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Sydney Anglican Church League GAFCON report - open arms for the Anglo-Catholics

Friday, July 18, 2008 • 4:51 am


Last night (17th July) the Anglican Church League (ACL) of Sydney held their AGM, which included a panel session with delegates from GAFCON.

Your humble blogger is pleased to report that he was re-elected to the ACL Council, but suspects you are more interested in hearing about GAFCON.

Panel members were

  1. John Mason, currently Senior Minister at Christ Church New York, an independent church in the evangelical Anglican tradition.
  2. Tony Payne, publishing director of Matthias Media and blogger for the Sola Panel.
  3. Claire Smith, a member of the steering committee of Equal but Different.
  4. Zac Veron, Chief Executive OfficerAnglican Youthworks in Sydney
  5. Sylvia Tong, medical student.

Readers will, of course, by now be familiar with all that happened at GAFCON - the wonderful fellowship, the clear and unanimously received Declaration and so on. I won’t report each panel member’s accounts as they mirror so many reports you have already read. There was, however, a video made which I will direct readers to when available.

However, at the end there was time for questions and so I asked a question that I knew Stand Firm readers would be interested in:
Given that Anglo-Catholicism has an uneasy relationship with the 39 Articles and that the Jerusalem Declaration was certainly not least an evangelical document - affirming the 39 Articles; how was it that Anglo-Catholics signed the document and what will keep them in the movement?

The answers, provided by John Mason, Tony Payne and Mark Thompson (the President of ACL who was also at GAFCON and sat on the theological committee) were rather surprising:

First, it was recognised that all parties at GAFCON were clearly committed to the authority of the Bible, despite their churchmanship. There was a real desire to stand with those who stand in the same way and so that primary bond is what hheld those of different churchmanship together. At the conference the 39 A were seen by all to be an attempt to faithfully expound the teaching of the Bible.

Another speaker noted that the basic prayer book of TEC was derived from the 1549, so that few fully understood the 1552/1662 heritage that many evangelicals in the Church of England and Australia are familiar with. The sharp theological distinctions we experience from the 1662 are simply not there in TEC’s prayer book. Many evangelicals see it as normal for all clergy to be fully “attired” every Sunday.
Nevertheless, they are also committed to the priority of the Gospel, so though we may think that the gospel is shrouded by their form – they are nevertheless committed to introducing people to their Lord and Saviour.

Another speaker noted that it was a gathering of orthodox bible believing Anglicans, with broad approaches amongst them on age-old questions. There was also a move to accomodate this broader approach with phrases such as “historic succession” in the declaration.

Finally it was noted that all sides were being persecuted, in line with their commonly held positions above.

What intrigued me in all these answers was that this came from a panel of very conservative evangelicals. They are all abundantly clear on where they think Anglo-Catholicism is defective yet they spoke with great support of their Anglo-Catholic brethren. I was surprising but worth reporting that right in the bastion of the über-Puritans there was a real willingness to hold solidarity with the Anglo-Catholics.


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Comments:

Thanks, David.  This is encouraging.

[1] Posted by Katherine on 07-18-2008 at 06:26 AM • top

We have one great commonality with each other. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. If we are with Him, then we are together. Regardless of forms of worship. Further, if you are persecuted for your faith, then I am as well. Just as the entire body suffers when one limb is injured.

We have been given the gift of clarity. And for me at least, while I will be Catholic to the day I die, the low church crowd of Christians are still my brethren, however wrong they may be. wink

That is in sharp distinction from those who embrace the rituals and appearance of the High church, without the dogma that underpins it. Regardless of surface superficialities, we have nothing in common with each other.

The Episcopal Church: all of the ritual, none of the theology

[2] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 07-18-2008 at 07:02 AM • top

I fear that this is only the honeymoon and the Anglo-Catholics have only bought enough time for the current leaders to retire.  Will the overwhelming evangelical wing send their postulants to anglo-catholic seminaries (Nashotah House)?  They have been recently in dribbles but as thier identity and power structure solidifies I doubt it.  Will they hire Anglo-Catholics for their parishes or will AC’s simply tend to the ones that currently exist? Will Anglo-Catholic’s be elected bishops outside of their current exisiting diocesan strongholds of Ft. Worth, Quincy an San Joachin?  Certainly they won’t be elected in the to be newly formed dioceses of new North American province.  Will they be hired in parishes in the new evangelical dioceses?  Will they accept Anglo-Catholics for postulancy?  Will they be allowed to plant Anglo Catholic parishes in these new dioceses that will assuredly have evangelical bishops in place?  I don’t think that the rank and file answer to any of these questions is in the affirmative.  Not that their negative responses would be out of spite but simply that the Evanglicals have the power, have the 39 Articles as normative and are highly suspicious of Anglo-Catholic doctrine and worship.

