Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rev. Canon John Hollister has also weighed in on unity. Here is what Fr. Hollister wrote in his sermon for the 17th Sunday after Trinity:

I.          Text:

From the Epistle:  “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”[i]  In the Name of the Father, and of the X Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

II.        Introduction and Theme:

Because you are sitting here, listening to this sermon, we all know that you are people who regularly worship according to the 1928 American edition of the traditional Book of Common Prayer that, for more than 460 years, has been such a defining characteristic of Anglicanism. 

And if you regularly worship according to the authentic Book of Common Prayer, then by the rule of lex credendi, lex orandi – that is, “What you pray becomes what you believe” -- you are almost certainly committed to the maintenance of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith – the Faith of the three historic Creeds and of the ancient universal, undivided Church of the Apostles – in its distinctively Anglican expression.

But if you are the sort of classic Catholic with an Anglican orientation that I have just described, and you pay any attention to the Internet or other publications that cover the traditional Anglican scene, then you are likely confused and concerned by the multiplicity of self-described “traditional” or “conservative” communions, jurisdictions, denominations,and bodies that present such a patchwork appearance to any interested observer.  You may even be one of those who has, on occasion, been heard to lament, “Why cannot all those, who believe and practice the same things, unify themselves, so as to witness more effectively to the world?”

III.       Developement:

Nearly everyone who is concerned with this issue has encountered the host of initials and acronyms for the various Anglican, neo-Anglican, or quasi-Anglican church and para-church bodies and associations.  A typical string of such initials and acronyms includes ACA,[i] ACC,[ii] ACNA,[iii] AMiA,[iv] APA,[v] APCK,[vi] CANA,[vii] DHC,[viii] EMC,[ix] FACA,[x] FiF,[xi] REC,[xii] TAC,[xiii] or UECNA[xiv] – all of which stand for current names and not even the many past labels or groups which have disappeared.  Further, all of these are relatively mainstream rather than just some of the horde of fringe groups.

Such a list speedily shows why some complain of an “alphabet soup” of church entities, both within and without the Archbishop of Canterbury’s old Lambeth association of churches.  (That Lambeth association is what we used to call “the Anglican Communion”, until some of its most prominent members began jettisoning essentials that have always marked Anglicanism as Catholic in the ancient sense.)

In contemplating this seemingly chaotic Anglican scene, we can try to make some sense out of the apparent disunity and disorder among those who call themselves “Anglicans”, especially if we recognize is that all of those who assume the label “Anglican”, even all those whose worship uses some traditional version of the Book of Common Prayer, do not in fact share the same beliefs and practices. 

If you doubt that, ask the members of any such group just two questions and tabulate for yourself the answers given you by members of these different groups.  The first of these shibboleths[i] is, “What authority do the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion have within your jurisdiction?”  The second key question is, “What does your group teach about the nature and operation of the Sacraments?  How many are there, and are they subjective or objective channels of Grace?”

Then, too, it is also important to remember that this seemingly hopeless confusion in the “Continuing Anglican” and larger “Anglican” scenes is just a subset of the larger mixture, seemingly a random olio, of communions, jurisdictions, denominations, and groups that litter the field of Christianity in general.  Non-Christians – and many Christians, too – are constantly amazed at the number and variety of Christian organizations, many of which are usually squabbling with some of the others or even with almost all of the others.

Of course, those who marvel and despair at this apparent Christian confusion conveniently forget the uneasy and often hostile relations between the four or five major movements within Islam, the two or three distinct streams of Buddhism, the several factions within Hinduism, or the four principal parties and numerous minor sects within Judaism.

The result of this myopic perspective is, all too often, an ill-considered call for “unity”, at any price and upon any terms, whether that unity be conceived on the macro scale as the merger of disparate Christian groups, as in the Churches of South India and of North India, or on the micro scale as the merger of disparate Anglican groups.   In either case, these proposals are floated without adequate provision for the real historic reasons that have led to those prospective merger partners’ separate existences.

Equally, such conceptualized mergers, whether macro-scale pan-Christian ones or micro-scale pan-Anglican ones, also overlook the very real and substantive degree of unity that already exists despite the formal distinctions between church corporations or juridical entities. 

