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Synod 2019 Business Meeting Summary

Prayer before evening worship, Synod 2019.

“It’s been a privilege to serve the Lord in this place, in our diocese and the province, and representing you throughout the world,” said Archbishop Foley Beach in his address to the 2019 ADOTS Synod on Nov. 8. “I’ve been able to see many ways the Lord is working not only in our diocese, but around the province. And it’s really very exciting.”

Abp. Foley thanked everyone for their prayers for he and his wife, Allison, especially as he began this past April as Chair of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

“Provincially, a number of our bishops have stepped up to help, and assist in very good and helpful ways,” said Abp. Foley, as he recognized Canons, volunteers, committee leaders, diocesan staff and Assisting Bishop Frank Lyons as having helped “in tremendous ways” with the ongoing transition.

“All of this is to say that we’re all in this together, and I’m just so grateful for the attitude, the spirit, and the servant spirit that so many of our folks have,” he said.

Please see our separate article for the Archbishop’s messages during the Synod business meeting and evening worship, concerning cultivating a spirit of generosity.

Items of note from the Delegates Meeting:

  • Delegates voted to approve and seat two new congregations: St. Thomas in Athens, GA; and All Saints in Springfield, MO – transferring from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Archbishop Foley also welcomed newly ordained clergy into the diocese, as well as clergy who have transferred into the diocese.
  • Delegates affirmed 13 nominees for various diocesan committees, and elected Gregory O’Neil (Christ the King, Decherd, TN) to ECC Trial Court, and Debra Lynn Conley (Redeemer, Chattanooga, TN) to the Constitutions and Canons Committee. Abp. Foley thanked Canon George Ivey for his work in recruiting nominations for committee members.
  • Both membership and attendance in ADOTS churches has increased since last year.
  • ADOTS is finishing 2019 in good financial standing. Delegates approved a budget for 2020 that shows a deficit; Treasurer Chuck Lewis explained this is based on churches reporting 4% giving, however churches have discussed increased giving as they move closer to 10% as per the ‘10-10-10’ model. Abp. Foley asks churches to consider increased giving to “help us meet the small proposed deficit.”
  • Abp. Foley is calling for one of our future Synods several years from now, possibly 2023, to focus on updating the Constitution and Canons.

Action Items from Abp. Foley:

  1. The Book of Common Prayer 2019 is now available, and churches are encouraged to begin using it. “If you’ve not started using it, I want to encourage you to begin exploring what a treasure this is.” Online BCP resources can be found here.
  2. The revised catechism To Be a Christian will be released in January 2020. “I hope you’ll begin to use it for discipleship and Christian formation in your local church.”
  3. The ACNA pension plan is going well and growing. “I want to encourage you to consider this as an option for your clergy. If you don’t have a pension plan for your clergy, you need to.”
  4. The ACNA health insurance plan has changed. Churches should please look and compare to see if it’s a possibility for your situation. “We’re doing our best to offer something that’s affordable and also meets the needs of our clergy and lay leaders.”
  5. The Rector’s Compensation Guide assists parishes in what to pay the rector (available through the Clergy & Leader Resources page). “We prepared that last year for you as a guide, and I hope you’ll take advantage of it.”
  6. Remember that the ADOTS website “is a wonderful resource for you as you seek to lead your local congregation, whether you’re a lay person or whether you’re clergy. I hope you’ll take advantage of that. If you haven’t looked at it lately, just go and explore and see what’s there for you.”
  7. Clergy are encouraged to use the lectionary and the new prayer book, and the Sunday collects in regular worship services. This Advent begins Year A; resources for the lectionary can be found on the ADOTS website or in the prayer book. Also use the prayer cycle to pray for other diocesan churches on Sundays and during the week.
  8. Get involved and active in the local deaneries. “We’re going to be stronger the more we’re able to commune with each other, fellowship, collaborate, work together in a local situation or a regional situation.”
  9. Explore having a partnership with an overseas church or diocese. “There are so many places around the world that are suffering, that are in need – but that also that we can learn from. So if your local parish doesn’t have a partnership with an overseas diocese, let us know and we’ll help you do that.”
  10. Explore starting a Matthew 25 ministry. “There are people in need, there are people hungry, invisible, hurting, just right in your neighborhood. What are we doing to help reach those folks? What are we doing to care for them in the name of the gospel? So if you don’t have a local ministry in your congregation, I hope you’ll pursue that.”
  11. Remember the Anglican Relief and Development Fund in your budget. “Go to the website at ardf.org and see the incredible things that ARDF does around the world. I want you to consider following through with their request during Advent – Consider putting a line item in your budget every year, remembering ARDF. Anything helps; it goes a long way.”

Standing Committee Update
Abp. Foley thanked outgoing Standing Committee members Fr. Ray Kasch and Fr. Bill Midgett, who in his address as outgoing Chair said, “We are a dynamic diocese within a dynamic province. Just a little bit of what you can do matters. Sow the gospel at every opportunity, live into the Lord’s mission, give generously and know the joy that Jesus has for you and every disciple here.”

Bishop’s Mission Fund
Mr. Ted Conley (Redeemer, Chattanooga, TN) introduced a new 3-year diocesan initiative, focused on raising $500,000 to respond to the needs of local churches in four areas close to the Bishop’s heart:
• Church Planting
• Benevolence
• Multi-ethnic Ministry
• Student Ministry

“This is designed to accelerate and amplify the missional ministry that we’re already doing in our local communities,” said Conley. “We want to reflect the love of Christ back on one another and provide a blessing back into our communities. I would ask you please to pray for this continually over the next couple of years.”

Print materials are being provided soon to ADOTS churches; digital resources will be released soon as well.

Church Planting Update
From Canon Chris Sorensen: “We’re working with 11 [church planting projects] right now that want to go through the process, and the process has been really streamlined. We see fires being lit and we’re excited about those processes.”

Canon Chris Sorensen

Canon Chris discussed Project 72, an initiative working with smaller churches to raise up 72 core members. “I believe that 72 missionally aligned people can light the world on fire for Jesus. We actually have to reach unchurched people, which is what we should be doing anyway. So how do we do that? That’s what Project 72 is about.”

Project 72 is also about “identifying mother churches that believe that they can afford to lose 72 people a couple years from now, to become the core of a new church.” He encourages churches who are at this point in their growth to talk with him about this church planting possibility.

Myanmar Update
From Provincial Canon to Myanmar Rev. Keith Allen. Myanmar’s decades-long internal conflicts are the world’s longest ongoing civil war, with Christians under great persecution.

Canon Keith Allen

“We have an open door through the work of the Church, the Province of Myanmar, led by Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo, who leads courageously this province of eight dioceses spread throughout the country – and through heroic work of the bishops and clergy there, who under persecution and threat of death, daily distribute the Gospel of Jesus Christ, minister to people in need, and boldly stand for Christ.”

This year ADOTS helped send students from Beeson Divinity School, and two couples from Christ the King and St. Peter’s in Birmingham who taught through the book of Acts with the youngest clergy in the Kachin State.

“These young clergy said, ‘We’ve never, ever been taught through the whole book – we understood newly the theology, the history, and the missional impulse of this book,’” said Canon Keith. “You all made this possible… so thank you for your giving. We are part of a global church, that is on a global mission to push back the darkness of Satan. And we partner with heroes; they are standing for Christ in the midst of danger. And we have the privilege of standing with them.”

Abp. Foley prays for diocesan Canons, lay ministers, and staff during Synod 2019.

by Rachel Moorman
Communications Associate