September Stewardship Letter

Beloved in Christ,

As you are receiving this, I am in the Colorado Rockies with my sons in the Arapahoe National Forest Wilderness. Despite our separation in miles, you are on my heart and in my prayers. I am very grateful for you, my Church family. You are loving, supportive and living into what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Paul’s words from his letter to the Philippians 1:3-6 comes to mind for me: 

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Together, we serve the Lord God who loves us in abundance, and who gives us everything we need for our life and salvation. We can do all things in him.

As I typically do in the fall, I am writing to you to introduce our Stewardship series which will begin in October, and also, appealing to you to help with some specific needs we have right now. 

In terms of our Stewardship Series, on October 13, 20 and 27, we’ll be exploring through God’s word why and how we are called to be good stewards of all that God blesses us with; it all comes from Him. In addition, the week before that begins, on October 6, we will gather for a Congregational Meeting to explain our transition into our new building facility which looks like it will happen in the month of November. For that to happen smoothly, there are some immediate needs we have which I’d like to outline here. My prayer is that you will prayerfully consider how you can participate in meeting those needs. Our most immediate needs are as follows:

  • Kitchen: Our builder is in the process of completing construction of our full kitchen which we would like to be able to utilize from day one in the building. In addition, we have carefully been able to outfit the kitchen through auction purchases at pennies on the dollar for appliances, prep tables, shelving, etc. And, by the grace of God, we’ve been awarded a $25,000 matching grant towards the kitchen. Yes, a matching grant, which on the terms of the donor needs $25,000 in matching funds before it can be paid out to us. To date, we’ve quietly raised just over just over $4,000 specifically for the kitchen. We need this grant to be able to finish up the kitchen. Every dollar donated specifically toward the kitchen will go to meet the match. I ask that you prayerfully consider a gift toward this. It’s a way to have your gift “doubled” with the match!

  • Sanctuary Chairs: We have a need for new, comfortable sanctuary chairs and have plans to purchase them but do not yet have funding in place. So, we are inviting you to “buy” chairs for yourself and your family, and, as God moves your heart, for new folks who will be coming to Apostles in the near future. The cushioned chairs we’ve picked out cost close to $40 each with shipping. Would you prayerfully consider participating by buying yourself a chair or two, perhaps one or more for a guest?

  • Prepping, Planting, Moving and cleaning help: As we get ready to move in, we’ll need to organize, move and do a final clean-up of the new space. We’ll also need to tidy-up the space we’re leaving at Pender Drive. Would you consider giving some of your time and talent to help the staff in this way? There also will be shrubs to plant so we’ll need some inside and outside help. Please contact the office and let us know how and when you can help, and we’ll publicize as the time gets near when and where your help can be applied.

My friends in Christ, know that I would not ask you to do anything I’m not willing to do myself. Beth and I have given generously to this project and are contributing with our time, talent, and treasure as well to do our part to see it all through. Will you partner with us? I am trusting in our Lord, the Great Provider, and have seen time and time again how He provides for his people, through His people. I pray you will experience His joy and peace as you respond to Him in obedience. If you’d like, I have resources for families and small groups to aid you in studying God’s word on stewardship that will be made available when I return the first week in October. In the meantime, I pray God’s blessings upon you, for His peace to be with you every day, and for His joy to fill your heart knowing you are loved dearly by Him.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Joe Acanfora+

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Dear friends in Christ,

It was just a year ago we began felling trees on our property in preparation for a new building. Now, as you can see, we’re making steady progress for a hopeful completion, by God’s grace, later this fall.

It’s been fun to watch the changes and progress, even though there have been obstacles to overcome along the way. They’ve been a good reminder that it is only by the grace of God that this is happening and will come to completion. One of my favorite Bible passages from Lamentations 3:22-23 says:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

This beautiful love poem is a sure reminder that we can count on Him for all things, and He will see us through. This building project has been a life lesson into full dependence on God, and your prayers for His continued faithfulness are much appreciated.

In  particular, please continue to pray for the safety of the workers and the Lord’s blessing on them and their families, especially Chuck, our site superintendent, a faithful brother in Christ.

Please pray for good weather so the work may progress, for timely delivery of materials, and guidance for all concerned.

Please lift up our neighbors, some of whom are stressed by the changes in the landscape. Pray their fears will be relieved and that they will be at peace knowing our intent to be good respectful neighbors.

