A Word from our Diocesan Bishop Steve Wood



Two simple words which cause us so much trouble!

Jesus told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.  Lk 10. 2-3

Jesus gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 4-5

Why is it so hard to do what Jesus commands us to do?  Why do we think we know better?  Part of the “going” and “waiting”, for Jesus, involved teaching (presuming we’ve first learned ourselves) others to obey (Mt 28.20).  Another word we don’t like!  But there it is, 4 times from the lips of the Lord in ten short verses (Jn. 14.15-24) culminating with: “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

Going and waiting are hard.  Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh.  Jonah wanted Judgment.

Peter found himself in slightly different circumstances.

Speaking to a confused church, which apparently wanted God to get on with the judging and were frustrated with waiting, the Apostle penned these words: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3.9)

God does not view time and circumstance as we do. He calls us to go to a broken world (from which we want to run) and to wait in the midst of the sadness and ugliness and pain of human brokenness.  This waiting, though, is not a passive waiting.  It’s a waiting that brings with it the power of the Spirit which empowers our proclamation and demonstration that the Kingdom of God is at hand and that the only appropriate response to the presence of God’s Kingdom is repentance and believe (Mk. 1.15).  The Lord’s seeming delay in bringing about the consummation of all things is not a result of His indifference but of His patience – a waiting for all who will come to repentance.

How utterly unlike Him I am.

It is uncomfortable to live in a sinful world.

And the truth is, I’d rather be comfortable.

I wonder how you’re doing in regard to going and waiting?  I wonder to whom the Lord has said for you to “go” but you’re waiting?  I wonder how many circumstances you find your patience being tried because you are so ready to go – and yet the Lord seems to have said, “wait”?

Do you have a heart that is content with going and waiting as the Lord leads?

Jesus never intended for the faith to be lived out in the imaginary realm of supposition and make believe.  Instead you and I are called to fully live in the present, sometimes hard pressed, sometimes perplexed, sometimes knocked down, but never crushed or abandoned – always carrying within our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed. Always accompanied by and filled with the Spirit


Two very difficult words.

A Diocesan Vision for Church Planting

A Diocesan Vision for Church Planting
by the Rev. Dr. Winfield Bevins


North America is the new mission field.  In the United States alone there are over 130 million unchurched people, making it the largest mission field in the Western hemisphere and the fifth largest mission field on earth. With over 337 languages, the US has become the most multicultural and multilingual nation on earth. How will we reach the unchurched with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Dr. C. Peter Wagner said, “Church planting is the single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven.”

The Diocese of the Carolinas is committed to do its part through church planting! In many ways, the diocese of the Carolinas is a picture of a church-planting diocese in the Anglican Church in North America. What does it look like to be a diocese that is committed to church planting?
The Bishop’s Priority
Church planting has to be a priority for the diocesan bishop if it is going to be the priority of the diocese. In 2012, Bishop Steve Wood called a strategic meeting to discuss developing a church planting strategy for the diocese. At that time we developed a diocesan strategy to start Kardia Church Planting Initiative with the vision to to plant healthy gospel-centered churches in the Anglican tradition. Since church planting was a major priority of our bishop, therefore it became a priority of the entire diocese. Kardia Church Planting Initiative focus on four key areas of mission:
  1. Plant: We seek to plant healthy gospel-centered churches in the Anglican tradition.
  2. Remission: We seek to help churches discover and live their mission by providing coaching, consulting, church health assessments, and training events for church leaders and local congregations.
  3. Resource: We seek to provide essential practitioner tested tools and resources to help plant and remission Anglican churches in North America.
  4. Partner: We seek to build strategic partnerships with likeminded dioceses, churches, and clergy in North America.
A Diocesan Priority
Church planting has been a priority from the early foundations of our diocese. In an 2012 article on the formation of the Diocese of the Carolinas a few key clergy shared their hopes for the diocese to become a church planting diocese.  The Rev. Filmore Strunk, Rector of All Saints Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, who was instrumental in the formation of the diocese says, “We are a Great Commission diocese focused on seeking worshippers, making disciples and providing for a diversity of worship styles. We see church planting as the main vehicle for that.” In a similar way, The Rev. Dr. John W. Yates, III, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, describes the diocesan vision for church planting. “As our bishop, Steve has made that priority clear, and I believe we are going to have a robust vocation for planting new churches.”[i]Vision has become a reality in the Diocese of the Carolinas. Since 2012, the Diocese has helped plant 10 new churches in addition to resourcing dozens of new and existing churches. To accomplish this we have developed strategic resources to help assess, train, and support church planters. First, we developed a church planting assessment manual that has helped assess more than a dozen church planters in the Carolinas and is the being used by the Always Forward Provincial Church Planting Team.Secondly, our diocese gives a major portion of our annual budget to church planting. In the words of Bishop Steve Wood, “we have put our resources behind the vision, and so a substantial portion of our budget is earmarked for mission and church planting. Resources and structures should be designed to facilitate mission and church planting.”

Thirdly, the diocese is set up to help coach and support the church planters. There is a regional lead team that helps support the work of church planting across the Carolinas by coaching church planters. Gary Ball, who recently planted Redeemer Anglican Church in Ashville, North Carolina reveals that “church planting can be lonely and discouraging. It’s so helpful to have someone to walk alongside us.” Mentoring and coaching is vital to vision for church planting in the Diocese of the Carolinas.

Get Involved with Church Planting
The call to plant new churches is bigger than any one diocese, church, or individual. Everyone has a part to play in God’s mission through church planting. It will take us all working together to make this God-sized dream a reality. We can do it if we all share in the responsibility of impacting our nation for Christ through planting new churches across the Carolinas and beyond. If you would like more information about Kardia Church Planting Initiative visit www.kardiaanglican.com.

