So I’m feeling a little nostalgic this evening.
It’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom…
So I’m feeling a little nostalgic this evening.
It’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom…
Writes Bishop Chandler Holder Jones (Anglican Province of America) who was one of the principal consecrators:
On Wednesday 18th April 2012 at Saint Stephen’s Church, Timonium, Maryland, the Right Reverend John Vaughan was consecrated Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of the Eastern United States of the Anglican Church in America. The three principal consecrators were the Most Reverend Brian Marsh (ACA), the Right Reverend Stephen Strawn (ACA) and your blogger (Anglican Province of America). The other consecrators were the Right Reverend Robert Loiselle (APA), the Right Reverend George Langberg (ACA) and the Most Reverend Council Nedd II (Episcopal Missionary Church)…
A few more photos here.
Is the Anglican Province of America part of the TAC? Or how about the Anglican Independent Communion? And the Episcopal Missionary Church? All here - not guests – but consecrators!
UPDATE I: My, my… I just Googled the Episcopal Missionary Church and Wikipedia has:
The Episcopal Missionary Church of South Africa, whose Presiding Bishop is the Rt. Rev’d Albert Shange.
Lo and behold.
UPDATE II: Diocese of the Eastern United States (where Bishop Vaughan will function) reports:
The Rt Rev John Vaughan was consecrated Bishop Suffragan for the Diocese of the Eastern United States at St Stephen’s Pro Cathedral in Timonium, Maryland.
Bishop Vaughan was consecrated by The Most Rev. Brian Marsh, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in America. Other consecrators were The Rt Rev Stephen D. Strawn, Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the Missouri Valley and The Rt Rev Chandler Holder Jones, Suffragan Bishop of the Anglican Province of America. Co-consecrators were The Rt Rev George D. Langberg of the ACA and The Rt Rev Robert Loiselle of the APA.
Consecration of The Rt Rev John Vaughan, photo taken with The Rt. Rev. Stephen D. Strawn, The Most Rev. Brian Marsh, Council Nedd II, The Rt Rev George D. Langberg of the ACA and The Rt Rev Robert Loiselle, The Rt Rev Chandler Holder Jones.
Bishop Vaughan, who is rector of St Patrick’s Church in Titusville, Florida, will serve the Diocese of the Eastern United States, a diocese that embraces over a dozen parishes in the southeastern part of the country.
Prior to his consecration, Bishop Vaughan was presented with a hand made crozier, one that had been created by a member of St Stephens church. The crozier features a carved shamrock. The Shamrock is representative of Bishop Vaughan’s Irish heritage. It is also a symbolic means whereby which Celtic priests have traditionally explained the Trinity.
Following his consecration, St Stephens hosted a wonderful reception.
People from several jurisdictions attended the service.
The Ven. Guy P. Hawtin preached the following sermon at the Consecration of Fr. John Vaughan, Bishop-elect of the Diocese of the Eastern United States, Wednesday in the First Week After Easter, April 18th, 2012.
The Church of England faithful left to fend for themselves.
The Telegraph reports:
Members of the congregation at St Michael and All Angels parish church in Croydon, south London, don’t ask for much. A decent sermon, perhaps a few rousing hymns; clean pews; a tidy garden at the back; someone to help with Sunday school. But this month, they need something rather more important: a new vicar, to replace the one who converted to Catholicism and took 69 of his flock with him to a church up the road.
A “Parish priest: vacant” sign now stands outside the towering red-brick church behind West Croydon train station. Seven weeks ago, it housed 100 parishioners and a vicar who had served there for 16 years. Today, St Michael’s has less than half its original congregation, after the Rev Donald Minchew quit his post and was received into the Catholic faith at St Mary’s, 500 yards away.
This extraordinary leap of faith was prompted by the Rev Minchew’s decision to join the Ordinariate, a structure within the Roman Catholic Church that allows Anglicans to enter into full communion while retaining some of their C of E heritage. The practice started last January, when three former Anglican bishops were ordained as Catholic priests, following a decree from Pope Benedict XVI to heal division between the faiths. Since then, dissatisfaction with aspects of Anglican doctrine – including the Church’s attitude towards homosexuality and its willingness to consider female bishops – has led hundreds to take up the offer of conversion.
The Rev Minchew’s reasons for leaving St Michael’s were rooted in his doubts about the Anglican faith. “In the Church of England, you don’t know what the Church believes from one synod to the next,” he said. “I think there is great comfort in the Catholic church: you know what you believe and what the Church teaches.”
But what of those he left behind? St Michael’s is one of many Anglican parishes for which the Ordinariate has meant empty pews, an interregnum and a gaping hole in church life for the congregation.
On a rainy day nearly two months after the Rev Minchew’s final service at St Michael’s, the church is eerily quiet. A trickle of passers-by enters through the heavy wooden doors that lead off a side street bustling with shoppers.
