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Christmas [the building of a new North American Anglicanism]
Captain Yips Secret Journal ^ | 12/26/2005 | Jack White

Posted on 12/26/2005 11:02:37 AM PST by sionnsar

Christopher Johnson describes a Christmas service at an Anglican Renewal church.  Christ the King’s was a little different, and worth describing as another brick in the renewed edifice a-building, more and more rapidly. 

Our Christmas service was on Christmas Eve, not because Christ the King is one of those Protestant Megachurches (I think we’re a minichurch), but because our part-time volunteer priest had long ago made plans for a month in Europe, a month during which we’ll become reacquainted with that other great form of Anglican worship, Morning Prayer. 

Our celebration of our Lord’s Nativity showed how far this little congregation has come in a year. 

We began with five readings from the Gospel of Luke, carrying us through the point that the shepherds departed Bethlehem (2:20).  Between readings, the young people provided a pageant in the form of tableaux illustrating each reading.  After the homily (big point: shepherds in that area, at that time, were kids and oldsters, useless for anything else, so the proclamation of Jesus’s birth went first to those who needed Him most). We then passed on into our usual Holy Communion service, based on the 1662 Book, very lightly revised.  I didn’t count communicants-that’s someone else’s job, and I couldn’t find him afterwards-but I think there were between 40 and 60.  I don’t think that’s shabby for a congregation that’s only 18 months in being, and hasn’t aggressively publicized itself.

We sang, or heard, the core Christmas songs: Adeste Fideles, Angels We Have Heard on High, Away in the Manger, O How a Rose e'er blooming, Greensleeves, Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Hark the Herald Angels, Joy to the World.  We had pretty smoking trumpet playing for some of those (Joy to the world really calls for some brass, huh?  We got it). 

The children of the church school made ginger cookies for us, and bookmarks, nicely laminated, and after a too brief coffee session we distributed the massed poinsettias among ourselves, so I was able to take several to my Aunt’s assisted living residence the next day, where they were gratefully received.

I was struck by Gabriel’s words to Mary (Luke 1:37) “For nothing will be impossible with God,” especially since I’ve been noodling around uselessly in Luke.  Those words could almost be Luke’s theme, since he repeats it several times.  “Nothing is impossible with God.”  Slowly, but slowly accelerating, we’re seeing the building of a new North American Anglicanism.  There are a lot of people involved, leaders, followers, helpers, doers, prayers, and everyone has a mite to contribute, but I don’t believe that any one of them is In Charge. 

The Church is always being reformed and renewed.  It must be, since human institutions and structures become full of themselves, forget their task, lose track of their purpose.  Kendall Harmon posted the other day, Rev. Jim Hobby’s sorrowful elegy for ECUSA-not for North American Anglicanism, but for ECUSA.  One part that had me and a lot of others nodding their heads was this:

C.S. Lewis, E.B Pusey, Tom Howard, George Herbert and Evelyn Underhill defined Anglicanism for me. It was a vision, not an institution, that captured my heart. I wasn’t alone. Most of my evangelical friends always talked about the “political stuff” with disdain. And suddenly one day we awoke to learn that the evangelical voice in the church was out of vogue. It took us several General Conventions to learn to navigate the halls of power. Too late. The institution had kidnapped the vision.

Not only was this (and in fact all of the Open Letter) resonant with the experience of many of us, but the words of one clerical commenter was equally revealing:

Interesting article. What wonderful fantasies he has of us in ECUSA! I wonder if we are his scapegoat. Everything he says could easily be said of America, the land Bush leads.

One can only sigh, and go forward.  For many, it has been ECUSA’s willful abandonment of its own rich tradition of liturgy, spirituality, and learning that has been catastrophic.  What’s happening now is that many folk are saying, “The fight is over.  We’re building something new.”  And as we build, we need to keep in mind that “with God, nothing is impossible.”

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: christmas; ecusa

1 posted on 12/26/2005 11:02:38 AM PST by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; AnalogReigns; Uriah_lost; Condor 63; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; ..
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 12/26/2005 11:03:28 AM PST by sionnsar (†† || Libs: Celebrate MY diversity, eh! || Iran Azadi 2006)
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To: sionnsar

"C.S. Lewis, E.B Pusey, Tom Howard, George Herbert and Evelyn Underhill defined Anglicanism for me. It was a vision, not an institution, that captured my heart."

Mine too and still does. I have learned that one doesn't have to go through ECUSA or Canterbury to be Anglican.

3 posted on 12/26/2005 1:53:11 PM PST by kalee
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To: kalee; sionnsar
I have learned that one doesn't have to go through ECUSA or Canterbury to be Anglican and one needn't go through ELCA, Minneapolis, or Chicago to be Lutheran.
4 posted on 12/26/2005 8:21:52 PM PST by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised.)
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To: sionnsar

God Bless Sionnsar! Our Christmas Eve Service was like yours. Our Church is small (Oakvile California)however it was full to the "brim"! Amazing population (communicant)growth. Future looks bright!

5 posted on 12/27/2005 5:38:44 AM PST by Blake#1
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