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A letter from Dean Pearson

A letter from Dean Pearson 1


Dear Advent Family,

Recognizing how Covid can make things even more difficult to communicate, I am writing to give you an update on our clergy staffing at the Advent. Information has been circulated that is a bit premature, so I am writing you now to let you know where things stand with your pastoral staff.

Matt Schneider: As we have mentioned elsewhere, Matt and his family will be moving to Springfield, Massachusetts in early 2021 to take a position with Biglife Ministries. You can find that announcement here.

We are in the process of seeking out a replacement for Matt who will be our next Canon for Parish Life and Evangelism. Matt’s fruitful ministry has shown us the great need we have for this position to evangelize, to create onramps for our newcomers to the Advent, and to create connections among the many parts of our life together.

Please join me in praying for an evangelist to come among us who will also love the people God has given them to pastor.


Chuck Collins: As I mentioned in my annual address, it was our hope to call the Rev. Canon Chuck Collins to serve on staff at the Advent. Though a priest in good standing in the Diocese of West Texas, he has not yet been licensed to serve in the Diocese of Alabama, due to Chuck’s involvement in the Anglican Church in North America the past few years.

In the meantime, Chuck and Ellen have relocated to Birmingham (amidst Covid, no less!), where Chuck’s work with the Center for Reformation Anglicanism forges ahead. Lord willing, you will see them when we’re able to start gathering together again. Please be praying for Chuck and Ellen.


Wes Sharp: Our partnership with Church of the Holy Cross, Trussville, was meant to come to an end (financially) in 2019. Many will remember that the Advent’s investment in Holy Cross began with Joe Gibbes serving there, in the hopes that the church would grow and be able to support its own full-time rector. The past several years, our vestry has extended that investment based on conversations with the rector and vestry of Holy Cross, as the church was not in a position to be self-supporting. We felt it was a pivotal time that would help discern the ultimate direction of Holy Cross in the years to come. After much prayer and discernment, the vestry of Holy Cross has decided to move to a part-time rectorship. As a result, in consultation with the Holy Cross vestry and Bishop Sloan, Wes Sharp has tendered his resignation as rector effective August 31, 2020.

You may have heard through other channels that Wes Sharp will be joining the staff of the Advent. We had not planned on making any announcement until your vestry had the opportunity to meet in August and reappropriate funds. It is our hope to bring Wes Sharp on staff in a limited capacity, giving the Sharps (Wes, Allison, and their boys) a time and place for respite and encouragement, as they discern their next steps.

Wes and his family, if the vestry approves, would only be with us until December 31, 2020. If approved, Wes would not be taking any particular responsibilities other than being a priest amongst us. As it is, with Covid-19, we will have to see what this looks like.

Please know that you are in my prayers constantly. I miss being with you, and look forward to seeing you soon.

Warmly,


Andrew

A word from the Dean in times of conflict

A word from the Dean in times of conflict 4

Last night, a peaceful demonstration turned violent in our city.  Fires were set, property was damaged, and statues toppled.  It would be easy to focus in on the riot that took place, using it as an excuse to avoid the great underlying issues that we face today, but that would be cowardice.

Though the Advent’s building did not suffer any damage, I am not breathing a sigh of relief this morning.  What good would it do to gain our buildings and still lose our soul as a nation?

We live in hateful times.  Prejudice that manifests itself in the murder of innocent black men.  Prejudice that assumes the worst about one another.  Prejudice that leads us to believe that might makes right and we can force a solution to our problems by human willpower. 

The problems that we face are not new to us as God’s people.  We saw them when Cain slew Abel (Genesis 4:1-18).  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”, Cain asks God.  “Listen!  Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the soil,” God replies.  Do we hear our brothers’ blood crying out? 

What we are struggling with runs much deeper than we know.  Addressing the manifestations of our problems is important, but insufficient to deal with the sickness that lies at the core of our being.  Only God is able to perform that kind of open-heart surgery, so the most important thing we can do is pray

Here are some prayers from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer that I would encourage you to use:

For Social Justice

Grant, O God, that your holy and lifegiving Spirit may so
move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the
people of this land], that barriers which divide us may
crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our
divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

In Times of Conflict

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus
Christ our Lord.  Amen.

For Cities

Heavenly Father, in your Word you have given us a vision of
that holy City to which the nations of the world bring their
glory: Behold and visit, we pray, the cities of the earth.
Renew the ties of mutual regard which form our civic life.
Send us honest and able leaders.  Enable us to eliminate
poverty, prejudice, and oppression, that peace may prevail
with righteousness, and justice with order, and that men and
women from different cultures and with differing talents may
find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The second thing I would encourage you to do is listen.  Most of us do not understand the experience of African-Americans.  The only way we will be able to do that is to listen. 

I will enact some programming changes in the Dean’s Class that I hope will enable us to listen.  As helpful as it may be, it will be insufficient.  The listening that we do has to bring us together; it must be intentional and repeated.  We need to go out of our way to hear the stories of our black brothers and sisters and not be content to live life apart from one another.

Finally, remember that God has the final word.  Though our world is marred by sin, there is going to come a day when there will be no separation between God’s people (Rev. 7:9-10).  God’s justice will roll down like waters (Amos 5:24) and all will be set to rights (Rev. 21:3-5).  Come, Lord Jesus. 

In the meantime, pray, listen, and remember.

May God have mercy on us all,

andrew

 

Dean’s Bulletin Board 05.31.2020

Dean's Bulletin Board 05.31.2020 5

This is a great encouragement to me.  I will be writing my next Adventurer word on this, but here, I would just like to say what my friend, the Rev’d Kathryn Harlow said:  “This is a collaboration of lots of UK churches, coming together to sing a Blessing—it’s straight out of the Bible.  Have a listen.  It’s God’s word to us today, and the message of hope we have.  

Church buildings might be closed but the The Church is very much active and alive.”
 
Have a listen and be blessed!
 

A word from the Dean

A word from the Dean 7

Dear Friends,

 
I received a communication this morning from Bishop Sloan asking that we continue to cease our in-person gatherings until June 1.  
 
Since the Governor allowed churches to begin meeting again, with certain precautions, the Advent has been working hard to determine the best way forward.  The Advent is a large church with lots of moving parts and it has been mind-boggling to work through the logistics, much less what the service itself would look like.  We won’t be meeting again in person until we can do so safely and have a service that meets the standard of the Advent.  To that end, I do not believe we will be able to gather in early June.  
 
We are working, however, on smaller outdoor services with small groups and our flocks, in order to connect with you pastorally.  This would mean a member of the clergy visiting such a group and sharing in the ministry of the word together and praying for one another.  When it comes to the Lord’s Supper, we are still exploring ways to do this safely and in a biblical manner.  
 
Please do continue to join us via our streaming service on Sunday mornings and look for other resources on our website, www.adventbirmingham.org.  
 
God bless you friends.  I miss you and long to see you, but in the meantime, be assured of my prayers.
 
In Christ,
 
– Andrew