All Saints Charlotte Dedicates New Building

all saints charlotte
by Nancy Bryan

GOD IS FAITHFUL, ALL THE TIME. ALL THE TIME, GOD IS FAITHFUL. All Saints Church, Charlotte, NC opened its doors to over 400, including many distinguished visitors in attendance. Archbishop Foley Beach, Archbishop Daniel Sarfo (Primate of West Africa), Archbishop Justice Akrofi, (retired Primate of West Africa), Bishop Daniel (Ghana), Bishop David Bryan (ADOC), many clergy from representative churches and faithful parishioners were present to consecrate the new sanctuary. The international representation was typical because on any given Sunday All Saints has people from five continents worshipping in their new sanctuary.

All Saints Rector, The Rev. Filmore Strunk said “I had times in the recent past where I didn’t think this day was going to come and I’m so delighted to be here.” He went on to say “You could say that we are here to dedicate a building … Or you can say that we’re here to celebrate a community…  and to an extent you’d be right, we’re celebrating a community – Celebrating the faithfulness of that community. And you could say we are celebrating a movement, The Anglican Church of North America, that out of the ashes of the previous entity, God has raised up a true church. All of these things are true but they are grounded in something bigger. A larger truth and it is this – GOD IS FAITHFUL, ALL THE TIME. ALL THE TIME, GOD IS FAITHFUL.”

All Saints Church has laid it’s foundation in Word and Sacrament. “The Word of God stands forever, and we are believing that nothing… church tradition, human reason, nothing can stand up to the Scriptures.” By God’s grace they raised 2.8 million dollars. And the founding Rector went on to say: “Today it is really not about what we celebrate, it is about WHO we celebrate. We celebrate God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All knowing, all seeing, all compassionate, all powerful, the fountain of justice, the source of all truth, from everlasting to everlasting, perfect in love, perfect in grace, perfect in mercy, a friend of sinners, our savior, our healer, our redeemer, the Lion of Judah, the light of the world, the lamb of God, FAITHFUL, FAITHFUL, FAITHFUL!”

The people of All Saints will continue to affirm the Word of God, and serve the world through God’s grace and His joy in their new building and their community. For this we give thanks.

To learn more about All Saints in the Charlotte, NC area visit

Sowing and Growing a Heart for the Home Team


by Teresa Glenn

“Why do I have to go?”
“I won’t have anything to do…None of my friends will be there.”
“It’s so boring. Why are you making me go…I’m not gonna watch.”
“He doesn’t care if I’m there or not… He won’t even notice if I’m not there.”

These were our young children’s responses almost every time we communicated that we (all) were going to a sibling’s athletic, academic, or arts-related event. Their tone was generally some combination of whining, frustration, grumpiness, and resentment—and typically in the presence of the child who had the event.

I understood. The program or game didn’t interest them, and it was their sister or brother they’d be watching…why would they want to do that?! Sometimes they acted like I was torturing them with this requirement.  Funny, I felt tortured when I couldn’t enjoy watching one child perform, since I spent half the time responding to the other two—“It will be over soon . . . not much longer . . . stop that . . . comeback over here…”

Some outings were fine. They’d make a friend or see one there and occasionally watch some of the event. My strategy was much prayer for the children and for me, positive strokes, and pointing out any other family doing the same thing to disprove, “No one else makes their kids do this, Momma.”

My answer to the innumerable times they asked, “Whyyyy??” was consistent. “We are going to support him, to encourage him. We are his home team. I know you don’t want to go, but it’s what we’re doing.” This was one of many seeds that I sowed by word, reinforcement, and buckets of prayer. There is a high value in family learning how to support each other.

At the same time, I didn’t want them to become adults who attend their siblings’ occasions because “they should”. I wanted them to grow to desire to go because they want to support their sibling. Over and over again, I led, explained, and prayed. “Lord, help her grasp the blessing that this is to her brother. Help him experience the blessing of knowing she’s here.”  I depended on God to do the heart work in each child and to help me exercise His grace. We all had attitude struggles.

Early on, I was grateful if the children sitting with me simply behaved and didn’t complain. Then one day during the elementary years, as I dropped our son Terrell off early before his game, he looked at me and asked, “Are Ellison and Cecilia coming?”  When I replied yes, he smiled.  That moment made every trying moment worth it. Gradually, each child began to ask, “Who all’s coming?” Push back was subsiding. Each child began to enjoy being the recipient of the family audience. I didn’t see it happen, but God was growing the seeds’ roots, and now sprouts of growth were evident.

