On November 16-17, 2018, the 10th Annual Synod provided the most important gathering for New England clergy and delegates since its first Synod at the ADNE’s inception. This year, the Synod was a two-day event, with a worship service and business meeting on Friday night and Holy Eucharist/episcopal election on Saturday.
Friday night began with a dinner provided for clergy and delegates arriving for the business meeting, during which various ministry updates and administrative topics were discussed and voted upon. It opened with a set of praise music by the Grace Anglican Church, Bridgewater, youth praise band. Bishop Bill welcomed the new clergy seated at Synod and gave a report on the status of various missions and ministries around the diocese, which included the admission of the Order of the Way as a diocesan ministry led by the Rev. Len Cowan, our Diocesan Intercessor. This ministry serves both clergy and laity committed to a rule of life and regular times of retreat and fellowship, with its center at the Abbey of the Way in Worcester, MA (to find out more, visit www.abbeyoftheway.us. Bishop Bill’s report also included the admission of Andover Community Church into the ADNE, a former Congregational Church led by our Anglican priest, the Rev. John Wagner. The congregation recently voted to become fully Anglican and to join the life and work of the diocese. This announcement brought it a standing ovation from the Synod as they were welcomed in. In addition, Mary of Bethany, a previously inactive mission, was reactivated. It is led by the Rev. Gabrielle Beam in Bridgeport, CT. There were also updates on the Sudanese and Chinese mission initiatives currently in progress in both Maine and Connecticut.
Ministry updates included a presentation by The Rev. Canon Justin Howard on church planting and the development of missional discipleship through 3DM, along with video presentations on our involvement with SOMA in Kansas City and our delegation to GAFCON Jerusalem. Bishop Bill also gave The Rev. Piper Runnion-Bareford, Mr. Bob Craig, and Ms. Gail Gardner awards for their service on Standing Committee, as several members will now be stepping down after their term. The Bishop’s Cross was awarded to the Rev. Canon Alex Cameron, who has served the diocese as Canon for Leadership Development, and who will now be moving with his family to Chicago, in order to serve there through the partnership between his healing ministry, Isaiah 40, and the ACNA’s healing ministry, Equipped to Heal.
The final portion of the business meeting included the general election, where the Synod elected The Very Rev. Nathan Baxter, The Rev. Craig Vickerman and Mr. Brian Lonto to Standing Committee, along with new members to the Ecclesiastical Court and Provincial Council.
On Saturday morning, All Saints Cathedral was full of worshippers and full of expectation as the service for Holy Eucharist began. Bishop Bill gave the sermon, an exhortation to believe in the Holy Spirit’s care and leading of the diocese, his final Synod sermon as diocesan bishop of New England. After the Peace, a space was given for silence and for the episcopal election vote to occur. Each clergy member and lay delegate had packets with sealed ballots inside, which were brought up by ushers to the altar for Bishop Bill to bless and pray over during the offertory. They were then taken away to be counted by our Diocesan Chancellor, Mr. Gary Monserud, and the Bishop Overseer, The Rt. Rev. Ron Jackson of the Diocese of the Great Lakes. Bishop Jackson flew in for the Synod in order to confer with Bishop Bill on the election process and oversee it on behalf of the ACNA’s College of Bishops. The ballots were counted during Holy Communion, and the results were brought back by Bishop Jackson and announced by Bishop Bill: the Rev. Andrew Williams was elected the next bishop of the ADNE by a solid majority. Bishop Bill then called the Bishop Elect on the phone, and connected him to the sound system so that Rev. Andrew could say a few words. The Synod then celebrated with more praise music and dancing.
After the service, lunch was served downstairs, during which the Synod was able to gather informally around Bishop Bill as he spoke about next steps and our transition to a new episcopate. Please pray for the diocese as we move through this momentous process towards the consecration. If the Rev. Andrew Williams is confirmed by the College of Bishops in January, he will be consecrated on Saturday, March 16, at All Saints Cathedral.