On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the Anglican Church in North America’s Provincial Council elected four new members to the Provincial Executive Committee: two from the clergy, the Rev. Cn. Jonathan Millard and the Rev. Cn. Dr. John Macdonald, and two from the laity, the Honorable Tad Brenner and Ms. Elizabeth Conkle. They will all serve the Committee for the next three years. We were able to catch up with them to hear a bit more about each of their stories and what they most hope to see happen in the Province over the next few years through the work of the Executive Committee.
The Rev. Canon Jonathan Millard
Currently serving in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Millard grew up in England and was a trial lawyer for five years while living in Manchester. Jonathanwas raised in a Christian family and cannot remember a time when he did not know God. Sensing his call to ministry, Millard completed seminary training at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1992. He served churches both in England and the United States, eventually becoming the rector of Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, PA in 2004. Through the joys and sorrows of life and ministry, he is surer today than ever of God’s grace, love, and power to do abundantly far more than we could ask or imagine, and he remains passionate about people, preaching, and seeing others come to faith in Jesus Christ.
This will be his second term on the Executive Committee and, in addition to this role, has worked in various leadership capacities for the Province over the past decade. “What excites me most about serving yet again on the Committee,” he explained, “is being at the table when we deal with issues that deeply affect the life of the Province. I’m excited to learn about and be involved with Gospel initiatives that will bring people to a living, breathing faith in Jesus Christ.”
When not engaged in parish or wider church business, Jonathan loves to spend time with his wife, the Rev. Cn. Andrea Millard, and his three adult children, Jack, Juliet, and Jane.
The Rev. Canon Dr. John Macdonald
Macdonald was one of the founding members of Anglian Global Mission Partners (AGMP). Mission has always been at the core of what he wants to see in the Church’s life and vision. He is a former long-term missionary to Honduras and is the Emeritus Associate Professor of Mission and Evangelism at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. While in Honduras, Macdonald served in various roles, including Canon for Evangelism for the Diocese of Honduras. While at Trinity, he was also the Director of the Stanway Institute for World Mission and Evangelism, which included the task of representing Trinity at various international meetings and leading students on mission discipleship trips primarily to East Africa and Southeast Asia.
His goal on the Executive Committee is to represent those involved with cross-cultural missions and to bring even more of that DNA into the province. “When the ACNA was first starting, the focus was breaking from the Episcopal Church,” he said. “It was about surviving. Now it’s about thriving. The focus has shifted, and the concept of missions is no longer being pushed towards the back. Over the years, there’s been a growing excitement about work overseas, and I’d love to see that turn into growing participation from the members of the Province.”
Macdonald has traveled to over sixty countries and made nearly thirty trips to Africa, and in addition to working with other Anglican mission organizations, he serves as a consultant to AGMP. As the former chair of the AGMP Steering Committee, he continues to represent the mission network at the annual Provincial Council. He has been married to his wife, Gail, for almost forty years and has three married adult children and one grandson.
The Hon. Tad Brenner
The Honorable Tad Brenner currently serves as the Chancellor of the Diocese of Quincy and has served either as Vice Chancellor or Chancellor since 1994 under both Bishop Ackerman and Bishop Morales. He served on the drafting committee for the Anglican Communion Network’s charter and was a member of the Network’s Steering Committee through the formation of the Anglican Church in North America, at the same time serving on the Executive Committee at the Province’s inception.
This time around, he sees something different than when he first served on the Committee all those years ago. “Basically,” he said, “it feels like a completely different church in many ways. My background came from a time of struggle in the early days of the Anglican Network, but now many of those struggles have dissipated as the Province moves in a new direction and new focus, spreading the Gospel and figuring out the best way to serve our neighbors, parish members, and our clergy.”
Brenner also served on numerous courts at both the diocesan and provincial levels and has been the Provincial Parliamentarian from 2016 to the present. He was recently appointed Circuit Judge of Illinois’ Eighth Judicial Circuit (representing eight counties in west central Illinois). He has been married to his wife, Kim, for 27 years and has two adult sons: Tad, a securities trader, and Miles, a petroleum engineer.
Ms. Elizabeth Conkle
Conkle is a lay pastoral catechist for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin,where she serves as the Director of the Anglican Catechist Training School (ACTS), a diocesan school that trains lay catechists and lay pastors. Her passion is to see people spiritually develop, grow, and mature in order to become all who God made them to be, as well as discover His incredible love for them.
Her first love, however, is prayer, and she hopes to bring that to her time in the Committee. “I honestly feel like the Lord is directing me to pray for the ACNA and this Committee first and foremost, especially while I’m on it,” she explained. Conkle was nominated by a friend she met at the Discipleship 2020 conference, and discipleship still remains another passion for her and a focus of her prayers. “I’m really excited about seeing lay people raised up and released in ministry through the churches of the Province, and I hope that the Executive Committee will be an opportunity to empower that.”
Up until her retirement in 2019, she taught middle school language development and science and was an English learner coach for Fresno Unified School District, where she trained and coached secondary teachers to integrate language instruction into their content. She is now an active member of St. James Anglican Church and is an avid gardener in sunny Fresno, California.