Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A new era not of our making

Upon receiving the news that over three thousand people in the Congo have been received into the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) recently, I did not assume that they were leaving the Traditional Anglican Anglican Communion (TAC) simply because of the Roman issue. I suspected it had very much to do with the same problem that motivated the Continuing Anglicans of South Africa also to turn to the ACC. In the Congo, as part of the TAC, no bishop has come to them in over five years, meaning there have been no ordinations and no confirmations; neither has any effort been made to give them a diocesan structure and a bishop of their own. The Rt. Rev. Wilson Garang of the Diocese of Aweil in Sudan will be there in the near future to meet immediate needs, and the effort will be underway to provide in their own country, the Congo, the necessary diocesan structure and episcopal ministry essential to the growth and vitality of any Church in the Catholic and Apostolic Tradition. The people in South Africa were also neglected; but, now they have two dioceses, and are scheduled to have two bishops consecrated in (as I understand it) March.

The old status quo cannot be sustained

When The Continuum blog was created in late 2005 by Albion Land one major idea was to bring unity among the various jurisdictions which adhere to The Affirmation of St. Louis. At that time it seemed to make sense that a blog could exist for clergy and laity to try to discuss openly whatever issues needed to be discussed in order to bring us all closer together. The idea was that all of the major and well-known jurisdictions were, more or less, equally valid (without regard to the many "vagante" operations that spring up as a result of religious freedom). Therefore, under the old status quo we almost had to accept division as a reality, as if it were an essential part of the Continuing Anglican identity. Maintaining the status quo has come to mean, however, maintaining the division itself.

When I was face to face with Archbishop John Hepworth of the TAC, in the Summer of 2008, I asked him why he had never responded to the open letter from Archbishop Haverland, inviting a discussion for the purpose of establishing unity. The answer I was given, which I would not even consider repeating at this time, was no answer at all. That is, in one sense, perfectly acceptable, inasmuch as he is free to ignore the plea for unity, and therefore the gracious invitation to talks. Nonetheless, it raises an issue that effects this blog directly.

In June of 2009 I wrote the following in an essay entitled What is the Continuum at the present time?

"We recognize, in fact, really only two major groupings. One is the united bodies of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) and the UECNA. The other is the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) together with with its American branch, the Anglican Church in America (ACA). (As I have stated, the APA [Anglican Province in America] has a separate origin, and existed before the Continuing Church.) The APCK [Anglican Province of Christ the King] and the UECNA [United Episcopal Church North America] have become very small over the years, and exist solely in North America, whereas the ACC has grown to be worldwide with a second Province that is headquartered in India. Therefore, it is not a criticism or a negative judgment on my part that I see the UECNA and the APCK as satellites held in orbit by the ACC. This is simply my own way of phrasing things, and is stated with respect and charity for our fellow Anglicans in the two smaller jurisdictions."

Of these two major groupings, we must ask whether or not the TAC has a commitment to Anglicanism at all. Is there still any reason to hold out hope for unity? if so, what sort of unity?

In light of the experience of the African churches that have turned to the ACC, the question is even more significant. Has the TAC effort to create some kind of "full cooperate communion" with the See of Rome interfered with more than their commitment to Anglicanism itself? As I was told by Bishop Louis Campese in 2007, the advice of the Roman Catholic Church to the TAC/ACA was that they stop making bishops. Have the people of the Congo and South Africa lived without bishops all these years because of misplaced priorities, because meeting their need was inconvenient given the desire to establish a new relationship with Rome? If so, it is a grave matter indeed. The Church needs the Apostolic ministry of its bishops if it is to grow and thrive, and cutting off this vital function for some other priority can hardly be justified. The shifting of at most a few thousand people from one denomination into another (Roman Catholicism) has been confused with "the unity of John 17," and has been spoken of in terms eschatologiocal and messianic. But, weighty as this sounds, it does not justify neglect of one major charge given by Christ to all bishops everywhere: "Feed my sheep."

The time for real unity

Inasmuch as our only TAC/ACA contributor to the blog resigned for private reasons, this blog has, purely by accident, come exclusively under the control of three priests who belong to the ACC. We never planned this, and we did not want Mr. Pacht to leave us, just as we never wanted Sandra McColl to resign earlier. But, neither did we plan any of the events related to Anglicanorum Coetibus. We plan to carry on as before, but in light of the times that have changed; therefore, in some ways not quite as before, inasmuch as living in a fantasy would make us irrelevant.

