Image: FreeImages.com/Patrick Moore
Did you know that the American Anglican Council has an Anglican Legal Society? This network of lawyers (“Chancellors” of ACNA congregations, dioceses, and the Province) and non-lawyers who are interested in the practice of law within Church and society (Bishops, Canons to the Ordinary, and others) share a common mission:
“We are Anglican followers of Jesus Christ seeking to practice law as Jesus would if he were in our shoes.”
We exist to provide good and godly governance that is biblical and Anglican at every level of the Anglican Church in North America (the local congregation, the diocese, and the Province). Our fellowship centers around the person of Jesus and his call for us to live his life in the very vocation to which he has called us—the law.
Recently, we surveyed over 200 members of the Anglican Legal Society. We were blessed to find that not only do our members care about good governance within the Church, they also care about how the practice of law can do justice with mercy and humility (Micah 6:9) for those whom Jesus identifies as harassed and helpless—like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). We have members who identified legal aid to the poor, the sojourner, and the immigrant among the ways that Anglican followers of Jesus can serve him while they practice law.
For this reason, we are pleased to announce a presentation sponsored by the AAC Anglican Legal Society in collaboration with Anglican Immigrant Ministries entitled “Immigration Law: Ministry to the Sojourner Among Us” on Thursday, February 4th at 1:30pm ET on Zoom. The Rev.’s Robert “Rusty” DeMoss and Jeff Weber, members of both the Anglican Legal Society and Trustees of Anglican Immigrant Ministries, will be leading this FREE, high-level overview of U.S. Immigration Law and policy. The presentation will include the legal immigration system for both Family- and Employment-Based Immigration. In addition, fundamental topics such as bases for entry into the U.S., non-immigrant visas, other immigration programs (asylum, DACA, TPS), and naturalization will be covered. The session will last one hour and will include time for Q&A at the end. This free event is open to lawyers and non-lawyers alike—to anyone who is interested in how Anglican followers of Jesus Christ can minister to the sojourners in our midst. You can register here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAkc-GsqT0pHtKKVsWdktgRkCitRdiFTOLs
These types of ministries are important because, as missiologist Christopher Wright writes in CRU, “The map of global Christianity that our grandparents knew has been turned upside down. Once one of the centers of sending missionaries, North America has now become one of the most difficult mission challenges because of the secularization of our culture and the increasing number of people who no longer claim any spiritual identity at all. The real mission boundary is not between ‘Christian countries’ and ‘the mission field,’” says Wright, “but between faith and unbelief, and that is a boundary that runs through every land and, indeed, through every local street.” (https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/share-the-gospel/evangelism-principles/an-upside-down-world.html) In other words, the mission field is at the end of our driveway, even on our doorstep. The nations have come to us, and mission is now from everywhere to everywhere.
On Sunday, I was invited to give the sermon at St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Charleston, SC. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X_BBLsUnds&feature=youtu.be beginning at 30:00) A dynamic mission-focused congregation led by the Rev Al Zadig, St. Michael’s is reaching out to “the Holy City” (Charleston), the hurting coast, and the hungering world around them through a variety of church-based missions and partnerships, local, regional and international. This week, they were celebrating their “global impact” in all of these areas of mission. In an upside-down world, Jesus’ method of doing mission is timelessly relevant (see Matthew 9:35-10:8). In my sermon, I shared the story of Courtside Ministries founded by a Christian attorney named J. Tyler Makepeace in Colorado Springs. Like Jesus, he walked slowly enough to see how harassed and helpless the people and clients were who he saw coming in and out of court. Like Jesus, he allowed God to burden him with their needs. Like Jesus, he prayed for a divine diagnosis and took the next steps out of that prayerful leading. He called together like-minded attorneys and others to join him in praying for people, in person and on the spot, as they were coming to and from court—fearful, angry, hurt, and spiritually destitute. Prayer led to counseling, and counseling led to referrals of all kinds. The burden and the vision spread among Christian attorneys so that they now have 116 locations in 19 states! They have prayed for more than 450,000 people and referred more than 36,000 to local churches and faith-based human services including food banks, shelters, job training, legal aid, and counseling services. Their website says it all: “We believe that ministry must be holistic, meeting the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of every person with whom we have contact. We have prayed with 16,807 people to commit and recommit their lives to Christ.”
Imagine what kingdom impact Anglican followers of Jesus Christ can have as we live Jesus’ life exactly where he has called us, loving and ministering to people just as he did—even in the practice of law!
For more resources on Canon Law and contemporary challenges facing the Church, please see our Anglican Legal Society webpage at https://americananglican.org/anglican-legal-society/