Church planting continues to be a primary focus for the Anglican Church in North America. To help lead and direct the next chapter in this initiative, Archbishop Beach appointed The Rev. Dan Alger as his Provincial Canon for Church Planting. Our Canon for Communications, The Rev. Andrew Gross, recently sat down with Canon Dan:
AG: First of all, congrats on your new appointment. Can you tell our readers how this journey started?
DA: Thanks, Andrew. Church planting has been a significant part of my life since college. I grew up in the Episcopal Church, but my first experience with planting came during my time at UNC- Chapel Hill when Terrell Glenn moved to Raleigh to plant what would become Church of the Apostles. I assisted Terrell for a few months helping to lead music while the Launch Team met in a cramped office space, and I got hooked. I found something intriguing and beautiful in the juxtaposition of an ancient liturgy and a new faith community. So many of my passions came together in one place: it was Gospel-centered, it was missional, it was sacramental, it was communal, it was biblical.
AG: Where did you go to seminary, and where was your first church?
I left Church of the Apostles to attend Trinity School for Ministry, but church planting had been burned into my heart. After seminary, I moved back to North Carolina where I planted a church (also called Church of the Apostles) and spent 10 years in the military community near Fort Bragg. During that time I also began to assist other planters through a leadership role in the Apostles Mission Network and had the opportunity to come alongside planters in many different places throughout North Carolina and beyond- even out to Hawaii.
AG: I know that for the last few years you have lived just up the road from the Archbishop’s office. What brought you to Georgia?
I left North Carolina to come to the greater Atlanta area where I am currently planting Anglican Church of the Redeemer, and serving as the Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Diocese of the South. I also spent the last two years working on the Anglican 1000 staff with Canon Alan Hawkins (who is now the Canon for Development) which gave me the opportunity to travel throughout the Province to serve our church planters. So, church planting in our Anglican tradition on a local, diocesan, and provincial level has been the air that I have breathed for quite some time. It is my passion.
AG: I know that you are just getting your feet underneath you in this new appointment, but how would you describe your role as the Canon for Church Planting?
My role is to continue the work of encouraging, equipping, and catalyzing Anglican church planting throughout North America. I am going to encourage the work that is already taking place. I am going to help equip our planters, dioceses, and networks by providing the resources, relationships, and wisdom they need to advance in their efforts. Where there is not currently planting work taking place, I will help be a catalyst to get it started. The long and short of it is that this office is here to see local church planters and church planting dioceses flourish in their work. If you are planting a church, or hope to, I am your friend, partner, and advocate.
AG: How do you see the next season of church planting shaping up for the Anglican Church in North America?
First of all, we are building on a strong legacy. Anglican 1000 under the direction of David Roseberry and Daniel Adkinson, and then Alan Hawkins helped the planting of nearly 500 churches! That’s astounding! I want to help our Province build on this solid foundation. We’ve learned a lot; through both victories and mistakes. All over the province faithful planters, networks and dioceses have been aggressively pursuing this work. Now, drawing on that collective wisdom, we can continue to mature in our efforts.
Now that we have a zeal for planting, we need to add support systems such as assessment, training, coaching, and other resources, that will allow us to more effectively plant more healthy churches with healthy church planters. My first step is to listen, to deepen relationships, to talk, and to pray. I do not presume to have all the answers for the future of planting within our Province, but I do strongly believe that working together, we have a vibrant future ahead of us.