Strengthen yourself in the Lord

Bishop Philip JonesWe were blessed to have many of our clergy and some of their spouses from all over the United States and Canada at our annual Anglican Mission Clergy Retreat in Little Rock, Arkansas on October 20 – 22nd. Archbishop Kolini and all the AM bishops were able to participate except Bishop Schnackenberg, who had had minor surgery, please pray for his speedy recovery.

The focus was strengthening yourself in the Lord. After a wonderful BBQ dinner hosted by St. Andrew’s, we opened with a worship and healing service on Tuesday night. During this service the clergy and others who were attending were invited to receive prayer to minister to their hearts, mind and soul. The Lord was truly present through the work of the Holy Spirit. Wednesday opened with Morning Prayer led by Bishops Sandy Greene and Carl Buffington. Carl shared some of his experiences and showed slides of his time in the Congo this past summer helping to lead the Apolo 2 program. 75 clergy received training in the Congo and 200 children were educated about Bible stories and the Christian faith.

I gave a brief message outlining how God has shown favor over the last 20 months and looking forward to events coming up in the next year. Reports on church plant openings, such as the weekly service now taking place at All Saints Dallas East, the church plant in progress in North Little Rock, and other opportunities in San Jose, Syracuse and Florida were outlined. Then the clergy broke up in groups of seven and were led through a few questions; how God is leading them in their hearts, what hurts, pain or disappointment they may be facing, and what is their hope in looking ahead. We had tremendously positive feedback for this time of ministry, unloading, encouragement and prayer.

During noon on Wednesday, those interested met with Ryan Owsley, Kevin Donlon and Allen Hughes to discuss various questions about the statutes, a very positive and fruitful meeting. Wednesday afternoon I was encouraged when Allen Hughes and I met with clergy from Florida to talk about church planting strategies. Although I did not attend, some clergy went bowling and a few went golfing, all returning with great stories of being together. After we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in downtown Little Rock, many groups got together and a few of the clergy continued their discussions from the small group from that morning.

Thursday morning opened with a communion service and closed with a reaffirmation of our vows to God and for the AMiA. Thursday afternoon there was an extra session offered to our rectors, and for those who stayed, Gary Hoag presented some awesome grant opportunities for our churches to be funded specifically regarding the issue of developing faith in the workplace for our parishioners. If you were not able to attend and want to know more about this opportunity for your church please contact Allen Hughes, [email protected].

We are so grateful to Robert+ Cook for hosting and to Beka LeMaster and all the staff at St. Andrew’s Church in Little Rock for their outstanding hospitality. Also, many thanks to Gavin+ Pate and Caroline Norris for organizing and administrating this retreat.  The most positive aspect I saw at the retreat was the clergy being able to sit down together, to eat, fellowship, pray and connect. I have heard from many who are very thankful for this time to be with their fellow Anglican Mission clergy.

Thank you all for your participation and prayers.

God bless,

+Philip