Category Archives: Acts8

Making the Choice to Pray, by Steve Pankey

Good afternoon everyone.  My name is Steve Pankey, and Tuesday is my day to  be the voice of Acts 8.  It is always risky to post one’s own work on a group site like this, but since today is my day, I blogged with Acts 8 in mind.  Particularly, I was interested in the passage from Joshua appointed for this Sunday and the growing interest in praying for the Church.  Here’s an excerpt:

“As the deadline for application to the Task Force for Restructuring the Church nears (apply here), I can’t help but wonder, “Which god will this Task Force serve?”  It is my hope that they will choose the path of Joshua and serve the LORD, but I also know that they will need help getting there.

That is where the rest of us come in.  If we will choose to serve the Lord, then we will also choose to pray for our leaders.  Pray that they might make wise choices.  Pray that they might look to the Scriptures for direction.  Pray that they would be cloaked in prayer.  And pray that they might “put away the gods that their ancestors served.”  In the coming weeks, Frank Logue and I will be developing an Acts 8 prayer cycle that will certainly include the membership of the Task Force.  If you have specific requests for that prayer chain: local Acts 8 groups, Diocesan restructuring work, persons of influence, etc. please don’t hesitate to pass them along.”

Read the rest here.

The tagline for this website is “Praying for and reimagining The Episcopal Church,” and before we can do the latter, the former is absolutely a requirement.  I hope you will join with me in praying for The Church.

“Gracious Father, we pray for they holy Catholic Church. Fill it
with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt,
purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is
amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in
want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake
of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior. Amen.” (BCP p. 816)

#MainlineSummer and the Ecumenical Autumn, by David Simmons

One of the challenges from the movements in the #mainlinesummer, including #acts8, #dreamumc, #dreampcusa and others is how to re-envision our denominations for the future. Whatever those visions entail, I believe they will all include one common ingredient – ecumenism. For those of us who are not ecumenical wonks (and I know that I’m in the less than one percent for being one) “ecumenical” is a word that creates yawns. It brings up visions of long, tepid joint Thanksgiving services. But the future of our churches will be ecumenical for two reasons. One is a glass half-empty, the other is a glass half-full.

The glass half-empty reason is because we can literally no longer afford to walk apart. In the sixties, we could afford to each build high-rise denominational headquarters in major cities and employ hundreds of staffers as our churches built out in the ’burbs. In our time, as denominations shrink down to more historical levels of membership, we are all faced with budget cuts that threaten important ministries. What better way to continue these ministries than to walk together where we can! Do we all need separate denominational health plans? Do we really need completely separated national youth ministries? What about disaster relief? These separate programs used to be tools of competition between our denominations, but they are rapidly becoming ministries that simply cannot stand unless we find ways to cooperate. What about co-locating denominational headquarters? Could not support staff and office equipment contracts be shared? As the corporately-ordered denominations continue to implode, ecumenism is becoming a reality of survival rather than a polite sideline.

But let’s spend more time on the glass half-full, shall we? Jesus prayed in his high-priestly prayer that we might be one. Wow, we’ve really screwed that one up. But we are in a time of opportunity. There are those that have talked about an “Ecumenical Winter,” since we as Christians don’t get mainstream recognition for ecumenical progress like we used to a century ago. No one is handing our Nobel prizes these days for ecumenical work. But I don’t agree with that. Dr. Tom Ferguson, AKA the Crusty Old Dean, has written that we are in an “Ecumenical Autumn”. (His articles are excellent on this, find the first part here.) This is not the dead time, it is the time for harvesting the rich fruits of the Faith and Order movement in order to prepare for winter (see glass half-empty) and then a spring.

Continue reading #MainlineSummer and the Ecumenical Autumn, by David Simmons

The Acts 8 Mo(ve)ment — Suggestions for Next Steps

July 16, 2012
Adam Tambley

On of the most exciting and hopeful aspects of the Episcopal Church’s 77th General Convention was the Acts 8 Moment.  The initiative takes its name from the chapter in Acts of the Apostles when the church faced a great persecution and scattered out of Jerusalem.  The result was the spread of the good news to new people and places with great joy.  Three Episcopal bloggers, Scott Gunn, Susan Snook and Tom Ferguson, hatched the Acts 8 Moment idea after reading each others’ writings and thinking about how to move the church forward.  Two meetings at convention gathered dozens of people for prayer, Bible study, dreaming and discussion.  A video of most of the powerful completions of the end of the sentence, “I dream of a church that…” can be found here.

