Thursday, July 15, 2010

A few positive words

The following is part of an email I received from a bishop of the ACC. I think this positive evaluation worth passing on, and more to the point, completely accurate. By God's grace, this is an overview of what our present is and what our future promises to be.

"The Continuing Church had and has its problems. We also have over the last 30 years built hundreds of congregations, and dozens of those are strong parishes with attractive buildings, plausible liturgy, well-educated clergy, serious ministry, and works of mercy. What was once dismissed as a '1928 Prayer Book Burial Society' is alive and multi-generational and growing. We have had, and still have, too much division - as do Rome, the Orthodox, and everybody else. But our divisions, far from multiplying, are reversing. There are significant unities among various Continuing bodies, and they are increasing. There is a good deal of cordiality across ecclesial lines, and that is also increasing. There is no good reason for pessimism and much reason for very great optimism.

"The TAC is jumping ship and abandoning the Affirmation and Anglicanism as our movement is palpably succeeding. That loss of nerve is a tragedy for TAC folk, who could have poped years ago and consciously chose not to do so. However, from that tragedy comes a simplification of the Continuing Church scene...and the opening of serious ecumenical opportunities for the remnants of the TAC that will choose not to become Roman Catholic - a remnant that will prove to be a majority, I think."

All I can think to add is, Amen.


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of an ACA parish I once belonged to, whose then priest tried about 30 years to coax them into something called "Western Rite Orthodoxy."

The people wisely refused this blandishment and have thrived, as old-fashioned Prayer Book Christians. Their current priest is now trying to sell them on the equivalent form of suicide, the "Ordinariate." 30 years ago their SW asked astutely, "Why quit when you are winning?" Smart man.
I hope the same wisdom still prevails there.

Yes, our parishes are growing. Just this week I was approached by a neighbor of the church asking about time of Mass, etc. Their 12 year old daughter likes our VBS. And this is a Boston Irish family, transplanted to the South. About one third of our parish are former RC's. This "Ordinariate" talk scares the bejesus out of them.


Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

I am very glad to have a bishop of the ACC write as he did. The only thing which he could have done better was to have allowed his name to be printed so that he could be properly thanked and praised.

Unfortunately, too many of us who as yet remain outside of the ACC, APCK, and UECNA do so because the present bishops in the area in which we live are not persons we trust to maintain classical prayer book Anglicanism. Too many of them seem afraid to be or do what is required to lead. But that has been our problem from the beginning. But the words you reported do give me hope for the future, because it is certain that we cannot unmake the mistakes of the past.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The only thing which he could have done better was to have allowed his name to be printed so that he could be properly thanked and praised.

He very well might do so; but, I was quoting from a private email. Besides, ain't it obvious?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The people wisely refused this blandishment (of Western Rite Orthodoxy) and have thrived, as old-fashioned Prayer Book Christians.
This should not be remarkable and yet it is! Why? The answer, as it seems to me, is that a sense of inferiority slowly crept by osmosis, as it were, into the minds of Prayer Book Anglicans to the extent that they saw themselves as somehow inferior to Romanists (and Eastern Orthodox?) whereas they are at least equal.
Romanist, and other 'pushy' types have been gradually nagging away at Anglicanism 'from the beginning'. The adage "if you tell people often enough..." applies here; don't you think?

David said...

I have only ever thought an Continuing Anglican parish should consider the WR of Orthodoxy if they are looking for a tighter unity and support from a larger body. I know much to the dismay of many of my fellow Orthodox I view the ACC and APCK as already Orthodox. I would be perfectly happy if they would get together to work towards the goal of missionary endeavors, education of the laity, etc, whether that be by coming together in the WR or in another body.

I think Orthodoxy could use a dose of new genetics (like when the Evangelical Orthodox joined the Church) to make it healthier. I think the Continuum could use a dose of converts with a zeal for missions.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

It would be nice if more people who have given up on Anglicanism (or are considering doing so) realized and accepted the fact that the rest of us are simply quite happy and content being continuing Anglicans.

I have seen more and more cooperation and goodwill over the short number of years I have been an Anglican, and that is very positive. Maybe a good "pruning" is necessary for the branch to continue to grow.

David said...

Father Gordon,

I agree with you, it would be like here in the West when we have wild fires that thin out our old growth allowing for deer to have habitat, grasses to grow, etc. It is tough to watch the forest burn but in the end it is what is best.

Auriel Ragmon said...

As an Anglo-Ctholic for most of my adult life, and now as an Eastern Orthodox layperson for over 20 years, I can see the quandry that is presented here: Is the Anglican compromise viable? when ECUSA started ordaining women I began to leave, and after a brief hiatus, opted for Orthodoxy rather than Rome. I can say I've never heen happier, but it sure is more demanding spiritually. When there is a fast, we all fast. Confession is required.
Unity of faith, no ifs, ands, or buts, is stressed.
Not many variations in the liturgy, except in the kind of music (Byzantine vs Russian chant etc)
Our bishops are mostly in communion with each other because they all believe and teach the same things.

John A. Hollister said...

Auriel Ragmon asked, " Is the Anglican compromise viable?"

I have to ask in return, "What 'compromise'?"

Anglicanism, real Anglicanism, is simply the native Catholicism of English-speaking people. That it has proven remarkably adaptable to other languages, cultures, and climes is simply a testimony to some genius that lurks in the English spirit, a genius that has also flowered forth in the institutions of Parliamentary democracy and the Common Law that have also transplanted well to many new fields.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

Thank you, John. Compromise it is not and I thank you for saying it so eloquently.

Anonymous said...

If Auriel Ragmon is so "happy" in Eastern Orthodoxy, why does s/he find it necessary to go trolling in a traditional Anglican blog?

But his/her comment gave entrez for good Canon Hollister to point out that the so-called Anglican "compromise" was not some sort of deal which created an unstable structure, but a real theological achievement. The Chalcedonian settlement was a "compromise" between Antiochian and Alexandrian Christologies. It was also the greatest theological achievement since the Event which it so well explained. The US Constitution was a compromise between big and small States, giving us a brilliant political system.

Likewise, the Anglican "compromise" (the tendentious and patronizing word really riles me)was in fact a Divinely inspired synthesis which gave us a Biblically Reformed Catholicism which is the most authentic expression of Christanity since the death of the last Apostle.
Among the branches of Catholic and Apostolic Christianity, the religion of the Prayer Book is the "lily among the thorns."