We distinguish between two realities both of which may be called the TAC/ACA. One is the reality of bishops trying their very best to sell Anglicanorum Coetibus, and the other reality is the people who want now, as ever, to Continue the Anglicanism of the Book of Common Prayer, the Catholic Faith as it has been "believed everywhere, always and by all" without innovations of Protestantism or Roman Catholicism. That is what The Affirmation of St. Louis was all about. I know a large number of people in the TAC/ACA who agree with everything that Archbishop Haverland wrote about this new Roman Constitution:

"We believe that classical Anglicanism, as presented clearly in The Affirmation of Saint Louis and in our liturgies and other authoritative formularies, is already faithful to Scripture and the Fathers and is already fully Catholic and Orthodox. Conversion is not necessary and absorption is not appropriate. We believe that our Anglican patrimony is, moreover, by God’s grace and Providence, also most appropriate for the English-speaking peoples and probably is essential for the successful evangelization or re-evangelization of the English-speaking lands. We hope eventually for a genuine dialogue concerning the Petrine Office and long for the day when we, with our Orthodox and Oriental Christian friends, may again find in the successor of Saint Peter a patriarch with the primacy of honor and with high authority both as an organ for strengthening the Church’s unity and also as an instrument for the articulation of the Church’s teaching. We regret that the forthcoming Constitution, while kindly meant, seems set to delay that happy day."
(The full text may be read here)

So we have two ways to look at the current crisis. One is to say that unity with the TAC is no longer even a possibility, insasmuch as they have chosen to go to Rome, and are merely working out details. The other is to realize that now is the time for genuine unity, because if their bishops go to Rome, the people who want to remain Anglican have no one blocking the path to unity within the Continuing Anglican Church, a home where the lamp is burning in the window and the soup is on the stove.

And, the purpose of this blog can no longer be to maintain a status quo of division, which we see coming to an end; even if we were to maintain that status quo it in the name of unity. The times have changed, we hope for the better.

31 comments:

RC Cola said...

The ACC will no doubt roll out the red carpet for those parishioners and clergy who do not wish to join the rest of TAC going over to Rome.

I would counsel not to try to dissuade those members and clergy who have decided to go to Rome from going. Just let them go, as hard as that may seem. It sounds backwards, but often the arguments for something make people riding the fence fall to the other side, as if in our zeal to grab them--we accidentally push instead of pull.

I watch The Journey Home on EWTN as I mentioned before. Often the stories and guests are quite nice, but the former Anglican priests really chaffed me. I thought the Pope's Apostolic Constitution was a rather nice gesture and good for those Anglicans who want to go to Rome. Then I saw that episode of the Journey Home and the former Anglican guests showed me that they are not at all interested in a genuine reunion of equal brethren. (I do not doubt the Pope's sincerity, but will the RC priests and bishops on the ground treat ACs as equals? Doubtful.) Hearing how they talked, I think the poor Anglicans are constantly going to have their third-class status rubbed in their faces until they finally give up no the Anglican Use and submit to the new Roman Rite. (I say "third class" because the Traditionalists are already the second class.)

As for those parishioners and clergy of TAC who do not wish to join the journey to Rome, we must by all means welcome them in a true, loving and fraternal spirit. We should slaughter the fattened calf for them. All bygones must be bygone, hatchets buried, etc.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

This is actually a great time to be an Anglican. I'm no Pollyanna. Instead I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth.

veriword: miscarfi
"Mamma mia! Rocco, I aforgot to wear miscarfi, anda now I ahave a cold."
Second veriword: coucenti
"There was a no space on a the bench so I say to Rocco, "Ay, coucenti in a little bit so a-there's a room for a me to sit a down!"

BCP Anglican said...

Dear Father Hart,
As a regular reader from another Anglican jurisdiction, I'll offer a suggestion (for whatever a suggestion is worth). Since the site has become more ACC, maybe it would be good to include more news posts or even articles on happenings around the ACC. Of course, some Anglican theological and apologetic should continue. And Father Wells' bulletin inserts are great. However, at least one recent commentator seemed to lack knowledge that good and positive things do occur in continuing Anglicanism. So some approach to include more on positive ministry examples might be useful to us all. Another possibility might be to include occasional positive news from smaller Anglican groups.
In any case, may God bless you all in this new era.

Fr. John said...

