Friday, October 14, 2011

Hearing the cry and facing the challenge

This is a comment that was written to the post directly below. I could defend our record here, and debate a few points. But, I think it wiser to hear the plea and the expressed need in what this person is saying to us. What can we do to make Continuing Anglicanism available and, in the right sense, welcoming? I want us to hear the challenge and cry for help in this comment.

Anonymous said...

Why does this blog seem to fixate on what the Romans are up to? Can't we just ignore the Tiber rather than urinating in it? I just don't see the numbers defecting to Rome to merit this kind of indignation. Are there many more people leaving the Anglican Church than I realize?
Let me put it this way. I have the misfortune of living in a country where there is no ACC or other continuing Church. Thus, I must go to a mainstream Anglican parish, which is, quite mercifully, nothing at all like a TEC parish. There are a couple women pseudo-priests hidden under rocks somewhere, but they are off dry cleaning their pantsuits more often that pretending to celebrate the Eucharist. We have no 1979 BCP or the dreadful materials they use in England now--I forget the name, but it's a cut-and-paste make-your-own-liturgy software package. (Thank you, Jesus, for helping me to forget the horrors of the modern Church!). As it's not my native language, I'm familiar enough with the language of our service that I know what's going on, but not so familiar that I could point out theological errors in the text, if there are any. As I said, this is no TEC hootenanny. It is merely a bland, broad church service. (They think it's high, but it's broad. Reminds me of the Novus Ordo.)
Having said all that, I would be much more edified by posts about what the ACC is doing to bring disaffected Anglicans into the ACC rather than decrying the RCC. I don't really worry what they are up to. However, I never hear about Continuing Anglicans evangelizing to the Communion Anglicans. We need that kind of evangelization: "Hey, remember our heritage? The one left to us by our Fathers and their Fathers and their Father's Fathers? WE have it, and you can, too, if you will just take a step across the street."
It's a difficult sell to anyone in the TEC. Most are so far gone that just the thought of "being conservative" is enough to make them need diapers. But there are those, men such as my father, who suffer silently through Rite II because he has never been told by anyone in the ACC that there is an option. He often talks about how when he was in grad school (a little older than most), a priest would celebrate the 1928 Eucharist for him and his roommate. 
I'm not sure exactly how to do it, but Fr. Hart, I whole-heartedly agree with what you wrote in your second comment on this page.
I would surely like to see the ACC make itself known well enough that Communion Anglicans will choose to become Continuing Anglicans. What are the challenges? manpower? Money? Romans? (really?) Real estate? I have a hard time understanding why the ACC isn't siphoning off mainstream Anglicans who realize that something is deeply wrong. Is there a pre-existing post in the Archives that might explain it?


Fr. John said...


AFS1970 said...

First off I do not think that this blog is overly concerned with what happens in Rome, at least not any more than quite a few other Anglicans. That is the crux of the problem, the RCC is big, they have the image and they do tend to (despite historical evidence) be considered the authoritative source on a great many things. This is why attention must be paid to educating Anglican (continuing and otherwise) about Rome and things they do that are not in keeping with our beliefs.

When I was growing up in an DCK (prior to APCK) parish there was a parishioner who once told me he went once a month to an RCC church, because he felt that he had to take Roman Communion regularly. At the time, not knowing much I just thought it a personal oddity. Now as an adult I can not even begin to fathom the theological quandary of having communion in both places and considering them both valid.

So I see any articles on this blog about Rome as educating Anglicans and not bashing Rome.

Now how can we make it so that Canterbury Anglicans see the continuum as a viable option in addition to TEC and Rome? This is a hard one. First of all there are so many different names in the alphabet soup that is the greater continuum that we are not of one single identity. However the variety of names most using the word Anglican, but some not, make it hard for anyone looking for a new home to find a church in their area. I think most people want somewhere they can walk into without doing a whole lot of research beforehand. I am of the opposite method myself but that is another story.

The other words used in our names can be confusing in that they are often misinterpreted. How many people wonder if the word Catholic in ACC has something to do with Rome? Could the same be said about the UECNA including the word Episcopal or even the OAC using the word Orthodox? To the casual observer these could be taken as connections to other churches not at all like what is being sought, yet none of these words are being used incorrectly by those jurisdictions.

Even if we were easy to locate there are theological issues, for anyone coming from TEC today. It really depends of what the straw that broke the camels back for each individual was. I also wonder if some would be comfortable in changing their opinion about what was considered a schismatic group yesterday and a valid option today.

