Thursday, January 3, 2013

Church Plant

So, I mentioned that my husband and I are involved in an Anglican church plant, and this is the post where I tell the story behind that, because otherwise I'm not going to be able to write posts about "our church" with any confidence that anyone knows what I'm talking about!

A few years ago, our family left the Episcopal church. I documented our thought process pretty well here on the blog, and you can go search the archives if you're interested in all our reasons. Short version: it was a matter of conscience, and it was really, really hard, because we were leaving a bunch of friends (who were also following the dictates of their consciences) behind.

For the next few years, we attended a really wonderful church that's part of the Anglican Church in North America. Wonderful, wonderful church . . . that was a long drive away from where we live. So, we got to be a part of that church family, but really only on Sundays, because the drive more than doubled on weekdays, due to traffic.

Something new
I'm skipping lots of details here, because I don't want to make the world's longest blog post, but somewhere mid-2012, both the group of us who ended up in ACNA and a group of people still at the church we left ended up feeling called to come back together and plant a new church - an ACNA church - in our home town. The really cool thing is who we all ended up in the same place, with the same call, at the same time. And with the approval (you might even say urging) of both of our bishops.

And lots and lots and lots of other things came together at the same time, including us finding a church willing not just to let us rent space from them, but to really host us and encourage our endeavor. (Instead of seeing us as competition, they really saw that a city of 50,000 people could use as many more churches as the Lord saw fit to plant!).

So now (skipping hours and hours and hours of work and research and prayer), we have a church! We held our first mass on the first Sunday of Advent. We've already had a baptism and some confirmations and a visit from our bishop.

And it's amazing. I'm at church again with many of the dear people from the church we left, and the Lord held us all safely through the weird stresses of leaving the Episcopal Church, and even though we made different decisions then, He brought us back together to worship now. Like I said, I'm skipping a lot of details, but it's just amazing that we're all in the same place again, at this new church. The details are all amazing, too, but they're  not all my story to tell.

But there's an Anglican church in my home town. I get to be a part of it. I just . . . I am overwhelmed at the kindness of the Lord. My kids get to go to church in their home town. They're going to get to grow up, Lord willing, with their lives integrated into the life of the local church. We get to be church people!  I just can't get over it. It's incredible. It's everything we hoped for - everything that seemed like an impossible dream three years ago.

It's so much work, it's so still the beginning of everything, but still . . . it's so good. It's so, so good, and so good of the Lord to let us worship Him together. I'll probably babble on about my church again and again in this blog. I hope you don't mind; it's just been such a long time coming.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


Michelle @ Liturgical Time said...

Congrats! So excited for you!
I understand the difficulties and sacrifices inherent in attending a church that is a long way away...and being "weekend only" church people.
Blessings on your new endeavor!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Amen! It is good to be back together. :)

Anonymous said...

VERY excited for you!! And will be happy to hear MORE about your continuing journey....

Anonymous said...

Yea! God is so good. He has all the threads in his hands, and I'm so focused on one little knot that I can't see the tapestry he's weaving. Anyway, I'm glad for you.

Amber said...

Hooray!! I'm so happy for you and your family (and for Emily too!) You all have had such a hard road, and I'm so glad that so much is coming together again. That is so beautiful to see. And how wonderful to have a church in your hometown, where you get to be involved even during the week! I hope you will write more about it. I think it is so wonderful and exciting to read about.

(Personally, I'm hoping the little Orthodox church that is within walking distance of my country home will somehow come into communion with Rome - pigs flying seems far more likely, but hey, a girl can pray, right??)

Tienne said...

Jessica, that's awesome! I'm thrilled for you and your friends. :) Having a community nearby to rely on is just SO important!

Jessica Snell said...

Wow, everyone! I'm overwhelmed by your kind comments and well wishes! Thank you for being happy with me! :D

Unknown said...

What a blessing your new church is! I'm so glad it has come together. God is good! Looking forward to your book release and now that we're in town again we'll have to get re-aquainted! May we spur one another on in walking with him - through the church year. -Ruthie

ooshela said...

Yes! God is so good and what a blessing to be together again and see God working in and through us!