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ANiC at Ten


The Rev. Charlie Masters

(Photo: Sue Careless)

(Staff)  THE ANGLICAN NETWORK in Canada celebrated its 10th Anniversary in October at a synod focused on prayer, thanksgiving and a renewed focus on mission and evangelism.

Held Oct. 25-27 at St. George’s, Burlington, the synod had as its theme “Remember Jesus,” taken from II Timothy 2:8-10. St. George’s was a fitting site for this celebration as it was in Burlington in November 2007 that ANiC was established under the leadership of Archbishop Gregory Venables, then Primate of the Southern Cone. ANiC, now a member diocese of the Anglican Church of North America, has been part of a major realignment within Anglicanism in reaction to moves away from traditional doctrine and practice within the Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church and other Anglican bodies. 

In the Bishop’s Charge, the Rt. Rev. Charlie Masters looked back on that day in 2007

when Abp. Venables spoke via video to those gathered, saying that he would give spiritual coverage to this new body. ANIC’s original members included founding diocesan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Donald Harvey, Suffragan bishop, the Rt. Rev. Malcolm Harding, two priests and two deacons leading two congregations in British Columbia. That day, “the Anglican Network in Canada went from being a movement to being an Anglican diocese….It was fun to see that the two congregations were both on the west coast, whereas the diocesan bishop resided…in St. John’s, Newfoundland and our Suffragan bishop lived in Brandon, Manitoba, with our diocesan offices here in Burlington, Ontario!  It just helped to emphasize that this new diocese was intended to span the country, from coast to coast,” Masters remembered.

Masters said that is was a “particular joy” to meet in synod at St. George’s this year. Reflecting on ANIC’s beginnings, he said “St. George’s was not one of the first two congregations on Nov. 22, 2007, but was part of that first wave after about three months.”  In the next few years, other congregations voted to secede from their respective dioceses and join ANIC. These beginnings were not without conflict, as Masters reminded the gathering: “St. George’s, like so many, lost their building…. To date there are only a few of our congregations who actually own their buildings…. All the rest of us are tenants, with the flexibility and mobility and sometimes cost saving that goes with that, but also with the vulnerability and at times the lack of profile in the community that goes with being a tenant.”  St. George’s “is the first building which has been erected from the ground up by the generosity of the congregation” for their worship and ministry, he said.

Ten years in, ANIC has grown to 71 churches and missions dotted across Canada and New England with an average Sunday attendance of 4,637 worshipers. However, a prominent theme of the synod was the desire not to stagnate, but to continue to focus on evangelism. After the initial burst of growth, ANIC’s church plants have sometimes struggled and growth in numbers has not been as swift as many had hoped.

Addressing this need for continued outreach, Masters reiterated ANIC’s five priorities: “Bold Witnesses, Biblically Grounded, Loving Children, On Mission and Planting & Growing Churches” and said that “ANIC is about building biblically faithful, Gospel-sharing churches.”

This ten-year mark for ANIC coincided with two other anniversaries. Five of the Wednesday workshops were based on the five “Solas” of the Reformation. “These foundations, friends, continue to be foundations of our life as Anglican Christians,” Masters said. “Like the Reformers of 500 years ago, we have taken our stand on the Bible.”

Reflecting also on the celebration of Canada’s 150 years, Masters said “The nations of the world continue to stream to Canada and it is our prayer that they will come to know the Lord Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and that he will have dominion over each life, and that the impact of his saving grace would flow from here to all the nations of the world. To that end, wonderfully in his mercy, many are actually being sent to Canada, from many nations, to bring the good news to us, who desperately need it – so that He may have dominion.”

In his sermon at the closing service of synod, The Rt. Rev. Stephen Leung also spoke about evangelism, saying that it is, in its essence, “not a project or a task. God in fact calls us to lifelong commitment, learning how to outpour our lives to the unreached – as our Lord Jesus Christ did.”  

ANIC’s 2018 synod will meet in Abbotsford, BC.  TAP

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