November 4–5, 2022
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel... —Philippians 1:27
The Gulf Atlantic Diocese held its annual Synod November 4–5, 2022, at St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee, FL. This first gathering of the diocese following Bishop Alex's consecration served to launch a year of reconnecting in one Spirit and becoming of one mind for the sake of one mission: to proclaim the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ in every facet of our faith and life. Bishop Alex Farmer was our keynote speaker.
Clergy Conference Recap
Synod was preceded by an overnight clergy conference and retreat at Wakulla Springs and Incarnation Tallahassee. The Rev. Dr. Jack Gabig led the clergy in sessions designed to help us enter more fully into sabbath rest and reconnect with the love God has for us. The final session session featured a recap of the three reverse walkabouts Bishop Alex has facilitated so far, the reception of a priest transferring into our diocese from another jurisdiction, and a time of intercessory prayer for all of our congregations.
I was particularly touched by several things:Having the clergy retreat actually be a retreat (in venue, content, vibe, etc) was a delight! Very refreshing. And thank you for structuring the time to facilitate lots of edifying contact with fellow clergy. The speaker, Dr. Gabig, was excellent, and his message most welcome. The prayer time for each other's parishes at the end of the clergy conference led me to tears it was so edifying. All of these things filled my heart, and I drove back to Alabama full of encouragement.
—The Rev. Ben Jefferies (Rector, Good Shepherd Anglican Church)
Clergy Conference this year was refreshing. The ability to be away for a time, slow down, take in meditation, have intentional conversation, and worship together again was the right note for all of us. As Bishop Alex and Dr. Jack Gabig noted, we came into this time exhausted from COVID, from division in politics, and so much more. The time spent listening not just to some teaching but to the Lord and to each other refueled my spirit.
—The Rev. Daniel Thompson (Deacon, Church of the Apostles)
The week leading up to Synod was particularly rough for me. It was full of hard pastoral conversations, and of sheep biting each other and wandering off left and right. Then the sucker punch came from a planting family, with whom we've shared many victories and tears, telling us they're considering leaving the church. I hit stall speed and fell suddenly and precipitously into a deep depression. I started questioning whether anything we're doing is working or lasting.Synod came just in time. It was wonderful to be with brothers and sisters who had language for my experiences, and scars to match. Fr. Jack was the perfect shepherd to lead me back into the rest of God, and I received prayer ministry from he and Fr. Mark. To see the Diocese so unified, so healthy, so mission-minded, and so well led restored my confidence in the Lord and in his people. I'm excited for what the coming years will bring.
—The Rev. Jon Hall (Associate Pastor & Vicar, Incarnation Tallahassee)
The State of the Diocese
You can read the written reports from the Missional Canons and staff here. In her report delivered verbally, Archdeacon Jessica Jones added some personal stories of "Next Generation" ministry. Canon Taylor Bodoh facilitated a panel discussion with the Diocese's church planters.
Finances and Budget
Dennis Kelemen (Treasurer) and Chris McCarthy (Executive Administrator) presented an update on the current financial state of the diocese and next year's proposed budget. The buget was approved by vote. In addition, Synod approved new Clergy Compensation Guidelines.
Synod voted on representatives to ACNA Provincial Council, Diocesan Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, and Diocesan Ecclesiastical Trial Court, and elected a new Secretary following the retirement of the Rev. Lynne Ashmead.
- Mr. Mark Wilkerson and the Rev. John Wallace were elected as representatives to Provincial Council.
- Mr. Bill Wilhelm and the Rev. Morgan Clark were elected to three-year terms on Standing Committee, and the Rev. Canon Keith Allen was elected to a two-year term to fill the vacancy left by Bishop Alex's election as bishop.
- Ms. Kim Hassell and the Rev. John Hall were elected to Diocesan Council.
- Mr. Tony Ladd, Mr. Bill Norwood, Mr. Charlie Stambaugh, the Rev. Travis Boline, the Rev. Dr. Sudduth Cummings, the Rev. Dr. James Manley, and the Rev. David Marten were elected to Ecclesiastical Trial Court.
- Mr. Justin Smith was elected as Secretary of Synod.
Planting, Strengthening, Raising
Eight workshops were offered this year in the three strategic areas of work for the Diocese: Planting new churches, Strengthening our congregations, and Raising up the next generation. Thank you to Lenny Konschewitz, the Rev. Gus Richard, the Rev. Taylor Ishii, Kathy Ayres, Jody Farmer, Elena Rhodes, the Rev. John Fonville, the Rev. Dr. Jack Gabig, Chris McCarthy, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Horowitz, and the Ven. Dr. Jessica Jones for leading them.
We recognized and honored the Rev. Jim McCaslin for his long service as Canon to the Ordinary and Mr. Harris Willman for his long service as Executive Administrator for the Diocese. Both of them began serving while the Diocese was still in formation, and have now retired.
We recognized and honored the Rev. Mark DiCristina for his seven years as Canon for Ordination Preparation.