Chaplain Lamar Reece from the US Air Force and the Special Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy speaks to Provincial Council on his unique experience, “In the Air Force, I am somewhat of an anomaly, as I am a black Anglican liturgical chaplain.”
“I am a Christian first,” he declares, “then a priest, and lastly function as a chaplain in the military.”
On one assignment, God grew a basic training congregation under his care from 40 to over 300. It is now on record as “the largest Air Force liturgical service.” Reece then adds, “I think it was more vital because it was the largest liturgical Anglican service.”
Attendees came from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures — not all Christian. Many expressed interest in knowing more about Jesus as well as Reece’s Anglican journey. “People are hungry for what we carry and what we have as Anglicans,” he said. “It was amazing to see so many people leave and [ask], ‘Where can I find an Anglican Church? Is this possible?”
Reece explains how vital it is that we have chaplains governmentally and non-governmentally.
“The Lord has been denying us the false comfort of our hidden idols so that he can give us Himself,” Rev. Jim Salladin shared Tuesday at Provincial Council concerning COVID-19 and Emmanuel Anglican, his four-year-old church in the heart of lower Manhattan.
“And the Lord is […] tearing us down and bringing a great city to its knees,” he continues, “And at the same time, and more importantly, I think the Lord is doing the same thing within the Church. Because […] though we claim Christ, we love to cherish our hidden idols – and usually we don’t know that we are doing it.
“We love good things: our buildings, our services, our liturgy, aesthetics. We love our normal comfortable church life. But the Lord in this season, it seems to me, is denying us all of those things so that He can give us Himself again. The Lord is teaching us that the best gift is not safety, or security, or big crowds, or success, or beautiful buildings. God’s best gift is always Himself. God’s best gift is always Jesus Christ. And, we know this from the Word, the Lord is jealous for our affection. And so, the Lord in this season, is tearing down our idols so that He can give us Himself.”
“You can’t tell a homeless person, ‘Just go home and quarantine yourself,” Rev. Michael Wurschmidt said Tuesday at Provincial Council. In 1993 he and his wife, Tina, founded Shepherd’s Heart, a transitional housing for homeless veterans in the inner city of Pittsburg.
“We have been able to let [the homeless] into Shepherd’s Heart [and be] their family—they are our family.” He goes onto explain that despite in the pandemic, the ministry and surrounding churches continue to serve those who have very little.
In closing Wurschmidt affirmed, “God is so faithful. God is so faithful.”
God has brought together a Latino ministry in Mimi’s diocese to expand the good news of reconciliation, healing, and freedom from oppression. “Sisters and brothers,” she affirms, “God is at work mightily among Latinos in our churches and in our communities.”
She noted that conversations around race and culture really matter to her. “This fight is my fight,” she declares, “And I believe that it is my responsibility to speak out against racism, oppression, and violence, of which we as Latinos know well, and also to repent of colorism, discrimination, complacency in the midst of power, of which as a Latina I also have benefitted.”
Mimi is the first person in her Ecuadorian family to be born in the United States, and a first-generation college graduate. She is from Cornerstone Anglican, Bridgeport in Chicago, part of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest.