It is remarkable how much the Anglican District of Virginia has grown over the past year. This morning the Church of the Epiphany was filled to hear Dr. J.I. Packer speak on "Making Learners." It was an extraordinary visit - you could truly hear a pin drop as Dr. Packer spoke from memory (he left his address at home) and as he took questions afterwards. Anglican TV was there and we were there in the rough and ready with our handy-dandy Flip Video Camera.
It is truly fantastic to touch base with so many friends, some I haven't seen in a while and catch up on the latest happenings. Of course, the room was buzzing with the news that the Diocese and TEC had thrown in the towel over the congregational votes. They have all ready settled with the two churches that did not file 57-9 petitions (and should never have been sued in the first place). There is more developing and so please just keep us all in your prayers.
We do have the trial set for October 14 for particular pieces of property from three churches. This is a huge difference from the massive effort that has been underway (with stacks and stacks of depositions) to prepare for a multi-church litigation for the entire month of October before the Diocese and TEC agreed that our votes were taking fairly and justly according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. But we know that it isn't over yet - though the threats of appeal seem far more aimed at intimidating the judge - just how can they threat to appeal when he hasn't even finished his ruling?
On the mission front, though, there is much that is thriving amidst the challenges - and there are challenges out there. Not only have more churches joined the ADV from other parts of Virginia (there are actually three Episcopal dioceses in the Commonwealth of Virginia), but missions (called Fellowships) are springing up around the state and there are special Methodist-style circuit-riding clergy who are ministering to all of them. They have also all received visits from one of the ADV bishops. We heard their stories which were especially touching, these lighthouses in the wilderness.
I need to get back for the Closing Eucharist ...
LATER: The short video of Dr. Packer and Bishop Minns will be up shortly at an entry above. It's called "What brings us all together." Stay tuned.