Archbishop Foley Beach invites Clergy and Lay Leaders to participate in his annual Summer Essay Contest. This year, entrants will submit essays that provide a Biblical and Theological perspective on pandemics.
There are two categories: The Clergy Category is open to priests and permanent deacons of at least three years experience. The Lay Category is open to lay leaders with at least three years of leadership in a local congregation.
The Annual Contest is presented by Anglican House Publishers, the registered trade name of Anglican House Media Ministry, Inc., a Ministry Partner of the Anglican Church in North America. Additional funding by an anonymous donor is gratefully acknowledged. All winners will receive a trophy and a letter of commendation from the Archbishop.
JUDGING THE CONTEST
The contest will be judged in the blind by a panel of outside members of the Anglican House Board of Directors, i.e., board members who are neither officers of the ministry nor active in management. Archbishop Foley will select the final winners.
Submissions will be assigned a numeric code to facilitate the blind judging process.
Essays will be judged on these points:
The deadline has been extended to 12:00 Midnight EST, September 15, 2021.
Winners will be announced on November 30, 2021.
Essays must be submitted as Word documents not exceeding 2,500 words. Click on ESSAY CONTEST atanglicanhousepublishers.orgfor the Contest Rules. Submission before the absolute deadline is encouraged to avoid swamping the judging process.
AMP is a two-year formational training program that consists of 18 one-day sessions and 4 retreats. The course is designed to be a continuation of a graduating seminarian or new pastor’s theological education – giving them an opportunity to grow in essential ministry skills such as discipleship, teaching, pastoring, stewardship, missions, and priesthood.
“Lifelong learning is a way, it’s a culture, it’s a shaping of our soul, and this may be one of the best opportunities that a person would ever have to move into lifelong learning for the rest of their ministry.” – Bishop Steve Breedlove
The Anglican Diocese of the South is offering a few partial scholarships for those interested. If you would like more information on the scholarships, please contact Canon Sean George at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Over a year after COVID-19 changed everything, life is beginning to return to normal for much of the world. We can travel, hug our grandparents, and our churches are reopening.
The pandemic changed us all in some way or another, but how has it changed the Church? What did it teach the ones who teach us – our clergy? How do you shepherd when your sheep are sheltering-in-place? A few rectors from our diocese share some thoughts and lessons from the past year, as well as how they are moving their congregations forward.
What was the hardest thing about the pandemic for you? For your congregation?
“For me personally, the hardest part of ministry during the pandemic was constantly needing to make decisions that our leadership team is not necessarily qualified to make. As a non-medical person myself, pandemic-related decisions were extremely hard. And no matter what decision was made, large or small, there was inevitable disagreement and criticism. The constant disagreement on protocols, etc. was extremely draining. For the congregation, the lack of personal connections was very painful.” – The Rev. Michael Guernsey, Holy Cross Cathedral, Loganville, GA
“No handshakes and hugs.” – Deacon Fred Ellrich, Mission Pickwick, Counce, TN
“For me, the most difficult thing about the pandemic was twofold. 1) I felt the loss of community and a sense of isolation. I struggled with what “facts” to believe and the polarization of opinions. It made for some pretty challenging leadership decisions. 2) It was difficult to adjust to the ministerial restrictions we had to work under —not being allowed into hospitals and nursing homes to visit the sick for instance was particularly tough. I really hated to see people so fearful of other people, seeing them are virus sources rather than fellow humans made in the Imago Dei.” – The Rev. Chris Findley, St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
“I think the hardest part was that there was no blueprint for what to do. Nobody had been through a pandemic before, so we couldn’t learn from past experiences. It often felt like we had multiple choices when it came to decisions and every one of them was wrong, at least in some people’s eyes. For the congregation, I think the hardest part was not being able to gather and have in-person fellowship as we have done in the past. It left many of them feeling disconnected.” – The Rev. Eric Zolner, All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO
What is a good thing that has come out of the pandemic? Either for you personally, for your church, or in general.
“A mantra around here during this pandemic has been, “Never waste a good crisis.” We’ve been forced to rethink and reimagine ministries, and that has been great for us.” – The Rev. Michael Guernsey, Holy Cross Cathedral, Loganville, GA
“We established a weekly Zoom communion service with pre-consecrated sacraments. Attendance has been steady for over a year. No end in sight.” – Deacon Fred Ellrich, Mission Pickwick, Counce, TN
“I think we appreciate community more. People are so grateful to be together in worship and fellowship. When people walk through a hardship like this, there’s a sense in which they are strengthened. They’ve discovered something important about the faithfulness of God and had an opportunity to evaluate their own discipleship. During the most active time of the pandemic, we held a daily Eucharist, praying for mercy and lifting up our community and nation in prayer. So, for the parish, I really think it deepened our sense of dependence on God.” – The Rev. Chris Findley, St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
“A good thing is that we were forced to upgrade our technology at the church. We now have gigabit Internet speeds and a super fancy new video streaming system, so our reach has increased significantly.” – The Rev. Eric Zolner, All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO
How did your congregation make you proud in 2020? This can be a specific moment, or just in general.
“The staff here has been fantastic—learning new skills, doing ministry creatively, and seamlessly transitioning from indoor to online to outdoor to multiplied indoor services. Members of the congregation have jumped into ministry in new ways, and a new core group has begun to emerge.” – The Rev. Michael Guernsey, Holy Cross Cathedral, Loganville, GA
“I challenged them to almsgiving during lent and we donated $1,000 to a local charity for abused and neglected children.” – Deacon Fred Ellrich, Mission Pickwick, Counce, TN
“I am so proud of our parish’s resilience and desire to be faithful. While they wanted to be safe, they never allowed fear to lead the way. They really pulled together and even when there was disagreement, they never let it break the bonds of community in Christ. They continued to give and to worship together (either online or in-person) as they were comfortable doing so.” – The Rev. Chris Findley, St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
“Our city had a mask mandate and we felt as a Vestry that we needed to abide by it. There were some people who refused to come to church if they had to wear a mask and others who left to go to another church that did not require masks, but we never had anyone on a Sunday morning refuse to abide by the mask mandate, even if they didn’t agree with it. So it was great to see people who didn’t like it but also felt that worshipping together was more important than personal comfort.” – The Rev. Eric Zolner, All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO
What are your hopes for the next year? What are you most excited about regaining/being able to do again?
“I’m excited to see the church move into more intentional engagement with the community outside our walls. The pandemic has made it easy to think just about ourselves and “getting through it,” but we have also been longing to better engage in our community when so much had to stop over the past year.” – The Rev. Michael Guernsey, Holy Cross Cathedral, Loganville, GA
“We are back to hosting our face-to-face monthly communion service and fellowship meal and are starting to add attendees. Growth and community service are the goals.” -Deacon Fred Ellrich, Mission Pickwick, Counce, TN
“My hope is that we can focus less on pandemic issues and more fully on the mission of the Church- to evangelize and make disciples. We have just completed a parish-wide Christianity Explored which was well-received. I believe this pandemic, and its aftermath, have created a window of opportunity for the Gospel. People are asking questions about good and evil and God and humanity. They are looking for truth in a time where it’s easy to be skeptical because the truth seems so politicized and malleable. So I think we have an opportunity here. My hope and prayer is that our Parish (and our Diocese) will be reaching out to our communities in new and creative ways that will bring many to saving faith in Christ.” – The Rev. Chris Findley, St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
“My hope for the coming year is that we would be stronger both personally in our faith and corporately as a congregation as a result of suffering together this past year.” – The Rev. Eric Zolner, All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO
Let us continue to pray for all parishes of the Anglican Diocese of the South, and thank God for his faithfulness throughout the past year, and the years to come.