As St. Paul reminded the Ephesians in today’s Epistle, they were, and we are, called to be “[E]ager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.”[i]  Baptism, of course, incorporates each of us into the body of Christ, thus uniting us in a fundamental way with all Christians, even with those who do not themselves believe that Baptism is anything more than a simple sign or mere memorial.

To borrow a phrase that is often used by some with whom we do not agree upon the basics of the Faith, this passage sets forth seven “instruments of unity” among Christians:

A.        We, who are dedicated to Christ in Baptism, are all one Body.

This profound truth, which has been taught by mainstream Christianity ever since it was first enunciated by St. Paul,[ii] is emphasized by the title of a wonderful old introductory text on the Catholic faith:  Ye are the Body[iii] by Bonnell Spencer.  But if we Christians all form what is in God’s eyes one body, then we already share a very real unity, despite any institutional or administrative diversity. 

B.        We, as Christians, are enlivened and guided by one Holy Spirit.

All orthodox Christians – that is “orthodox” with a lower case “o” – are baptized into the Church in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.[iv]  And notice notice that familiar phrase is in the Name, singular, of the Persons of the Trinity, not in their Names, plural.

In  this Sacrament, it is the Third Person of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, Who acts in that Sacrament and makes us members of Christ,[i] even when the celebrant of that Baptism does not accurately understand what the Church has always done in that Sacrament.[ii]  Further, Our Lord promised us, and the Church has always believed, that it is the Holy Spirit Who enlivens[iii] and guides[iv] the Church[v] so as to keep it from all essential error.

Thus, as St. Paul reminds the Ephesians, all who have received the Holy Spirit in Baptism, and who are thereby incorporated into that Church which the Holy Spirit invigorates and watches over, already share among themselves a very essential form of unity.

C.        We Christians hold fast to one hope of eternal salvation.

Several noticeable characteristics mark Christians off as different from the rest of humanity.  Of these, one of the principal ones is their hope that, with the Lord’s help, they will surmount death[vi] and be resurrected[vii] in their bodies.[viii]  Pagans and unbelievers have no such hope, or any other defense against the pains and disappointments of this uncertain physical life.

Thus it is that the two most ethical and admirable of the pagan philosophical systems, Stoicism and Epicureanism, could offer their adherents nothing better than the advice to avoid pain and disappointment, essentially by withdrawing themselves from most forms of social and political engagement.  Thus, too, it is that St. Peter exhorts us to “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you….”[ix] In contrast, as Christians, we share the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, something that distinguishes us from the non-Christian world so sharply that it effectively unifies all who possess it.

D.                We Christians acknowledge one Lord over us and over His Church.

Scripture attests to the Lordship of the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, Jesus Christ, over the world,[i] over His Church,[ii] and, therefore, over us who are the members of that Church.[iii]  Furthermore, we acknowledge that Lordship each time we recite one of the three historic Creeds of the Church.

And where all Christians acknowledge that they are the subjects of the same Lord, who can reasonably deny that they are united in that allegiance?

E.        We Christians adhere to the basic principles of one Faith.

We have already mentioned the three historic statements of the Faith of the Church, the Nicene, Apostles’, and Athanasian Creeds.  Historically, the entire Church, both East and West, adhered to the Nicene Creed and the entire Western Church adhered to the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds as well.  The entire Household of the Faith – the Catholic Church to which those Creeds refer – has always deemed them to be sufficient statements of the minimal beliefs that a faithful Christian must hold.

But if all Christians must believe, at bottom, the same essential things, then we are already united in the bases of our Faith and beliefs, however much we may differ on some of the minor details of that Faith or in our practices.

F. We Christians are incorporated into Our Lord’s Body through one Baptism.

Previously, we mentioned that the Holy Spirit is the One who acts in the Sacrament of Baptism.[i]  There is only one valid form of Baptism, that where either the baptizand is immersed in water or water is poured over the baptizand, while the celebrant pronounces that the subject is being baptized in the Name—again, Name singular--of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost – or Holy Spirit.[ii]

While some Christians have departed from the traditional understanding of what Baptism means, or of how essential it is to the Christian life, no one reasonably disputes that this, and this alone, is what the Church has always recognized as this Sacrament.

Where all Christians thus share this one unmistakable rite of entrance into our Faith, we also share unity on this essential point.   

G.  We Christians acknowledge the sovereignty of one God and Father of us all.

Scripture attests to the Fatherhood of the First Person of the Trinity, God the Father and Creator.[iii]  Furthermore, as is the case with the other two Persons of the Trinity, we acknowledge God the Father each time we recite one of the three historic Creeds of the Church.

