Skip to comments.APA Provincial Synod Report [compare/contrast with TEC GC2006!]
Posted on 06/26/2006 5:37:42 PM PDT by sionnsar
My wife and I just returned from the APA Provincial Synod, and I thought I would give a report on it. It was held in Merrilville, Indiana, which is where the pro-cathedral of St. Andrew of the Diocese of St. Augustine is located (DSA hosted the synod). For those of you who do not know, the APA is comprised of three dioceses: the Diocese of the Eastern US (DEUS, Bp. Walter Grundorf, Ordinary), the Diocese of the West (DOW, Bp. Richard Boyce, Ordinary), and the non-geographical Diocese of St. Augustine (DSA, Bp. Larry Shaver, Ordinary). DEUS itself is further divided into about nine deaneries. I do not know if there are any deaneries in the other dioceses. Before the provincial synod, the three dioceses had their diocesan synods.
The theme of the synod was Faith and Mission, and it was abundantly clear from the proceedings that the APA is thoroughly engaged in faith and mission on a variety of levels. There was lots of good news to report. Donations to the dioceses were up significantly. There are several new buildings going up (or that went up) since 2004 (four in DEUS). The provincial standings are as follows:
Total Parishes and Missions: 67 (up from 54 in 2004)
Total Members: 6,000 (up from 5,000 in 2004)
Total Deacons and Priests: 126 (up from 94 in 2004)
Total Bishops (active and retired): 10
Total Postulants: 30 (in various stages and in various programs)
(NOTE: The bishops read through the lists so quickly that I barely had time to write the standings down, so please excuse any inaccuracies. In the future, it would be helpful if a handout were distributed that contained the vital statistics.)
Visitors included some REC clergy, Bp. Royal Grote (REC), Fr. Amos of Abp. Akiolas American church, the Rt. Revd Archimandrite Lev of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (representing the Ecumenical Patriarch), as well as a delightful SSC priest of the ACA out of Detroit. Fr. Amos read an official greeting from the archbishop. Highlights from the last two years include the Covenant Union with the REC and the Anglican Province of Nigeria; and the Common Cause Partnership, which includes the APA, REC, FiFNa, AMiA, and the ACN. The Anglican Federation, which the APA and REC started as a way to get the various continuing jurisdictions to work together without actually having to unite, and which has Abp. Gregory Venables serving as primatial patron, has attracted the interest of the Diocese of the Holy Cross and the ACA.
Various Items of Interest:
Positive reports were given on APA mission efforts in India, Fiji, Haiti, and elsewhere, though it would have been nice to have everything laid out in an information sheet or something. I personally knew nothing about the Church in India or elsewhere. Now I would say I know a little something. I think that the more people know about such missions, the more likely they would be top donate more time and money to them. Other mission efforts include supporting the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, which was established by the ACN as a way to provide support for needy people in third world countries, and so the people in those places do not have to accept money from heretical ECUSA dioceses.
Bp. Shaver, noticing the lack of young laypeople present, recommended that each diocese appoint a task force to get more lay youth out to the synods.
Bp. Grundorf noted the success of the APA/REC pension fund. Every parish has to contribute 10% of their clergys stipend to this fund (this is over and above their pay). This will provide financial security and great benefits for clergy down the road. To date there is still no diocesan health plan, but various people have been reviewing available options here and there.
As for clergy and clergy-related news, I was impressed at hearing of all of the various clergy retreats and quiet days that were held in the various deaneries (in DEUS). That shows how committed the clergy of the APA are to spiritual growth and development. Church planting and evangelism is very high on the list of priorities, with new missions forming regularly. The missions that have been formed in the last two years are doing extremely well and growing. There are plans for missions in a number of different areas around the country. And since God is blessing the APA with many vocations, we will, Lord willing, have the manpower to bring these missions about. Related to vocations, the Board of Examining Chaplains of DEUS require seminary degrees of all candidates for Holy Orders. That is a good policy to have.
Music for the liturgies was provided by the choir of St. Andrews School, an APA classical school out of California. They did a phenomenal job of leading the Anglican chants at Matins and Evensong, and singing special music during the synod mass. There special music piece by Tallis at the synod mass was particularly delightful.
I was blown away by an impromptu performance of the American songbook by the Rt. Revd Robert Samuel Loiselle on a grand piano in the lobby on Thursday evening. +Bob was an entertainer on Bourbon Street for many, many years, and it really shows. He is a great singer and an astounding pianist. I wish I had my video camera!
There was nothing extremely disconcerting that happened, though a few things did bother me. The liturgies were all pretty sloppy especially the daily ones which was very unfortunate. Organizers didnt adequately manage time limits of speeches and sermons, so various events went on longer than necessary. The logistics of the liturgies was poorly thought out: when to kneel/stand; how to receive communion; where to have them; where to sit; etc. Here in Maryland we managed a much more diverse group of people at the joint APA/REC Holy Eucharist on Trinity Sunday Evening, and it went extremely well, and everything ran right on schedule. Why? Because we carefully planned everything out. Planning always pays off. It troubled me to hear of one DEUS parish that had begun using altar girls. I think that sets a bad and dangerous precedent, and I shall be most disappointed if other APA parishes follow suit. Personally, I dont think many will, but one can never be too sure. Having more informative handouts and passing out updated clergy/church rosters would have been nice too. There is a lot going on, but the word doesnt always get out. We need to work on that. Those who took buses from the airport to the hotel ran into numerous difficulties (my wife and I drove, so we were spared all of that).
So overall, the health of the church is good and the synod was fine. Basically, we are a small but growing bunch of traditional Anglicans striving to be faithful to where God has called us to be, and trying to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and sacrament. May God grant us His grace and mercy to be a light for Him in this world, and to lead more and more people to His blessed son, Jesus Christ, the one and only savior of the world.
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