Moderator’s Pastoral Letter for All the Churches  

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul
25th January, A.D. 2005


Beloved in the Lord,

It has been one year since the chartering of the Network of
Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, now commonly called the
Anglican Communion Network. What a year it has been!

I write as Moderator with a word of encouragement. I know these
are exceedingly anxious times. Remember, no matter what the
appearances, “[He] has overcome the world,” (Jn 16.33) and his
word to us is that we are to “Be of good cheer.” Jesus spoke
these words to the first followers, just as He speaks them to us.
To be sure…their challenges were no less daunting than ours.
That the entire and undiminished Christian Faith has been passed
to us has to do with their unflinching stand. We can do no less
in our day.

So much has happened in one year. Be encouraged. One layman in
the Diocese of Pittsburgh is raising $100,000 to insure the work
of the Convocations. His efforts are a challenge to laity of the
nine other Network dioceses. We have only just begun to receive
word of commitments from parish and diocesan budgets and the news
is very good. So far just nine congregations have pledged
$155,436 to the Network’s 2005 budget, most of which will be
matched by a 1:2 challenge grant from
the American Anglican
Council. Having said this, another million dollars in
commitments is urgently needed from Network parishes and
dioceses. Please, vestries and diocesan councils, act now.

This letter brings word that Mr. Wicks Stephens, formerly chief
operating officer of Trinity School in Ambridge (and a litigator
licensed before the California bar), has accepted full-time
appointment as Development Director and Legal Advisor for the
Network. (The funding of this position was provided by a special
and far-sighted gift of one Virginia parish, dollars additional
to the budget figures above.) Alongside of our Network Canon for
Operations, Larry Crowell, and new staffing for the Ministry
Development Program (the tested ordinations program pioneered by
the AAC) the Network’s Pittsburgh office is gaining significance,
structure and stability. The AAC (from its new Atlanta office)
continues to fund and provide services as Network secretariat,
providing for public relations, communications, educational,
accounting and secretarial needs.

Anglican Relief and Development has soared beyond our wildest
hopes. Announced at Michaelmas (September, 2004), we have thus
far funded 13 development projects in 9 nations totaling
$460,000. We are targeting an additional $550,000 in grants for
the next 6 months, in addition to our best guess of something
like $250,000 of tsunami relief enabled by our one-time South
Asia appeal in Christmastide. Blessing upon blessing, we have
also been notified by the Reformed Episcopal Church that they
will consider action to make ARDF their relief and development
arm as well.

Extraordinary talent has come forward as the Network’s needs have
developed. Six convocational deans – serving the vast areas of
our country (including some 200 congregations and 300 clergy)
that are in non-Network dioceses – have devoted much of their
energies to what has become the creative engine of the Anglican
Communion Network. The deans are John Guernsey (Mid-Atlantic &
Convenor), Bill Murdoch (New England), Jim McCaslin
(Southeastern), Ron McCrary (Mid-Continental), Bill Thompson
(Western), and Bill Ilgenfritz (Forward-in-Faith[acting]). A
Cabinet system has also emerged – alongside of the faithful
weekly efforts of the Steering Committee – whose members are, in
addition to the Moderator, Ed Salmon (Bishops), Martyn Minns
(International Partnership), Kendall Harmon (Strategic
Engagement), John Guernsey (Deans), Larry Crowell (Operations)
and David Anderson (Network Secretary). Mary Hays convenes a
church-planting task force, with Tom Herrick as church-plant
staff. Sharon Stockdale Steinmiller presides over 15 missionary
organizations that have come together as Anglican Global Mission

Committed to “gathering the Anglican diaspora” from our
chartering, I am privileged as Moderator to convene and chair a
roundtable which brings together orthodox forces inside the
Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada, as well as
significant numbers of those who have moved outside. Included,
at this point, in this roundtable are the Network, the AAC,
Forward in Faith, the Anglican Mission in America, the Reformed
Episcopal Church, the Anglican Province of America, the Network
in Canada, the Federation in Canada, and the Anglican Communion
in Canada. We are all one river – flowing at this point in
different channels – whose source and end are together.

With this letter I am also able to announce “Hope and a Future,”
a first-ever national Network conference. On November 10, 11,
and 12, 2005, we intend to gather 2000-3000 souls in Pittsburgh
to worship, to learn, to hear from our national and global
leaders and partners, and to share our resolve to be agents of a
renewed Biblical and missionary Anglicanism.

The upcoming Primates meeting in Ireland will have much to say
(either in speaking or not speaking) about the future of
Biblical, missionary Anglicanism in North America and around the
globe. Pray mightily. Consider fasting through much of this
season between now and Holy Week. Whatever emerges from Ireland,
do not lose hope. God would not – for no purpose -- have given
all the blessing to the Anglican Communion Network that this
letter describes. He does not waste His resources. And He is
faithful even when we are not (I Tim 2.13). Besides, Jesus has
overcome the world, so we really can be of good cheer.

Humbly and faithfully in Christ,
+ Bob Pittsburgh

Moderator, Anglican Communion Network
Bishop of Pittsburgh

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