And where all Christians acknowledge that they are the children of the same Father, they are necessarily united in one divine family.

IV.       Conclusion:

Thus, whether we are considering the larger issue of the apparent fragmentation of Christendom or the nearer one of the apparent fragmentation of traditional Anglicanism, we would do well to reflect on the seven essential aspects of unity that St. Paul set before the Ephesians in today’s Epistle.  When we do so, we must see that we are already far more unified than is otherwise suggested by our disagreements or disparities in practice.

Once we realize that we already have important forms of unity, we may be in a better frame of mind to continue to abide by, and to seek ever increasingly to exemplify, Paul’s urgent injunction:  “I, therefore, … beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”[1]


The Rev’d Canon John A. Hollister[2]

[1] Ephesians 4: 1-3 (RSV).
[2] Priest Associate, Christ Anglican Catholic Church, Metairie LA.  Honorary Canon, the Diocese of the Resurrection, and Honorary Canon and Canon to the Ordinary, The Diocese of New Orleans, The Anglican Catholic Church.

[i] See Section III.B. supra.
[ii] Hall and Hallock, op. cit. 252-53.
[iii] Cf. St. Matthew 5: 45, 7: 11, 10:20 & 10: 32; St. Mark 8: 38 & 11: 25; St. Luke 10: 21-22 & 23: 46; St. John 1: 14. 

[i] St. Matthew 28: 18.
[ii] St. Luke 1: 32-33.
[iii] II Peter 1: 11.

[i] St. Matthew 3: 11; cf. St. John 1: 33, 3: 5, 6: 63, and Acts 11: 16; Francis J. Hall and Frank Hudson Hallock, Theological Outlines 3rd Ed. 217, 253 (Wipf & Stock Publishers 2004).
[ii] Hall and Hallock, op. cit. 252-53.
[iii] St. Luke 12: 12; Acts 1: 5 & 8.
[iv] St. John 14: 16-17, 14: 26, 15: 26.
[v] Hall and Hallock, op cit. 218-20.
[vi] St. John 11: 25.
[vii] St. John 6: 40.
[viii] Acts 23: 6 & 26: 6-7; cf. Romans 5: 2 & 15: 4; Galatians 5: 5; Colossians 1: 5; Titus 1: 2.
[ix] I Peter 3: 15 (RSV).

[i] Ephesians 4: 3-6 (RSV).
[ii] Ephesians 1: 22-23; 5: 30; Colossians 1: 18.
[iii] Society of the Holy Cross, 1990 (rev. ed. 1997).
[iv] St. Matthew 28: 19.

[i] Cf. Judges 12: 5-6.

[i] The Anglican Church in America, which is the U.S. representative of the TAC.
[ii] The Anglican Catholic Church, one of the original “St. Louis” or “Continuing Anglican” Churches of 1977-78.
[iii] The Anglican Church of North America, a name which was initially used by the ACC and is now used by North American aspirants to Lambeth Communion membership who organized themselves as a new Province in 2009.
[iv] The Anglican Mission in America, a 2000 – i.e., post-St. Louis – secession from PECUSA.
[v] The Anglican Province of America, a 1995 secession from the ACA.
[vi] The Anglican Province of Christ the King, one of the three “St. Louis” Churches of 1977-78.
[vii] The Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a 2006 – i.e., another post-St. Louis – secession from PECUSA.
[viii] The Diocese of the Holy Cross, a secession ca. 2005 from the APCK.
[ix] The Episcopal Missionary Church, a 1992 – i.e., post-St. Louis – secession from PECUSA.
[x] The Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, a para-church fellowship.
[xi] Forward in Faith, a para-church fellowship which has two branches, FiF-NA or Forward in Faith – North America, and FiF-UK.  Despite its not being an actual church jurisdiction, it has “elected” and obtained consecration for at least two bishops who were identified as being consecrated for FiF, just as though it possessed both jurisdiction and mission.
[xii] The Reformed Episcopal Church, an 1873 – and thus pre-St. Louis – secession from PECUSA that formed in opposition to the growing influence of the Oxford Movement.
[xiii] The Traditional Anglican Communion, which is the international arm of the ACA.
[xiv] The United Episcopal Church of North America, a 1981 secession from the ACC which is therefore regarded as one of the three “St. Louis” Churches.

