The information provided here is also available in “bite-size” pieces under the sub-headings under About Us
Who Are We
We are a community of ordinary people who love and trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He is the center of our lives.
We seek to follow Jesus Christ with integrity, simplicity and joy; to please and honor Him in all we do; to worship Him with reverence and gratitude; to tell what He has done in our lives; to serve others; to work and pray together with faithful Christ-followers from other denominations and traditions; and to be living proof of the reality and reliability of the Gospel.
We rely on God’s written Word to show us His will and His ways. The Bible guides, sustains and nourishes His life in us as we “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” its teachings daily. As we study the written Word with open hearts we receive insights and encouragement for our specific needs and best of all we frequently meet the Living word, Jesus, in very personal ways.
We rely on the life-giving Holy Spirit working in and through us to accomplish what we can never do on our own. All of this is by grace alone. As St Paul wrote in Phil 2:13: It is God working in us, giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Our Mission Statement is: Loving Our Lord, Living His Gospel, Making Disciples
Our Mission Verse is 2 Cor 4:5: For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Christ’s sake.
St. Peter’s was founded in 2012 as the daughter church of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Versailles, Kentucky. We are members of the Anglican Church in North America, which is part of the Anglican Communion with more that 80 million members worldwide.
What does “Anglican” mean?
The word “Anglican” comes from the Latin word for England.
Some churches, like the Lutherans and Wesleyans, are named for their founders. Others by their organizational structure, such as Presbyterian, Congregational, or Episcopal. Others, like the Baptist, Pentecostal, and Holiness churches take their name from particular theological or worship priorities. The Methodists were given that name by critics of their disciplined approach to the Christian life. Anglicans are named for their geographical and cultural roots. Though the Anglican church has spread around the world and been embraced and adapted by many cultures, all Anglicans acknowledge their roots in English soil and in English church history.
Christianity in England was planted informally by Christian soldiers in the Roman legions that came to England in 43 AD, and through the commerce between England and Rome for the next 400 years. Great missionary saints like Patrick and Aidan further spread the gospel to our pagan ancestors, and the fledgling faith was sustained by the great monasteries like Iona. Isolated from the dominant Christian culture of Europe during its formative early years, Christianity in the British Isles took on a unique “flavor,” which remains even now.
In 595 AD Pope Gregory sent a monk named Augustine (later to be known as St Augustine of Canterbury) to England in hopes that he would convert King Ethelbert whose wife Betha was a Christian already. The King did convert to Christianity along with many of his court, and on Christmas day 597 Augustine celebrated Mass along with a mass baptism of thousands of new converts. From that point on the Church in England was drawn increasingly under the authority of the Roman Church, though always retaining some hints of its Celtic DNA.
The Reformation that swept Europe in the 1500s reached England as well. The primary goal of the English reformers was to revive the Church in England through: 1) teaching the Bible in language the common man could understand, and 2) recovering the worship patterns of the early church in a ways that would be accessible to all. While these priorities seem simple enough, neither would have happened without breaking the grip of the church in Rome at that time, which was adamantly opposed to both. That process was anything but tidy because of the often corrupt entanglement of church and crown.
For his own mostly selfish reasons King Henry VIII established himself as the head of the Church of England in 1534 precipitating a bloody struggle with Roman that would last until 1558 when Elizabeth I took the throne. Fortunately on the ground spiritual renewal was taking place all the while, primarily because the Bible was becoming accessible to the people in their own language.
The Reformation in continental Europe expressed itself primarily in theological treatises and Confessions. In England it expressed itself primarily in prayer. Like the reformers in Europe, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, longed for the re-evangelization of England. However, he realized that people are formed more by how they pray and worship day in and day out than by what they hear preached or read in books. In the Book of Common Prayer Cranmer distilled the best of the monastic tradition, the liturgies of the Roman Church, the more recent work of Luther, and large doses of Scripture into a single volume and a pattern of worship that would reach the whole range of English society from the illiterate farm hand to the scholars of Oxford and Cambridge.
The English Bible and the Book of Common Prayer remain the foundation stones of the Anglican way. True Anglicans still view the Bible as their primary authority. They place high value on clear preaching, a regular daily pattern of prayer, and the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. The ancient Creeds of the undivided church express the essence of Anglican theology.
Again, unlike their European counterparts, the more conservative English reformers sought to retain as much as possible from their heritage, rejecting only those aspects of the medieval church tradition that could not be supported by Scripture. From the beginning critics have said that the English Reformation did not go far enough and that the Anglican way remains too “Catholic.” Usually they mean too much like Rome. Often this concern has been based mostly on negative cultural associations and personal prejudices. Where Anglican worship resembles Roman or Orthodox worship it is not because of imitation but due to our common roots in ancient Christian practices undivided church. Any future church unity does not lie in compromise with each others’ current differences, but in mutual return to the Scriptures and the teachings and practices of early church.
How does the Anglican Church in North America relate to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion?
