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Almsgiving and the Persecuted Church

“Throughout the Church’s history, Christians have given alms as a Lenten discipline, following Christ’s command to love the lost and least.” – Archbishop Foley Beach, 2018

Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Chattanooga, TN is encouraging a two-fold focus during Lent for its parishioners: Daily home worship, and the Persecuted Church.

Fr. Philip Hanner, Redeemer Chattanooga

“We’ve made weekly guides with new songs, scriptures, and prayers to help orient us in harmony with our weekly lessons on Sundays,” says Rector Fr. Philip Hanner. The guides encourage individuals and families to establish regular worship practices throughout Lent – especially for families to gather at dinner or in the evening to pray and worship.

“This has been going really well,” he says. “We are delighted that so many of our folks are trying to be faithful in worship.”

Part of that home worship includes prayer and alms for the Persecuted Church around the world – the home worship guide stating, “We will be making an intentional effort to understand more specifically the various sources of Christian persecution and how to better understand the needs of our brothers and sisters who undergo tremendous hardships and even death simply because they are Christians.”

“Every week we are praying for a country where Christians are suffering under religious persecution — Myanmar, N. Korea, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Colombia – and every week we are fasting from one meal and saving our money and putting it in the ARDF mite box,” says Fr. Philip.

Mite boxes are simply almsgiving collection boxes that can be ordered from The Anglican Relief and Development Fund, to give your parish or family a visual and tangible goal with Lenten donations. It’s early in Lent, so you can still request them – expect to receive your boxes a week after ordering. ARDF says that past seasonal mite box collections “have strengthened communities by improving agriculture, healthcare, or access to water” through their sustainable model of working through local churches globally.

For a little more info on the ARDF Mite Box, the organization recently published this article on their blog: “What’s an ARDF Mite Box – Lenten Version!”

“At the end of Lent, we will collect our monies and give them to the Anglican Church in Myanmar,” says Fr. Philip. “We’ve been in contact with Canon Keith Allen, the Canon to Myanmar, and we’ll be presenting them with money to wire directly through ARDF to the Church. They’ve been hit pretty hard on a lot of fronts — COVID, government insurrection, etc.”

Redeemer Chattanooga has provided us with a PDF download of the scriptures on persecution they’re praying and meditating on during Lent, plus information on numerous other organizations that support persecuted Christians around the world, including the New Wineskin Missionary Network – which is the communication contact for the Anglican Persecuted Church Network.

Download the PDF here:


Additional Almsgiving Resources

Within the Diocese
As a starting point, check out this video produced for the 2020 Synod, highlighting ministries from around the Diocese – including non-profit Route 78 Coffee Company whose proceeds help provide for the immediate needs of refugees in the Clarkston, GA area.

The Bishop’s Live Love Campaign
This fundraising effort helps Archbishop Foley give to needs around the Diocese concerning Church Planting, Benevolence (Homeless & Needy), Multi-Ethnic Ministry, and Student Ministry. Donate here.

Texas Disaster Relief – ARDF
In addition to raising funds for global aid projects, ARDF assists in domestic disaster relief by working through local churches on the ground. Your gift to the ARDF General Relief Fund goes to the most urgent needs.

Or, choose to support a global project that still needs funding! Donate here.

Lenten Activities for Families & Youth

Are you looking for Lenten devotionals and activities to engage the whole family? ADOTS Canon for Youth & Family Ministry, Jessica Greiner, shares a list of her favorite resources for this season.

Devotional and activity guides:

  • Good Dirt by Lacy Finn Borgo & Ben Barczi. Good Dirt takes a cue from nature and the garden and combines kid-friendly seasonal activities and daily devotionals with readings from the Gospels. Children and adults participate together as they learn to “till, plant, water, and weed their souls,” while readings guide families through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Canon Jessica highly recommends this seasonal guide!
  • Camels, Carols, Crosses and Crowns – Advent and Lent Activities for Children, by Shiela Kielly & Sheila Geraghty. This book explores the imagery, history, and traditions of the seasons of Advent and Lent, incorporating them into worship.
  • Before and After Easter – Activities and Ideas from Lent to Pentecost, by Debbie Trafton O’Neal. Offering daily activities, this colorful book combines crafts, recipes, and “fascinating facts” for all of Lent, Easter Day, and each week of the Easter season.

Storybooks to enjoy during Lent and Easter:

 

Mobilize Your Parish for Life in 2021

March for Life 2020
In January 2021, Anglicans For Life held its first online Summit conference, allowing Anglicans from around the country to receive AFL’s excellent training to care for the unborn, the elderly, and the vulnerable – and learn about supporting life in their own communities.
The ADOTS Life Issues Coordinator, Paulette Ivey, gives a summary about the Summit and how you can start mobilizing your church to become an advocate for life in your community!

“This year, due to Covid-19, Anglicans For Life, under the guidance of President Georgette Forney, produced the first Virtual Summit. The goal was to provide practical ideas, education, and inspiration for every person and church and to emphasize that God has a purpose for every life!

