Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. ~ John 14:6
Protestants and Catholics
Christchurch is currently a congregation of over 900 persons – adults of all ages, youth and children – a parish that maintains the ideals of both the Protestant and Catholic traditions of the Church. We are firmly Protestant in that we proclaim the Bible as the written Word of God, as authoritative today as ever; and we proclaim for everyone the life-changing power of a personal, living relationship with the Risen Lord. Yet we are also staunchly Catholic, for at the same time we embrace and continue the historic Catholic Creeds and Sacraments and Orders of Ministry. Both of these traditions, we believe, can bring new life in anyone’s life, even today.
We are committed to preaching, teaching and sharing the Word of God, offering a light to those searching for the Truth. We want to be witnesses to the power of the Spirit that changes and makes new human lives. But we also worship in ways that derive from the ancient liturgy of the early Church, as revealed in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, and we share the historic sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist. This is what makes us Anglican - Protestant and Catholic, traditional and contemporary - offering New Life and Historic Faith.
Our History: The Anglican Church in North America
Christchurch was a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the newest province in the worldwide Anglican Communion, the third largest denomination in Christendom with over 70,000,000 members. Initially under the jurisdiction of his Grace, the Most Reverend +Henry Luke Orombi, famed church leader from Uganda, Christchurch has continued to be blessed by an ongoing mission partnership with the Diocese of Sebei in Uganda. At present, Christchurch is one of the largest parishes in the Diocese of the Gulf Atlantic, under the jurisdiction of our Bishop, the Right Reverend +Neil Lebhar in Jacksonville, Florida.
Our Rector, Fr. John-Michael van Dyke+ now serves as the Dean of the Western Deanery of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, charged with the responsibility to identify and assist new emerging congregations in our area as God brings them to life. As the diocese grows and more churches are established in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, Christchurch will in time become an integral member of a new diocese-in-formation in our southern region.
Crossing the River
The old saying, “The time to cross the river is before it gets too wide,” has been one of the ongoing themes in our history. Time and time again, Christchurch has stepped out in faith, knowing God is always faithful. The initial congregation in 2005 was the first large Episcopal group to leave everything in the hands of their former church and follow where God was leading, with little more than a common belief and a conviction that He had a future for them. Christchurch was also one of the very first Anglican parishes to apply for membership in the ACNA and one of the few thus far to have built a grand new church and parish hall and adjacent facilities. The journey has been an exciting one, as the congregation has doubled in size in that time and God has kept His promise to watch over us no matter where we are. Of course, there will always be other rivers to cross, but we have learned a great truth: that Christchurch is not a building, but first and foremost the people of faith, and always will be.