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Bishop Steve Wood

A Word from our Diocesan Bishop Steve Wood

One of the men who most influenced my young Christian life was a man named John Wimber.  Wimber, as you may remember, was the founder of the Vineyard Church and he had a soft spot for us Anglicans.  I did not know him but my then rector did and so I came into contact with both his preaching and his writings. The “tell” and “show” nature of his ministry was very attractive to me - and remains so.

One of Wimber’s greatest gifts was making the gospel understandable and then helping us ordinary, every-day kind of Christians (through his teachings, encouragement and model of ministry) believe that we really had a part to play in the ongoing unfolding of God’s kingdom.  I have in my files any number of his stories and illustrations.  One particular story he told about fishing and evangelism remains a favorite. Wimber wrote:

In 1990 Larry Shaw was trying out a new outboard propeller on Ohio’s West Branch Reservoir when he saw a huge muskie just below the surface.  Shaw motored over to it, and cast toward it several times with no luck before the fish disappeared.  About a half hour later Shaw returned to the cove where he had first spotted the big muskie.  And wouldn’t you know, it was back!  Shaw turned on the trolling motor and crept closer to the big fish.  Suddenly, the muskie started swimming toward the boat.

Shaw quickly put on a leather glove and stuck his arm into the water, grabbing the monster just behind the gills.  The muskie started splashing and fighting to escape but Shaw held on.  It was quite a fight, but with the help of a nearby fisherman he was able to get the fish into his boat.

The muskie weighed in just a bit over 53 pounds.  If Larry Shaw had caught the fish with a rod and reel, it would have broken the then record for the largest muskie ever caught in Ohio.  When reporters asked him about the fish, Shaw said, “I was in the right place at the right time, and I was fool enough to grab it.”

That’s a good description of evangelism: being in the right place at the right time, and being fool enough to share the good news of salvation found in Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 4 (v.19) we read of Jesus’ call to his soon-to-be disciples; an invitation to be fishers of men and women.  When Jesus used metaphors like fishing his listeners heard what he was saying in a very different way than we do in our Western world.  For most of us fishing is a hobby - a recreational diversion from the business of our everyday lives. I am a casual fisherman.  And so when I come home empty-handed (more often than not) I am still content for having spent a day on the water.

Jesus issued that first invitation to join his fishing expedition to Peter, Andrew, James and John. Fishing was not a pastime for these men. If they failed to catch fish they did not eat.  Fishing was their livelihood.  Repeated failure was not an option.  As fishermen these men would have learned how to adapt their fishing technique to variety of situations.  Was it sunny or overcast?  Calm or windy?  What was the time of year?  What kind of fish were they fishing for?  Some fish are very quick to respond.  Some fish, especially the older, larger, ones had learned the fishermen’s tricks and were more wary and elusive.  When Jesus said to them that they would be fishers of men He spoke in a language they understood.

How does this apply to you? To your church?  Well, what are the trends in your community?  What kinds of people are moving into your neighborhood?  What are the challenges they face?  What are their aspirations?  We live in the South and in many of our communities there remains a strong residual of the Christian faith within our culture. But folks who live in Asheville, Raleigh and Charlotte face unique situations that those of us in the Outer Banks, midlands, lowcountry or upstate do not face (and vice-versa). Good fishermen know how to read their environment. They know what bait the fish are hitting on.  They are aware of their presentation.

Friends, Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples.  Are you going where the “fish” are, or are you waiting for them to come to you?

