FAYETTEVILLE, GA: All Saints Dedicates New Building to the Gospel and Glory of God
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Thu Dec 18 18:09:33 EST 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, GA: All Saints Dedicates New Building to the Gospel and
Glory of God
Seven years of desert Church-in-a-box wandering is over
By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
December 13, 2014
For seven years, nine months and 12 days, the parishioners of All Saints
Anglican have been faithfully praying together, celebrating the
Sacraments, hearing the Word of God proclaimed in their midst, and
living their Anglicanism to its fullest, while in borrowed space
patiently awaiting the day when they would have their own sanctuary to
worship in. That day finally came on December 7, 2014, when their long
advent ended with the joyful celebratory dedication of their new church
by ACNA Archbishop Foley Beach. At that point, what was originally
called "The Anglican Church of Fayette County," became All Saints
Anglican Church--Peachtree City, and finally moved into its own
permanent sacred space.
"We are gathered together today to dedicate and consecrate this
beautiful sanctuary for holy use," Fr. Michael Fry, All Saints' first
rector told his joyful congregation last Sunday afternoon. "It is a
wonderful occasion and in many ways the culmination of a long journey."
That long journey started on a Lenten Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007. It will
take many years for the smell of new wood and fresh varnish to be
replaced by the gentle hint of incense, lingering whiff of candle wax
and sweet scent of pew polish. The new striking white classic
Gothic-style Anglican edifice, which stands in stark contrast against
the brilliant blue Georgia sky, is built to last though this century and
on into the next and beyond. Perhaps, one day it, too, will become a
much beloved three hundred-year-old church rich in memories, history and
prayers of the All Saints who have gone before them in this hollowed
On the Second Sunday in Advent 2014 All Saints Anglican--Peachtree City
was brand spanking new as Archbishop Beach rapped on the red doors
humbly seeking entrance as their diocesan bishop. He also happens to be
the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). When the
arched doors were opened to him, he was met by nearly 300 people anxious
to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness in their own sacred
worship space. Up until then, they had been sharing a combined worship
space with the Evergreen Presbyterian Church congregation through the
gracious generosity of Peachtree City United Methodist Church's Windgate
Annex. Each Sunday as the Evergreen service disassembled, All Saints'
worship space was being prepared.
Church-in-a-box comes out: prayer books and hymnals appear, folding
chairs are rearranged, the altar is "dressed" and prepared, a proper
liturgically colored chasuble is brought out and draped over the "altar
rail" as a host of white-gloved altar guild women attend to all the
minute details needed to transform the annex into passable Anglican
worship space. Following the service, the process is reversed. The 1928
prayer books and 1940 hymnals are put away, the chairs are stacked, the
gleaming silver Eucharist vessels are removed, and the annex is stripped
of any lingering Anglican liturgical identity.
Now the weekly push to create an Anglican worship environment in a
borrowed hall is over. An archbishop has come to consecrate All Saints'
own sanctified and sacred space to the honor and glory of God.
The new ACNA Archbishop, as the founding Bishop of ACNA's Anglican
Diocese of the South, has been to the All Saints building site before.
He has quietly witnessed the church being built -- stick-by-stick,
board-by-board, tile by tile. Now he has returned to 149 Ebenezer Road,
on the border between Fayetteville and Peachtree City, as an archbishop
to bless the building and consecrate it to the greater glory of God as
the Gospel message is boldly proclaimed in Fayette County, Georgia.
Originally, a stand of pine stood reaching to the sky where the 12,000
square foot church complex now sits with its cross-topped steeple
pointing towards heaven.
Seven-plus years ago, on the first Sunday in Lent 2007, 95 "watchers and
holy ones" gathered to strike out in faithful obedience to the Gospel
and establish a Biblically faithful Anglican congregation, fully rooted
in Apostolic tradition under the early guidance of the lay leaders and
the vestry of "The Anglican Church of Fayette County."
Disaffiliating from St. Andrew's-in-the-Pines Episcopal Church, the
small band of traditional Episcopalians forged out into the deep,
leaving their building behind them and facing an unknown future. They
were supported only by their uncompromising faith, and hope in the
Gospel. They dreamed of plans, focused vision, heartfelt prayer and the
knowledge that they would not be mired in years of costly litigation. At
the time, there was no priest to lead them ... he would come later to
firmly take hold of the helm; together they would follow Jesus Christ as
their Lord and Saviour while giving witness to the Gospel on the outer
edge of metro Atlanta.
Those early Fayette County All Saints labored long and hard to establish
a strong Anglican presence southwest of Atlanta away from the hustle and
bustle of the center of Georgia's busy capitol city and to lay the early
necessary groundwork that would eventually lead to building of their own
Anglican church and its eventual joyful dedication. The day of triumph
was almost eight years in the making as Alleluias were sung in joyful
thanksgiving to the Lord.
"Our mission is unchanged: to fulfill the Great Commission given to us
by our Lord Jesus to make disciples of all nations and to obey the Great
Commandment to love one another as He loves us," Fr. Fry reminded his
faithful. "This building is merely an instrument to help us to fulfill
the vocation we have always had from the Lord."
