What You Wanted to Know about Amy and Joe’s Big Adventure

Amy and Joe have received many questions from parishioners about their next adventure. We thought we would print some of their answers here as they may answer some of your questions too.

When are you leaving?

Our last day at St. Anne’s will be January 31, 2018. We will use February to make preparations for our new call. We will be in South Africa on a regular basis by the time the school term begins next August. Between March and then, we will make our first trip to South Africa, start working on improving our French, attend training for everyone in going on Mission for the Episcopal Church, and start preparing courses.

What are you going to do?

We are being sent by the Episcopal Church to help teach people who are in training to be clergy in Anglican Churches in Africa. Our home base will be the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown, South Africa. We will live and teach seminarians there. We will also be sent to other Provinces (Anglican Churches) in Africa, in countries including Tanzania, Burundi, Liberia, and the Congo. We will be trying to build relationships between the Episcopal Church and other Anglican Provinces, assess resources available and needed in Africa, and equip people for ministry. We are part of an effort called the Galatians 6:2 project, a partnership between the Episcopal Church and some of the Anglican Provinces of Africa.

Galatians 6:2? What is that?

The verse reads: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” That charge was the underpinning of the Galatians 6:2 Conference to create a larger conversation driven by theological differences regarding human sexuality and same-sex marriage in the Anglican Communion. It also sought an ongoing changing approach to mission relationships and partnerships between churches in the United States and Africa. You can read more at: http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/03/31/galatians-62-conference-explores-bearingone-anothers-burdens/

How can we support you?

Thank you for the question! Your love and prayers mean the most. We have been asked about a goodbye gift and, honestly, we need nothing for ourselves. We are giving away or selling most of our ‘stuff.’ However… these are volunteer positions and everyone who goes on mission is required to raise money or contribute toward the funds used to support you while you’re serving. We’re required to raise or contribute $10,000, which will go toward our medical insurance, housing, training, and transportation. We will also each receive a $500 stipend per month to use toward food and other expenses. If you so wish, gifts can be made directly to The Episcopal Church by check or credit card. Please attach our names so Global Mission knows it is on our behalf. Make the check payable to DFMS and send to: Yanick Fourcand Mission Personnel The Episcopal Church Center 815 Second Ave. New York, NY 10017 You can use forms on our website (https://stannes-annapolis.org/goodbye-gift/) to ensure that your gift is tax deductible. Once we know more about the situation there, we anticipate asking for support for particular projects. For example, we’ve been told that in many areas, there is a shortage of books available for use in classes and for clergy to have as reference after their studies are finished and they are in their parishes, so we may be asking people to participate in a book drive in the future.

How long do you expect to be away?

Our commitment is for 3 years.

Will you and Joe be working together or separately in different places?

Together.

Why did you feel the call now?

There are a few reasons.

  1. The need is there now. The Episcopal Church leadership feels that the timeliness of the Galatians 6:2 relationship, and sending us as representatives helps to make good on the Episcopal Church’s commitment to do what we can to help.
  2. We have gifts that we hope will be helpful in meeting a great need.
  3. We believe the time is right. St. Anne’s is in a great place now. We are healthy and vibrant, with a lot going on and a bright future. We are not leaving a church in decline or struggling with any particular problems. There is still good work to be done here, and it will be an exciting place for the next rector to come and build.
  4. We are in good health, able to travel, and we work very hard. We hope this will be true for many years to come, but we suspect it won’t get easier as years go by to take this sort of position. The timing seems right now, although we are sad to leave people we love so much.

Will you be working with parishioners at all or just clergy people and seminarians?

Perhaps. Whatever the archbishops of the various Churches think will be most helpful.

What are your hopes for this ministry?

We have several hopes. For those with whom we serve: education for those preparing to become clergy is so important to lay the foundations, not just in what knowledge you bring to the parish, but in how you think, pray, and live as a clergy person. We hope to help people sent by their churches to study for ordination gain a good foundation in scripture and theology that will last and sustain them throughout their lives as priests. The Galatians 6:2 effort is also about building relationships between our Provinces. We hope to be helpful representatives of the Episcopal Church who show love and concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We spoke with the dean of the seminary where we will be living and teaching and asked questions about how they teach and what the expectations are for teaching styles. She told us not to worry about fitting into their context, but rather to teach from ours. They want to know how Americans approach things and to experience teaching styles different from the ones they’re used to. “We’ll all learn more that way,” she said. We were encouraged by this. It sounds more like building bridges to reach across expanses rather than all trying to stay on one side of the river or chasm. For ourselves: we hope to learn more about how people in other places are the Church, how they experience God, what are the similarities and differences between our worship styles and approaches to scripture and theology. We hope to learn more about how people carry out ministry when they have fewer material resources than we do here. Our church in the USA must be a church of mission and we think we will learn about what that means by being in a different context. We have heard that the Church in Africa is vibrant and I hope we will experience that vibrancy.

Why is there specifically a need in Africa for clergy with PhDs?

A PhD is the preferred degree for professors to have in order to guarantee a level of expertise. As clergy with PhDs we bring both expertise in our subject areas as well as years of practical experience within the church. We’re told both will be very helpful. The reality right now in a number of places in Africa is that there are people who want to learn, but not enough people to teach them, and not enough resources to support people to teach them.

How many Anglican seminaries are there in Africa/South Africa?

We don’t know and can’t find a figure. We were told that one of the concerns is that there isn’t much communication amongst Anglican seminaries in Africa, so one of the ways we might be helpful is to be a bridge amongst people and seminaries because we will be traveling and visiting a number of places. We hope to learn more.

What is the Anglican population of South Africa?

South Africa is actually a part of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is made up of 28 dioceses, 21 of which are in South Africa, and has 3-4 million members. For comparison sake, we are members here of the Diocese of Maryland, which is one of 109 dioceses in the US and outside the US. The Episcopal Church has a membership of about 1.9 million.

How many Anglicans are in Africa?

More than 40 million.

Can we keep in touch?

Yes! Please do! We will be keeping a blog and will give you the address once we get it set up. We will no longer be your pastors at St Anne’s and we look forward to hearing who the blessed people are who will get to become your pastors. But you are sending us off on this new call and have helped formed us for this call.