The Changing Face of Anglicanism

Originally published in the May 2012 ed. of The Apostle.
BY: Canon Jack Lumanog

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…”
(Revelation 7:9 ESV)

The reality of the Kingdom of God is that we will see all nations, tribes, peoples and languages before the Lord in worship.  But why wait until eternity?  What if we could see this expressed in our Church right now?  This vision of Revelation 7:9 has been burning in my heart for quite some time now.  And we are beginning to see this vision become a reality in the Anglican Church in North America.

Earlier this year, two bishops from a group of African American churches came to Pittsburgh to meet with Archbishop Robert Duncan.  This group of Pentecostal churches, called Jubilee, were represented by Bishops Gregory Bowers and Levi Green.  Jubilee is in fellowship with Greenhouse – a regional church planting movement led by Canon William Beasley, who was also at this initial meeting.  Jubilee has been incorporating liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer and weekly Communion as part of their worship services.
This has led the Jubilee churches on a journey to embrace the historic Christian Church in all her fullness while still maintaining the exuberant praise and worship of their Pentecostal tradition.  They are at the beginning of exploring a working relationship with the Anglican Church in North America.

Shortly after this meeting, Archbishop Duncan reflected in his Ash Wednesday pastoral letter, “Congregations that have not been Anglican are also considering whether Anglicanism might be for them.  Our three streams – evangelical, catholic and pentecostal – like our three accountabilities – to the Word, to the Tradition and to the transformation of society – are proving an attractive blend of faithful Christian expression.”

Recently, I began communicating with a student at Fuller Seminary on the track for ordination.  He has a new kind of church plant stirring in his heart.  The Rev. Jamal Scarlett along with The Rev. Cameron Lemons are working together to plant The Grove Church of Lake Elsinore (CA).  “Cameron and I started meeting together two years ago as we believed God was stirring our hearts toward multicultural ministry.  I am Afro/Latino-American (Black Hispanic) and he is an Irish-American,” shared Rev. Scarlett.

When they met, they were both Southern Baptists. Cameron was a Youth Pastor at a local church and Jamal was a Worship Leader and Youth Pastor at another church.  Over many coffee hours, they began a conversation about what it might look like to be a church that is multicultural. That is, a church that is not just multicolored, but sees diversity of culture as a ministry asset versus a liability.  The desire was to be a church that reflected Revelation 7:9 where people of every nation, tongue and tribe worshiped and glorified the Lord together.  Ultimately, this led to the call of planting The Grove Church with a missional imperative set on acts of kindness (feeding the hungry, caring for the lonely and the outcast) as well as seeking the restoration of all things, including reconciliation.

As these two pastors were praying for a vision for their church plant, they were led on a journey to Anglicanism.  Jamal recalled, “In the middle of all this, I happened upon the Anglican 1000 website and knew this is where we were meant to be.  After about six months of planning, a leadership committee was formed that met together for a year.  After that year (and a few test services), we believed that God was calling us into the city of Lake Elsinore to be a multicultural church that sought the good of the city by exalting the risen Lord.  As of March 30th, our leadership team has voted to ‘go Anglican!’  We are now formally under the Diocese of Western Anglicans with Bishop Bill Thompson.”

He continued saying, “We desire to be a church that fosters a deep spirituality and reverence for God, a church that is thoroughly evangelical in proclaiming the risen Christ in its pulpit, and charismatic in that we long to see God at work around us as he had been in the New Testament.”

imageThe Grove has come a long way in a very short amount of time.  “God has recently blessed us with a worship space to gather on Sunday evenings.  Our first service was February 21, 2012 and we were blessed to have five baptisms the first service of new believers that we have been sharing the Gospel and community with.  We have also seen the notion of ‘ancient-future’ worship become a reality in our midst.  The beauty of the liturgy blended with contemporary forms of worship has cultivated a deep spirituality that has provided a ‘middle-way’ for our Catholics and Evangelicals as we’ve journeyed together on this Canterbury trail,” said Jamal.

