PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLY 2017 REFLECTION
BY JAY TRAYLOR
Drawn in, sent out. Called together to worship the Lord, dismissed to bring God’s message to the mission field. The 2017 ACNA Provincial Assembly began with a morning Eucharistic and a message from Archbishop Foley Beach. The worship began with a processional of all clergy in attendance. It was a singular thrill to vest and process along with hundreds of other deacons, priests, bishops, and archbishops, and to see the diversity and unity of our communion. Archbishop Foley spoke from Luke 10, saying that the mission field is ripe and rich, but that it is closer than we think: the mission field is right on our doorstep. Our nation needs the Gospel, our neighbors need the Gospel, the church itself needs the Gospel.
The assembly followed in this theme, with various speakers and sub-conferences. We got to hear Ed Stetzer talk about church planting, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali talk about Christ and culture, and Lisa Chinn talk about reaching international students with the Gospel. There were workshops on the church in nursing homes, the role of catechism in forming young worshippers and their families, the missional use of healing ministries, and many more.
An important part of the business of the Assembly was, well, the actual business of the assembly. I was a clergy delegate from Diocese of Christ Our Hope, and we voted on some amendments to our constitution and canons. There was only one point of slight contention, and it was gratifying to see that, even as people clearly disagreed with one another, and everyone stated their cases plainly and unmistakably, at no point was there any personal animosity. As soon as the amendment in question passed, everyone turned to the rest of the business with no further disagreement. It struck me as a great example of how Christian brothers and sisters can express differences of opinion without compromising either their beliefs or their commitment to loving and respecting one another.
The Assembly concluded with another time of corporate Eucharistic worship, and a ceremony that might have resonance for people who have been in our diocese back when it was part of PEARUSA. In much the same way that the Rwandan Anglican church had their missional district in America (PEARUSA) to provide cover and give protection and structure to orthodox congregations in America who needed a new home, the ACNA has now commissioned a missionary bishop, Bishop Andy Lines, to go to Scotland with a similar mission. Watching bishops from all over our province, as well as archbishops from all over the world, lay hands on Bishop Andy as he was consecrated and commissioned was a perfect way to end the time together, reminding us that our communion is global, and that our mission is both overseas and right on our doorstep.
The Diocese of Christ our Hope’s mission is to plant, equip, and multiply disciple-making Anglican churches, and to support and serve their people and leaders in Christian life and mission.