Skip to comments.No Way APA? [APA-REC merger]
Posted on 07/28/2005 11:52:32 AM PDT by sionnsar
I and a number of other Reformed Episcopalians got some e-mails yesterday from a No Way APA guy. The No Way APA people much oppose the merger of the REC and the Anglican Province of America (APA) basically because the APA has more Anglo-Catholic tendencies than the REC.
One of the e-mails had links to a message board that a number of Anglo-Catholics of various stripes frequent. I guess I was supposed to be horrified by what I read there. Instead, I joined and said Hi there!
As you perhaps noticed from my posts at the Orlando REC-APA convention, I think the merger is wonderful. But I can understand how some Low Church people can be leery. They dont want Anglo-Catholic or high church thought and practices imposed on them. Some of them experienced their prayer books being taken away in ECUSA or having women clergy imposed on them. Those that didnt experience that know others who did. And they dont want to go through anything like that again. They want to continue their Low Church practices in peace.
Now my understanding of REC polity is that theres hardly any way they can have higher church practices imposed on them. I think most or all parishes own their own property, for example. So if the REC pressures a parish too much, they can just walk.
Any such pressure is exceedingly unlikely, however. I think the REC leadership has made clear, as has the APA, that they have no problem with churches continuing in a Low Church path. In fact, in the past couple years the very Low Church Chapel of the Cross in Dallas (which Ive visited) was welcomed into the REC. There are any number of REC parishes that continue to be Low Church, and I think even the APA has its Low Church parishes.
But if further assurances, put in writing and made binding even, would calm Low Church concerns, then I think making those assurances would be a good idea.
The problem is the vibes I get from the No Way APA crowd is they have such a phobia of Anglo-Catholics and their practices that they dont even want to be in sacramental fellowship with them at all.
And thats where I put my foot down.
Im from a fundamentalist background, so I fully understand those who want to be sure there wont be any missals or statues or extra candles or such in their parish. Thats not where Im personally at now, but Im fine with that.
But to refuse to acknowledge that the faithful church is just a bit bigger than that, and to resist the RECs efforts to be bigger than that by pursuing fellowship with orthodox Anglicans of varying churchmanship is flat wrong and, yes, *unbiblical*.
Christ prayed that we would be one, not monochrome. Something wonderful about the Orlando convention was seeing people of widely different church styles worshipping together without casting aside those styles. Even among the leaders, you had APA Archbishop Grundorf in full tat and mitre. He shined! Yet beside him, you had Primate Greg Venables and Bill Atwood in very simple garb with no mitre. (Theres photos over at the APA site.) And there were any number of styles of dress and of giving the sacrament and more among the clergy. And there was even Afro-American gospel singing during the distribution of the elements. But it all fit together, and it was beautiful.
Thats what the church should be like. And we Reformed Episcopalians need to insist we will be like that. And that biblically broad church certainly includes our Low Church brothers and sisters.
But when a few insist that we exclude people because they are not Low Church, thats where we must say, No, the church is bigger than that . . . and we will be, too.
The photo is very telling, as the vestments speak exactly to each bishop's "altitude" so to speak.
Venables is clearly the "lowest" with his plain alb and hand-woven stole. Riches is just about dead-center average for our former middle-low diocese - with the wristbands (very English but Low English), the lining under his brocade stole, and the staff of office. And of course Grundorf is about as High as you get outside of a Festival Mass!
I was in the ECUSA for 36 years of Bilical illiteracy, high church, actually identical to the Roman rite. I have been in the REC for over a year now, a breath of clean fresh air rejuvenating my faith. High church , low church, so what? We are believers in Scripture, test our decisions against Scripture. If those differences in liturgies bother us that much, we are never going to grow the Church of Christ as we are instructed. The liturgy in Orlando in the APA Cathedral was nearly identical to the liturgy of my ECUSAN parish, and I had no trouble following it. We are about to experience unifying in the Anglican Communion, and I intend to be a part of it. I do not think much of grape juice for Holy communion, but I still serve it because others accept it. It is just not worth getting upset over, and I can not condemn my brothers ansd sisters for taking it in the place of wine. I have other planks in my own eye that must be plucked out.
As a side note, somehwere someone commented about what they thought was an ordained female at the combined synod in Orlando. The lady in question is a REC deaconess, not ordained, but appointed, and does nothing an ordained person does. I asked her if she was ordained since she was wearing a pectoral cross, and she replied she and her husband left the ECUSA when they began ordaining women. I wish I could remember her name.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.