To answer that we need to go back a few years. Since its founding in 1783 The Episcopal Church had been the primary expression of Anglicanism in the US. Before the Revolution they had been simply the Church of England in the colonies, under the authority of the Bishop of London. After the Revolution they took the more benign descriptor “Episcopal” from their bishop-based form of church government, thereby avoiding any reference to England for obvious reasons.
With the worldwide expansion of the British Empire, Anglicanism also spread across the globe. As Anglican churches took root and flourished they were granted autonomy under local bishops, creating eventually 38 national and regional churches. While being independent these churches remained united in the core convictions and practices of their Anglican heritage, primarily their use of the Book of Common prayer, locally adapted, and their affinity and affection for Canterbury.
In 1930 the word “Anglican Communion” was used for the first time to describe this growing fellowship of churches worldwide. The primary instrument of unity was the gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world every ten years at Lambeth Palace at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury for fellowship, worship and collaboration. Unlike Rome, the Anglican Communion has never had (or wanted) a central authority structure beyond the bonds of affection and fellowship in the historic faith and worship of the Prayer Book tradition.
Since the 1970s a number of churches within the worldwide Anglican Communion have been drifting from Biblical authority and historical Christian doctrine. Largely because of the high degree of autonomy afforded within the Communion this movement was accommodated until 2003 when, rejecting the pleas of Canterbury and the majority of bishops of the Communion, the Episcopal Church in the USA made a definitive break with 2000 years of Christian tradition in the areas of human sexuality, ordination and marriage.
After 2003 many bishops and leaders of the 38 Anglican provinces felt they could no longer be in communion with those churches which were in clear violation of Scripture, especially the Episcopal church in the US, whom they had begged not to take the fatal step which all knew would tear the fabric of Anglican unity. Likewise many Episcopalian church members felt they could no longer remain part of the Episcopal Church whose leadership had departed from Biblical authority. Yet they wanted to continue worshiping in the Anglican tradition. In response to this crisis a number of African Anglican bishops provided temporary leadership and care while new Anglican churches were formed in the US and Canada. These have now been consolidated within the new Anglican Church in North America.
The ACNA has received recognition and hearty welcome from the majority of the Anglican churches of the Communion worldwide and although Canterbury has not officially recognized the ACNA our Archbishop, Foley Beach, has been welcomed to Canterbury in recent gatherings of the other national leaders. The leaders of the Anglican Communion are still trying to smooth over the breach in fellowship but without repentance and return to Biblical standards by the more progressive member churches, the Communion will exist in name only.
These are times of rapid change. It is not yet clear where even Canterbury will emerge in these debates. As a state church under the authority of parliament, the Church of England may be forced either to embrace and bless the new definitions of marriage or disestablish itself from the “Crown”. Currently Canterbury seems to be encouraging gradual accommodation to the progressive agenda. This is further alienating the vibrant churches of England’s former colonies, especially in Africa, which show no sign of compromising. The center of Anglican Church in the future may no longer be the place of its birth, but rather some location that remains true to its founding principles.
More About Us at St Peter’s
Our worship is anchored in the the practices and patterns that have sustained Christians through the ages and long before the Church became divided as we see it today. We recognize that we did not invent the faith, we received it from those who went before. We aren’t trying stay abreast of the latest fashions. We don’t think we can improve much on the ancient convictions preserved in the Anglican way of worship, formation, and mission. There is more than enough there to keep us growing spiritually and missionally vibrant. We believe there is beauty in the ancient forms that feeds our souls. We are learning the value of consistency and repetition over innovation and entertainment in forming our character and the renewing of our minds. Best of all, the ancient pathways keep Christ at the center, and protect us from making worship all about us.
We take seriously our relationships within the Communion of Saints honoring both our ancestors and those who will come after us, as well as out bond with current brothers and sisters around the world. We are committed to integrated multi-generational worship and service together.
We have an average Sunday attendance of about 60 worshiping in our own beautiful chapel. We have a full-time Rector and two a part-time assisting priests, one from Nigeria. We sing traditional hymns with some Taize chants and occasional African spice. We wear robes, use the old (“thees and thous”) Prayer Book liturgy. We receive Holy Communion weekly and try to make the service interactive. We use our bodies: we kneel to pray, stand to praise, and sit to listen. Our children’s ministry is based on Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
We are committed to training and equipping each member of our parish for ministry that fits their gifts and talents. Small churches like ours are especially good places for learning by doing in a low-risk, loving and supportive community. We believe that the Holy Spirit is leading us organically through prayer and collaboration into the ministries He wants us to pursue.
We are structuring our ministry around the development of 4 H’s:
Head: things we need to know, understand, and be able to explain
Heart: forming our values and affections toward God and neighbor, and toward the good, the true and the beautiful
Hands: skills of all kinds to serve the church, the Frankfort community and beyond
Habits: establishing the patterns and rhythms of life that sustain health and vitality in every area of life