I don’t mean to through a wet blanket on these developing relationships but I have some serious doubts about their longterm prospects.  I don’t think that the magnanamity and largess of the current evangelical leadership will be lasting or will be trickle down to the ecclesial tertiary levels of this new structure.  In essence, Anglo-catholics will be tolerated for a while but they won’t really have much of a place in the new structure outside of their current comfortable confines.

[3] Posted by Tiberthames on 07-18-2008 at 07:03 AM • top

#2, you have nailed it.

[4] Posted by Old Hop on 07-18-2008 at 07:05 AM • top

#3, the upshot of the liberal, apostate takeover of the self-hating, self-destructing Northern Hemisphere is that evangelicals and Catholics are coming to see, as mousestalker alludes, what they essentially share in common.  The real dialogue started in the 1500’s can resume.

[5] Posted by Old Hop on 07-18-2008 at 07:09 AM • top

Differences exist, but there is Unity In Truth as opposed to Unity at all costs including Truth.

[6] Posted by Spencer on 07-18-2008 at 07:22 AM • top

There is mch to deliberate as to what is acceptable & NOT. But the one thing we have in common with the Anglo-catholic group is that we believe in the Word of God, which is something to build on. We may have to put aside our cultural normalties & see the big picture. Pray for the Chrch.

[7] Posted by Mtn gospel on 07-18-2008 at 07:33 AM • top

Tiberthames, you don’t have to worry about the Anglo-Catholics at all.  We know how to take care of ourselves, and have been dong so for quite some time now.

[8] Posted by GB on 07-18-2008 at 07:35 AM • top

Pardon the above misspelling.

[9] Posted by GB on 07-18-2008 at 07:37 AM • top

So I guess we’ll see Sydney dropping their ban on chasubles soon since they’re now so chummy with the ACs…!

But this goes much deeper than ‘dressing up’. Very many ACs believe in transubstantiation and practice Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. Very many Conservative Evangelicals do not believe in any ‘change’ in the bread or wine at all - therefore adoration of the Blessed Sacrament can be nothing other than idolatry (giving the adoration due only to God to material substances). This is not a minor theological difference that can be brushed under the carpet for the sake of a false unity - one group regarding the other as indulging in idolatry. The Bible has a few things to say about that too…

[10] Posted by Micky on 07-18-2008 at 07:39 AM • top

Tiberthames

Will the overwhelming evangelical wing send their postulants to anglo-catholic seminaries (Nashotah House)?  They have been recently in dribbles but as thier identity and power structure solidifies I doubt it.  Will they hire Anglo-Catholics for their parishes or will AC’s simply tend to the ones that currently exist?

Even before our church left TEC we did this and we have a decidedly evangelical bent.  So, there you go - not a problem.

Natshotah rocks!  smile

[11] Posted by Eclipse on 07-18-2008 at 07:40 AM • top

Micky :

I’m a real presence person myself and I hang out a great deal with Catholics who believe in transubstantiation - Once again - not a problem.

See, Christians are NOT bound together by differences but by the Christ. 

Thanks for your concern however.

[12] Posted by Eclipse on 07-18-2008 at 07:42 AM • top

It’s always nice to see reappraisers doing their best to stir up dissension between Christians. It clarifies who is serving whom very, very nicely. As well as what the priorities are of the various posters.

We are not called to serve the God of Truth with the tools of the Prince of Lies.

[13] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 07-18-2008 at 07:46 AM • top

#12 So it’s OK to bless or at least tolerate what the Bible condemns as a sin…?

[14] Posted by Micky on 07-18-2008 at 07:47 AM • top

#14, I know where I disagree with with my fellow Christians. They know where we disagree as well.  But what do I have in common with you?

[15] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 07-18-2008 at 07:49 AM • top

#13 No. Just curious as to how this differentiation between “communion breaking sin” and “non-communion breaking sin” works.

[16] Posted by Micky on 07-18-2008 at 07:49 AM • top

#15 I can say the Creed without crossing any fingers. How about you?

[17] Posted by Micky on 07-18-2008 at 07:51 AM • top

David Ould, thank you for a very enheartening report. grin

[18] Posted by oscewicee on 07-18-2008 at 07:53 AM • top

There have been a lot of commentary about the Jerusalem declaration of late. Do take the time and try reading some of it. Fr. Jeffrey Steel is especially good. Also the Ugley Vicar.

Doing the Lambeth Walk, but not the fun one.

[19] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 07-18-2008 at 07:53 AM • top

#14 He (Jesus) Blessed the bread and broke it saying ” THIS is my body given for you” And then commanded us to continue doing this. What we have here is the “Real Preasence”. Now just where does the Bible condemn this as a sin?

[20] Posted by bob+ on 07-18-2008 at 07:54 AM • top

Agreed, #13.

[21] Posted by Katherine on 07-18-2008 at 07:56 AM • top

Micky, it’s rather tiresome to try to explode “issues” that have not kept Anglicans from worshiping together for lo these many years. If Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals are presently in the same communion, why can they not continue to be? And that’s a rhetorical question. As Mousestalker says, we appreciate your efforts to stir up trouble - tells us a lot about you.

