This past month, clergy and laity from the Anglican Church in North America and Jubilee, a network of 12 African American Pentecostal churches centered in South Los Angeles, California, gathered to worship together at Penuel Missionary Baptist Church in LA. The Venerable Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog, Canon to the Archbishop, was the Keynote Speaker for these gatherings which were marked by exuberant praise and worship and the sharing of Holy Communion.
“It is a remarkable thing to see these dear brothers and sisters in Jubilee drawn to the Anglican Church in North America,” said Canon Lumanog. “Our life together as Anglican Christians must be dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit in order to reach North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. What a joy it was to share in the joyful celebration with Jubilee! God is certainly on the move in our Province.”
Describing the time together, one attendee stated, “We were nourished by Word and sacrament and overwhelmed by God’s presence in our worship together,” while another said, “[M]y hope is renewed. I can begin to see the manifestation of a prayer being answered.”
Jubilee first entered into relationship with the Anglican Church in North America through a “covenanted association” with the Greenhouse Movement, an ACNA organization which seeks to multiply congregations utilizing grassroots methods to expand their reach across multiple cultures, languages, and people groups throughout North America. For the past two years, Jubilee congregations have embraced the Constitution and Canons of the ACNA as well as Anglican liturgical practices.
Bishop Gregory Bowers is pastor of Penuel Missionary Baptist Church and also leads the Jubilee network of churches. When asked about the joining together of our movements he replied, “It is a work of God. It is not based on a practicum. It is based on seeking God who is pulling us together.”
Moving forward, the Diocese of Western Anglicans has begun a ministry partnership relationship with Jubilee that was enthusiastically approved by Provincial Council this past June. Bishop Bill Thompson and his wife, Claudia, joined in the celebration at Penuel Missionary Baptist Church along with Debbie Kollgaard, the President and Co-Chairman of the Diocese of Western Anglicans. The Spirit-filled gathering was marked by the attendance of laity and clergy from across all ages and many ethnicities.
Bishop Thompson was encouraged by the joint Convocation and looks forward to the ministry partnership with Jubilee saying, “I hope the Anglican Church in North America will never be the same.”
Though many see the partnership as a glimpse of the unified church pictured in Revelation, the joining together of these two groups has not been without challenge. Bishop Bowers, however, is clear on the importance of following God’s lead.
“Before we can see unity in the world, there must be unity in the Church,” he said. “It is the flow out of the Church that impacts the community and everything around it. We should never look to secular society to set the tone. God is setting the tone to raise His Church up as an example for the world. When there is in-fighting among us, we weaken our effect on the world.”
Bishop Bowers’s words echo the spirit of Archbishop Duncan’s comments during his sermon at a 2012 gathering with Jubilee Fellowship in South Los Angeles.
“There are two kinds of plans,” Archbishop Duncan said, “Our plan and God’s plan. Can we do this? It’s up to us. We have to give up our plan.”
Thanks be to God.
PHOTO 1: Clergy from the Anglican Church in North America and Jubilee together after the Convocation.
PHOTO 2: Bishop Bill Thompson, Diocese of Western Anglicans, celebrated and was assisted by Canon Jack Lumanog.