In the year 563, a priest and monk named Columba, along with 12 companions, left Christian Ireland and set off for northern Britain. On their way, a storm blew their tiny boat ashore on a small island. Taking this as a sign from God, they founded an abbey there, on Iona. The abbey became, quite literally, an island of safety where the community could pray, worship, and grow. It was also a place to which they could bring searchers.
Iona was not just a place of retreat. It was a staging ground for the assault of the Kingdom of God against the kingdoms of darkness. From this base, Columba and the members of his growing community went into the lands of the Picts. The Picts were a people in spiritual bondage. They had heard of Christianity, but they were lost in pagan darkness. Even the Christians among them were bound to cultural legalisms and fundamental misunderstandings of the Gospel.
Iona established daughter communities in Scotland and England. They sent missionaries as far as Germany. All the while, the monks maintained their connection to the Church in Ireland, submitting to the leadership of the broader Body of Christ. Over the years, Iona became central to the Christian witness in the British Isles.
Church of the Redeemer was formed in 2004, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, as a community in the spirit and lineage of Iona. This was not an unusual move of God, rather it was the Lord continuing his ancient purpose. We felt a kinship with these Celtic Christians, and saw them as our role models.
Like Iona, the purpose of Church of the Redeemer is to live and proclaim the redeeming love of Christ. Redemption is the love of God in motion. It is the action of the Almighty Father; through the person and work of Jesus Christ; and released through His Holy Spirit. God in Christ liberates us from bondage; restores us to fellowship with himself, others, creation, and ourselves; grounds us in Christian community; and empowers us to go into the world, proclaiming redemption to others in word and deed.
The redeeming love of Christ is expressed fully in the Scriptures; is testified to in the orthodox traditions of the Church; and can be seen today in the witness of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s redeeming power is on display in the creation of the universe; his covenants with his people; his messianic life; his atoning death; his glorious resurrection; his triumphant ascension; his sending of the Holy Spirit; and his immanent return. It is this Christ the Redeemer we worship as King.
Many of the people of the Nashville area, and of the world, are in bondage. It is the desire of Jesus Christ to redeem them through his Body, and specifically through Church of the Redeemer.
In order to fulfill our vision, and by the grace of God, Church of the Redeemer seeks to live out the following commitments during the second decade of our life together.
- Identify, train, maintain, and release godly leadership. We will specifically invest in developing younger leaders. Some of these will be ordained.
- Continue in the Anglican Way, and in fellowship with the Anglican Church.
- We will aid in the development of a more local Anglican diocese, and hope to be a member of that diocese by 2024.
- We will serve the poor, guided by our strategy for mission.
- Steward our Abbey as a facility which serves as a center for worship, community, and discipleship, while also being a staging ground for mission.
- Plant, or substantially assist in the planting of, three more Anglican churches in the Nashville area by 2024.
- Disciple both young and old through biblical and relational means, including preaching and teaching the Gospel of grace, the centrality of love, the value of both work and rest, sound doctrine, biblical morality, and faithful Christian practice.
- Continue to worship the Triune God, in Word and Sacrament, in the context of faithful musical and liturgical worship.
- Ensure that Church of the Redeemer is an outwardly-focused, welcoming, and hospitable community.
- Develop and implement culturally appropriate works of evangelism.
- We desire that our evangelism results in an abundance of baptisms, both of children and adults.
- Develop, along with other Anglican congregations in our area, a Society of Benedictine contemplation and Franciscan action.
- Our budget, leadership, programs, and decisions will be based in our vision and mission.