Dear Faithful, Anglican Friends,
This is a great Biblical word: Ebenezer. It is an old word, but to me it is always fresh and exciting. And it seems like the word might just be the perfect word to speak together as an entire province.
It comes from 1 Samuel 7:12. And it is deeply powerful word.
Do you know the story surrounding it? Samuel is in the last years of his life. (That is NOT why I like this verse.) He has led the people of God from one conflict to another and, in one instance, to gather the people together, he erects a stone monument and he gives it a name: Ebenezer. It is an act of worship. He has looked back over the years to see the hand and the power of God that has both guided and protected them.
The late Eugene Peterson phrased it this way in The Message: “Samuel took a single rock and set it… He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where God helped us.” When I look at our Province and see that we are only ten years old I am filled with joy and thanksgiving. I could easily raise an Ebenezer! Couldn’t you??
It is for this reason that I am writing you. You have been a part of the Ebenezer story of this province. By your prayers, support, and giving you have enabled the essential, core ministries of the Province to supply the needs for our first ten years. Thank you!! Thanks to your prayers and support, the growth has been incredible. Think of where the Lord has brought us over this past decade. It is a high honor to share these facts with you.
Over 1,000 Congregations In Our Provincial Family!
This is an incredible achievement. We started in faith, and almost ten short years later, we see enormous growth in so many of our churches. Some are very small and struggling. Many are large and growing. But all of them are part of this extraordinary movement of God.
Over Half of Our Congregations Are New Starts!
We believe in church planting! I don’t know of any movement that has seen such an explosion of church planting. We have learned so much over the past ten years…and we are developing this knowledge into practical training for a new generation of churches, ones that we are praying to see in our second decade.
1 Church Being Started Every Ten Days!
I find this truth to be more than amazing. We had an initial base of congregations that established the ACNA ten years ago. Since then we have had huge church planting efforts to increase our capacity. It is working! The Always Forward Movement is leading with support, training, and encouragement for local congregations and dioceses. And now we have a steady ‘birth rate’ year by year. Again, these are all great signs for our new Province.
Nearly 100,000 People Attending ACNA Churches Every Week!
This is another remarkable reality. The average Sunday attendance in all ACNA churches in every diocese is strong. And getting stronger! Many of these beloved churches are meeting in rented facilities. Their members willingly gave up the comforts of an established congregation to launch a new church. As I travel the country and speak with our bishops and clergy, I find that our churches and leaders are finding ways of making it all work to the Glory of God. In fact, many churches have been raising capital campaign funds for their own building expansions.
Thanks to friends like you, we are a strong and growing today not only because of the work and courage of God’s people, but because of the amazing faithfulness of our God. We have seen Him move mountains, stir hearts, lift spirits, and go before us. You have been a part of the Ebenezer story of this province. By your prayers, support, and giving you have enabled the essential, core ministries of the Province to supply the needs for the first ten years. Thank you! But as we approach the end of 2018, I need your help to end this year on strong financial footing and to have the resources needed to launch critical efforts in 2019. By December 31, 2018, we need to receive $200,000.
Why is this so important? In the next 12 months, I want to initiate three provincial-wide efforts that will make a positive difference in the years to come:
1. Developing Young Anglican Leaders
This is a critical need for our congregations. Good efforts have been underway to find, call, train and equip young leaders for the work of our churches. But this is only the beginning. Our effort needs to include finding and calling leaders from a more diverse population. Canada, for instance, is leading in this endeavor in regards to our work in the Asian community. Our efforts with our dear Hispanic brothers and sisters are succeeding well through the efforts of the ministry of Caminemos Juntos. Even so, we have much more work to do. I want our province to be able to facilitate this work.
2. Church Planting at the Next Level
This has been one of the main characteristics of our Province, but I have to tell you that it is hard work. Really hard. When I started our church in Georgia, it seemed that many in the modern culture were open to the Christian faith. But today the soil has hardened; it has become rocky. Always Forward, our church planting network, could bring help to these planters in the form of training, connections, encouragement, and planning. Imagine what a great boost it would be if we could gather all the planters and their spouses for times of worship, training, marriage support, and refreshment. A strong province can facilitate this work.
3. Resourcing Our Leaders and Churches
Do you realize that we are a national church with an international reach? Our staff is working overtime in several roles to make sure the word gets out. They make sure our leaders have relevant information, as well as produce and disseminate the essential tools, Anglican-based curricula, and information to strengthen our leaders, congregations and dioceses. The more we grow, the more important it is to have a fully staffed and fully updated website.
Can you help?
We stand at the summit of a ten-year journey that is taking us forward. Our bishops are united. Our clergy are engaged. Our members are serving. And our Province is a respected member of a global, Anglican community.
But I need your help. And I want to ask for this boldly and confidently. I know that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. Here is what I am asking:
First, by God’s Grace, please fulfill your pledge and increase your commitment to your local congregation. The church you attend and the leader that God has called to your church need your critical financial support.
Second, please pray about helping the ACNA meet our important financial year-end need. And then, please, give!
Great things are in store for next year and I need friends like you standing with us. Please consider what you could give to help us meet this $200,000 need.
You are welcome to call the Provincial Office at any time to speak to one of our ministry leaders. If you would, click here to support our mission.
Archbishop Foley Beach
P.S. I would love to hear how the Lord has used the ACNA to touch you. Send us your Ebenezer story and let’s celebrate all that the Lord is doing!!