|THE PARISH REGISTER
St. Andrews-Cheney Memorial Church
The 91st Synod of the Diocese of Mid-America was held on October 17, 1996 at the Church of the Atonement, in Shreveport, La. The Church of the Atonement is on the campus of our diocesan seminary, Cranmer Theological House. Although this was actually the first synod of the newly formed Diocese of Mid-America, the numbering was kept continuous with that of the former Chicago Synod, thus the 91st Synod.
The day began with the Order of Holy Communion at 10:30 a.m. Suffragan Bishop Daniel R. Morse preached the sermon and all were moved by the beauty and solemnity of the service.
Following the Communion Service the business session was called to order. This parish was represented by delegate Grant Chessman; alternate delegate, Fran Chessman; along with Rev. & Mrs. Levi.
Bishop Royal U. Grote expressed his vision for the future of our diocese in eloquent words.
"The Apostle Paul in writing to the Ephesian Christians in Chapter 2 vs 13 says 'But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the Blood of Christ.' For many years now, we in the central and western part of the United States could identify with St. Paul's analogy. Particularly in our relationship with the eastern part of our Denomination. We have been the little step children of the Denomination. Our opinions mattered little and our smallness gave us a very limited voice in the affairs of the National Church. Consequently, we found ourselves directing all our attention to the matter of growing our parishes and our Diocese. In the past seven years, all the above has changed. We are no longer aliens and strangers. Instead, we are a vital part of the expansion of our Beloved Church. We now have representatives on the Sustentation Fund, General Committee and every National Board in the Church. Our Seminary, now has more full time students than the other two Diocesan Seminaries combined. (They have more part-time students than we, but our school is now a major force in training new men for the ministry in our Church.) I mention these things to you so that you will have a sense of the importance of our Diocese of Mid-America in the ongoing life of the Reformed Episcopal Church. Our geographical territory is the largest of any Diocese. Our number of parishes has increased to about 1/2 the size of the North East and about 2/3 the size of the South East. Clearly, our ministry is on the increase.
Because of this, there are a number of areas of ministry on the Diocesan level which we must address. At the present, there is no Diocesan ministry to Women or Men. There is also no Diocesan ministry to Children. This must change.
The National Church Committee on Women's Work is diligently working to incorporate every Diocese into their ministry by encouraging the establishment of Diocesan Women's Day Programs. To assist in their vision, I will be appointing a Diocesan Women's Committee for the coming year. Their goal will be to assist local parishes in setting up local Women's Guilds and to establish Regional Women's Day Programs.
Our ministry to men must also be addressed. We live in an age where the leadership of fathers is increasingly diminishing. I would note that this need is so great that para-church organizations such as Promise-Keepers are overflowing with attendees. Why do such groups flourish? Because the Church has failed to address its ministry to Men. I intend to address this need in our Diocese by establishing an Annual Men's Conference to be held this coming Spring. At that conference we will begin to address the principles of godly male leadership in the home and in the Church.
Finally, our ministry to Children must be established. I know in some of our Parishes, this already exists. But in many of our newer Parishes, our approach to ministering to children has not yet taken form. The years I spent in the North East Diocese demonstrated to me the value of Youth Ministries. For nearly 40 years that Diocese has sponsored annual Youth Camps in the Summer and regularly scheduled Youth Retreats. The bonds of friendship formed from those group encounters have served well to strengthen our Children's faith and to expand their commitment to the Christian Faith as expressed in our Church.
In addition, I would like to set a goal of establishing a Diocesan Youth Ministry which will focus on drawing our young people together from the various parishes. A Camping Ministry, Youth Retreats and, who knows, perhaps, eventually, our own Youth Conference Center could be established in the future. These past years as a Missionary Bishop have taught me an important lesson. We serve and worship the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine. This Diocese is living testimony to that fact. Our problems are never lack of money, but lack of vision and faith. If we do the work of ministry, God will provide the resources.
