April 2024

by Rev. Jared Wensyel on April 15, 2024


I recently had the pleasure of attending the Made to Flourish conference in Kansas City. For those of you who don’t know Made to Flourish, it is a multi-denominational organization which provides a grant program for pastoral residencies. Every year all of the churches that are part of the pastoral residency network come together: pastors, coordinators, and residents (curates).

As I sat at the conference and looked out at the group which has grown every year since I started as a curate in 2021 (now assistant rector), a few things stood out to me:

First, the Anglican presence has grown and many churches in our diocese as well as elsewhere in the ACNA have joined and now have flourishing curacy programs which are raising up the future rectors of our churches.

Second, I was encouraged by the ethnic diversity of the group, including from our Anglican brethren. This is a good sign for the church in America that so many churches are raising up ethnically mixed churches.

Third, I simultaneously was led to think about how high of a hurdle this kind of program is for the many immigrant and other non-majority potential leaders in our diocese. Many of them don’t have the education or qualifications to apply for the kind of residencies these churches are offering, and yet God is calling them up in our midst to also lead churches in our diocese.

Over the next few years, I look forward to working with our diocesan and ETNI leaders to develop ways that Christ our Hope can raise up and equip those kinds of leaders who are going to struggle to be accepted for our curacies but are vitally needed for the future of our churches. How do we identify these leaders and create development opportunities? How do we find funding for ETNI curacies or similar programs even if it seems like hiring a qualified seminary grad is the easier and better bet? How do we ensure ETNI pastors are flourishing when many of them are squeezing church ministry into challenging work schedules and conditions many of us could hardly imagine? This is something I am excited for us to develop in the near future.

Another joy I had at the conference was sitting down with one of our rectors who has extensive ETNI experience, Aubrey Spears from Church of the Incarnation in Harrisonburg, VA. As a church they have hosted an immigrant congregation made up of refugees from Sudan, Kush Anglican, for a few years already. While Aubrey had plenty of nuggets of wisdom to share, one thought stood out as imperative for working with other ethnicities within our churches: our expectations around time.

Aubrey shared a concept with me I have never heard of: clock time vs. event time. Pien Huang, a reporter for NPR, writes in an interview:

“In a culture obsessed with timeliness, we don't make room for difference, McClaurin says. Time researchers say people fall into two basic time styles. There's clock time, and there's event time. For clock timers, the start and end of doing something is dictated by the clock. For event timers, it's more based on a feeling.” (In praise of being late: the upside of spurning the clock, NPR, 1/11/23, https://www.npr.org/transcripts/1139782676)

Anyone who works with people from other cultural contexts will find out time is handled differently. While America has worked on clock time for a long time and will continue to for many years to come, how do we make time in our busy ministry schedules to be flexible enough to create space in our churches for different mentalities? If we don’t create some flexibility, I can assure you that life together with every tribe and nation in our midst will hardly go beyond the surface, if it happens at all.

Book Highlight:

Are you aware of how much God has been moving in reaching Westerns through refugees and immigrants? This has especially been true in Germany over the last few years, where many of the most successful church plants are multiethnic ones. 

Stephen Beck is a pastor in St. Paul Minnesota and was a successful church planter in Germany for many years. He now helps to lead an organization called MosaiXmultiply which provides theological training for leaders in multiethnic contexts. Check out his story in his book:

The Mosaik Miracle: How God is Building a New Church for Refugees, Immigrants and Nationals by Stephen Beck

How to get connected with ETNI?

  1. Keep an eye out for this newsletter going forward. We are going to send this newsletter out more consistently to keep you in the loop as well as equip the diocese with resources for living out our vision.
  2. Reach out to to setup a call to see if you have any particular questions or concerns as ETNI pertains to your local setting.
  3. If you are interested in more regular coaching on ETNI in your church, reach out as well and I would be happy to explore this with you.
  4. We are looking into other options to cultivate ETNI within our ministries, including regular cohorts, and potential conferences. We will be in touch on further opportunities.

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