Inside, stained-glass windows and thick stone walls mute the noise from traffic. A single candle, lit under the nave by the altar, flickers as wind blows through the draughty building.
“We’ve had the heating off for a few days so it’s freezing in here,” says an apologetic Michael Thompson, the church warden. “It’ll take a while to warm up because there aren’t many people to keep the heat in.” Mr Thompson, who was appointed after his predecessor followed the vicar out of St Michael’s…
Since their vicar left, the parishioners have strived to make church life as normal as possible. Visiting clergy, including a retired vicar from Lewisham, have led Sunday mass, while members of the congregation have filled vacant roles on the parish council. “The two aims were to maintain the services and keep the church open during the day, both of which we’ve done,” says Mr Thompson. “It’s miraculous what you can achieve when everybody comes together.”
The move from St Michael’s to the Ordinariate was the largest from a single church so far, but not unusual. Despite condemnation from Anglican opponents – Dr Giles Fraser, former canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, described it as “predatory”– the Ordinariate has proven effective. Statistics released by the Catholic Church in February show a membership of around 1,200, including a “second wave” of 250 conversions at Easter, the traditional time for entering the faith.
In Britain, Ordinariate groups exist in just over half the 22 dioceses in England and Wales, and the practice has garnered support in the United States, Canada and Australia. Up to 70 former members of the Anglican clergy have been – or are waiting to be – ordained into the faith. Some Church of England sceptics worry that when the General Synod debates the issue of consecrating female bishops in July, a vote in favour may encourage further moves to the Catholic faith.
St Barnabas church in Tunbridge Wells had a similar experience to St Michael’s just over 13 months ago. Last March, Father Ed Tomlinson became one of the first Anglican priests to join the Ordinariate, moving to a Catholic church in the nearby village of Pembury. Almost 60 members of the congregation converted with him, leaving the small parish devastated by their loss.
“It was horrific,” recalls St Barnabas church warden Christine Avery. “A lot of people felt hurt and betrayed. We still see those who left but it’s not the same. Now, I suppose people are getting used to it and trying to look to the future, but we still don’t have a vicar.”
The Venerable Granville Gibson, acting pastor at St James the Great in Darlington, says many parishioners felt the same way when their vicar, Father Ian Grieves, converted to Catholicism in February. The congregation was sliced in half when 55 members joined him, leaving “a feeling of dismay, hurt and anxiety” for many. “Some people weren’t happy with the move,” he says. “They felt that what would be left behind wouldn’t be viable as a parish.”
Against the odds, both St Barnabas and St James have managed to sustain church life since their vicars joined the Ordinariate…
Just around the corner stands St Mary’s Catholic church, its grey slate roof visible between the spires of St Michael’s. In June, the Rev Minchew will be ordained there as a priest, taking charge of a congregation of about 2,000 people. As they set about rebuilding their place of worship, does the proximity of the two churches make life difficult for his former parishioners?
“It means we’re more likely to bump into him on the street,” admits Mr Thompson. “But that’s no bad thing – I’m sure any of us would be very friendly if we did. Father Donald was a lively character and when he left it was very quiet around here. He’s welcome to pop in for a cup of coffee or a service any time he likes.” He smiles. “Irrespective of what has happened, we do miss him being around.”
The whole piece is here.
At the risk of sounding tabloidish over here, it seems as if Fr Robert Mercer’s accommodation is coming under scrutiny in the British media now that he has become a Ordinariate Priest. It all seems rather petty to me, but here’s the issue:
An Anglican monastery struggling for funds bought a flat for a member who later converted to Catholicism.
The Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield yesterday defended its support for Father Robert Mercer – who left the Church of England because he opposed the ordination of women priests.
The monastery bought a £160,000 flat in Worthing near Brighton to allow him to be close to his sick sister.
But the community is also trying to raise £2m for a major revamp of its home on Stocksbank Road.
The Examiner was contacted by a source who is unhappy with the arrangement.
The complainant said: “This fully ordained Roman Catholic priest who, as a Roman Catholic cannot recognise the legitimacy of the Anglican Eucharist, remains a brother of an Anglican religious community.
“He continues to live in the apartment, which is now effectively being used for Roman Catholic purposes.
“The Community of the Resurrection has been endeavouring to raise some £2m for the refurbishment of its church.
“The refurbishment has gone ahead, but only because the community used funds which were set aside for the building of a new monastery on the site.
“It continues to try and recoup these funds through its appeal, which so far has raised some £650,000 – the vast majority provided by its companions and friends.
“They are being asked to make financial sacrifices from their own pockets and are raiding their own assets to give things to the community’s auctions.”
Fr Mercer joined the monastery in 1962 but left Mirfield in the late 1960s to work at one of the group’s priories in Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe.