In Christ,


           by Sharon Pullen

Many years ago, just before Christmas, I was shopping at a local mall. I was surrounded by all the sights and sounds of our secular holiday season—tense shoppers in a rush, glitzy decorations, stores enticing customers to spend more money than they have on things they don’t need. And down the mall, I could see a long line of tired parents standing with their children who were waiting to tell Santa Claus all their material wishes. I found myself wondering what God thought about this whole holiday scene. How did He feel about the way our culture celebrates the birth of His Son? None of it seemed to have much to do with Jesus. So I prayed, “Lord, what do you think of all this? And what do you think of me for participating in it?” I was almost afraid to hear His answer. You see, in spite of all the commercialization of Christmas, I enjoy the holidays. I love the festive mood, the parties, the presents, and the sparkling lights and decorations. But I also love the quiet, reverent holiness of the season; and I was feeling uneasy, wondering if I was allowing all the festivities to distract me from the holiness.
I sensed the Lord saying, “Listen.”
“Listen to what?” I asked.
“Listen,” He said.
So I stepped out of the flow of the crowd of shoppers and stopped just inside the entrance to a store. I could still hear all the noises of the mall, but underneath it all I also could hear—music. Over the speaker system, I could hear these words being sung:
Glory streams from Heaven afar.
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia.
Christ the Savior is born.
Christ the Savior is born.
Silent night, Holy night.
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace.
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
The Lord said, “At what other time of year do you hear my name proclaimed so clearly?”
He was right. Just a few minutes earlier, I had passed a children’s choir performing “Joy to the World” in the center of the mall. And soon I would watch one of my favorite Christmas shows with my children. Right there on network TV each year at about this time, Charlie Brown cries out in frustration, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” And Linus answers, “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” Then he recites from Luke 2: 
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” [1]
That is what Christmas is all about. As usual, a lot of noise and glitz will threaten to distract us during the holidays. The season is far from silent, and yet the words of “Silent Night” can still be heard. The enemy of God is trying his utmost to drown out the real message of Christmas, but it’s still there. You just have to step out of the flow for a moment, stop, and listen.

Tidings of Great Joy: Devotions for Advent and Christmas available on Amazon here. Her facebook page is a reminder to be still and quiet for a few minutes every day and contemplate the real meaning of Advent and Christmas.
~Sharon Pullen is a member of Church of the Holy Cross in North Raleigh.  
[1] A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965. Peanuts: © United Feature Syndicate, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Church Spotlight: Holy Trinity Raleigh
& New City Fellows

by Mark Woodwell

Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh is investing in the next generation of leaders through the New City Fellows Program. New City Fellows is an immersive theology program that is designed to give believers who are working the marketplace a deeper grounding in theology and how the Christian faith impacts the way we view our vocations.  The program runs from September to May and consists of weekly discussion meetings, monthly seminars with industry leaders, and quarterly retreats for spiritual development.  Participants are given a rigorous reading schedule; up to 100 pages of theology and daily devotions each week, including content from historical theologians, contemporary Christian authors, and some non-Christian sources as well.  Some authors who figure prominently include John Calvin, Martin Luther, Saint Augustine, Abraham Kuyper, and Tim Keller.

I, Mark, was introduced to the program through one of my campus pastors, who suggested that I would enjoy and benefit from the curriculum.  I entered into the program with an admitted skepticism.  Since becoming a Christian 7 years prior, I had been involved with Bible Study Fellowship, a comprehensive Bible study program including readings, lectures, and discussion questions.  The focus, however, was always squarely on a book of the Bible, which distinguished it from New City Fellows, where we would be surveying content from diverse sources.  This was also the first program that I would be paying for.

Despite my hesitation (and having recently aged out of my BSF class), I decided to take the plunge.  In hindsight, it was a wonderful year of personal and spiritual development where I’ve been challenged and changed in a variety of ways.  The weekly meetings were a great way to process the readings and consider how they apply to our lives.  Meeting with established industry professionals challenged me to take more responsibility at work; it was inspiring to hear how believers were elevated to influential positions in the marketplace not through their own ambition, but by God’s opening doors.  The quarterly retreats were a rich time of theological reflection and spiritual growth, as we shared our own stories and considered the depth of our sin and Christ’s love for us.  We also had mentors who we met with monthly to help provide perspective on the things we were learning and life in general.

Personally, God has also taught me a lot about myself, my community, and my mission.  The program helped open my eyes to God’s story for my life as being larger than a recent failed relationship.  Through community, the program introduced me to folks from different churches / theological backgrounds and helped me to recognize and confront some of my own doctrinal and denominational biases.  In terms of mission, I gained a new perspective on my work as a part of God’s stewardship of His creation, and found new passion to pursue excellence in my job.  The introductory book for the course, Every Good Endeavor, made the case that Christians are prone to view their jobs as a grounds for evangelism or as a means to financially support missionaries, but the reality is that faith in God brings a greater meaning and dignity to the way that we spend our days.

