Meet Bishop David Bryan of PEARUSA’s Southeast Network 

The Rt. Rev. David Bryan is the bishop of PEARUSA’s Southeast Network and rector of Christ Church, Murrells Inlet, SC.  He was consecrated bishop by Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and Archbishop Robert Duncan on September 18, 2013. Among those attending his consecration included bishops and clergy from PEARUSA and the Anglican Church of North America, as well as Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina.

Bishop Bryan is a graduate of the University of Florida (BSBA ‘79).  He received his M. Div. from Trinity School for Ministry in 1983 and continues his work on his Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity.  He has been in ordained ministry for 28 years, serving five churches in Florida and South Carolina.

He and his wife, Nancy, have three grown children and live in Murrells Inlet, SC.


How did you become a Christian believer?

I grew up in a Christian family that was very involved in the life of the church and thankfully I was given opportunity (which doesn’t always happen) as a teenager to respond in faith to a clear presentation of the gospel where I was captivated by the love of God for me in the gift of his Son upon the cross. 

My growth as a disciple in those early years was difficult, but took a decided turn for the better in my college years when I encountered the life and power of the Holy Spirit in a new and deeper way.


What brought you to the “Canterbury Trail” - the Anglican Church?

My family’s church was the Episcopal Church, so I didn’t have far to travel.


How do you envision your role as a bishop in the Anglican Church?

It is my hope, as bishop, to encourage and equip the clergy and congregations in becoming effective and fruitful in mission and ministry in their given contexts through the use of appropriate tools for assessment and coaching/mentoring for each of these congregations. 

Church planting, as well as leading existing congregations, can be a very lonely and isolating endeavor.  Our pastors need a pastor/bishop who will listen, encourage and guide them in helpful ways.  My commitment is to make regular visitations and to be accessible to these clergy, taking advantage of technology to maintain regular contact with clergy as well as lay leaders as needed. 

I also hope to promote a healthy sense of unity within our network as well as with our sister churches in the ACNA dioceses in our geographical footprint.  This means that we need to be highly collaborative and commit to communicate clearly with one another.  It also means that we need to be faithful in showing up and participating corporate gatherings that promote unity and foster mission (Network retreats, assemblies, Provincial gatherings, etc.), as well a local, smaller cluster gatherings of our clergy and churches.


How many churches are currently in your network?

We have 18 churches spread throughout the Southeast United States.


What are the priorities in your diocese/network?

The overarching vision for our network is simply for the church to be the church, faithful in the ministry of Word and Sacrament, passionate in presenting Christ to our communities through creative means of evangelism, and extending compassion to the needs around us.  All of this can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of God who has purchased our salvation through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We also have an opportunity to raise up and develop next generation leaders in our Network, particularly through our congregations’ relationships with seminaries (e.g. Beeson Divinity in Birmingham, AL; Columbia International University in Columbia, SC; Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon Conwell in Charlotte, NC).  We have existing internship programs and new opportunities to shape young leaders for mission and ministry, which are a high priority.


How do you envision church planting in PEARUSA’s Southeast Network?

Our churches are relatively new churches and missions who each have a vision for multiplication and partnership in additional churches plants.  Our clergy are highly missional in perspective and our Network Leadership is committed to collaborate with them for the sake of the spread the Gospel and the establishment of new Anglican communities of faith. 
We have structured our finances in such a way that a large percentage of our income goes directly into church planting within our region under the leadership of our congregations and Network Council.


What excites you most about your ministry?

As the rector of a local congregation, Christ Church in Murrells Inlet, SC, I love leading a parish, preaching the Word and living life with fellow believers.  We describe our purpose as “Connecting people to Jesus Christ, to one another and to God’s work in the world.”  That mission never grows old!

As a new bishop, I am excited to encourage clergy and congregations in the pursuit of their God given mission – each unique to their own context, but all centered on the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.


How do you balance your family life with your calling as a bishop?

You probably need to ask my wife that question!  Fortunately, our three children are grown and Nancy is fully engaged in my ministry as a bishop, so it seems to play out (at least so far) in a fairly balanced way.


What is the name of a book you are reading right now?  What do you like about it?

The Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler.  It is a straightforward and thoughtful explanation of the Good News that is ours in Christ.


What do you see as a major challenge facing Christians today? How do you see Anglican Christians making a difference in that challenge?

We live in generation where the Church (in the West particularly) has suffered greatly precisely because of the lack of defense of the orthodox Christian faith by the leadership of the Church. 