Please lift up Fairfax County and all whom we’re dealing with there, that they will treat us fairly and reasonably and that the favor of the Lord goes before us in all of our dealings.

Please pray for our finances. In November of 2018, I challenged us to raise an additional $300,000 this year and next year ($300,000 each year), to finish up this project with everything we need.  By God’s grace, we brought in over $101,639 since then! Thank you. Pray the Lord continues to provide through our generosity and ask of Him what He would have you contribute.

Finally, I ask for your prayers for the leadership of the church. Our vestry and staff work diligently in the service of the Lord. Pray for the Lord to bless, guide and give us His strength to meet the challenges before us, and mostly for us to turn it all over to Him and rely on His strength in the knowledge that:

He who calls us is faithful and true; he will surely do it.”

I am so excited about all that’s gone on this year. Not just in our building, but also our working and volunteering at Willow Springs School, our feeding ministries in DC and Fairfax, the miracles we’ve seen though our Healing Ministry, and the joy of our worship time together on Sundays and other special times.

A big thank you goes out to our Sunday Volunteer team who makes it possible each week, and to all of you who make up the Body of Christ at Apostles. May our Lord bless us this year, and the year to come.

Yours in Christ -

Joe Acanfora

Rector Coadjutor Search

Beloved in Christ,

This past Sunday, June 23, in the spirit of transparency, the Vestry and I shared with those who were present upcoming plans in the future life for Church of the Apostles.

Flowing from our scriptures for the day, (Acts 13:13-26, Luke 8:22-25) and our message, we rejoice in how God provides for the leadership for His people in every generation and place because he is the one who is sovereign over all. We can and should depend upon him and him only. I shared how in the past several months, the Lord has put on my heart and Beth’s heart, that He is raising up a new pastoral leader for Apostles, and I would need to prepare the way, and in God’s good time step down, to provide for a gentle and life-giving transition for the church, and this younger leader. 

The Lord has impressed upon me that what we’ve been doing together over the past seven years is what was needed (refocusing the mission and vision of the church to intentionally spread the Gospel in the community He’s given us, (Fairfax and GMU) and as part of that, build a new building from which that would happen.) But, a new leader with different gifting from the next generation is what will be needed in the next chapter of the life of Church of the Apostles, and we should have that leader in place close to the time we transition into our new space. Accordingly, we have advertised for a Rector Coadjutor, a new leader to come on board who I will work closely with over the coming months who will then take over as rector as I step aside.

The Lord has impressed upon my heart that He is already raising up our next rector, from the next generation, a younger person poised to reach the next generation in a more effective way than I can. I believe God called me for a purpose at Apostles, and that purpose and season for me is coming to a close. I have been a transitional kind of long-term interim rector to transition this church from who we were to where we are going. I believe we’ve made a good start on that with a renewed mission and vision and new ways to be anchored in this community. This is happening relationally in many good ways, (Campus Church, Willow Springs Community) and of course with a sense of place in our new home. I am excited about Apostles’ future. I believe my leaving in this way, transitionally, will be a gift to this church to serve it well for years to come. 

The search committee is formed and beginning their work of vetting candidates. The goal of which is to select the rector coadjutor who will be chosen by the vestry to come on staff, hopefully before the end of 2019. It is the bishop’s recommendation that this person will serve for 3 to 6 months alongside me in all aspects of leadership in the church. At the end of that time this person will take over as rector and I will resign.

I hope to use the next year to help transition the congregation and our new rector to live into the vision God has given us to be a community based church, a missionary outpost and healing community sharing God’s love in the part of FAIRFAX, our Lord has given us. As part of that, of course, I’ll be intrinsically involved with the completion of our building project and transition into that new space, with all that involves.

For clarity’s sake, we’ve outlined the plan of the timeline, with the caveat of course that the Lord may see fit to change our plans. We have and will continue to proceed prayerfully under His guidance on all things.


Faith hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13)

- Joseph Acanfora


Note: These time frames are approximate.

June – October, 2019: Search Committee of the Vestry will vet, interview, and by God’s grace select a candidate presenting that person to the full vestry for approval.

September – December, 2019: The Vestry will issue the call to the Rector Coadjutor, and upon acceptance, will set a start date.

