Bishops’ Addresses of 1984

The following Address was immediately preceeded by the final address of Bishop Paul Reeves as Diocesan Bishop
The following is Bishop Harry Shipps first address to a convention as Bishop Coadjutor
The full text of Bishop Reeves’ address is online here: Reeves’ 1984 Address


It is with awe, wonder and delight that I stand here before you at my 26th consecutive convention as a bishop in the Church of God. ‘Awe, wonder and delight’ are carefully chosen words. It is with my particular appreciation that all of this has taken place in, for and by Georgia.

For all of the events that led up to 6 January, the Epiphany, and subsequently, I offer you my heartfelt love and thanksgiving.

Harry Woolston ShippsThe sheer goodness you have demonstrated will carry me through for the rest of my days.

I want to commit myself publicly to the happy ministry of working with and for Bishop Reeves. He has set a standard for a faithful Chief Pastor that has made a deep imprint on me. He is making this year of transition a good one for us all.

Many things are expected of a bishop. Some, I find, are mutually exclusive. However, I publicly commit myself to being the very best bishop it is possible for me to be.

Some people will inevitably be disappointed. I hope that will be the exception. It is my intention to refer often to the vows I took at my consecration — holding them up as my guiding principles. I encourage you to also join in such a reflection on my ministry. “Speaking Truth in Love” is my motto, seriously and carefully chosen.

I very much want to enjoy my ministry, to keep always a good sense of humor and to share with each of you some of the joy I feel in being a Christian.

The greatest natural asset I have in all of this is, as I am sure you already know, my wife Louise, with whom I made vows even before my ordination.

We are greatly favored in having amongst us at this convention a faithful missionary priest and chief pastor in the person of Bishop G. Ed­ward Haynsworth. His visit with us is very fortuitous – especially as I enter increasingly into the role of chief missionary of the diocese.

Any reassessment of our missionary policies and program will call for a prior reassessment of who we are and what we are about in the par­ishes and missions of the diocese; for we are the point of origin of any and all evangelism and missionary undertaking. For example:

(a) Is there any truth to the observation once made that, ‘the great thing about being a member of the Anglican Church is that it does not interfere with your politics or religion’?

(b) Is our grip on the Gospel of Jesus Christ so slight that we are unable to carry it very far, let alone be effective missionaries? Over half of our people are not in church on the average Sunday (see page 112, 1983 Diocesan Journal).

(c) Do men and women get from us even a whiff of the great reality of God?

(d) Is there a sense that we are perceived by others as men and women who know the living God, and, like Moses, radiate from that encounter?

(e) What is our response when our fellows say, “Show us the Father and it will satisfy us”.

(f) Are we the nexus where others can catch the rumor of God?

The Presiding Bishop has called each congregation to a self-study in five key areas (Stewardship, Worship, Evangelism, Education & Pastoring – SWEEP). Such an undertaking can do nothing but enhance a renewed mission­ary enterprise and self-understanding in your parish.

The Anglican Communion has a splendid history of worldwide missionary undertaking. In fact, last evening we celebrated the Feast of Thomas Bray a missionary to these parts.

So our response to these and similar questions about ourselves will determine, in large measure, our effectiveness as a Church in mission dur­ing the next decade.

It will be my decade as your bishop, so my interest is keen and my commitment to mission very much alive. Will you participate in the minis­try of God’s Church; the extension of Christ’s incarnation?

I bid you so to do.

– Amen –



Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

1. Your Committee on the Bishops’ Addresses found it most significant that both of our bishops stressed the mission of the Church, that awesome task of restoring all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

2. We heard Bishop Shipps remind us that the Church pursues that mission through service, worship, evangelism, education, and pastoral care.

3. We further heard our Coadjutor call upon each congregation in our dio­cese to engage in a program of self-study and planning for greater ef­fectiveness in these five key areas of Christian life.

4. That the Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members was implicit in Bishop Shipps’ address and explicit in that of Bishop Reeves.

5. Our Diocesan wisely reminded us that our identity as a servant church must be supported by our role as a priestly church. We understand this to mean that the church that continually offers itself to the Father is the church that receives the power to serve.

6. Using as an illustration the story of feeding the 5,000, our Bishop Paul assured us that if we bring what we have of time, talent, and treasure and offer it and ask God to bless it, He will make it suffic­ient for the task He has set before us of being a church in mission.

7. Our Bishop Harry spoke of the vows he made at his recent consecration. Be told us that frequent reference to those vows would be a part of his rule of life. Your Committee on the Bishops’ Addresses wishes to re­mind the delegates to this convention that we have all taken the vows of baptism and we call all to frequently meditate upon them as we seek to be the church our Lord calls us to be.

8. Finally, we wish to express our thanks to our bishops for the sound wisdom and guidance we found in their words to us.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Carter +
Jo Jones
William Fehrs