The Village Church Story, by Seth Cain

Apart from my immense gratitude to the Lord, I can’t fully express how thankful I am for my wife, Ashley, who has been an incredible strength, a source of wisdom and a champion for needful rest. When we moved to Greenville, we left our church and community of 8 years to start over completely, and she has been so amazing. Thank you to Bishop Steve, John+ & Kathy Hall and this diocese for believing in us to come and try a relaunch of Village Church. Thanks also to +David and +Thad for serving me and the Village so well since you came on board. Thanks to Chip+ and everyone in my Simeon Cohort for expanding my imagination for ministry as an Anglican and for the much needed fellowship during the rigors of planting. Lastly, we are so deeply indebted to the first brave 18 people, some of whom are here today, who could see this church before we even began.

I want to tell you just a little about the congregation and community I am so blessed to serve and you’re receiving today. After 5 months meeting in our home and 2 years in a mustard yellow elementary school cafeteria with a funky smell, we were able to buy the 100-year old Bethel United Methodist. The timing and the price were nothing short of a miracle. 2 years after moving, we’re now a congregation of over 160 adults and 95 children, half of whom are under the age of 5. It’s always an adventure!

I’m often asked about our name, which is admittedly not very Anglican-sounding. The westside of downtown Greenville is made up of 7 contiguous mill villages. So, we stuck with the name to convey our commitment to being engaged in these villages and especially in our own, Sans Souci.

One of our earliest village-facing efforts started with two of our members repairing or finding used bikes for their low-income neighbors. That eventually became Village Wrench, which now has a standalone repair shop, a full-time director (who is also our youth coordinator) and serves hundreds of people in our city through 5 city-wide repair events on the first Saturday of every month. People of all ages can earn a bike by serving their own neighbors. In 2016, Village Wrench launched 6-Cycle, a six-week teen program of bicycle and character building teaching traits such as grit, self-control, gratitude, and curiosity. The kids take home the bike they build, plus a helmet and lock. It’s been an opportunity for Gospel relationships and for encouraging growth and dignity in teens who come from very discouraging and limiting home and parental situations. Village Wrench has also become a great intersection for unbelievers to join in our mission and work alongside believers who live out the Gospel in friendship and partnership.

In terms of our worship, a significant majority of our congregation don’t come from a liturgical background. We’ve been worshipping with the ACNA Ancient Text for nearly 2 years, which you probably know is the 1662 with modern language, and have welcomed people from so many backgrounds. I say that to encourage church planters and existing churches alike. We have a really good and life-giving thing in our worship tradition, so be encouraged to live into that distinctive unapologetically. I really do believe the ancient way is the way forward.

Since we began, liturgy and sacramental worship have been real instruments of the Spirit’s work of renewal. I’d even say it has been a healing balm for many of our folks, who were unchurched, dechurched or nominal in their faith. Many have come to us sojourning for a long time after leaving fundamentalism and have found a home in a fellowship of grace. They’ve recovered their works as rooted in reciprocal love, not law.

Please pray for us – That we will be faithful and wise in days ahead. We’re hiring new staff and clergy this summer and we’re constantly renovating our building, having spent over $80,000 bringing the beautiful, but quirky old lady up to our needs. A church with a lot of young families is high vision, but low margin – and there is much to do. An important area of discipleship for these younger generations is rejecting financial scarcity and growing in Gospel generosity.

Also pray for us in our partnership with Greenville County Schools to become a summer feeding site for 42 children in the apartments directly next to us who otherwise do not eat well during the summer. Lastly, pray for us as that the work of mending hearts and lives through the Gospel will remain our priority and we’ll be undeterred by the fiery darts of our Enemy, who stands condemned.

We love being a part of this broader fellowship. You are on our hearts and on our lips as we pray through the cycle of prayer for this diocese each Sunday. The Lord bless you. We love you. We look forward to being a resource to you as you have been to us. Thank you for helping us these 5 years to become what we are today and for receiving us as a parish.

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The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation, Winfield Bevins

For many years now, articles, surveys, and news reports have lamented the steady flow of young people leaving the church in North America at an alarming rate. According to the Pew Research Center has observed that about a third of older millennials (adults currently in their late 20s and early 30s) now say they have no religion, up nine percentage points among this age range since 2007. Nearly a quarter of Generation X now say they have no particular religion or describe themselves as atheists or agnostics.

Yet while a growing number of young adults are leaving the church, there are other trends as well. Some younger Christians are choosing to remain in the fold of Christianity, but that doesn’t mean they are content with the existing expressions of evangelical faith. Many young believers, from different backgrounds and traditions, are staying in the church while embracing a liturgical expression of the faith. And while it is most noticeable among young adults, this trend is true of people of various ages and backgrounds as well, believers who are seeking to recover ancient practices of the Christian faith.

