In a new video to his Diocese, Bishop Stewart Ruch describes his excitement at the bonding experienced last week in the ACNA Conclave:
Brothers and Sisters of the Upper Midwest, I want to give you a brief report on what I just experienced at our Provincial Assembly and Convocation over the course of the last two weeks. When we gathered as bishops to make the election of our new Archbishop, we made a pledge to each other the we would be confidential about all that occurred in what we called the Conclave, this time for electing a new Archbishop. I’m glad we made that pledge, it was important to keep secrecy, but it’s also killing me because I am dying to tell you the story of what happened in those three days as we gather at the Arch Abbey of St. Vincent in Latrobe Pennsylvania.
It is truly one of the great stories of the last 25 years of the new work God is doing in North American Anglicanism and in American Anglicanism. Suffice to say, what occurred in that time was real conversation, real tensions real joys, deep prayer, times of spontaneous worship, sharing our hearts one with another. Every one of the 51 bishops who are active and able to make the election for a new Archbishop shared about their heart, their passion for the next five years of the Anglican Church in North America; we truly bonded as a college, we went from being a group of men with different concerns representing different constituencies to a collegial band of apostolic leaders who are called to do the work the Gospel in our generation. By the end of that time it became unanimously clear that God had selected Bishop, now Archbishop Foley Beach to lead us for the next five years in his five-year term as a leader.
I have great confidence in Archbishop Foley. I’ve had a chance to build a personal friendship with him and prayer relationship with him over the last year, and so I know his evangelical heart, I know that he’s a deep churchman that loves Mother Church. He’s a man who moves and works and lives in the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit. But while I have confidence in Archbishop Foley, I have a greater confidence in the way in which he was chosen, which is truly an unmanaged, carefully allowed freeing spiritual process in which we heard, I believe, from the Holy Spirit, who is the man to lead the Anglican Church of North America.
This conference, this Conclave was the most important moment for us in the ACNA, even more important than our founding five years ago in Bedford Texas in 2009, because it was a precarious moment where one generation of leaders, if you will the Moses generation, handed off to the next generation of leaders, Foley Beach has been called our Joshua generation leader. Succession is always a vulnerable time in the life of an organization and a time for incredible opportunity and growth. We in the ACNA by God’s grace have captured this moment as a positive, profound moment, to continue to grow. Succession has occurred, and it’s occurred with great blessing from Archbishop Duncan into the hands of Archbishop Foley.
When I walked out, a day after the election to the Basilica which is the main worship space, and building at the Arch Abbey, to my amazement, I saw the most beautiful, richly colored, expansive rainbow I have ever seen. It literally stretched from one side of the mountain ridge the surrounds Latrobe Pennsylvania to the side over the Basilica. When I looked twice, I saw that actually there was a double rainbow underneath, so that there were two rainbows there. I think that was a supernatural gift from God shown to us there for all of us in the Anglican Church of North America to remind us of God’s promise the the days of difficulty and destruction have in so many ways passed as God proved after the Flood, and that days of promise are ahead. There will be challenging days for us in the ACNA, we will do the hard work of the Gospel in which our main purpose is to reach the lost and love and ennoble the poor, but we will do it in the presence and the power of God.
In my 20-plus years of being a part of American Anglicanism, I have never been so encouraged I just had to send you this video, to share with you this encouragement.