Constructive Hiatus

I have had some enquiries about the future of this blog.

It is impossible to say too much at this time, but I have had correspondence with our Metropolitan, Archbishop Mark Haverland and my own diocesan, Bishop Damien Mead. For this blog to be a work of our Church as opposed to a personal blog, it needs a team of clergy and lay persons to write articles. I have found support and encouragement from Archbishop Haverland and Bishop Mead and we are writing around.

The blog needs a very definite purpose, which would in first place be educational and reasonably high-brow. I am determined to free this blog from any harshness, polemics and negativity, especially between “Anglo-Catholics” and “Classical Anglicans”. Instead, I would like to promote serious reflection on the official positions of the Anglican Catholic Church and issues that concern Catholicism and Anglicanism in general. I would also like culture and social doctrine to enter the picture.

When I am sure of my team in addition to the support and encouragement from our Hierarchy, I could imagine this blog getting off to a new start, perhaps a little before Christmas.

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Eirenicon

I’ve been pondering on whether to write this, given the furore I appear to have been causing of late. I’ve decided to breach the hiatus slightly in the light of Fr. Chadwick’s update in order to reinforce good confraternity and happier relations with other Christians.

I wrote  An Alternative to the Church of England in order to demonstrate that the Anglican Catholic church is just that: an alternative. I did not mention any other alternatives for the very simple reason that I know too little about them and cannot speak of them with any degree of authority or knowledge: I simply felt it best to keep quiet, especially on a blog devoted to the ACC. If anyone has taken offence at that, I willingly and sincerely apologise. It is not my intention to offend, but it is my intention to promote the Church to which I belong and love to bits, warts’n’all. I am also aware of the warts!

I do willingly concede the existence of other alternatives to the CofE and it is really for them to give an account of themselves so that the honest enquirer can make a decision with a fully-informed and encouraged conscience. If this blog should return to activity, I will try to ensure that I do better.

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A Few Words

Revision as of 3rd August 2013, Invention of St Stephen.

I have had some sincere and cordial correspondence with Fr Stephen Smuts by private e-mails. I have decided to remove the posts he found offensive. I count on him to do the same thing. Reconciliation is our duty and the one things that gives meaning to life and faith in our fellow human beings.

* * *

I have been reflecting how this blog should be used. It seems obvious that if this blog bears the logo of the Anglican Catholic Church, then it is de facto an official blog, even if our Bishops have not given it that status. That brings a lot of responsibility, and I have tried to take care not to confuse this blog with my personal blog As the sun in its orb. This is not designed to be a personal blog.

This separation doesn’t seem to be very clear, and I do not wish to bring the ACC as a whole into any polemics. If any of our bishops or priests engage in polemics of their own, then they engage only their own moral responsibility. I meant this blog to be something positive. We need new life and new contributors to raise the “prophetic” and theological level.

I therefore place this blog – of my own initiative – into a state of hiatus. My Bishop has said that he considers this decision to be the right thing. Previous posts and comments continue to be available. Until I find a reason for its revival, readers are referred to the following three personal blogs which do not engage our Church.

I wish you all a good and restful summer, here in the Northern Hemisphere, and respite from the cold in the Southern.

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Anglican Catholic Unity

Here one can find and read the statement of the Anglican Catholic Church on Church Unity which I post in response to some people who find our stance “stand-offish”.  Of particular importance is Section 6.

It is very easy to dismiss Continuing Anglicanism on the ground of it being totally disunited. Indeed, that was my major concern in the darker days of my disillusionment with the CofE as I sought somewhere to go.

There are lots of “continuing Anglican” groups, and the question must be, “what are they continuing?” With the disparity of leadership and doctrine, it is easy to accuse Continuing Anglicanism of continuing the fracture of God’s Church. Yet this is not how things are and there is indeed significant movement towards Unity.

Where the ACC is starting that move to Unity is among its sister jurisdictions which emerged from the Congress of St Louis in 1978. This will take time, but there have been very many encouraging signs of communion and union in the past. Indeed, in 2007, there was a joint statement in which it has been stated explicitly that the ACC is in full communio in sacris with the APCK and UECNA. Further unity will come in time, we pray.

For other continuing Anglicans, the ACC seeks to be as clear as it can on the conditions of intercommunion:

“If leaders of such bodies are genuine in their claims to adhere to the same Faith and Order, sufficiently to seek a relationship of communio in sacris with the Anglican Catholic Church, then the question arises as to why they established separate jurisdictions in the first place, contrary to that Faith and Order. In the absence of any satisfactory response to that question, there is little point in proceeding further. We cannot see any justification for asking our synods to furnish funds, nor our scholars to sacrifice the huge allocations of time and energy required, to establish formal negotiations with any body of demonstrably illicit jurisdiction, congregationalist polity, and/or doubtful Orders and Sacraments.”

This is simple honesty. If there is to be true unity between bodies, then there needs to be transparency in order for that union to take place in love. Love requires honesty, it also requires humility on both sides. The ACC has its standards which it cannot take lightly and makes them very clear.

As criteria for engaging in formal dialogue with other Churches aimed at achieving full communion or ultimately organic unity, we would see their possession of historic continuity in Catholic Faith and Apostolic Order, including doctrine and discipline faithfully reflecting the canons and decrees of the seven Ecumenical Councils, with recognizably common Scriptures, Creeds, Sacraments and Ministry, as the starting point, not the conclusion, of such endeavours. These are the minimum requirements for the recovery of authentic Christian unity, and we have no authority to alter or reduce them.

To those who embrace them we will gladly extend the right hand of fellowship.

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How Official is this Blog?

Embryo Parson raises the legitimate question on Initial Report on the New Anglican Catholic Church Blog about how official this blog is.

My answer is that it is not official. It is my own initiative and therefore is not official. The official organs of the ACC are Anglican Catholic Church and Anglican Catholic Church – UK, as are the other diocesan web sites. There is also The Trinitarian to which you can subscribe and most dioceses and parishes publish their own printed media. I have never claimed that this blog is official.

I was discussing this question with my Bishop last Saturday, emphasising my keeping my personal blog As the sun in its orb and this blog separate. In this blog, I do not post anything that would not be disapproved of by my Diocesan Bishop or by our Metropolitan, Archbishop Mark Haverland. I have not been taken to task for anything in my personal blog either. My Bishop does not object to what I am doing, nor has he officially endorsed it.

The point of this blog is that I write on behalf of my Church without claiming official status. I often consult my Bishop and fellow blog authors.

* * *

For the rest of Embryo Parson‘s posting, I can only say that Embryo Parson left the ACC because we are too “Anglo-Catholic” for his present hard Protestant position. This colours his way and his slant on my blogging work.

He finds my “anti-Reformation” stance and endorsement of the pre-Reformation Church objectionable. He is entitled to his opinion. In these matters, I have always been plain with my Bishop and fellow clergy.

I would add that the first paragraph from the quotation also highlights the truth of something I’ve said repeatedly about Anglo-Catholicism, to wit, that it borders on — if not crosses into — mystical aestheticism.   Well and good, if that is to become the thrust of the ACC’s “marketing strategy.”  All sorts of people are attracted to mystical aestheticism.  Only problem is mystical aestheticism has nothing whatsoever to do with the apostolic and Catholic faith.

I differ. Christianity (Catholic / sacramental / liturgical / choose your adjective) is as much a Mystery Religion as a “religion of the book”. As a way of life, it has its similarities with ancient Cynicism and modern Anarchism.

They’re going to have to listen to men like Fr. Hart and Fr. Wells.

These two priests of our Church are good men and fine theologians. Fr Wells has been kind with me since I was seen no longer to be one of Archbishop Hepworth’s men. But their thought and writing are a lot more subtle and open than that of Embryo Parson. I have often written on questions of ecclesiology on As the sun in its orb.

Accretions? Let’s have more of them, with flowing red wine and the joy and freedom of God’s children!

* * *

Related but different. Fr Stephen Smuts of the TAC in South Africa has had a go at An Alternative to the Church of England? and my comment thanking the author of the article. See The ACC as an Alternative to the Church of England?

My remark The “marketing strategy” of the ACC is good… is taken out of context, but Fr Smuts does link to my blog. I am said to be an identifiable consumer of that said ‘marketing strategy’. I suppose he too is a consumer of his Church and Bishop, whilst promoting the ordinariates to the satisfaction of his Roman Catholic clients on his blog. Tit for tat!

Naturally, there is no mention of other Continuing Anglican jurisdictions as ‘credible alternative[s]’.

Should there be? Does he promote the ACC in South Africa as a ‘credible alternative’? There is the The Traditional Anglican Church (England) to which I willingly link. I left it in good standing in order to join the ACC. There is also the Traditional Church of England to which Fr Smuts gives no link on his blog. All I know about the TCE is what is on their blog, but they seem to be sincere and serious. There is also the Free Church of England that is in dialogue with the Union of Scranton and the Nordic Catholic Church. There are certainly other churches identifying with Continuing Anglicanism, fewer than in the USA, but there all the same.

Like Embryo Parson, Fr Smuts is entitled to his opinion. I no longer comment on his blog lest I get attacked by the vicious guard dogs lurking in the background over there, but I answer him all the same.

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The ACC and the Free Church of England

In our Church website, I found news about the Free Church of England in South Africa making an approach to the ACC diocese down there.

The Free Church of England, a Continuing Anglican body with about 3,000 members in the Free State Province of the Republic of South Africa, has signified its intention to come into the ACC.

I was quite surprised and wrote to my Bishop asking whether the Free Church of England established in our country was also approaching the ACC, since it is in dialogue with the Nordic Catholic Church and Bishop Roald Flemestad (cf. the Free Church of England website under 22 April 2013). Bishop Mead replied saying that the Free Church of England in South Africa is a different body to the Church of the same name in the UK. He said he was not sure if they have had links but that he thought they just share a name. It would be the safest thing to say that this concerns South Africa and not England.

The Free Church of England in the UK has always been a movement of reaction against the influence of Anglo-Catholicism. Recently, it has developed a more Orthodox or “undivided church” theology and openness to a more Catholic and sacramental perspective. Some of the more Protestant-minded of the FCC’s members split away, but I am unaware of any church body they may have founded. The move of the FCC towards the Union Of Scranton and the Nordic Catholic Church is significant.

There is an article in the South African ACC website. We should pray for the conclusion of this move towards union of the two Churches. This is good news indeed.

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Events in Canterbury

The Pilgrim’s Refectory at the new Canterbury Church Shop is opening today in the historic Conquest House, 17 Palace Street, Canterbury.

See Pilgrims’ Refectory Opens in our diocesan website.

Congratulations are in order, and we should continue our prayers for our Bishop.

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