Letters from 1 to 7
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week's letter brought to mind the candle-wars of my alma mater, Virginia
Seminary. There are still alumni who remember living through the great
conflict when a cross and candles were introduced to the Seminary Chapel,
Immanuel-on-the-Hill. It was of course an Innovation, probably designed
by crypto-papists to lead the Holy Hill down the incense-scented road
to perdition—or so it was thought.
was the alt—,er, Table. A hermaphroditic piece of furniture was
introduced that is half-altar, half-table (with two legs). Another controversy—one
cannot see clear between the legs!
Now, of course,
VTS' chapel looks like most Episcopal churches, with paraments, candles,
cross, etc. Except that it still deliberately faces West...
But we don't
reserve the Eucharist, for there is not (and apparently never shall be)
an aumbry. Student sermons used to be taped for future reference, on
a machine kept in a little closet under the main Cross. We used to say, "At
Virginia we don't reserve the Sacrament, we reserve the Word!"
Last I looked,
it too was gone. O tempore, O mores!
VTS, MDiv '85, D.D., '03
Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe
1 December 2008
I read with
letter to Anglicans Online which was an interaction with
mine of the previous week.
Alan raise highlight how different the Anglican church in Sydney is,
because of our history and development over time, as well as our theology.
a very secular city. “Post-Christian” would be a good description.
That is the context in which we are trying to proclaim Christ.
in Sydney have very little in the way of church background. The terms ‘Rector’ and ‘Curate’ are
completely foreign to them. So we use the more descriptive and accessible
terms of “Senior Minister” for Rector and “Assistant
Minister” for curate.
Diocese has deliberately shyed away from the word ‘priest’.
In fact, I am now 49 years old, and when growing up, I never heard the
word. Or if I did, it referred to Roman Catholic clergy. We have stopped
using it because there is no way of distinguishing our use of the word
(which in fact means ‘elder’) from the Roman Catholic or
even Old Testament use, where the priest is a mediator. We have only
one priest - Jesus Christ. He is the only mediator now under the new
that he is baffled as to “why Sydney so firmly resists the ordination
of women to the priesthood, while apparently seeing no function which
is restricted to a priest”. Our Diocese (and I don’t always
agree with everything that happens in our diocese), considers that the
essence of priesthood is oversight of a parish and teaching the Bible.
So, it has no problem with women leading the Lord’s Supper, but
considers that oversight and leadership of a church, the Lord has given
uniquely to men.
But in the
end – these are surely matters which may legitimately differ between
in Sydney diocese is growing.We ordain between 30-40 deacons each year.
Our training college is full to overflowing of people wanting to train
not saying any of this by way of pride. But something good – from
our good God is happening here, as we endeavor to engage our culture
and win people to the Lord Jesus that they may be saved.
And that is
what drives Sydney: a love of the gospel, a desire to preach the Word,
a passion for the lost and a desire to see people converted. Cramner
would have thought that was very Anglican!
The Rev Mark
St Andrew's Roseville (www.standrewsroseville.org.au)
Roseville, Sydney, AUSTRALIA
3 December 2008
going to let Mark Calder have the last word in this dialogue, and revert
to our usual policy of not publishing letters about letters.)
Truth and dare?
I am now reading that some of the more conservative bishops that have broken away from
the Episcopal Church USA and affiliated with other Dioceses, are now
trying to form "a rival North American province."
I do not claim
to understand all of the reasons that these parishes, dioceses, priests,
and bishops have for their recent actions. I know what I have read and
I still lack considerable understanding.
all of the debate, name-calling (on both sides), and future legal wrangling,
we should look to our own Anglican past and a great Anglican leader and
that Dr. Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, form a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission for the Anglican Communion and specifically the Episcopal
Church USA. If The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu can help heal the wounds
in South Africa, perhaps a similar mechanism can be used to heal the
wounds in the Church. (I am not comparing Apartheid to our current situation).
fellow believers in the Great Reconciliator, Jesus Christ, pray with
me to seek guidance towards our own truth and reconciliation.
Episcopal Church of the Ascension
Dallas, Texas, USA
3 December 2008
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