Leader of Anglican church in Little Rock tapped to become bishop

Robert Cook, rector at St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Little Rock, is shown in this undated courtesy photo.
Robert Cook, rector at St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Little Rock, is shown in this undated courtesy photo.

The rector of St. Andrew's Anglican Church in Little Rock has been selected to serve as a bishop in the Anglican Mission in America.

Robert Cook, who has led the congregation on Kanis Road for roughly a decade, will remain at its helm.

Philip Jones, the organization's lead bishop and Cook's predecessor at St. Andrew's, said Cook has the gifts and abilities to enable him to minister effectively.

"He's shown great leadership, [has a] great family, his church is doing terrific and he just has all the kind of attributes that you look for in a bishop, with his faithfulness, integrity, love for the Lord, love for people, a pastor's heart and the leadership abilities that he's shown at St. Andrews," Jones said.

"By God's grace, if everything continues to work out, he should be consecrated as a bishop in 2024, most likely in February," Jones said.

"I'm greatly humbled [by] this opportunity to get to serve the Lord in this way in the Anglican Mission,'' Cook said, expressing thankfulness that he would be able to work alongside its priests.

The Anglican Mission in America is holding its annual meeting then, and it's scheduled to occur in Little Rock.

"Clergy and lay people from all across the country will come together and do a variety of things, one of which will be to install him as a new bishop," Jones said.

"There'll be some overseas bishops coming from overseas, from Congo and Tanzania, to be part of this consecration, so it'll be a big event," he said.

The first Anglican Mission in America congregation was launched in Arkansas.

In 1998, after Episcopal priest Thomas W. Johnston was denied permission to help plant a new parish in Little Rock, Bishop John Rucyahana of Rwanda agreed to sanction his ministry and to provide oversight.

Since then, the missionary outreach has spread elsewhere. Today, the Anglican Mission in America currently has roughly a dozen parishes. Like the Episcopal Church, it utilizes the Book of Common Prayer.

All Saints Dallas, which Jones helped plant, is the largest, with average Sunday attendance between 800 and 1,000.

"We're not Episcopalian, we're not under that structure, but we're similar in style in terms of worship," Jones said. "Our particular anointing is planting what we call 'three-stream churches': Scripture, Sacrament and Spirit.'"

The mission emphasizes "the role of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit," he added.

Overseas bishops and archbishops "give us the freedom to go plant churches in North America," he added.

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