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Evangelical Witness


Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered In My Name, there am I in the midst of them." You might ask "But what can one or two individuals do?" Our Lord answered that question when he told his apostles that they could move mountains with faith as small as a mustard seed. Whether you are a single individual, a husband and wife team, or a member of a group desiring to return to orthodox Anglican worship, you can be a catalyst in bringing a new congregation together. 

Where to begin

The first step in planting a parish is to let us know of your interest in doing so, by filling out the Church Planting Form. Please be as accurate and complete as possible.


Your inquiry will be forwarded to the bishop responsible for your location (a list of dioceses can be found in the Administration section of this website). Someone from his office will then contact you to discuss prospects for founding a mission. 


Though there is no single, failsafe formula for establishing a church, most successful church plantings occur where they can receive some support from an already established parish. This comes most often in the form of supply clergy and members who are willing to split time between locations, but the goal of the church plant should be to grow in numbers, means, and holiness. This will require a commitment of time and energy, an emphasis on organization and outreach, some financial outlay, and most importantly, a trust in God and the efficacy of prayer. 


As it enters a new era of solidarity and ecumenism, the ACC has renewed its commitment to evangelism, and is working to revitalize the Church, particularly in areas such as North America and Europe.  We hope that you will join us in the task, as fellow laborers in the harvest of Our Lord. 


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An emphasis on Evangelism

At the 2020 Provincial Synod, the Archbishop asked the Director of the Department of Evangelism, the Right Reverend Stephen Scarlett, to share some thoughts on mission and the future of the Church. While acknowledging the success of the G-4 movement and the growth of the Church in Africa and other areas of the world, Bishop Scarlett's address provides food for thought, both for those looking to grow already estabished parishes, and those hoping to plant new ones. Excerpts from this address may be found below. If you would like to talk to Bishop Scarlett, about mission and evangelism, please email him at  

The Right Reverend Stephen Scarlett
Director of the Department of Evangelism

The Origin of Our Challenge


It is easy to misinterpret our mission challenge as a criticism of the ministries of our churches. We have  good and godly people in ministry who are doing good and godly work. Our problem is that the mission we started with as a movement is no longer our mission. We have not adjusted to the changed cultural environment.


Our original mission was to define and defend Anglican Catholic orthodoxy and differentiate ourselves from the heresy that arose in the mid-twentieth century within the Anglican tradition. The heroes of our movement took a stand and paid a price for the Truth. Because of that heroism, there was a church for me to return to when I went through a conversion in college in 1981. Because of that heroism we have a church and movement to sustain us as we wait for the fulfilment of  our blessed hope (Titus 2:13).


But this cannot be our primary mission any longer. We now know who we are, and we are who we are. The question now  is: How are we going to bear witness in more effective ways in the new world in which we find ourselves? This new world is dramatically different than the world we started in. How are we going to develop an effective ministry in it? How are we going to reach the lost and wounded of our culture? How are you going to reach at least some of the lost and wounded in the neighborhood or region of your church?


They don’t know what an Anglican Catholic is and they don’t really care—unless an Anglican Catholic will love them and introduce them to Christ and to the community of Christ’s church.

When I began my ministry in the 1980’s, you could still develop a church by advertising our unique strengths to people who were looking for a church. You cannot do that in most places anymore. Fewer and fewer people are looking for a church. For many, church is either irrelevant to their lives or, worse, is a source of a deep wound because they have been hurt by a church. How do we reach out to people in this new setting? 

A Modest Proposal for a Starting Place

If we are honest, we will admit that we don’t know what to do. This can be a good thing if we embrace our vulnerability and our need to trust God in new ways. Moses did not know what to do when his back was to the Red Sea and his eyes were on the thundering herds of approaching Egyptian soldiers. But he found a new pathway forward for his people because he listened to God, prayed to God, and trusted God (Exodus 14:10-15).

I want to make a modest proposal for a starting place. Because we do not know what to do, we need to establish a corporate practice of fasting and praying for the mission of our church. In Acts, the early church waited and prayed in the upper room before the Holy Spirit came and led them into ministry (Acts 1:12-14). We need to enter into an extended season of church-wide prayer and fasting for the development of our mission.

About seven or eight years ago, Bishop Wilson Garang of South Sudan visited our diocese. He told us, “If you want your churches to grow, you must fast and pray.” We listened and established Wednesday as a day of fasting and prayer for the mission of our church. We ask our people to fast in some way on Wednesday and to pray a "Litany for Mission" that we developed. I propose that we make this a practice of our entire church; a day a week on which we fast and pray for our mission. The activity of fasting and prayer for mission will put the topic of mission on the map of our church. It is a way to begin; something we can really do. If we cannot commit to regular prayer and  fasting for our mission, it means we are not serious about it.

