Monday, September 01, 2014

Recent Statement by Forward in Faith North America

In the light of recent events within the Church of England, and reports regarding Forward in Faith (U.K.), the officers of Forward in Faith North America (FiFNA) hereby issues the following statement.
First, it is with deep sorrow that FiFNA acknowledges the vote by the General Synod of the Church of England to proceed with the “consecration” of women to the episcopate. This action heightens the level of difficulty for Anglicans during this period of reception, by placing more barriers before those who are seeking to live under and promote the historic priesthood and episcopate. Sadly, the autonomy of the local church, albeit provinces, has usurped the authority and unity of Ecumenical consensus and the Church catholic, exposing yet again the ecclesial deficit of our Communion that can only be addressed through the historic tools of Conciliar discernment.
For our brothers and sisters in the Church of England who maintain the worldwide majority position of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church regarding Holy Orders, we pledge our prayerful support, love, and respect. You have consistently upheld biblical and theological principles in an age of secularism. However, we are encouraged that this most unfortunate decision, has been accompanied by provisions enabling Catholic Anglicans to remain in the Church of England with integrity, and the Church of England’s stated commitment to enable them to flourish within its life and structures. Sadly, since the beginning of the ordination of women as priests in the Episcopal Church, and their subsequent consecration to the episcopate, those assurances were offered, only to be later withdrawn to faithful Catholic Anglicans (in the Episcopal Church). The many divisions, coupled with massive litigation, have produced an environment which we pray will not become your reality.
We also assure you of our prayerful support as you seek to develop “The Society” under the patronage of St. Wilfrid and St. Hilda, as the ecclesial structure for bishops, clergy, religious and parishes to live in full communion with each other within the Church of England, as you recommit yourselves to Mission. Although this became impossible in the Episcopal Church, we pray that wisdom will prevail for you in the days ahead. We also wish to thank all those who have worked tirelessly in simply restating what the Church has always believed, and in particular what became obvious to many people in Forward in Faith – the necessity of working with faithful Anglicans of various traditions that may in some ways differ from our own, for the sake of unity in Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
We also reaffirm the position which FiFNA published previously concerning human sexuality, the importance of which, in many current challenges in Church life, cannot be overstated: “Under the authority of holy scripture and the tradition of the church, we affirm that sexual activity can only properly take place within the context of holy matrimony between a man and a woman. We affirm that any other type of sexual relationship is sinful regardless of context or degree of fidelity, and that the church cannot bless any type of sexual relationship outside of holy matrimony between a man and a woman. We affirm Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as the standard for Christian sexual behavior.”
The Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, President
The Rt. Rev. William H. Ilgenfritz, Vice President
The Rev. Lawrence Bausch, Vice President
Dr. Michael W. Howell, Executive Director

Friday, August 15, 2014

Who is ‘Our Lady of Walsingham?’

To answer the question, it must be said that the Shrine Church bearing the title is the national Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary in England, the spiritual epicentre of world Anglican Catholicism. In AD 1061 the Holy Mother of God appeared in a vision to a noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches, and commanded that a Shrine in honour of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Family be built on her land. Our Lady revealed the design she desired to be built, a small house, a replica of the Holy House in which the Annunciation from the Archangel Gabriel took place and in which the Holy Family dwelt at Nazareth. A miraculous well sprang up in the place chosen by the Mother of God for the erection of the Shrine, and so the original Holy House was built thereon. Eventually the small chapel consisting of the House itself was transformed, first into a great pilgrimage Church, and later, an entire Augustinian Priory surrounded and protected the little House of England's Nazareth. Augustinian Canons then governed and administered the largest centre of Marian pilgrimage in all of Europe dating from 1146. The most popular place of Marian pilgrimage in the country, it closely rivalled the Shrine of Saint Thomas of Canterbury for overall celebrity. Our Lady of Walsingham is Our Lord’s Mother, the title by which the Mother of Jesus Christ is historically honoured in the British Isles.

