It was such a blessing to spend 5 days at the Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). Over 1300 people were present for the occasion. There were a variety of services, large plenary sessions and multiple seminars to choose from. Everyone was remarkably friendly and this made it very easy to get to know new friends. There was a keen interest in the current state of Anglicanism in the UK and what networks like the Anglican Mission in England are doing to advance the cause of the gospel.
I’ve made many new contacts in the ACNA. Some have already offered coaching help for our future church planters. All want to see our mission flourish.
During all the services, I was struck by the vibrant singing, the rich liturgy and the passionate preaching. The consecration of Andy Lines was the most heart-warming service I’ve ever attended. The preaching of Archbishop Nicolas Okoh moved me to tears. His charge to Bishop Andy was such a challenge. And to know that it came from the mouth of someone who was living out the charge personally was so powerful.
I was struck by the positive gospel vision of the folks I met. I think this is more than simply American positivity. On reflection, I do wonder if one of the issues that stops conservative evangelicals in the UK from advancing as joyfully as we might is a negativity which instinctively wants to point out what we disagree with rather than what can be celebrated.
I was so encouraged by the Bishops I met. All seemed to model a very different style of episcopal leadership than we normally see in England. For example, Bishop Stewart Ruch from the Diocese of the Upper Midwest spend two hours over lunch with me, and communicated so much wisdom about church planting, as well as pastoring me as a husband and a father. Not to mention his passionate and tearful prayers for the salvation of the lost!
Anglican Mission in England