Bishop Sandy Greene with Deacon Brit Carpenter, Bishop Aaron Kijanjali, and Deacon Drew Witt at Britt and Drew’s ordination service
For Bishop Sandy Greene, success is measured by how many leaders he is able to mentor and encourage.
“If I had a plaque on my wall that had names and dates on it, I would hope it was a very long plaque with the names of young leaders, men and women, whom I had encouraged in their life and ministry to the Lord”
Encouraging leaders has been a part of Bishop Sandy’s ministry since he was ordained a priest in 1971. He was consecrated as a Bishop in 2001, and has been a part of the Anglican Mission since the beginning. We recently sat down with Bishop Sandy to learn more about his journey of faith and what the Lord is currently doing in his life and ministry.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up going to the Episcopal church. I attended Sunday School and was confirmed, but by the time I was in High School, wasn’t very serious about it. I did continue to attend an Episcopal Church, but that was mostly because I went to an all-boys boarding school, and the way to see girls was to attend one of the school-approved churches on Sundays. Looking back, I’m surprised that it meant as much as it did to me.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I had an encounter with the Lord. I was around 20 years old, and was driving somewhere late at night. I was thinking about my life and future and I thought that I would go see the counselor on campus to sort these things out. I distinctly heard these words in my head but it was so real I turned around to see if someone was in the back seat:
“You don’t need a counselor, you need God.”
Those words really struck me. I thought, well, if I do need God, then maybe I need to go back to church. I only knew the Episcopal Church on campus, and so that started me back on that journey again.
As it turned out, I did need God. I reconnected with some people who were believers on campus and worked for a professor who was also a believer. This professor asked me to sit as a student on the board that was selecting a new Chaplain.
The man we selected was a graduate student from Australia, who was so excited about Jesus and different from other clergymen I had met. I got know him and work with him in the chaplaincy. One of the most interesting things to me about this part of my journey, is that if I had gone to the counselor at the University, I probably would have seen his wife and ended up in the same relationships in the end.
During this time I also fell in love with my wife, Georgeanna, who goes by Gigi. She was also going through a seeking phase in her life and started taking me to church. In about a year’s time, we decided we wanted to get married and went to meet with an Episcopal priest in our hometown, who we didn’t really know very well. I think my mother was hoping he would talk us out of getting married. Not only did he not talk us out of it, in the course of our conversation he said to me that he thought I would make a good priest. This was shocking to me, since I was just beginning to come back to some kind of reasonable faith. But it redirected my thinking and general direction.
What came next?
I attended seminary in New York. I didn’t know where I was headed or what I was doing, but I figured I’d go for a year, and if it was working out I would continue and if it wasn’t I’d redirect. In stages, the Lord continued to meet me and draw me to himself.
Sometime in year two of three, I met a minister who had just come from London. He told me this interesting story about meeting people who did church in their home. They were what we would call charismatics and would baptize people in the bathtub. At the end of our meeting he prayed for me, and like John Wesley, I felt like my heart was strangely warmed. At the time I didn’t speak in tongues or anything (that came later) but it was the start of something.
A year later, in June of 1971, I was ordained a deacon and in December of that year a priest. I moved back to Florida, where I grew up, and served at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Tampa.
During my life in ministry, I pastored churches in Florida and in Colorado. I spent 30 years in the Episcopal Church. At least 20 of those years I was interacting with a lot of other ministers in the church, both lay and clergy, who were committed to the notion of revival. A number of us came under Bishop Church Murphy and called ourselves “First Promise.” The name came from the first promise that we made in our ordination vows, to be faithful to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as the church had received it.
In June 2001, I left the Episcopal church and we planted a new church in Denver, Colorado, which eventually merged with another group and was called the Light of Christ. That was the beginning of my ministry within the Mission, though I had been in an informal advisory group before that. In 2001, I was also consecrated as one of four new Bishops for the newly formed Anglican Mission. I continued to serve in Colorado until 2012, when my wife and I started making moves towards retirement and relocated to San Antonio.
What does your day-to-day look like these days?