This first appeared as a letter sent out 2/17/2017 to the CTR e-Lectio mailing list. If you’d like to join the mailing list you can sign-up on the bottom of our website home page, www.ctrnorthshore.org.
Since returning from New Zealand your Director of Outreach has been wonderfully busy. For the last fifteen years it has been my joy to serve on the Board of Uganda Christian University (UCU) Partners, a US agency that supports UCU with prayer, team visits and funds. The Board met at Epiphany Anglican Church in Herndon, VA Feb. 2-4. More on a great new development in the mission of the university in the sermon this Sunday.
Tomorrow I will leave to chair the semiannual meeting of the US Trustees of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF) at Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh, NC Feb.15-17. ARDF is the mission arm of the Anglican Church in America (ACNA) and was formed in 2005 four years before ACNA was formed in 2009. I hope you think as I do that this shows that concern for the outreach of church with the gospel in word and deed was in our body of Christ DNA from the beginning. Archbishop Foley Beach is actively involved in all our meetings as the President of ARDF.
This is the first year that Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church is observing World Mission Sunday. Archbishop Foley Beach and our Bishop Bill Murdoch have urged all churches of the Anglican Church in America and in our diocese to do so. In preparation for this Sunday the sermon Sunday will highlight two of CTR’s missions and how each builds on what St Paul—in the epistle reading from I Corinthians 3:10-23—says about the one and only foundation on which we can build any mission work then or now.
“According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:10-11)
The church world wide, Roman Catholic and Protestant (and to a lesser extent Eastern Orthodox), since the middle of the nineteenth century have sent missionaries to most ethnic groups and nations of the world. For example, at the beginning of the twentieth century Christians in the whole of Africa numbered about nine million, today 380 million; in China 4 million in 1950, 70-100 million today. Some scholars estimate there will be 250 million by the year 2030. If this happens China will have more Christians than any other nation. While churches in the United States for most of the twentieth Century led in sending missionaries to most nations, today South Korea sends more missionaries as a percentage of their population that we do.
Unfortunately, this is not happening in North America. The number of Christians, however defined, is decreasing. By the grace of God and under the faithful and inspired leadership of our founding Archbishop Bob Duncan and now Archbishop Foley Beach together with dedicated priests, deacons and lay men and women, the number of believers and churches has been increasing slowly but surely.
Since CTR is the largest church in the Anglican Diocese in New England the Outreach Team decided six years ago that we should under the leading of the Holy Spirit provide financial, visitation, and prayer support to five church plants. The first of these was Imago Dei in Bangor, ME. The Vicar, the Rev Justin Howard said that the $500 a month of our support helped him to work full time founding that church. This year we are supporting the Anglican Church of the Way in Cumberland RI, the first ACNA church in that state: the Rev. Ben Giuffrida is pastor. From the beginning there have been conferences and other talk about church planting but no relational, mentoring or financial support from the diocese. In the last two years that has changed wonderfully under a Support Group ably led by Justin and including others like Fr. Nathan Baxter, Rector of All Saints Cathedral, Amesbury, MA and Fr. Evan Pillsbury, Vicar of Light of Christ, Portland,ME, both of whom we have supported or now support. Your Director of Outreach is honored to have been asked to serve with them.
This report is in danger of wearing out the readers patience if it hasn’t already. None of this good work would be possible without your continuing faithful prayer and the faithful and energetic work of each Task Force member and the dedicated Outreach Team. This report is from them as much as it is from me so I remind you of who they are. As you meet them please thank them.
Scott Ames, Treasurer
Kathyn Bourgault, Co-Chair, Family Promise
Linda Dube, Chair, Africa Task Force
Dr. Brent Fryling, Chair, Straight Ahead Ministries Task Force
Lillian Harper, Recording Secretary and Chair, Romania Task Force
Gloria Liias, Corresponding Secretary and Chair, Bolivia Task Force
For Christ and his Kingdom
Fr. Malcolm, Chair, Executive Outreach Team