AMERICUS, GA – On November 13 and 14, the Rev. Cn. Mark Eldredge, Director of Anglican Revitalization Ministries, visited St. John’s Anglican Church in Americus, GA for the second time. A lot has happened in the past few years at St. John’s since the first Revive weekend occurred there: a new rector, a new vision, a new schedule. Canon Mark was able to visit this vibrant and faithful congregation to see how the principles and values of Revive have already begun to shape this community.

Under the previous rector, St. John’s invited Canon Mark to do a Revive weekend with them and help coach them to new life and a new vision. There were larger directives that the church took on: a clarified vision and mission, a quest for personal renewal in the Holy Spirit, and a new mindset that reaches outward and not just inward. But sometimes it is the small things that make the most difference. Some of Canon Mark’s more practical, immediate steps towards revitalization included putting signs that welcome guests in parking spaces meant just for them towards the front of the church. They also included a new, more accessible website.

St. John’s put these steps into practice, and one of the first families to make use of the guest parking spaces was the Rev. Jim Barton and his family, then disenfranchised Methodists looking for a biblically-based, orthodox Christian church. The community welcomed him in, and he quickly came to call the church his home. He was eventually ordained to the Anglican priesthood and began serving the community and adopting the values inherited from Revive and from the previous rector. He started a second, contemporary service on Sunday evenings, designed to reach out to the unchurched in the Americus area.

Canon Mark was able to see these changes, visiting with church leadership and seeing the different services now being offered. He preached at both Sunday services, reminding them of the principles of revitalization and how important perseverance is on the long haul towards long-lasting change. To find out more about church revitalization and what ARM has to offer, visit www.churchrevive.org or email Canon Mark directly to bring Revive to your congregation at meldredge@americananglican.org.

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