Acts 13:3-4 "Then, after they had fasted and prayed and placed their hands on them, they sent them off. So Barnabas and Saul, sent out by the Holy Spirit...." When the church prays, the Holy Spirit sends....
Our Diocese - the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (DOMA) - has been wonderfully supportive of Incarnation as we first launched as a young church plant, and are now officially a congregation. And their ambitious target is to have 50 new church plants in the next 10 years… and we at Incarnation are one of their first resounding successes!
One of the keys to church planting is building a strategy; I wonder if you have noticed Morgan talking more about church planting recently? Nearly a year ago now he was invited to join a cohort of young church planters, and he has been spending every alternate week with his cohort over the last four months working deeply on the ways and means of church planting. In the rest of his time he’s been helping things happen here too!
God has led Morgan to strategically pray about the area in VA/Metro DC in Franconia-Springfield and whether it is ripe for an Anglican church! He has mapped every nook and cranny of the area and this last week he and I met with a group consisting of the Bishop and all the Anglican priests in this ‘Arlington-and-beyond’ area to discuss his ideas and dreams.
As we talked and prayed about church planting Morgan was given a resounding YES by all of us; including the Bishop, the surrounding priests and the DOMA Great Commission Committee to begin the process of planning to plant a church in the Franconia-Springfield region. The Diocese has a new strategy - they would like groups of churches - as opposed to single churches - to commit to supporting a new church planter - and this is particularly true where a church is not quite big enough to launch its own church plant the way Resto launched us. (And as the Bishop says - babies don’t have babies; but under this new model we can still participate, more like a slightly older sibling...).
And so today we are excited and proud to announce that Morgan will begin preparing to plant a church in Franconia-Springfield. He will have a board who will oversee him and he will be a pioneer for this way of church planting in our Diocese. The Bishop is also pleased that he will be planting a church which is much ‘higher’ liturgically than Incarnation - as the Diocese does not have many high-church congregations. Morgan will be breaking new ground in more ways than one!
We could not be happier for Morgan and Ashley - even as we will be extremely sad to see them go - we will be doing it with a whole lot of love and a pledge to support them in whatever ways we can.
As you may have noticed, Morgan and Ashley’s family will be growing sometime around Valentine’s day and as we anticipate Cole’s arrival, so too we have all planned and strategised and dreamed about the best timing and way forward to give Morgan space to dig deeper into his church planting plan. We have weighed MANY options and eventually concluded that the kindest gift to Morgan and Ashley was to let them step into their parental leave and then not have to pick up Incarnation responsibilities afterwards; this will also give Morgan space to finish his PhD, as well as lecture in Hebrew at the Leland Center for Theological Studies from January, and most importantly learn to be a father to baby Cole! AND simultaneously begin the early stages of contributing to the expansion of God’s church…by planning to plan to plant.
We anticipate that Morgan will go on paternity leave at the start of Lent and their last official Sunday with us will be February 23. Part of their preparation will involve worshipping at other churches, including those supporting their planting such as our mother church, Restoration. Meanwhile, I encourage you to ask him LOTS of questions about his dreams and hopes for this new church. Please continue to pray for them in this new journey and chapter of their lives.
We are so grateful for the ways that Morgan has helped Incarnation to get started over the last (nearly) three years and we are going to miss all the Reeds so much as they transition to this new calling. However, they are not going far away and we look forward to having close friendship with this new church as it begins to form over the next few years. We are excited by all God will do in and through them in the months and years ahead. We look forward to supporting with prayer and encouragement from alongside!
And as for us - we will need to spend some time adjusting to the loss of the ever-versatile Fr Morgan and work out how to grow into our next phase without him. It's too early to know how we will manage all those details, but stand by for the next chapter of our lives together!
We anticipate God's glory in all of these changes,
This is a transcript of the announcement that was made in church on Sunday, December 22.