News from the Anglican Church in Chile

This Sunday the Church of Chile will consecrate and recognize three new bishops who would lead their future Province

 The ceremony will be broadcast live on Facebook Live from the Saint Paul's Cathedral  Valparaíso, temple that celebrates 160 years of history since its construction.

Next Sunday, July 15 at 11:00 a.m., the Ceremony of Consecration and Recognition of Diocesan Bishops of the Anglican Church of Chile will be held. The celebration will take place at the Anglican St. Paul's Cathedral Valparaíso and will be streamed live through its official Facebook page.

At the ceremony, it will also take place the celebration of 160 years since the construction of the temple of Saint Paul's of Valparaiso, which has been declared a Historical Monument and has an important heritage value for the city and the Church in Chile.

At the moment, the Anglican Church of Chile is a diocese that counts on 95 congregations and belongs to South America, but with the aim of promoting its growth and mission, expects to become an independent Anglican Province, territory that would be conformed by four dioceses, which will be administered by four diocesan bishops.

The priests who will be consecrated by laying on hands are the reverends Samuel Morrison for the Diocese of Valparaíso and Enrique Lago for the Diocese of Concepción. While Bishop Abelino Apeleo will be recognized to lead the Diocese of Temuco.

In the case of the Diocese of Santiago, the territory will be administered by the current Diocesan Bishop, Rv. Héctor Zavala, who will also be the Primate of the new Anglican Province of Chile.

It is worth mentioning that the bishops were elected in May by an extraordinary Synod. On this occasion, the Chilean diocese approved the constitution and canons that it would adopt if obtained the approval to become a province. These decisions were ratified later in the month of April by the college of bishops of the Province of South America, during a meeting in Lima-Peru and were informed in an official announcement by the Primate, Archbishop Greg Venables.

In the month of August of this year, the Church of Chile will receive a delegation that will be headed by the President of the Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop Paul Kwong of

Hong Kong, whose mission will be to determine if the proposed new province meets the requirements to be an Anglican province.

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A Reflection on the Caminemos Juntos Conference in Argentina

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Leaders from eight congregations from four Provinces (Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Santa Fe and Salta) gathered together from May 31 to June 2, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the fifth annual Caminemos Juntos conference in Latin America. The event took place at the Church of  San Pedro (Flores) and the Church of San Salvador (Belgrano).

The regional event featured the Primate Bishop Greg Venables (who opened the conference and offered a closing benediction), one of the directors of Caminemos Juntos, Jonathan Kindberg from the United States, and United Adoration, a movement of musicians committed to creating new worship songs for the Anglican Church. The conference also featured several workshops and group discussions centered on the building up and strengthening of the growing church.

It had been too long since the different Anglican churches of Argentina had met! It was good to see the Argentinian church mobilized in this way: sharing, enjoying fellowship, worshipping, and praying together, while serving the Lord seeking new directions at this time in the country.

Psalms 133: 1
“How good and pleasant it is  when God’s people live together in unity!”

Six representatives from the new GAFCON Province in Brazil attended (Arlinda, Karyna and Thais Souza, Patrícia Neves, Priscila Carriço and Marcos Antônio), along with Pastor Cristóbal Cerón from Chile, and Pastors Justin Clifton and Sergio Villanueva from the United States, leaders of United Adoration.

Those from Brazil shared their experiences living through the current revival of the Anglican Church in Brazil, and the importance of discipleship, evangelism, intercession, and worship for revival.

At the conference, we prayed for the multiplication of churches, passion and love for the lost in our communities, and for the spreading of the Word of God in schools, at work, and other community centers.

We received excellent teachings, and took time to listen to what God was sharing with us and to what he was calling us and our churches. It was clear: Spread the gospel to the four corners of the world!

Now is the time! The Holy Spirit launched us into our mission in South America. Now we all must roll up our sleeves, and take the first steps so that we may continue walking together, following the direction of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 11: 23-24
“Then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

First Ordination and Fourth Annual Conference Held in Mexico

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Leaders from 10 congregations gathered this past weekend, May 24-27th, at Iglesia del Gran Pastor in Fresnillo, Zacatecas in Central Mexico for the fourth annual Caminemos Juntos conference. The purpose of this gathering was to mobilize leaders for the planting of Anglican churches throughout Mexico and to provide a space for new congregations and leaders that are exploring joining the existing group of ACNA churches.  

 Bishop Flavio, missionary bishop from the newly formed Anglican Church in Brazil 

Bishop Flavio, missionary bishop from the newly formed Anglican Church in Brazil 

Present were 4 missionaries from the new GAFCON Province in Brazil including missionary Bishop Flavio Adair Suarez who was the keynote speaker and presented lessons learned from the growth of the church in Brazil through multiplication and disciple making. Others shared on the intercessory and women's ministries which have played a key role in Brazil. 

On Sunday, the final day of the conference, Farhid Adabache of Iglesia del Gran Pastor, was ordained as a deacon by Bishop Mark Zimmerman of the ACNA Diocese of the Southwest with includes the Mexico deanery of congregations. This was an historic occasion marking the first ACNA leader ordained in Mexico. 

Deacons Farhid and Eduardo Gonzalez ,who serves in Ciudad Juarez on the border with El Paso, Texas will both represent Mexico at the upcoming GAFCON conference in Jerusalem later this summer. 

Caminemos Juntos is the GAFCON network for Mexico and Latin America. This year in addition to hosting this regional gathering in Mexico, Caminemos Juntos is also hosting conferences in the US and Argentina.

Click here (https://www.gafcon.org/news/lets-walk-together-the-history-of-a-new-church-planting-movement-in-latin-america) to read more on the history of Anglican realignment in Mexico and Latin America. 

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Missionary Testimonies from Brazil: The New Face of Global Anglican Mission

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Gathered around the dinner table in a Chicago home were young people from Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and the US. Over dinner Arlinda Sá Souza shared the story of dream she had had over thirty years ago as a new Christian in Brazil.

She had just heard a missionary speak at her church about the 10/40 window and she had felt her heart stirring with a call. “But where are you calling me, Lord?” she had asked. Later that night she was given a very detailed dream of a city on the ocean. As she shared the dream the next day over coffee with a friend her friend began laughing.  “I know that city! It’s Nazaré, Portugal.”

This dream began an over thirty-year process of preparing to answer the call that call to Nazaré, a journey that led Arlinda, her husband Bruno and daughter Thais to that dinner table in Chicago that day.

In October of last year Caminemos Juntos* held it’s annual conference for the Americas in Recife, Brazil with theme of global mission and with the purpose of equipping the Anglican Church in Latin America to send missionaries and church planters the world. Bruno and Arlinda Souza from the diocese of Recife (now soon to be a GAFCON province in Brazil) attended the conference and shared about their calling to Portugal and how they’d been waiting for the church to send them and the Lord’s timing to go.

They were invited to apply to become missionaries with the Greenhouse Movement (the mission society that facilitates the Caminemos Juntos conferences) and then to attend Greenhouse’s weeklong missionary training held in Chicago, USA after which they spent 10 additional days on mission amongst the Mexican immigrant community in that city. Their hope is to be sent to Portugal in January of 2019 as the new Province of Brazil’s first global missionaries and to eventually serve locally under Bishop Andy Lines, the GAFCON bishop for Europe.

 The Greenhouse missionary training week began with a time of multilingual and multicultural worship

The Greenhouse missionary training week began with a time of multilingual and multicultural worship

Bruno, Arlinda, Thais and Karyna (Bruno’s sister) share a greeting to their sending church in Brazil from the Little Village immigrant neighborhood in Chicago 

Brazilians, in partnership with US-Americans, being sent to plant a church in Portugal, under an English Bishop (who himself had been a missionary in Paraguay). This is the exciting, and at times mind-boggling, new face of global Anglican mission.

This is a mission that is polycentric. In other words it is no longer simply “from the west, to the rest” but rather from “everywhere to everywhere,” to use the language of the Lausanne Movement. It is also highly multicultural. The global mission teams of the future will involve two, three or four nationalities working in an again altogether different local cultural context made up also of many different cultures. For example, a mission team might involve Brazilians, Kenyans and Australians reaching North African Muslim immigrants in Spain. 

 

This new global mission also involves deep partnerships between the Church in the Global North and Global South. The Global North has a long history of global sending and financial resources and structures setup to do so, but increasingly face a shortage of missionary candidates. Many areas of the Global South, such as the Church in Brazil, are at the same time experiencing revival and expansion and are overflowing with willing and able candidate, though as a Church have less experience, financial resources and structures setup for global sending.

Finally, the global mission of the future takes into account the reality of global diaspora. Today we are experiencing the greatest movement of peoples the world has ever seen. This presents an amazingly unique missional opportunity that may be missed if the Church succumbs to nationalistic and ethnocentric political currents. 

Please pray for Bruno, Arlinda and Thais and for a whole new Spirit-empowered wave of Anglican missionaries for Europe and the ends of the earth.

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*Caminemos Juntos, which means “Let’s Walk Together” in Spanish, is the GAFCON network for Latin America and is led by Bp. Tito Zavala, Bp. Miguel Uchoa, Cn William Beasley and Rev. Jonathan Kindberg. These leaders, among others, will be helping to lead the Global Mission Network sessions of the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem this June.

Passion for Gospel Centered Unity and Mission were emphasized at the Caminemos Juntos conference in Brazil

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The conference gathered Anglican representatives from across the Americas in Recife, Brazil the week of October 5 – 7  

“Passion for the Americas” was the theme of the Caminemos Juntos 2017 conference, a conference with more than 200 Anglican representatives from North, Central and South America held in Recife, Brazil, with the goal of catalyzing mission and church planting throughout the continent.

This second annual gathering of Caminemos Juntos in South America brought clergy and a diversity of lay leadersfrom more than 9 countries together. The three themes of the conference were: Mobilizing, Equipping, and Planting, in order to walk together as the Anglican Church in the Americas.

The conference was organized by the Greenhouse Movement, the ACNA, the Diocese of Recife in Brazil, the Anglican Church in Chile, and GAFCON.

It is important to note that this year’s gathering included a visit from Charles Raven, Secretary of Membership Development for GAFCON, who shared about the Anglican movement worldwide.

The three day gathering was hosted by Parróquia Anglicana Espíritu Santo (PAES), the largest anglican church in Latin America, with more than three thousand members. The program was comprised of plenaries, workshops, and small working groups, along with a special worship and prayer night on Thursday, which was attended by more than 800 people.

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For the first time this year, there were pre-conference equipping sessions 2 days prior to the main conference gathering. One of the workshops was led by MOCLAM and was focused on teaching the panorama of scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Similarly, there was a training for those interested in becoming church planters and global missionaries sent out from Latin America. Caminemos Juntos' worship movement, United Adoration led a retreat for songwriters where new songs were written and then sung throughout the conference. You can listen to one here

Rev. Jonathan Kindberg, co-director of Caminemos Juntos, said that having the conference in Brazil was key as participants were able to experience first hand the spontaneous growth and revival being lived out in Brazil, a dynamic similar to what happened in the Anglican church in East Africa. This fire and passion that God is awakening is not only for Brazil but is spreading throughout Americas.

PASSION FOR MOBILIZATION

The first day focused on Mobilization. The focus was how to mobilize the Latin American church on global mission. One of the key questions was: “How can the Anglican Church in Latin America shift from being a mission field that simply receives missionaires to being a church that sends missionaries throughout the world?”  The day began with a talk by Carlos Scott, former president of COMIBAM (a consortium of Latin American mission and sending agencies) and the current facilitator of an organization called Misión Glocal (Glocal Mission) in Argentina.  In his presentation, Scott described the evolution of the Latin American missionary movement in recent years and how we are experiencing an enormous paradigm shift in how mission is seen and practiced.

As Scott emphasized, if at the end of the 90’s there were four thousand missionaries, today Latin America has a total of twenty five thousand missionaries both in Latin America and being sent from Latin America throughout the world. He said there is a growing missionary expansion and that the Church in Latin America is beginning to understand its purpose of extending the Kingdom of God to all nations.

Rev. Jonathan said that this awakening is also beginning to happen in the Anglican church in Latin America. For example, in recent years there has been a growing reciprocal sending and receiving of Latin American Anglicans to and from the US. “Today we are seeing how Chile, for example, is sending missionaries to serve in Latino or Central American communities in the United States. We also have the example of Chilean Anglican missionaries like Verónica Vega who is serving in India.”

This first day of the conference also included a talk by Filipe Santos, mission pastor of City Church in Sao Paulo, the largest Baptist church in Brazil, who spoke on how to develop a church culture that values mobilization in order to creatively reach the key cities of the world.

Participants once again were not only able to hear about examples, but got to experience this kind of creative mobilization first hand by visiting congregations throughout the Diocese of Recife, which since separating from the Episcopal Church in 2005, has planted more than 30 churches in only 12 years, thanks to missional strategies such as Casas de Paz (“Houses of Peace”) and is on it's way to becoming a province. 