[i] Ephesians 4: 1-3 (RSV).


AFS1970 said...

Outstanding article Canon Hollister!

I would lover there to be one Anglican church (or at least one orthodox Anglican church) but there are many human obstacles in the way. However I have also said in my comments on this blog and elsewhere that unity for its own sake is not the goal here. Real true unity is.

The suggestion of the Bishops or Archbishops getting together and discussing what impediments there really are to unity is an awesome idea. Because one that is all out there, the proverbial cards will be on the table and we can see who we can and can not look forward to a bright future with.

I have noticed that it is very difficult when traveling to find an Anglican church and when one does it is almost impossible to tell if they are acceptable or unacceptable to you and your home jurisdiction without visiting then fist.

Part of this process will of course involve defining certain things. It is not just the various slippery brands of orthodoxy that are out there. It is the lack of historical knowledge. I saw a site online that purported to be a list of parishes that subscribed to the St. Louis Affirmation. However it had a disclaimer that some churches on the list practiced WO. I don't see how both could be true.

So having the cards on the table and seeing if unity is even possible would go a long way to not only bringing about whatever unity can be found but also ending discussion on that which can not be. This will allow all of us to get back to the original mission.

Canon Tallis said...

The Orthodox have what they call The Council of Canonical Bishops in which those things important to all of Orthodoxy get discussed and, hopefully, solved. I think it would be a hopeful first step if the bishops in all of the Continuum and not just those who believe that they are the legitimate heirs of St Louis were to get together at least twice a year to worship together and to consult with each other on the problems blocking real Anglican unity in the United States and North America. These meetings need to be long enough so that with the daily offices and a daily Eucharist and three meals taken together every day, they really get to know and again, hopefully, learn to thrust each other.

The other thing which I would like to see is that future candidates for the episcopate receive approval at least from a majority of bishops in the whole of the Continuum and that at least one bishop from each group co-consecrate every new bishop.

AnglicanContinuer said...

From "The Catholic Religion" by Vernon Staley:

...The divisions between East and West, and between Rome and England, may be described in St. Paul's language as "schism in the body," rather than schism from it. No one of these three portions of the Catholic body lost any of the essentials of Church unity; - the possession of the apostolic succession, the divinely-appointed sacraments, the creeds, and the moral law. (1)

There is good reason to believe that the divisions in the Church are of such a nature, that her organic unity through union with Christ and the indwelling of his Holy Spirit, has not been broken. There is such a thing as internal unity, as well as external unity. We believe that external unity may be broken, whilst internal unity remains undisturbed; or as Dr. Pusey puts it, that "suspended inter-communion alone does not destroy unity."

These divisions in the body are of the nature of serious wounds, rather than of amputation of limbs. They are as deep fissures or cracks upon the surface of the earth, which do not separate the earth into two or more worlds. We may regard the divisions in the Church under the figure of a serious quarrel amongst brothers, by which the natural bond of a common parentage is not broken. Brothers may be disunited, but they remain brothers still.

The only thing which can mortally affect the unity of the Church, is the loss of any of the essential links ordained by our Lord to keep us united to himself. We may believe that nothing was done in either of the cases we are considering, to cut off any of the portions of the Catholic church from Jesus Christ.

At present the Eastern, the Roman, and the Anglican portions of the Church, make up the Catholic body - the Universal Church. (2)

"The Church is to be regarded as the divinely-ordained organ and keeper of doctrine and the means of grace, and as standing or falling by the apostolic succession. And this can only be found in the three great Churches whose continuity has never been interrupted, - the Western, and Eastern, and English, these three together make up the true universal Church. The body of the Church, one in origin, has in course of time, through the sin of man, by divine permission, become divided into three great branches - outwardly separated, but inwardly united - which, when the right time is come, will grow together again into one tree, overshadowing the world with its foliage." (3)

No one of these three communions forms the whole Church, but is only a part. If a mirror was broken into three pieces, and the largest of these, having had its edges cut straight, was separately framed, this newly-framed portion would have a unity if its own, but not the unity of the original mirror; it would represent such an unity as is exhibited by the Roman Catholic Church at the present time.


AnglicanContinuer said...


