Skip to comments.Delaware Church Plant is First in 40 Years [ECUSA]
Posted on 08/03/2005 8:12:31 AM PDT by sionnsar
The Diocese of Delaware is in the process of helping to plant its first church in more than 40 years. It is hoped that the detailed plan for starting Good Shepherd, Glasgow, will be the first step toward the diocese's goal of planting 8-10 new congregations during the next 15-20 years.
Delaware is in the midst of a population explosion, reads a brochure produced by the diocese's recently revived Bishops Mission Fund. To effectively minister to the unchurched, we need to expand our Episcopal churches in Delaware."
Last April, a resolution was adopted at diocesan convention, re-establishing the Bishops Mission Fund. Chartered more than 150 years ago by the first bishop of Delaware, the Rt. Rev. Alfred Lee, seed money from that early mission fund helped to start churches in all three Delaware counties.
We are now experiencing a similar pattern of growth in our state, wrote the current diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Wayne P. Wright, in a letter announcing resumption of the fund to diocesan members and friends. Formation of new churches is at the heart of our call to go and make disciples.
Good Shepherd is still in the transitional phase to weekly worship, but it has a full-time employee, the Rev. Jay Angerer, a graduate of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Prior to his appointment as church planter at Good Shepherd, Fr. Angerer was an assistant at St. Thomas, Newark, and the Episcopal campus minister at the University of Delaware.
During the transitional phase, Fr. Angerer has scheduled weekly Bible study inside a local Starbucks coffee shop. There have also been special weekend worship events scheduled for the summer, such as a blessing of the pets and free nail clipping on July 17, a baptism and Eucharist (with special worship and programs running concurrently for children) on Aug. 6, and an air prayer (involving biodegradable balloons) and ice cream social on Aug. 13.
Past experience in other dioceses show that area churches benefit a great deal from the interest generated from the evangelism and awareness of the Episcopal Church in the area, states the Bishops Mission Fund brochure. Existing churches thrive when they are in the mindset of growth.
First church plant in 40 years? How many churches have the Catholics, Evangelicals and Orthodox planted in the last 40 years?
Part of it would certainly be geography. It is much easier to plant a church in a growing sunbelt city than it is to start a new one in an area of stable population. And it would be more problematical for an Episcopal church to try to start one in a different geographic area than it is, for example, the Baptists.
Actually, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington planted a new church in Dlaware just a few years ago. Our parish had gotten too large, so another parish was created.
I'd be a bit surprised if there weren't new plants by other denominations in that time.
The Southern Baptist target is 20 a year for Maryland and Delaware. It looks like they currently have 8 plants underway in Delaware.
The American Baptists have 2 underway, both hispanic.
Digging a little deeper for smaller denominations, it looks like the PCA has a couple of mission works in Delaware as well. So it isn't like there are not opportunities. Once the ECUSA gets around to splitting, there should be plenty of resources for church planting.
"There have also been special weekend worship events scheduled for the summer, such as a blessing of the pets and free nail clipping on July 17 . . . and an air prayer (involving biodegradable balloons) and ice cream social on Aug. 13."
No wonder there has only been one church plant in 40 years.
Yes; I had been looking at that part too. "Free nail clipping"? "Air prayer"? "Biodegradable balloons"? (the last is not a bad idea, really, but to focus on that?)
I agtree. I went to the website and he comes across as a 'nice guy', trying to please. I do note that their values end with Diversity, which is completed by the words 'sexual orientation'. I don't see any mention of sin anywhere.
Complacency is the keynote, it seems.
Doesn't sound like "an area of stable population." Is this true about Delaware, and if so, what does it say that the goal is one new church every two years? How many people do you need to start a church? Twenty? Shouldn't be that hard with an "exploding" population.
Beats me. That free nail clipping ought to be raking them in.
Probably 20 family units, rather than 20 people. 50 folks would make a solid core group. About 100 people for a self supporting church. 200 for stability and outreach.
For your question about growth:
Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 17.6%
Population, percent change, April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003 4.3%
Compare for Texas - 22.8% and 6.1%
Or Arizona - 40% and 8.8%.
So somewhat slower than much larger Texas, and about half as much growth as Arizona.
As a practical matter, Dallas, Phoenix or Houston suburbs could absorb 3 or 4 Anglo church plants a year each from most denominations with no problem, plus at least that many assorted ethnic.
Getting a core group together isn't as big of a problem as is finding a gifted church planter and getting the funding. (Figure 2-4 years to fully self supporting status.)
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