Summary of Archbishop Skelton's Plenary Address - EAM

Summary of Archbishop Skelton's Plenary Address - EAM
Archbishop Melissa Skelton addressed the Episcopal Asianamerican Ministry (EAM) National Consultation in the first of three plenary sessions (devoted to Christ, Community, and Creation), September 28. The first plenary comprised a four-member panel, which included in addition to the Archbishop:
  • The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop on Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation Care
  • The Rev. Canon Randolph Albany, Vicar of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Honolulu
  • The Rev. Dr. David Gortner, Director of Thriving in Ministry, Virginia Theological Seminary
Archbishop Skelton had been asked to offer a perspective on congregational development as it relates to the Jesus Movement. “From a caravan of disruptive disciples and evangelists on the road,” she recounted, the Jesus Movement made the risky move to “more settled outposts within which communities of Christians were to live counter cultural Christian lives and through which the possibility of living the Christian life would come to others.” The risks in this transition have always been great: that our churches would “lose the plot, lose focus, lose Jesus, the mover of the movement.”

In defiance of these risks, the Archbishop declared her confidence that the congregational experiment can prevail. She cited several factors that support her confidence. First there is our current context—“the tribulation of changing times and the challenges of our diverse world.” This, she suggested, may be precisely what we need if we are to recover our unique ministry as Christians. Further, she observed that we have today the frameworks, skills, and tools—all of which are effective and teachable—to equip congregational leaders for the tasks at hand.

Our Anglican identity is well suited for modern evangelism, she contended. Among our defining gifts as Anglicans are a temperament that can speak to complex modern issues, as well as spiritual practices that reunite us “not only to Jesus  but to the vitality and vigor of the early Church.”

Finally, Archbishop Skelton celebrated the asset that we have precisely in the attendees of the EAM Consultation, with the diverse backgrounds and cultures that they represent. “We have all of you with your sense of community, your sense of joy in the Gospel, your experience of not being the dominant culture, and your unique heritages.”

The time is right, the tools are at hand, and the Spirit is ranging widely, she concluded, to allow us to “form people who have both the courage and skills to create a better world.”

IMAGE

  • Archbishop Skelton speaking at the Opening Plenary EAM 2018, partial view of Canon Spellers on the right.