Last week we mentioned God’s grace and love, which He showed us from the first night we met at Central Baptist Church Bearden. That night, we had advertised by word-of-mouth and email that we’d gather a group of faithful Anglicans in a safe place for worship, prayer, and praise. A wonderful surprise awaited all of us; despite the summer storm, about sixty people came. Chris Cairns, a Deacon at a local Episcopal church, led worship and we sang and prayed and worshiped our Lord. As we left, Jim Pomy remembers: “It was an amazing meeting of prayer, worship, and discussion. On leaving the church, the storm had stopped and a double rainbow was across the sky. I told Valerie that this is where we needed to be. Perhaps it was the first time I truly felt called.” Sharon Hodges and Eileen Judice also remember it as a clear sign of God’s presence.
Chris lead us in quiet prayer to begin each of our meetings. Those of us who are Type A (or AA in Hank and Ron’s case) were impatient to get on with the decision making, but Chris knew what he was doing. Sharon Hodges recalls the many mornings spent in the church library with Chris leading us in prayer. Sharon remembers, “We silently waited for God to speak and direct us and He did! The insights and revelations that God presented were nothing less than His gentle leading and that remains true today. We are brothers and sisters united in our love for God and being about His business of reflecting His love to others in our homes, our church, and communities.”
Jim and Hank remember two specific instances of God’s presence in these meetings. Jim writes, “During a time of centering and listening prayer we were sharing what we heard during our prayers. I chose not to share. Carol Walton, who was sitting next to me, spoke word for word what I was too self-conscious to say! During the next round I was again too self-conscious to speak, and again, Carol said word for word what I had been thinking. It’s probably worth noting that every decision made was unanimous. Through much prayer God was leading us all to the same place.”
Hank remembers the sessions dealing with the naming of our church. He recalls, “That was a particular moment of clarity of God’s presence for me. We had been struggling with coming up with a name for weeks. No one wanted to make a suggestion, so I did. I suggested St. Michaels for the patron saint of warriors. After the first initial reaction, I ignored the emails until the next Steering Committee meeting. Through prayer, it came to me that we should be called Apostles Anglican Church. I was convinced of it and couldn’t wait to get to the Steering Committee meeting to share my vision. In that meeting, I related what I heard in prayer and everyone looked at me with a ‘duh’ look. It seems everyone had come up with that name and had been sharing it in the emails which I had not read. Now I know the feeling when the Holy Spirit shows up!”
Perhaps Sharon said it best, “We didn’t know where the future would lead us, but we knew God was leading. What joy, fellowship, and faith we experienced growing richer and deeper in that small number of brothers and sisters as we stepped forward in worship and prayer.” Certainly, some of our best lifetime friendships have developed among those we have come to know and love through God’s faithfulness at Apostles. Thanks be to God!