Both Jamal and Cameron are working together with a committed core team to minister in their community in order to reach the searching, seeking and the hurting.  Jamal serves as the Minister of Music and Cameron serves as the Lead Pastor.  The Grove Church already has a feeding ministry twice a week, a weekly Bible study, discipleship groups for young men and young women and a counseling care ministry for women.  They also invite college students and young adults into their community through “A Night of Art.”  The Grove gathers at a local venue and shares the various artistic expressions from their community – poets, short story writers, artists, and songwriters.

I am so hopeful when I see what God is doing in the Anglican Church in North America.  Already we are seeing God work in Hispanic ministry through Caminemos Juntos (led by Rev. Gabe Garcia and Rev. Jonathan Kindberg) and in Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada (AMMiC) led by Bishop Stephen Leung.  May the Lord continue to raise up even more communities of faith so that we can reflect the Kingdom reality of Revelation 7:9 in the life of our Anglican Church!

PHOTO 1 CAPTION: (from left to right) Canon William Beasley, Bishop Levi Green, Archbishop Robert Duncan, Bishop Gregory Bowers and Canon Jack Lumanog meet together in Pittsburgh
PHOTO 2 CAPTION: Members of The Grove Church of Lake Elsinore

An Afternoon with the Duncans

“Can I get you a glass of lemonade? Iced Tea? Diet Root Beer?”

“Lemonade, please.”  After arriving several minutes early for my interview with Archbishop Robert “Bob” Duncan, his wife of 43 years, Nara, has lost no time in making me feel right at home.

Set in the rolling hills of Donegal, PA, Nara and the Archbishop live in a modest log-home.  As Nara shows me around, I get a sense that the Duncan household is centered around hospitality. The entryway opens up into a loft-ceilinged dining room which flows nicely into a kitchen with a long island which easily seats four.  “If we turn the table long-ways and extend it into the kitchen, we can fit twice as many people for dinner!” Nara explains.

Turning from the kitchen, I’m greeted by a piano ornamented with photographs of grandchildren, friends, and various pieces of sheet music.  The piano is located in the main living space which offers ample seating for family and friends to gather.  An earthy, stone fireplace reaches up to the ceiling of the back wall and is surrounded by windows, providing a breathtaking view of the fields and hill beyond blooming to life in the early stages of spring.

As Nara and I discover our mutual love of music, Archbishop Duncan arrives home from an early morning meeting in Pittsburgh.  I can tell that it has been a long week and he is tired, but his face lights up with a smile as he embraces his wife and welcomes me to his home.

Settling into the living room to begin our interview I take a sip of refreshing, bittersweet lemonade and watch as Archbishop Duncan fondly pets Fergus, one of their two English Springer Spaniels.  Their other dog, Trout, is already curled up on the couch with her head in Nara’s lap. 

Starting from the beginning Archbishop Duncan explains that the family he grew up in was “marginally Christian.”  During the 1950s, “the pattern in most households was to make sure ‘the baby got done.’ That is baptized.”  At the age of 11, the Archbishop’s parents sent him to confirmation.  This was done more out of custom than a sense of spiritual devotion, though.  Fortunately, through the efforts of his priest and concerned lay people it was at confirmation that Bob met the Lord.

Afterwards, he became involved in youth group and had a profound experience. “When I was 13,” the Archbishop recalls, “the Lord spoke to me very blatantly and said, ‘You will be my priest.’” Though he was hesitant to tell people at first, the experience ultimately formed and directed much of his path in the coming years.

By the time he was of college-age, his father had left his emotionally unstable mother and Bob was left to find a source of stability through his grandparents. His grandfather had his heart set on a military career for young Robert, hoping he would attend WestPoint after graduating valedictorian of the local Bordentown Military Institute in 1966.  God had other plans, though, and Archbishop Duncan chuckles as he remembers his grandfather’s persistent military hopes. “Happily, my eyes were poor enough that the service academies weren’t in my future.  When I was elected bishop at 47, I went to tell my grandfather.  He sort of scratched his chin while thinking and then said, ‘Well, hmm..let’s see, you’re 47 now…that would be equivalent to a General Officer!’”

In the fall of 1969, while completing his senior year at Trinity College, Bob married Nara Dewar, a girl from the same church that had played an integral role in the development of his faith.  The year after their wedding, Bob continued to follow his call to the priesthood and enrolled in the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York. 