For the past two years, I have traveled across the United States, Canada, and England visiting churches, cathedrals, universities, and seminaries. I have listened to dozens of young adults share how they have embraced Christian liturgy. I have heard stories about how liturgy is impacting many lives, and I have interviewed hundreds of young adults and leaders to hear their stories about how liturgy has impacted their faith.

Commenting on the movement we see today, author and Anglican Bishop Todd Hunter proclaims, “There is something in the air today, something in the spirit of our age, something in the Spirit that is leading thousands, maybe millions, of people to reconsider liturgical forms of worship.”

Why Young Adults Are Embracing Liturgy
At this point you may be thinking, This is all good, but what are the reasons that have led to this searching? By interviewing young adults from across the United States, all of them from radically different Christian traditions, I’ve uncovered eight major reasons why a new generation is following the allure of liturgy. I won’t claim that this list is exhaustive, but it does offer a succinct snapshot of the world of spirituality in North America.

Holistic Spirituality
The first yearning of young adults I’ve interviewed is for a holistic, or embodied, spirituality. In this age of technology and media, many young Christians have come to feel that the contemporary church (and even society as a whole) doesn’t engage their faith in a holistic way. I’ve found that many young adults are seeking a holistic spirituality that embraces all aspects of their person—mind, body, and soul. Young adults want a faith that not only engages the mind but involves the senses of touch, taste, and smell. The historic church has asserted that we are cleansed with the water of baptism, fed with the bread and wine of Communion, and healed by the laying on of hands using anointing oil. We are taught by the read-aloud Word, as well as with the colors of the sanctuary that correspond with the seasons of the Christian year. All these elements function together in the liturgical practices of the church and engage us holistically. Many young adults say these practices allow them to engage their whole person with the whole gospel.

A Sense of Mystery
Young adults are also drawn to historic practices because they long for a sense of mystery. The pragmatic consumerism that has infected the church leads us to value the elements of our faith and practice that are most “relevant” to us today. For example, many contemporary churches play worship music that echoes secular pop songs, and we’ve designed our church buildings to look like Walmarts or movie theaters, neglecting theologically informed architectural designs that were once popular in church buildings and sanctuaries. Young adults sense intuitively that today’s churches have lost a vision for aesthetic beauty that encourages us to experience the mystery and transcendence of God. And they have grown tired of shallow, alternative approaches to the historic liturgical practices of past centuries. Young adults want more. They want depth and mystery, and they aren’t afraid to say it. They are harboring a longing for a church that transcends any single culture, not an approach that simply accommodates the surrounding culture.

A Desire for Historical Rootedness
To counter the effects of transience and constant change, many are seeking to find a sense of stability by engaging with the roots of their faith. They are looking to the ancient history of the church and discovering that we are part of the larger family whose roots go back to the time of Christ. Many of those I’ve talked with have felt like spiritual orphans, people with no roots, no family history. They are discovering a new identity as they learn about their spiritual family heritage and embrace the origins of their faith in the Christian liturgical tradition. The experience is akin to a person discovering their family genealogy and suddenly realizing that they have deep family connections to the past. It’s the realization that we are not independent Christians tied solely to our own time and place. We are part of the larger body of Christ, spanning continents and generations, a church that began not with the Reformation or the contemporary evangelical movement in America, but with Jesus Christ and the early church. Liturgical tradition offers young adults a refreshing alternative to the ahistorical culture of the modern evangelical church because it represents a place of belonging—one that has survived and thrived for over 2,000 years.

Looking for a Countercultural Faith
Having grown up in a culture of entertainment and consumerism, many young people are now rejecting these cultural trends—or at the very least, they are uncomfortable with their presence in the church. For those who are looking for an opportunity to meet with God that cultivates an aura of transcendence, the rhythms of ancient liturgical worship are attractive. It’s slow, repetitive, and it lacks instant gratification. The beauty of a faith that didn’t start yesterday is that it is not driven by the latest fads or personalities. For many, it harkens to another time and is not bound to the biases of today’s culture. One young adult from Chicago told me, “Liturgy is the opposite of our culture . . . in the sense that it provides ordered participation instead of watching passively.” Alongside a desire for the “new,” there is a corresponding longing for the past, for a connection to something older and bigger than their individual tastes, interests, and experiences. There is an undercurrent in today’s young adult culture that wants to retrieve the things of value from the past.