November 2019 – February, 2020: Rector Coadjutor to begin and work for roughly 3-6 months with current Rector Acanfora in all aspects of Pastoral leadership for Church of the Apostles and Apostles Campus Church.

April – July 2020: Rector coadjutor to be installed as rector and Acanfora to step down. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is Joe leaving? What is God’s purpose in this?

A: As Joe explained in his announcement, there is a time and season for all things. Throughout the Bible, we have many examples of God raising up leaders for His time and His purpose. As Christians, we are told that the Church is one body, the Body of Christ, and God has given us different gifts for His time and purpose--Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “For everything there is a time and a season” and 1 Corinthians 3:7-8 tells us that “…some plant, some water, and God gives the growth.” While we will miss Joe, the Vestry has prayed over this change and accepts Joe’s decision as God’s purpose and timing. 

Q: Is this the right time for such a change with the imminent move to our new building? It’s a lot of change.

A: The Vestry prayerfully recognizes and accepts that Joe’s role and time with Church of the Apostles is coming to an end. Joe is filling God’s will in establishing and unifying us in our mission and vision, teaching us how to be a “Church in Community”—meeting the needs of the community around us, operating in the gifts of the Spirit, and discipling others. In addition, Joe’s business acumen has been critical and instrumental in bringing us to the place God has for us as our “Missionary Outpost” for spreading the Gospel. 

Now, God is raising up a new Rector to lead us in the implementation of our mission and vision. We need to pray for unity in how and where God will continue to lead us in our mission work and ask him to reveal our role in supporting His Devine Purpose in this change. The Vestry, along with Joe, believes it is important to have the new Rector Coadjutor onboard, if possible, as we move into our new building. Joe will be with us during this time, and there will be a transition period wherein Joe will continue to support us and work with the new Rector Coadjutor (Co-assister). This will present less change for all of us in moving forward. 

Q: What is the length of the transition period? 

A: Our Diocese is supporting us and has advised us that long transition periods do not serve churches well. In accordance with their advice, we are planning for a transition period of roughly 3- 6 months, once the Coadjutor comes on board. So, Joe will be with us for close to another year.  

Q: What is the timeline for bringing the Rector Coadjutor on board?

A: We have a number of good applicants, and it is our hope that the Search Committee will present the vestry with its recommendation in early fall. We also hope that God will open the door for the new Rector Coadjutor to join us close to the time we have the first service in our new building on Lee Highway

Q: Who is on the Search Committee and what is the Status?  

A: Bill Bremmer chairs the Search Committee. Committee Members include: Tyler Aberle, Andrew Burgess, Philip Chakram, Jack Colligan, Bill Collins, Emily Rusch, and Tawnia Wheeler.

We started out with more than 30 applicants and the Search Committee is in the process of narrowing the field. The Committee is looking especially for attributes of openness and leading in three streams commitment in the Anglican Church tradition in full support of the mission and vision that Church of the Apostles is living into. The Search Committee will provide the Vestry with Progress Reports. We have highly qualified applicants within the Anglican community among the applications we have received.

Q: Will there be a change in our current mission and vision? 

A: As the job announcement notes, we are looking for someone who fully embraces the culture of Church of the Apostles and who would be Pastor to our congregation and wider community, extending God’s love, grace, mercy, and truth. 

The Rector Coadjutor would collaborate with church leadership and work with the leaders of various ministries at Apostles, with the purpose of fulfilling our Mission and Vision. The Rector Coadjutor would be responsible for ensuring that all programs adhere to all Church of the Apostles and Diocesan Policies and that our programs work in accordance with our mission and vision

Q: What type of person/background are we seeking? Will the new Rector Coadjutor support our Three Streams theology?

A: Our Rector Coadjutor job description states as a qualification and requirement that the candidate must have a commitment to the Three Streams, One Riverexpression of worship, fully embracing these three streams--Sacramental/Catholic, Holy Spirit/ Charismatic, and Biblical/Evangelical—in balance as we worship one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Here are some of the qualifications we are seeking (see job description for complete information):

  • Strong faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.

  • Open to the guidance and gifts of the Holy Spirit, anticipating the miraculous works of God.

  • Great passion for bringing the lost to faith and helping believers to grow in Christ, including an understanding of, or acquaintance with, other faith traditions, particularly of those whom we seek to reach in our diverse surrounding community.