[22] Posted by oscewicee on 07-18-2008 at 07:56 AM • top

#17. Good for you. So can I. Apostle’s, Nicene and Athanasian, I believe and understand all three. I do not even have to depart in the least from the historical faith or the generally understood meaning of the words. And for an encore,  I can also recite the thirty nine articles by heart. On demand, no less. Go me!

Which still leaves my question. What do we have in common?

I serve the God of Truth. Who do you serve?

[23] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 07-18-2008 at 07:57 AM • top

Those attacking those who attended GAFCon, are hoping that the wider public isn’t informed accurately about GAFCon. They are dependent on the public being uninformed, as do all propagandists.

[24] Posted by mari on 07-18-2008 at 08:02 AM • top

Micky -

Things I don’t do:   Go on the Buddha website and try to explain the differences of the 8 fold path to separate sects of Buddhists.  The reason being 1.  I don’t care 2.  I am not Buddhist so I cannot claim much more than a broad based knowledge of what I speak.

Why in the cotton picking world you would TRY and even delineate any variation between beliefs on Eucharist I haven’t a clue.

I have good Catholic Friends Who believe in Christ as the Son of the Living God.  My mother is one.  Her appreciation of Eucharist is actually none of my concern since I’m NOT Catholic.  Last time I checked it was between her and God. 

Read Romans 14:  “One man esteems one day above the others, another man esteems every day alike whether he does or does not it is whether he GLORIFIES THE LORD that matters.”

That is the point. 

Sorry to disappoint you - I’m sure it is depressing. If you keep it up you are going to have to put back on your pink hair…

[25] Posted by Eclipse on 07-18-2008 at 08:04 AM • top

#20 Well, lets see. Ask a Conservative Evangelical to join you for Benediction and Eucharistic adoration and we’ll find out.

[26] Posted by Micky on 07-18-2008 at 08:05 AM • top

Micky, in all honesty, why do you care?  If you don’t like what is going on in the GAFCON/CCP crowd, all you have to do is go to your own liberal parishes and ignore them.  Your institutional future is secure, at least until the money of dead people runs out and people start figuring out that there is no point in joining a church that places equal value on all religions and none, but that’s going to take a few generations, so it won’t affect you.

So conservative Anglicans are trying to secure their own institutional future.  What’s it to you?

Your comments on this and other threads have been nothing but one effort after another to start fights between people.

[27] Posted by AndrewA on 07-18-2008 at 08:12 AM • top

Micky,
Which Episcopal diocese are you the bishop of?  And why are you tapping all this stuff out on your Blackberry instead of paying attention to what the ABoC is saying in the big blue tent?

[28] Posted by tjmcmahon on 07-18-2008 at 08:13 AM • top

AndrewA, exactly. I think the last thing revisionists want to see is a united opposition. It kind of hurts their ego if evangelical and catholic Christians can stand united. It sort of beats their “inclusivity” claim all hollow.

[29] Posted by oscewicee on 07-18-2008 at 08:16 AM • top

Andrew A,
Unfortunately, given the decline in TEC membership, it will never disappear.  I know that sounds oxymoronic.  But once the membership falls below 500,000 and 2000 or so churches (about the year 2030 given the 2000-2006 rates of decline, sooner if what appears to be happening currently is in fact happening)- the income of Trinity Wall Street will be sufficient to pay all the bills once they work off the pension overhang.
  The greatest danger to TEC as an institution is that it is correct about global warming, the ice caps melt, and Manhatten is 10 feet below sea level, which will have an adverse effect on all those long term leases that provide Trinity with its wealth.

[30] Posted by tjmcmahon on 07-18-2008 at 08:20 AM • top

#20 & #26.  Or try wearing the chasuble to celebrate the eucharist in the archdiocese of Sydney.  Anglo Catholics contemplating co-existence and cooperation with Archbishop Jensen & Co should keep in mind Edward Lear’s limerick about the Young Lady of Riga.

[31] Posted by Lapinbizarre on 07-18-2008 at 08:26 AM • top

#30, But just think about the fishing rights! Lower Manhattan will be prime breeding grounds for eels, catfish, tilapia, the list goes on and on.

:D

My church went to the heretics and all I got was a lousy t-shirt

[32] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 07-18-2008 at 08:28 AM • top

Pinky-haired Micky:

Steady yourself now…

I am probably one of the most conservative Evangelicals in Anglicanism.  I like to say, “I’m a Baptist in disguise” because I was brought up Baptist before being Anglican.

LIKE I SAID BEFORE….

I hang out with Catholics - my favorite Catholic Priest from around here was a CATHOLIC priest - he took Eucharist very seriously and felt everyone should bow to the sacrament and do the adoration thing after the service..