We must also be engaged in advancing the growth of our Diocese. There are huge gaps of territory between our Parishes. This often creates a sense of isolation at times for both Pastors and Parishes. We need to be targeting every major City in our Diocese with a view to establish a Reformed Episcopal Parish. Already, we are working on establishing and bringing in a number of new parishes. It is my sincere desire to see our Diocese add at least 10 new parishes in this new Triennium. If our past few years of growth are any indication, this is a readily attainable goal. Furthermore, our Seminary will soon be producing a number of new graduates. Many of these graduates will be seeking to serve the Lord in ministry in this Diocese. This means that there will soon be men available as Curates and Church Planters. All in God's Providence.
We will also be working to strengthen our existing Parishes. This is especially important with the merger of the Diocese of the Mid-West. That former Diocese had a few parishes which have existed for a long time but are in need of revitalization. Bishop Morse and I will be working with those Vicars in laying plans for the re-birthing of their Parishes. This will take no small amount of work, but the need exists to address ourselves to this matter."
The bishop also made the following recommendations:
1). Once again, I make this Recommendation: Until the vicious and heinous practice of Abortion in this Country is ended, I call for our Parishes to set apart one Sunday per year to acknowledge and celebrate the Sanctity of Human Life. This may be observed either on the Sunday closest to Holy Innocents Day or on the Sunday nearest to the anniversary of Roe vs Wade in January.
2). No parish can hope to establish a vital local ministry without reaching outside of themselves. I would ask that every Parish in the Diocese include in their Local Annual Budget the support of the Board of National Church Extension. This National Church Board is directly responsible for our existence today. Without their support over the past six years, the Missionary Diocese of North America would have failed and we would never have been in the position of accomplishing the recent merger. Some of our Parishes owe their very existence to the support which came from this Board. Buildings have been purchased. Ministers have been supported. Resource materials have been provided. Brethren it is pay back time. It is time for us to assume some support for the ministry of this vital Board. The amount can vary from Parish to Parish. Simply let your support be regular.
3). I would also ask for each parish to consider their support of our Theological Institution. You have now all had the opportunity to visit and see for yourselves the mighty work that God is doing in this place. This is most deserving of your prayerful and financial Support.
4). I would recommend that after giving priority to supporting the agencies above, every single Parish in this Diocese, support at least one Missionary from the Board of Foreign Missions. A ten dollar per month offering can begin to add up when coupled with the support coming from other parishes. It is always appropriate and spiritually beneficial for the broader efforts of this Church to plant itself throughout the world to be placed before the hearts of our people.
To this we say, Amen.
The annual Homecoming Sunday took place on October 20, 1996. This was also a service of dedication. New hymnals were dedicated to the memory of Ruth Mitchell. The preschool playground was dedicated to the memory of Robert "Mid" and Marjorie Snodell. A new carillon was dedicated to the memory of Ted Conn by his wife Clarine and daughters, Linda Sue Wilk, Catherine Rae Conn, & Lorie Conn Stultz. Following the service, we enjoyed a lovely luncheon prepared by the ladies of the Woman's Guild.
The Woman's Guild held their annual Spaghetti Dinner Saturday evening October 26, 1996. The dinner raised money for our missionaries. We thank the ladies for their hard work and dedication.
December 2, 1873. The founding of the Reformed Episcopal Church.
Sunday, December 8, 1996, the Woman's Guild will be sponsoring a Bake Sale during the coffee hour. Proceeds are for missions and church projects.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
This beautiful tradition continues at St. Andrew's-Cheney Memorial Church. For many years this Parish has joined together in a candlelight service of carols, prayers, and praise, to usher in Christmas. We know that you will want to be with us at 11:00 P.M. on Christmas Eve as we remember the child who was born to be our Savior. Light refreshments will be served after the service in the Parish Hall. We look forward to seeing you.
Missionary of The Month
Rev. and Mrs. William Jerdan
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