As a seminarian Bob excelled and earned the privilege of studying Scottish history at Edinburgh University.  Recognizing his talent and love of history, many of his professors urged him to pursue a PhD and an academic career.  “Their plan for my life and God’s plan for my life were somewhat different.  I really was cut out to be a parish priest,” Archbishop Duncan assures me with a smile.

From my seat in the living room, I glance up to the loft library.  Shelves stretching from floor to ceiling are covered with books.  Throughout the living room, end tables and mantles support stacks of books.  He may not have pursued an academic career in history, but the Archbishop continues to nurture his passion for it.  “For enjoyment I read history,” he explains, gesturing to the books around the room. “It gives me a perspective on all the things that God has done.  It gives me a confidence that the Lord always has his way.  It may take a long time…but the Lord will have his way .”

True to his word, Archbishop Duncan has modeled much of his leadership from the lessons of history.  I mention that his term as Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America has reached the halfway point; he has no qualms about handing off the baton when the time comes. “I am very aware that one of the most destructive things you can do is to stay too long.  Leaders and movements who have God’s blessing to do what they do need to pay attention to the people they lead and to the movement they lead.  And they need to step away soon enough as opposed to too late.”

Looking at George Washington as an example, the Archbishop speaks of how the first President of the United States had in integral role in stitching together the diverse and unique American colonies into one nation.  Yet, after eight years of Presidential service he realized that it was far better to let go at the right point than to stay on.  As difficult as that was for him, he was unwilling to risk the new nation establishing unhelpful, idiosyncratic behaviors.

This observant, outward-facing mentality has characterized much of Archbishop Duncan’s ministry.  Looking at the remaining two and one half years of his tenure he believes that “the vision that God gave us back in 2004…was of a Biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.  That vision has not changed at all.”  Expanding upon this, he states, “I hope to push forward with Anglican 1000.  I hope to continue to strengthen our international ties, particularly what we do through the Anglican Relief and Development Fund.” 

These ministries relate directly to a core, structural idea set forth in the Constitution of the Anglican Church in North America.  This idea is that “the local congregation is the fundamental agency of the mission of the church.  And the individual Christian is the principal agent of that mission.”  Having been brought to faith through the work of individuals from his own local church, the vision to equip and power local congregations and individuals throughout North America and the world is close to Archbishop Duncan’s heart.  “It is not surprising that I’d call on the church to plant 1,000 new congregations.” He explains, “Recognizing the way in which people are reached is through the local congregation.  It is simply how we do our mission.” 

We continue to discuss his remaining time as Archbishop and then I raise the question, “What happens next? What are you going to do when you retire?”  After spending close to an hour talking about his passion for mission and sharing the Gospel, I should not have been surprised by his answer, “The reality is I’d love to be a pastor again.  I’d love to be more deeply connected to my own people.”

Archbishop Duncan shares several possible scenarios for his retirement, ultimately leaving the future in God’s hands, “We’ll see what happens.  If God gives us years beyond these years, we’ll try to use them in the most creative way we can.”  Even so, I begin to notice two clear patterns.  The first is that whatever he does, he looks forward to sharing the experience with Nara.  Whether that is traveling, continuing to serve as a bishop, leading a seminary or a school, planting a church among undergraduates, or walking in the fields and working in their garden - they will do it together, as a team, supporting one another.

imageThey are, indeed, avid gardeners.  We decide to venture outside to have a look.  The sun is shining and the air is crisp.  Nara shows me the difference between the poppies and the peonies, both of which are beginning to sprout up.  Bob points out the handful of fruit tree saplings waiting for him to dig holes so they can be planted along the hillside.  I spot a small, unique tree with curling, delicate branches and ask Nara what it is.  “It is a curly willow,” she informs me, “I love when some of the branches fall off because they make beautiful additions to flower arrangements.”

This has turned into quite the gardening lesson and I’m beginning to think of how pleased my wife will be with my newfound knowledge!  Trying to be a good student, I point at another unfamiliar plant and ask about it only to learn, “Oh, that’s a weed. And such a pain to get out!”  At that Archbishop Duncan excitedly asks me if I have a digging bar.  Apparently, it is great for removing deep weeds and digging in rocky soil.  Judging by the confused look on my face, he leads me around to the garage and pulls out a five foot long, one inch round steel bar.  There is a knob handle at the top for gripping and the bar flattens like a spade at the bottom.

