"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Calgary Anglican Parish Journeys to Rome

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This very interesting press release was pointed out to me by my dear friend and Rector:

“Joint Press Release of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Dioceses of Calgary, December 16, 2011

First Roman Catholic Anglican Use Parish in Canada

The Most Reverend Fred Henry Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary and the Rt. Rev. Derek Hoskin Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary announce with thanksgiving to Almighty God the birth of a new “Anglican Use” congregation within the City of Calgary.

At a special service on December 18, 2011 a group of people who have been worshipping in the Anglican Way in the Church of St. John the Evangelist under the guidance of the Rev. Fr. Lee Kenyon and the Rev. Fr. John Wright will be received into the Roman Catholic Church and eventually be constituted as a Roman Catholic Anglican Use Congregation. This transition has been assisted by the good ecumenical relationship which exists between the two Dioceses.

Bishop Hoskin has given permission for the Rev. Fr. Michael Storey, the Roman Catholic Chaplain assigned to the new congregation, to use the Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist for Christmas Services in order that the new Roman Catholic congregation will be able to celebrate our Saviour’s birth in familiar surroundings. Arrangements for the new congregation to use the Anglican church buildings in 2012 are being made.”

The rest of the release is at http://www.calgary.anglican.ca.

I’m certainly happy for this parish, and understand why they are making this move (even in a rather orthodox diocese, all things considered). My worship place is in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, and it is hard for me to read that story without feeling some yearning…the call to come home to a unified church (although I’m not sure that Rome is necessarily that place). Nevertheless, I rejoice with my brothers and sisters in Christ who are making this move.

It did cause me some reflection on how a similar circumstance played out in New Westminster last year…four parishes at odds with their bishop, M. Ingham, ended up in court arguing over who owned the property and buildings. The four parishes lost (which was not a surprise), and have relocated to new quarters (I believe). I’ve commented before that the New West situation is one that was in need of some Christian behavior and thought, from both sides:

– For the four parishes, for bringing the dispute to the secular courts (see 1 Corinthians 6:1-7, “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated…”)
– For the bishop, for making the right sort of noises, but doing nothing to actually honour the will of those four communities. There was acrimony here, for sure, but our bishops are (if not the guardians of faith) are at least supposed to be the grown-up ones in such debates, and the ones we can always count on to manifest Christ to us, even when we can’t. (A high standard, you might argue, but if a bishop is not so called, I really wonder if they should be a bishop.)

The whole New West thing could have been resolved by Ingham stating, “I disagree, but go with God’s blessing and the continued use of those church buildings, and I will pray for reconciliation.”

Now in Calgary, the parish decided to leave for Rome. The Anglican Diocese has negotiated a lease with the community to allow them to use the same building for 5 years, after which there will be a purchase option. This is marked out in a joint press release from both the Catholic and Anglican dioceses.

I can imagine that the Bishop of Calgary was not happy to say farwell, but there must be some cause for joy that the community will continue to worship together. Rather than burning bridges behind the departing community, Calgary’s option preserves relationship (while perhaps negating some problems for the Anglican diocese).

Does New West really have any use for four (almost) empty parish buildings? I’ve seen their numbers, and I’m not thinking that four dynamic Spirit-filled church plants will replace the very active communities that are now leaving their buildings. So the diocese now has property (which I expect will be shortly sold, or allowed to exist in some kind of palliative state before being sold). How, we must ask, has the kingdom been built up in New West? How has it been built up in Calgary?

Of course, God brings blessing even out of our faithlessness, and perhaps the loss of property is exactly what those four parishes need to bring them back to a solitary focus on the Kingdom of God.

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Written by sameo416

January 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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