Belonging to the Universal Church
Another reason many young adults are attracted to the liturgical forms of worship is because they are tired of the schisms and splits within Christianity. They see the liturgy as a pathway for unity, a way to unite us with the historic faith by inviting us to join the universal—little “c” catholic—church. In the liturgy, we participate in the same prayers, the same songs, and the same rhythms with Christians who have lived across the world and throughout the ages. Sadly, many Christians have spiritual amnesia and have forgotten or neglected the rich traditions and treasures of the faith from the past 2,000 years. Historic liturgy offers us a way to correct our forgetfulness. Travis Collins, a worship leader from South Carolina who recently began helping his church practice liturgical worship, said, “[Liturgy] helps us remember that we are not alone. We are part of something much bigger and very beautiful. When we pray privately or corporately, we are joining our voices with millions of people around the world and with the heavenly host around the throne.”

Sacramental Spirituality
While many Protestant low-church traditions have all but abandoned the celebration and practice of the sacraments, some young adults are experiencing a resurgence of interest in learning about these sacred practices and the bounty of grace inherent within them. The sacraments offer a rich, multi-sensory worship experience that engages the whole person through touch, taste, and smell. The Church’s outward signs reveal to us a deeper dimension of the Christian faith, one that is often lacking in much of contemporary Christianity. Our faith is not an isolated, one-dimensional experience that only impacts our hearts, souls, or minds. Instead, it must engage the whole of who we are, and the sacraments are an essential way in which God, through our faith, does this. Liturgy leads us into a faith that holistically transforms us—our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies.

Gracious Orthodoxy
In the relativistic culture defined by a postmodern approach to questions of truth, many young adults yearn for boundaries, though they are not necessarily looking for exhaustive rules. They want an anchor for their faith, an embrace of beliefs that I would describe as a “gracious orthodoxy.” What is a gracious orthodoxy? Several millennials and Gen X young adults I talked with expressed a longing for “correct belief,” yet they want to hold that belief in a way that is “full of grace.” They want to stand up and confess the “faith once delivered to the saints,” yet they reject dogmatic and exclusionary relationships with other Christians. They want a faith that broadly unites them with other Christians, even those who may be a part of other denominations and other traditions. They believe that by focusing on essentials of the faith, the creeds have the power to unite believers from different backgrounds instead of separating them.

Anchor in Spiritual Practices
A final reason young adults are embracing liturgy is that the ancient practices of the church provide an anchor for their faith in a world of constant change. Many young people are longing for practices that help them consistently celebrate their faith. They were raised in churches that told them what to believe but didn’t offer ways for them to practice their faith. Because we are creatures of habit, the habits we practice on a daily basis form us even if we are not aware of their power. Many of those returning to liturgy are hungry for time-honored practices that will form their faith and help them grow. Ancient practices help us develop roots that go deep whether we are young or old. Many young people are incorporating these older practices in fresh new ways into their daily lives.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I don’t think the recovery of liturgy is merely a trend among young people; it is something much bigger than I first realized. The allure of liturgy isn’t just a passing fad or the latest gimmick; it represents a longing for roots that connect us to another reality, a world set apart that runs parallel to our modern age. It’s a longing for ancient practices that form our faith and connect us to the larger body of Christ, preparing us for God’s mission in the world. The recovery of liturgical practices among this generation is a sign of revival, a Spirit-inspired movement that should give us hopes for the future of the church as it rediscovers its ancient roots. I have come to the conclusion that liturgy, when rightly appropriated, is one of the best ways for us to make disciples in a postmodern context. It is this emphasis—the appropriation of ancient practices for disciple formation today—that is the unifying theme of this book. The liturgy is truly ever ancient and ever new!

Winfield Bevins is Director of Church Planting at Asbury Seminary and Canon for Church Planting for the Diocese of the Carolinas. This talk is from his new book Ever Ancient Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation with Zondervan.

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Bishop Steve Wood 2019 Synod Address

Thank you to Filmore and All Saints, Thank you David, Thad, Terrell, Thank you Maddy, Thank you Phillip Clark – Dio Chancellor, Thank you for your prayers for St. Andrew’s Church. We have seen God at work in all.

The Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas exists to equip clergy and congregations to fulfill the Great Commandments (Mk.12:29-31) and the Great Commission (Mt.28:19-20) by leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ through evangelism, personal discipleship, and the nurturing and planting of congregations.

We have an opportunity in ACNA – The average congregation in ACNA is less than 100. Our diocese has huge leadership development possibilities with the Simeon Fellowship led by Dean Chip Edgar and Ridley Institute led by Randy Forester.

