Saturday, July 24, 2010

“Episcopal Revival”

From Georgia-

I grew up in a wonderful Baptist church and each summer we would have a revival. It meant a tent was set, a visiting evangelist came to preach, and folks were energized and more committed to their faith. Past members returned to church and folks who were not churched came and were inspired. It was an image-making event for a 1950s youngster. Today a similar revival is going on at the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Madison’s Historic District.

The priest is Father Dann Brown, who is Episcopal Chaplain at UGA, and comes to Madison on Sundays.
One factor which makes him skilled in this process is that his dad was a Baptist pastor. It’s in his DNA to know just what a parish in transition needs. His father twice told him that Dann’s faith was more mystical than his own. What he was attempting to convey is that his preaching style, his prayer life, and his listening skills were different from what he saw in his father. Dann attended Furman University, followed that with a stint at a Baptist seminary in California before concluding that there was merit in his dad’s advice. He had a great track career at Furman and coaching and teaching became his vocational path. In his late 30s he converted to the Episcopal faith and soon found himself attending seminary at Sewanee.

Every faith has unique traditions and language. In the Episcopal faith, Dann’s relationship to Church of the Advent is supply priest. He is not the interim pastor; he simply performs the Sunday worship service and he lends the lay leadership his wisdom and experience. Church of the Advent has a Vestry (similar to a Board of Deacons) who run the ongoing affairs of the church. Church of the Advent has had a significant membership and giving drop-off.
It is not altogether clear that they can afford a full-time priest. That is quite a change from the very vibrant parish it has traditionally been, and the important role its members have played in Morgan County’s history.

More here-

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