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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!

Lenten Printable Resources for 2021

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17.
ADOTS is providing several options for Lenten printables for 2021. Check them out below!
Lenten Devotional Booklet

Easy and economical to print at home — or for churches to provide to parishioners — ADOTS has updated our Lenten printable PDF booklet for Year B and 2021 dates. This 4-page booklet (just 2-pages double-sided!) features historic quotes on fasting and Lent from sermons of ancient Church fathers and saints, along with the weekly scripture readings and collects — including daily readings and prayers for Holy Week.

It’s already set up as a booklet, making it easy to print, fold, and use. Click below to view and download!

Instructions for printing:
Use landscape mode, if your system does not automatically detect this.
Pages 1 and 2 should be printed together double-sided.
Pages 3 and 4 should be printed together double-sided.
The numbered page corners are simply for reference when assembling after printing.

Download the Lenten 4-page Devotional Booklet here.


Two-page Scripture & Collect Guide for Lent

This resource is for Ash Wednesday through the Fifth Week of Lent, providing guidance on what Lent is and how and why we observe the Lenten disciplines.

Download the Lenten 2-page Guide here.

Two-page Scripture & Collect Guide for Holy Week

This resource complements the above Lent guide, with all the scriptures and collects for Holy Week.

Download the Holy Week 2-page Guide here.

World Mission Sunday and a Message from Canon Missioner George Ivey

Photo: Anglican Frontier Missions

2021 World Mission Sunday is this Sunday, February 7!

In his message to the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach said that while highlighting World Missions on one Sunday in Epiphany does not fulfill the Great Commission, “The question we hope World Mission Sunday will challenge you with is: What part does God want you to play in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth? In other words, where are your “missional feet” taking you?”

World Mission Sunday is an opportunity to hear from cross-cultural workers and investigate our own role in the Great Commission – but the Archbishop says it’s not so much when we do it, but how we will do this in our own parishes.

ADOTS Canon Missioner, Rev. George Ivey, gives us this update and message to encourage us in this participation and prayer for local and global missions:
Canon George Ivey during a Missions Roundtable.

Miracles of many varieties have been happening. Even though, some countries have increased their persecution of western and indigenous workers, the church is growing by leaps and bounds. Remember, our adversity is always God’s opportunity. The Holy Spirit is not frustrated by opposition. It is the fertile soil that the Gospel grows from.

Pray for the missionaries and leadership with the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders.

Pray for the leadership and over thirty missionaries of Anglican Frontier Missions.

Pray for the partners with Anglican Global Mission Partners. In spite of persecution and COVID-19 the number of Cross Cultural Workers continues to grow. They need the support and involvement of our churches.

As ADOTS Canon Missioner, I stand ready to provide a missionary speaker on any Sunday during Epiphany as we celebrate Global Mission Sunday and inform congregations about outreach opportunities.

Contact the Rev. Canon George Ivey as soon as possible for his help in providing an Anglican cross-cultural worker to bring a new vision to your church on February 7, or any time during Epiphany!
Email Canon George or call him at (404) 643-7339.

Canon George recommends these Anglican resources for local and global missions:
Mission Match
A tool from Anglican Global Mission Partners, Mission Match connects you with the agencies and organizations that are the best fit for you. Choose from among mission interest, skill sets, people groups, timeframe, and location – then Mission Match shows you the groups that best fit those criteria.
New Wineskins Missionary Network
Download the 2021 prayer calendar, discover global missions resources for your parish, and put the next New Wineskins Global Missions Conference on your calendar: Sept. 22-25, 2022 in Ridgecrest, NC.
Agape Year
You’ve heard of a “gap year” for high school graduates, taking time to decide their next step. Agape Year is a partnership between Anglican Global Mission Partners and the Young Anglicans Project to turn that gap into an opportunity to serve others. Recent high school graduates spend nine months (September to May) growing in “their love and knowledge of Jesus Christ while engaging in His mission for the lost, the poor, and the uninvited both locally and globally.” Participants have a chance to serve either around the U.S. or overseas.
Anglican Frontier Missions
AFM works around the world continuing to spread the hope of the Gospel. AFM sends church planters among the least evangelized peoples, mobilizing churches to send short- and long-term missionaries “to do pioneer, frontier missions in areas where a viable and visible church still does not exist.” Connect with AFM for short, mid, or long-term work with partner churches of the Global Anglican Communion.

by Rachel Moorman
ADOTS Communications Associate

Chaplaincy at Work: The “Final Frontier” of Missions

“Quite simply, the workplace is the final frontier in the mission world today!” says Fr. Greg McBrayer.

An Anglican priest (Diocese of Fort Worth) and chaplain for American Airlines at their Fort Worth, TX headquarters, Fr. Greg will be one of three frontline chaplains featured at the 2nd Annual Faith@Work ERG Conference, Feb. 9-11, 2021. Held virtually this year, Fr. Greg highly encourages anyone interested in faith in the workplace to attend the conference. Registration is just $40.

Fr. Greg McBrayer ministering during COVID at American Airlines.

“Today as never before, corporations are seeing the fruitfulness of Chaplaincy and Bivocational ministry being done by essential, front-line, spiritual first responders who are actively serving in the workplace through a worldwide crisis,” says Fr. Greg.

As Chief Flight Controller for American Airlines and Senior Chaplain, Fr. Greg has been in a unique position to continue ministering to essential workers during the pandemic, while unfortunately many clergy have been regarded as non-essential and barred from ministering in certain capacities.

“As an essential spiritual first responder, it has most compared with end-of-life grief ministry day in and day out. Airline colleagues and co-workers are grieving the loss of jobs, loss of loved ones, co-workers, and certainly the loss of human connection and civility,” Fr. Greg told the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, the organizer of the Faith@Work Conference.

While the military has known the value of chaplaincy for decades, Fr. Greg says it’s only been since 9/11 that the corporate world has slowly begun to embrace faith in the workplace through ERGs or EBRGs – Employee Business Resource Groups. ERGs represent numerous employee interests, and their growing acceptance has allowed clergy to minister where people spend the most hours of their day.

“People may drift from the Church, but they don’t drift from their workplaces where we spend most of our lives,” says Fr. Greg. “As that trend continues to increase in a fast-paced world, God is actively deploying willing servants or maybe those who are struggling to hold church jobs to the places they are needed today.”

Fr. Greg’s passion for chaplaincy in the workplace is evident on his website – Our Faith at Work – where his incredible photos tell the story of serving at Dallas/Fort Worth International, the world’s third busiest airport. He performs plane-side memorial services, leads midday prayer, prays with employees and travelers, walks alongside co-workers, celebrates the Eucharist, and much more.

“Large corporations are seeing a new holistic care service that HR can’t and doesn’t know how to provide,” he says. “I have been involved in this movement for more than 20 years and I can truthfully say, the workplace is a rich, ripe mission field where ‘the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’”

In the consideration of work and ministry, Fr. Greg shares a quote “from one much wiser than I.”

“Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.” – A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Find out more:
Read more here about the Faith@Work ERG Conference, registration, and topics.
Read more here about the featured frontline chaplains, including Fr. Greg McBrayer; Rear Adm. Margaret Grun Kibben, Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives; and Karen Diefendorf, Director of Chaplain Services at Tyson Foods.
Click here to read an excellent article on Fr. Greg published by the ACNA’s The Apostle magazine, republished by Anglican Compass.

by Rachel Moorman
ADOTS Communications Associate