Skip to comments.The Continuum in England [Anglican]
Posted on 01/13/2006 5:41:31 PM PST by sionnsar
In my travels through the blogosphere this week, I "met" Fr Anthony Chadwick, the TAC chaplain of St. Martin's Chapel in Mouilleron en Pareds, France and the host of another blog, Civitas Dei. I put the following question to him, and his answer follows. I would be interested to hear from people in the UK as to what their thoughts are on this matter.
I have always been mystified by the fact that so few disaffected Anglicans in Britain even know about the Continuum, much less ever having given any consideration to it, as an alternative to going over to Rome or to Orthodoxy. And that is evidenced by the almost imperceptible Continuing presence in the UK.
For England, I can only go by my occasional visits and what I read in the press. The Traditional Anglican Church in England under its Vicar General, Fr. Brian Gill, is doing well. Last October, I went to Evensong in a lovely chapel of a stately home in Yorkshire, where the local TAC parish regularly worships, and found more than sixty people attending.
The TTAC is acquiring real churches in England -- Lincoln and Portsmouth in particular -- and snowballing in its development. The quality and dedication of its clergy and laity are impressive.
Unlike the Americans and people in the "Third World", who adhere to a church because they believe in it, most English and European people take the attitude that society expects them to belong to the official establishment or nothing at all. What is going to be important is to have the Continuum looking like something very official and mainstream -- because it is nothing other than mainstream Anglicanism, just as we knew it as choirboys, altar servers or children with our families. Without that, people are just shameful about joining anything "marginal" and just won't come to it.
Few people go to Orthodoxy, because, though Orthodoxy is mainstream and official, it is considered as something exotic for foreign people -- Greeks, Russians and Middle Eastern people in particular. There is no canonical Orthodox western rite provision in England or Europe.
Another thing people like is intolerant fundamentalism -- it gives them more emotional security. This explains the success of the larger Roman Catholic traditionalist societies and "happy-clappy" Protestants, who feed on peoples credulity for "conspiracy theories" (blame something other than oneself, and one gets that nice glowing feeling of self-satisfaction).
The Continuum is simply classical Anglicanism, and demands nothing other than faith, dedication and an upright life -- those ideas don't fit in with today's consumer mentality.
European Christianity is dying and the USA will eventually follow. We are returning to the first centuries of the history of the Church. Our priority will be ourselves to live as Christians and show that we are happier and better people on account of living an edifying life and believing in something other than money! The days of filling pews and large numbers of people at church services are over. We have to find a new way to bring the Gospel into contemporary life, and of course welcome any who want to come to our liturgy or simply see a priest for any reason. It is the present Pope's vision of a shrinking Church, but gaining in quality what it loses in quantity. The churches of the future European continent will be small chapels and rooms in houses, and the Christianity of the future will be pre-Constantinian.
He sounds like a pessimist, a veritable Jimmy Carter of Anglicanism!
Happy fellow, ain't he, S!
Have you tried the old way? I don't think I have ever been approached on a street corner by an Anglican with a bible and a heart for the lost.
I don't think I've ever had an Anglican approach me at work and ask me if I know Jesus.
I've had a lot of independent non-denominational people who have, but rarely have I ever been approached by an Anglican or other traditional church member with a gospel tract or a biblical challenge.
There are a lot of independent non-denominational churches in Europe that are filling up every Sunday. Our youth group hits the streets nearly every week in search of lost souls, and in europe you can just about count on the fact that if there is a soul standing next to you, he or she is lost.
Go into the world and preach the gospel. How hard is that?
Evangelism is not the North American Anglican's strong suit, admitted. We lost much of that element with the departure in the late 1800s of what became the REC, impatient because PECUSA hadn't responded to their demands (ironically, according a recent history I'd read, had they hung on just a few weeks more the story would have been very different).
Other Anglicans are quite a bit more active in this regard; the Africans are readily noted.
But this is not to say that North American Anglicanism does absolutely nothing. Locally, my wife enlists our parish's support every spring for a local Kairos -- an evangelist prison ministry. Our deacon is very active at the local VA hospital. For other examples, Brad Drell of Drell's Descants is also very involved in Kairos (Kairos approaches many prisons in our state). Maybe you need a stint in prison? *\;-)
And locally again, we had a session for our vestry at church today where we discussed issues of (and started setting plans for more) outreach.
And finally I will point out AMiA, whose North American focus is totally and completely on evangelism. Keep hanging out on those street-corners and an Anglican evangelist will find you, sooner or later.
May I be blunt? Mother Church is dying, or at least is sick unto death.
But her progeny will live on. Is a church dead when "only" 2 to 3 localized million of its 77 million members worldwide go apostate, and the rest are strenuously resisting? I don't think so.
It's my hope and expectation that Anglicanism will survive and triumph over this ordeal. If "we" dump ECUSA, and the Canadian church, and even CofE in the process... all we've lost are bodies infected by apostate thinking. (No, I'm not going to invoke numbers here.)
We may lose the "Elizabethan Compromise" between the two disparate wings of the church -- for a time or forever, I do not know.
Unless one is Louie Crew or of his ilk (and maybe not even then), these are not happy times. But they bear in them the portents, the possibilities, of far better times ahead.
Short term, the prospects aren't good. Longer term, they're much better.
Evangelism has its uses, but the HISTORY of our faith and its Reason are also incumbent. God is as much Logos as He is Spirit.
Just my two cents worth.
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