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American evangelicals inspired by conference focus on preaching

American evangelicals inspired by conference focus on preaching

By Bishop Stephen Hale
January 2, 2020

I had the privilege of participating in the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC-USA) Conference last month hosted by The Advent Cathedral in the heart of downtown Birmingham, Alabama, a very lively Episcopal Church led by the Dean, Dr Andrew Pearson.

There were around 80 or more participants with a mix of evangelicals within the Episcopal Church as well from the Anglican Church in North America. The Conference was anchored by Services of Morning and Evening Prayer each day with homilies from a range of people.

The Conference focus was on Preaching and the main guest speaker was the Rev Vaughan Roberts (UK). He spoke out of a parish context, where he is putting theory into practice week in and week out. Other speakers were Dr Gerald Bray (Beeson Divinity School), the Very Rev Dr Andrew Pearson and the Rev Dr John Yates III (ACNA, North Carolina).

Each were outstanding and reflected on preaching in a postmodern context. Workshops included one on EFAC Global, led by myself.

The Conference had an excellent spirit with very good relations between the Episcopal and ACNA people.

They have a clear sense of being in a new season and that EFAC USA/Global has a vital role in drawing together evangelicals from within both TEC and ACNA.

Evangelicals are a minority within the TEC but seem to be growing in number and influence. ACNA represents three streams -- catholic, charismatic and evangelical Anglicans.

My sense was that 10 years after the splits, a new generation is emerging. There are still many challenges but also many new opportunities. There was a lot of energy for growing the movement and seeking to draw in a larger group for the November 2020 Conference.

Being at the Conference reinforced for me that EFAC Global as a fellowship of evangelical Anglicans can be a great connector within the plurality of global Anglicanism.

As a movement EFAC USA appear to have several things going for them:

-- good relations because they are smaller

-- gospel clarity

-- strong parishes (in a context of significant decline)

-- a good seminary in Trinity School for Ministry in Pittsburgh

-- key and able leaders -- potential access to financial resources -- men and women in ministry and leadership

-- a number of influential bishops within the TEC as well as ACNA.

It was a pleasure to be a guest of EFAC USA. I came away greatly encouraged.

Bishop Stephen Hale is Chairman of EFAC Global Executive Committee

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