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Friday, June 8, 2012

Reconnecting with a Spiritual Father and Friend at the ACNA Assembly

The photo to the right is a picture of me and the Rev Canon Larry Hill taken yesterday at Ridgecest.  As I said earlier this assembly is partly a "family" reunion:  Larry is truly my spiritual father as well as a long time friend.  Larry was the lay evangelist on staff at All Saints' Church in Aliquippa PA in 1981 and was instrumental in leading me to Christ.  He shared with me for the first time the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Evangelism Explosion (EE) model.  Although I did not make a commitment to Christ the first time I heard his presentation -- truth be told, I was turned off!  I thought he was acting like a Baptist not an Episcopalian.  I did, a few months later, make that commitment to Christ for my salvation.  Larry and his wife Lenore and the Rev Christopher Leighton (the rector of All Saints') and his wife Janet discipled Gale and me.  They modeled to us what a Christian marriage and family was to be.  They taught us how to read and teach the Scriptures and how to lead small groups.  Gale and I both become EE trainers and leaders.  Later I served on the vestry of All Saints' and led the mission and outreach committee.   They helped us to discover our spiritual gifts and opened us up to the power of the Holy Spirit.  Gale and I would not be who we are today without the faithful ministry of Larry and Lenore Hill and Christopher and Janet Leighton.  They saw with spiritual eyes what God could do with us as fellow ministers and partners in the gospel.

Larry was among the first clergy and his among the first parishes to leave the Episcopal Church over revisionism.  In 1994 he and most of his congregation left Church of the Holy Spirit in north Ocean City MD and formed Holy Trinity Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC) in Berlin MD -- six miles inland from the beach.  Like us, they walked out of their building, turned over the keys and left all behind.  Holy Trinity eventually became the Cathedral for the CEC diocese and for Bishop Richard Lipka.   When the CEC imploded in the mid 2000s Larry's parish and other former CEC parishes as well as Bishop Lipka joined the ACNA through the Diocese of All Saints' and Bishop Bill Ilgenfritz and Forward in Faith.

1 comment:

  1. Great to be with you and Gale at the Provincial Assembly. I am so blessed by your friendship and partnership in the Gospel. God has great things in store for you as you continue to serve and lead the people of Christ the Redeemer. Many Blessings... Fr. Larry