Fr. Fry hasn't always been with All Saints. Originally, the founding of
the then Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) congregation
and its early days of ministry and reach out were prayerfully guided by
a dedicated lay leadership and strong vestry. They struggled through
their early beginnings and birthing process to establish an authentic
Anglican presence on "the South Side of Atlanta--the southern crescent"
of the city whose infamous burning was memorialized in Gone With the
All Saints went on to be a founding member of the Anglican Diocese of
the South in the Anglican Church in North America. All Saints
Anglican--Peachtree City is not to be confused with All Saints
Anglican--Atlanta, an African-American ACNA congregation located inside
the I-285 Perimeter with its spiritual roots in Nigeria. All
Saints--Atlanta is sharing worship space with Emmanuel Lutheran Church,
a multicultural Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
In the suburbs, All Saints--Peachtree City is deeply involved on a
diocesan level. So much so that the parishioners proudly presented its
newly elected founding bishop--Foley Beach--with his crozier as a joyful
remembrance of the energetic suburban congregation.
"We were fond of the idea that a piece of All Saints would travel with
him throughout the Southeast as he fulfilled his role as our Bishop,"
Fr. Fry explained. "Then he went and had to get himself made
"Apparently, an archbishop and primate--that is head of a national
church--carries around something called a 'primatial cross' rather than
a crozier when he's conducting his primatial business," the All Saints'
priest continued. "Well, not to be left out of the action, we just
decided to buck up and make him one of those, too. That's right--we made
"Your Grace," Fr. Fry continued as he addressed Archbishop Beach, "I
guess we can get over the disappointment that you won't be carrying the
crozier we gave you throughout the Southeast anymore in the knowledge
that you will carry this new gift throughout the world."
All Saints is very much involved with ACNA, as well. Fr. Fry was the
Master of Ceremonies in October for Archbishop Beach's ACNA enthronement
ceremony. Recently, he was elected the chairman of his diocesan standing
The Anglican priest, who was classically educated at Oxford in England,
and has served in the conservative dioceses of Fort Worth and San
Joaquin, has been at All Saints for seven years. He celebrates using the
1928 Book of Common Prayer Service of Holy Communion as he faces the
altar. He holds Morning Prayer in the church most weekday mornings and
Evensong on Wednesdays. He has seen his congregation grow from a
membership of fewer than 100 to an ASA of 140. Sunday morning's first
Service of Holy Communion at the new All Saints Church drew a
congregation of 247, while later that afternoon the dedication ceremony
drew a crowd of 287, more than double his usual Sunday attendance
figure. The Oxford-trained priest hopes that now that All Saints has its
new home and permanency, the church's membership will continue to grow
in numbers and deepen in spirituality.
All Saints is a vibrant and growing ACNA parish. Its rector is assisted
in his priestly duties by Fr. Ray Greiner, a retired priest who is a
military veteran and a close friend of CANA Bishop Martyn Minns; and Fr.
Jon Jenkins, a Nashotah graduate who hails from the ACNA Diocese of Fort
Worth. The three priests are kept busy with a full complement of
ministries designed for all age groups.
One of the unique and well-hidden features of in the building of All
Saints is that various verses of Scripture, prayers, and the Apostles'
Creed are literally written into the cement of the newly-laid
foundation. This was done as a testimony to the faith of those who built
the sanctuary and as a permanent witness to the centrality of Scripture,
prayer, and the Creed in the life and spiritually of the parish. 300
years from now, long after these All Saints are in the Church Triumphant
and a part of the Great Cloud of Witnesses, those Scripture verses,
written prayers, and Creedal snippets will still be visible to future
All Saints' generations attesting to the important role living faith
played in the sacred edifice's very erection.
The Bible quotes, prayers, and Creedal passages are scattered throughout
the sanctuary--hidden under the aisle runner and beneath the pulpit;
they can be found from the threshold of the door to the various nooks
and crannies of the church; they are also concealed under the altar and
in the chancel.
Fr. Fry said he was delighted each time he found a new verse as he
familiarized himself with every inch of the church as it was being
built. It was his parishioners spontaneously leaving a living legacy for
future All Saints members to find and remember the Faith once delivered
unto the Saints that they will have inherited.
The All Saints complex is more than the 300-seat sanctuary. It also
encompasses, a bell tower, a smaller separate chapel, fellowship hall,
choir room, classrooms, pantry, office space, and covered cloister. Most
of the work has been completed, about 95 percent of it. Nearly 200
individuals and families banded together to raise the more than $2
million needed to build a once-in-a-lifetime work--a new church. Nearly
50 people actually got involved with the building process: turning over
the deep red Georgia clay ... swinging hammers ... cutting planks ...
laying carpet ... painting shutters ... Other outdoor work still needs
to be completed when spring arrives and the warm weather coaxes the
trees to bud and the flowers to bloom. More landscaping is on the
drawing boards as is a children's playground and memorial garden.
Much has been done and there is more to do, but Fr. Fry sums it all up
when he says: "We're home!"
Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular
contributor to VirtueOnline
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