Thursday, January 11, 2007
Another beautiful new parish church in the classical Anglican tradition:
Saint Barnabas Anglican Church
A parish of the Anglican Province of America
Pictures courtesy of:
(from the parish web page)
A HISTORY OF SAINT BARNABAS ANGLICAN CHURCH
In June 1979, a group of 13 traditional Episcopalians began meeting for Sunday morning worship services in the living room of the home of Doris and Oz Keller, near Piedmont Park in Atlanta. Gradually, they began meeting in each others’ homes on a rotating basis and a fellowship developed which formed the nucleus for a small parish, called St. Barnabas Anglican Church.
The name St. Barnabas was selected because the first meeting was held near the traditional St.
Barnabas Day, June 11th. Also, the qualities ascribed to Barnabas in the Bible were “an encourager, a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith; and a generous man both in heart and hand.” These qualities exemplified those they aspired to promote both individually and corporately.
It became evident that a priest was required to provide more fully for spiritual needs. In August 1979, the Rev. Robert C. Harvey, rector of St. Timothy’s Parish, Charleston, South Carolina, offered his services on a part-time basis. Arriving on Sunday afternoons, each month, Father Harvey preached and celebrated the Holy Eucharist. A lay reader, usually John Crown, conducted Morning Prayer and read a sermon the other Sundays.
The congregation began meeting in a community room of a local bank in Toco Hills. Because of the large Coke machine that spewed distracting noises, it was called the “Coca-Cola Church.” Either unplugging the machine or trying to ignore it, they met each week assembling and disassembling the altar, bringing in Prayer Books and hymnals, coffee pots, kneelers, vestments, and altar linens.
In the spring of 1980, Father Harvey was elected Bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest. The
congregation was at a loss on how to acquire another priest. At Bishop Harvey’s consecration service, Dr. Carroll E. Simcox, former editor of The Living Church was present and preached the sermon. He was approached by the group and asked if he would consider ministering to St. Barnabas. This request seemed reasonable to Fr. Simcox, who had retired from the Episcopal Church and was living in Hendersonville, North Carolina. For eleven years Dr. Simcox flew down twice a month to minister to us through our various moves from the bank, a hotel, the LaVista Womans Club, and finally to our present church in Dunwoody.
In January 1990, our then Presiding Bishop A. F. M. Clavier, ordained William R. Weston [a member of our parish] to the diaconate and to the priesthood in June 1990. He was named priest-in-charge until the permanent retirement of Dr. Simcox. In 1991, Father Weston was called as rector, the position he holds today. In the fall of 1993, the Rev. Robert E. Burgreen, became assistant rector. This provided the services of an additional priest to support growing parish activities and ministries. Father Burgreen still functions as assistant rector.
Bishop Harvey, who lost his lovely wife Suzanne in 1994, married Marguerite Pendleton in 1995.
He returned to Atlanta with Marguerite, joined the clergy staff and is active as a bishop within the diocese and the Church at large. The Rt. Rev. Peter Brewer was received into the Anglican Province of America in 1998 and became the fourth member of the clergy staff. He currently serves as suffragan bishop of the diocese and is rector of St. John’s Anglican Church, Greensboro, North Carolina.
Now, in its 27th year, St. Barnabas Church has grown from the original 13 believers to a congregation of over 325 and holds services in its current location acquired in 1991.
In 1996, a building committee, under the supervision of the vestry, developed a master plan for the property. The year 2001 saw Phase 1 of a planned expansion completed, which provided expanded parking areas, a new parish hall and kitchen, renovated class rooms, enlarged narthex, a new exterior and refinished nave and sanctuary. 2004 saw the acquisition of a temporary modular classroom building. This facility provided much needed space for the Children’s Chapel, Sunday School classrooms, and office space for our ever growing number of children. Future usage of our existing space is being planned by a Facilities Committee under the vestry’s over-sight.
Now, in 2006, we celebrate the completion of Phase 2 of the master plan, with the dedication of a 5600 square foot addition of new sacristies and nave and sanctuary. The new church’s architecture is Gothic Revival.
The vision of the founders, that St. Barnabas provide a faithful witness to the world continues. It is our prayer that the parish continues to grow both spiritually and in number for the greater glory of God.