Father Hart,

Perhaps this is a good time to mention that I have posted a copy of the "Affirmation of St. Louis" at this web page:

http://affirmationofstlouis.blogspot.com/

It has been up for several weeks now and only publicized by individual contacts, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the great cross section of signers from across the Anglican spectrum.

I have also been disappointed by several responses from people I felt sure would sign, but gave,in my opinion, flimsy reasons for not signing.

I hope in some small way the signatories to the "Affirmation" will contribute to the new reality of which you wrote. It could be a beginning of sorts for the unity, or what JPII called, a "positive ecumenism."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

BCP Anglican

We do not consider this an ACC blog, and the current arrangement is by default because of two resignations. So, news and contributions from people willing to write, including TAC members (even if to disagree, and say my statements above were unfair) could be posted here.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

RC Cola:

It just so happens we have a bishop named Rocco, Rt. Rev. Rocco Florenza. Was the veriword interpretation a greeting to his Grace?

RC Cola said...

It just so happens we have a bishop named Rocco, Rt. Rev. Rocco Florenza. Was the veriword interpretation a greeting to his Grace?

Ha! I wish I were that clever.

I just love the name Rocco because it reminds me of my childhood barbershop, "Mario's", where, if you didn't understand Sicilian, you didn't know what he would do to your hair.

If Bishop Florenza in Sicilian, I like him already.

Fr. Steve said...

I, personally, think it would be nice if you guys could find someone in both of the other jurisdictions that would be willing to come aboard and write. That way, it would truly be representative of all three jurisdictions.

Valerian said...

I would first like to ask a question. Does anyone on this list know which of the various "Continuing Jurisdictions" actually have adopted the Affirmation of St. Louis? My understanding is that both the APA and Diocese of the Holy Cross have adopted it. Are there others besides the ACC, UECNA, and PCK, even if they are not from the Chambers Succession?
If we are to ever achieve reconciliation and unity among traditional Anglicans, we first have to start talking to one another. Could you not invite people from the various jurisdictions who have adopted the A. of St. L. to join this blog and see where open discussion could begin to lead us? If we can all agree on the Affirmation I should think that would certainly be one great step forward.

Ken said...

While the APA may not be a "continuing" church technically, I recall that the Affirmation calls for discussion/unity with other apostolic bodies.

I think it would be a good idea to have guest postings from other jurisdictions.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Steve perhaps they could even write as to why there is still separation from their perspective.
I would be most interested to hear what the delay is for the APCK and UECNA in not merging with the ACC.

As well as why other jurisdictions are not looking towards closer ties and a unified witness.

Alan

frron said...

Just possibly the merger of the UEC and APCK into the ACC is in effect not a merger but us just disappearing into the ACC.
There are examples of true inter communion with the UEC and APCK now in effect.
I certainly do not feel that we are held in orbit by the ACC.

Fr. Steve said...

I know the Orthodox Anglican Church, who's headquarters are just 15 miles north of me in Lexington, NC hold to the Affirmation of St. Louis.

Alan,

I am in the UECNA, and I believe the plan there is to have unity within 5 years with the ACC. I have no idea about the APCK, but there is a parish in Raliegh. That's pretty close to Fr. Hart's church in Chapel Hill.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Steve,

Why the wait? Just curious.

Alan

David said...

The reason they haven't unified is because as St. John Chrysostom said "The desire to rule is the mother of all heresy". The same reason there is so little jurisdictional unity amongst the Orthodox (though the faith is common).

RC Cola said...

Maybe the ACC can reach out to the other Continuing/Traditional Anglican Churches, ask for a synod of sorts, see if we can get everyone to sign-on to the Affirmation of St. Louis.

From there, we can say that we have at least a common ground or level field (or metaphor of your choice) from which we can start further talks and inter-communion.

I get the sense that each continuing, orthodox or traditional Anglican church is a brick. The purpose of a brick is to go into a structure with other bricks. We become a part of something stronger than we would be on our own. alone, a brick is only useful as a door stop. We have to do more than stop the door, we have a Church to help rebuild.

I am going to make "Anglican Unity" the intention of my evening Prayer. Anyone join me?

Come to think of it, isn't this week the Octive for Christian Unity?

David Gould said...

With stability, humility, a sensible College of Bishops, and an inspiring Metropolitan, the ACC Original Province, spread from the Congo to Australia, to the US heartland, and the 2nd province - the Church of India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma is the natural place for the UECNA and APCK to take rest.

