Archive for January, 2016

The Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has issued a series of comments on the recent meeting of Anglican Primates (see my previous blog.)  The statement is worth reading in its entirety; Episcopalians will be interested in such remarks as the following:

“The meeting reached a point on Wednesday where we chose quite simply to decide on this point – do we walk together at a distance, or walk apart? And what happened next went beyond everyone’s expectations. It was Spirit-led. It was a ‘God moment’. As leaders of our Anglican Communion, and more importantly as Christians, we looked at each other across our deep and complex differences – and we recognised those we saw as those with whom we are called to journey in hope towards the truth and love of Jesus Christ. It was our unanimous decision to walk together and to take responsibility for making that work.

“We remain committed to being together, albeit we asked that TEC, while attending and playing a full part in our meetings and all discussions, will not represent the Anglican Communion to other churches and should not be involved in standing committees for a period of three years. During this time we also asked that they not vote on matters of doctrine or how we organise ourselves.”

I remain reassured that the sanctions can be followed without much trouble. I do hope the activists on the left wing of our church can restrain themselves at the 2018 General Convention from passing any resolutions that could be termed “a matter of doctrine.” And I would pray that for the sake of the whole church, we Americans could for the time being follow the advice of my first mentor in the church, Canon John Andrew: “Pray more, say less.”–J. Douglas Ousley


We Got Off Easy

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

This is the first of what I imagine will be several posts about the recent decision of the Anglican Primates to prohibit members of the Episcopal Church from participating in international Christian and Anglican meetings for the next three years.

I will consider the many responses in another post. Now, I want to offer a few immediate reactions of my own.

  1. We knew some kind of censure was coming. While gay ordination and marriage have won remarkably wide acceptance in the United States, most of the rest of the world holds traditional views about marriage. We had been warned repeatedly by outspoken bishops from the booming Anglican churches in Africa, in particular.
  2. Our punishment is relatively mild. International meetings have few consequences. We are still part of the Anglican Communion, thank God.
  3. As a practical matter, parish links such as those between the Diocese of New York and the Diocese of London will continue as before. In fact, they are more important now than ever.

In sum, we got off easy–but the battle for marriage and ordination equality is by no means over. —J. Douglas Ousley

(Your responses and opinions are welcome.)


Polyglot Prayer

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Tomorrow night, the Associate Rector and I will talk about “the Power of Prayer.” I don’t know what my colleague will say, but I’m sure it will be different from what I say. As we learned at the first Pentecost, there are many languages of prayer.

Speaking in tongues is one such language–and its name serves as a metaphor for prayer in general. Meditation is a language; sacramental worship is another language; extemporaneous prayer is another language; group prayer is a language.

All the more reason to learn from our fellow Christians the ways that they pray. Americans are notorious for being poor at languages other than English. Christians can be equally closed to methods of prayer that are unfamiliar to them. We all need to pray in more tongues than one. —J. Douglas Ousley


50 Days

Monday, January 4th, 2016

There are some Church of England parishes that keep their Christmas decorations and creche in place until February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple. The thinking behind this custom is that just as we celebrate Easter with the Great Fifty Days between that feast and Pentecost, so Christmas merits its own 50-day observance.

That’s a nice thought this week as most of us return to the work grind after the holidays. At Incarnation, we will start taking the decorations down this week and will finish following the Sunday after the Epiphany (January 10), when we remember the Baptism of Jesus.

But whatever we do to observe the Incarnation of Christ, we can hardly be too grateful that God has come among us, full of grace and truth. —J. Douglas Ousley