Friday, December 11, 2009

Salt and Light

Salt and Light
Deacon Dale Matson 12-11-09
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:13-14).
In our weekly office meetings the clergy will sometimes discuss some of the bigger issues of the Christian life once the business of the Cathedral is conducted. The question this week had to do with the extent that Christians should be caught up in the cares and concerns of this world. Our Lord encourages us not to worry (Matthew 6:31) but does this mean that we ignore the concerns of this world? St. Paul states, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
As Christians, we are engaged in a cosmic struggle with evil. We are called to be Salt. Salt is both a flavor enhancer and a preservative. Certainly prayer is an important tool of the spiritual warrior but so is testimony. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11).
There are two caveats I would offer when we take the time to care about what is going on in our world. The first is a question. Is this concern a distraction or is it an issue that requires that you go beyond concern to action? In the smaller issues perhaps modeling what you want to see is the best approach. For example, instead of scolding folks about littering, in the letters to the editor, you could pick up litter on your morning walks. This is a Christian witness and prompts others to do the same. It is not the hypocritical self righteous Christian scolding of the non Christians once again. It is important for the Christian to also play a prophetic role in society. This means that when big issues arise such as an unjust war or violations of human rights one should speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. This can be done through financial support, correspondence, signing petitions and living a life that reflects that value. We may pray but sometimes we must also act. The late Thomas Merton, a reclusive and silent Trappist Monk believed the Vietnam War to be immoral and was moved to publicly write and travel to speak against it.
Merton was motivated by love to speak against the war. This is where we are called to be the light of the world. The light is the “why” part of change. If we offer the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others, they will gain ears to hear and eyes to see. Their hearts will be changed and their minds will follow. John Newton, who wrote the Hymn “Amazing Grace”, was the captain of a slave ship. Following his conversion to Christ, he was an outspoken opponent of slavery. “I once was lost but now I’m found.”
[Bishop]” will you persevere in resisting evil…..” [People] “I will with God’s help.” Amen

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ecclesiology and Accountability

By Dcn Dale Matson

Father Dan Martins has an excellent series on his blog about Ecclesiology Ecclesiology is the doctrine of the Church. It consists of the questions the Church asks itself about itself. Fr. Dan notes that Protestants tend to see the individual believer as the precursor of the Church and Roman Catholics tend to see the Church as preexistent to the individual believer. As Anglicans perhaps we can see merit in both perspectives. There are some difficulties that emerge however when we only see the individual believer as preeminent and in some cases sufficient. This view has led to an individualism that encourages autonomy and ultimately leads to isolation and lack of accountability.

There are areas that serve as unfortunate examples that result from this individualistic Ecclesiology no longer being balanced by seeing oneself as a part of a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Fr. Martins discussed this regarding the failure of The Episcopal Church to continue to see itself as a part of a larger Church in an article titled “An Emerging Secondary Infection” (Sep. 10th 09).

My concern is with another problem that emerges. How do we as Christians defend ourselves and confront society if our faith is individual and our life is autonomous? Is our prophetic voice solitary? This concern emerged recently with the issuance of the “Manhattan Declaration”. It deals with the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife and the rights of conscience and religious liberty. My concern is not for those who signed the declaration. My concern is not even for those who will not sign because they do not agree with the declaration. Of those who identified themselves with a denomination, the original 168 signers identified themselves as Baptists, Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, Orthodox, Lutherans and Presbyterians. As of this writing the list of signatures is approaching 200,000. I include myself as a signer. My decision was based on personal agreement but seeing the name of my Archbishop Robert Duncan on the list was also a permissive moment. By identifying myself as a Deacon, I was saying that my signature was in accord with my church.

No, my concern is for the individuals who will not sign because they are not in doctrinal agreement with other people who signed. There are even people who have publicly stated that they did not sign because to do so would be an admission that some from other denominations were actually Christian. These are people who agree with those who signed on the three issues in the declaration. This is not an “altar and pulpit fellowship” issue. For the individuals who did not sign because of doctrinal disagreements with other signers even though they agreed with the declaration, I would ask this question, “Have you truly discerned the body”?

Monday, December 7, 2009


By the Rev. Jim Wilson, PrayNorthState

The first Great Awakening swept the eastern seaboard in the 30s and 40s of the eighteenth century after Christ. It literally formed the American character, shaping a distinct people of God where before stood expatriate Englishmen. It made possible rising as a nation to mount a principled defense of the liberties we would later defend with arms, and forged a constitution as the godly document it became. But it largely bypassed the Anglican churches because we feared the messiness of revival. This is documented in my own Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, to name just one resource.

Over the half century following independence from Britain the Anglican churches were in survival mode. We labored under the external stigma of association with British colonial government, and the internal stigma of desire to be simply a more evangelical expression of the older church. Bishops Henry Hobart and Alexander Viets Griswold did much to shore up the Church by their example. They rode thousands of miles on horseback taking sacrament and Episcopal presence with them. Hobart met weekly with ordinands – mentoring them – and wrote periodicals to defend the faith. They were rector bishops carrying that model as far as it could be carried; it did not ultimately succeed because the Church was still in survival mode when they died. Hobart had worked himself to death by age fifty-five; Griswold was able to abide for a longer season.

In 1835 the General Convention acted with immense courage. They let go of the model of churchmanship and leadership inherited from England – in which a bishop was called only when a diocese was ready. Looking to the apostolic age they consecrated Jackson Kemper for the Northwest Territories. Kemper carried Bible, Prayer Book and sacramental equipment in one saddle bag and vestments in the other. He baptized, confirmed and ordained – establishing churches and seminary into the bargain. His clergy – fresh from the woods themselves – did what he did and established their own churches and seminaries. Although Kemper is revered as the lone horseman evangelizing the people of the forests his real achievement was in raising up disciples to follow in his footsteps. He made no effort to be all things to all – he did not operate as a CEO or any of the other things we expect bishops to do today that have little to do with apostleship. He did what God called Peter and Paul – and Patrick and Columba – to do; his ministry is credited with transforming the fledgling residue of a colonial church into the vibrant expression of an indigenous albeit catholic body.

We do not need another Jackson Kemper for today – that was then and this is now. But we do need a man to undertake his historic role for the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin as we approach the time when Bishop Schofield will retire. We do need God to show us what that means in our time and place. And we need courage enough to raise and send him into our midst – and us into our recovered identity as Anglicans.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships and The Holy Spirit and the End Times – available at local bookstores or by e-mailing him at

Sunday, December 6, 2009


December 5, 2009

Contact: Robert Lundy
Communications Officer
American Anglican Council

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles elected a partnered lesbian as Bishop Suffragan today and demonstrated The Episcopal Church’s further departure from biblical Christianity.

“Unfortunately, this election provides further clarity to the rest of the Anglican Communion,” said Bishop David Anderson, president and CEO of the American Anglican Council. “Should the rest of The Episcopal Church consent to this election, there can be no more pretending that The Episcopal Church holds to Anglican Communion doctrine and 2,000 years of biblically based Christian teachings. Not only have they elected another non-celibate homosexual bishop, but they repeatedly defy the moratorium on same-sex blessings called for by the Windsor Report.”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Liturgical Renewal

The newly formed North American expression of the Anglican Communion, ACNA is in new territory. This is true in liturgics as much as every other area of our common life. Recently I have heard numerous voices expressing deep suspicion directed at the 1979 Prayer Book and calling for a return to the 1928 BCP or even a return to the 1662 Prayer Book (though some call for a kind of “modernization” of the language of the 1662 Book). The reasons for this desire are no doubt many, ranging from the well known and sustained attacks on the theology of the new prayer book expressed by the Prayer Book Society in their publications, to a kind of general angst that connects the '79 prayer book with the theological misadventures of the past thirty years in the Episcopal Church. Recently I read an article telling of the duplicity of Urban T. Holmes, exposing his alleged cover-up when challenged by traditionalists that the new prayer book under his oversight represented an enormous change in theology. Furthermore, a great many seem to think that by jettisoning the '79 prayer book the new Province will somehow be made safer from a return to the heresies of TEC.

So is the '79 prayer book the bastard child it is alleged to be? Did it lead to the unhappy state of theological mire TEC finds itself in today? These are questions best left to someone with considerably greater liturgical training than myself and are difficult, if not impossible to answer in any case. Yet I do have a concern, a dog in this race. My concern is that liturgical renewal not be lost as an Anglican pursuit. In order to frame my concern, I need to express my thoughts about what being an Anglican means to me, how I came to love Anglicanism as an expression of the Christian faith and how liturgical renewal should have a place in that wonderful and lovely kind of Christian faith.

I joined the Episcopal Church in 1980 and so have never worshiped with the 1928 prayer book. (I do hasten to say that I consider that a loss!) Due to the particularly “take no prisoners” approach to pastoral care the bishops were employing at the time, by 1980 the '28 prayer book had been expunged from all of the parishes I ever attended. I was at that time a thoroughgoing charismatic community church convert who went to Oral Roberts University (where else?). Unaware of the danger to my conviction that the Early Church was “just like us” in the free form charismatic movement, I studied the Early Church Fathers under one professor who was Eastern Orthodox and another who was Baptist leaning towards Orthodox (Fr. Ted Williams and Professor Howard Irvin, respectively). My eyes were opened.

The one Father that particularly converted me in heart and mind was the unforgettable St. Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, was on his way to Rome to be devoured by wild beasts for the crime of being a bishop. Since bishops in those times were not princes of the Church gowned in purple, but rather “the off-scouring of the world,” this godly man had probably never spoken to more than a few pagans at a time, so he actually burned with passion over the coming opportunity to speak or at least to act the part of a Christian before 50,000 certified Roman Pagans! It was an ancient mass evangelism opportunity absolutely relished by the old man. So I was sure he must have been a Baptist!

Then he spoke of having given a prophetic word in one of the churches that was so accurate that it was thought he had colluded with their controversial bishop. Ignatius replied:

Some there may be who wanted in a human way to mislead me, but the Spirit is not misled, seeing it comes from God.....When I was with you I cried out, raising my voice—it was God's voice-- “Pay heed to the bishop, the presbytery, and the deacons.” Some, it is true suspected that I spoke thus because I had been told in advance that some of you were schismatics. But I swear by Him for whose cause I am a prisoner, that from no human channels did I learn this. It was the Spirit that kept on preaching in these words: “Do nothing apart from the bishop; keep your bodies as if they were God's temple; value unity; flee schism; imitate Jesus Christ as he imitated his Father.” (To the Philadelphians)

So I figured Ignatius was a Charismatic Baptist!

Yet I was unprepared for what followed. Nothing in my Lutheran upbringings, certainly nothing in my charismatic training could have prepared me for the discovery of how catholic Ignatius was. I protested (of course!). I complained. I assumed some anonymous catholic had interpolated these foreign and altogether anachronistic doctrines into the text! Yet there was no exit through that door. Evidently all serious scholars believed the text was original and dated to A.D. 90-110. Here he was, this bishop of the church in the city of Antioch right in my path! The problem for me was that if he was not taught by St. Paul the Holy Apostle himself, then he surely was taught by someone who had been! So imagine my misery. This Ignatius was counseling obedience to the bishop, respect for the deacons, and honor for the presbyters! (Establishing strong evidence for a very early three-fold ministry). He called communion “the Eucharist” and dared to call it “the medicine of eternal life.” He declared that Christ Jesus was baptized “in order to hallow the waters.” He cried out:

My eros has been crucified and there burns in me no passion for material things. There is living water in me, which speaks and says inside me, “Come to the Father.” I take no delight in corruptible food or in the dainties of this life. What I want is God's bread, which is the flesh of Christ, who came from David's line; and for drink I want his blood: an immortal love feast indeed!

As he proclaimed these things, the Protestant, Charismatic, comfortable assumptions of my youth, like undermined citadels, began to crumble to ruins. I recalled in my childhood asking my mother about the small Episcopalian church near our Lutheran church in Tampa, Florida. “Mom, who are those guys,” I asked. “Oh them! They're almost Catholic”, she replied, and that Solomonic appraisal had served me well for the next 20 years of my life, delineating the ecclesiastical starting point of the dangerous slippery slope of dreadful apostasy ending at the feet of the Pope!