As Bishop Miguel Uchoa explained, “Houses of Peace is a lay-led initiative and evangelistic tool to enter non-Christian homes and has led to the planting of new congregations... and the mobilization of the entire church.” Some of the other innovative missional initiatives of the diocese are: social ministries aimed at reaching the poor and marginalized like House of Hope, church-based outreach Karate classes, the planting of congregations inside prisons and an evangelistic marriage ministry and video curriculum for couples which has millions of hits on youtube (see here). 

PASSION FOR EQUIPPING

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A second focus of the conference was “passion for equipping.” One of the sessions this second day of the conference was led by a team from Chile. Diocesan Bishop Héctor (Tito) Zavala spoke about “passion for formation,” and how this has facilitated the ongoing growth and maturity of the Chilean Anglican Church.

On this same topic, some of the leaders from Chile spoke aboutthe Center for Pastoral Studies (CEP), the Chilean Anglican seminary which started in 2003, and also about other Chilean equipping initiatives for leaders, which have led to the planting of 19 churches and the ordination of almost 50 clergy in the past 17 years.

Bishop Zavala said, “I believe that the reason we have had this fruit these last years is that we have been seeking to be truly evangelical, in the fullest sense of that word: centered on teaching the Word, the formation of leaders, and the empowerment of the entire local church for mission.”

Along these same lines, the importance of being able to share equipping resources between the different countries in the Americas thanks to Caminemos Juntos was highlighted. One example of this is the exchange that has taken place between Mexico and Chile. Chile this last year brought their highly successful Anglican Marriage Encounter program (EMA) to the fledging ACNA deanery of churches in Mexico. Also this last year a leader from the Chilean seminary came to the church of Iglesia del Gran pastor in Fresnillo, Mexico to do a week long intensive course on Anglican Mission and Identity.

“The Anglican church in Mexico today is weak in terms of equipping and these kinds of exchanges greatly motivate us because without formation there is no vision” said Juan Manuel Herrera, one of the lay ministers of Gran Pastor, one of the larger ACNA churches in Mexico.

PASSION FOR CHURCH PLANTING

The Greenhouse Movement (known as Sociedad Misionera San Pablo in Latin America) presented on the third focus of the conference: “passion for church planting.” Greenhouse’s Missioner General, William Beasley, along with Bishops Marcio Meira and Flavio Soares of Brazil, spoke on the work of lay church planting both in the US and in Brazil.

The Greenhouse Movement has been deeply shaped by Anglican Church in East Africa which has also experienced explosive growth thanks to the move of God through lay leaders. William Beasley explained that we are seeing God pour out this same fire of revival in Latin America. While holding firm to the gospel and the historic roots of Anglicanism, lay leaders throughout the Americas are engaged in a creative missional effort that opens the door for the spontaneous expansion of the church that is able to reach all kinds of cultures and communities.

Adrian Torres, a lay leader at San Pedro, a church in Buenos Aires Argentina, similarly iterated: “Today we are seeing a thriving movement that grows through the laity. It is crucial that we shift our missional paradigm to include this new reality. Argentina needs this missional effort because we yearn new church plants.”

A NEW REFORMATION

One of the main emphases during the conference was that the Global Anglican Church is currently in the midst of twin reformation: a doctrinal reformation and a missional reformation.

Charles Raven, who led a workshop on this very topic, explained that this year, as the Church celebrates the 500th year since the Protestant Reformation, we have come to grips with the fact that we are not simply celebrating a historical event. The Church has always been and is always reforming. Today, we are working to recover and restore the truth of the Gospel. It is this Gospel of grace rooted in the Bible that ultimately drives us to fulfill the Great Commission.

Rev. Jonathan Kindberg, co-director of Caminemos Juntos, referred to this same theme of reformation:

"We are continuing to work alongside GAFCON to expand our network to share resources and training in all 35 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean. We are striving towards mission centered unity, while also holding firmly to our biblical foundations, knowing that it will result in the formation of new Anglican church plants all across the Americas and throughout the world."

We expect that this vision will continue to spread, and, at our next conference in Chile (Oct 4-6, 2018), we hope to witness even more countries walking together under the same vision and passion of reaching all the Americas with the love of Christ.

Two Ways to Walk: A Reflection of the CJ Conference in Brazil

While the Canterbury Primates Meeting was taking place earlier this month with its heavily contrived ‘Walking Together’ theme, despite the principled absence of Primates representing some 30 million Anglicans, a very different ‘Walking Together’ was being practiced by Anglicans meeting in Brazil.

Caminemos Juntos, which in Spanish means ‘Let's Walk Together’, is an Anglican Latino mission and church planting initiative for the whole of South, Central and North America. Its leadership team includes Bishop Tito Zavala of the Diocese of Chile with its coastline of over 2,600 miles,  Bishop Miguel Uchoa of the Anglican Diocese of Recife which covers an area about the size of Western Europe in the north east of Brazil as well as  leaders from the ACNA in North America Canon William Beasley and Rev. Jonathan Kindberg.

 Charles sharing the GAFCON story together with Bp. Miguel Uchoa from Recife

Charles sharing the GAFCON story together with Bp. Miguel Uchoa from Recife

I was recently privileged to attend their annual conference in Recife from 5th-7th October along with some one hundred and fifty delegates from ten different nations. It was a wonderful reminder that though the traditional leadership of the Communion is losing the gospel for the sake of institutional compromise, here are people who are willing to lose their lives for the sake of the gospel.

The Canterbury version of ‘Walking Together’ is energised not by mission, but by church politics. It is quite obvious that the primary concern is inward looking. Essentially, the preoccupation of successive Archbishops of Canterbury since 1998 has been how to somehow contain orthodox Anglicans in the same global institutions as those who steadfastly reject orthodox faith and substitute their own ideas for the Bible’s teaching, most obviously on sin, sexuality and marriage.

 Worship night at PAES (Holy Spirit Anglican Parish) 

Worship night at PAES (Holy Spirit Anglican Parish) 

In contrast, Caminemos Juntos is outward looking. The conference venue itself symbolized the vitality and vision of the movement. We were hosted by the Anglican Parish of Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit), founded by Bishop Miguel in 2006 in a building which had previously been known as ‘Babylon’, one of Recife’s leading night clubs, and has now grown to some 3,000 members.  Caminemos Juntos as a whole is energised by this passion to serve and reach the lost for whom Christ died. New churches are being planted throughout the Americas, new missionary dioceses are being created and there is even a successful Chilean mission in India with a missionary partnership between Recife and an African diocese being planned.

The biblical principles which Gafcon stands for have played a key role in the Caminemos Juntos story. The Diocese of Recife, now led by Bishop Miguel, was expelled from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) in 2005 because it adhered to Lambeth Resolution I.10 which affirmed that homosexual practice was contrary to Scripture and would not continue in communion with the American Episcopal Church (TEC) which had rejected that teaching and adopted a liberal and revisionist theology.

At the time, Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Anglican Church of South America (then known as the Southern Cone), intervened and granted recognition and licenses to the bishop of Recife and his clergy and in so doing demonstrated what true ‘Walking Together’ should look like when the gospel is threatened.

 Conference Attendees praying for Central America and the North of South America

Conference Attendees praying for Central America and the North of South America

The Diocese of Recife is now recognised directly by the Gafcon Primates Council and it has authorised Bishop Miguel to establish episcopcal oversight of ‘existing and potential’ churches in Central America and those parts of northern South America also in TEC aligned Provinces. This work is starting to bear fruit and it was a great joy to meet faithful Anglican clergy from these areas who now have somewhere to belong.

A similar process is underway as well in Mexico as the ACNA has decided to offer oversight for leaders in that country who cannot in good conscience  work with the Anglican Province of Mexico which is, unfortunately, theologically and financially tied to the Episcopal Church of the US (TEC). 

Caminemos Juntos is a wonderful example of the vision of Gafcon in practice. It demonstrates the great purpose set out in the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration 2008, namely ‘to free our churches for a clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ’.  At the heart of the Gafcon movement is a vision for the Anglican Communion to be an effective means of reaching people for Christ worldwide. True ‘Walking Together’ will, where necessary, create new structures to serve the gospel. It will not be distracted by a false ‘Walking Together’ which tries to change the gospel to serve old structures.

Canon Charles Raven 

GAFCON Membership Development Secretary

(For more pictures of this event click here

We Pray Your Kingdom Come! / Venga Tu Reino!

“Let every nation gather with praise.

We pray Your Kingdom come. Venga Tu Reino!

With one loud voice the attendees at the Anglican Church in North America’s Provincial Assembly sang the lines of this newly written song symbolizing much of what God did during the conference in bringing the nations together for the sake of mission in a fresh way. Over 1400 attendees from 30 countries gathered outside Chicago in Wheaton, IL June 28th-30th for the ACNA’s every three year gathering of the whole North American church. This year’s theme was “Mission On Our Doorstep: Local Mission, Global Family, Shared Gospel”. The conference highlighted the missional opportunities right in front of us and how the Global Church can help us reach the nations here in North America. It truly was a historic gathering which included the consecration of a GAFCON missionary bishop to Europe, Andy Lines (who notably served for a season as a missionary in Latin America and speaks Spanish).

 Cn. William interviews Archbishops Zavala and Venables

Cn. William interviews Archbishops Zavala and Venables

This year Caminemos Juntos, rather than hosting a separate conference, integrated it’s 7th annual North American conference as part of the overall Assembly, both leading a sub-track within the conference in Spanish and assisting in the overall planning of the event so that Latino attendees would feel welcomed and at home. This an amazing opportunity to share testimony to the larger North American Church of what God is doing within and through the Latino community. Also, it gave the opportunity for the Caminemos Juntos attendees to experience and build relationships with leaders from the broader church after 6 years of stand alone conferences.

The CJ sub-track aspect of the assembly included times of worship in Spanish and both Spanish and English language workshops around themes such as a Biblical understanding of immigration, how to start church-based immigrant legal aid centers, the unique challenges faced by second generation Latinos, and pastoral counseling. Archbishop Venables of the Province of South America and Archbishop-emeritus Tito Zavala from Chile were interviewed by Canon William Beasley in one of the sessions at the end of which they both kneeled as participants laid hands and prayed for their perspective ministries and the ongoing mission and work in South America.

As to the overall Assembly several key themes emerged:

1) Reciprocal Mission

No longer is mission “from the west to the rest” but rather “mission from everywhere to everywhere,” this concept and the second phrase in particular was repeated over and over by different speakers throughout the Assembly. Archbishop Tito Zavala was one of the speakers who brought this up as he spoke on Jonah as an example of “anti-mission on your doorstep.” Examples of this reality were reciprocal mission testimonies shared by both Kenyan and Chilean missionaries reaching African-Americans and Latinos in the US, respectively.

Maria Jose Yunis, a young twenty-something Chilean missionary serving in Virginia, US shared about reaching young Central American immigrants, many of whom came to the US as unaccompanied minors.

 Maria Jose and some of Central American immigrants she is reaching out to in Virginia

Maria Jose and some of Central American immigrants she is reaching out to in Virginia

 “I began a bible study in home of one of the Honduran families I began to get to know. Since they rent out some of their rooms to other immigrants, this home in itself was a large mission field. As we began the Bible study everyone came out from their rooms and gathered to hear the word of God. After doing this study for a month, I began to teach about God’s grace. The mother of the home told me: ‘it’s incredible that I have been here in the US for so long but no neighbor or anyone came to me about the love of Jesus, but God in His Immense love decided to send some all the way from Chile to the home of some Hondurans in the United States to show them how much God loves us.’ “

There was a living out of this reciprocal mission reality immediately leading up to the Assembly as leaders from the Anglican Church in Brazil, Myanmar and Chile met with congregations-in-formation from their respective cultural groups in the Chicagoland area, a city made up of immigrants from the nations. These church leaders from around the world who were attending the Assembly weren’t just here as guests but to truly do “mission on our doorstep” in helping reach the nations here in the US.

2) Multicultural Unity

 An interpretive reading with salsa of Zephaniah 3 and the return of the exiles 

An interpretive reading with salsa of Zephaniah 3 and the return of the exiles 

By far this was the most multi-ethnic and multi-cultural ACNA event to date. Caminemos Juntos, Jubilee (Greenhouse’s African-American church network), AMMiC (Asian and Multicultural Ministries in Canada) and AMEN (Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network) each led sub-tracks around multicultural and multiethnic ministry issues and challenges. It was also clear that much intentionality was given to highlight these different cultural expressions in the overall Assembly sessions and to make attendees from a variety of backgrounds feel welcome. Wednesday evening’s plenary featured a highly respected Chicago based gospel choir and there were testimonies by local African-American leaders. Thursday evening’s plenary session (which can be watched here) highlighted the work of Caminemos Juntos and featured music in English and Spanish and prayers in English, Spanish and Portuguese. A creative Salsa scripture presentation and dance that was part of one of Chicago’s Easter Vigil services in Holy Week this year was also part of the evening. All plenary sessions were also simultaneously translated into Spanish.

