I hope this message finds you enjoying your summer! Despite these record hot temperatures, I know many of you are enjoying trips and vacations; my prayer is that those times will be restorative.
I’m writing to keep you updated on the status of our new affiliation with The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). I won’t repeat what I have written before, but if you want to read about how we got here, you can read more here on our website.
St. John’s Is Joining a Diocese
St. John’s will soon be part of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. What’s a diocese you might wonder? Anglicans order their churches under bishops. A diocese is a group of parishes under the supervision of a bishop. A little history might be helpful:
Unlike the Continental Reformers (e.g., Martin Luther and John Calvin, among others), who organized ecclesial bodies by doctrinal confessions, the Anglican Reformers took a somewhat different path. They adopted a stance of ” Reformed catholicity.” This is an understanding of the Reformation grounded in the sufficiency and clarity of Scripture (as expressed in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, and the 39 Articles of Religion), but as understood through the Rule of Faith and the common mind of the Patristic church. That is why our liturgy is in continuity with the ancient catholic tradition (though different in some important ways from the Roman Catholic liturgy), and it is why we have bishops, presbyters, and deacons.
As a part of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, our bishop will be Archbishop Bob Duncan. We will also be receiving care from his assistant, Bishop Frank Lyons and Bishop Duncan’s Canon, the Very Reverend Mary Hays. The Diocese of Pittsburgh has a two-hundred year history. It is a large, stable diocese with excellent and godly leadership. It will give us the spiritual covering and support that we need.
Also, the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh has a spiritual gift (a charism) of helping new dioceses come into existence. They will be helping our group of churches in Tennessee to form a future Anglican Diocese of Tennessee. In the meantime, our church will be part of the one of the most missional and vibrant dioceses in the Anglican Church.
St. John’s Parish Council has been working diligently to take care of the paperwork to complete this process. We need to make some alterations in our by-laws, and vote to accept them as a parish. We anticipate that our by-law revisions will be finished at the end of July, and to have a congregational vote to accept them as a parish in mid-August after one of our worship services. If all goes as anticipated, we will be received into the Diocese of Pittsburgh at their diocesan assembly in November. However, the important decisions have been made. So while it may take a few weeks or even months for all the parties to process all the documents, I am pleased to announce that we are moving toward our new home.
If you have questions or would like to have further conversation, please feel free to contact me or any of our Parish Council members. May the Lord bless you, bless our church, and bless middle Tennessee through us.
Grace and peace,