As we enter the Christmas Season and prepare for the Grand Celebration of our Lord’s Incarnation, what a great time it is to think of the many blessings we have received as we reflect on this past year. As Presiding Bishop, I want to say how thankful I am for the wonderful and faithful Bishops, Priests and Deacons we have in our Province who give selflessly to their people and the work of the ministry. And so many do what they do and count it a joy with thankfulness to God for calling them to this work for His Kingdom. It is a joy to see the numbers of young men and in some cases their wives joining them as they make the commitment to take on the challenge of Seminary. God has truly blessed our Province as we see the next generation of clergy and lay people preparing themselves for the building of God’s Kingdom wherever they may be called to serve. I am truly thankful for the numbers of committed lay people in our parishes who have responded to the call to help financially support our Seminarians. Along with this support, likewise I appreciate the lay participation in our Domestic Lenten Fund to assist the clergy and their families as they take the leap of faith and relocate to another city to take on a struggling or new mission church.
This past year saw the dramatic increase in our Church as it has expanded into the central Andean Mountains of Ecuador. Through our partnership with Worthy Endeavors Missions, Inc., and Samaritan’s Purse the APA was invited to provide Episcopal Oversight to 32 Communities totaling 20,000 people of the Pastorale Indegenas of Ecuador, now of the Anglican Province of America in Ecuador. We, along with our Partners, were able to meet the leadership, both clergy and laity, and many of the people on a visit in November 2016.
Our Global Partnership in India continues to expand and the joint project of the APA with OM (Operation Mobilization) to build a school for the Dalit children is prepared for dedication. Our Mission Team, led by Vicar General David Haines, will be visiting Bishop Jaya Rao in February 2017 for this purpose and to visit many of the village churches we help support there. Our Partnership in Haiti continues to struggle with the disastrous weather conditions and governmental corruption. Fr. Mews continues to work heroically and now has a number of new deacons assisting him with the school and church. Our Philippine Church continues to grow under new leadership and efforts to work with the ACC in that country are ongoing.
October 2017 will bring a special event as we will be having joint Synods with four major ‘Traditional’ Anglican jurisdictions meeting in Atlanta, GA. This is a historical event which we pray will be a first step in bringing together into communio in sacris these jurisdictions as we seek to unify the Body of Christ. Your regular prayerful intentions are requested for the Joint Synod’s success.
Some of us have struggled in the past year with loss of loved ones in both family and parish. However, as Christians we have the assurance that our loved ones are in the loving arms of our Lord. Whatever losses, whatever disappointments we may have had, may this time of our Christian year inspire us all with renewed Hope and Vision remembering the Lord of the Universe is on our side and he does love us.
With Love to all and a Merry Christmas from Mary and me,
The Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, D.D.
Presiding Bishop, Anglican Province of America