I was also surprised by the theological depth of the program.  Far from being an academic exercise, the program challenged us to connect with Jesus at a heart level, developing us personally before challenging us to take our faith into the world.  At least the first half of the year was focused on spiritual growth and development, which provided a close-knit community and a safe space to talk about our struggles, challenges, and dreams for our vocations.  Fast forward one year and I’m still involved with the program in a TA role.  I find myself benefitting a second time from the content, and truly enjoying being a part of this community.  By God’s grace, I was also offered a management role at work at the conclusion of the program, illustrating even more clearly that His hand was guiding me through this process of change and growth.  I am grateful to God for providing this opportunity, and for our teachers, the support staff at Holy Trinity, and the industry leaders who volunteered their time to make this experience so rich and deep.  May Jesus continue to grow and build His church through this ministry!

~For more information go to or

Five for Moses for a New World
by Dr. Nancy Going

There they were — reportedly there were millions of them, camped on the edge of the promised land.  Moses knew he wasn’t going with them.  Moses also knew that there was so much that they likely didn’t understand about the land and the very different shape their lives would take in that new land.

The shape of worship and the traditions that had become their way of life as the children of Israel in the wilderness were about to change dramatically. They couldn’t fully fathom it yet, but the customs that they had grown into for survival over generations of necessity just weren’t going to work as lasting patterns for following the Lord their God as they settled and became immersed in this land.  They were about to leave the world of the wilderness and move into the land that God had promised, filled with “cities you did not build, wells you did not dig, vineyards you did not plant.” (Deuteronomy 6:11)

Have you ever thought about what it was like to be THOSE parents, headed with the children they loved into that new land?  Yes, it was a land filled with milk and honey. But it was also a whole new world, filled with people who didn’t share their God or their way of living.  There would be consequences as their children became natives of this new culture. Did they sense how hard it would be to make sure their children continued to worship the Lord their God?

So here are the five things Moses told them to do: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Moses knew that the ways of here would not be enough for there.  He knew it was going to be about remembering what God had done, and literally attaching that story to their children and doing it in multiple ways in the midst of everyday life.  He didn’t tell them to take the Ark and immediately build a temple.  He told them that only FAMILYING the faith would have an impact in this new world.

So here we are. We too are looking at a new land.  We are heading into a boundary-less, technology-driven new world where 4000 churches close their doors each year.  Whew.  Not surprisingly, the customs and church cultures that we have known for the last several generations don’t appear to be working in the same ways in THIS new land either.  But this is the only world our children and grandchildren will know.

But it’s okay, children of God.  We’ve been here before.  God is still using that reluctant servant Moses and has already given us the tools to handle this:

  1. Impress.
  2. Talk.
  3. Tie.
  4. Bind.
  5. Write.

See you there.

Nancy Going
~Nancy Going is Executive Director of Vibrant Faith Ministries. Vibrant Faith Ministries is generating adaptive change in the formation of faith alongside Christian communities, churches and the leaders that serve them.  For More information go to

Why We Need the Youth
by Chase Edgar

Throughout the majority of history, a person’s age placed them in one of two categories: childhood or adulthood. It is by way of a relatively recent development that we are given a third category: adolescence. A hybrid between childhood and adulthood, adolescents are young people who are physically capable but legally unable to be adults. 

The introduction of this new category has, I am sure, proved helpful in some ways and unhelpful in others. However, in the case of the church, this new grouping seems problematic. We continually find it difficult to come up with effective ways to minister to this ‘adolescent’ group. And the difficulty likely stems from the fact that the group we are calling ‘adolescent’ does not actually exist. Adolescence, in a way, is a figment of our imagination.

At this point it is probably too late to change any of these circumstances. It is what it is. For now, the tension remains and our young people linger somewhere between childhood and adulthood.  Because we cannot change the conditions which give rise to this problem we must plan a way forward.

So, how do we treat the youth of the church? Do we treat them as we so often (and in my opinion wrongly) treat children, pushing them aside with the hope that things might be more polished and enjoyable without them? Or do we treat them with the dignity and respect that is due any other adult who comes among us? We must lean towards one end or the other. Because no matter how hard we try to find one, there is no perfect balance to be found between child and adult.