A Collect of Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Peril
Almighty God, our strong tower of defense in time of trouble: We offer you praise and heartfelt thanks for our deliverance from the dangers which lately surrounded us. We confess that your goodness alone has preserved us; and we ask you still to continue your mercies toward us, that we may always know and acknowledge you as our Savior and mighty Deliverer; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
– The Book of Common Prayer 2019, p. 683
By Ivy Swann
ADOTS Communications Associate
As the Minister of Music and Worship Arts at Apostles Anglican Church in Knoxville, TN, Rachel Wilhelm understands the significance of lament. In the midst of a pandemic, Rachel wrote Requiem, an album setting the traditional requiem mass to the more contemporary sounds of folk music. Releasing in March of this year, Requiem guides and invites the listener to bring all their sorrows to our Lord and to lay them at His feet. Rachel graciously agreed to answer a few questions about the album itself and the place of the arts in the Church.
Requiem and Rachel’s other music can be found on Bandcamp or most streaming services.
This album grew out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our usual routines were disrupted, and many of our relationships became distanced. Can you speak to the importance of making space for lament? How can Requiem help us keep this practice as a staple in our Christian lives well beyond this particular COVID season?
Corporate lament is really important in our church life so members of our community don’t slip through the cracks and we fail to bear their burdens as it is said we should do. In the Anglican Church, we already have times of lament in penitential seasons like Advent and Lent. We should try to make the most of those seasons to heighten the others. In my own experience as a music minister, I try to create an “atmosphere” of lament by choosing minor keyed songs, contemplative instrumentation, and songs of confession and identification with Jesus as the Man of Sorrows. If the environment is created, we can show that it is safe to be sad in church if we are sad—or come alongside others and bear their sadness with them.
What I love about the mp3 or the compact disc is that they are portable atmospheres for us. Music takes us to a place or invites us to enter into a place. My 2017 record, Songs of Lament, and this last one, Requiem, are very intentional albums. They wait until you are ready to settle into lament and become a tool to bring you into a vulnerable place before the Lord. This is for devotional life. I think when we think of devotional life, we think reading our Bibles and praying through a list of items. Those things are good. But the kind of devotional life I mean is where you feel comfortable enough with God to tell him how you really think with no fear. Life is hard. God wants to hear it all. What I hope to accomplish with Requiem is to provide an environment for mourning loss from the pandemic, like the loss of loved ones. Many were not able to hold memorial services or funerals, so I brought a funeral to them. They just need to know it’s out there!
Requiem dresses the bones of a traditional requiem mass in folk-style musical clothing. Although there are no grand choral arrangements, the subtlety and quiet emotion are no less powerful. What are the benefits to this kind of stylistic alchemy for music in the Church?
I love classical and choral music, but some people are not there. I’m sure there are many reading this who don’t know what a requiem even is. By making the requiem a little more accessible, I hope to create a means to mourn without the daunting and grand arrangements that others simply cannot relate to. My friend Amber Salladin, a choral arranger, is actually making choral arrangements for all the songs—for those chief musicians that could minister well with it with a regular church choir. The album itself is a template for those chief musicians in my camp who want more of an artistic license if they want to perform any of it in church.
I know collaboration is so important to you. Tell us a bit about how collaboration with other artists affected this album.
I love collaboration so much! I collaborate in pretty much everything that I do musically. On Sunday mornings I am much better with my team of musicians than I would be on my own, and the same with this album. With any album there are droves of people involved, and Requiem is no different. I just had all my friends collaborate with me! One specific collaboration I am especially excited about is my songwriting partner, Kate Bluett. She wrote or co-wrote the lyrics to 6 of the 10 songs. She’s a Catholic poet who lives in Dallas, and I met her at a songwriting retreat, but knew her from a Facebook group called Liturgy Fellowship before that. She’s incredibly gifted and writes prolifically. She also knows her Bible backwards and forwards because she writes poems based off the readings each Sunday. This album would not have happened without her. It was her idea!
Cast your vision of the arts for me. What are some ways Christians who make art can best serve the Church and the wider world?