Over the centuries, the Kings of England offered their royal patronage to the Shrine and endowed it with gifts of all kinds: Henry III, Edward II, Edward III, Henry IV, Edward IV, Henry VII, and Henry VIII all made pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Mother of God in Walsingham. King Henry VIII, eager to have their treasures, brought about the destruction of Our Lady's House and Shrine in 1538 - at the dissolution of the monasteries. The devotion lay in abeyance until a young Anglican vicar, Father Alfred Hope Patten, moved to Walsingham in 1921 with the hope of restoring the ancient Shrine as well as the ancient Faith. A leader of the Catholic Movement in the Anglican Church, the energetic Father Patten restored the fullness of orthodox doctrine and practice to the parish Church of Saint Mary's, Little Walsingham, and in 1922 he restored the Image of Our Lady of Walsingham inside the parish Church at the north side of the building. It was his idea to base the new statue of Our Lady of Walsingham on the Image depicted on the seal of the medieval Priory. Regular pilgrimage and devotion were returned to Walsingham. From the first night the Image was restored, people gathered to offer their intercessions in union with the prayers of Our Lady, and the ministry of prayer, intercession, and devotion has gone on unbroken every day since. Father Patten firmly believed that if the Anglican Church were truly an Apostolic Church, it must have a living centre of devotion to the Mother of the Lord. The Restoration of the Shrine was for him a proof of Anglicanism's universality and a vital connection with her pre-reformation Faith and history.

Throughout the 1920s, the trickle of pilgrims became a flood of large numbers, for whom eventually a Pilgrim Hospice was opened (a hospice is technically the name of a place of hospitality for pilgrims) and in 1931, a new Holy House encased in a small pilgrimage church was dedicated, and the Image translated there with great solemnity. In 1938 that church was enlarged to form the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady, more or less as we know it today. Anglicans around the world continue to flock to England's Nazareth to worship and adore the Divine Son of Mary, Jesus Christ, and to venerate God's lowly Mother. Devotion to Our Lady under the title of Walsingham has become an undoubted defining characteristic of the Traditional Anglican. 15th October 1931 is today commemorated as the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. In 2005, the Anglican Shrine was ranked by the BBC as Britain's most popular and loved site of Christian pilgrimage and prayer: the dream of Father Patten has been realised and Walsingham is once again the centre of orthodox English Church life and devotion.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Enid Chadwick Triptych

The triptych, or Altar piece, photographed below was designed and painted by the legendary illustrator Enid Chadwick, whose clean, graceful, and flowing images adorn the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, England. Ms Chadwick was, for all practical purposes, the official artist of the restored Anglican Shrine throughout much of the twentieth century. This triptych was commissioned by Father Conrad Kimbrough, a dear personal friend and an Anglican priest for 25 years. The image now resides in the sacristy of Saint Mary's Church (RC) in Greenville, South Carolina under the custody of my cousin Father Jay Scott Newman, and was used for many years as an elegant reredos for Father Kimbrough's oratory Altar. Enjoy!

Of your Christian charity, pray for the blessed repose of the souls of Conrad Kimbrough, priest, and Enid Chadwick.

Blessed Charles Stuart I of England, King and Martyr.

Saint Uriel the Archangel with Saint Charles.

Saint Augustine of Hippo.

Our Blessed Lord and Our Lady of Walsingham with the Archangels Saint Michael and Saint Gabriel.

Saint Ambrose of Milan.

Saint Edward the Confessor with the Archangel Saint Raphael.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Forward in Faith North America Assembly 2014

Please visit Anglican TV to view all of the addresses from this year's Assembly.

The 'Nazarenes'

'N' for 'Nazarenes,' نصارى 

Let us pray fervently for all the persecuted Christians of the Middle East at this most difficult time. 
'Now ye are the Body of Christ, and members in particular.' I Corinthians 12.27.
Let us remember we are all members and disciples of the One Lord, Jesus of Nazareth.