The ACC has real parishes, missions and priests across all continents, and does not pursue paper communicants like the 200,000 per week claimed in a recent TAC website.

frron said...

Fr Steve has indicated a plan for the UEC to merge with the ACC in 5 years. Perhaps Im not privy to that info.
I would like to know the details of this merger if they are available.
What would happen tp the bishops,priests and deacons of those in the UEC and APCK?
Will we have to pass muster by the ACC ?
Sounds like swimming the Tiber to me so far.

Fr. John said...

Cut and paste this URL into your browser to see an Anglican Novena for Church unity:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=27399231&postID=115592564559571296

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I am not aware of any plan either. I hope we will all sort of merge together, and let the bishops work out all the details. Christians of the Continuing Church unite! You have nothing to lose but your divisions!

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Ron asked, about a possible future merger of the UECNA and/or the APCK with the ACC: "What would happen to the bishops, priests and deacons ... in the UEC and APCK? Will we have to pass muster by the ACC? Sounds like swimming the Tiber to me so far."

Does Fr. Ron know something the rest of us don't? Because the ACC has always accepted without question those Holy Orders conferred in either the UECNA or the APCK.

There has been a difference of practice between the APCK and the ACC on their respective acceptances of Orders conferred by Lambeth Communion bodies after 1975, 1976, 1992, or whatever the case may be for any given Lambeth Province. That difference is that, after a given Province accepted women's "ordination", either expressly or constructively, the ACC has been unsure of the validity of ANY Orders conferred in that Province, regardless of the personal beliefs or practices of that Province's individual bishops. This approach has the advantage of using an objective standard for "sacramental intention", looking to the words of the rite used in the context of the institution using it.

The APCK, on the other hand, has, at least in some cases, accepted Orders conferred in "WO" Provinces where the particular bishop involved had not, up through the time of the ordination concerned, himself purported to "ordain" any women. This approach has the disadvantage of looking for "sacramental intention" to the subjective dispositions of the ordaining prelate.

Thus, for example, at least at some points in its history the APCK would presumably have accepted Orders conferred by the late Graham Leonard after 1992 but prior to the date on which he "did" 70 women at one go.

I do no know if the APCK continues this policy or whether it has abandoned it; perhaps someone with more recent information than mine can enlighten us.

One assumes that the practical results of this difference in belief and practice would be among the few issues that would need to be discussed prior to any actual merger.

John A. Hollister+
"jcstsy"
"inviesph"

Fr. John said...

Novena of St. Hilda
V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray:

O almighty God who in thy unspeakable providence didst choose Blessed Hilda to be thy instrument in bringing together diverse elements, that where there was discord and division her labours brought harmony and unity, grant we beeseech thee that she, whom we venerate as our patroness, may be our intercessor in Heaven.

Amen.


Litany of St. Hilda


V. Lord have mercy upon us.

R. Christ have mercy upon us.

V. Lord have mercy upon us; Christ hear us.

R. Christ graciously hear us.

V. God the Father of Heaven.

R. have mercy upon us.

V. God the Son Redeemer of the world.

R. have mercy upon us.

V. God the Holy Ghost.

R. have mercy upon us.

V. Holy Trinity, One God.

R. have mercy upon us.

V. Holy Mary.

R. Pray for us.

V. Holy Mother of God.

R. Pray for us.

V. Mother of Christ.

R. Pray for us.

V. Holy Virgin of Virgins.

R. Pray for us.

V. Mother of good counsel.

R. Pray for us.

V. Queen of Virgins.

R. Pray for us.

V. Saint Hilda.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda most prudent.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda most renowned.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda faithful Virgin.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda just leader of her flock.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda venerable counselor.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda comforter of those in need.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda honoured by her peers.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda Chaste vessel of unity.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda courageous in time of distress.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda obedient to the Holy Rule.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda patient in time of affliction.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda labourer for harmony.

R. Pray for us.

V. Hilda filled with love of Holy Church.

R. Pray for us.

V. Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.

R. Spare us O Lord.

V. Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.

R. Graciously hear us O Lord.

V. Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world.

R. Have mercy upon us.

V. He hath made her mistress of His house.

R. And ruler of all His possessions.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Grant we beeseech thee, Almighty God, that we who are afflicted by the burden of discord may by the glorious intercession of thy Abbess, the Virgin Hilda, who through the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit was instrumental in unifying thy Church in England,be brought to the safe harbour of unity and peace and delivered from all adversities and attain to everlasting salvation, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and God.