Location is also important. The continuum seems to have quite a few clusters where there are multiple churches and then large areas where there are few if any churches. Sometimes our churches are quite small and meet in storefronts or rented facilities, which can make it hard to find, especially if coming from a large building or an old established congregation. Many rented properties do not allow for signage indicating an Anglican presence there.

The Talking Donkey said...

As an Anglican from S'pore and a regular visitor of this blog, I want to second this comment as well, although our service book is the ASB version with typical Evangelical (by which I mean of the American variety) theology spewing forth from the pews, i.e. the denial of baptismal regeneration, the real presence, absolution, etc.

Brendan said...

Sometimes, in fact quite often there is a tendancy to 'fend off the detractors' rather than being good apologists for the Faith and the ACC in particular.
Money and manpower are perhaps two major hurdles which the ACC face at present. Getting good men to train for the Priesthood is a necessity and this has to be counterbalanced with the fact that most will have to continue working in a secular job, both while studying and afterwards. I believe there is a real thirst for many to come into the ACC fold, particularly now that the TAC/ ACA is imploding under AB Hepworth and his push towards Rome.
The other major factor is money. There are a number of African nations who wish to establish or join the ACC but at present the resources are quite stretched.
Given this (and some of the more learned clergy may enlighten us further on other matters) I believe that the ACC will continue to grow. AB Mark Haverland is a very 'down to earth' humble man and leading the church in a positive, orthodox manner.
Also I feel this blog site is excellent for disceminating news and information as well as providing fruitful discussion for the Continuing Churches.

Anonymous said...

The previous thread where this comment was posted highlighted the problem of putting a greater emphasis and priority on external appearance and the worship process(order of elements of the liturgy, placement of chalice, paten, altar, vestments, etc.) arguments over which is most orthodox. For some folk in the RC and Anglicanism, these things seem to take priority over actual ministry and the purpose of the Church anyway which is - the salvation and redemption of souls.

One wonders if they secretly go to the priest after the Communion to comment on the inferiority of the vintage of the wine or staleness of the wafer or texture of the loaf.

There are higher mandates given by God that date back to Proverbs and Isaiah...even Leviticus, that extend to the Church and we have seen the Church fail to do.

Judge (counsel, mentor, nurture, support, encourage, model righteousness for) the Fatherless.
Protect and provide for the Widow and the Orphan (the fatherless again).
Honor father AND mother.
Do not violate anyone sexually.

We have seen the Church fail to do these things...but over-focus and obsess over liturgies and fussy/prissy details. The right/traditionalist Church has been protective of its turf, its theologies and dogmas and its clergy more than its mission.
The left has messed up even more grievously abandoning truth and the Commandments and Scripture, misinterpreting the whole meaning of justice and mercy and love...falling victim to voting to decide issues, to people with agendas and nefarious motives.

Jesus said, You are my disciples if you:
- Continue in My Word. (Truth)
- Take up your cross and follow Me (repentance, crucifixion of the flesh, die to self).
- Love one another (Truth and grace/mercy, justice and mercy).
- Bear much fruit. (preach Gospel of redemption in the power of Holy Spirit)

Jesus said - Go, Make Disciples. Keep Your First Love.

These are some of the most basic signs of the true genuine Church.

Linen, lace, silver, gilt, traditional liturgies, lovely ceremonies are nice touches, but do not necessarily indicate the essentials holy regenerated hearts, whole-hearted devotion, or lived faith. Ad Orientum was just not a big issue in the first century AD, or even in the Tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai. The regulations about how to live holy lives before God came before the directions about the Tabernacle and its furnishings. Anyway, the brazen altar was on the eastern side of the court and the doors into the tabernacle and into the holy of holies were facing west.

This order of priorites is consistent throughout Scripture. We must focus on the 'weightier matters' as Jesus said.

When we place form over power of redemption, we are violating God's order and departing from true orthodoxy.

Effectual, Christ-glorifying, life-giving, fruit-bearing ministry is the goal.

Fr. Wells said...

This comment surely justifies Fr Hart's decision to bring it into greater prominence.

Wherever one sees on the map any Continuing Church (whether good, bad or ugly), it is there because some faithful laity got together and started it. They probably did not have two nickels to rub together (to pay for advertising, rent, and other inevitable expenses), but just stepped out in faith and began holding services.

That requires courage, sacrifice, hard work and persistence. It also requires strong principles (and unfortunately, people of strong principles tend to be people of strong will also). But that is how is happens.

No parish of the Continuum is alive today because somebody waited for somebody else to do the work, or to take the initiative.