Often attempts at including voices of color and non-white musical styles can be done in a “token” way that unintentionally communicates that these voices or expressions are “extra” and can come across as seeming like an afterthought. At this Assembly, however, it was clear that this was not the case. Latino, African, African-American, and Asian cultures were clearly at the center of the conversation. Bishop Tito Zavala, speaking of the Thursday evening plenary session in which the work of Caminemos Juntos was highlighted said: “In all my 30 years or so of attending Anglican events around the world I’ve never seen such emphasis given to the Latin American community.”

3) Spirit Filled Worship

 Sergio Villanueva and Justin Clifton lead the Assembly in worship  

Sergio Villanueva and Justin Clifton lead the Assembly in worship  

A unique aspect of this year’s Provincial Assembly was the role of songwriting and worship. Passionate and powerful worship blending both traditional and contemporary styles marked each of the sessions. For the first time, United Adoration a songwriting and worship movement, gathered songwriters from throughout North America and led a songwriters retreat the day before the Assembly. One of the song’s that was written was a bilingual song (We Pray Your Kingdom Come/ Venga Tu Reino) that was then immediately taught and sung during one of the plenary sessions with the aim that then leaders would take this song back to their local congregations. (The song can be heard here and the chords/lyrics found here). The writers and composers put in words and melody, in a remarkable way, the spirit and focus of the Assembly. Halfway through the first line the whole gathered body was singing it as if they’d known it for years. This brought breath of creativity and freshness to the whole Assembly which included a significant amount of time focused on Spirit-filled musical worship. Throughout church history revivals have gone hand in hand with new songs and an overall renewal of worship. A similar dynamic was evident at the Assembly.

Two more lines from this song marked the end of the conference:

"Send us Oh God in the power of Your Name, We pray Your Kingdom come

Para cumplir hasta el fin Tu misión: Venga Tu Reino"

At the final closing Eucharist not only was Bishop Andy Lines consecrated and commissioned for mission in Europe, but everyone at the Assembly was commissioned to go out on mission and put in practice what was experienced in the Assembly. After a brief commissioning liturgy everyone was invited to come forward to be prayed for, anointed and commissioned by one of the bishops present to go out on mission in the power of Christ’s name.

Caminemos Juntos: México 2017 (English)

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“Do you know why I’m Anglican?” asked one of the leaders of Iglesia del Gran Pastor, the largest ACNA congregation in Mexico. “I’m Anglican because it is a church filled with the love of God.”

During a time of testimonies and evaluation after the week of Caminemos Juntos events, leader after leader shared similar comments. Many were deeply touched by the commissioning service in which leaders were sent out to plant churches through a foot washing service. In a context often marked by authoritarian leaders, having their feet washed by their bishop and clergy brought tears and deep healing. 

Over 50 leaders from 3 countries (Brazil, Chile, USA), 10 denominations and at least 5 states within Mexico gathered for the third annual Caminemos Juntos: México conference in Fresnillo, Zacatecas.

This year in addition to the usual 2-day conference with workshops and plenaries there was a 4-day intensive leadership training session on Anglican Identity and Mission. Jonathan Kindberg the dean for the Mexico deanery of the Diocese of the Southwest, team taught the training along with Chilean missionary Christian Zúñiga (who is planting a church in New Braunfels, Texas) and Pablo Zavala, brother of Archbishop Tito Zavala and president of the committee which oversees the Anglican seminary in Chile.

Bishop Mark Zimmerman, bishop of the ACNA diocese of the Southwest of which the Mexican congregations are a part, brought the week to a close preaching on the Ascended Christ and baptizing 3 children as part of the Sunday service at Iglesia del Gran Pastor.

 Sunday service with Bp. Mark at Iglesia del Gran Pastor

Sunday service with Bp. Mark at Iglesia del Gran Pastor

A highlight this year was the participation of both students and professors from the All Nations (Todas Las Naciones) Seminary in Ciudad Juarez. This seminary is beginning to partner with the ACNA in planting churches and reaching the 120 million residents of Mexico. Plans are underway for new churches and the raising up of new leaders in Juarez and other cities throughout Mexico as small steps are taken towards becoming it’s own diocese.

