Cathedral Bridging Racial Divide

In November of 2016 I was feeling convicted: the previous several years, across the country, and in our own state, had seen a series of highly publicized, racially implicated shootings—some clearly racially motivated, others not so clearly, yet fitting that narrative too closely for comfort.

I know that I can’t count myself “woke” to these issues, but my eyes had been opened to the kinds of challenges young black men encounter daily in our society; the kinds of additional burdens that young white men simply never face. Terrance had come to live with us for about 8 months in 2006-7 when he and my two boys were in middle school together. I saw how even the most trivial incidents—conversations, retail transactions, transportation challenges—were tinged with racial bias for him. I saw him deal with slights and inconveniences (and I’m not talking about actually ugly encounters) with grace and kindness, and with an indefatigable optimism that had to be exhausting.

Yet here I was, some 10 years later, my life not having changed at all.

So I cold called Pastor Jamey Graham of the St John Baptist Church. I had met Jamey once, nearly 10-years earlier, in a locker room having both worked out; I sheepishly asked if we could be friends.

Over the next year and a half, we did that. We shared meals, enjoyed long conversations, got our families together, and dreamed about our churches doing something(s) together. His church is Baptist, mine is Anglican, so there are some limits on what that can look like; but we both wanted to do something, in the shared conviction that something is always better than nothing.

 This June saw our churches take a first step together. We hosted a three-day Preaching Mission: a simple sung Evening Prayer with sermon. He would preach, and his church choir would sing before and after each sermon. Then, we would gather for an hour or so in the Parish Hall to get to know each other.

It was amazing! We averaged about 120 each evening, and the fellowship far exceeded my timid hopes. In some ways, the services amplified our differences: from the Opening Sentences through the Canticles felt starkly reserved and “white.” The choir and Pastor Jamey’s excellent preaching would bring the house down, and then we would tone it down again from the Apostles Creed through the Prayers. But to my delight, no one was troubled by that. We each got to be ourselves, and we enjoyed each other very much.

We don’t know where this will lead. This fall we are organizing supper clubs that will combine two families from our church with two families from theirs. The only requirement is that those groups figure out how to share a meal four times between now and the end of the year. What comes after that? We can’t wait to find out.

Chip Edgar,
Dean and Rector Church of the Apostles, Columbia

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Diocese Launches Church Planting Curacy

As the Diocese of the Carolinas continues to look to the future, we are excited to announce the Kardia Church Planting Curacy program to help raise up the next generation of church planters.

The church planting curacy program is designed to help prepare Anglican church planters to plant missional Anglican churches in the Diocese of the Carolinas. The curacy will provide practical training and mentorship within the context of a local Anglican church that has been approved by the Diocese.

Canon for church Planting Winfield Bevins says, “I am very excited about this important next step for our church planting strategy for the Carolinas. We believe that developing a robust curacy program is a critical next step to the mission and expansion of the Diocese of the Carolinas to identify, equip and send church planters to plant Anglican churches across the Carolinas and beyond.”

The curacy lasts between 12-36 months depending on the context and candidate’s experience and background. Normally during the final year of the curacy, curates called to church planting will develop a church planting strategic plan. At the conclusion of the curacy, the curate will be sent out to plant a church in partnership with the local church and Diocese. There are many strategic benefits for creating a curacy program for our diocese.

For the Curate

  • Practical experience in real ministry contexts.
  • On the ground training for church planting.
  • Experience working with/on a staff of clergy and ministry leaders.
For the Diocese
  • A pipeline of equipped, experienced new clergy.
  • A potential church planter with training and experience.
  • Foster a culture of churches planting churches.
For the Parish
  • Assistance in ministry
  • Opportunity to invest in young clergy.
  • A potential new church plant.

At the core of this model is a desire to equip curates to become effective Anglican church planters and to grow the Diocese through starting new churches. The Diocese will start accepting applications this fall and will select three curacies each year. All curacies applications will be approved by the Kardia team.

For more information contact Winfield Bevins Winfield.bevins@asburyseminary.edu.

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The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail!

by Sharon Pullen Anchor
When God asks a question, He isn’t trying to fill gaps in His knowledge. His questions are always followed by life changing revelations to the ones He is addressing. Consider a few of the questions God has asked and the implications for the listeners: “Who told you that you were naked? (Gen 3:11); “What is that in your hand?” (Ex 4:2); “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:4).Jesus was preparing to share a profound truth with His disciples one day as he began to ask them questions about what people were saying about him. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Jesus asked.The disciples answered, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”Then Jesus asked the most important question ever asked, the one to which we all must respond. “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:13-18).

