September 27, 2014
We’re so glad you’re interested to learn more about what God is doing to raise up a church in Elgin, IL! First, we’d love to tell you a bit about us, and then tell the story of how God has been stirring our hearts (and the hearts of others) for the mission of planting a church in Elgin, and finally leave you with a way to contact us if you’d like to hear more of the story.
We got heavily involved at Resurrection soon after college. Eight years later we are married with three children and loving Resurrection more than ever, which is why we are eager to see Her plant churches and start to bear fruit in new communities. In our time here Julie has served in children’s ministry, youth ministry, Eucharist ministry, Prayer ministry, Worship Arts for Holy Week, and on the leadership team for the Gathering and the Elgin Pastorate. Brett served on staff for 5 years as the youth minister, and in addition has served as a volunteer in music ministry, children’s ministry, teaching and preaching, Vigil readings team, Eucharist ministry, prayer ministry, Rezbearers, and now leading the Elgin Pastorate.
In January of 2014, Julie and I had been asked to meet with Resurrection’s clergy team to discuss our call to ministry. To prepare for that meeting, Julie and I began to talk and pray through what we felt the Lord was doing in our life. In those weeks of prayer and listening, we were somewhat surprised to find emerging a clear conviction that the Lord wanted us to plant a church. We went to the clergy and shared this with them, and there was immediate energy in the room. They asked where we would plant and we knew right away it would be Elgin. We’d been meeting there as a Pastorate for a year already, and many in that group were eagerly praying for an Anglican church there. Since January, our minds, thoughts, and conversation have been continuously on Elgin.
The Holy Spirit moved to confirm this call especially throughout the days of 24/7 prayer at Resurrection. One evening in March the Pastorate teaching was on Ezekiel 47, about a river that flows from the Temple, and at first is a trickle, then a stream, then a rushing river that “brings life wherever the river goes”. The theme was: God brings life to dead things. Our hearts were stirred as we prayed and talked about what it would mean to see those streams of living water flow from the Lord and bring life to the dead places of Elgin and the Northwest suburbs. A few days later, Julie and I met with a young couple who were very familiar with Elgin and wanted to hear about the prospective plant. Katie didn’t know anything about the Ezekiel teaching at Pastorate, but she said that there were many people in Elgin who are dry and need a river. “There is a river in that city,” Katie said (referring to the Fox), “but there are those who need a spiritual river.”
The next day I was at an Anglican church planting conference, and Stewart preached. His central image was the mighty rushing river of a revival church. I said, “Okay, Lord, I’m listening. River. Got it. Revival, rushing living, life to dead and dry places, okay... what do we do now?” As Trevor McMaken and I were worshipping next to each other I sensed a nudge to pray for Trevor and the Aurora plant, that God would raise up a church of the mighty rushing river, immersed in the Word, sacraments and liturgical prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit in signs and wonders. As I prayed, he chuckled because at that moment he had just gotten the same nudge to pray the same prayer for us and for Elgin. While he took his turn to pray, I could hear (unbeknownst to Trevor) Stewart from down front praying over the room the exact same prayers that Trevor was praying.
That same night, at the same time, some of our Elgin folks were with a group of friends at Resurrection’s sanctuary, praying for leaders to be sent throughout the diocese to altars that didn’t yet exist. Al Cedeno says, “The sound of the font stood out to me. I kept thinking about something someone said about Elgin: once you’ve been near the river it stays with you. And I thought that it’s true to some extent with the Fox, but much more so with the 3 streams heritage that we have imbibed so deeply at Resurrection. That river must stay with us and there are many who need to drink of it.”
Later, in April, Lane Severson was talking with an old friend from the Vineyard Church in Elgin, a faithful woman of prayer named Joyce. Lane shared that there was a group trying to discern if God wanted to plant a church in Elgin. Without dropping a beat she said, “He wants to.” She then explained that earlier in the week she had been praying for Elgin. She saw an image of a bunch of dried trees and took them to be some of the Elgin churches that had grown dry; so she began to pray for their renewal. The Lord asked her not to pray for that, but rather instead to pray that new trees would be planted by streams of water, whose roots would go down deep.
Just recently I went up to Elgin to meet and pray with a group of humble, godly, kingdom-minded pastors who made it clear that we were welcome to plant in Elgin; no sense of threat, envy, or rivalry among them. They just want God to move in their city. I also met up with some businessmen who have been instrumental in pioneering projects to revitalize downtown, an initiative largely led by the artist community. Elgin has a long history of love for the arts, and as I explained how mother Rez has a deep love for liturgical arts, and as I shared about our desire to bring that charism with us to Elgin – they were very encouraged and interested to hear more.
Later that day, walking through downtown, I felt a burning desire to see this city restored by a Holy Spirit renewal and healing that would restore not only the earthly city of Elgin, but the City of God in Elgin. We ask for your prayer and support as we obey this call to open the way for that river of living water to flow and bring life to dead places, and restore all things to beauty in Christ Jesus.