He hands me the heavy bar and points to a new flower bed that he recently built despite the rocky soil.  I picture a particularly unsavory section of my backyard that I have avoided for two years and then look back at the new flower bed.  I will be buying a digging bar this weekend.

Now that we’re in the garage, Nara invites me to tour the lower level of their home.  As I step through the door, I’m greeted by cheerful yellow walls and a comfortable sitting area.  We walk through several bedrooms and bathrooms as Nara and the Archbishop talk about the most recent occupants of each room and the experiences they shared together.

And that is the second pattern that I have noticed.  As they discuss their lives, both now and in the future, it is clear that both the Archbishop and Nara find great joy in welcoming people into their home.  They talk of dinner parties on the lawn, the children’s nook that he created in the loft, hosting lunches for a ladies group, and even invite my wife and I to stay with them when we ski.  Once more, Archbishop Duncan reveals his pastor’s heart, hoping to use their home for ministry even in retirement, “It would be nice to be in this place and just receive people who want to come and talk about things.”

Returning to the living room, I pack my bag and thank the Archbishop and Nara for their time and hospitality.  We’ve gone well over our allotted time and I do not want to impose any further. Bob is looking forward to attending his nephew’s lacrosse game at WVU that evening and Nara is finishing preparations for a lunch they are hosting the following day.  As I drive away, I fleetingly realize that I never finished my glass of lemonade.  But that is alright.  I know I am always welcome back for another one.

PHOTO 1 Caption: Archbishop “Bob” and Nara Duncan enjoy time with their two English Springer Spaniels, Fergus and Trout.
PHOTO 2 Caption: Nestled in their garden, the Archbishop and his wife, Nara, take a moment to enjoy the beautiful day with one another.

Workshop Perspective: Getting Social at Assembly 2012

BY: Betty Shanks

As administrator for the Anglican Diocese of the South, communication is a big part of my job. Therefore, I was intrigued by a breakout session on captivating disciples at Assembly called “Shout It from the Housetops: Social Media and the Church” presented by Mary Ailes. Since I already had the pleasure working some with Mary, I was looking forward to learning more from her. 

Like me, others in attendance at this session were intrigued by the term “social media.”  We all seemed to be well-versed in communicating from the housetops, the pulpit, church bulletins, church newsletters and on occasion, housetops, or at Ridgecrest, the mountain top. Most in attendance had established websites for their churches. However, many were unaware of the benefits of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube or were struggling to learn how best to use them.

Mary also recommended everyone should take advantage of all the applications (apps) that the smart phones and tablets now offer.  She evoked a laugh when she said, “If you still have an older ‘non-smart phone,’ you should box it up and send it to the Smithsonian.”

We learned that social media is the “in” way to communicate and reach out to the younger generation. Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who share similar interests. Twitter instantly allows you to communicate what’s most important to you and to follow your friends, experts, other churches, and breaking news. YouTube is a way to share your videos with friends, the church family, and the world.

Facebook and YouTube are monitored by millions and forwarded on to millions more. Many times, Twitter provides instant communication from where an important event is taking place. Tweets become pieces of news that alert the world as well as the traditional news media to what is happening. In addition, Twitter can be very useful in communicating last minute schedule changes or road and weather conditions.

Today, more than ever before, it has become essential that every possible form of communication be used to spread His word to the world. Traditional forms of communication that we have used for centuries are still important. However, they often do not reach the younger generation.

Mary stressed that it is not enough to just post to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the church also needs to respond to those who post responses to the church’s original posting on the sites. This can be a daunting task for one person. Therefore, Mary suggested forming a committee to monitor Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube sites and provide a proper and timely response. This can become both enlightening as well as an educational ministry.

Mary invited everyone to visit her online here to get a better idea of how she uses social media.

Her session, as expected, was not only very educational, but was lighthearted and interesting—enough to keep us all yearning for more. Most, if not all of us, were forming ideas as we left as to how we could best use social media to spread His word from our churches or dioceses.

Betty Shanks serves as diocesan administrator for the Anglican Diocese of the South. She is a member of Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville, Ga.