Eventually blossoms began to pop up. When Cecilia was in the 9th grade, I told her brothers (11th and 12th graders), “After your football practice, I want you to walk over to the gym for her volleyball match.”  Knowing they would be exhausted and hungry, I expected push back.  They both said, “Sure.”  I was stunned—no excuses or complaints.  “Thank you, boys. That means a lot to me and it will to Cecilia, too.”  When I left the room, I thanked God and cried. Sibling trials are hard, but when beautiful breakthroughs happen—wow.

Cecilia’s junior year of high school, Terrell surprised her and drove 4 hours round trip to listen to her perform. Her senior year, Ellison called me from college and said, “Mom, I want to surprise Cecilia and come to her play-off game tonight, but I’ll have to drive back right after the match.”  The next spring Terrell and Cecilia drove 6 hours round trip in one day to celebrate Ellison’s entry into an elite drill team at The Citadel.  In each instance, I said, “You do not need to come”, and they responded, “I want to.”

I want to. God does this.

We sow, toil, and pray without ceasing. God gives the growth. He opens a child’s heart and stretches ours. He grows the seeds we sow, waters our effort with love and grace, produces fruit in our family, and wells awe in our soul.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3.20–21)

Teresa Glenn speaks and writes to encourage and mentor women about partnering with God through the everyday circumstances of life. She is the author of Becoming A Peaceful Mom: Through Every Season of Raising Your Child She writes at For speaking requests contact Teresa at or complete the form on her website. She and her husband Terrell live in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Into the Darkness

kairosprisonministryby Dr. Sharon Pullen

A woman was seen late one night searching the sidewalk underneath a streetlamp. “Did you lose something here?” someone asked. “No,” answered the woman, pointing across the street to a dark alley. “I lost it over there, but the light is better here.”

Until recently I was like that woman, searching under the bright lights to find what I seemed to be missing. The Lord had worked a radical transformation in me after I surrendered my life to Him over 30 years ago, and I have always felt a deep desire to see Him perform this same miracle in the lives of other people who are far away from Him.

I had become immersed in Christian life and community where I certainly could see God at work among my fellow believers. But the world from where I had come still seemed very dark. Standing under the bright light of God’s presence in the body of believers surrounding me, I could not perceive the power of the Holy Spirit at work outside the church.

Then I went to prison.

I went in for the first time in March 2016, and since then I have been in and out of prison many times. I serve as a volunteer at North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women (NCCIW) in Raleigh through the ministry of Kairos Inside.[1] Volunteers from all around the state and from multiple Christian denominations come together twice a year to lead a four-day retreat inside the prison. The Kairos retreat model evolved from the Cursillo movement back in the 1960’s in which participants listen to and discuss a series of talks and meditations introducing them to the basics of the Christian faith. Once an inmate has completed her Kairos weekend, she is invited to join weekly prayer and accountability groups along with other Kairos graduates inside the prison and with volunteers from the outside.

I was well into the training for my first Kairos weekend as the season of Lent began. I was reading about the early ministry of Jesus when I noticed something new to me in the Gospel accounts of His baptism. I realized that my impressions had been shaped and influenced by traditional Christian art in which Jesus and John are often depicted standing alone in the clear, calm water as Jesus is baptized and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him.

As I read carefully the story of Jesus’ baptism, my mental image of the event began to change. Matthew tells us that people from Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region around the Jordan were going out to John, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. And Jesus also came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John (Matt. 3:5-6, 13). Luke tells us that when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened as God proclaimed his great pleasure with His son, affirming the true identity of Jesus (Luke 3:21-22).

God revealed His Son in the presence of a crowd who were confessing their sins, asking forgiveness, and being baptized in a river churning with mud from all the people wading in and out. Those who knew they needed to be forgiven were granted the privilege of witnessing Jesus revealed as the Son of God. Meanwhile, the religious leaders of the time stood at a distance sneering and grumbling over the fact that Jesus regularly hung out with sinners (Mark 2:15-17).

I did not immediately understand how God was using my newfound understanding of this event to prepare me for prison ministry. But this image I now had of Jesus, clean and sinless, plunging into that dirty river with a crowd of people wanting forgiveness for their sins was crystal clear in my mind as I stepped into the prison for the first time.

And there He was.

Jesus is inside the prison. His light and His power are substantial and intense against a backdrop of darkness and oppression. I had to laugh at myself, thinking in those months leading up to the retreat that I was preparing to take Jesus into the prison.

He is already there.