 Students who participated in the week long training 

Students who participated in the week long training 

Anglican Immigrant Initiative: Welcoming the Strangers Among Us


In the parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25, Jesus says to those on his right side, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Have you ever experienced what it’s like to be welcomed as a stranger?  Early in our marriage my husband and I had such an experience when we spent six months living and working in China as Christian professionals. We couldn’t speak or even read the Chinese. We had no idea how to get from place to place. In fact, when we first arrived we just stayed in our apartment because we were afraid that if we left we might never find our way back!  A few kind Chinese friends helped us get oriented and introduced us to others who made us feel welcomed and gave us the confidence we needed to thrive in China. After that experience we were resolute: when we got home we would be people who heeded Jesus’ command to welcome the stranger.

Much has happened since that time, but our call to welcome the stranger never waned. Three-and-a-half years ago the Holy Spirit led us to plant a church in our multi-ethic neighborhood in South Bend, Indiana. For the last 20 years, our neighborhood was the refugee resettlement neighborhood in South Bend. Our neighbors originate from dozens of countries from Africa, the Middle East and East Asia, not to mention Latin America. Many of our neighbors come from Muslim backgrounds. As we prayed about this reality, the Lord showed us that our call was not simply to evangelize an American neighborhood, but to extend the welcome of Christ to the immigrants and refugees among us.

We started by simply inviting all these different peoples into our fellowship at Tree of Life. We had several Liberian refugees join our church and were thrilled to have a few Muslim women attend an Alpha Course we held in an apartment complex. As we walked with these dear people, we began to learn about the many heartaches and obstacles they were facing in America and as immigrants.

One young Liberian man in our church revealed that one of his siblings had been left behind in Liberia and that no matter what they tried, without citizenship his family was unable to successfully petition for her to join them. It seemed obvious that we should help this good man gain his citizenship. So began a long process of reading government documents and making phone calls to a strange, but surprisingly friendly organization called USCIS.  Finally, our brother became a US Citizen and was able to petition for his sister to unite with her family in America.

About 18 months into our ministry, I received an email from the ACNA saying that the Anglican Immigrant Initiative wanted to start a series of Immigration Legal-Aid Clinics around the US and Canada as a way of showing the welcome of Christ to the many strangers among us and building congregations for the over 40 million immigrants living in our country. As I read those words and considered both God’s call on my life and the neighborhood where God called us, “I thought, wow, talk about a no brainer- of course I want to know more!”

So began our church’s journey to opening the first ever church based immigration legal aid clinic in the ACNA (several more are underway!). As it turns out the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) of the US Government has a program that authorizes equipped churches and non-profits to administer immigration legal-aid to low-income clients. As anyone who watches the news is fully aware, immigration ministry is in dire need throughout the world. In Europe waves of Middle Eastern immigrants are seeking Welcome. Here in the USA there are millions of legal immigrants who are under-resourced and don’t have access to legal help in navigating a confusing legal system. As politicians seek a solution, the main victims are often well-meaning immigrants and refugees who wish to live, work and be united with their families legally, but cannot understand the complexities of our immigration system or afford the legal representation they need. It’s time for the church to respond. Opening a low-cost immigration legal-aid center is an amazing way not only to give a cup of cold water to the strangers among us, but also to build deep and lasting relationships with immigrants.

Ronald Okaye, a naturalized citizen originally from Kenya
 is the director of the legal aid center at Tree of Life
Since opening in March of this year, we have helped over 40 clients from more than a dozen countries. Each client comes with a unique story and set of circumstances; but all of them share a common desire: to belong. When they encounter the warmth and enthusiasm at our church, many are often quite taken aback. One woman actually said to me, “Up until now, I thought most Americans just wished I wasn't here, what makes you so different?” The answer: “When we were strangers, Jesus welcomed us. Now we welcome you.” Several of our clients from African Christian backgrounds have visited our church and a few clients from other religions have come to ask for prayer and pastoral counseling. We are thrilled to see how the Holy Spirit continues to use this practical ministry to make a way for immigrants not only as American residents, but also members of the Kingdom of God.


Our hope is that our Legal Aid clinic is the first of many to begin around the country as part of the Anglican Immigrant Initiative of the ACNA.  If you or your church is interested in learning more about starting an Immigration Legal Aid Clinic, please feel free to contact me at Tree of Life Anglican Church in South Bend or see the Anglican Immigrant Initiative’s website: www.anglicanimmigrantinitiative.com. Tree of Life also covets your prayers as we continue this ministry. As with any ministry, and because of our call to the poor and the immigrant, one of our greatest needs is financing. Please pray with us that the Lord will provide for the work He has called into being.

-Rev. Heather Ghormley