R. Amen

Mark said...

As many here no doubt know, this week has seen the birthdays of both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I was reminded of this as I read a recent essay in the periodical Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. This essay, about a Classical Christian School here in the South, mentioned the bond between the men who charged up Cemetery Ridge on that fateful day in 1863. These men - many of whom were Anglicans - were the men of:

"...the officer corp of the Confederacy. At Gettysburg, products of this same culture walked in the line that Pickett sent up the slope and into the cannon on Cemetery Ridge. Half of them fell before the survivors returned to the line of trees where they had started. They took flanking artillery fire from the right and left, walking up that hill, and as their numbers thinned they shortened their line, drawing close together. Historians say this bunching up was a natural reaction to the cannon fire on both sides. Maybe, but I think they were used to being shoulder to shoulder, and if they were likely to die, as they knew they were, it was natural to move in tight."

It would seem to many that the Continuing Church is likely to die - they have said so for thirty years. I think it untrue, but if it is true, I choose to die shoulder to shoulder with those I know best. I choose to move in tight. We in the Continuing Church need unity and we need it now. So to our bishops and to all our clergy, those wonderful brave men who have given up so much to preserve the faith, I say join we laymen together on the tree line at the bottom of the ridge. We have a hill to charge and we should do it shoulder to shoulder. We have many souls to save, many churches to plant, many schools to build between here and the ridge!

Deo Vindice!

Fr. John said...

In point of fact when any of my parishioners move away I always try and find them a good parish home where ever they are going to. I have no qualms about recommending they attend an APCK or UECNA parish, since the ACC is in communion with those bodies. Similarly, I would also recommend an APA parish, even though we don't have a formal inter-communion agreement with that body. There are perhaps other bodies that would be acceptable as well, although I would stop short of saying that any church with the word Anglican in its name would be better than an Orthodox or RC parish. Necessity can be the mother of ecumenism.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Ron asked, regarding a possible future merger of the UECNA and/or the APCK with the ACC: "What would happen to the bishops, priests and deacons of ... the UEC and APCK? Will we have to pass muster by the ACC? Sounds like swimming the Tiber to me so far."

Because the UECNA, the APCK, and the ACC are already in full communion with each other, the Holy Orders of clergymen who were ordained in any of those bodies already "pass muster" in the others.

In a minority of cases, there might be some questions about men who were ordained in Lambeth-affiliated Provinces after those Provinces became infected by the vice of women's "ordination", and who were later received into one of the Continuing churches without receiving conditional ordination, but as said, that is very much a minority issue and is actually irrelevant to how each of the St. Louis groups conducts its own ordinations.

John A. Hollister+

David Gould said...

Can someone please explain to us Australians why the bishops and priests of the APCK and UECNA if they are in full communion with the ACC do not simply join their Churches to the ACC, thereby in the United States substantially increasing the size of the ACC, reducing vastly administration costs and making the whole ACC much stronger?

Now that the TAC is destined to be broken up as their episcopal hierarchy and some priests and laity depart for Rome, the time is ripe to ensure that a unified continuum offers the holiness, beauty and spiritual life that is Anglican Catholicism to the world.

John A. Hollister said...

David Gould asked, "Can someone please explain to us Australians why the bishops and priests of the APCK and UECNA if they are in full communion with the ACC do not simply join their Churches to the ACC...?"

I cannot actually speak for either the APCK or the UECNA -- in fact, I can't even speak for the ACC, of which I am a member -- but it has always seemed to me as an observer that every wedding must be preceded by a period of courtship and that the courtship will be longer or shorter depending on several factors.

How well do the parties know each other at the moment one catches the other's eye? At that time, were consciously ready to seek a life partner, or was one or were both just looking for someone with whom to socialize?

Then, as the relationship deepens, there are all the worrisome questions about the shape their common life will take. Will he move to her apartment, or she to his, or will they each give up their present residences and move together to a third and new one?

Whose furniture will be used in which rooms? Which kitchenwares and dishes will go into the cupboards and which into storage? Will their pets get alone with each other?

And then there are the "biggies": with which set of inlaws will they spend Christmas, with which will they spend Thanksgiving? Which rituals and customs from each family of origin will be retained and which discarded?

If a marrige between two individuals involves all these complexities, just think how much more involved and nuanced would be the merger of two, or yet more three, organizations, each composed of many members, each with its accustomed ways of doing things.

