Homer City Welcomes New Anglican Church
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Most new churches take months to organize. It was not so for Harvest Anglican Church. Harvest Anglican Church has been called to a new beginning focused on establishing an Anglican Church presence in Indiana County. Their mission focus is centered on the Lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture. The newly formed church began with a small, but committed, group of Christians meeting in an exploratory gathering one evening in a member’s home in Indiana. Their fellowship has now grown to a group of more than thirty devoted Christians who regularly attend worship services held at 5:00 PM each Saturday evening at the Homer City United Methodist Church. Their worship service blends a combination of traditional and contemporary style.
Initially, three out of four of the churches they spoke with about their desire to have a presence in Indiana County offered Harvest Anglican Church use of their buildings. Thanks to the exceptionally warm welcome extended to the newly formed fellowship by Pastor Joe Stains, his leadership team, and members of the Methodist Church in Homer City, Harvest Anglican Church's first worship service was held on November 30, 2008.
This new “church plant,” lead by Harvest Anglican Church's deacon-pastor Harold Hicks, was formed out of difficult choices its founding members had to make after decisions in their former congregations in Blairsville and Indiana compelled them to join the newly realigned Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh – Anglican in southwestern Pennsylvania rather than remain with the reorganizing Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh - USA.
Anglicanism was born with the formation of the Church of England in the 1500’s and now is one of the largest Christian denominations in the world with approximately 77 million members. Anglicanism combines the beauty of the Holy Eucharist and the early Church Creeds with the Reformation beliefs of Scripture alone as the final authority and Faith alone saves. In December 2008 the Theological Orthodox who hold firm to the core values of Christianity formed a new North American Province (Anglican Church in North America) in which Harvest Anglican Fellowship is affiliated.
Harvest’s rapid start and mission focus didn’t happen in a vacuum. “We had a decision to make….a very difficult decision,” said Ramona Belgie, who for many years had been an active member of Christ Church in Indiana. Ken Smith, former member of St. Peters in Blairsville, commented on how well the two distinct groups have come together. While seeing friends choose different directions isn’t ever easy, Harvest Anglican Fellowship members already recognize signs of God’s blessing on their new beginnings.
Members of both Harvest Anglican Church and the Homer City United Methodist Church shared their Christmas Eve Service and other joint efforts that have grown the Christian community in Indiana County, PA. Harvest’s vision is to grow a vibrant, loving, accepting and forgiving Christian church in Indiana County that changes lives and impacts the world through the good news and grace of Jesus Christ. Their mission is to bring all people into a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, transforming lives through teaching, nurturing, healing and enabling them to grow in faith and take God’s love into the world.
Looking ahead, Harvest Anglican Church is actively moving forward in their efforts to provide a viable Anglican alternative to all of Indiana County. They look forward to growing their new Christian Community knowing that they are called to serve and join with fellow Christians to spread God’s word throughout the world.
Persons interested in learning more about Harvest Anglican Church may contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Deacon Harold Hicks at 724-599-6699. HAC is living testimony to the Diocese’s vision – “One Church of Miraculous Expectation and Missionary Grace.”