What did Jesus mean when he said the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church? Gates are physical and stationary barriers that cannot advance with aggressive action, so Jesus must mean that the church is somehow putting force on the gates of hell.

Numerous commentaries based on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18 describe the church storming the gates of hell and breaking down the strongholds of the enemy. But that image presents a problem. Nowhere in scripture are we called to take up arms against the enemy in an offensive way. On the contrary, we are called to stand firm against evil, knowing that our strength comes from the Lord. The pieces of the armor of God described in Ephesians 6 are protective and defensive, enabling us to stand against the attacks of the enemy. The only possible exception is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We use the word to resist temptation as Jesus did in the desert.

Time and time again we see in the Old Testament God’s people defeating their enemies against overwhelming odds by following His instructions to perform seemingly benign actions such as marching around the wall of a city, blowing trumpets, and smashing jars. In the final clash between good and evil in Revelation, we are not found on that battlefield either. God is clear in His word and in His actions that the battle belongs to Him.

Not only does the battle not belong to us, it already has been won. The Apostle Paul prayed that we might grasp the “immeasurable greatness of [God’s] power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:19-23).

So how exactly is the Church breaching the gates of hell?

The phrase used in Matthew’s gospel for gates of hell, pulai hadou, is a Jewish expression meaning “realm of the dead.” The two words appear in Job 38:17 and Isaiah 38:10 (Septuagint version), and in both instances, the phrase refers to death. When Jesus promised Peter that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church, he wasn’t referring to some sort of crusade against demonic forces, but rather to the powerlessness of death over believers. Jesus will build His Church on the faith of those who proclaim Him as Lord, and the members of His Body will not be defeated by death.

The Lord reminded me of His promise while I was serving on a Kairos Prison Ministry team inside a women’s prison. I was singing with a group of prisoners during a worship service when I began to look around at these women, some of whom had just given their lives to the Lord. They were weeping and lifting their hands in praise, many of them openly worshiping God for the first time in their lives. I was so moved by the strong impression I had of God’s overwhelming love for these women and His pleasure and delight in their sweet worship, I had to stop singing. There in the very heart of territory long held by the enemy, I could hear the heavenly angel choir singing with these women. I was awestruck by the indescribably beautiful sound of an unearthly harmony wrapping around the human voices in the room.

During those incredible few moments, God reminded me how very thin the veil is between the earthly and the heavenly realms. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, and the heavenly hosts are praising God and rejoicing over the salvation of the lost. When souls are saved, the church advances, and the dominion of death diminishes. These things are not happening somewhere up there or out there; they are happening right here around us as Jesus builds His Church toward its completion.

Jesus asked a group of women in prison the all important question, “Who do you say that I am?”

God revealed the truth to them, and they answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

These women stepped from death to life.

The gates of hell did not prevail.

And the angels sang.

Sharon Pullen is a member of Church of the Holy Cross in North Raleigh.

ADOC Campus Ministries

First, the bad news.  When sociologist Christian Smith published Souls in Transition: The Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers in 2005, he famously observed that while the majority of Americans still identified as Christian, the quality of their belief tended to be the theologically dubious “moral therapeutic deism.”  If anything, the spiritual squishiness of young adults in 2005 has only increased.  According to Pew Research, in 2015 the fastest growing religious group in the United States among young adults was “unaffiliated,” jumping from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8%.  This helps explain recent research showing that between 60 and 70% (Barna) of students who grew up in church leave during college.  Add to this the American College Health Association’s findings that 53% of students felt hopeless.  Needless to say, there is a tremendous need for the gospel on college campuses.

Despite these statistics, college is a time of tremendous opportunity.  If I were to ask a room full of Christians in an average Anglican Church in the Southeast if they had a conversion experience with Jesus Christ in college, odds are that a majority would raise their hands.  Just as many lose their faith in college, many also find it.  Simply put, college is a transformative time.  The question for the church is: how will we respond?

For this reason, Anglican churches in Clemson and Columbia are partnering with the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach) to reach college students––collectively around 60,000 students between the two areas.  Recognizing that the Church is Jesus’ chosen instrument for proclaiming and living the gospel, our goal is to connect students to the life of the local church.  Our ministries will be Anglican in nature, but our hope is that though it Christ’s whole church will be built up.  From move-in day when we help move students into their dorm rooms, to the day they are anxiously preparing for final exams, we will be with them, praying for them, and exploring what it means to live in the light of the lordship of Jesus Christ.

