This Sunday, Restoration is honored to have Archbishop James Wong lead us in worship. Archbishop Wong is the head of the Province of the South Indian Ocean. We look forward to this opportunity to worship alongside one of the leaders of our global church. Before we welcome the Archbishop on Sunday, I wanted to take a moment to talk about why he is joining us and why it matters.
Archbishop Wong will be in town next week with many, many Anglicans from around the world as they gather for the Anglican Church in North America’s 2019 Assembly, held this year in Plano. This year’s theme centers on discipleship, and speakers such as Ravi Zacharias and Russell Moore will be teaching. There will also be worship, breakout sessions, and meetings for elected delegates to conduct the business of the province. Last year’s assembly was held in Jerusalem, so it’s really exciting to have such an important event right in our backyard.
How is the Assembly connected to Restoration? This would be easier with a dry erase board and some markers, but the connection isn’t too tough. Restoration Anglican Church is a part of a group of churches (or diocese) called Churches for the Sake of Others, led by our Bishop, Todd Hunter. Our diocese is part of a larger, national collective (or province) called the Anglican Church in North America (or ACNA), led by Archbishop Foley Beach. Our national province connects us with other provinces around the globe
For many of you, that may feel a bit removed from our Restoration family. The truth is, one of my favorite things about worshipping at Restoration is that we are such a close and familiar family. And sometimes thinking about the Church in such ‘macro’ terms feels too abstract or even political. However, it’s crucial that we remember that we aren’t just a ‘little c’ church that exists independently of all other Christians. We are a part of a national and global Church, and we celebrate our unity with that much larger body. And within that unity, we are challenged in our faith to see new perspectives, understand radically different contexts, and learn what it means join the mission of preaching the gospel and making disciples around the world.
But our vision of the Church doesn’t stop there—we can keep zooming out. The Assembly and Archbishop’s visit isn’t just a reminder that we worship with the global Church in the here and now; it’s also a reminder that we worship alongside the great communion of saints who have gone before us, who formed the church and stewarded the faith in their own times. As much as we love our friendly neighborhood church, our worship will be lessened if we don’t take a moment to look up out of our own context and appreciate the faithfulness of God in joining his body the Church lovingly together.
Considering all this, perhaps we could best think of Archbishop Wong’s visit as a family reunion. Under his leadership, Christians on the other side of the planet have been worshipping all along with Restoration. His visit affords us the chance to celebrate that already-existing connection face-to-face. On Sunday, please join us in making Archbishop feel right at home as we worship together.