Friday, November 14, 2014

Why would anyone attend a continuing church parish?

A while back I had lunch with a delightful fellow on staff at an ACNA parish. At one point during our meal he asked me why I began going to a 1928 BCP parish and what it was about the service that kept me there. He didn't ask the question in a snarky way. Rather, he seemed to be genuinely interested in why me - a relatively young person - would be attracted to what was, in his opinion, a very arcane liturgy.

It was a good question. And the answer for me, and for many Anglicans, is that there is simply no other home for us than in the continuing church. It boils down to liturgy and theology, which of course are two sides of the same coin. The Roman Catholic Church is not an option because its liturgy in both its ordinary form and extraordinary forms is not to our liking. The former is too modernistic, and the latter is Latin, lacks hymnody, etc... it is not "reformed" enough. In addition, certain aspects of the theology of the Catholic Church are still problematical to many Anglicans. So they are just not an option for many Anglicans. The Episcopal Church is not an option because of their heresy, and also because of the modernistic liturgy. Although they have a few parishes that maintain the old traditions these are islands, and so one would have to come to terms with being in communion with the rest of the TEC. The Lutheran churches lack the apostolic succession and the catholic tradition of the Divine Office, and also have different levels of theological problems. Orthodox churches are too ethnic and to foreign liturgically. And finally, the ACNA is modernistic liturgically and also theologically in certain critical areas - WO especially.

So really, for me and for many other people, the reason we are in the continuing Anglican churches is because of genuine liturgical and theological convictions. We have read and studied a lot, and we have been to many different churches in a number of different traditions, and finally we have found our home in the continuing church. This doesn't mean that I love everything about the continuing churches, or that we are perfect. The culture of many of our parishes is problematic in its own unique way. But in times when I have been very frustrated with the church and the ministry and wanted to leave one of the things that has stopped me is the question of where else I would go! I simply wouldn't be happy anywhere else liturgically and theologically, and neither would most people who have chosen our parishes to attend.

6 comments:

  1. Why? Because I want to worship God in the beauty of holiness

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  2. I'm sorry, but what does WO mean?

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  3. WO means "women's ordination." The ACNA is pro-women's ordination. Though their new archbishop says he personally opposes it, one has to wonder whether he only opposes women priests and bishops, or women priests, bishops, AND deacons. And then one has to wonder about his willingness to let each local bishop decide what he wants to do in the matter. (i.e. He wants to allow a 'local option' on the matter.) Many of us find this highly problematical on a number of levels. This of course is what TEC allowed in the beginning when they approved women for ordination to all levels of ministry. It later became law. The deeper problem underlying it is gnosticism... the idea that our physical nature and sexuality has no bearing on our deeper being and vocation. By affirming WO the ACNA apple has unfortunately not fallen far from the TEC tree. And one can only feel sorry for the traditional anglo-catholics and REC types mixed up in that confusion.

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    1. OK thanks. that is all a bit too arcane for me, a bit over my head, but I appreciate your response.

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  4. Father,

    Thank you for such a wonderful explanation! I am a cradle Roman Catholic that just started attending St. Paul's Crownsville, MD. This is exactly how I feel. I went to various Orthodox, TLM, and Episcopal "High Churches" but did not feel comfortable. Either to foreign, or heretical.

    Matthew

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