Each of the three portions of the Church possesses, as we have said, the creeds, the order of bishops apostolically consecrated, and, with the bishops, the sacraments or channels of grace, by which members of the Church are united to Christ the center of unity. Though outwardly separated, the Church is inwardly one, - the body of Christ, indwelt by the Holy Ghost, the Life-Giver. These divisions of which we have been speaking are exceedingly sad; - they are sad, as being contrary to the mind of our blessed Lord, expressed in his great Eucharistic intercession the night before He died; - they are sad, as hindering the spread of the gospel, and the conversion of the world to Christ; - they are sad as a ground of perpetual reproach.

It is our duty to possess a spirit desirous of re-union, and to keep up such a spirit by earnest prayer, and it all ways of speech and feeling as ever ready for re-union when the path shall be open to us. The touching words at the conclusion of Dr. Pusey's third and last Eirenicon are worthy of record, and with them we will bring the sorrowful chapter to a close, -

"But we are children of common fathers, of those who, after having shown with the light of God within them upon earth, and having set on a candlestick which shall never be hid the clear light of their inherited faith, now shine like stars in the kingdom of their Father. Sons of the same fathers, we must in time come to understand each other's language....Evil days and trial-times seem to be coming up on the earth. Faith deepens, but unbelief too becomes more thorough. Yet what might not God do to check it, if those who own one Lord and one faith were again at one, and united Christendom should go forth bound in one by love - the full flow of GOD's Holy Spirit unhemmed by any of those breaks, or jars, or manglings - to win all to his love whom we all desire to love, to serve, to obey. To have removed one stumbling-block would be worth the labor of a life. But He alone, the author of peace and the lover of concord, can turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers. 'O Lord. in the midst of the years revive thy work; in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.'" (4)


O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto thine apostles, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto; regard not our sins, but the faith of thy Church; and grant her that peace and unity which is agreeable to thy will, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

1 "The communion of Christians one with another, and the unity of them altogether, lie, not in a mutual understanding, intercourse, and combination, not in what they do in common, but in what they are and have been common, in their possession of the succession, their episcopal form, their apostolical faith, in the use of the sacraments. Mutual intercourse is but an accident of the Church, not its essence." Newman, Tract 90, page 12

2 "Unknown in face, in place separate, different in language, opposed, alas! in some things to one another, still before the throne of God they are One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church." Pusey, Eirenicon I, page 57

3 Döllinger, The Reunion of the Churches, pp133,134

4 page 342

AnglicanContinuer said...

Staley's perspective notwithstanding, I also wanted to say to the Rev. Canon Hollister: Amen, and thank you!

Fr. Wells said...

Just a note to express my delight in the thoughtful and learned comment by "Anglican Continuer," with which I am in perfect agreement. If he does not care to reveal his name (sigh), I hope he will share his reflections with us on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

It would do well for everyone who is interested in a traditional, orthodox, Anglican expression of the Catholic faith to read Vernon Staley's "The Catholic religion : a manual of instruction for members of the Anglican Church."

I know my parish gets this book from a print-on-demand seller.

"Pelvic orthodoxy" is not enough for unity among various groups. I fail to see how the Gene Robinson thing was "the final straw" when before women's ordination there were ECUSA Bishops denying aspects of the Creed. Why wasn't denying the Divinity of Christ and the Resurrection the final straw?

In addition, there are a number of newer groups or break-away ECUSA parishes who claim to be "traditional Anglicans" even if they have women deacons and priest and throw up the "big screen" over the Swedish coffee table in the chancel.

As AFS1970 said "It is not just the various slippery brands of orthodoxy that are out there. It is the lack of historical knowledge."

Vernon Staley. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.


Canon Tallis said...

Aiden and all,

It is not just Staley's The Catholic Religion which we should be reading but all of his works. But then he was only one of a very large number of writers in his period who embraced and fully lived the faith set forth in the Holy Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer. They didn't pick and choose but did it all because it was there to be done and was the one way they could demonstrate to the world that they trying to be what they claimed to be. We need, as best as we are able, to diligently follow their example.

Anglican Continuer, I would like to second Father Wells and hope to see you continue to add your comments frequently.

AnglicanContinuer said...

Father Wells,

Thanks for the kind comment, but all the credit goes to Vernon Staley, footnotes and all - I just copied and pasted.

I don't post often, mostly because I'm genuinely neither thoughtful nor learned enough to contribute much to the conversations on this site. In this case I'm grateful for our parish's use of Staley's book.

I'm conflicted on the use of names - I'm just a lay person and certainly not known in Continuing circles, but I'd prefer to avoid anything in a public forum that could reflect back on my parish. I'm proud of my parish, but we're very much in a "keep our heads down, pray, reach out to our community and try to do the work in front of us" mode, and I want to respect that.

I am reachable via the email address from which comes my handle (anglicancontinuer at gmail dot com), should anyone wish to contact me directly.

Thanks go to Fathers Hart, Wells and others for defending the Faith and allowing these discussions. May God richly bless you.

John A. Hollister said...

Thank you, one and all, for your kind comments on a sermon which just coincidentally (or perhaps providentially?) chanced to fall in with the same theme as Abp. Robinson’s thoughts.

Related to this coincidence (in the sense of simultaneity), this evening (Thursday, October 20), in West Palm Beach, we concluded two days of the biennial Provincial Synod of the Anglican Catholic Church’s Original Province. In addition to the ACC’s own Bishops (including three from the old Church of India, the one that dates back to the “John Company” chaplaincies in the early 18th Century, the same one that was formerly a Lambeth Communion Province and that now forms the ACC’s Second Province), there was present Abp. Peter Robinson of the UECNA, with whom, of course, the ACC is already in communion. Unfortunately, Abp. James Provence of the APCK, our other current partner in communion, had a conflict in his schedule that prevented his attendance.

In addition to our own Original and Second Province Bishops and Abp. Robinson, there also attended Abp. Walter Grundorf of the APA and Bp. Marsh of the ACA. Abps. Robinson and Grundorf and Bp. Marsh were given seat and voice in the Synod as well as in the Original Province’s College of Bishops’ meetings. All three addressed the Synod; in addition, all three attended the Synod Mass, vested and processed with the ACC’s Bishops, and sat in choir with the ACC’s Bishops. They appeared thoroughly comfortable with the warm welcome they received and the ACC Bishops, clergy, and laity certainly enjoyed the opportunity to meet all of them.

In many ways, this was a small thing, but from small acorns great trees have been known to grow. I for one hope deeply that this marks the beginning of a custom and practice that will henceforth be followed at all of the respective Conventions and Synods of the ACC, the UECNA, the APCK, the ACA, and the APA. It is only by such sharing of fellowship and common worship that the ties can develop which alone can one day eventuate in juridical, as opposed to theological, unity.

John A. Hollister+

AFS1970 said...

That Mass with representation from the ACC, UECNA, APA & ACA sounds quite the unifying force. I find it odd that we as Anglicans can have a joint Mass yet have not fully issued statements that we are in communion with each other. I find it odd that a traveling layman would still have to double check to see if attending Mass in one of those churches and receiving communion while there would be frowned upon. It actually seems to me that we have sort of developed an unofficial inter-communion over the years, but it needs to be made official if possible.

By way of replying to Anglican Continuer The history I was pointing out is often recent history. As jurisdictions split and merge and clergy transfer, we often leave out the inconvenient bits in the middle. However in doing so we do each and every one of us a disservice. There is that old quote about those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it and I have to wonder if that is not doubly true for those that purposefully obscure history.

Ignoring our common history and roots is strange at best when it is those same common history and roots that make us desire unity.

I can think of one jurisdiction that from what I have pieced together was a small independent group with roots in PECUSA, then joined a larger continuing church but retained much of it's own identity. Then later broke off from that continuing body and is once more independent but took with it some additional parishes and clergy from the continuing body. Yet no official mention is made of the time spent in the larger jurisdiction. Yet would not anyone thinking of unity with that body want to know why a large group left? If for no other reason to make an informed decision?

Sometimes I thing we need a Devil's Advocate just to sort out all the tales and stories.

Anonymous said...

A table (or tables) would be handy of which of the 'xiv' explicitly (a) are 'in Communion' with each other, (b) welcome or admit members of which others to Communicate, (c) permit their members to Communicate in which others, and (an even taller order) are admissive or permissive with respect to what other 'Churches' (e.g., 'R.C.', 'O.E.', 'wee Free', 'CarloRavenian', 'Canterburian', 'GAFCONian', 'Heidelbergian', Dortian', etc.)?

Does/do such exist? If not, could one (or more, as necessary) be produced?