|THE PARISH REGISTER
St. Andrews-Cheney Memorial Church
1997 Episcopal Report of Bishop Royal U. Grote
(The following is a condensed version of the Bishop's report. The original was eleven typed pages in length. This report was delivered at St. Andrew's-Cheney Memorial Church on August 22, 1997)
|To: The Ninety-Second Synod
of the Diocese of Mid-America of the Reformed Episcopal
On this occasion of the Ninety-Second Synod of this Diocese, it is my pleasure to report on the affairs of the Diocese and on my activities as Bishop Ordinary of this Diocese. During the past nine months since our last Synod we have seen the Lord mightily work in our midst and we have experienced significant growth, development and reorganization of our Diocese.
These past nine months have been quite fruitful in the addition of four new parishes and/or missions. I am pleased to report that we now have a new Mission Work in Heber Springs, Arkansas. We also started a Mission Work this past Easter in Little Rock Arkansas.... This past month, this mission has organized itself as a Mission Parish taking the name of St. Thomas Mission. During the Month of May, the Vestry of St. Stephen's Church in Jackson, Mississippi voted to affiliate with us as a Level 1 Parish. Then in June, St. Michael's Church in Broken Arrow, OK voted to join the Diocese as a Parish.
Bishop Morse and I have been in contact with a number of other Parishes located within the borders of our Diocese. These Parishes are mostly Anglican in orientation and have began to talk with us about the process of affiliation. We expect that we could add six to eight more parishes in 1997 and 1998 from these contacts.
One of the greatest blessings we have in our Diocese is a Theological Seminary. Cranmer Theological House in Shreveport, LA came into being in the Summer of 1994. Since its founding, under the very capable leadership of the Rev. Canon Ray R. Sutton, Cranmer House has grown from three students in 1994 to 26 students this coming term.
This great gift of a Theological institution has come into being through the vision and provision of someone who is with us today. The Rev. Dr. Markham Allen Dickson is a man of unique ability and vision. Throughout these three years, his unselfish giving and his gracious provision of jobs for Seminarians while they are in residence at Cranmer House have paved the way for a marvelous beginning of an Institution which has the potential to transcend all of our lifetimes and which will provide men for Christian Ministry in this Church and other Churches. These men will be thoroughly trained in handling the Scriptures. They have been nurtured in the bosom of the Church and in our tradition of Biblical Worship. I am calling for each parish to consider the work of Cranmer Theological House as a priority mission work of this Diocese. In this place, we are training the future Pastors and Missionaries of this Church. There is no greater mission endeavor than this. I am not placing any dollar amount on the Parish Support. I am simply asking that in reviewing the mission support of your local parishes you place the importance of this mission endeavor in its proper light. Your support of Cranmer House is an investment in your future and the future of our beloved Church.
Episcopalians, who loved the truths of Holy Scripture and seek to maintain Historic Christian Anglicanism have been departing from the Episcopal Church during the past 30+ years. As a result, a number of Episcopal Chruches have been established. These small denominations called "continuing churches" have had to endure all the difficulties of organizing themselves and searching for godly leadership. All too often, they found themselves in church splits and denominational fights. It is to these parishes, we can minister a healing salve. One of the strongest points of our 124 year history is our unity amidst our diversity. This coupled with our firm adherence to Holy Scripture and our uncompromising devotion to the 39 Articles of Religion of the English Reformation, make us the one Denomination which can best minister to our younger and weaker brothers and sisters.
With us today are two Bishops of such other Denominations. The Rev. Walter Grundorf of the Diocese of the Eastern United States is a man who shares our views on such fraternity and unity. Their Denomination is also an expression of what could be called "Classical Anglicanism". It is my hope and prayer that our two denominations will be able to officially have a fraternal relationship in the near future.
Also, with us today is the Rt. Rev. Robert Godfrey of the Anglican Orthodox Church. This denomination was formed in the 1960's as a protest to the liberalism in the Episcopal Church. Bishop Godfrey has also expressed an interest in pursuing the path of fraternal relationship and unity. I would ask for our parishes to seek to fellowdhip with other parishes from these two denominations if the opportunity of proximity exists.
I hope that you all have gotten a sense through this report of the tremendous opportunities which present themselves to us. Yes, we are a small diocese in a small denomination. But God has preserved us and readied us for "Just such a time as this". These are good days to be a Reformed Episcopalian. God has blessed us and prospered the work of our hands. As we remain faithful to Him we can expect that we will see even greater things than these in the future.
Classical Christian Education
The Scriptures make it clear that parents have the responsibility before the Lord to instruct their Children in the things of God and to bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. Because those children are a part of Christ's Chruch, it is a proper extension of the ministry of the parish to assist parents in fulfilling that mandate. Since all truth comes from the Creator, it follows that the Church should be taking an active role in education. In recent years we have all experienced the breakdown of the governmental educational system. The answer to this problem is for the Church to become active in the promoting and sponsorship of "Classical Christian Schools".
A Classical Christian School is one which uses the time tested method of the "Trivium" which means three roads. The Grammar stage is from Kindergarten to 5th grade. Latin is taught in Kindergarten through High School. In the Logic stage, they begin to apply everything they learned in the grammar stage. In the Rhetorical stage they begin to reason and logic to speak and write clearly about that which they know. Children are taught how to think not what to think. But being classical is not enough for Christian minded people. This education must also be Christian. The ethics and morals of Christianity must be applied to that which is learned. A Christian World life view must be presented.
Stage one required the establishment of a model school which can be reproduced by the local parishes of the Diocese.
Stage two, will require the documentation of the steps necessary to establish such a school and the instruction of other teachers and Headmasters in the methods of instruction necessary to have such a ministry.
Stage three will result in our having an effective system of pastoral internship in effect in this diocese. Imagine being able to provide teaching positions to men coming out of our Seminaries while they intern under the tutelage of a local Pastor.
On April 1, 1997, we began our model school, The Cathedral Academy at our headquarters in Houston, Texas. During the next two years we should have acquired sufficient knowledge and experience to assist other parishes in implementing the establishing of a Classical Christian School. My goal and dream is to see these schools established all over our diocese....
I know that many of the things I have presented in this report seem to be overwhelming and perhaps beyond achievement, but I believe that all of this and more is possible if we will just act on the opportunities God has placed before us. It is a great heritage and legacy with which we have been entrusted. May we never be guilty of burying our talents or of not expending our energies in advancing the cause of Christ in this Church.
Turn your clocks back before you retire on Saturday, October 25!
Welcome to Shirley Drobnak!
Mrs. Shirley Drobnak became our new Director of Music in September. Shirley is a very accomplished pianist, teaches music at Prairie View Junior High and is also Director of the Tinley Park "Arts Alive Chorale." We welcome Shirley and are thankful to the Lord for bringing her to this parish.
Missionary of The Month
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