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2023 Synod Recap & Election Results

November 10, 2023
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Newsletter Contents

The last few days in Tallahassee, Florida, have truly been a time of encouraging and building up one another, just as the Apostle Paul commands in 1 Thessalonians 5. The Holy Spirit was at work through our Clergy Conference and Annual Synod, and we would like to share with you an overview of all that has taken place.

Prior to Synod, our clergy gathered in Tallahassee, FL, to hear from the Rev. Aaron Buttery, the ACNA’s Canon for the Next Generation Leadership Initiative. We heard from him about the imperative to reach the next generation of Christians and leaders for the Church—not only among our youth and children but all of the unchurched. Then Aaron provided a way for all of our churches, ministries, and leaders to develop specific plans to do just that in their own ministries.

Synod opened with a festival service of Holy Communion, with clergy and laity from all over the Diocese participating in ministry (including four of the deacons ordained this year). You can watch the service, including Bishop Alex’s homily, on our YouTube channel.

After two deacons ordained this year led us in Morning Prayer, Synod formally welcomed The Mission (Pensacola, FL) into Synod. We then heard from the Bishop and his senior staff regarding the state of our Diocese. Bishop Alex recapped some of his ministry highlights for the past years including visiting most of our churches, participating in a Holy Spirit-filled strategic planning process, and attending GAFCON IV. He gave thanks for the number of new leaders being raised up before turning his attention to the future. He announced a five-year goal for our Diocese to have fifty flourishing churches, and hopes that the new Grow Fund will soon be able to support creative new initiatives for pioneering and strengthening work.

Executive Administrator Chris McCarthy’s word for 2023 was “infrastructure;” a lot of needed improvements have been made to underlying processes in service of empowering future ministry. Archdeacon Jessica Jones summarized the process leading to the Strategic Plan, recognized a number of important additions to diocesan leadership teams, and the importance of the Missional Leadership Alliance. The Diocese is working to designate a point person for youth and family ministry in every congregation and has a renewed emphasis on ministry to college campuses. After a testimony on the importance of diocesan “Next Gen” ministries by Hannah McDonald, Jessica announced the Rev. Christopher Jones will begin as Canon for Next Generation Ministry starting January 1.

Canon for Congregations Mark Eldredge reflected on seven years of ministry with the Diocese and reiterated his commitment to seeing our churches flourish, even though his role is changing. Bishop Alex thanked Mark and presented him with a token of our appreciation for his ministry. Canon for Church Planting Taylor Bodoh announced unequivocally that we are a church-planting diocese: many of the works we have been pouring into for years are showing tremendous signs of growth and health. After he and Lenny Konschewitz summarized updates for each diocesan plant (details in the Synod Guide), Canon Taylor and Bishop Alex announced that Peter and Naomi Lebhar will be planting a church in Tampa, FL.

Diocesan Canon for Global Mission Dr. Keith Allen together with Cathedral Canon for Missions & Evangelism Bill Krizner and Fr. Matt Rusch shared about exciting partnerships for global mission. A new Global Missions Network within the Diocese will help churches working in overlapping areas coordinate their efforts. Various leaders led a total of ten workshops and convened five lunch meeting groups. 

Election Results

Before adjourning, Synod approved several changes to our diocesan canons. Those changes can be found in this year’s Synod Guide, and the amended canons will be uploaded to our website next week. The following nominees were elected to serve in diocesan leadership:

Ms. Nancy Ford (Church of Our Savior) and The Rev. Robert Seawell (Church of the Apostles) were elected to serve four-year terms on the Standing Committee (through the end of 2027).

Ms. Ellen Boyer (Grace Anglican Church) and the Rev. Jeff Grossman (New Life Anglican Fellowship) were elected to serve three-year terms on the Diocesan Council (through the end of 2026).

Mr. Chris McCarthy, Ms. Karissa Bodoh, Mr. Mark Wilkerson, Mr. David Mica, Sr., the Ven. Dr. Jessica Jones, the Very Rev. John Wallace, the Very Rev. Marcus Kaiser, and the Very Rev. Canon Andrew Rowell were elected to represent the Gulf Atlantic Diocese at the Anglican Church in North America’s Provincial Council in 2024. Ms. Beth Kirby and the Rev. Canon Dr. Keith Allen were elected as alternates. Our Youth Delegation will consist of Ms. Hannah McDonald, Mr. James Kaiser, and Ms. Kaiti Kirby, with Mr. John Driscoll chosen as an alternate.

We will be updating our website over the coming days to reflect the addition of these new leaders. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing more of the media we’ve collected over the last few days.

Finally, thank you to the Cathedral staff and volunteers, and the many others who are too numerous to name, that made Synod happen. We love and appreciate you all, and are grateful for all of your work. And thank you to everyone who was in attendance over these last three days. It is a joy to serve you all. See you next year (October 18-19, 2024)!