I must say, however, if Ignatius was a catholic, I had never met a catholic like him....He also said things like “Try to gather together more frequently to celebrate God's Eucharist and to praise him. For when you meet with frequency, Satan's powers are overthrown and his destructiveness is undone by the unanimity of your faith.” (Eucharist as Spiritual Warfare???) He yearned to proclaim the gospel to every creature under heaven; no, he positively lived for that cause! He prophesied, he believed in all the powers of Christ in the gifts of the Spirit. He talked more like a holy roller with catholic leanings than any catholic theologian or bishop of the modern period that I had ever read! So what would I do with this lion in the road...with this “Spirit-filled baptocharicatholic”? I have never been one to dismiss new truth by merely saying, “well, that is just not our tradition.” Resolve the dilemma. After all, did not the damned mentioned in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians perish because “they refused to love the truth and so be saved”? (2 Thessalonians 2:10) Ignoring truth was not an option and, for me, Ignatius was an “inconvenient truth” if there ever was one. As E.V. Hill once remarked about the man who converted him from hatred to love, “That man's love beat me down....” Ignatius and other ancient authorities, had beaten me down.

I explored Eastern Orthodoxy along with nearly a dozen other Oral Roberts Seminary graduate students who were on the same path. Unlike some of these fellow students, I could not jettison the charismatic elements of the faith found both in Holy Scriptures and in the early fathers; yet the Eastern Orthodox clearly frowned upon any expression of charismatic gifts in the context of the Divine Liturgy. Furthermore, this was before I had heard of the Orthodox Church in North America (an American expression of Orthodoxy) and I found the encrusted ethnic elements of the Orthodox church to be a daunting barrier to a young man of American Anglo-Saxon descent.

The Roman Church was simply not an option. My readings in the early church Fathers only served to deepen my conviction that 19th century dogmas of papal infallibility and the immaculate conception of Mary (to take only two examples) were serious distortions of doctrine. I had also become convinced that the East is right about the filioque in the Nicene Creed and the attendant rise of unbiblical Papal privilege. My sojourn with the Orthodox only deepened my conviction that “the Great Modern Council,” (what would be the 8th Ecumenical Council) needed to be called between the Roman Church and Orthodoxy to revisit and by the grace of God heal the abomination of the 1054 Great Schism, putting everything on the table and refusing to adjourn until the kind of agreement arrived at during the Nicene Council could be repeated in our time. Since that was unlikely to happen in my lifetime, I did not seriously consider the Roman Church for a church home. That left Anglicanism as the next great expression of catholic and patristic faith. Here was a church that could conceivably combine all the elements that made Ignatius and his fellowship so winsome. The Anglican communion was catholic! It celebrated the Eucharist Sunday by Sunday (at least all the churches I was familiar with!)...just like Ignatius! It had the three-fold ministry of the catholic world dating back to Ignatius and past him into the New Testament Epistles. It worshiped with a liturgy, just like the synagogues of Jesus' time and, though it is unproven, very probably like the earliest churches Ignatius led or visited. Yet it also was charismatic, at least permissively. Was it not the church of Fr. Dennis and Rita Bennett, with a strong charismatic renewal movement? And though the church in the United States was really a pretty poor example, at least one could not deny that the rest of the Anglican Communion had shared with Ignatius a passion for taking the gospel everywhere in the world with both great enthusiasm and a host of martyrs.

Therefore, in 1980 I left ORU and traveled to Trinity Episcopal Church, Portland, Oregon where I was confirmed and three years later, ordained as a deacon and in 1984 as a priest. I lived, tragically, to watch the Diocese of Oregon unravel and deconstruct nearly everything that drew me to Anglicanism including effectively tossing the Fathers of the church into the dustbin of history.

I have told my story because I came to Anglicanism with a patristic vision of a church in which the various forms now so disparate could be again unified, as in the life and expression of Ignatius. The patristic era belongs to us all: Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant. It was the time of the undivided Church of Jesus Christ and remained undivided for over a millennium. Perhaps by returning to our roots (and was that not the purpose of the Reformers?) we may again express and live a Christian faith that is universal and whole and therefore healthy and humble. Though not without it's problems, the 1979 Prayer book was also an honest attempt to return to our liturgical roots and develop expressions of liturgy that were compiled from ancient forms and faith. In my opinion, this is good! With Ignatius in mind, let us proceed. We have to ask the question of our new province, what will we become as we seek our identity beyond the Episcopal Church?

