Visit to Holy Trinity, Fairfax, VA

I had a delightful visit with Holy Trinity in Fairfax, where I got to meet Fr. Charlie Camlin, the man responsible for setting me my examination for the diaconate.

I was given directions to the house of Deacon Jonathan Kell, but when I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to be welcomed instead by Gret Glyer, a good friend of one of my best students from Mars Hill Academy, Ben Cox. Gret is an alumnus of Grove City College, and he told me that Ben had visited Holy Trinity just a few weeks ago, and had been there when Fr. Camlin announced that I would be coming. Small world.

It is always a delight to stay with members of the congregations I visit. They have all been wonderfully hospitable and kind to me. Deacon Kell was no exception.

Holy Trinity meets in a facility owned by a Christian school, and they do a marvelous job of setting up their makeshift sanctuary (tabernacle!) and tearing it down again every Sunday. I was impressed with this invention: movable communion rail and kneelers:

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I was also impressed with the mission-mindedness of the congregation. Nearly everyone stayed to hear me speak after the service. It was a special pleasure to meet one couple, Josiah and Story Jones, who have similar vocations to mine and Sora’s: Mr. Jones is a Christian schoolteacher and deacon-postulant, and Mrs. Jones is a midwife.

After the service, I was treated to some delicious Cajun cooking by Mrs. Camlin and regaled with clergy shop-talk by Fr. Camlin and Dcn. Kell.

Thank you, Holy Trinity, for hosting me! I pray that your parish’s relationship with our family and our ministry to the Philippines may become a way for you to reap the blessings that come from involvement in foreign missions.

Below: Dcn. Kell, myself, and Fr. Camlin:

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We’re official!

With Bill Jerdan at Matt’s ordination.

Dear Matt and Sora,

It is a privilege to welcome you as missionaries of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Episcopal Church.

I have enjoyed getting to know you and your parish this past year, and in following you as you completed the candidate and discernment process of the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS), a partner mission. Following SAMS’ acceptance, the Executive Committee of the REC Board of Foreign Missions unanimously recommended your endorsement to the full Board and to the Council of Bishops. The members of the Board and the Bishops have responded positively to this recommendation.

The REC Board of Foreign Missions endorses candidates who
• are active communicant members of this Church,
• endorsed by an REC Diocese,
• approved by the Council of Bishops Ordinaries and
• accepted to serve directly under the BFM or under a partner Anglican Jurisdiction or Mission.

As endorsed Missionaries, you are entitled to solicit support throughout the Reformed Episcopal Church in the USA and Canada. You will report on your mission activities and needs to the BFM and to your Diocese. Periodic BFM and Diocesan evaluations shall be conducted for continued endorsement and will be noted as part of the annual Diocesan and triennial BFM Reports.

All funds contributed to the BFM and designated for your support will be used for that purpose, with no administrative deduction.

I appreciate the unique skills and vision that you have as a couple: Sora’s midwifery training of health care providers will safeguard and save human lives among the most vulnerable in the majority world; Matt’s gift of teaching and explaining the Scriptures will continue to form minds among children, youth and adults.

Finally I note that you are the first new missionaries endorsed by the BFM in more than a decade. And you come from the REC’s newest Diocese. This is a step forward for us as well as for you. Let us pray for one another as we serve our Lord and Saviour together.

In Christ,

William S. Jerdan
Executive Secretary

Here’s a picture of Sora Colvin collating papers

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In the last 3 months, God has overwhelmed us with the generosity of friends old and new: 75% of the support we’ve raised so far has come from individuals and families, most of whom know us personally. (As a blogger, I am tickled pink by the blog readers who have pledged without even meeting us, but they are the exception.) While we will continue reaching out to individuals, we’re turning more attention and effort to churches. We’re sending information packets to rectors in our own denomination, as well as pastors of other churches that we think would be interested in partnering with us. (Let me know if you’d like me to send you one!)

In every case, the goal is the same: we are not mendicants looking for a handout, though of course, God wants us to be in a position of dependence in His church. Rather, we are seeking fruit that abounds to our senders’ account (Philippians 4:17). More specifically, when we visit a parish, we are helping pastors give their parishioners a way to become involved in foreign missions. That’s what we want: the participation of God’s people in the Church’s obedience to the Great Commission. I don’t want people to say to themselves, “I will give money to missionaries so that I won’t have to become one.” Rather, involvement in missions often results in further involvement. Many of the donors supporting our ministry have supported other missionaries before. And many of the missionaries currently on the field began by acting as senders for other missionaries first. Indeed, we’re in that category ourselves. (Aside to my wife: “Honey, is this paragraph too preachy?” “It’s OK, dear. You’re a minister of the Word. You’re allowed to be preachy.”)

I can’t wait to see what wonderful people God will call over the next several months. But the journey that will take us on trips to other parishes in other states begins at the dining room table, stuffing envelopes with our brochures, a budget, a map of the Philippines, and letters of recommendation from our rector and bishop. (Did I mention that our materials are beautiful? Thank you, awesome design maestro, Keith K.)

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Yes, Hosanna needed to be on the lap while Daddy was addressing envelopes. She also helped Mom collate materials, and made sure that she didn’t put them in the wrong (!!!) order. She was also going to lick all 33 envelopes and seal them, but gave up after two. (We used a clean sponge instead.)

BBC’s “Toughest Place to Be a Midwife”

I just watched this delightful episode of the BBC’s “Toughest Place to Be A…” series, in which an idealistic young British midwife is transported to a Liberian hospital for two weeks. She’s first depicted in the well-equipped NHS hospital where she works, overseeing a lovely waterbirth. She then shares with the camera her (somewhat naive) hopes of learning more about natural birth in Africa. I found a lot to relate to in the juxtaposition of midwifery in a privileged, first world setting compared to the harsh realities of health care in the developing world. This is a full hour video, but worth watching (especially if you are a midwife!) There are several scenes that I would not recommend for very young or very sensitive viewers.