Battling for our Buddies in Greenville, SC

St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Greenville, SC is engaged and bringing change personally to the community they love. They call themselves “Battle Buddies”. Women doing ministry for women with children fighting substance abuse. St. Paul’s knows addiction is a leading cause of family collapse and harm to children in Upstate South Carolina. They are there to battle for their buddies at Serenity Place.

Serenity Place and is a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for women.  Serenity Place is part of the larger umbrella of the Family Effect which has various residential and outpatient treatment facilities in the area.  The mission of the Serenity Place is to heal the mother’s addiction and also keep families intact.  Many of the women are pregnant and have preschool school age children.  SP is unique because the mothers can bring their younger children with them to treatment.  The women receive group counseling, classes, mentoring, individual counseling, planning for the future.  In addition individuals from the community come and teach basic life skill classes such as budgeting, parenting skills, etc.  Many of the children come to the Serenity Place with development and emotional needs from living with a parent or parents who use.  The children are treated, cared for and educated with while their moms attend their classes.  In fact, a new child therapeutic center is under construction right now with plans for completion this year.

St. Pauls member Jen Harding says, “From a spiritual perspective, the women are hungry.  I was thinking a couple of weeks ago about it in the sense that these women are lost in a deep, dark cave.  No hope, no idea if they will ever be free, wondering if people on the outside have forgotten about them or worse yet, if God has forgotten about them.  What does one do if lost in a deep dark cave but search for a source of Light.  For these women, the Light is Jesus.  As the women get closer to the light that is Jesus, hope emerges and it is beautiful thing”.

There are many churches and religious organizations of all denominations serving as the Body of Christ for the women and children of the Serenity Place. St. Paul’s journeys with the women through Bible Study groups, prayer group, serving homemade meals and providing hand crocheted baby blankets and prayer squares.

The women really are the Same Kind of Different as me OR as put another way, the ground at the base of the cross is level.  Brothers and Sisters, like the friends of the Paralytic Man let us join together and lower the women and children of the SP on their mats to the feet of Jesus and just as in the parable, the faith of the women will be seen and they will be healed AND the faith of the friends will be seen and we will all be part of the blessing.

www.stpaulsgreenville.org

Where is your Treasure?

A note from Bishop Wood…

Some of the clearest statements in Scripture concern giving. The first murder in the Bible was rooted in God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering and His rejection of Cain’s offering. Genesis 4 tells us that Abel brought both the first and the best to the Lord while Cain brought neither. The worshipper and his/her offerings are inseparable; a reflection of their heart and what they hold most dear. We see this again and again throughout the biblical record.

400 years before the Law was given Abraham, by faith, set the pattern of giving when he gave a 10th – a tithe – of all that he had to the priest, Melchizedek.

The Lord, through the prophet Malachi (3.6-12), said to the people of Israel – and to people of faith through the ages, “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.”

That’s an extraordinary statement – and an even more extraordinary promise – the Lord says, “test me in this and see if I am faithful.”

And the pattern is the same in the New Testament. Did you know that Jesus talked about money more than He did Heaven and Hell combined?

Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God.

11 of 39 parables talk about money.
1 of every 7 verses in the Gospel of Luke talk about money.

In one of his more well-known parables in Luke (16) Jesus says this: “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust thetrue riches?”​

What’s he saying? Well, what is mammon? What are “true riches?”

Quite simply mammon is money, yes, but it’s more. It’s everything – it’s our wealth, it’s our investments, it’s our possessions. It’s what so many strive for, give themselves for, sacrifice their families for. And note this, elsewhere in this same parable Jesus calls all of this that we value so much “little,” insignificant, temporal, passing.

And then Jesus speaks of true riches. What are true riches? True riches are spiritual treasure given to us by the Holy Spirit – spiritual stewardship and responsibility in God’s kingdom.

So, what’s Jesus saying? He’s saying if you – if I’m not faithful with something as temporal and insignificant as earthy treasure and possessions with which I am entrusted to steward for His purposes during my lifetime, why would I ever expect the Holy Spirit to entrust to me real treasure, with spiritual treasure, with eternal treasure?

So if the Bible is so consistent and clear – so encouraging in its teaching on how we handle our money – why are we so hesitant?

Let me tell you what I see in my life and in the lives of folks I’ve spoken with over the years: fear. We’re afraid. We think to ourselves, “It’s unreasonable to live like this. It doesn’t make sense. If I live like this, if I give like this, will I have enough?” And behind these questions lies the deepest question revealing our deepest fear: “Is God faithful? Will God really come through?” And in this sense, mammon, money, possessions are a wonderful diagnostic test. How so? Well, Jesus again. In Matthew 6 (21), He says, “where your treasure is, there will be your what? There will your heart be also . . . Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Friends, where’s your treasure? There’s your heart.

ACNA Book of Common Prayer

ACNA Book of Common Prayer Published
By ACNA Press Release – April 18, 2019
The Anglican Church in North America has officially released the final texts for The Book of Common Prayer 2019.

These texts can be found on the new Book of Common Prayer (BCP) website here. Commemorative editions marking the 10-year anniversary of the Anglican Church in North America will be released at Provincial Assembly in June, and pew editions will be made available for purchase shortly thereafter.

In 2009, at the formation of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Robert Duncan announced three goals for the province: to plant churches, to develop a Catechism, and to formulate a new version of The Book of Common Prayer. Duncan, who is also the Chair of the Liturgy Task Force, commented, “The prayer book has taken the longest. It had to be done right and it will shape our life for years to come, generations to come. Our mission is to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus and, indeed, that’s what this prayer book [helps us do].”

In 1549, The Book of Common Prayer was a revolutionary addition to the life of the Church. During the Reformation, as the movement sought to make Scripture more accessible for the lay person, Archbishop Cranmer also sought to make the prayers and liturgy more accessible. He did so by creating The Book of Common Prayer – a compilation of prayers and liturgy based on Scripture in the language of the English people.  During the Reformation, the prayer book went through various revisions, but The Book of Common Prayer 1662 has become the standard. The result has been described as “the Scriptures arranged for worship.”

“It has been, from the beginning, a basic and reliable way for Christians to pray,” Duncan said. The Book of Common Prayer 2019 seeks to continue this same function but set in the context of today’s Church. “What the 2019 does is take what was good from the modern liturgical renewal and also what was lost from the tradition,” Duncan says.

Like the Catechism, pieces of The Book of Common Prayer 2019 have already been translated and more translations are coming. Duncan admits he has already had calls from other provinces looking to the Liturgy Task Force for direction in developing their own revised prayer book.

As for the impact on the Anglican Church in North America, he believes the BCP 2019 will help to shape generations. After cultural revolution swept England in the 16th and 17th centuries, “the 1662 book was settling and stabilizing.”  Duncan continued, “That very well may be the role that this prayer book has, and we have a hunch it’s going to be very useful and appropriate for the 21st century.”

In addition to facilitating corporate worship and encouraging the prayer life of individuals, The Book of Common Prayer also provides parents with the tools to help revitalize the spiritual life of the home. The Family Prayer liturgies “give families very simple ways of beginning to shape their children in a way of daily praying, of engaging Scripture, and of beginning to grow as Anglicans.”

All of these resources are available for download on the BCP website. The Liturgy Task Force wants “to make the texts – in Word and PDFs – very accessible. We want to do everything we can to help these texts go deep into the life of the Church.”

To download the final texts of The Book of Common Prayer 2019, click here.
To view the prototype and estimated price of the hardcopy BCP, click here.

SOURCE Anglican Church in North America
TAGS Anglican Church in North America

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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