Guess what - I didn’t agree with him but I knew his Faith was genuine - so I could honor him with bowing to the Eucharist and sit through the celebration thing because the PRIEST WAS TRYING TO HONOR GOD.

So, once again - you aren’t wrong - you are just wrong - completely wrong - totally wrong.

Snivel…

[33] Posted by Eclipse on 07-18-2008 at 08:30 AM • top

[#31] Playing the provocateur Lapinbizarre?  But I must assume the best of you.  Surely you would not come here to sow discord and distrust, but are commenting only in the service of truth. 

carl

[34] Posted by carl on 07-18-2008 at 08:32 AM • top

carl:

I think we’re being ‘trolled’. 

Troll songs:

“When the Troll is called up yonder - I’ll stay here”
“Trolling Along - commenting all wrong”
“Troll Troll Troll your Boat - violently on the screen”

Troll antidote:

“We love Jesus, All Anglicans DO!  We love Jesus, how about you?”

[35] Posted by Eclipse on 07-18-2008 at 08:38 AM • top

Just saying “be very careful”, Carl.  Check how tolerant in practice Archbishop Jensen is of Anglo Catholicism in his own diocese.  By their fruits ye shall know them.

[36] Posted by Lapinbizarre on 07-18-2008 at 08:39 AM • top

Micky,

He’ll say, no thanks. end of story.

As far as I understand it, transubstantiation and the Real Presence aren’t necessarily the same thing. I believe in the Real Presence and love participating in Adoration. The thing is, while I am, I am not thinking that the bread has turned into God, neither do I give it worship. Its more like a window, one that opens up letting heaven’s light, that is God’s Love shine out in a particular way as opposed to the general way in which he is always present with us. I find that I do not even think of the bread. What I think of and focus on is God’s Love in Jesus Christ. I find a perfectly still and quiet place in which to contemplate it and I always experience a deepening of my faith when I do so. I just wish my parish did it more, but I think that there are some people there who are “higher” Church than others and a spirit of consideration and understanding for that happily and peacefully accomdates all members.

Yes, you heard me right. AC’s are not all monolithic Romish wannabes. Me personally, I can do Adoration, light candles, pray the Hail Mary and kiss icons, but I cannot say the Rodary (and its unlikely that I ever will) and I struggle with regular sacramental confession (I go once in a while). There probably every shade of AC in my parish living in peace. If this can happen in one parish, it can be done, as in fact it has been done, communion wide. All that is needed is that spirit of compassion and consideration that I mentioned above. I believe that this spirit is present more among conservatives then it is among liberals (see the COE general synod for the perfect example of a AC b****slap.) I don’t expect that to change at all.

Finally, I would refer you to any good book on the Eastern Orthodox theology of icons. I can hardly do it justice here but you may be surprised to learn that icons are considered windows of heaven. Prayers and blessings go through them to the real thing. They are not worshipped. What comes through them, what they point to, is. Its the same for me and Adoration. I wouldnt be surprised to find that the same goes for a lot of other AC’s.

Bottom line, we are not Roman Catholics pretending to be Anglicans. We are Anglicans and Anglicanism informs our theology like it does yours. The results are different but the source is the same.

[37] Posted by StayinAnglican on 07-18-2008 at 08:41 AM • top

Eclipse

I think perhaps we should consider changing the verb from “trolled” to “felined.”  Trolls at least have a few endearing qualities. :D

carl

(I am going to run off to work now, before I get pelted with large heavy rocks.  And my wife must never EVER see this…)

[38] Posted by carl on 07-18-2008 at 08:45 AM • top

Well, Carl, there was something cat-ty going on. (Sorry, Eclipse.)

[39] Posted by oscewicee on 07-18-2008 at 08:51 AM • top

re #33.  Right there with you Eclipse!

[40] Posted by Spencer on 07-18-2008 at 08:53 AM • top

carl:

Yes, you SHOULD run, for I have nine lives - and you, being a sad dog-like creature, have just one.

However, you know, trolls make awesome chew toys.

Eclipse

[41] Posted by Eclipse on 07-18-2008 at 08:58 AM • top

oscewicee :