As we fast and pray, we need to listen for God’s voice and  guidance and discuss the new things we might do; the new doors we might open into our churches; the new ways we might reach out to those who are not now our members; the new good works we might do. Prayer for mission and discussion about church renewal and mission need to be regular, weekly activities of our church. And these need to be the central focus of our energy when we gather for synods.

Some Foundational Questions

Before we can share our faith with others, before we can give what we have, we must first ask: “What do we have?” We tend to answer this question theologically. We have the faith defined by the councils and creeds. We need to begin to answer this question experientially. How do we experience the redeeming and sanctifying presence of Christ as a community? What is the experience of Christ that we want to share? As Alexander Schmemann says, “Of what are we witnesses?” (For the Life of  the World, Ch. 1, p. 21).

An honest assessment of our churches reveals that before we can develop a mission, we must develop our own spiritual life as a community. If we are to be witnesses to the power of Christ in our lives, then we must have a communal experience of that power. If we want people to come, there must be something powerful and compelling to invite them to come to. It won’t work to develop a great marketing campaign to get people to come to church if, when they come, they find a small group of discontented people who seem mostly to  complain about the world and each other, and whose mission is mainly is to keep the doors open.

A Reorientation of Ministry Around the Theology of the Remnant

Many of our churches need a reorientation of ministry. We need to start by focusing on our own spiritual formation. The truth is that while our church has its holy people, even its saints, we have been handicapped by spiritual and emotional immaturity among our clergy and lay leadership. Our greatest need is for clergy and lay leaders who are willing to reorient the ministry of our churches around spiritual formation. We need to develop ourselves in order to develop our witness and mission.

This is a reorientation we began four years ago at St. Matthew’s Church and in the Diocese of the Holy Trinity after some profound experiences of missionary failure. I realized that our mission efforts had been undermined by the emotional and spiritual immaturity of our missionaries. Rather than being witnesses to Christ in the world, they tended to succumb to the pressure and anxieties that came upon them in the church. This is a church-wide issue.

We began to reorient our ministry around developing our life of prayer and focusing on emotional health. Our new approach is heavily indebted to the Anglican writer Martin Thornton, especially in his book, Pastoral Theology, A Reorientation (with needed adaptation because our setting is different from his) and to something called Family Systems Theory, which is having a growing impact on many churches. It turns out that other churches are facing the same issues. We have channeled our energies away from marketing campaigns and promotion and towards the spiritual formation of what Thornton calls, “the Remnant.” The Remnant is not the grumpy core of traditionalists who are mad at the world. The Remnant is the core group in the church that is willing to be serious about its own life of prayer and spiritual growth. According to Thornton, this Remnant has a vicarious and leavening impact on the larger church and the world. It is the foundation for authentic mission.

We developed a year-long class that is focused on two things. Developing one’s life of prayer in the community in the church and cultivating emotionally healthy ways of interacting with other people—developing healthy ministry. The year-long class leads into a second year and a third year and culminates in membership in our diocesan “Order of the Holy Trinity.” We currently have sixty people participating at one stage or another and nine members of our diocesan order. I’ve never made any public announcement in church about these classes. All participants have been personally invited to participate. I’ve been influenced by a seminary professor who said, “Jesus did not ask for volunteers. He called people to, ‘follow me.’”

This approach has substantially reoriented our church around interior spiritual formation leading to outward oriented mission. Though the details of this approach may vary depending on the local setting, I believe that this framework fits our tradition as a way to reorient our ministry towards mission. It creates a parochial Benedictine spirituality in which mission is focused on hospitality and building relationships.

We want to share with others what we have learned because we believe that these themes are essential to developing the mission of our church. To explore the subject further, please read "The Idea of a Mission Community" (download here). We are looking for conversation partners. If you think you might fall into this category, please contact me:

Further Reading

Anglican Catholic Faith & Practice

Archbishop Mark Haverland's Anglican Catholic Faith & Practice is the essential primer for understanding the worship, theology, and moral teaching of the ACC. It is an excellent and highly readable resource for teachers and enquirers.

Anglican Catholicism

Father Jonathan Munn's Anglican Catholicism seeks to introduce the reader to Anglican Catholicism and explain what Anglican Catholics believe through examples from Sacred Scripture and the Early Church Fathers. 

Pastoral Theology

Martin Thornton's classic, Pastoral Theology: A Reorientation, is essential reading for those interested in growing the Continuing Church. Its theology of the remnant this Remnant has a vicarious and leavening impact on the larger church and the world.

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