He has plunged into the dirty prison just as He plunged into the muddy Jordan River to be with people who know they need to be forgiven. And like the people watching on the day Jesus was baptized, the women in prison get to be witnesses of the power of the Holy Spirit as He reveals Jesus as the Son of God.

The presence of Jesus in the prison is so undeniable, there is no need for tiresome apologetics to convince these women that He exists. They can see Him clearly for themselves. But many of them do not understand the boundlessness of His grace, love, and forgiveness. They need to be told that He is there because He loves them, because there is nothing they have done that He is not willing to forgive if they come to Him, and because He wants to be with them forever. I am awestruck at seeing the miracle that happens when these women realize the truth about Jesus and what He is offering them. At the close of the retreat on Sunday, some of the participants are barely recognizable as the same women who came in on Thursday afternoon. Imagine the impact of those visible transformations on the rest of the prison population.

I discovered that Jesus is not waiting at my church for me to take Him out into the darkness of the world. He is already at work there and has been from the beginning. My purpose is not to choose some great work out in the world to do for God. My purpose is to find the place He has appointed for me to join Him in His ongoing work. I have found that place inside a prison.

When we have lost something, we can often find it by going back to the last place we remember seeing it. I was looking under the light, trying to find the power that had transformed my life all those years ago, when I realized that Jesus had first appeared to me in the darkness of my own heart. He was beautiful and brilliant standing there in the middle of my messed up life, and there was nothing for me to do but follow Him.

When I go into the prison, I can see Jesus there in the middle of all those messed up lives, beautiful and brilliant, lighting up the darkness and offering life and freedom to the prisoners. Furthermore, I don’t have to go very far to find Jesus at work in the darkness. He is hanging out with the sinners inside the prison and with us sinners outside the prison as well. There is still darkness inside of me, and if I am brave enough to look, I can find Jesus there waiting for me to join Him in the work of bringing light into my own dark places.

We don’t all have to go to prison. There is plenty of darkness out there in the world beyond the light of our churches where Jesus is waiting for us to join Him in His work of bringing light. The parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 used to make me feel uncomfortable, because it sounded to me as though Jesus is saying He will not be pleased with me if I do not do enough to help ease suffering in the world. That may be true, but I have discovered that He is saying so much more than that. Jesus says that when we feed the hungry, care for the sick, and visit those in prison, we are doing it for Him. I always assumed He means it is as if we are doing it for Him. But I have discovered that we truly do it for Him, because He is there.

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

[1] Kairos Inside is a program under Kairos Prison Ministry, an international organization dedicated to sharing the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to impact the lives of incarcerated men, women, and youth, along with their families, and to help them become loving and productive citizens of their communities. Kairos Prison Ministry serves around 500 prisons and communities in 35 states and nine other countries. Kairos Inside actively serves in 25 men’s and women’s prisons across North and South Carolina.

For more information about becoming involved in Kairos, please contact the author

Gracious Engagement. A Word from our Diocesan Bishop Steve Wood.


One of the most amazing attributes Jesus demonstrated was his ability to engage people from every strata of society.  Matthew the tax man who became a disciple; Peter the fisherman who became a fisher of men; Nicodemus the scholar and teacher of the law; the prostitute who washed His feet with her tears; the untouchable lepers who found a healing touch; the little children who climbed on His lap; Jairus whose daughter died.

His open-hearted accessibility and love of others, even for His enemies, would become the ethic by which the early church thrived.  So much so that the non-Christian world commenting on the life of the church said of them, “See how they love each other” (Justin).  Throughout church history, Christians have, with varying degrees of success, taken seriously the truth expressed by Paul in 2 Corinthians: “that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (5.19). The consequence?  No other religion has crossed as many sociological and religious barriers as Christianity.

It is this attitude of gracious engagement that springs from our recognition that we are all equally in need of salvation and share a common bond as the objects of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross that is the distinguishing characteristic of every effective disciple-making congregation.

As you consider the manner of your life, the people and the places that you devote your time, and energy (check your daily planner), and your money (check your bank statement and budget), is it clear that your life – your church – demonstrates that same love for others?  Are you creating an atmosphere in your life, your home, your church, that reflects the love of God for all people – from every nation, tribe, language and people? (Revelation 7.9)

Do you remember the first time you went to church?  Can you remember the anxiety of “standing out?”  Remember the uncertainty of not knowing what to do, where to go or where to sit?  I certainly do.  Over the years I regularly meet folks desperately searching for meaning, truly searching after God, feeling these things upon entering the doors of a church. We have the privilege of joining Christ in our community – building bridges between God and His people.  Engaging and serving them as Christ would – and did.

For His Kingdom,