The Ongoing Disintegration of the Canterbury Communion: Kenya and Uganda

Orthodox Traditional Anglicans should closely observe developments in the Lambeth Communion Churches of Kenya and Uganda, which now openly embrace the error recently imposed by the Church of England.

The purported consecration of women to the episcopate is a church-dividing issue for Traditional Anglicans. Orthodox Anglicans cannot be in communicatio in sacris with bishops and jurisdictions that purport to ordain women to the episcopate and presbyterate. It is a matter of the esse of the Church and goes to heart of what the Church is as constituted by the Divine Will of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a matter of divinely-revealed ecclesiology and sacramentology, not adiaphoron.

This heresy of neo-ordination, which is a violation of the universal intent of the Undivided Catholic Church, predates the crises related to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and Christian moral teaching on sexuality, and is in fact the genesis of the subsequent errors concerning sexuality: we have the seen the original problem generate the others within the span of forty years. The one error leads inevitably to the others, as they share the same false doctrines on creation and anthropology, and the same false gnostic hermeneutic, or interpretation, of Holy Scripture.  As the errors concerning ordination lead to the loss of the grace of the sacraments and the constitution of the Church as established by Christ in the Apostolic Succession, so the errors concerning sexuality lead to the denigration of Holy Matrimony and the family.

A church that endorses the one will eventually endorse the others.

Let us pray that the Lord will still preserve in orthodoxy and fidelity those Anglican Churches which continue to drift away from the fullness of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

In the meantime, the Continuing Churches persevere, evangelise, and grow around the world.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Statement of the Russian Orthodox Church on the C of E Innovation

At the session that took place on the 14th of July 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England made a decision allowing women to serve as bishops. The Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations is authorized to make the following statement in this regard:
The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”
The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.
Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.
In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.
The Russian Orthodox Church regrets to state that the decision allowing the elevation of women to episcopal dignity impedes considerably the dialogue between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, which has developed for many decades, and contributes for further deepening of divisions in the Christian world as a whole.

Bishopesses in the Church of England

First published in 2010...

A very personal note:

By now, avid, attentive, and even curious readers of the internet and blogosphere are keenly aware of what has transpired in the deliberations of the General Synod of the Church of England. Now a new form of order and ministry, contrary to the received Apostolic tradition and practice of the Catholic Church for two-thousand years, will be introduced into the C of E. Gone will be, in the fulness of time, the historic episcopate, the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the apostolic sacerdotal priesthood, and the historic deposit of faith, transmitted by the Apostles to their successors in the English Church from the mists of antiquity. 

In light of these developments, I wish to offer an earnest and heartfelt plea to those orthodox Anglo-Catholics now agonising and distressed over what has occurred: if you cannot accept the theological claims of the Roman Catholic Church or the position of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, please give the most intense and prayerful consideration to the Churches of the Continuing Anglican Tradition. There continues a true and genuine home for you in Anglicanism, a loving, supportive, vibrant, and growing family awaiting you and eager to receive the gift of yourselves and your spiritual vocation and charisms. There is yet an Anglicanism, scriptural, patristic, orthodox, traditional, sacramental, liturgical, Eucharistic, in which one may achieve one's calling to love, serve, adore and proclaim Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of Creation, Head and Priest of the Body and Lord of the Church. There is a living, viable option for orthodox Anglican Catholics who wish to remain Anglican as well as Catholic. I know this because I have experienced the pilgrimage in my own life. Please be assured of the prayers of thousands of orthodox Continuing Anglicans in this country and around the world for their beloved brothers and sisters in England who must now make terribly difficult decisions about their ecclesiastical future. You have brethren in Christ who love you and stand with you in this time of great pain and grief. Anglicanism lives! And it offers continuity and spiritual fulfillment to all those who seek to remain children of the Ecclesia Anglicana. Please do consider it - for the time of exodus has come.

God bless you and Our Lady keep you!