The website of the Anglican Catholic Church is replete with phone numbers, e-addresses, and contact names. I sincerely hope that the "Anonymous" (who seems both serious and sincere) will contact a nearby priest or bishop and ask for help. We have more resources now than we did 30 years ago for supporting fledgling missions and "start-up" churches. Some of our clergy just love the preach and celebrate Holy Communion in Lions' Clubs and borrowed chapels. So please make yourself known to the nearest bishop or clergyman. Please.

Canon Tallis said...

If anyone who reads this blog regularly does not realize that Father Hart with the aid of the other contributors have been doing nothing but educating the priests and laity of the Continuum in what St Luke referred to as "the apostles' doctrine" and a bang up job of it at that, then they need to start back at the beginning and read it all over again. They also near to hear, "read, mark, learn and inwardly digest" every word of what Father Wells has written in these comments. It is the laity who have put together the missions and parishes which we have and it is they who have kept them together, up and going. And in so saying, I am not denigrating the contribution of the wonderful priests and deacons who have spent long hours making sure the faith was preached and the sacraments celebrated. If you want a Continuum parish it is not going to magically appear. It is going to be built by some tiny group of lay persons in the beginning who get together and read the offices and the litany and use one of sermons which Canon Hollister keeps providing for faithful lay readers.

I know it isn't easy, but there is nothing but to realize that it is the responsibility of every lay person to gather themselves up and begin to do it.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't expect to get such a prominent place on this blog. I just lurk occasionally to read the sermons and bulletin notes. Those are brilliant and keep me coming back wishing I were in one of your parishes.

Thank you for not dwelling on the comment that you fixate too much on the Romans rather than stating the Continuing position itself. (Those are the posts that put me off for a month until I am compelled to read a sermon again.) Fr. Hart rightly discerned that that was not the crux of the matter. Anyway, in hindsight the real target of those posts is probably the Anglicans leaving for Rome and not really the Romans themselves.
Romans here are really not much of a threat--although sometimes people interested in becoming Christian look at them and look at us and join them because of size and money. On the other hand, one person I know joined precisely because we are small and poor.
I had a student yesterday tell me that he has no religion, but he likes the Buddhists because of their vast network of temples (and I suspect because it would be very socially exeptable) and he likes the Romans "just because" (which I took to mean because he senses that there is Christ there, he doesn't know how to articulate that, and maybe he's a little put off by their too cozy relationship to the labor unions.) I must admit I dropped the ball on inviting him to my parish because I wasn't sure if that is out of line for professor to tell his student to come to church with him. Maybe this experience set me off yesterday. I may have been disappointed in myself for not encouraging him to join me and I managed to project it onto you.

Even now I don't know what I'm trying to get at. Maybe, simply, pray for me and pray for the other Anglicans who know the Communion is deathly ill but are unable for one reason or other to join a Continuing Church. (In my case, strictly physical distance from the US) in my dad's case I think it's a deep emotional attachment to the parish he grew up in. For the rest, I know not; I just know we suffer. We know God deserves better than what the Communion allows and we know we deserve better, too!

The good news is that we have a group who wants a mission to English-speakers. Since we come from various parts of the old British Empire everyone wants to use their own nation's latest and greatest BCP. I suggested that we use the 1662 BCP and, believe it or not, everyone seemed happy with the idea because it's one book to unify us (as I think Elizabeth intended) and it does not favor one nation over another.

Again, please pray for us in the hinterland. We--I personally--need your prayers.

Your old friend,
RC Cola

Anonymous said...

My apologies for airing personal anxiety on a public forum.

RC Cola

Fr. Robert Hart said...

But, we need to be thinking about meeting the needs you mentioned. We should have churches wherever they are needed. It would require lay people & clergy to be willing to do what it takes.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart wrote: We should have churches wherever they are needed.

One problem is that the parish lists are outdated. Some time ago, when I was searching for a continuing Anglican church, I contacted a local priest and met with him. He doesn't have a parish any more. He isn't interested in holding regular services. (He's a nice guy, so I won't reveal his name. You'll have to decide to set your own houses in order.)

Fr. Hart wrote: It would require lay people & clergy to be willing to do what it takes.

Canon Tallis wrote: I know it isn't easy, but there is nothing but to realize that it is the responsibility of every lay person to gather themselves up and begin to do it.

That's fair. It should be more a work of the people guided by clergy than a work of the clergy. I've spent several Sundays trying to figure out the BCP using online souces, including Youtube videos. I can stumble awkwardly through Morning prayers. But I don't have the experience a trained priest would have. I don't know the hymns. I just read. It's a dry effort, too dry to excite the interest of others in beginning a mission. So trained clergy is necessary. The laity can't do it themselves.


Yes, you should let people know you're there. I can't remember how I came across this blog, but I am quite sure it was by accident.

Good luck, gentlemen.