BROKEN FELLOWSHIP, FLYING BISHOPS, AND STARTING OVER
Anglican Bishop Bill Murdoch Tills New England Soil
Acts 15,37-39: "Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention grew so sharp that they parted from one another."
The first great thing about Christ's body (the church) is that it is always adapting, growing, fighting for new life, and Praise Jesus, rising again.
Bill Murdoch, working out of All Saints Church in Amesbury Massachusetts, serves Christ's people as undershepherd for Jesus and as leader of the Anglican Diocese of New England (ADNE), part of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
This group ministers to Anglicans (which in the U.S.A. are usually referred to as Episcopalians) in New England who have been looking for and now have found worship with the look and feel of what they already know, and obedience to scripture, and Gospel preaching for today, yet is still somewhat "traditional."
Their churches-missions now number eleven and have quickly spread across all the states of New England (there's also an affiliated church in Binghampton NY).
How did this happen?
Firstly, it's the leading of the Holy Ghost.
And secondly, Anglicans have the freedom to seek out "flying bishops" from anywhere in the world who then sponsor new dioceses, even when these new ones overlap already existing ones.
This freedom preserves some sense of worldwide unity even after a pastor or pastors, and perhaps some people too, and a particular diocese, divorce so to speak.
We know from the Apostle Paul that such divorces aren't pretty (Acts 15,37ff). He separated from Barnabas (who was the one who first brought him to the apostles) over the perceived desertion of the mission by Barnabas' cousin, John Mark.
Barnabas, son of encouragment, did his best for peace, but Paul wasn't having it. And well the next steps, if they been had taken together, might well have been toxic.
The intresting thing about the ADNE pastors here in New England is that most of them were the ones to leave and start over again, risking family finances and pension plans, and settled lifestyles, all for the joy of extra work for the whole family, all to take on the hardest pastoral job ever known- pastoring a small flock on an even smaller budget.
Some of ADNE pastors, also must steadily work another job for their families (even more than the unmarried Apostle Paul!) just to make a go of it.
The silver lining (on the wings of Zion's dove) of having left the comfort of prior churches is that often this process of divorce and starting over again leaves folks so compassed about that they are constrained by the love of Jesus to a new and higher level of faith conviction.
This new level of faith conviction seems just what pastoral ministry demands these days.
So, if you are looking for a liturgical church in New England with vestments, altars, and processions and all that, and the gospel too, and energized leadership, the Anglican Diocese of New England led by Bill Murdoch might be a good place to start.
All Saints, 67 Friends Street, Amesbury, MA 01913.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...