  • Enthusiastic teacher and leader, able to motivate others.

  • Ordained to Holy Orders in the office of Priest in the Anglican Church in North America, or be eligible for transfer into the ACNA.

  • Visionary leader who can shepherd the congregation toward effective, long-term ministry in our new location.

  • Comfort in engaging people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds.

  • Ability to work well with Vestry and lead a cohesive team. 

Also desired are: 

  •  Minimum of 5 years serving in a leadership capacity in a congregational/parish setting.

  • Strong organizational skills with an ability to delegate responsibilities. appropriately.

  • Some high school/college ministry experience is desirable.

  • Foreign language competence beneficial but not required.

  • Willingness to receive continuing training and coaching. 

Q: What does this mean for the Associate/Youth/Campus Pastor position we were planning to fill? And, the funding for this position?

A: The Rector Coadjutor will serve as the overall leader of our campus church and youth ministries as well as worship, discipleship, and other ministries and activities of the wider congregation and local community. (See Job Description)

Funds are available in the 2019 and 2020 budgets to cover Youth and Campus Pastor responsibilities during the 6-month transition period when we will have both Joe and the new Rector Coadjutor on board. We expect our congregation and associated giving to grow in 2020, and commensurate with this growth, we will revisit our budget and funding for a new Youth/Campus Pastor position. 

Q: How can we support the leadership of Church of the Apostles during this transition period? It’s a bitter-sweet time for us all.

A: We can be praying over the selection and calling of our next Rector, and we can pray for God to put into this person a deep desire to be our next leader.

Listen to Sunday’s Announcement

If you’d like to hear a recording of the announcement made on Sunday, you can listen to it below.

Destined For Joy II - January 2019 Update

Beloved in Christ,

Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ; God is with us in him.

Over the past two months I have written to inform you of our finances at Apostles and our continued opportunities for your year-end giving, especially toward our Destined For Joy campaign. Thanks be to God, you are responding generously. I am happy to report that as of today, we, the faithful people of God, have given $41,478.09 toward our Destined For JoyII campaign just since this appeal went out in mid-November 2018. This is over and above our regular giving and over and above the $1,900 we raised at our Christmas Craft Sale. Thank you for your faithful generosity! This puts us well on our way toward our goal of raising $600,000 over the next two years for Destined For Joy II.

In addition, you the faithful people of God by His grace, finished up 2018 extremely strong, enabling us to finish the year in the positive for the operations of Church of the Apostles. Although our accounting for the year has not been completely finalized, to date it shows our total income for 2018 was $617,525, and our total expenses were $561,532. That leaves us $55,993 in the positive just in our operations. That does not include the $283,097 we gave in designated gifts that went to specific missionaries or ministries. That means, in total our generosity for the year exceeded $940,000. Thanks be to God!

As I stated in my December letters to you, we are hoping and praying to be able to complete and furnish our new building with everything needed for mission, ministry and worship. I mentioned some of the things not budgeted for in the building that we are hoping to secure are: the complete full service kitchen, state of the art audio-visual equipment for the sanctuary, and furnishings for the interior and exterior. 

I pray that as we move forward you will continue to join me in prayer, because as we know, all things are possible in God, and we are totally dependent upon Him. I ask you not only to pray for the Lord’s total provision, but also inquire of Him how he is leading you to be part of that provision. Many of us have been partners with God in His provision for others, (God moves us to be the answer to someone’s prayer). And, most of us have had our prayers answered by God through the generosity of others. It is all our Lord’s doing. Our part is to be in tune with Him so we can get in on what He is doing. I know I always find that to be a joy, even when it requires some self-sacrifice. Though we may sacrifice, none of us can come near to the sacrifice Jesus gave for each of us. That being said, in the words of the apostle Paul: I appeal to you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Please join me in praying for the workers on our building site as well. The weather has provided very uncomfortable working conditions lately in the cold, wet and damp. While I know they are all grateful for the work and the pay the work provides, please continue to pray for their health and safety and for their families.

Please mark on your calendars for Sunday, March 24 for our Annual Meeting, when we as a congregation will come together to move forward in decisions and share a time of fellowship and information. Know in the meantime, you’ll be getting an update like this each month from me.

Thank you, and bless you, and please let me hear from you if you have any questions; God be with you.

Your brother in Christ,

Joseph Acanfora