2016 ACNA PROVINCIAL COUNCIL REPORT
LAY DELEGATE TERESA KINCAID, CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER, RALEIGH, NC
It was a privilege to attend the 2016 ACNA Provincial Council as a Lay Delegate, along with Bishop Steve Breedlove, Canon Alan Hawkins, and Ben Bowman, Lay Delegate. Each diocese sends their Bishop, a clergy and two lay people to this meeting. Our task as a council is to “conduct the business of the Diocese.” A full report of all that was discussed and decided in our 2 day meeting is available on the Anglican Church in North America’s website.
But more than simply discussing issues, hearing reports, and making decisions, the Council was a time of rich worship, prayer, listening, and learning. ACNA is maturing and strengthening as a province in the Anglican Communion. All the delegates received glimpses of God’s activity and work through ACNA.
The most moving time for us as the PEARUSA Atlantic Coast Network was Tuesday afternoon. Archbishop Rwaje explained that in 2012, God gave the Anglican Church in Rwanda the stewardship of caring for the churches of PEARUSA. But as the Rwandan House of Bishops discerned that the Anglican Church in North America was indeed an Anglican Province, the Rwandan Bishops realized they were to release PEARUSA to become dioceses in ACNA. His words were the words of a wise theologian and the words of a compassionate shepherd. Our relationship with Rwanda continues, we have simply moved into a single jurisdiction (the ACNA) in terms of church structures. Archbishop Rwaje emphasized that he desires for the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the ACNA to continue to walk together.
The ACNA Executive Committee had already unanimously affirmed and recommended our diocese to the Provincial Council for acceptance as a new Diocese of the ACNA. So that Tuesday afternoon the Provincial Council voted to unanimously accept the Anglican Diocese of Christ our Hope into the ACNA. Loud applause and a standing ovation filled the room! The Rocky Mountains Diocese (former PEARUSA Western Network) was also approved and welcomed into the ACNA. The delegations from both Dioceses were called forward for prayer and a blessing.
Our Bishop Steve Breedlove was invited to share a little about Rwanda Ministries Partners. Both Bishop Steve and Archbishop Rwaje desire that other dioceses within ACNA can begin or continue to develop strong relationships with the Anglican Church of Rwanda, Province to Province, dioceses to dioceses, and churches to churches.
Archbishop Foley Beach addressed the Provincial Council, providing a thorough and very encouraging report on the previous year (you can find the Archbishop’s address here). The ACNA is growing in numbers via church plants and attendance. The provincial budget is balanced and in the black, and fundraising is on the rise. The Archbishop also reiterated key points from his consecration sermon. He prays for us to become a Repenting Church, a Reconciling Church, a Reproducing Church, and a Relentlessly Compassionate Church. Archbishop Beach said, “People are craving compassionate care and we have the answer, His name is Jesus.” He challenged everyone to pray, “Lord, open my eyes to see the hurt and pain in the people around me.” And he warned us, praying this prayer can turn our own world upside down.
As a province, he reminded us of two critical opportunities we have to for becoming a compassionate church: The ongoing work of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund and the newly formed Matthew 25 Initiative. The Matthew 25 Initiative is an initiative through which the ACNA seeks to foster and further works of justice and mercy in our communities. It offers grants for local ACNA church ministries and builds awareness and expertise within the ACNA regarding ministries among the “least of the least,” the homeless, those caught in human trafficking, the deeply impoverished, the incarcerated, refugees, and at-risk children and youth. Archbishop Beach challenged each church to have a Matthew 25 Initiative. Check here for more information.
It was encouraging and thrilling to learn of the many ways we can walk with ACNA in obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” --Matthew 28:19-21.