Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Continuing Church IV: A New Hope

It has been roughly 40 years since the St. Louis Congress, the watershed event that officially began the "continuing church movement." Those of us who call one of the continuing church jurisdictions home are thrilled at the recent news of cooperation among most of the major churches of the movement after years of discord. On one hand the news is not surprising. The move towards unity has been building for a long time: we have been trading clergy, visiting each others' synods, sharing resources, and all the rest of it on some level for quite some time now. On the other hand, what is surprising, is that the acrimony and ridicule leveled upon continuing Anglicans when such events occur is nowhere to be found this time around.

Typically, what are joyous moments for those of us in the continuum are opportunities for some people to insult and degrade us as Anglicans, Christians, and human beings. I remember years ago when FACA ("The Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas) was formed - a group organized to give orthodox overseas Anglican primates one "continuing/conservative American Anglican Christian body" to talk to you - that a "prominent" (at that time) Church of England (at that time) priest used his once popular blog to trash the entire initiative. Even though he never once mentioned us on his blog he apparently felt he had to do so at this moment... writing condescendingly, "This (FACA) raises more questions than it answers." As I read that I thought to myself, "So does being an 'orthodox churchman' in the Church of England!" What's even more interesting is that this person, when looking for money to finance his doctoral studies in England at the University of Durham asked me in a phone conversation if anyone I knew (in my continuing church connections) would assist him financially! Now he has his degree (for which the Church of England presumably paid) and after serving for a (very) few years in that body he left to become a Roman Catholic layman (his "conversion story" garnering all sorts of "praise") and now he is, of course, a priest in the Roman Catholic Church in England. (Apparently he had a change of heart about his approval of women's ordination and many other issues which, as a priest of the Church of England, he must have agreed with.) But I digress... The point is that continuing Anglicans have almost always driven establishment Anglicans crazy, so anytime something positive happens in our churches it is attacked.

But it is different this time around. No nasty comments that I have seen! Thanks be to God. It is quite nice to be left alone to heal our own wounds and to move on with our ministry, mission, and vocation to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through our particular charism. I am very happy to work through a slow process to sacramental communion and eventual unity with my fellow continuing churchmen, for whom I have the highest level of respect and admiration. Let us pray for our jurisdictions as we inch closer to together in peace and reconciliation for the greater glory of God!

No comments:

Post a Comment