When I introduced myself at the inception of this blog, I said I would tell you more about my churchmanship in due course. As we are beginning to coalesce here, much to my great joy, I think now is an appropriate time to say more. At the outset, it didn’t really matter; now, I think, it does.
I like to call myself a genetic Anglican, because my parents were both Episcopalian. I was baptized as an infant at the Church of St Thomas, Eustis, Florida, in April 1951, and confirmed there some 10 years later. In my teens, I moved to the parish of St Edward’s, Mount Dora, which was closer to my home and to my social life. It was at St Edward’s that a first inkling of a vocation to the priesthood emerged, and was nurtured by my priest, Fr Walter Peterson. By the time I was a senior at the University of Florida, majoring in journalism, I concluded that the priesthood was where I was meant to be. I entered the “process,” and came out the other end like so many others of my age at the time – with my vocation “affirmed” but being told to “come back later after you get some experience in the ‘real world.'” I was also asked to do some group therapy, to learn how to say “no.” (I didn’t, but I do).
Anyway, as happened with so many like me, I went out into the real world and never came back – at least not for a very long time. That occurred when I was living in Madrid in the early 90s and began attending St George’s, whose chaplain, Henry Scriven, later became the suffragan bishop of the C of E Diocese of Europe, and is now right hand man to Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh.
My relationship with +Henry led to my eventually being trained and licensed as a Reader in the C of E in London. During that period, I began to realize that my real vocation was where it always had been.
Quick jump to 15 months in Washington (and its wonderful St Paul’s, K Street) before moving to Cyprus more than five years ago, where I became a Reader at St Paul’s Cathedral, in the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East. It was there that I openly began to pursue again my vocation. After three years, and two selection panels, I was rejected.
Officially, I failed to communicate to the panel a “real understanding of the nature of priesthood.” My hunch is that the real reason is either that I was considered unfit, which may be true, or more likely that I had expressed discomfort with women’s ordination and outright opposition to the ordination of practicing homosexuals to Holy Orders.
I won’t go into further detail for now, because matters are sub judice, as it were, but I am in the process of joining the Anglican Church in America, with a view to eventually being ordained.
Forgive my long-windedness, but I think it fair for you to know who I am, and where I am coming from.