So where indeed do we go from here? Back to the '28 prayer book? Back to 1950's Episcopalianism in the good old days before the heretics? Way back to 1662 and the Elizabethan prayer book so that all modernism can be stamped out and held at bay with a liturgy that clearly says who we are and what we shall remain until the Lord's return? Do we swear off from the intoxicating wine of liturgical renewal for good and forever?

Is that really what Anglicanism is?

In my opinion, it may seem safe. It may seem secure. But I suggest that path may be the safety of a cave; ultimately perhaps even of a tomb.

After all, what was really the point of the Reformation in England. For nearly everyone but the Puritans, was it not to reclaim the “Church in England”? Did it not hinge on the argument that before A.D. 1000 the Church in England was not under the direct control of the Pope? Before the seventh century, had it not been in communion with, but not under any control of the emerging papacy? Had the English Christian kings around the first millennium not insisted that the Pope had no temporal authority in England nor even ecclesiastical authority sovereignly to appoint Bishops? Furthermore, there was the Celtic Church which was indigenous to the British Isles. These anonymous saints were the true founders of “The Church in England,” were they not? If all this is true, then a true Protestantism in England would be continuing to reform itself even today. Why would it stop with the 16th or 17th century? Would Thomas Cranmer really be happy were he to be told that his work and his words were the foundation of a wholly new church, let alone a particular denomination among many? Would he or any of the reformers be happy to be told that their work and vision had become the canon, the very foundation of the theology and the practice of the Anglican Communion? I truly think not! I think they would be appalled to find themselves idolized thus. I suspect they would point behind themselves and tell us to continue to reform the church of Jesus Christ in England until it was reformed to the church of the Fathers and ultimately to Jesus and the Apostles themselves.

I remember a discussion I had with a fellow “examining chaplain” in the Diocese of San Joaquin. I was astonished to hear him insist that the Anglican church began in the 16th Century! All this time I thought the Church of England began with Jesus the Christ and then spread through anonymous missionaries to England sometime in the second century after him! I thought we could claim the great saints Ninian and Columba and Patrick! But evidently they actually belonged to the Roman Church in his mind! If he were right, then we are not in any way a catholic church, nor a patristic church, nor do we have anything but a particular style to offer the world and the rest of the church; evidently merely an “English style” or an “Anglican ethos” expression of church. How sad that would be. Yet how unnecessary! No, I am told Cranmer searched all the manuscripts he could lay his hands on of ancient worship. He scoured the early Fathers. He borrowed prayers from East and West to put together the English Book of Common Prayer. Though we are not “Cranmerians,” we can certainly follow his example and search again, and create again with even greater depth and diversity of texts (Cranmer, for example could never have read anything from Ignatius of Antioch!) So I say, if the 1979 Prayer Book tried but fell short of liturgical renewal we should not banish the effort, but renew it with greater study and effort and purer motives (IE: no liberal agenda smuggled into the work!).

But first, let us backtrack a bit and look at what may lie behind the desires of many to recreate the 17th century church in the 21st.

Here are some salient reasons for that longing as I can see it:

  • Traditionalists simply love the language and meter and stately prose of the writing of that period. Without a doubt we cannot match the beauty of that language. Unlike modern English, the ancients wrote and spoke to create beauty and poetic power as well as clarity of expression. This is clearly not so much the case anymore. Nevertheless, this desire for ancient language in worship does lead to a curiosity. Were they to get their way and we all worship from the 1928 or 1662 Prayer Books, Anglicanism in America would hold the odd crown of being the church whose liturgical expression was written in the most inaccessible language of any modern church (including Rome except in the few places that are returning to Latin!) We would need classes for our people to understand Elizabethan English! This only proves the theory that many confuse “ancient” with holy, in much the same way that orthodox Jews in Jerusalem are the only Jews who will refuse to speak Hebrew on the street since it is the language of the Holy Books! (After all, Yiddish was created for street talk! Right?) Perhaps I am wrong, but I really do not believe we want to be seen as the most inaccessible of all the churches of Christ in our worship language 400 years after having been the first church to dare to revise and then print the liturgy in the language of the people! To me that seems a betrayal of Anglicanism, not it's natural expression.

