Fr. Reed Reports On The Annual Assembly

By Fr. Ryan Reed (2016):

On the week of July 18th, our nation’s eyes were on the GOP Convention in Cleveland. Some 560 miles Southwest of Cleveland, a group of faithful Anglicans gathered at Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, Illinois, for the Forward in Faith National Assembly.

In Cleveland, the talks and meetings all focused on politics and elections, while our group in Belleville focused on teaching, sharing, and living the Catholic faith as Anglicans. Attendees came from all corners of the United States and even Canada to celebrate our shared faith. The primary theme for this Assembly was “Christmas in July,” with reflections on the significance and meaning of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in our world today. 

Along with a small amount of organizational business, we entered into worship, fellowship, conversation, and finally had the blessing of hearing from three key-note speakers and several important presenters. Alice Linsely gave an amazing talk on the theme of “Creation and the Incarnation of our Lord” and tied the themes together using the latest historical and archeological work being done today. Bishop FitzSimons Allison spoke on the Incarnation as a “Threat to and Therapy for Sin,” and challenged us to get our hearts right and not just our minds. The final talk gave us a greater appreciation for the contributions of the Church, as Dr. Arnold Klukas spoke on the “Incarnation in Liturgy and Life.”

Several additional presentations were part of our Assembly this year, which included a good natured “Tribute” to The Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman for all of his contributions to Forward in Faith and the greater Church over the years. A second presentation, by Fr. Christopher Culpepper, from the church of Christ the Redeemer in Fort Worth, Texas, walked us through the importance of church planting. He gave us an inside look at the ups and downs of church planting and the real blessings that God bestows when we are faithful to the Great Commission. We can expect to hear more from the Forward in Faith Church Planting Task Force in the coming months and years. Bishop Ray Sutton reported to us on the amazing work that the ACNA Ecumenical Task force is doing. We heard from Canon Kevin Donlon about the continued growth of international relationships among Dioceses. And finally, Bishop Ilgenfritz updated us the continued growth of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints.

On a personal note, despite the challenges that we face as Catholic Anglicans, I found this Assembly to be a positive and uplifting week, reminding me of the great treasure that we have inherited in the Catholic Faith and the duty we have to hand that Faith on to the next generation.

Assembly 2017 is scheduled for July at the Hurst Convention Center in Hurst, Texas near DFW airport. Please watch the FIFNA website for more details in the coming months. 

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.