That was sad indeed, oscewicee - be glad you are not a troll…

[42] Posted by Eclipse on 07-18-2008 at 08:59 AM • top

Nah, Mickey’s footprint here is one of a snake in the grass.  He thinks we can’t “see” him because his own eyesight is at ground level.  It does tell us something about how Satan uses compromised persons.  Is Mickey satanic or possessed?  Probably not.  He is just being used with his cooperation as an agent provocatur here. Never underestimate the power of denial.  He believes his cause is just and true.  He may not even be comfortable with the view of his participation here that we all see.  It tells us something about what Satan wants here ... for evangelicals and anglo-catholics to react to one another’s differences and for unity to falter and fail.  It tells us something about how Satan wants to destroy Mickey.  The works of Satan are against ALL people.  Let us be clear in our own heads that God loves Mickey and that Satan hates him.  Let’s not fall into the trap of the haters such as the Phelps clan that confuses God’s love and Satan’s hatred.  If we hate, we offer worship to Satan.  In my perspective, evangelicals and anglo-catholics are two sides of one coin. If either fail, you are diminished as a church.  I think there are weakness on both sides ... at least partially occasioned by the fact that you are articulated into these two groups.  But thanks to Mickey, we can see clearly that Satan would like to drive you apart.  And destroy Mickey.  Therefore, our choices must be for God and for God’s love for ALL his people.  Obviously, we understand that encouraging slow suicide through disobedience to God is not a loving choice.My apologies to Mickey for treating him as a child.  When he ceases to speak out of the role of the Wicked Child at the Haggadah of Pesach, I will speak respectfully of his participation.

[43] Posted by monologistos on 07-18-2008 at 08:59 AM • top

If Anglicans don’t want to participate in a Benediction, they don’t have to go.  I am not aware of any Anglo-Catholic parishes, priests, or bishops who tell them that these things are necessary for salvation.  This was the problem with the medieval church: various devotions and pilgrimages were a guaranteed way to buy time off in purgatory.  All Anglo-Catholics I’ve ever heard of view them as spiritually beneficial devotions, not as required “get into heaven” tickets.  I’m not comfortable with Benediction and Adoration, personally, but I’m not about to insist that everyone’s devotional life should be just like mine.

[44] Posted by Katherine on 07-18-2008 at 09:00 AM • top

tjmcmahon—your posts at #28 and #30 have made my morning.  Thanks for the good, howling laughter!

[45] Posted by Old Hop on 07-18-2008 at 09:02 AM • top

As an Anglo-Catholic priest, I could go to Sydney and celebrate the Eucharist from the north end of a holy table in street clothes.  Ritual and its accessories are not what being an Anglo-Catholic is about.  Read on if you want to know a bit more about what is/was essential and what isn’t/wasn’t to a true saint of Anglo-Catholics:  James DeKoven.  If not, just skip to the next post now.

Many Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals are not informed about the controversy in the Episcopal Church in the 1870’s when ritual now common in many parishes was banned.  The lengthy blockquote below describes James Dekoven’s part in that controversy, along with part of his famous speech on adoration.  It is worth a read.  If you don’t know about James DeKoven (who has a day in the calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts) click here for a brief biography.

From “A History of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament”

When General Convention met at Baltimore in 1871, the Committee of Bishops appointed in 1868 made a report, and a canon was proposed against Eucharistic devotion. It was defeated after long debate, in the course of which Dr. Ewer was mentioned by name. The Catholic leader in the debate, and the man responsible for the defeat of the canon, was Dr. DeKoven. It was at this convention that he made his great confession of faith: “I believe in and this will be printed tomorrow, and I will write it out, if necessary, for any one who wants to use it—I believe in the Real, Actual Presence of Our Lord under the form of bread and wine upon the altars of our churches. I myself adore, and would, if it were necessary or my duty, teach my people to adore, Christ present in the elements under the form of bread and wine. And I use these words because they are a bold statement of the doctrine of the Real Presence, but I use them for another reason: they are adjudicated words; they are words which, used by a divine of the Church of England, have been tried in the highest ecclesiastical court of England, and have been decided by that ecclesiastical court to come within the limits of the truth held in the Church of England.” In these last words De Koven referred to the case of the Rev. W. J. E. Bennett, vicar of Frome Selwood, in England, who had been prosecuted by the Church Association for his doctrinal statements concerning the Real Presence. The case was tried in the Court of Arches, and appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. It was their judgment which De Koven quoted in his speech at Baltimore. Not only General Convention but the Confraternity was stirred by this issue. In 1873 Father Grafton, come from Boston to preach at the Annual Conference in New York, moved that “the American Branch of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament place upon record its grateful appreciation of the part taken by the Rev. W. J. E. Bennett, of Frome Selwood, England, in the recent vindication of the Anglican Church touching the Most Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.” A copy of the resolution was sent to him, and “all offertories made during the Octave of the Anniversary in New York.” This was acknowledged by Bennett in a letter “expressing his thanks and extending to the American Confraternity his congratulations at its prosperity.”

The controversy continued, more bitterly in the General Convention of 1874 than in that of 1871. A canon of ritual conformity was passed, prohibiting “any act of adoration of or toward the Elements in the Holy Communion.” Again De Koven led the opposition, in words as bold as he had used before, and even more eloquent: “You may take away from us, if you will, every external ceremony; you may take away altars, and super-altars, lights and incense, and vestments; you may take away, if you will, the eastward position; you may take away every possible ceremony; and you may command us to celebrate at the altar of Cod without any external symbolism whatever. You may give us the most barren of all observances, and we will submit to you. But, gentlemen, the very moment any one says we shall not adore our Lord present in the Eucharist, then from a thousand hearts will come the answer, ‘Let me die in my own country, and be buried in the grave of my father and mother.’ For to adore Christ’s Person in his Sacrament, that is the inalienable privilege of every Christian and Catholic heart. How we do it, the way we do it, the ceremonies with which we do it, are utterly, utterly indifferent. The thing itself is what we plead for.”

