We are eighty-two congregations as this convention opens. We have grown by thirty congregations since realignment. This is the largest number of congregations ever for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. We lost a third of our congregations at realignment, but here is the Lord’s promise working itself out. We are more than we were three years ago! For those willing to leave what they have ”“ whatever they have ”“ to follow Jesus the restoration is a hundredfold. Deep ecumenical friendships and partnerships have also been added. Anglican congregations are in partnership with Methodist congregations, Presbyterian congregations, Non-denominational congregations, and Catholic congregations for new homes and meeting places, and even some shared ministries. We meet here in this Benedictine Abbey and College as a sign of what has happened. God has provided new friends and encouragers for our post-exodus journey. We are much more ”“ yet possessing much less ”“ than we were before. (2 Cor.6.10)
This past Sunday I was in one of the two new full parishes coming into union with our Convention tomorrow, St. Michael’s Nashotah. There were scores more in attendance than their recent average of 105 at worship. I confirmed eight, received one and re-affirmed fifty. The most frequently repeated motto of my time there was “We’ve thrown away the rear-view mirror.” The Israelites looked back to Egypt and murmured (about how good it once was and how much difficulty their leaders had gotten them into). The people of St. Michael’s have determined not to look back.