West Virginia is not the first place that most people think of when considering opportunities to plant a church. It is even less likely that it would come up as a place that it would make sense to plant Anglican Churches. It might come up in a conversation about places that need the Gospel, but never as a place that would make sense to plant churches based on a demographic study.
Knowing all of this, about a year ago God began to call me to this place and build a vision for what might even become more Anglican Churches in the state of West Virginia. It seemed crazy at the time with only two Anglican Churches in the entire state, but in the boldness that only comes through youthful naïveté, myself, my wife, Becca, and our two year old, Ellis, moved and began the journey of planting Hope Church Mission in Charleston, WV. God has since blessed us with a growing congregation as well as another child, Ruby, who was born on Dec. 22.
January 20th, 2018, though, marked a momentous occasion on our path of planting Anglican Churches in West Virginia. We had what I believe is West Virginia’s first ACNA ordination. I was ordained to the Priesthood surrounded by friends, family, supportive church leaders from the area, and those who have felt led to call Hope Church their home. Our prayer is that this is the first of many ordinations in the state and that God would lead the way.
The weekend began, however, with a gathering of those interested in being involved in this vision of Church Planting. The eight of us met for 24 hours prior to the ordination, at the St. John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston to submit our ideas before the Lord and pray for guidance and vision. It was simply an amazing time with God and I would recommend it to everyone who is preparing for ordination.
Throughout this prayer time it was clear that God is moving in West Virginia. There’s no doubt that there are massive problems here and that it is an unlikely place for anything good to happen, but nevertheless God is working. This seems crazy from all strategic angles, but in light God’s kingdom where the last will be first, power is made perfect in weakness, and we must become like little children, it almost begins to make sense.
I find that, so often with a big visions like this, God only illuminates at one time, not much more than the next step on the path. That’s where we are in West Virginia, walking forward on a path that’s barely lit, relying on God to lead the way. Join us in praying boldly that God would continue on to completion the good work that he has begun here.
The Rev'd Derek Roberts
Do you know someone in Charleston, WV who might be interested in praying about joining in the effort to grow Hope Church Mission? If so, we would love to hear from you! Please send along their name and contact info. We are excited about the emergence of a DCH church plant in Charleston, WV and appreciate your prayers and support.