De Koven was a true prophet. The canon lasted only thirty years, and in that time there was only one trial under it, that of Father Prescott, of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, who suffered an Episcopal admonition.

[46] Posted by Brien on 07-18-2008 at 09:49 AM • top

#12 So it’s OK to bless or at least tolerate what the Bible condemns as a sin…?</blockquote.
Just curious if Micky also holds to this same statement on gay unions of any kind, i.e. SSU’s, SSb’s or mock gay weddings?
And I think that bob+ gave Micky a more clear scriptural fact of the Eucharist:

<blockquote>He (Jesus) Blessed the bread and broke it saying “ THIS is my body given for you” And then commanded us to continue doing this. What we have here is the “Real Preasence”. Now just where does the Bible condemn this as a sin?

The Bible, God , and Jesus himself has never condemned a central focus ib the Eucharist. But homosex…..that’s another story! smile

[47] Posted by TLDillon on 07-18-2008 at 10:05 AM • top

As an Anglo-Catholic, I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the Diocese of Sydney, and I can’t imagine any Anglo-Catholic priest being able to serve there.  I appreciate the consideration David has been showing Anglo-Catholics, but I don’t think it would translate into much practical accommodation on the ground in a place like Sydney or in many evangelical diocese and parishes.

[48] Posted by evan miller on 07-18-2008 at 10:07 AM • top

Evan Miller,
‘The Archbishops of Railway Square” by John Spooner is the cheekily titled history of Sydney’s highest church, Christ Church St Laurence. It is a story of ups and downs in the parishes relationship with the diocese.
Well worth a read if you want to know more about to what extent ACs are left to get on with things in the city of the south.

[49] Posted by obadiahslope on 07-18-2008 at 10:23 AM • top

Going on a tanget for a moment:  I’ve never seen anyone celebrate from the North Side.  I’ve seen priests on the west side facing east and on the east side facing west, but never the north side, with the alter on their left.  Actually that sounds kinda awkward to me.  Wouldn’t you need either a very short table or all the elements on the north side instead of centered on the table?  Otherwise you’d be leaning to the side quite a bit, which can’t possibly be dignified.  Anyone have links to a pic of how it is done?  Or am I minunderstanding the rubric?

[50] Posted by AndrewA on 07-18-2008 at 11:06 AM • top

Thanks Fr. Brien,
I’ve been trying to make the point since I started posting on SF that Anglo Catholicism and “High Church” are not the same thing.  You might say that I am a “low church” Anglo Catholic.  Some of the most moving services I have attended or participated in have been intimate low masses in which everyone in attendance was a devoted Christian, and no one was there for the “show.” Of course, this has become more common in TEC as Anglo Catholics have become almost an underground movement in a lot of places.  As I’ve said, you don’t need a monstrance, gold chalice or lace vestments.  You do need bread, wine, and a good priest.

[51] Posted by tjmcmahon on 07-18-2008 at 11:10 AM • top

tjmcmahon,

Well I see your point and have actually experienced it. While my parish has something of a reputation as being ultra high church due to our rector’s profound love of the Solemn High Mass (one which so many of us share thanks to him passing it on to us), we also have a low mass each Sunday and during the week as well as at other times and occasions. I truly love the contrast. To me each version, low and high, is equally valuable, each has something wonderful to contribute to my Christian walk and each are just as equally Catholic. Its a good point for you to make.

[52] Posted by StayinAnglican on 07-18-2008 at 11:39 AM • top

tjmcmahon:  “You might say that I am a ‘low church’ Anglo Catholic.”  Hey!  Maybe that’s what I am.  It has to do with the Church and the sacraments, not fancy dress.

[53] Posted by Katherine on 07-18-2008 at 12:01 PM • top

#51, 52 & 53. I’m with y’all as well. The exterior forms and rituals are spiffy, but the Presence is what is important.

One of the most significant Masses in my life happened at a picnic table. The priest was wearing a t-shirt and a windbreaker.

[54] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 07-18-2008 at 12:50 PM • top

Though deep in my heart, I would dearly love to believe what Peter Ould writes about the welcome evangelicals have supposedly offered Anglo-Catholics, I am nonetheless more impressed by the “welcome” the Archdiocese of Sydney offered the Pope during the World Youth Day Event. The statements emanating from Sydney before the Pope’s visit suggested that in spite of some of their words, they weren’t happy to welcome the Pope. Mr. Ould’s writing itself can lead one to believe that he would be considerably more comfortable in an Anglicanism that looked like fundamentalist Presbyterian and didn’t require him to consider Anglo-Catholics as fellow churchmen.

