Synod 2017’s theme was Following the Cross of Christ Together, as we move toward the plans God has for us in the coming year. It was a great celebration of the life and ministry of our diocese, which is now entering its tenth year. The witness of receiving an archdeaconry for Sudan and licensing six clergy were great measures for the growth of the diocese, along with the completion of a 10 percent increase to our church planting budget. The ministry updates and welcome of new congregations exploring membership in the ADNE made for the demonstration of a mature and healthy diocese passionate for church planting in New England.
Before the service began, Bishop Bill licensed six priests to serve in the ADNE:
- Michael Kafeero
- Rob Belton
- Nancy Phillips
- Bruce Thayer
- McLean Rabb
- Solomon Mursal
He also licensed three lay leaders: Peter Mukasa, Joyce Nakku, and Yugu Alfred Yobo.
Holy Communion saw a full house at All Saints Anglican Cathedral, Amesbury. Bishop Bill celebrated and preached at the service. The sermon was about taking up the cross of Christ on the road ahead. “If anyone comes after me, let him take up his cross…” The central piece of discipleship is the decision to take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ. His suffering is not simply a model of inspiration for us, as some say – rather it is that we see Jesus for who He is and how He is. It reveals the nature of God in Christ. His suffering for our sin and rebellion shows us not only the Son’s but the Father’s love for us as well. This, along with His resurrection, won us eternal life. When we see Jesus in His suffering we must not turn away but spend time with Him in a fellowship that brings us intimacy even in the darkest places and transforms us in our discipleship.
The service also witnessed the elevation of The Rev. Joseph Bizimana as Archdeacon of our Sudanese churches. The Sudanese congregations, especially as seen through the ministry of The Rev. Solomon Mursal, who was licensed that day, are joyful at connecting with the ADNE for the future of their life and ministry, and the representatives there were warmly welcomed. In addition, our Archdeacon of Kenyan congregations, The Ven. Peter Gachathi, announced his upcoming retirement and was awarded The Bishop’s Cross for his years of service. The Rev. Canon Dr. Andrea Mueller Millard also received the Bishop’s Cross for her service as Canon of Prayer and Healing. Recently married to The Rev. Jonathan Millard from Church of the Ascension in Oakland, PA, she has now transferred to the Diocese of Pittsburgh and will be serving under Bishop James Hobby.
The business meeting was quickly underway after the catered lunch with the election of the Committee on Nominations for Bishop (CNB). We are thankful for God’s hand in bringing us those He wants joined to this important process. You can read more about each of the new members here. The Synod also ratified a change in the ADNE Canons regarding the election of bishops, and the updated Canons are posted online.
Throughout the business meeting were various ministry updates from Ryan and Jillian Johnson and their mission in Uganda, The Rev. Malcolm Reid and ARDF, The Rev. Craig Vickerman and the ACNA Youth Mission trip to Chicago, and The Very Rev. Nathan Baxter on updates regarding our 3DM discipleship initiative. We were also blessed to have The Rev. Canon Dan Alger, ACNA Canon for Church Planting, here to encourage and exhort us to push forward with a passion for growing missional communities throughout New England. He was accompanied by our own Rev. Canon Justin Howard, who also shared on the status of our new diocesan church plant initiative, Plant New England. Both men are on the team of Always Forward, the provincial church planting initiative.
This Synod paved the way for next year’s transition to a new bishop, who will be elected during Synod 2018, a two-day event. Please pray around all of our participation in the process of selecting, interviewing, and praying for the nominees that are selected for bishop in New England, as this becomes a focal point of our mission and ministry this year. Be sure to stay tuned on the Episcopal Election News page for continuing coverage and updates on the process.
The packets given at Synod contained important handouts regarding some of these events. These documents (in PDF format) are provided here for your use:
- 2018 Bishop’s Calendar
- Prayers for the Election of a New Bishop
- Congregation List 2017
- 2017 Roster of Elected Officials
- Important Upcoming Events