Pastor Rick Warren addressed over 800 delegates and attendees at the Anglican Church in North Americaâ€™s inaugural assembly today. Urging the audience to focus on the mission of the Church and â€œwinning one more for Jesus,â€ the influential pastor encouraged and prayed for the new church and its representatives.
Welcomed by Archbishop-designate Bob Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America and Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Warren stepped on to the stage at St. Vincentâ€™s Cathedral Bedford, Texas, to a standing ovation. Warren spoke for the next 45 minutes, giving practical advice to the gathered clergy and church leaders on such matters as nurturing Christian maturity, sharing the faith and building healthy, growing churches.
Reminding the audience to stay focused on God and His love for people, Warren said, â€œJesus didnâ€™t die to save America, he died to save Americans.â€ The work of the church, he said, was to preach the Gospel and make disciples. â€œDonâ€™t ask God to bless what you are doing. Do what God is blessing.â€
Along that theme and in the context of the current lawsuits brought against many in the ACNA, Pastor Warren said, â€œThe church has never been made up of buildings, itâ€™s made up of people,â€ and â€œChrist did not die for propertyâ€¦ You may lose the steeple, but you will not lose the people.â€
After the speech, which was punctuated by lengthy applause, Pastor Warren took questions from the audience.
The Anglican Church in North America unites some 100,000 Anglicans in 700 parishes into a single church. Jurisdictions which have joined together to form the 28 dioceses and dioceses-in-formation of the Anglican Church in North America are: the dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin; the Anglican Mission in the Americas; the Convocation of Anglicans in North America; the Anglican Network in Canada; the Anglican Coalition in Canada; the Reformed Episcopal Church; and the missionary initiatives of Kenya, Uganda, and South Americaâ€™s Southern Cone. Additionally, the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith North America are founding organizations.