Here I am with some of our parishioners during the Liturgy of the Word. Photo by Jake Wright.
When I left Kanata Baptist Church, I left with the pastor’s blessing. I told him I hungered for a more liturgical and sacramental form of worship but that I was thankful for all the good teaching and loving fellowship I had experienced there.
Had I not experienced the ten years of gradual growth in the Christian faith I might have experienced the spiritual bends on encountering the little Ottawa cathedral, but I was ready for its teachings about the male priesthood, about the Sacrifice of the Mass, and yes, its hopes of unity with the Catholic Church. Had I come in there in 1990, I would have been appalled at the repetitive prayers, the unwillingness to even entertain the notion of women priests.
But I was ready for it. Hungry for it.
Hearing then Bishop Robert Mercer pray the Mass gave me an intuitive grasp of Real Presence and being lifted to heaven in the liturgy. I had such good catechesis there over the last ten years. -snip-
So, just as I am still thankful for the Baptist Church, I am thankful for the Traditional Anglican Communion and the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and the ministry I received there. I wish those who have remained behind well. I wish more of them had found they were able to join us. Maybe some will in the future.
The other day, while helping a journalist-friend, I went back and took a look at theTraditional Anglican Communion’s Portsmouth Petition of 2007. What an inspiring document it still is. I am proud of that letter. I am also proud that two of the former ACCC bishops, Peter Wilkinson and now Fr. Robert Mercer, who accompanied Archbishop John Hepworth to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) with the letter signed by the TAC’s college of bishops, have humbly entered the Catholic Church with no conditions. I am proud that my own former bishop, Carl Reid, has done the same and led his flock into the Catholic Church. Other ACCC clergy across Canada will do the same and the decision to ask to come in was made with no guarantees any would be ordained as Catholic priests.
I want to thank Archbishop John Hepworth because of how much he inspired me and how much he taught me. I wish him all the best as he discerns his future and a reconciliation with the Catholic Church he loves that I trust will take place in time.
[Here’s a picture of our dear Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, also by Jake Wright.]
Just a few days before we were received, a Ukrainian Catholic priest said to me something along these lines: “Stand up for yourselves,” he said. “We have hundreds of years of experience with this. Always continue to be yourselves.”
A friend from the Anglican Church of Canada, part of the Canterbury Communion, said he will be watching to see whether the Ordinariates truly do become a place where we can unpack the treasures of our Anglican patrimony as if we are truly at home.
I think we will.