Delray Beach, FL; to name a few, came into existence.

Other attempts at unifying jurisdictions over the years have not been completely successful. As time goes by, we are finding various ways forward in fulfilling our Lord’s command that we be one. The fact that each of our Jurisdictions involved in this Synod uses the same liturgy and practice much of the same discipline is an encouraging factor. Each Jurisdiction now recognizes the Episcopal Orders of the others. We pray that the Lord will show us the way forward as we seek to grow in friendship, in love, humility and ultimately Unity.

Anglican Legacy Camp 2017

Please see the pictures and article on the Anglicanprovince.org webpage and see some very encouraging signs of growth in our youth of our church from around the DEUS and others from intercommunion partners that attended summer camp. I want to thank all those who contributed to the scholarship fund to provide a way for deserving children to attend camp. What a great way to bond with other Anglican children as they meet at camp from year to year. Special thanks to coordinator, Fr. Michael Cawthon, the Clergy Counselors: Bishop Chad Jones, Fr. Cawthon, Fr. Haines, Fr. Harlow, Fr. Pinto, Fr. Rivard, Fr. Paul Sterne (Diocese of the Holy Cross); Laity Counselors: Kelli Brodrecht (St. Alban’s Cathedral), Pam Driscoll (St. Michael the Archangel Church), Matthew Green (St. Andrew’s Church, REC), and Susan Crosby (St. Michael the Archangel Church); and all the lay people of St. Michael the Archangel Church, in Charlotte, North Carolina, who helped make this year’s camp so successful.

Lenten Fund 2016 and 2017 update

I want to thank all of the parishes and missions of our Province, along with all individuals who contributed to the 2017 Lenten Fund. We are so close to our goal to finish the project which began in Blacksburg, VA at St. Philip’s Church. This is truly a mission project to a community which has a major University, Virginia Tech, and Radford College. Both schools have students at St. Philip’s. I dare say St. Philip’s Church now has the largest percentage of millennials of any church in the APA. The lovely old building of St. Philip’s Church has required much in the way of renovation, not only for safety but mandated by the city of Blacksburg. This has set back the reserves for the vicar’s salary. Please help us finish this project and make St. Philip’s completely self-sufficient. If you have Lenten Funds collected and have not sent them in yet or if you would like to have your congregation be a part of this year’s Fund, please do so when you are able. Continue to pray for Fr. Wade Miller and his efforts to build St. Philip’s Church.

Other good news concerns the 2016 Lenten Fund recipient, St. Peter the Apostle Church, Kingsport, Tennessee. After a long search period, we have found a capable and highly-qualified priest by way of the REC and the ACA named Fr. Robert Placer. Fr. Placer is moving to Kingsport by August 1, 2017 to begin his ministry there. The Church is very excited about the prospect of having a full-time parish priest in the community for the first time! We are all looking forward to seeing and hearing how God will use our Lenten fund, once again, to grow His kingdom.

Good news from the DOW

As you know, All Saints’ Church, Prescott, Arizona, lost their parish priest last December 2016 when Bishop George Fincke died. Last summer, a priest from the ACA Diocese of the Northeast, Father Ian Dunn, who had been working a secular job California, called expressing interest in available parishes in the APA. After discussions with him over some months, and talking with Bishop Marsh, his Diocesan Bishop, I put him in touch with Fr. Greg Miller who was looking for a part-time curate. This was worked out with Bishop Marsh and Fr. Dunn was granted a provisional license and moved to St. Matthew’s, Weaverville, North Carolina. He worked a part-time job, but was able to experience parish life in a well-functioning congregation and with a highly competent mentor in Fr. Miller.
I suggested in May that Fr. Dunn might apply to become the rector of All Saint’s, Prescott. Fr. Dunn applied and spent time there in early June. Following the visit, Fr. Dunn was contacted by the Senior Warden, Ben Lizak, and was told that the parish would like to call him to be Rector. He accepted pending the approval and Letters Dimissory from Bishop Marsh, which was graciously provided. Many thanks to Bishop Brian Marsh for a wonderful example of cooperation between intercommunion partners. Fr. Dunn expects to begin his ministry in Prescott on August 1, 2017.

On the Ecumenical Front

An APA Mission Team will be traveling to Ecuador along with Mission Partners from Worthy Endeavors Ministry to visit our clergy and churches in the Anglican Province of America in Ecuador, August 23-31, 2017. This is our second visit to our newest Global Partner and the team accompanying our Vicar General, Father David Haines, will be, Bishop Chad Jones, Senior Suffragan, and Dean Ralph Waterhouse of St. Alban’s Cathedral. Plans are to teach the clergy and lay leadership in the Anglican Way. There will be visitations to new church construction in some of the 32 communities, numerous confirmations, and a special time with the Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of two of their Deacons. This important trip is made possible with thanks to those who contribute to our foreign missions fund. Also, Fr. Waterhouse will be evaluating the possibility of taking select youth on a Mission Trip to the region next summer to assist in clean-up, painting and other jobs at the APA/Ecuador Headquarters in Quamote.

The Reformed Episcopal Church General Council- June 2017

I was privileged to be an invited guest, along with Mary, to the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) General Council Meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 14-16, 2017. It was a great time of renewing old acquaintances among the clergy and laity. The highlight of the time there was the Institution of Bishop Ray Sutton as the new Presiding Bishop of the REC at the lovely Church of the Holy Communion. Along with the business agenda, Bishop Sutton did three developmental sessions on their REC 100 program to promote and encourage planting and growing churches in the Anglican Way. This was part of Bishop Royal Grote’s legacy for the future of the REC which he and Bishop Sutton shared prior to Bishop Grote’s untimely death last Thanksgiving Day. The program was very well presented by Bishop Sutton whom I have invited to attend the Joint Synods in October. I have asked Bishop Sutton to present a condensed version of the REC 100 to our Clergy Conference on Tuesday, October 3rd, between 10:00 a.m. and Noon.

Episcopal Missionary Church Synod – July 12-14

I have been invited, along with Mary, to attend the Episcopal Missionary Church (EMC) Synod by Presiding Bishop William Millsaps in Monteagle, Tennessee. It will be a time of meeting some old acquaintances and also to bringing greetings to the Synod from the APA. We look forward to stronger relationships with Bishop Millsaps and his Church in the future.

First Episcopal Visit by the Diocesan and Presiding Bishop

My first visit to St. James the Great Church in Smiths Station, Alabama, will be Sunday July 16, 2017. St. James the Great Church, along with their priest the
Continuation of Bishop’s Epistle Rev. John Klein, were received into the Diocese and the APA at our Synod in Tampa, Florida, last summer. We are looking forward to seeing their Church facility and the faithful members of this new mission church. Smiths Station is between Columbus, Georgia and Auburn, Alabama.

In closing, we were saddened by the loss of Fr. Richard Blyth on June 9th in Melbourne, Florida, after a long struggle with cancer. Fr. Blyth was a faithful, loving and devoted priest of our Church and will be missed by all, including family, friends and St. Paul’s Church, Melbourne, Florida, where he served as a long-time assistant priest. Fr. Blyth’s Requiem Mass will be held on Saturday, August 5th, at St. Paul’s, Melbourne, Florida. Rest in peace Richard+

I look forward to being together at the Joint Synods in October. In the meantime, have a pleasant and fruitful summer. Do continue to pray for the many needs of our Church and also for the complete healing of Father Kevin Sweeney, in your daily prayers.

Faithfully yours in Christ,
+Walter