“It was exciting to realize that people all across America were able to participate as they viewed from home on their computers, or as they participated in watch party gatherings. The focus this year was on learning about abortion and euthanasia. January 16th featured keynote presentations, along with discussion times for people to share their ideas. January 23rd featured topical workshops that allowed us to dig deeper into specific life issues.

“A special Youth Program was provided also. It was awesome to realize that so many were able to be a part of the AFL Summit this year. In past years, we only had approximately 125 people attending from churches across the nation.

“If your church is interested in doing more for life issues, please consider starting your own AFL chapter. Go to anglicansforlife.org for resources on how to get started. They offer incredible resources.”

You can also email Paulette, or call her at (404) 992-3778, to start the discussion!

Paulette also recommends parish AFL chapters become part of their church’s budget.

This allows the chapter to support local organizations which promote life. One such financial gift from the Holy Cross Cathedral chapter allowed a local pregnancy center to invest in technology that allows new moms to see their ultrasounds right away on their smartphones. The pregnancy center is now able to text the 2D, 3D, and color ultrasound images directly to patients, giving a new mother the opportunity to continue viewing her ultrasound after she leaves the clinic. “This is especially important if she is undecided about her pregnancy. She can share with family and friends, as well.”

“As Anglicans For Life, we are called to educate church members about life issues and to put our convictions into action!” says Paulette. “We continue to pray and ask God to guide us in 2021!”

Mission of Church Plants Doesn’t Stop during COVID

Canon Chris Sorensen

Canon Chris Sorensen is the Abbot of the Mission Abbey parishes of Chattanooga, TN and Canon for Church Planting for the Diocese of the South. He brings us an update on current ADOTS church plants, and how digital connection is impacting worship and membership at the Mission Abbey parishes and ministries.

What would you like to communicate to the Diocese about church planting in 2021?

The COVID season we have been in has impacted church-planting. Church-plants have all of the same struggles that mature churches have regarding COVID, however, the plants do not have longstanding relationships of collective histories to draw upon. Nevertheless, all of our church-plants are still forging ahead, and during 2020 we were able to move forward with three new planting projects (Springfield, MO; Clarksville, TN; and Newnan, GA). These three projects can all use our prayers!

How has an online presence been critical for ADOTS parishes? What has been your personal experience with this?

Online services and discipleship and fellowship cannot and will not ever be able to replace in-person experiences. At the Mission Abbey, our online experiences have been significant, however. Hundreds of people have worshipped and even had small groups online throughout COVID. Currently, there are more than 20 households at our church going through a new members class completely virtually. These households have all begun attending our church virtually.

Please pray for the church plants in the Diocese of the South!

A Collect for the Mission of the Church

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

–Book of Common Prayer 2019, p. 650

Encouragement in 2021 from the ADOTS Standing Committee

Fr. Daniel Adkinson

Fr. Daniel Adkinson is Rector of St. Thomas Anglican in Athens, GA, and Chair of the Standing Committee for the Diocese of the South. He brings us an update from the Committee and encouragement as we begin 2021.

What would the Standing Committee like to communicate to the Diocese this year?

We are grateful for the parishes, clergy, and laypersons in our Diocese. 2020 was a year of significant disruption. Well done to our congregations that responded with such creativity and lead so well! We are continuing to work closely with Archbishop Foley, Bishop Frank, and the Diocesan staff. We are encouraged by some recent changes that will help us move forward in mission and ministry together. Also, we want to commend the faithful, ongoing generosity of the parishioners and congregations in ADOTS.

Almost every church in ADOTS is doing more online than they were this time last year. It has been essential for ongoing options for worship, formation in community, and pastoral connection. Most congregations have also done a great job thinking through what can be done digitally and what cannot.

For example, the congregation I serve has needed to be online only for the last few months. We have streamed our service online. But, in addition we have done two key things:

  1. While we stream the service, there is a concurrent Zoom meeting. Our folks can hop on the Zoom meeting and visit, share prayer requests, and participate in community.
  2. We are offering monthly pastoral appointments where we visit our parishioners. We bring consecrated communion elements and go through the Communion of the Sick service. These are two ways we have tried to make sure that the corporate nature of our worship is in some way maintained and there is sacramental care during this digital season.

What would you say to encourage ADOTS parishes as we continue in a pandemic?

Continue monitoring the public heath situation in your local area. Talk with our Bishops and consult with your vestry. We would encourage our congregations to make prayerful, collaborative decisions. Also, we are hopeful that the public health situation will improve in 2021.

Fr. Daniel highlights some key resources and examines crucial questions for church leaders in his latest article for Anglican Compass – asking “Will Things Ever Be Normal Again?” and exploring how to improve connection with one another. Check it out here – he will continue to examine and write about these issues for Anglican leaders in 2021.
Wondering what the Standing Committee is? Read our article “What is a Standing Committee and What Do They Do?” for some answers!