The Church cannot be served or serve the world with the arts and her artists without the Church embracing the artist and placing value on beauty and the artist’s role in that. Dostoyevsky said, “Beauty will save the world.” This should originate in the Church because the Church shows the beauty of Jesus to the world. How is beauty shown to the world? Through art. I think one of the devil’s biggest triumphs is separating the Church from the arts, causing such division that its people can’t understand why we need something beautiful at all—everything has to be utilitarian or of some use in order to be approved. A vision I have for art in the Church is for artistry (music, fine art, craftsmanship, etc.) to be valued and patronized, for artists in the Church to be honored by giving them a place to hone their craft and use it for God’s glory.
Are there any other exciting projects on the horizon for you?
I love the local church. I just moved to Knoxville, TN, and started serving Apostles Anglican Church this past January. I am really excited to dig in and become a part of the artistic life of the church and build relationships within the community. There are some murmurings of a possible Appalachian hymns album on the horizon in the future, but nothing too soon. My other job is traveling the country for the ACNA ministry called United Adoration, which helps the local church build creative community right where they are. Pre-pandemic, I led songwriting and worship arts retreats. But for now, I’m just trying to glorify God where I am, masks, social distancing, and all.
by Meagan Logsdon ADOTS Communications Associate email@example.com
What sticks out in your mind when you think of St. Patrick’s Day? I think of the color green, shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, and for my inner child, Lucky Charms cereal. It turns out that for me, and for many of whom I’ve asked the same question, St. Patrick himself plays a very minor role in the celebrations that take place on his feast day. That being the case, let’s take a brief look at the life and mission of St. Patrick.
St. Patrick’s Call, in His Own Words
Tradition tells us that he was born in Roman Britain and in his work St. Patrick’s Confessio, or The Confession of St. Patrick, he tells us himself that he was the son of a Deacon and grandson of a Priest. He goes on to say that he was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish pirates and was sold into slavery in Ireland where he remained for the next six years. During this time Patrick came to develop a strong faith in Jesus Christ, and at the end of those six years of captivity he heard a voice telling him to go to the coast and look for a ship which will take him home. After heeding that call and persuading the owner of a ship to let him aboard, Patrick arrived back home among his family in Roman Britain where he continued to grow in faith and began studying Christianity.
A few years after Patrick returned home, he was given a vision urging him to return to the people of Ireland. In his own words from his Confessio:
“A few years later I was again with my parents in Britain. They welcomed me as a son, and they pleaded with me that, after all the many tribulations I had undergone, I should never leave them again. It was while I was there that I saw, in a vision in the night, a man whose name was Victoricus coming as it were from Ireland with so many letters they could not be counted. He gave me one of these, and I read the beginning of the letter, the voice of the Irish people. While I was reading out the beginning of the letter, I thought I heard at that moment the voice of those who were beside the wood of Voclut, near the western sea. They called out as it were with one voice: ‘We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us.’ This touched my heart deeply, and I could not read any further; I woke up then. Thanks be to God, after many years the Lord granted them what they were calling for.”
After returning to Ireland as a missionary we know that Patrick had a fruitful ministry, a ministry that is still bearing fruit to this very day. Many churches still in existence are attributed to his discipleship and church planting. There have been countless volumes written about St. Patrick, the man and the legend. His Confessio is available for free online and I encourage you to read and study his life and ministry.
Follow in the Footsteps of St. Patrick
This St. Patrick’s Day, I want to encourage you to shift your focus from parties and secular revelry and remember that the call that St. Patrick heard is alive and well today. Our world is in desperate need of salvation. In my lifetime I have never seen so many people searching for hope, meaning, and mercy. We are surrounded on every side by a ministry field that is ripe and ready for the harvest.
At St. Patrick’s we strive to answer that call by being a church that exists to invite, train, and send. Our world has had its fill of cultural Christianity. It’s time that we as believers hear the call to “come and walk among us.” Pray to God that you may grow in your faith. Desire to follow Jesus by forsaking the things of this world and devoting yourself wholly to Him. Listen for the Holy Spirit and be ready to move at His urging. Follow in the footsteps of St. Patrick and be a believer that grows disciples who grow disciples.