Overland Park, KS: One of the core values of the American Anglican Council is Catalytic Leadership: We bring leaders, movements, churches and resources together to build Great Commission Anglican churches.
So, on Friday May18-Saturday May 19, the American Anglican Council partnered with the Anglican Diocese in New England (Bishop Bill Murdoch) and the ACNA to host a convocation of Sudanese American leaders and congregations together at Christ Church Anglican in Overland Park, KS. There are an estimated 70,000 Sudanese who have come to the United States fleeing wars and famine in the Sudan. Many of us will remember the stories of the “lost boys” who lost their parents and family members in the Sudan conflict and walked over a thousand miles to refugee camps in Kenya where they made their way to North America.
Our gathering included some of those “lost boys,” leaders and congregations from places as far away as Las Vegas, NV, Salt Lake City, UT and Portland, ME. Most were Anglican—but not all! We also had Pentecostal, Presbyterian and other denominations present who are part of this larger Sudanese “diaspora” in North America, looking for leadership oversight and resources to grow their congregations in evangelism and outreach.
One of the principal leaders and gatherers of the Sudanese is Archbishop Paul Yugusuk (Central Equatorial Region) of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (ECSS). He was joined by Archbishop Hilary Garang, another internal Archbishop of the ECSS, and two other bishops. The ECSS is a member of Gafcon and declared itself out of communion with The Episcopal Church and its unbiblical teaching on human sexuality.
Around lively worship, our team taught on a variety of topics: The need for one united Sudanese American church in North America (Archbishops ++Paul and ++Hilary); Evangelism, Church Growth and Servant Leadership (Ashey/AAC), Immigration and Assimilation Issues (Bishop +Bill Murdoch and Archdeacon Bizimiani, ADNE), Respectability vs. Acceptability: Communicating with our children and generational differences (Lisa Espinelli Chinn), Walking in the light with Finances (Rev. Leah Turner, ADNE) and the advantages of joining ACNA and its resources (Archbishop Foley Beach and Bishops Atwood and Murdoch). There were lively question and answer sessions, small groups and further discussion following each session.
Out of this gathering a Steering Committee has formed from among the Sudanese American leaders and congregations present to gather more leaders and congregations from across the country for another convocation in May 2019. We also discussed the possibility of brining this Convocation together for further equipping during ACNA provincial Assembly 2019 in June in Plano TX. In the meantime, some of the leaders and congregations (including non-Anglicans) have already initiated the process to join an ACNA diocese, while others are in process. The ECSS and ACNA Archbishops and bishops will be working closely together in the following months to coordinate this process.
What I found most exciting was the affirmation of what we share in common—faith in Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), submission to the authority, clarity and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16) and humble and joyful invitation for expanding our capacity for mission through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8)! Could this convocation be a model for bringing other “nations” together within North America, and under the oversight of the ACNA, to reach many families, languages, peoples and nations with the transforming love of Jesus Christ?
God willing, and with your support, that’s where you will find the American Anglican Council: bringing leaders, movements, churches and resources together to the Glory of God and the expansion of His Kingdom!