Sunday, October 05, 2008

The ACC and me

On Wednesday October 1, 2008, during a noon celebration of Holy Communion at St. Andrew and St. Margaret of Scotland in Alexandria, Virginia, with the full permission and blessing of Bishop Joel Johnson (who was present himself for the occasion) I was received into the Anglican Catholic Church by the Rt. Rev. William McClean, Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic States. And, as Bishop Joel was generous in giving this priest and his ministry to the ACC, so Bishop McClean returned the generosity by allowing me to serve as needed with Bishop Johnson while making myself available to churches in the ACC. No doubt this will be the case unless and until such time as I may find myself serving as a curate, rector or vicar to an ACC congregation.

It is also an example, I hope, to others that these two bishops are able and willing to agree on a course of action that speaks of the love, trust and unity of our common faith.

Also received that day by Bishop McClean was Fr. Peter Weaver, a priest who was ordained in the Roman Catholic Church, and who brings a lot of minsterial experience.

I want to thank certain people. First of all, Bishop Joel Johnson for teaching me and ordaining me (beginning over eleven years ago), and for receiving my family back in Easton, Maryland when we left Arizona last year; and also for being a very dear friend as well. I want to thank Bishop McClean for making a way for this to happen. In addition, there are others who helped me see the ACC in a clear and positive light: Archbishop Mark Haverland, Fr. John Hollister, Fr. Laurence Wells, and Fr. Rob Whitaker.

I remain commited to the goal of this blog in the effort of helping to unify the jurisdictions of the Continuum; so, I will continue to be "robust if polite" in what I have to say.

Signing a few official documents. To my left is Fr. Weaver


Anonymous said...

Leaving the ACC in 1980 was the worst spiritual decision of my entire life. Returning to it in 2006 was certainly the best.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

Welcome to the ACC and to DMAS. I hope to meet you soon, perhaps at the upcoming Pre-Advent Retreat in Staunton. Blessings to you and Fr. Peter Weaver.

Tom McHenry+
Archdeacon, DMAS

Canon Tallis said...

First of all, blessings on +Joel. Then a simple hurrah, hurrah, hurrah. This is the way that we are supposed to act and proof that whether we know it or not, The Church in the United States as brought to this country by the settlers at Jamestown and maintained by all of us who love the prayer book and the Catholic faith.

John A. Hollister said...

Dear Father,

It is extremely gratifying to those of us in the ACC who know you that you have decided to continue your journey in our company. Your wisdom and learning (which, of course, are not the same thing) is a great addition to our intellectual resources.

We very much hope, also, that your experience in finding an easy transition to us from the Diocese of the Chesapeake will serve as an example to others of similar mind that they can expect a warm welcome and a comfortable home.

Finally, it is wonderful that your transfer has been the occasion for the meeting of Bishops Johnson and McClean and for their cooperation in your behalf. May that presage well for the common futures of both the Dioceses of the Chesapeake and of the Mid Atlantic States.

Welcome, welcome, welcome!

John A. Hollister+

Albion Land said...

Welcome to the ACC, Fr Hart!

One of the first things I would like you to do is to ask the archbishop for permission to officiate in Cyprus, and to provide you with the airfare to get here. :>)

As Fr Hollister has already said, we are blessed to count you among our company. Also, I pray that this presages an end to one small division in the Church Catholic.

Bishops Johnson and McClean: may God bless and reward you both richly for what you have done.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart, you were kind to me when I allowed myself to be made to feel like a leper for belonging to, or being well on the way to, the TAC (which dared to shock some, particularly in the ACC, by keeping the door open to FiF). You've also been relatively reasonable about the TAC's Romeward overtures. I do hope that you are able to keep your independence of thought.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

I'm very happy about your decision to be among us. No doubt your erudition and experience will serve to advance the Kingdom under the umbrella of Anglican catholicity.


Steven Augustine Badal
(Layman of the Diocese of the South)

Anonymous said...

An occasional reader here. Out of curiousity: What community did you come from to join ACC?

Anonymous said...

Was this decision primarily a financial one? Knowing that you may be exposed to the PCK that savaged you through "unity" ought to have given pause.

I also wonder how you overcame the 'gay' clergy bishop issues and the 'donatism' problem.

Not trying to throw bricks here but these issues are obstacles to CC unity and they won't go away.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Primarily financial? No. Partly financial, yes. I will be honest and admit openly that the ACC offers the potential to provide for my wife with a more secure income and future, and I believe that I owe that to her, and that this is right in the sight of God. I am not being hypocritical in this, because I have not changed churches; that is, I am still an Anglican. The ACC seems to me the best way of being Anglican, including how it compares to other Continuing Churches.

I have never believed the "gay" clergy charge, and I find it to be just plain ridiculous (and malicious). As for the Donatism charge that I once swallowed, frankly, if I say everything I have learned about those matters I will only anger some people. Suffice to say, I think that the ball is in the court of the TAC. It is up to them to respond to Archbishop Haverland's very open statement about unity.

My writings over the last year show that I cannot agree with any jurisdiction that expresses its apologetic for Anglicanism by appearing to say, "gosh, we're sorry we're Anglican. We'll try to do better." I am the man who interviewed you-know-who first, and I am afraid that this is exactly how I must summarize his position.

That is robust; and I hope it is also polite.

poetreader said...

Fr. Hart,

As the odd man out, the only one of our four contributors not currently part of ACC, I guess I should say something here.

1. I'm sincere in congratulating you on an honorable action, and in believing that this kind of cooperation between separated jurisidictions may be a small step toward ultimate unity among Anglicans.

2. There are things I don't like about ACC, but I refuse to go into them, believing that such a discussion leads nowhere healthy.

3. There are also things I do not like about TAC, and I will similarly not go into that. I will say, however, that if a jurisdiction were to be defined by the personality of its primate, I'd be quite uncomfortable indeed. I won't speak harshly about those over me, but the TAC is not its archbishop and his time will pass. That, I'm afraid, I consider a good thing.

4. There are no Anglican jurisdictions that are not seriously flawed. That is the tragedy of the current eccelsiastical situation. On weighing various factors I'm content to be where I am.

5. We need to be more and more open to moves like yours. Formally or informally we need to be approaching one another. Above all it is way past time to be taking potshots at one another and way past time to cease erecting competing works.


Anonymous said...

Dear Father Hart,
Welcome to the ACC. I hope to meet you on one of my visits across the pond.
Every blessing

Ken said...

With Fr. Hart going to the ACC perhaps The Continuum should try to recruit an additional contributer, like from the APCK or UECNA, APA, etc.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


We are ahead of you on that. We have invited a priest in the ACA, whose name I will not mention here; but, we have not received a reply.


I have clergy friends in the ACA, and I consider them to be very fine priests. I believe that within a few years the obstacles to unity in the CCs could vanish.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I am so glad for you that you have found a canonical home and may God bless your ministry.

By all means, please do continue to be "robust" yet "polite" in your efforts to unite the jurisdictions of the Continuum.