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Update on Synod 2015: Embracing Our Common Mission


+ Embracing Our Common Mission


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2015 – This past Saturday the Anglican Diocese in New England held its 8th annual diocesan synod. It was a time of worship, prayer, recognition, fellowship, and council. The diocesan clergy, delegates, and guests took part in a Festival Eucharist with Bishop Bill preaching and presiding; all clergy who were able to vested and then proceeded into the church, celebrating their work together in embracing the mission that Jesus Christ gave the Church in New England. Bishop Bill preached on the challenges we faced in building a diocese and the point we’re at in the building process: maintaining the work we’ve accomplished, regrouping as a united front, and pushing forward to continue the mission. He used his own sabbatical experience of building a new house on the foundation of his old one, illustrating the need for vision, perseverance, and teamwork to complete any difficult and significant task, especially those for the Kingdom of God.

The worship music moved us into the truth of that vision: the worship and love of God. It included hymns on the organ and contemporary acoustic worship led by Fr. Nathan Baxter of All Saints’ Anglican Church, Amesbury. The excitement and unity in the room was palpable; hands were raised in praise and the sound of Christians from around the region singing to the Lord filled the sanctuary.

Our collective worship continued after Eucharist, when a number of presenters testified to the work God had done through the various ministries in our diocese over the past year:

We were especially encouraged by a team from St. Paul’s Kenyan Church, Lawrence, who came to celebrate the payment of their church’s mortgage, the first congregation in our diocese to do so. We heard from The Ven. Peter Gachathi on the process they took by faith to work through their finances to meet their goals, and the team from St. Paul’s sang a Swahili song of praise.

After lunch and a presentation by Fr. Malcolm Reid on the state of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, the synod continued with a special guest presentation by The Rt. Rev. David Hicks, bishop of the Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC). He introduced the REC and its history, along with its journey of faith since the 1800s. He also presented the REC’s vision for the future and their desire to continue partnering with us as founding members of the Anglican Church in North America. It was a warm and welcome celebration of our unity in the faith, and we are grateful for his visit (read Bishop Hicks’ bio here).

The Synod 2015 business meeting followed, with a busy but relatively brief agenda, the main points of which are as follows:

  • Reports on the changes and statuses of churches and missions
  • Elections to the ADNE Standing Committee and Ecclesiastical Court
  • Budget presentations, discussion, and vote. Major topics for discussion this year were the development of a Church Planting Task Force and added financial support to church plants, a Church Growth Task Force, and the ADNE Cathedral Initiative for 2016. The following summaries on each topic were presented:

Church Planting Task Force: “In 2016 we, the Bishop and Standing Committee of the ADNE, in response to the call of God and our Mission as a diocese commit ourselves afresh to the tasks of Church Planting and will add a task force of leaders to assist the bishop in this enterprise. Further we will add 6% of our annual tithes and donation to fund the ongoing work. We will appoint Canon Alex Cameron and Rev Justin Howard to head up this task force and design the final approach to the work through the year 2016.”

Church Growth Task Force: “In 2016, we, the Bishop and Standing Committee of the ADNE, recognize the new season we are in as a missionary diocese. We will assist our Bishop in his work by adding a task force of leaders to assist him growing our parishes to be healthier, stronger places of Anglican Mission and Ministry. We recognize this effort to be of the first order of importance to reach a level of sustainability as a diocese. The Bishop and this task force will direct their time according to this mission initiative. ” (See ADNE Canon VIII)

ADNE Cathedral 2016: “The Vestry of the Pro-Cathedral of All Saints’ Anglican Church Amesbury asked the Standing Committee, that we, the ADNE, consider formally naming All Saints’ “The Cathedral of the Anglican Diocese in New England”. Further they have asked that this request be considered this year and ratified by vote of the 2016 Synod of the ADNE. After much discussion, we the Standing Committee, Bishop, Rector and the Vestry of All Saints’ agree that this request, which is such a source of joy for us all, needs further reflection by the whole ADNE. So when we do vote, we will have arrived at that place of understanding and peace that always precedes a decision which is one of clarity and joy.

“Therefore, we the ADNE, are entering a year of education around this request. We see this year of education as a process that is more about shared ownership of a mission initiative than the naming of a building. We see our Cathedral as an organic agency of mission, not just an institutional monument.

“We will provide the clergy and lay leaders of the ADNE opportunities for reading and reflecting on the changes and benefits we see in the final and formal naming of All Saints’ Anglican Church as our Cathedral. The natural opportunities for theseeducation events seem to be the Clergy Retreat, large area-wide confirmation events, and the new “Clericus“ meetings being held this year. Both Fr. Nathan Baxter and BishopMurdoch will take the lead in thiseducation initiative, producing materials and leading discussions throughout this year.”

The documents below (all in PDF format) were distributed at Synod or have been updated to reflect changes made during synod. Please feel free to print these out for your personal and congregational use. As we begin to reflect on the year we leave behind, let us be thankful to God for the good work reflected at Synod this year, as well as continuing to pray for the ministers of our diocese as we embrace our common mission: reaching New England with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.

Be sure to check out some of the photos from Synod 2015 below!


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