The One Plus equation undergirds the Anglican unity events in the Upper Midwest. Twin Cities area (1) plus Wisconsin’s SEWAAC (Southeastern Wisconsin American Anglican Council) (1) plus Anglican Mission Upper Midwest congregations (1) plus Greenhouse Movement congregations (1) equals (1+) ONE new enriched diocese—a diocese with synergy—one that will, Lord willing, multiply into many more dioceses of the Anglican Church in North America.
And that is why last Friday morning 4 of us loaded into Beth Thompson’s SUV to drive 2 ½ hours north to Nashotah, WI, for the 2nd Midwest Anglican Unity Event. Fastening my seatbelt, I asked, “Now, tell me again. Why are we leaving here before 11:00 AM for a worship service that starts at 6:00 PM?”
Beth, an educator, is Greenhouse Administrator and good at giving concise answers. Shifting the car into forward, she told us, “Fr. Daniel Adkinson (you know—who used to administrate Anglican 1000) has flown in from Texas to give an inspirational talk this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Leaders from the 4 different groups will be there, and this afternoon we are going to seek the Lord together so we can all minister together as 1 diocese.” Amen. We were all on board for that. The road trip flew by, and soon we found ourselves with over 45 other people from all 4 groups, new friends and old friends—sitting at tables, ready to listen and grow closer together.
Dean Robert Munday, professor at Nashotah House, warmly welcomed us and introduced our speaker. The Texan proved to have a keen grip on our Upper Midwest equation. He drew upon elements of all our groups to encourage us to work together to build the foundations for a diocese that plants churches and multiplies congregations (and eventually multiplies itself). “Spending time on the foundation-building is important,” Daniel emphasized. To demonstrate his point he projected a time-lapse video spanning 8 years that shows that the largest percentage of the time erecting One World Trade Center—now the tallest building in New York City—was spent preparing and building its foundation. He pointed out the richness of the early foundation of the church in our region, drawing on a sermon by the founder of Nashotah House, Bishop Jackson Kemper. Daniel managed to commend the work of each of the groups and our leaders, setting a great tone for the rest of our time together on Friday, and Lord willing, for the months and years ahead. Next, we formed small groups to share, pray and fill our imaginations with the possibilities of our common life together.
More people joined us as Fr. Stewart Ruch preached from Joshua 1:1-9 at the Eucharist service that followed. He inspired us with the word the Lord gave to Joshua, to “arise, go over this Jordan” together— to go forward with courage: a fortitude that Josef Pieper writes, “presupposes vulnerability….An angel cannot be brave, because he is not vulnerable. To be brave actually means to be able to suffer injury.” Fr. Stewart talked about the urgency of the current moment, pointing out that with great opportunities come great hazards—opportunities for fortitude. He spoke of the Joshua moment—the time to pass on the relay baton to the next generation. And he encouraged us to equate the word diocese with the reality of the word revival. May it be so!
Post by Deacon Anne Beasley
Article and photos courtesy of greenhousemovement.com.