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ACNA Diocese Launches Outreach to Haiti

ACNA Diocese Launches Outreach to Haiti
Eight parishes join the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word

By David W. Virtue, DD
June 14, 2021

The fractious Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, the largest diocese in The Episcopal Church, faces a new challenge -- The ACNA Anglican Diocese of the Living Word has established The Living Word Anglican Mission in Haiti with eight parishes under the oversight of the Rev. Joseph Jocelyn.

Haiti does not have a bishop diocesan after years of internal conflict. The diocese, which has more baptized members than any diocese in the Episcopal Church, struggles with self-governance and its relationship to the broader church. Elections were held in May 2018, and a runoff election followed a month later. The Very Rev. Joseph Kerwin Delicat, dean of the cathedral, was declared the winner, but these elections were contested by a sufficiently large number of clergy and lay delegates. Delicat did not obtain the required number of approvals by bishops and standing committees of the Episcopal Church, reported TLC. The diocese remains in episcopal limbo.

"The formation of the Living Word Anglican Mission in Haiti marks a new era of Gospel ministry for the Anglican Diocese of the Living Word. This diocese has always been focused on missionary work. A significant amount of energy is poured into our Church Planting Network and our Chaplains, engaging in the critical task of carrying the Good News of Jesus from the pews of established parishes out into the highways and byways of North America," ACNA Bishop Julian Dobbs told delegates at a mission conference and diocesan synod gathering.

"Now, God has given this diocese the privilege of ministering beyond the borders of the United States of America. We look at Haiti and see a country that desperately needs to hear the Living Word of God. It is my great privilege to labor alongside Father Jocelyn in his church planting ministry. With God's favor, he has already accomplished the most remarkable progress in the face of extraordinary challenges. We pray to the Lord of the Harvest, that He would raise up men and women to join us in this new field of labor." The ministry will be overseen by a leadership board and led locally by the Rev. Jocelyn, who is currently the only ordained minister in the mission. None of the parishes were in the TEC diocese.

More than 150 delegates comprising 110 licensed clergy and 40 congregations in 17 states attended the Synod. One new parish, Church of the Resurrection in Half Moon, New York was received by the ADLW. Ten clergy transferred into the diocese over the past year and received their licenses from Bishop Julian at the Synod.

In his pastoral address, Dobbs said Jesus is the gravitational center of the Christian faith and we are in glorious union with him. "We need him. Jesus is the greatest winner of all in the race of faith. Jesus is faith's epitome. He is its author and its trailblazer. He is faith's pioneer, the perfecter and faith's originator. We need him."

"If we lose confidence in the word of God, if we waiver in our belief that Holy Scripture is without error and is the fully trustworthy written revelation from God then our salvation is at stake and so too is the future of the church. If we lose inerrancy, if we lose infallibility, man steps-in again and we contribute to our salvation. Sinful man always fights this, because our default position is to add some form of cooperation. Our default position always believes that we have got something, even if it is a little something, to add to God's creation, his work and even his revelation."

In what could be construed as a swipe at the Episcopal Church, Dobbs said that from the ordinal, bishops are called upon to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to the same. "Bishops have a weighty responsibility to ensure the church is faithful to the word of God and protected from strange teaching. When bishops exercise this responsibility, the Church is strengthened!"

Bishops are also called to diligently exercise such discipline as is, by the authority of God's Word and by the Order of this Church, committed to them. When bishops diligently exercise discipline, the Church is strengthened!

Dobbs said it was a privilege to serve in what is one of the most, if not the most ethnically diverse diocese in the Anglican Church in North America where skin color and geographical diversity do not and will not separate us. "Why? Because we believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the inerrant Word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation and as a result, we hold ourselves, all of us, irrespective of skin color, economic position and geographical location, bound to conform our lives and ministries thereto."

Dobbs cited martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer for his most famous quote: "The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ...When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him, or it may be a death like Luther's, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time--death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call."

Striking an urgent need for evangelism, Dobbs said over 191 Americans die every day in the towns and cities represented by this diocese and across our nation from drug-involved overdoses including prescription opioids. Those who are addicted and the families of those who have died, need Him! Almost 19% of high school students in our country have seriously considered attempting to take their own lives! They need him! The nations are at our doorstep and thousands have crossed the threshold of our country. A Pew Foundation report discovered that a staggering 73% of American converts to Islam, claim they came from Christian churches. They need him!

The 240 attendees gave a standing ovation to Bishop William Love, the former TEC Bishop of Albany who recently left The Episcopal Church because he would not recognize the validity of Resolution B012 authorizing homosexual marriage. He was formally received into the Diocese of the Living Word as Assisting Bishop where he joins Bishop Dave Bena and Bishop Daniel Herzog also of the diocese of Albany.


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