The Anglican way calls us to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church.”  This requires a careful and intention stewardship of the “faith once delivered” found in the teachings of Holy Scripture and represented in the foundational Creeds of the Church.  It is important for our bishops, presbyters and lay leaders to operate collegially and deliberately in refuting erroneous teachings as necessary in our particular cultural context.  This requires a robust theological engagement and a commitment to the one holy catholic and apostolic faith as we have received them in Anglicanism. 

It is also necessary that biblical preaching and teaching undergird the life of our congregations.  Ongoing nurture in the Word of God through both private and corporate disciplines of study and worship creates a path toward life transforming discipleship as well as a proactive safeguard against heretical teachings and practices. 

Along with the clear articulation and modeling (orthopraxy) of true and godly doctrine comes the necessary discipline within the life of the church.  We have witnessed in the mainline churches of the last 40 years a failure to discipline new and errant theological innovations in doctrine – only to be followed by the ultimate embrace of those doctrines in subsequent years.

The Church must be willing and committed to “speak the truth in love” and exercise godly governance through its leadership, maintaining our fidelity to the teachings of Holy Scripture and the Church throughout the ages. 


What has being a father taught you?

I have a deep gratitude for the different way God has created each of our three children. For all they have in common, each of our children possess unique gifts and temperaments.  At the end of the day, as a father, I simply love them for who they are and encourage them to continue to grow in the Lord as they have entered into adulthood. 

Being a father has given me a limited glimpse of our heavenly Father’s deep love for us as His children. What matters most is that we live in relationship to Him.  A lot of the stuff that the world says is important in life dims in comparison to this!


How may we pray for you?

As a newly consecrated bishop, I would appreciate your prayers for a good beginning of my episcopacy.  Particularly that I would be effective in encouraging our clergy and churches in their mission and that I would experience God’s grace in maintaining proper balance in local ministry, ministry in the network and a vital spiritual life with the Lord.

Communiqué from the Task Force on Holy Orders

The Theological Task Force on Holy Orders met March 20-21, 2014, at St. Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, Texas. In this meeting we completed a first draft of the Phase Three document, “Developing Principles of Anglican Ecclesiology Concerning Holy Orders,” drawing on the foundational documents of the Anglican Church in North America.

All members of the Task Force were present and engaged in examination of the foundational documents. We continue to make progress in preparing a report to the College of Bishops in time for its June meeting.

The members of the Task Force on Holy Orders would like to express our gratitude to Bishop Jack Iker, Dean Reed and the cathedral staff for their hospitality in hosting our meeting.

Sincerely,

The Task Force on Holy Orders


The Task Force on Holy Orders
The Rt. Rev. David Hicks, Chair
The REC Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

The Rt. Rev. Kevin Allen
The Diocese of Cascadia

Mrs. Katherine Atwood
The Diocese of Ft. Worth

The Rev. Dr. Leslie Fairfield
The Diocese in New England and Trinity School for Ministry (Ret.)

The Rev. Canon Mary Hays
The Diocese of Pittsburgh

The Rev. Tobias Karlowicz
The Diocese of Quincy

The Rt. Rev. Eric Menees
The Diocese of San Joaquin

Meet Bishop Stewart Ruch of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest

The Rt. Rev. Stewart E. Ruch III was consecrated the first bishop of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest in the Anglican Church in North America on September 28, 2013.  He is the rector of the Church of the Resurrection (Wheaton, IL), where he has served since 1999.  He completed his Masters in Theology at Wheaton College Graduate School where he was awarded the Kenneth Kantzer Prize for theology. He is currently working on the completion of his Doctor of Ministry from Nashotah House Theological Seminary, Nashotah, WI. 

Bishop Ruch and his wife Katherine have six children.  He loves running, reading novels, biographies, and leadership books, and spending as much time as possible exploring forests and streams with his children.

How did you become a Christian believer?

I was raised by parents who knew the Lord and in the Charismatic Movement of the 1970s, I came to a strong and living faith. In my college years, though, I had a very intense spiritual struggle. My parents divorced, and I found myself spiritually and emotionally confused. That season of confusion became four years of spiritual darkness in which I walked apart from Christ.

In September 1991, through the ministry of Church of the Resurrection and Fr. William Beasley, I made a radical return to the Lord and to His church.


What brought you to the “Canterbury Trail” - the Anglican Church?

I was raised in a high church Presbyterian tradition where liturgy and vestments were a part of our worship service. And I would visit my grandparents’ Episcopal Church from time to time.

But I first fell in love with the Anglican Church my freshman year at Wheaton College when I discovered the Book of Common Prayer and St. Marks Episcopal Church in Geneva, IL. I was literally so excited about going to church that I could hardly sleep on some Saturday nights. The compelling mixture of biblical preaching, poetic prayer and liturgical beauty drew me in to the Anglican way with great power.


How do you envision your role as a bishop in the Anglican Church?

On my consecration weekend, I shared with our new diocese that there are a few things I will be focusing on.  To communicate this I used the acronym “F.E.U.”

My first priority is to be a Father in Christ to the people in our diocese, to our church planters, and to our clergy. I see this father role being especially expressed in the ministry of preaching, in coaching leaders and in sacramental ministry.

Second, my priority is to be an Evangelist. It is my goal to always be involved in personal evangelism in building friendships with those who are far from God as well as regular Gospel preaching through Church of the Resurrection’s Alpha ministry and Sunday morning Parish Missions. I also have a growing passion to share the good news with the marginalized and the increasing number of people caught in poverty in our local community.

Finally, as a bishop I seek to be a Unifier within God’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I have a passion for unity among biblical Anglicans. I have a passion between Christian brothers and sisters where relational reconciliation is needed. I have a passion for unity among biblical Christians here in the Wheaton area. I also feel a great responsibility to live in fidelity and unity with the bishops throughout history.


How many churches are currently in your diocese?

Approximately 30.


What are the priorities in your diocese?

On the consecration weekend I also called our diocese to focus on a “F.E.U.”

The first priority is that everyone within the diocese is building their Friendship with God. The most powerful strategy for growth is for every believer in our diocese to be growing in God’s Word, listening to God’s Spirit and going out from holy church on mission.

The second priority is for all the people in the diocese to be involved in Evangelism through personal friendship, parish outreach, and, especially, church planting.

The third priority is the call to Undying prayer. Before I was consecrated, I had the joy of doing a prayer tour of the Upper Midwest where I met and gathered with our deaneries in four different prayer meetings to call out to God on behalf of our diocese and our work of mission.


How do you envision church planting in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest?

The first priority in church planting is to create a highly relational and highly strategic training process for lay and ordained leaders in every deanery of our diocese. I have a passion to see leaders and artists trained in the Word, leadership and creativity for the purpose of strengthening existing churches and starting new ones.

This follows the strategy that I’ve been able to observe in the global south where their leaders put a great emphasis on men and women being trained within the diocese to church plant and church build.

Every parish is also encouraged to focus resources and leaders on the work of church planting. As a matter of fact we’ve given every parish the opportunity to invest up to ½ of their 10% tithe to the diocese in the work of church planting and the work of mission within their local sphere of influence.

I am continually trying to build a culture where people and parishes are empowered to plant churches. It is my hope that over the next two decades we will see hundreds of churches planted. I think it’s possible—very possible.


What excites you most about your ministry?

Everything – I love it all. My great ministry passion is leadership—especially the raising up of leaders and the building up of new leadership cultures. I also love the ministry of preaching, evangelism and the life of prayer.


How do you balance your family life with your calling as a bishop?

Early on as an Intervarsity staff worker, I made the decision to set aside two days a week for family. This helped me flesh out my goal that my family is my first church and over the last 20 years I’ve been able to maintain that priority.

The main way I’m able to create this balance is that I am naturally driven to do so because I love being with Katherine and my children – it’s not simply a chosen priority because it’s my first passion.


What is the name of a book you are reading right now? What do you like about it?

There are two books I’m really enjoying right now. The first book is by Fr. John Behr, Becoming Human. I’m also really enjoying Harvard Business School professor John Kotter’s On What Leaders Really Do. I’m always reading a book on theology, on leadership and a novel. I also love poetry.


What do you see as a major challenge facing Christians today? How do you see Anglican Christians making a difference in that challenge?

I think the three great concerns of our day, in this order, have to do with the culture of life (especially as it relates to the unborn), the culture of marriage and the culture of serving and ennobling the poor.

I’m convinced that the greatest way to address these challenges is to strengthen existing churches and to plant new churches. There is no greater hope for our country and the world than Jesus and His Holy Church. As Christians seek to build the culture of life, vibrant marriage, and love for the unseen and the marginalized the most powerful and transformative way to do so will be through the church.


What has being a husband and father taught you?

Being a husband and a father has had a profound impact on me as one seeking to imitate of Christ. Being a husband and father has taught me how to love. It has taught me how to die to self. It has taught me that in the power of the Holy Spirit I have more strength and more stamina to serve others and to love others than I ever thought I was capable of.


How may we pray for you?

Pray that I will be a Holy Spirit anointed father to my family, my parish, and my Diocese. Pray that I will have the courage to die to self and be full of Jesus.