This is where we need you.

  1. If you have students in Columbia or Clemson, we would love to meet them!  Feel free to reach out to Justin or Jonathan through a phone call or email (see below).
  2. To learn more about students’ stories and partner in prayer, join our newsletter by sending us an email (see below).
  3. The ministries in Clemson and Columbia depend on individuals and churches to financially partner with them in order to reach students.  If you are an alumnus, have students in either city, or just want to change the university through the spread of the gospel, consider becoming a sustaining financial partner.

For more information about the CCO: Go to  www.ccojubilee.org

  • For more on Anglican ministry at Clemson, contact Justin and Molly Hare at Christ the Redeemer:
  • For more on Anglican ministry at the University of South Carolina and Columbia Area Schools, contact Jonathan Furst at Church of the Apostles:

St. Andrews #BeautyfromAshes

by Greg Shore

At 4:25 am on April 22, Bishop Steve Wood received a phone call from a parishioner who lives across the street from St. Andrew’s Church in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. “The Ministry Center is on fire.” He immediately went to the church to find the Ministry Center roof engulfed in flames. By 5:15 the congregation had been notified that there would be no services that day and by six o’clock, the local news outlets were reporting on the fire.

This was the largest fire that anybody in Mt Pleasant had ever seen. As units from neighboring cities sped across the Cooper and Wando Rivers, they could see the glow of the fire in the Old Village.

As Bishop Wood watched, he walked around the block to gain a different vantage point and to see the extent of the fire. Residents of Rose Lane, located behind the church, had been rousted from their beds by the noise and lights of the multiple fire engines. In the dark of early morning they recognized that Steve was the pastor of their neighborhood church. One family invited him to the second floor deck of their house so he had a better view. Later, somebody brought him a cup of coffee. As he made his way around the block and back out to the parking lot in front of the Ministry Center, some simply stood there with him in silence. The presence of the neighbors that day was a gift that will not soon be forgotten.

Throughout the morning, people gathered in the parking lot and stayed long after the flames were extinguished. Some arrived expecting to attend church that day. Some arrived in their pajamas. Members, neighbors, some who had just a fleeting association with St. Andrew’s came. And they began to tell the stories – stories of God’s goodness that had taken place within the four walls of the building. Families coming to church for the first time as a family when their child was enrolled in the Day School. People who had come to know Christ as a result of the Alpha course. Healings that had taken place. Marriages restored. Wayward sons and daughters returning home and returning to the Lord. Stories of weddings, baptisms, and funerals of much-loved saints.

Bishop Terrell Glenn, the rector of St. Andrew’s in 1996 when the Ministry Center was built, recounted a gathering the day before the building was consecrated. There had been an open house to give tours and give people the general layout of the building. After the open house, the vestry, staff, worship team, and prayer teams stayed behind and moved through the building and praying. Terrell said that at first the prayers were a bit vague. “Lord, please bless the people who attend church here.” As the evening went on the prayers became bolder and more specific. “Lord, will you heal people here? Please restore marriages here. Lord, bring people to know you here.” Those prayers spoken 22 years ago have been answered.

As word spread about the fire, word came back to St. Andrew’s that many congregations in Mt Pleasant and around the country, began their services with prayers for the church. Local pastors called and texted Steve Wood all day long. Immediately both members and non-members asked how they could help. The response to the fire has been a bit overwhelming for the rector, staff, and members. “We’re used to being on the giving end,” Steve said to his congregation. “I have to tell you. It’s a bit humbling to be on the receiving end.”

The church has continued to move forward. The staff had their regular staff meeting the morning after the fire, hosted by Whole Foods in their conference room. The third of three new members’ classes was hosted by one of the new members in their home the evening after the fire. Thursday Staff Bible study was held in the parking lot. The Historic Church hosted a wedding less than a week later. One week after the fire, St. Andrew’s had four services in the Historic Church and two services at Mt Pleasant Academy, a local public school. That evening, there was a New Members’ Service and a reception for the new members. The next day, the church hosted a two-part lecture by the Rev’d Dr. Ashley Null. The mission of the church – connecting people to the presence and power of Jesus Christ – continues on.

Mr. Greg Shore is the Communications Director at St. Andrews Church, Mt Pleasant, SC

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