St. Francis Anglican Parish intends to become a prayer driven congregation upholding the faith, morals, discipline and worship of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith. The Parish is incorporated under the laws of North Carolina governing non-profit unincorporated associations, as a separate and free membership and in due time will voluntarily submit itself to the ecclesial leadership and supervision of an Anglican province but at all times it desires to retain its name, property and freedom of association.
The standards of faith, doctrine and discipline of this parish is the biblically-faithful way of following Jesus and the Holy Scriptures, which we hold to be the authoritative Word of God and as containing all things necessary for salvation; the Book of Common Prayer; the historic Creeds of the undivided Catholic Church: the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed; and the thirty-nine (39) Articles of Religion as generally received within the Anglican tradition and their relevance to the mission of the Church today.
We acknowledge our baptism as the initiation for us as ministers of Christ’s lay ministry in this parish and shall be open to all regardless of age, color, ethnic origin, or gender in accordance with the practice of One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
In June, 2015, after a process of discernment during Lent, which included a meeting with the Presiding Bishop elect of TEC, a group concerned about the direction of TEC, resolved to have an informational meeting. Ron Hewitt led the gathering of 70, exploratory committees were fashioned, attendees signed up and a follow up meeting was scheduled for early July, 2015. Some old friendships, learning about the meeting, were rekindled, while new families attending were warmly welcomed.
The response to the first meeting blew everyone away and St. Francis Anglican Parish became a reality. Articles of incorporation, by-laws and bank accounts quickly followed. A June 30 year end was adopted to move year end administrative matters away from Advent and Christmas. Letters of transfer were submitted. We were off and operating, prayerfully listening to God. Through August, 2015, Marty Pate led us in several weekly evening prayers. Our formation took further structure and the sheer joy of being “of one mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” came shining through. Our formation committees offered names for vestry positions and after one of the evening services our vestry was duly elected, unanimously.
At about the same time, we became aware of Fr. Craig Lister’s availability. Knowing he was asked to step down from his current role as Rector, (St. Thomas Episcopal Church) pending his retirement at the end of August, we asked him if he wanted to participate in our worship services when in town.
Our elected vestry held its first meeting August 23, 2015. In September, the position of rector was extended to Fr. Craig, effective September 1, 2015.
We are hosted by the good people of Emmanuel Congregational Christian Church sharing their facilities and resources with them. They have received us with welcoming arms. Our parishioners are filled with the love of Christ and being led by the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not want to be another cookie cutter parish but to profess the power of Christ. As part of our organization we filed for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
During the latter part of October and November, we were visited by 3 Anglican Bishops. As Anglicans (English), we are aware of the substantial ecumenical consensus that recognizes ministry within the historic episcopate and believe it to be a feature of the universal church. All the bishops interviewed are connected to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) or are moving in that direction. ACNA unites Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico into a single Province. On April 16, 2009, ACNA was recognized as a province of the global Anglican Communion, by the Primates of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach is the Archbishop of the Church. ACNA was a participant in the recent meeting in of the Anglican Primates in Canterbury. We were prayerfully discerning God’s will as we sought to become a parish in a new diocese sometime in 2016.
Our first Christmas in our new surroundings reminds us that every day is a good day to give thanks to God for all the mercies. Holy Eucharist was held at 4:00 pm, where the youth provided a Christmas pageant, directed by Lena Kerley.
At a special meeting of the Vestry in January, 2016, The Rt. Rev. Breedlove was interviewed in a follow-up session and questions asked about the diocese over which he presides, PEARUSA, previously of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. That Province called for the legal transfer of PEARUSA to ACNA. Since then, they have been about the work of preparing for the important and momentous transition. As part of such transition a newly formed Diocese of Christ our Hope was formed.
We believe our calling to be a worshiping, healing and missionary community where Jesus Christ transforms continues to be blessed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, consistent with the Diocese Christ our Hope. After prayerful consideration, the Vestry unanimously voted to recommend to the membership that we affiliate with the Diocese of Christ our Hope and the Anglican Church of North America.
Their recommendation was accepted unanimously at the first annual meeting of the Parish on January 31, 2016. Our initial vestry of Lew Andersen, Sue Comstock, Ronald Brown, Buddy Keller, Judith Edmonds, Pamela Kerley, Linda Pate and Jean Dabbs signed our application to affiliate with the Diocese of Christ our Hope.
At that same meeting Lew Andersen, Sue Comstock, Ronald Brown, Buddy Keller, Pamela Kerley, Jean Dabbs, Mark Mahaffey, Oliver Crawley and Gordy Reese were elected to terms of three, two and one year, as our second vestry.
On February 11, 2016, Fr. Lister and Bob Nelson, treasurer, were invited to attend the Diocesan Piedmont/Coastal Regional meeting. The application was presented to Bishop Breedlove at that meeting. The group was most hospitable, welcoming us into the Diocese as if we had been there all along.
While churches are not required to seek tax exempt status with the IRS, we decided to file form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption under Section 501(c)(3). We were notified March 1, 2016, that our application was approved effective June 25, 2015.
By the end of February, our congregation had grown to 88 families and the love of Christ was working, for our youth group was gaining momentum; our choir ensemble, led by Bob Stone, had grown to 20; adults and youth meeting after the service for Bible study averages 18-25, led by Peggy Nelson and most importantly, our prayer ministry, led by Judith Edmonds, is there for vestry meeting and other important functions.
We entered Lent with penitent hearts as we listened to videos, lectures and discussed the series by John Ortberg, “If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat.” All of the discussions followed evening prayer and a great meal organized by Jean Dabbs.
Our future will be driven by Christ; we pray our history will reflect such. This is a good season for Anglican Christians in this country. As Anglicans strive to be faithful to the Gospel and responsive to the Holy Spirit, labors are bearing fruit and God is opening up unexpected opportunities. We've inherited the gift of a remarkable tradition, and we intend to steward it with care.
We invite you to make this journey with us.v
WHO WE ARE THE HISTORY OF OUR PARISH