In ACNA, Andrew Williams is being consecrated in New England today. Succeeding +Bill Murdoch. There will be a season of leadership transitions in ACNA as many current Bishops are nearing retirement.

Village Church

Today in our diocese we are admitting Village Church of Greenville, SC as a parish. Seth Cain+ and his wife Ashley have led well and we are thankful for them.

We welcome the new people that are apart of the diocese include Lucy Albert, Church of the Good Shepherd – Deacon, Kyle Holtzhower, St. Andrew’s – Priesthood, Caleb Burr, Holy Trinity Church – Priesthood, Phillip Wilson, St. Andrew’s – Priesthood, Dave Libbon, St. Andrew’s – Priesthood, Ben Snyder, Wilmore Anglican – Priesthood, Jordan Kologe, Church of the Good Shepherd – Priesthood, Jeremy Roseman, Resurrection Anglican – Transitional Diaconate, Chase Edgar, St. Paul’s Church – Transitional Diaconate. Those transferred into ADOC: Joel Pinson, King of Kings – Rector, Wright Wall, Holy Trinity Church – Clergy Associate for evangelism and equipping.

College Ministry

We now have connections to College Ministry in the Carolinas. Madison Perry is at the North Carolina Study Center at UNC and Justin Hare and Jonathan Furst are associated with the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) @ Clemson University and University of South Carolina.

The ADOC Task Force on Women in Ministry 

I am excited to introduce ADOC Task Force on Women in Ministry. I have charged this committee with making recommendations for how the Diocese of the Carolinas can best fulfill the commitment made by the College of Bishops “to work earnestly toward a far greater release of the whole church to her God-given mission” – especially discipling and equipping “female [members], lay and ordained, to fulfill their callings and ministries in the work of God’s kingdom.”

The particular work of the Task Force is to identify the ways in which women, both lay and ordained, might exercise roles of service and leadership within the diocese, and in local churches, and make recommendations for how to support them in carrying out the priesthood of all believers.

Specifically, the Task Force will address the following questions:

·       What is the definition of ministry?

·       What roles have been assumed to be male-only?

·       What opportunities have not been open to women?

·       What can we do practically to fulfill the commitment made by the College of Bishops?

·       What can a church do to encourage women in ministry?

·       What pathways need to be in place for women to obtain credentials and training?

·       How best to recruit and mentor women for ministry in the church?

·       What materials need to be developed so that the recommendations of the Task Force can be implemented in a small, medium, and large church?

To do this work I propose the following men and women to serve on the Task Force:  The Rev. Lucy Albert, Executive Assistant, Good Shepherd Anglican Church, Davidson, NC, The Rev. Gary Ball, Rector, Redeemer, Asheville, NC, The Rev. John Hall, Senior Pastor, Christ the Redeemer, Clemson, SC, The Rev. Virginia Mussellmann, Deacon, Church of the Holy Cross, Raleigh NC, Mrs. Van Weston, former staff member Christ Church, Murrells Inlet, SC, The Rev. Joshua Yoder, Rector, Christ Church, Washington, NC.

Build Together Campaign

The Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas will begin a Build Together Campaign. Build Together is an annual diocesan campaign to help churches of the Diocese of the Carolinas that are making the critical transition into their initial permanent location/building.  One Sunday a year would be designated as “Build Together Sunday” and churches would share information (inserts, slides, videos) provided by the diocese with their congregations and receive designated gifts/pledges that Sunday. The Standing Committee of the Diocese would oversee the development of criteria, administration and distribution of these funds to churches who make appropriate an application and request. We are now stronger together in the Diocese of the Carolinas and this is a tangible and very strategic way we can advance the kingdom of God in the Carolinas.

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Bishop David Bryan 2019 Synod Address

It is so good to be together as a diocese… to worship together, to be encouraged by one another, to grow together in our common vocation of proclaiming the riches of God’s grace in Christ Jesus to every man, women and child in the communities God has placed us.

It continues to be a privilege for me to serve alongside Bishop Steve, as well as Bishops’ Thad and Terrell, and all of our rectors, clergy and congregations in the Carolinas.  One of the distinct privileges of traveling the diocese is seeing all the ways God is at work in our parishes…seeing the dedication, the creativity and the passion for the Gospel in the local churches that make up our diocese.  Our shared conviction is that local church is the frontline of mission and ministry and that the diocese exists to multiply (plant churches) and to serve and enrich the life of our congregations (not the other way around).