At the end of the second meeting, some time was spent brainstorming how to move forward.  Susan Snook has summarized that discussion in her blog, also posted here at the Acts 8 Moment website. Putting together the website (thank you Frank Logue!) was a big first step.  In the interests of continued brainstorming, I’d suggest the following as a framework for thinking about next steps for the Acts 8 Moment.

Hearing our discussions and thinking about what this group of people could add at this time, I would suggest three broad goals for our work:

Continue reading The Acts 8 Mo(ve)ment — Suggestions for Next Steps

The Acts 8 Moment: Where Do We Go From Here?

July 13, 2012
Susan Snook

The Episcopal Church is a gigantic ship, and surely turning this ship will be a monumental task. Yet a deeply hopeful General Convention created a mandate for change in passing the Structure resolution, providing my favorite moment of the whole Convention. As the vote was taken, the House of Deputies resounded with a hearty “aye” – and not a single “no.” Of one accord, every person present – nearly 900 people – agreed to form a Task Force that would lead a process of change. Then we stood in a standing ovation, cheering and clapping, and joined together in singing the hymn, “Sing a New Church Into Being.”

The Structure resolution was a good one: carefully drafted, taking the input of many into account, providing for an independent group that will not be supervised or sabotaged by current leadership structures that will want to protect their own standing and their natural inclination to say, “But we’ve always done it that way before!” This group is accountable only to the 2015 General Convention.

Continue reading The Acts 8 Moment: Where Do We Go From Here?

An Acts 8 Mo(ve)ment

Nurya Love Parish blogged the following after the Acts 8 Moment meeting on the last evening of the General Convention:

The run-up to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church was full of drama. There was one proposed budget. Oh-oh, the proposed budget was in error. There was another proposed budget. The fact that the new proposed budget was from the Presiding Bishop was unprecedented. It was like a soap opera, except (for those of us who care about these things) infinitely more frustrating, because it was real life.

But we give thanks to God even in our trials (Romans 5), because what causes pain also brings endurance, courage and insight. In this case, a trio of bloggers (Susan Snook, Tom Ferguson, and Scott Gunn) decided to convene a new gathering at General Convention. (Here’s Susan’s original post describing the Episcopal Church as experiencing an Acts 8 Moment.)

I couldn’t go to the first Acts 8 meeting, because I wasn’t in Indianapolis yet. But as I followed the legislative conversation online, I had no doubt that Susan, Tom, and Scott were accurate in their description of the current state of the church. Approving a task force to review and recommend restructure of the church, approving a move of the Church Center, and approving same-sex blessings… all were signs that the Episcopal Church is in a new moment.

I did attend the second Acts 8 meeting, which was held last night. As before, the agenda began with the study of Scripture (Acts 8:26-40). It continued with people finishing the sentence “I hope the church will…”  And finally, there was open conversation on where to go from here. A suggestion for a corporate Bible study on Acts was greeted with enthusiasm, and a commitment from Scott Gunn that Forward Movement could provide one. A summation of the conversation by Susan Snook produced the tweet: “What we want: spiritual renewal, prayer-led and Bible based. #Acts8 #gc77

As in every gathering, there was the meeting and the after-meeting. As people dispersed, there became two unconnected groups of people talking in two different corners of the room. As we overheard one another, we realized that with no (human) coordination, we were both talking about the same thing: developing a common Rule of Life.

At the same time we realized that Acts 8 met for the second time on the Feast of St. Benedict. (This wasn’t intentional, but it was certainly a happy accident.) St. Benedict was the person who developed a lasting rule of life for monastics, beginning with the words “Listen with the ear of the heart…” and continuing to prescribe prayer, stability in community, and conversion of life.

Continue reading An Acts 8 Mo(ve)ment

Welcome to the Acts 8 Moment website

We’ll be gathering blog posts, videos and the Twitter feed for the Acts 8 Moment in The Episcopal Church. You too can share your voice at this website. Send an email to theteam[at]acts8moment[dot]org if you want to move from commenting here to being more involved.