I am just as surprised at the eagerness with which some Anglo-Catholics embraced the Jerusalem Declaration which showed little understanding that a communion of churches only makes sense in relationship to its understanding of sacramental communion. GAFCON and the Jerusalem Declaration see communion as a unity formed from an acceptance of doctrinal statements, and while that may be necessary, unity is made real when we gather around the Lord’s Table and share the Body and Blood of Christ - really and not symbolically.

With every passing day, I have less and less confidence that Anglicanism itself is a coherent Christian insight.

[55] Posted by Dan Crawford on 07-18-2008 at 01:06 PM • top

Well, I’m A-C AND High Church, so any way you cut it, I’d not find “open arms” in Sydney.

[56] Posted by evan miller on 07-18-2008 at 01:43 PM • top

[14] Micky,

You wrote

#12 So it’s OK to bless or at least tolerate what the Bible condemns as a sin…?

I am afraid your stated inference (that the Bible condemns adoring Christ in our presence as idolatry) is simply incorrect. It hinges on another assumption you have made which is also not inherently accurate. I, like Eclipse, believe that Christ is present in the consecrated bread and wine. Must I therefore believe in transubstantiation, as your questions presume? Not necessarily, it is a sacrament, or to put it in the modern spelling of the Greek word translated as sacrament, it is a μυστήριο. I don’t know how, nor in what way, it becomes the body and blood of our Lord—it is not necessary that I know—it is only necessary that I believe that it does. If my belief is correct, then I am doing exactly what my Evangelical brothers and sisters would do if our Savior were to walk up to the altar in front of us.

And, in a sense, that is exactly what He tells us is happening—“wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Are you asserting that Evangelical Anglicans don’t believe Christ’s promise. Do you honestly believe that most Anglican evangelicals would identify what I have described concerning Benediction (or the Rite of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament) as—your word, you assertion—idolatry? If so, then you are beyond help. If you are going to set up a straw man in order to have something to demolish, you are going to have to do better than that.

Blessings and regards,
Marital Artist

[57] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 07-18-2008 at 03:09 PM • top

Pssst! [55] Dan Crawford,

You wrote

“I would dearly love to believe what Peter Ould writes”

I think, if you check the top of the page, you will realize it is the other Ould, the anitpodean one.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[58] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 07-18-2008 at 03:12 PM • top

[51] tjmcmahon,
[52] StayinAnglican,
[53] Katherine, and
[54] mousestalker,

I agree with the truth of your statements, but would add that, at least for me, the words and music of the solemn High Mass, particularly the when at least the opening portions of the Great Thanksgiving are chanted (through the Gloria), provide a visual and auditory aid in transcending the distractions of everyday life. They help me open my heart to, and focus my thoughts on, God, and on what He is transforming in my life, in an inward and spiritual sense.

I suspect this may be because I am, by nature, very much a “thinking” type (Myers-Briggs), so my natural mode of being is to be aware of things in a physical, analytical and sequential sense. So, while the substance of the Mass is the most important, the ritual, the form and even using more transcendent language as adjuncts are also valuable for those like me.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[59] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 07-18-2008 at 03:30 PM • top

Martial Artist, I can relate - although I’ve never attended as high church a service as you describe - but I can be content with a low church service, too. It’s not about high or low.

[60] Posted by oscewicee on 07-18-2008 at 04:02 PM • top

High Church, Broad Church, or Low Church….style makes no difference.  It’s the message that matters!

[61] Posted by Cennydd on 07-18-2008 at 04:26 PM • top

Someone here mentioned chasubles.  What priest wants to wear one where the weather’s really hot, or where a small chapel or mission church has a poorly-functioning air conditioner?  Or wear a black cassock….which soaks up the Sun’s heat like a sponge?  Alb and stole are the norm….even for some Anglo Catholic clergy whom I know.

[62] Posted by Cennydd on 07-18-2008 at 04:37 PM • top

They are all abundantly clear on where they think Anglo-Catholicism is defective yet they spoke with great support of their Anglo-Catholic brethren. I was surprising but worth reporting that right in the bastion of the über-Puritans there was a real willingness to hold solidarity with the Anglo-Catholics. 

How very, really, genuinely, historically Anglican of them!

[63] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 07-18-2008 at 05:34 PM • top

#63 is right!  One unintended effect of the Liberal putsch is to show that it is the “Conservative” Anglicans who are are in fact the liberal Anglicans (in the sense of accommodating various reasonable views of what the Scriptures mean), not those who claim to be liberals.

I’d love to get this thought into the papers!

[64] Posted by Zwingli on 07-18-2008 at 06:15 PM • top

Another speaker noted that the basic prayer book of TEC was derived from the 1549, so that few fully understood the 1552/1662 heritage that many evangelicals in the Church of England and Australia are familiar with. The sharp theological distinctions we experience from the 1662 are simply not there in TEC’s prayer book.