If then, we are going to lean toward one end, let us give youth the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their maturity. Sure, they’ll make mistakes, and there are plenty of lessons to be learned. Youth need to be taught and rebuked and encouraged. But aren’t we all in that boat? Maturity is a process (and this is where the idea of adolescence may be helpful); we aren’t children one day and adults the next.

However, when we assume a certain level of maturity, we allow our youth to step further into, and take their rightful place as, contributors in God’s kingdom right now. 

The church doesn’t need youth because ‘they are the future of the church’. Jesus is the future of the church. In fact, he is the yesterday, the today and the tomorrow. And if our hope for the future is placed anywhere other than Jesus, we will quickly find ourselves in deep weeds.

Rather our youth are the now of the church. Without them the body isn’t the body. As St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, “But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.”

~Chase Edgar is the youth minister at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Greenville, SC.

The Ridley Institute:
Looking ahead to Lifestream Courses

The aim of the Ridley Institute is to honor Nicholas Ridley’s dying thought, that through God’s grace his labors and suffering might light a Gospel flame that would never be extinguished. The Institute seeks to spread the flame of the Gospel by recruiting, equipping, and deploying Christian leaders formed in the Gospel centrality of the Anglican Tradition.

The Ridley Institute is a St. Andrew’s school of theology based at St. Andrews, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The Institute exists to equip God’s people for Christian service in the church and the world. Because we believe that God has made promises to his church, Ridley Institute desires to teach, train, form, write, and think in the heart of the local church. Courses are now getting ready to live streamed for those that are not able to travel to Mt. Pleasant. 

Learn more about the Ridley Institute and current course offerings by visiting


Journey to the Manager

Published by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Imagine the journey to the manager. A long trek over rough roads. An inconvenient, uncomfortable, unsafe time for her to travel. Bedding down in an unsanitary stable., surrounded by farm animals and unkempt shepherds, to welcome a l baby the babe in the manager, who would live and love, heal and deliver, willingly give his life on a dirty, brutal cross to become, for us.


A rags to riches story. A journey that ends on a throne. In this Advent Devotional Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary welcomes you to join them for the next 23 days on that pivotal journey, and rediscover God's wondrous, unorthodox plan for leading us to that same throne

Go to the Journey to the Manager (Published by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) 

Learn more about Gordon-Conwell Theological and their MDiv Anglican Track


October Ordinations

To the Diaconate: Jonathan Powers, Ben Snyder, Kevin Cook, Tony Vandenberge, Lisa Vandenberge
To the Priesthood: Aaron Buttery

November Ordination
To the Diaconate: Justin Hare

December Ordinations

New Simeon Fellowship Cohort Open for Registration
The Simeon Fellowship for Pastoral Formation is a two-year, formational cohort-based training program for aspiring pastors. The program serves as a character (heart) and skills (hands) supplement to academic training. It is ideally suited for graduating seminarians, pastoral interns and curates, particularly those with supervised church ministry responsibilities locally, and pastors recently placed in parish ministry. The program consists of four components: Formation Workshops, Retreats, and Mentoring.
We are offering a cohort for up to 12 qualified participants in the Simeon Fellowship for Pastoral Formation—Once a month meetings starting in September 2018. Applications will be accepted from now through July 20, 2018. Contact Nancy for information to be sent to you.

Summit 2018, Mobilizing the Church for Life
Calling all Anglicans into Action for Life!
Thursday, January 18, 2018

To help you fulfill Scripture's mandate to protect God's gift of life, we invite you to attend Summit 2018, for inspiration in mobilizing & networking opportunities to equip you to live out your calling to advocate for life. Then join with hundreds of thousands of people to bear witness to the sanctity of life. For more information visit

Do you have a story to tell?  We know wonderful stories of God working through his people are an inspiration to others.  You, your parish and its ministry partner are a vital part of the Diocese of the Carolinas and God's greater Kingdom. Is God calling you to share it with others.

Send us the storiy of what God is doing in and through your parish to
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