I want to take a minute or two and highlight some of the things that have happened this past year and are happening in our diocese:

In the Fall we had a Flourishing Outposts Conference with Kevin Martin for Pastoral Sized Churches, graciously hosted by All Saints, Pawleys Island (thank you Rob Grafe and co.).  We had 30 rectors/lay leaders come together to learn together how we can be better equipped to flourish in the life, mission and ministry of this particular size dynamic.  Folks went away pleased…and we want to do more things like this…

On another front, we have just begun a new Simeon Cohort at Apostles in Columbia which Chip Edgar and I lead and facilitate.  This, along with the Fellows program at Holy Trinity, Raleigh and the Ridley Institute, the Asbury/Wilmore Anglican connection and other initiatives around our diocese highlight the importance of next generation leadership development.

Related, our new Credentialing path/process in the diocese is now in full swing.  In addition to the 6 priests and 3 deacons ordained this past year, we have 6 aspiring permanent deacons, 9 aspiring transitional deacons and 6 aspiring priesthood folks somewhere in our process.  This is a community effort and we are very thankful for the those who serve on parish and regional discernment teams as well as our Examining Chaplains: Randy Forrester, John Hall, John Yates III and Chip Edgar.  Also thankful for Maddy Donaldson and Nancy Bryan who help administer this process

One critical aspect of our diocese is helping our congregations in transition and the calling of new rectors.  This past year we did this at King of Kings in Charlotte and we are currently doing this with Holy Trinity, North Augusta and Christ Church, Murrells Inlet.  Eric Speece did a fabulous job as Interim Rector at King of Kings prior to Joel Pinson’s arrival as their new rector and Thad Barnum is interim at Christ Church and is ‘rocking the house’ in a great way in Murrells Inlet.   Please pray for these processes, these are critical moments in the life of these congregations!

Speaking of Thad, I just want to take a moment to hold up the amazing work God is doing through him in the area of Soul Care.  Thad has just started his 4th year of doing this ministry and averages about 60-70 face to face or Skype-type appointments a month.  Thad works with pastors, leaders, seminarians and those in the ordination process.  His focus is not what we do, but who we are in Jesus.  The conviction is that if we are not healthy in the Lord– body, heart, mind, soul, it impacts every area of our life and ministry.  So, Thad provides a safe place for us to go and the Holy Spirit is at work in amazing ways.  There is no reason for our leaders to walk alone.  Appointments can be scheduled at call2disciple.com…most are video conferencing and there is no cost, because this ministry is funded by All Saints, Pawleys, our diocese and private donors and churches.  Can we take a moment and thank Thad for this ministry?

Church planting is a core conviction and value for the Diocese of the Carolinas.  As we will hear later nearly half of our diocesan budget go back into mission, in the province, but mainly in church planting.  This is only possible if our churches are growing in their giving to the diocese.  Our church planting arm is Kardia with Winfield Bevins as Canon for Church Planting, John Hall, Seth Cain, Gary Ball and me.  We are working together with our church plants, providing coaching and developing new church planting curacies around the diocese.  Again leadership development with a very missional edge.  We are going to hear more from Winfield later, but let stay in step with the Spirit in this important work of church planting in our diocese!

Lastly, I have a piece of business I’d like to offer.  We have a simple change which has been proposed to our diocesan canons to bring them into conformity with the provincial canons of ACNA.  You should have the proposed changes in your packets to Canon 5 Section 1 and Canon 8, section 4.  Very simply it adds the language of an accounting “review” where the canons before only prescribed an audit.  Audits are very costly and so we want to provide the option for churches to have reviews.  Now the Canon 8, Section 4 already requires the diocese to provide instructions to our churches for the regularity of these audits and reviews.  So after we pass this change, our finance committee with propose to the Standing Committee, recommendations for the regularity of audits and reviews based on the size of church budgets.  For instance we may say if your budget is over 300,000 we want you to have an audit every 5 years and in the other years to simply have a review, etc.  So expect to see that in the next few months.  Meanwhile, we also want to clean up the spelling of the word “worshippers” in Title 1, Canon 6, Section 3h…we are Anglicans, not Anglophiles, so we want to spell this the American way!  Having said all that, I’d like to make a motion we make the canonical changes as presented as a group.

So, that’s it from me.  Thank you Bishop Steve, thank you diocese, it’s great to be your Suffragan bishop!

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Building Projects across Diocese of Carolinas

“Healthy things grow. Growing things change. Change challenges us. Challenge forces us to trust God. Trust leads to obedience. Obedience makes us healthy. Healthy things grow…”

St. Andrew’s forging ahead on their new ministry center.
Giving thanks for the last seven months and the construction moving along at St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant, SC  #beautyfromasches

Cathedral Church of the Apostles completed their Ministry Center Expansion this fall. Giving thanks for growth in the Diocese. Healthy things grow!