16th October, A.D. 2010
Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley, Martyrs at Oxford
TO ALL THE MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America boldly proclaim that â€œthe people of God are the chief agents of the mission of the Churchâ€ and that â€œthe fundamental agency of mission in the Province is the local congregation.â€ Ours is a church whose focus is on converted individuals in multiplying congregations. Ours is a church also built on the tithes of the faithful: the household to the local congregation, the local congregation to the diocese, the diocese to the Province.
Tithing and Discipleship
God led us to build our Province on committed disciples, the local congregations and the tithe: all for the purpose of reaching North America with the transforming love of Jesus Christ. The Holy Scriptures caused us to do things this way. We had (and have) a special stake in basing the whole of our life on the direction Scripture gives. While it is only one aspect of discipleship, imagine what God could do through us if all of us tithed! No congregation would any longer be â€œshort,â€ no diocese would lack for funds for new works, and the Province would rightly live within the tithes sent to it. We need to start challenging one another about this at the local level. God promises (Micah 3: 8-10) to open the windows of heaven if we cease to â€œrob Himâ€ and give Him our â€œfull tithes.â€
If you are not already doing so, this would be a great year to take the leap. The tithe to your local congregation is the beginning point. If not yet tithing, even to move a percentage point a year over the next several years will make an amazing difference, both to the Church at every level, and most significantly to your own personal relationship with God.
Extra Mile Giving
Our Church, like Scripture itself, also teaches that the tithe is the beginning of our giving. Many of us give more than a tithe â€“ Nara and I do so. It is all about thanksgiving to the Lord for what He has done. Some give to a point of sacrifice. They are among my heroes. Jesus and the apostolic Church most often teach either 50/50 or 100 per cent giving. Most of us who heard our friend Dr. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church speak to us at our Inaugural Assembly cannot forget the witness he and his wife make in giving away 90 percent of their income and just keeping 10 per cent. He is actually not alone in this practice that only a few can undertake, but most of us can stretch farther than we do. Pray and ask the Savior what He wants of you.
Our Provincial budget is based on the tithe of our dioceses, just as diocesan budgets are based on the tithes of their congregations. When all our local congregations get to right order, and all our dioceses get there too, we are convinced that the Province will well be able to live within these tithes for our annual operations. We have a distance to go before all our members are Biblical tithers. So at present we have a gap. For several years we know that we will have to ask some of our people and some of our congregations to â€œgo the extra mileâ€ beyond their tithe to help meet Provincial needs. This is not the long-term picture.
The Provincial Gap and Extra Mile Fund
The very good news is that we are almost half of the way to where we need to be to fund the base-line Provincial work. That is quite an accomplishment given the fact that the Province was only birthed 16 months ago! For now I need to ask for â€œextra-mileâ€ giving to fill the gap.
At the August Executive Committee meeting an â€œExtra Mile Fundâ€ was established to stand alongside â€œthe Foundersâ€™ Fund.â€ Gifts to each â€“ beyond your tithe to your own parish â€“ will make it possible for our Province to be well launched in these â€œgapâ€ years in which I will be serving you as first archbishop. Parishes that are able are also asked to consider gifts â€“ beyond their diocesan tithe â€“ to the Extra Mile or Foundersâ€™ Funds.
Individuals and parishes are asked to consider a direct gift to the Province this year, and perhaps during several of the next years. We do not yet have all our households and congregations tithing, but as discipleship improves the need will diminish. This is the Archbishopâ€™s gap appeal. Individual and parish gifts directed for the ACNA of up to $10,000 will be credited to the Extra-Mile Fund. Gifts over $10,000 will be credited to the Foundersâ€™ Fund. We need some $480,000 for this yearâ€™s operation on top of the $900,000 already committed by dioceses, parishes and individuals. Please remember that the Province is providing both direct and subsidiary support to 20 Dioceses and more than 640 congregations in North America.
Help me, please, in these â€œgapâ€ years to be your archbishop and do what the Provincial Council believes is essential. We started a year ago as a Province and have come a very great distance. For the long-haul, tithe and teach the tithe and the windows of heaven will be open for your parish, your diocese and our province, as well.
God bless you each and every one.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Most Reverend Robert William Duncan, D.D.
Archbishop and Primate
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