A word to my Christian brothers and sisters in Sydney:
(1) It is not because Anglicans in the US have a Prayer Book based on the tradition of the 1549 Prayer Book that we do not understand the 1552/1662 heritage of the English and Australian churches.  We understand your tradition perfectly.  We simply are not as keen as you are on importing the theological controversies of a past century into this present one. 

Many evangelicals see it as normal for all clergy to be fully “attired” every Sunday.

(2) Yes, and that is all it is, attired in a reverent and dignified way, because we believe that beauty and dignity have something to do with the worship of God.  We are not setting the celebrant up as a sacrificing priest simply because of attire such as a chasuble, which long predates any medieval or Tridentine notions of a sacrificing priest.

Nevertheless, they are also committed to the priority of the Gospel, so though we may think that the gospel is shrouded by their form [emphasis added]-– they are nevertheless committed to introducing people to their Lord and Saviour.

(3) We don’t see the Gospel as being shrouded by our form of worship but exalted by it. I would boldly submit that the Sydney aversion to vestments has become almost a superstition—an excessive and unreasonable belief in the connection between an apparent form and an actual reality.  There doesn’t seem to be any place in the Sydney scheme of things for adiaphora—the idea that these things don’t matter—they bear no relation to our commitment to the priority of the Gospel and our zeal in bringing individuals to saving faith in Jesus Christ—other than our hope that some people might be drawn by the beauty of worship and the care we exercise in doing it to want to know more about the Lord we serve.

Robert S. Munday
Nashotah House

[65] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 07-18-2008 at 06:19 PM • top

52,53,54, and 59-
I think you all understood this, but just to avoid any confusion, I too love the beauty of a solemn high Mass.  I just make a distinction between the genuine Anglo Catholic article (whether low Mass on Wednesday or solemn high Mass on Easter), and its tawdry cousin the TEC High Church version- which has always struck me more as a form of musical theater- were the performers go through the motions as trained, but no one knows WHY they are doing it.
It becomes form devoid of faith.  Of course, there are other aspects.  How many of us would walk into the average TEC church and walk into the confessional?  I really don’t want to read my confession on the HoBD listserve.
People (often intentionally) confuse the high church form with the Anglo Catholic belief.

[66] Posted by tjmcmahon on 07-18-2008 at 06:52 PM • top

Going on a tanget for a moment:  I’ve never seen anyone celebrate from the North Side.  I’ve seen priests on the west side facing east and on the east side facing west, but never the north side, with the alter on their left.  Actually that sounds kinda awkward to me.  Wouldn’t you need either a very short table or all the elements on the north side instead of centered on the table?  Otherwise you’d be leaning to the side quite a bit, which can’t possibly be dignified.  Anyone have links to a pic of how it is done?  Or am I minunderstanding the rubric?

No, you’re quite right - that’s what the rubric says.
The point, of course, is that the celebrant is not placed either between the elements and the people or the elements and God - with all that is implied in both positions. He, rather, stands to the side.
As for practicalities - first, get rid of those candles on the side of the Table (yes, I said it) and find another place for them - somewhere where they serve their purpose.
Next, get the elements over to the North Side. Then, simply say the words of the consecration at that side of the Table, turned about 45 degrees (I think) to the congregation. There is an obvious lack of symmetry as one watches but that is entirely intentional. The celebrant is moved out of the way, with the obvious theological inference.

And, for clarity:
<ol><li>Yes, I am only a simple deacon</li>
<li>No, I have never celebrated the Lord’s Supper in this or any other context</li>
<li>Yes, we will talk about Lay Presidency at some point in the future (it will be an issue in the upcoming Sydney diocesan synod) but NOT NOW.</li></ol>

[67] Posted by David Ould on 07-18-2008 at 07:33 PM • top

Meanwhile, the ACL are not the only ones in Sydney sympathetic to the Anglo-Catholic plight.  The Telegraph:

Pope Benedict’s address to young people on the shores of Sydney harbour was dazzling even by his own standards. A great mind was at work here, deploring the environmental, social and spiritual damage to God’s creation – though with no clichés about climate change – and then lifting spirits with blazing optimism:

“Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises. Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit!”

[68] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 07-18-2008 at 08:34 PM • top

Amen. Thanks for posting that, Craig!

[69] Posted by oscewicee on 07-18-2008 at 08:37 PM • top

This opinion piece on Roman Catholicism, written by Philip Jensen, Dean of Sydney and brother of Archbishop Jensen, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit to Sydney, has some relevance.  It was published two days ago in The Sydney Morning Herald.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/that-warm-and-fuzzy-brotherly-love-is-delusive/2008/07/16/1216162951213.html

[70] Posted by Lapinbizarre on 07-19-2008 at 02:52 AM • top

If David Ould was the priest in his current parish, he would always celebrate on the North side….. of the (Sydney) Harbour that is.

[71] Posted by obadiahslope on 07-19-2008 at 03:12 AM • top

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