Father George Guiver, superior of the 22-strong community, explained that the monks had decided not to expel him when he left the Church of England more than 20 years ago.
Fr Guiver said: “He used to belong to the Anglican Communion but in 1988 he joined a breakaway church called the Traditional Anglican Communion.
“He made the move because he was opposed to the ordination of women.
“The community doesn’t have a view on it, there are those who support ordination of women and those who are against.
“At that time we made the difficult decision about his membership of the community because he had moved to a separate church.
“It was a difficult decision to make but the community felt that we should keep doors open rather than closed when it comes to church unity.”
Fr Mercer retired in 2006 and the community bought him a flat on the south coast so he could be close to his sick sister.
Fr Guiver said: “When he retired, he hadn’t lived in the community for nearly 40 years.
“Returning after so long would not be easy.
“He had a very ill sister in Worthing who had to flee from Zimbabwe with next to nothing.
“She needs constant care, he wanted to be near her so we invested in a flat for him in 2006 round the corner from her.
“He maintains the flat – the boiler broke recently and he paid for the replacement.”
Fr Mercer was ordained as a Catholic priest last month.
Fr Guiver said monks had once again decided to allow him to remain a member.
“We again considered all of this very carefully and we felt there were no really new issues in addition to those we considered in 1988,” he said.
“He’s 77 and has no other income except for his pension. We can’t turn an old man out on the street.
“He’s a very keen member of our community, he comes to stay with us for several days, several times a year.
“He’s been a member of the community for 50 years, he’s very much one of our brothers and a religious community is like a family.”
If push comes to shove, I suppose that the Catholic Church would have some alternate accommodation for Fr Mercer. But for now, the Mirfield Fathers at least seem to be sticking to their guns.
Come to think of it, a Commentator on this blog said (last month):
This man continues to be a Brother in the ANGLICAN Community of the Resurrection and continues to live rent free in accommodation owned by and provided exclusively for him by that Anglican Religious Community.
To which I said at the time:
I’m sure the Catholic Church has plenty of accommodation – ‘rent free’ – should he need it.
The journey to full communion in the Catholic Church “has taken a few twists and turns,” said a former Anglican priest who joined the church with his community during the Easter Vigil in Indianapolis.
“But once you get to your destination, it seems so natural,” Luke Reese said…
Earlier this year, Pope Benedict approved the establishment of the new U.S. Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, based in Houston, which functions like a diocese for former Anglicans in the United States and Canada…
“It’s glorious. I’m happy. I’m satisfied,” said Reese, leader of the society who is a husband and father of six children. He is in formation to be ordained a Catholic priest in the ordinariate…
In comments sent to The Criterion, the newspaper of the Indianapolis Archdiocese, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, leader of the ordinariate and formerly a bishop in the Episcopal Church, offered his support to the new members.
“I am praying for Luke and his people,” he said. “It takes much courage and faith to make this journey, to leave familiar things behind. But almost everyone I know who has come into full communion describes it as a coming home experience. If this community focuses on the joy of being Catholic, they will grow and prosper in the Holy Spirit.”
Reese said that his group coming into the Catholic Church, which he described as “the powerhouse,” may very well lead to many more people joining in the future.
“But it’s all up to God,” said Reese, 43. “We’re going to be content with whatever God gives us.”
Currently, the group gathers at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Indianapolis on Sunday mornings to pray Morning Prayer, according to the Anglican tradition, then attend the parish’s 9:30 a.m. Mass.
Although that parish is not part of the ordinariate, the new Catholics are happy to worship in a community much larger than their previous one.
“For a long time, we’ve been very isolated,” said Gina Reese, 43, who is Luke’s wife. “We felt like we were on a desert island. Finally, we’re coming into the fullness of the faith and into a larger community. For me, that represents a lot of hope and excitement and joy.”
Luke Reese said that, starting last fall, the group studied the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults in preparation for being received into the church.
He and Gina met when they were music students at Butler University in Indianapolis during the 1980s and 1990s. They learned about the Anglican spiritual tradition when Luke became a paid member of a choir at an Episcopal parish in Indianapolis.
“We fell in love with the liturgical form of worship,” Luke Reese said. “It’s absolutely stunning. The worship is just so beautiful.”
About 10 years ago, he was ordained as an Anglican priest and ministered within the Traditional Anglican Communion, a worldwide group of several hundred thousand Anglicans that separated themselves from the Anglican Communion led by the archbishop of Canterbury.
He and his small group desired to come into the full communion with the Catholic Church before Pope Benedict issued “Anglicanorum coetibus,” in part because of their dissatisfaction about a continuing trend of schism among Anglicans.
“Schism really is a sign of internal problems,” Luke Reese said. “And there’s been schism after schism after schism. We were just fed up with it.”