By Mike Blanchat, Executive Director of the AMiA and Executive Administrator of All Saints Dallas
As we begin to recover from what felt like an endless election season and enter month eight of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to write to you this month with good news: God has been preparing all of us for this season. No matter what is going on with the world, we are sons and daughters of the King, called to joyfully steward his Church and call all people to his Kingdom of grace and love. And he has given us all we need to not only do this work but to thrive!
I will admit to dealing with some confusion and concern when we began lockdowns and stopped meeting on Sundays for three months. No one had “global pandemic” in their playbook. What do we (the church) do with this? How do we gather, stay connected, minister to the saints and prepare for the unprecedented? And what about the budget?
Bishop Jones reminded me the call is always the same no matter what our circumstances: remember who we are and steward what the Lord has placed in our hands and under our authority.
As we figured out what we must do—recording and then livestreaming services, reaching out to every member of All Saints and praying and connecting and serving, preparing our church for safely meeting in person again and continuing the ministries of the church—I was amazed at all the Lord made possible through his people.
Not only did these people continue to faithfully give to the missions of the church, but they faithfully reached out to the clergy and staff of the church to ask, “What can I do, and what do you need so the church can continue being the church?”
It turns out that the previous three years of stewarding the resources of All Saints to restore a building as our new home in downtown Dallas had prepared us to be flexible, honest and transparent in dealing with an unanticipated challenge. It turns out the Lord knew what was coming and had placed all the people and resources All Saints needed to “do” a global pandemic.
While none of us have enjoyed the last several months—all of us have been tempted to “long for Egypt”—I will remember 2020 as a year when the Lord reminded me that his grace is sufficient. He has not left us as orphans, but sent the Holy Spirit and placed all of us in a community equipped to build the Kingdom no matter what—pandemic, cultural strife, prosperity and want, sunshine and storms—the world throws at us.
I talk about all of this in more detail with Allen+ Hughes on TheLivingClassroom.org podcast. Take heart Anglican Mission, for Christ has overcome the world!
Mike Blanchat was raised in Temple, Texas and received a degree in economics from Stanford University in 1984 and an MBA from SMU in 1991. He spent 30 years as an executive in international business with several companies. Mike and his wife Kirsten (Kissy) were part of the founding group of St. Andrew’s Little Rock in 1998 and have been involved with the AMiA since its beginning in 2000. They have three adult children—Jack, Ellie and Ben—and serve together at All Saints Dallas. In addition to his ministry as Executive Director for the AMiA, Mike is the executive administrator for All Saints Dallas.