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Birmingham’s Episcopal Cathedral enlists Presbyterian minster for worship & liturgy

Birmingham’s Episcopal Cathedral enlists Presbyterian minster for worship & liturgy

In June, the Church of the Advent, the cathedral church of the Diocese of Alabama, hired a new Canon for Worship & Liturgy. Where this role is often filled by an Episcopal priest, the Church of the Advent has hired the Revd Zac Hicks, who is a Presbyterian minister. Most recently Canon Hicks was the Pastor of Worship for the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft Lauderdale FL. Coral Ridge is the church founded by the rabidly homophobic, Dr D James Kennedy in 1960. Dr Kennedy served as its senior pastor until his death in 2007. Canon Hicks never served at Coral Ridge under Dr Kennedy.

The Revd Zac Hicks & family. He is the new Canon for Worship & Liturgy at the Church of the Advent, the cathedral church of Dio Alabama.

Canon Hicks holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Biola Conservatory of Music and earned a MDiv from the Denver Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). He is married to Abby and together they have four children, one girl and three boys. Canon Hicks is a pastor, musician and a writer. He recently completed a recording, Come and Make Us Free. He will soon have a book published, The Worship Pastor. Additionally he maintains his own blog, Zac Hicks // Worship. Church. Theology. Culture.

The Revd Hicks will maintain his clergy credential with the EPC, as he did will serving at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, which is part of the Presbyterian Church in America. He will be transferring his credential to the regional EPC body in the Birmingham area. He will be serving the Church of the Advent in what is termed an out-of-bounds capacity, which means he is serving a non-EPC congregation. But he will meet regularly with local EPC clergy for support and accountability.

Canon Hicks reports that he finds the Church of the Advent right in line with his own orthodox reformed beliefs. “Actually, becoming a part of this very Reformationally-conscious Episcopal parish makes several aspects of the theology I’ve always been convicted of feel more at home, rooted, and centered…Advent is a place that chooses to take its historic roots seriously, engaging (and believing in the contemporary relevance of) the streams of Luther and Calvin that flowed into the Church of England at the time of its formation. Advent believes in all the evangelical (in the best sense of the word) essentials that I do.”

The photo and information for this story is from Much of the information in that article and the main photo are from Canon Hicks blog article about his move.


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Bob McCloskey

The EPC was built upon Calvinist foundations but also, openly appealed to its ‘converts’ to practice its racist preferences. Its relationship to mainstream Presbyterianism was an incredible stretch if attached at all. For those of us ministering in south Florida during Dr. Kennedy’s reign it was a constant pain in our — side. As for Advent, it long ago forfeited its mainstream Anglican inheritance and practices, thanks to Paul Zahl – who before he became Dean was rector of one of Charleston’s historic churches, which was a leader in the breakaway group of Lawrence.

Marshall Scott

Brother David, I would not want to overstate the distinctions between the PCA and the EPC. Both were reactions to “social liberalism” in the PC-USA church, and both drew from their members congregations that once reflected the split between the United Presbyterian Church (once known as “the Northern church”) and the Presbyterian Church US (previously known as “the Southern church”). Those reflected the split around the Civil War; and while they were able to come together for a time, it was never all that comfortable a connection. I was a child in the UPC, and watched them come together, and once again to fall apart. As multiple “continuing Episcopal” bodies rose in the 1980’s, so multiple “continuing Presbyterian” bodies, if you will, rose (also reflecting, not surprisingly, issues of interpretation of Scripture, ordination of women, and other progressive issues – including race, but usually sub-rosa). The PCA and the EPC were two of those, and have been two of the most successful.

John Klopacz

Will he preside at the Eucharist without episcopal ordination? To the best of my knowledge Episcopalians are not in full communion with any of the various Presbyterian bodies.

Marshall Scott

John, a Canon need not be ordained, whether Canon to a cathedral or Canon to a bishop. Most are, but it’s not a requirement.

JC Fisher

In case you’re curious, whether to expect the former Coral Ridge Presbyterian minister to play a part in same-sex weddings:

“The Cathedral Church of the Advent will not be offering this rite and continues to uphold the biblical position [sic] of marriage between one man and one woman.”

In short, happy, clappy, guitar-strumming homophobia. Kyrie eleison!

John Donnelly

I admit it is an old grudge that I have trouble releasing, but the Advent literally flew a black flag to dishonor the consecration of Bishop Robinson, way back when; confirmed in the Diocese of Alabama, 1973.

Linda McMillan

“Advent believes in all the evangelical essentials that I do.”

Very disheartening.

Chris Ochillo

Anglicanism is BIG tent. So it’s good to see that there are still people left in the church that fit the “evangelical” bracket.

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