Angli-metho-costal. That’s the term I’ve used when people ask me what type of Christian I am. For over ten years I’ve used that term to describe myself. Born and raised in an Episcopal Church in South Florida, I quietly slipped out the backdoor of the Episcopal campus ministry at my liberal arts college in 2003, while the ten people who still remained couldn’t stop arguing about the ordination of Gene Robinson – a sexually active gay priest recently consecrated as the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire.
I found myself, literally, walking into the church next door, a United Methodist Wesley Foundation, and never looking back. For ten years I lived, served, worshiped, and grew with this community of Christians, these people called Methodists. These college students were on fire for Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, and had experienced a charismatic renewal in their church. Among these charismatic Methodists, I met the Holy Spirit in a way I had never experienced before. I learned to have freedom in worship, to pray and intercede for others, to listen in prayer rather than just speaking, and to minster to others with the spiritual gifts God gave me.
Before God called me to seminary, I was already witnessing God bringing his Anglican church back together in America. A friend of mine from the Wesley Foundation had been attending St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tallahassee and invited me to their evening contemporary service. During my first experience there, I felt my heart strangely warmed.
The beauty of the Anglican liturgy, led by a priest with enthusiasm and confidence – like he truly believed every single word – it was invigorating. The ancient forms of liturgy, mixed with modern expressions of worship and music, infused and filled with the presence and freedom of the Holy Spirit, was unlike anything I had ever experienced. This worship brought me home to my sacramental foundation, was rooted in orthodox truth and the gospel, yet was open to, filled with, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It was the best of the Episcopal, Methodist, and Charismatic experiences I’ve had, and I wanted more. But I was afraid.
This Anglican Church in North America was still very new. I was heading to seminary soon and to a vocation in ministry. I had no idea where God was leading me, but for the last ten years I had been Methodist. So I went through the United Methodist ordination process. Yet ironically at Asbury, a predominately Methodist Wesleyan seminary, the Lord continued stirring this Angli-metho-costalism in me, and placing other Anglicans in my path.
That’s when I first heard the phrase “three streams” – this Anglican way of converging the sacramental/liturgical, the evangelical, and the charismatic together. That was me! That had been me for over a decade, but without a way to define it – three streams. And even more importantly, there were others like me. I wasn’t crazy, and I wasn’t alone! It felt right. There was excitement. There was energy. There was vision for church planting and ministry that I had been waiting for the Lord to reveal. This was it.
Now in my fourth year of seminary, I plan to be ordained as an Anglican priest and plant a three streams contemporary, evangelical, charismatic, sacramental church. My wife has also felt this call to the Anglican church and shares in the excitement and adventure the Lord has awaiting us. And I finally have a context to my Angli-metho-costalism – three streams Anglicanism.