I live in a time warp. We are an hour behind South Bend time where the diocesan office is located. I have to remember that when going to see the Bishop. We only use Rite One at Mass here. The High Altar remains firmly in the “eastward” position. La Porte is a small Midwestern community, and large Victorian homes flank the roads around the stone church. My rectory adjoins the church building. I don’t even have to go outside to enter the sacristy. I always preach on the Propers and leave politics to the politicians. I have a good excuse. As I’ve only been in the US for just over forty years I haven’t had time to become a citizen let alone understand its odd form of government. We may have gay parishioners who attend. I don’t ask what people, gay or straight, do in their bedrooms.I have a weak stomach and anyway a gentleman wouldn’t.

Living as someone who believes that one must be in communion with the See of Canterbury as part of the Anglican Communion -communion is a much stronger word than federation and much clearer than “Church” – is for me instinctive and obvious. I have never believed that a “particular” church is omni-competent, not even the Church of England!   I find denominationalism unreasonable, unscriptural and untraditional. I believe that our Prayer Book contains the doctrine of the Church, expressed in the language of rite and in the Catechism.

By natural inclination and not virtue I am not inclined to shun those with whom I disagree, for I actually like people, all sorts and conditions of people and my experience informs my unwillingness to join “starter-churches”. I have many friends among those who have separated from TEC. Many of their clergy are heroic in ministry and could teach us a thing or two about building churches without external funds. I work in a diverse diocese in which we all manage to work together in great harmony, led by a pastoral, kind and orthodox bishop.

It is therefore easy for me to remain in TEC!  My “tolerance” comes at no great price. I am only challenged on line. Even then few vent their spleen in my direction and most who have share my own beliefs! There is an irony there.

I really feel for clergy and laity whose lot is not as fortunate as my own, who daily work in hostile environments, liberal or conservative and who must struggle against resentment and disillusion and often subtle and not so subtle persecution. I wish we could do something about this result of the narrowing of our comprehension and of our minds. I am sure that one of the real tests of just how Anglican our leadership really is will be demonstrated by whether provisions are now made to foster and safeguard the faith and ministry of Christians within TEC who do not find themselves able to receive the policies adopted at jurisdictional level, whether National Church or diocese. There was a time when our bishops thought it part of their job description to respect parochial integrity and tradition.

If, as I suspect, the Anglican Communion generally moves towards the adoption of a Covenant a way must be found for our “minority” to retain its full Anglican status and koinonia. Seven bishops will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury shortly to discuss the plight of those of us who are hopelessly antediluvian. As I remember the last time seven bishops bucked the Establishment they were incarcerated in the Tower of London. Perhaps room is being prepared in a part of 815 for these new seven bishops!  Pray for them.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: