This was my first time at a provincial assembly. I am lucky it was an ACNA assembly, which had none of the tensions and discord of past ECUSA assemblies (or so I’ve heard). There was a joyful, Spirit filled exuberance about the place the entire time I was there.
We met daily in the morning and the evening in plenary sessions. We then had the option of attending two different talks each afternoon. The key point I took from the first plenary session was that “mission needs to be relational, but first revelational.” This idea was repeated in several of the sessions I attended.
My first session was with the Rev. Canon Phil Ashey, who presented some ideas found in his recent book Conciliarism. This was an extremely interesting talk, and I would be happy to talk with anyone interested in discussing this further. (It was impossible for me to condense this down to a few sentences!)
For my next three sessions, I attended a series of talks given by Pastor Michael Wright of Chicago, focusing on race in America. At each session, he had a different clergy person present with him, focusing on different aspects of domestic and international race relations. The main point I came away with echoed the statement given above at the first plenary session. To overcome race divisions, we need to have the patience to allow trust and relationships to build, which will then break down the walls between us. Worship with each other. Talk to each other. Do not have an agenda, or come in and try to fix what you think are the problems. Meet on the common ground of our faith in Jesus Christ.
The Diocese of SC was officially welcomed into ACNA at the beginning of this assembly, and boy did we feel welcome! It was great meeting like-minded Anglicans from across the US (and beyond) and inspirational to hear everyone’s story. I would highly recommend that you consider attending the next Assembly. I know I am!