From the Rector: Anglican Unity
Tuesday’s gospel at weekday Mass was from Mark. Jesus’ disciples were plucking grain from the field on the Sabbath and it was noticed. The Pharisees were observing the rules and observing the behavior of others to make sure all were following the rules in the way they believed the rules should be followed. What are our rules as Anglicans?
When the British monarch goes to Scotland she is a member of the Church of Scotland and not the Scottish Episcopal Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church was born in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through the wars and revolutions that engulfed the House of Stuart for over a century after the death of James I in 1625. It would not be until 1864 that a priest ordained by the Scottish bishop could accept a position in the Church of England. (If you feel the need for a little perspective on what we call the Anglican Communion today, I recommend the history pages on the web site of the Scottish Episcopal Church.)
My hunch is that members of the Anglican clergy in England and Scotland know all this – something that is unfamiliar to me. I suspect few there appreciate, as we do, the democratic origins of the Episcopal Church in the United States. There was no “House of Bishops” when our church was organized. Until the Revolution, the bishop of London had oversight of the colonial American church. At the first meetings of the emerging Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America there was no “House of Bishops.” That would wait until there were three American bishops and they managed to be at a meeting together. Since the beginning of our Church our bishops have been elected, not appointed. It is helpful to recall that when episcopacy emerges in the first centuries of the Christian era, bishops then were elected too. Jesus did not invent episcopacy; the Church did under, we believe, the direction of the Holy Spirit. And all of this makes me wonder what else I don’t know.
I’m not sure when it is correct to begin speaking about the Anglican Communion. Every edition of the American Prayer Book has reprinted the preface of our first American book adopted in Philadelphia in 1789. We have repeated our stated desire not to depart from the Church of England in “any essential point of doctrine, discipline or worship . . . further than local circumstances require.”
I have also started reading through the documents of the Lambeth Conferences. (You can do this online at the Anglican Communion website.) It should not surprise anyone that bishops might be concerned about jurisdiction, who can do what where, from the beginning. It is interesting that they always seemed to find a way through the contentious issues of their day and to move forward.
The first Lambeth Conference in 1867 happened shortly after the American Civil War. Racism would be an issue the conferences would address in the years to come – but no one ever seems to have suggested that bishops from the southern United States (or elsewhere) be precluded from attending in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Divorce and family planning would be issues too, as well as many others, that would engage the bishops of the Anglican Communion. The question of the ordination of women arose in the 1930s and was addressed again in 1948. Answers to questions change over time too.
At the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1886 in Chicago, the House of Bishops proposed a scheme for reunion of Christians. Revised by the 1888 Lambeth Conference, this framework is known generally among Episcopalians as “The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral.” The four elements were the Scriptures, the Creeds, Baptism and the Eucharist and the historic episcopate.
One of my buddies who is an accountant encourages his clients to get partnership agreements done in the beginning of business relationships, when everyone likes everyone. These agreements matter not only for those making the contracts but often heirs who aren’t present when agreements were made. Our unity as Anglicans has rested on primary theological issues across the centuries. Do we believe in the Holy Scriptures contain what is necessary to salvation? Do we affirm the creeds? Do we celebrate Baptism and Eucharist? Do we continue the historic episcopate? Yes, we use a Prayer Book, adapted to local circumstances. Yes, our understanding of relationships and of ordained ministry continues to evolve.
If Jesus once had delivered “the faith” to “the saints” Christian history would be very different than it is. It is not easy always to speak of the work of the Holy Spirit, but just as the Spirit’s guidance was present in the Church in the past, I believe the Spirit is present today. I suspect that Anglican unity will grow as long as we are more like Jesus, willing for disciples to pluck grain on the Sabbath when they are hungry, and less like Pharisees who like to keep track of the rules and those who they think are supposed to be keeping them. Stephen Gerth
SUNDAY EVENSONG, JANUARY 21 . . . Our guest preacher is the Reverend Dr. Keith F. Pecklers, S.J. Father Pecklers has many vocations but his academic teaching and research begin with a subject dear to the heart of this parish, liturgy. He is professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and professor of liturgical history at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Rome. I think you will enjoy hearing him preach and having the chance to greet him after the service. Solemn Evensong & Benediction is at 5:00 PM. S.G.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Saint Mary’s missioners in Honduras, for Daniel, Kevin, Brian, Ana, José, Gert, Peter, Harold, Robert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, Joy, William, Gabriela, Eve, Virginia, Mary, William, Gilbert, Rick, Thomas, priest, Louis, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Barron, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy and Dennis and for the repose of the souls of Arturo, Frances, Richard and Tina . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 21: 1977 Edward Parker Amos; January 22, 2003: 1964 Walter R. Noe, Jr., 1990 Mary Grantham Adams; January 25: 1995 Giselle Klopstock.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . There’s already a posting on our web page of photographs showing the mission in Honduras and a note from Father Beddingfield on his online journal. Go to the “photo gallery” . . . Flowers are needed for the last Sunday in January (and many other days during 2007). If you would like to give flowers, please contact Sandra Schubert in the parish office for full details . . . Many thanks to all who helped with hospitality for our visiting musicians on Sunday, January 14 . . . The 2007 Ordo Calendar is available in the gift shop . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, January 20, by Father Mead and on Saturday, January 27, by Father Beddingfield . . . Attendance Last Sunday 498.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele by Gerald Near (b. 1942). The postlude is Near’s Prelude on ‘Old 113th’. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Canterbury Mass by American composer Anthony Piccolo (b. 1946). This setting was written in 1980 for the choir of Canterbury Cathedral, a choir of which the composer was a member for a time. Piccolo’s accessible and appealing choral music has been equally popular on both sides of the Atlantic. The motet at Communion is Shout the glad tidings by Ned Rorem (b. 1923) . . . The organ recital at 4:40 PM is played by Christopher J. Howerter . . . The choir of Christ Church, Tyler, Texas, under the direction of Donald W. Duncan, sings for Evensong & Benediction, including music of Stanford, Howard Helvey and Malcolm Archer. Robert McCormick
THE SUPERBOWL . . . Saint Mary’s 3rd Annual Superbowl party will be held following Solemn Evensong & Benediction on Sunday February 4, 2007. The party is a pot-luck centered around Fire & Brimstone Curate Chili (made by, not with, real curates). We will watch the game “Movie night style” on the 20 foot projection TV in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . For those Saint Marians who don’t know anything about football or who think football is a different game called soccer, Father Mead will offer a “class” entitled “Football for Anglo-catholics” before the game begins.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Our weekly parish Bible Study continues Wednesday, January 24, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. Throughout the Epiphany Season we will study the Parables of Jesus, the class ends February 7th. . . On Sunday, January 28, Father Mead will offer a class entitled: “The Structure of Solemn Mass: Ordinaries, Propers, Minor Propers” . . . On Sundays, February 11 & 18, Father Beddingfield will offer a two-part class entitled: Anglo-catholics & Mission: The Good, the Strange and the Holy . . . On Sunday, February 25, the Reverend Louis Weil, professor of liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, will offer a class on The Rites of Holy Week . . . Unless otherwise noted, Sunday classes begin approximately 15 minutes after Solemn Mass concludes. For details and resources please visit the Adult Education section of our parish website.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday After Epiphany
Monday Vincent, Deacon of Saragossa and Martyr of Rome, 250
Thursday THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity ends today.
Friday Timothy and Titus, Companions of Saint Paul Abstinence
Saturday John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction. Childcare from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 6:00 PM Evening Prayer, 6:20 PM Mass. The 12:10 Mass on Wednesday is sung.
Saturday: 11:30 AM Confessions, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 4:00 PM Confessions, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass