Andover's original “Congregational, parish church” is becoming a congregation in the Anglican Diocese of New England. Andover's historic, protestant Christian congregation (the building itself dates back to 1796-97) is pleased to announce that, after a long journey of prayer and discernment concerning denominational affiliation, a vote was taken on Sunday, October 14. By an overwhelming majority the members decided to join the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), partnering with Anglican provinces in Africa and across the globe.
In the ten years since we voted to leave the United Church of Christ, the church has grown and stretched in new ways that have led us to choose the ACNA as the larger fellowship of churches which best reflects who we are now (and have been becoming for some time). One of our purposes in joining the Anglican denomination is that we might embrace the fullness of Christ's Church in its three historic streams:
1) There is the “catholic” stream (small “c”) meaning, “according to the whole” or what has been believed and practiced by Christians almost universally in all times and places. C.S. Lewis, a famous Anglican, spoke of”mere Christianity.” The Anglican way looks to the ancient creeds of the Church and writings of the Early Church to guide its faith and practice.
2) They are “reformed” and ever reforming according to the written Word of God, the Old and New Testaments. The “reformed” or evangelical stream recaptured in the Reformation of the English Church in the 1500's, reestablished the primacy of the Holy Scripture for establishing Christian doctrine and the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. (If it's not in the Bible it's not necessary for salvation). Yet, the Word without the Spirit remains lifeless and without power to transform lives which is the Gospel.
3) Anglicans fully embrace the “charismatic” stream with its emphasis on the need for the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit to do the ministry of Christ in the world. What does this mean for us practically, here at Andover Community Church?
If you were to visit us you would find some of all three streams in operation. God's Word is taught here and preached and recited in the responses and liturgies of the Sunday service. Worship follows Anglican forms of the liturgy of the historic Church (including the Eucharist or Holy Communion) along with contemporary forms of praise and worship music; and place given to the leading of the Holy Spirit through the worshiping body of believers. (We believe in the priesthood of all believers in the manifestation and ministry of the gifts of the Spirit).
Andover's Church will remain the community church we have always been, with our members coming from a variety of church backgrounds (Congregational and Episcopal, Baptist and Catholic, etc.) and no background whatsoever. We also, aspire to be a church in ministry and Christ's mission to the community, to Andover and the surrounding area.
Come, visit with us to see first hand what we are doing; and if you are a Christian believer without a church home, give us a serious look. Seekers and the curious are also very welcome. We would also love to have you join us for the Alpha Course in the Winter. Alpha is designed for seekers and non-Christians to learn about the basic Christian faith in a non-judgmental environment where all questions may be asked and opinions expressed.
We don't claim to have it all for every Christian, nor that there won't be further things for us to learn and do differently in the coming days. But believing we are being led by Christ's Spirit to this “church home,” we recognize this as a good thing, not only for us personally but also that we might more effectively do the mission Jesus has given us to do in this time and place, and into the future.