For any such merger to work, a substantial majority of each group must want it to happen. Until something on the order of two-thirds to three-quarters of its members assert that the time has come, and a similar proportion of its synod delegates vote for such a proposition, no group will -- or, to be frank, should -- commit itself to such a step. With any less support than that, the attempt will have an unhappy outcome.

Just look at what is now going on in the ACA/TAC, where there is a conspicuous lack of uniformity in the members' visions of where their organization should be headed. We do not want to damage, or diminish, any of our three groups by doing anything similarly thoughtless.

We already have the most essential unity, the Sacramental one; the rest will come when the Holy Spirit tells us He is ready for us to do His bidding. In the meantime, we must be extremely careful not to run roughshod over or to run off those who are still in the process of mulling over the proposition.

When you are asking people to make very significant changes in their lives, such as by changing the label under which they live their spiritual existence, you must be respectful of their natural caution.

John A. Hollister+

acalayreader said...

David,

I'm in the US and I wish that someone would explain that to me also. From what I have experienced, too many egos.

Fr. Steve said...

David,

you are talking about two jurisdictions who have a standing committee. Unity does not come over night. That's why the plan is to give it some years to develop. I said 5 years, and that's a number I have heard thrown around by some of the people I have regular contact with. Yeah, we could all just arbitrarily leave our jurisdiction and join the ACC, but then again, there are a few of our churches who are still warming to the idea of joining with the ACC.

As for the APCK, I have a member of my independent parish who is going to an APCK parish when she visits her mother in Raleigh. They are actually going to assist me with catechism for her, and the plan is for her to actually be confirmed up there in Raleigh during their next Episcopal visit.

We have unity already. Why do we need to rush to have one jurisdiction? It'll happen. Just not tomorrow.

Canon Tallis said...

I think that most of us not in the ACC, the UECNA and PCK but who were also active participants in the Congress of St. Louis know precisely why we found it impossible to sign on to follow any of the above organizations or the bishops consecrated by Bishops Chambers and Paktaghan at Denver. But for the long term good of the Continuum and the hope of an eventual unity of all who hold passionately to the faith of the Anglican Reformation, the classic prayer books and other formularies as so expertly set out by the priest-owners of this blog, will be more to happy to carry those reasons unspoken to our graves. The present primates are, it seems to me, entirely clear of the reasons that not all of us were able to accept the leadership given at Denver. Heaven knows, some of us very sincerely tried.

Indeed, Bishop Morse once said to me that the future unity of the Continuum would depend upon a necessary series of requiems. Some of those have already happened. But I would guess that a general acknowledgment that mistakes have been made and that to go forward we are all going to have to make the sort of confession which is found in the offices, i.e., "we have left undone those things which we ought to have done and done those thing which we ought not to have done and there is no health in us." But we must also admit that by the grace of the Holy Spirit there is health in us and that by making a greater attempt to be less ashamed of being "mere Anglican" a more rapid progress could and should be made.

But to do so, the present presiding bishops of the separated bodies need to begin meeting and talking together. In fact, I think more precisely that what they need to do is to meet for Evening Prayer followed by a meal and some good honest table talk. Then after sleeping on it, they need to meet again and say or sing Morning Prayer together followed by a celebration of the Eucharist. During breakfast they can begin talking again. And they should do so where there are no outside distractions, no escape from each other and the matter at hand - which should not immediately be unity but a learning to know each other and access each others willingness to sacrifice himself and his own ego for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel and the Church which he 'traditioned' to the apostles. And we should all realize that none of this is going to be easy.

I think it might also be helpful if it could be suggested to Archbishop Haverland that it would seem to be his responsibility to ask one or two of her clergy to begin identifying all those in any of the Continuing groups who have been consecrated to the episcopate, seek copies of their certificates of consecration and begin the construction of just who has been consecrated and under what circumstances. This is the sort of thing which would give all hope in an eventual omega point in which our present spiritual unity would become actual.

In fact, each of us clerical and lay need to be asking ourselves daily what we, individually, could do to foster and bring about a real unity of all those who not merely call themselves Anglicans but are working and praying so that it would be seen to be so. That is the "walks like a duck; quacks like a duck, etc.," test.

RC Cola said...

Christians of the Continuing Church unite! You have nothing to lose but your divisions!

CLASSIC!!!

I love it!

Fr. Steve said...

From what I understand, the Archbishops of the UECNA and the ACC have regular contact. What's more, the Archbishop of the UECNA is scheduled to retire this year.