  • Some believe the cause of all the heresies is the '79 prayer book. If we return to traditional prayer books there will never again be a wave of heresy such as we just experienced. While this argument seems convincing somewhat, we have to ask wider questions. Was the '79 prayer book really that powerful in directing human thought? Or have we simply witnessed yet another surge of deconstruction resulting from adherence to elements of the Enlightenment that are still progressing onward toward oblivion? After all, the Enlightenment was breathtaking for science, but an unmitigated disaster for philosophy, art, humanities and religion. The spirit of Voltaire lives on and many influenced by that philosophy still seek to destroy all faith, belief in miracles, and everything “unreasonable” in life. It is the triumph of the head over the heart instead of standing before the Lord with they mind in the heart. Though it is undoubtedly true that liberalism has a foothold in the '79 prayer book, it is also just as true that the vast majority of that book is thoroughly orthodox. Having said that, I would be very happy to move on from the '79 book if that does not necessarily mean moving away from liturgical renewal.

As mentioned above, part of the problem of liturgical renewal is that modern people have a terrible time writing good liturgy! Our form of English tends to be either highly intellectual or highly sentimental. Neither will do for liturgical expression. One needs the language of the heart. Words need to move not the feelings nor the intellect but the heart. Therefore liturgy must deal with the subjects of the Bible and express both sin and redemption, both deep inner yearnings of the heart and the changing of the will, both the darkness within the heart and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. Christ lives in the human heart according to the Scriptures...what are modern people to do with that? They must retool their own language and liturgy to engage the heart: therefore liturgy can be a weekly lesson in that pedagogy. It's no good reliving the heart-language of another people; we must find expression of it in our own style. The fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control, humility and faith are NOT the topics of many conversations around the office or on the playing field. Our best hope in restarting the conversations about things that really matter is to form our prayers around these things. I think one of the reasons the Tolkien Trilogy was so phenomenally successful was this very thing; we were taken back...way back into a time when men and women spoke of things from the heart. The Lord of the Rings is neither sentimental nor blandly intellectual. It is the stuff of heart; blood, virtue, testing, failure, redemption and, ultimately, love -- not love of self, but sacrificial love. One could almost forge it all into a new religion, right there in the theater. Though The Lord of the Rings is, of course, pure fiction, yet the characters and their language and their world are not. They are clearly patterned after the great ancient sagas in their expression and laid over the framework of the Christian Redemption story in their shape. This “food for the heart” was greedily snapped up by modern people who did not even understand their own famished hearts' longing. We never talk that way to each other---no, not even to God. How sad. Liturgy must address this. Therefore our liturgy must be ancient and modern, produced by “scribes of the Kingdom” who “bring out of their treasures things both old and new.” It must be in the language of the heart, yet engage the mind. So it must be poetic (like much of the Bible!) and epic in scope. For such is our faith and the Story of God. I think we can do this, though it may take some time.

This is the moment for a new movement that seizes upon opportunities.

We could return to liturgical renewal seeking a Biblical, foundational, patristic and modern liturgy. Let it be one Ignatius might love and St. Paul might approve. Like Cranmer, but with many more sources before us, could we not energize the poets among us who have not surrendered to the dry intellectual poetry of our time, nor the sentimental hash of popular culture and who can draw from these ancient sources a language of the heart that would give to us food for the soul for generations to come?

As we wait for this to emerge could we, like the early church, not leave the door open for many local expressions and allow the people of God and the artists of the Faith to write and reprise and edit and redact until timeless beauty begins to be revealed from “the Spirit and the Bride”?

We could just be an English exact and eternal replica of the place our 17th century fathers stopped on their road to renewal and reformation, beautiful and stately as that may be. Or perhaps we could continue their quest and discover the Spirit giving us the unique leadership offered to the humble living on the margins; the place of real discovery and innovation: the wellspring of prophets. We could return from our recent journey through the desert with words of the water of life.

At the very least, I would hope this plea would help to enable our leadership to offer a place for those who dream. If we must return to 1928 or 1662, would it be too much to ask those who suffered the outrages of the pastoral totalitarianism of the 1980's to give to others the drink of freedom denied to them? Could we allow that some or even most might return to the great prayer books of the past while others hear the voice of the Spirit say “Come” to the quest of “things old and things new” and find a new voice in worship of Almighty God? I, for one, would hope that the answer to these questions would be in the affirmative.

- The Very Rev Carlos Raines, Dean of Saint James' Anglican Cathedral