Planting a church was not on the Rev. Patrick’s Ware’s list of long-term goals, but after participating in the Timothy program at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Virginia, that is exactly the task he and his wife, Jordan, embraced. The result is Winchester Anglican Church.
Patrick started last year by simply driving the several hours between Falls Church and Winchester early in the morning on his day off. He met people in the community, and spent time praying about what might come next. “Lord, if this is what you want, here I am,” said Patrick.
Slowly, he met families that were interested in being part of an Anglican Church. The Wares moved to Winchester and began Winchester Anglican Church in July of 2009. Initially, the church held its weekly worship services at the Wares’ home. “We worshiped in my house for three months. I had never preached or celebrated in my kitchen before, that was new,” said Patrick.
When Winchester Anglican began meeting, their community included about 15 people. Now, worship services are regularly attended by 55-60. Most of the church’s growth has come through word-of-mouth and relationship building, said Patrick. For instance, particularly in the church’s first months, community meals played a big part in forming relationships between congregation members. “I’m just surprised by how quickly the community has grown. We have 75 chairs out now. We started with 25,” said Patrick.
Winchester Anglican Church is also working hard to introduce itself to the broader Community. On April 30, for instance, the congregation invited passers-bye to watch fireworks with them on the Wares’ lawn. Congregation members invited their friends to bring their lawn chairs, eat a free meal, and to get know others in the church during the event.
Patrick is thankful for the training he received at The Falls Church. The program, he said, taught him the skills he has needed for leading a congregation as well as helped him discover and refine a vision for ministry in Winchester. “I feel confident that I have been equipped to lead people with a proficiency that I might not have developed in ten years on my own,” he said.
The Falls Church has developed more than 50 leaders who then went on to ordained ministry in Anglican Churches. The four year old Timothy Program at The Falls Church has launched three new churches in the last three years (Alexandria, Arlington, and Winchester, Virginia) and currently plans to plant up to three more in the next three years. The three year program blends practical mentoring in all aspects of parish ministry with preparation for planting and growing new Anglican churches, particularly in the Washington D.C. Area.
“By planting new churches with trained pastors, the Timothy Program has been an effective way for our church to reach out to our neighboring communities, and Lord willing this outreach effort will grow in the future. “The Falls Church is very pleased that ACNA is making church planting a priority,” said TFC Senior Associate Rector The Rev. Dr. Frederick Wright.
To learn more about the Timothy Program, visit the church’s website.