BIO:  The Rev. Dr. Winfield Bevins is the Director of Asbury Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative and Canon for Church Planting for the Diocese of the Carolinas
[i] See Building Gospel Churches: Diocese of the Carolinas Commits to Mission Through Church Planting by Cynthia Brust, The Apostle, November, 2012, 11.

Diocesan Clergy Retreat and Synod 2017

Synod2017A Re-cap of the
Diocesan Clergy Retreat and Synod

by Dr. Sharon Pullen

Even in the mild and temperate climate of the Carolinas, more than one synod has been threatened by extreme weather events from ice storms to hurricanes. But fair weather prevailed all around the diocese in March as clergy and delegates representing 27 churches gathered in Raleigh, N.C. for the Fifth Annual Synod of The Diocese of the Carolinas.

The four previous synods were hosted by St. Andrews in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. This year, however, Holy Trinity Church in downtown Raleigh provided a respite for St. Andrews by graciously welcoming and accommodating those attending the retreat and synod.

Prior to the synod, 47 clergy along with 21 spouses gathered for the annual clergy retreat. At a relaxed but elegant dinner on Thursday evening, clergy from around the diocese were able to catch up and share news from their respective parishes.

At a workshop on Friday, the Rev. John Yates II, rector of The Falls Church Anglican near Washington, D.C., and his wife, author and speaker Susan Yates, spent the morning encouraging the group of clergy and spouses in their ministries and in their marriages. Drawing upon the experience and wisdom gained from nearly 50 years of marriage, parenting, and ministry, John and Susan emphasized the importance of open communication, forgiveness, praying and reading the Bible together, keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest, setting aside time as a couple as well as time as a family, and finding mature friends and family who will commit to ongoing prayer support.

Celeste Minns was one of the clergy spouses who attended the retreat. She and her husband, the Rev. Jon Minns, rector of Church of the Holy Cross in North Raleigh, have four children and have been in full-time ministry for seven years. Celeste said she laughed with relief to hear some of the funny stories from the Yates’ early years and is reassured to know she is not alone in the typical struggles of ministry family life. “John and Susan are a living testimony that couples can not only survive but thrive after decades of marriage, ministry, and raising a family.”

The Diocesan Synod convened on Friday evening with a Service of Holy Communion. The Rev. John Yates III, rector of Holy Trinity Church, shared a message on persecution and deception in the last days. Christians in the West suffer “soft” persecution, which often takes the form of accusations of intolerance and discrimination. Our suffering is minor in comparison to that of our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world, but it is nonetheless real and makes us susceptible to false teaching. We are called to stand firm and stay on course by daily turning to God’s Word.

Following the opening worship, dinner was served in the courtyard at Holy Trinity. In true North Carolina spirit, a meal featuring southern fried chicken and barbeque was enjoyed by all while thoughtfully placed projection screens allowed basketball fans to linger at the dinner tables and enjoy fellowship without fear of missing the ACC tournament.

The first Saturday session opened with an informal address by Bishop Steve Wood reviewing the highlights of this past year in our diocese. He introduced Suffragan Bishop David Bryan and Assisting Bishop Thaddeus Barnum and expressed his deep gratitude to both men for their humility and willingness to work through the challenges of shared leadership while remaining fully committed to moving the church forward. Bishop Wood also expressed joy over being part of a diocese in which the leaders pray for each other and cheer each other on. “This is what I imagined as the church, not what I was ordained into as a deacon.”

Diocesan Administrator Maddy Donaldson presented an overview of the current financial report.

Bishop Thaddeus Barnum, in an inspiring teaching on the Person of the Holy Spirit, challenged his audience to consider why it is that we as a diocese are stuck when it comes to mission. One explanation could be our single-minded focus on how to bring people into the church, though Jesus calls us to take the Gospel out to the world. Another cause of our stagnation may the distinction we make between clergy and laity. Whereas a few are ordained into the clergy, we all belong to the priesthood of believers. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to all believers – men, women, and children — to empower them and equip them to take the Gospel out. Please take time to listen to Bishop Barnum’s teaching on the Diocese of the Carolinas website.

The Rev. Winfield Bevins, canon for church planting for the diocese, opened the second session of the synod with a report on Kardia church planting and remissioning initiative. For a detailed update on Kardia, see Winfield’s article in this edition of Carolinas Currently.

Luke Rasmussen and his team from Christ the Redeemer gave an update on their church in the Clemson University area. They expressed their excitement about seeing the fruit of God’s hand on their growing ministry. They are in the process of purchasing 23 acres in Pendleton, S.C., giving them the opportunity to have a permanent presence in the community. For more information about Christ the Redeemer and their land campaign, please visit the church website

Bishop David Bryan brought the synod to a close as he urged clergy and lay leaders not to lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us every day in the people of God who make up our church communities. We can see evidence of the Spirit of God working among His people, building the Kingdom right in our midst, and empowering us to live according to His will. Bishop Bryan’s affirming message can be found on the Diocese of the Carolinas website.

The annual clergy retreat and diocesan synod are excellent opportunities for refreshment, encouragement, and networking with other leaders in our diocese. For the next few years, these events will be held in March, usually a safe month for weather in the Carolinas.

Mark your calendars and make plans to attend.

2018    March 1-3       All Saints Church, Charlotte, N.C.

2019    March 14-16   Cathedral Church of the Apostles, Columbia, S.C.

2020    March 5-7       All Saints Church, Pawleys Island, S.C.

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