Planting Story: St. Brendan’s Sets Sail in Maryville, TN
Members of Apostles Anglican and Old North Abbey in Knoxville, TN are joining together to plant St. Brendan’s Anglican in Maryville, which is just south of Knoxville.
The church has been meeting as a small group since spring of last year, holding their first liturgical service January 8, 2017. Fr. Jack King, Rector at Apostles, and Fr. Doug Floyd – who is pastoring St. Brendan’s – shared a vision for the church plant back in 2012. Later, they sent Fr. Doug to the ADOTS church planter assessment process with Canon Dan Alger, which Doug completed.
“We ended up discussing how I might serve as Assistant Rector at Apostles Anglican,” says Fr. Doug. “The church plant idea did not go away, but was postponed as I served with Apostles. This time was invaluable in shaping me and helping me to live into the tradition.”
“In some ways, we’ve carried Maryville in our hearts for a number of years,” says Fr. Jack. “In the process of discerning a Maryville church plant, the Lord was leading us to bring Doug on staff at Apostles for a few years. We’ve been greatly blessed by Doug’s ministry, we’ll certainly miss seeing him on a regular basis, but the timing seems right to begin planting St. Brendan’s.”
Fr. Doug says he’s excited about the diversity of the core body of believers at St. Brendan’s, and their men’s group that is deepening in relationships and openness. And one of their biggest challenges may turn out to be an attraction: Most people in the county are not familiar with Anglicanism.
“Several non-liturgical churches expressed interest in liturgy and learning how their communities might incorporate some of the ancient rhythms,” says Fr. Doug. “It looks like this interest may lead to some joint ministry between St. Brendan’s and other churches in the community.”
“It’s been fascinating to hear about how people far and near have learned about St. Brendan’s,” says Fr. Jack. “You pray, discuss, and discern vision with a church planting team, but it truly is the work of the Holy Spirit to gather people into community.”
Fr. Doug says the story of St. Brendan seemed a fitting analogy for the Maryville church plant: Brendan and his fellow monks set sail in search of the Holy Island on earth, the monks celebrating holy feasts on the different islands as they come upon them in their journey.
“In a way, St. Brendan’s story is a story of a journey in search of God where time is marked by the feasts of the year. This sounds like the church… We share stories with one another as we travel toward the call of God. We mark time by the church calendar. And each year, we circle round these stories again. As we travel, our lives are being changed by the rhythms of feasting and fasting and worship.”
And Fr. Jack believes people are resonating with St. Brendan’s simple and profound mission, a phrase that Fr. Doug says captures this journey for him: “A circle of friends on pilgrimage for the love of God.”
Contact: Fr. Doug Floyd