Posts Tagged ‘Anglicanism’

I was wracking my mind and heart about what to share on this day of new life. Then I do what many do on Christmas day, a family tradition. We would gather throughout my life to watch the Queen address the Commonwealth. So the wife and I once again did today, and her message, the 60th on television, she was the first monarch to use the medium (and has been the only one since)…celebrating her platinum wedding anniversary to Prince Phillip. Speaking of the light in the darkness, the love of neighbour and self through first responders, charity, church and reclaiming/claiming home.

“The simplicity of the call of home this time of year”

-Queen Elizabeth II, head of the Commonwealth, Religious head of the Church of England (Anglican Communion)

From our family to yours this season, please join our tradition, read the article and listen to the Queen’s Christmas Message 2017.



StJohnsAshfield StainedGlass JohnTheBaptist Paul

StJohnsAshfield StainedGlass JohnTheBaptist Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stop! Read no further until you have read:

Two weeks after the Anglican Massacre.

The Christianities are still reeling from the Anglican Massacre. Nearly 100 people dead with the bombing of the Cathedral, the more tragic response though for the branch of the Tree of Christ, is that the Anglican Church in Canada announced the dissolution of and the sale of properties of the Diocese, leaving the parishners of this church in a sea of grief and trauma that my former employer in the Roman Catholic Diocese was more than willing to sweep in and pick up converts to show a healthy growth this quarter.

The hot water of the shower hit my face and cleanly shaved head, running down. First time that I was thinking with a clear head since that night when we failed to save lives, but we succeeded in catching the killer, Dwayne Douglas an elder in a congregation that voted on whether or not individuals were “Christian” enough to join their churches. He played holy well, and no one realized the socio path they had allowed to climb the ranks of the lay leadership of their church. Although the cult like status this congregation afforded their pastor was creepy and actually at the announcement of the killer being from there, a member contacted Bronwyn to disclose that she was concerned about other illegal activities as the pastor had convinced her to leave her husband that the church saw as a heretic.

The police are following up, because the Holy knows Sherwood does not need a Jonestown or Branch Davidian. But it has revealed that there is something missing within the divided soul that is the religious landscape of Sherwood. I feel the Holy Mystery speaking to me as St. Francis heard from the Cosmic Christ in the chapel of San Damiano.

Stepping out of the shower and into jeans and a superman t-shirt I step into the living room. Bronwyn is just completing her yoga, she is beautiful and oh so patient. “It’s time B.”

She stops mid pose of the crane, and straightens. She looks at me. “B, you haven’t called me that since college.” The corners of her mouth are turning up oh so slightly. “What is going through that mind of yours?”

I pick up the cordless phone and dial a number from memory. “Lao, meet me at the ruins, drop Tariq a line as well.”

I think Bronwyn just squealed. But she is attempting to look composed. Almost eight months since power hungry men abusing the name of God to get more power stole my soul from me it is time to reclaim it. “You’re going back?”

“Going forward.” I don’t know what seizes me but next thing I know the phone hits the laminate and she is in my arms, our lips meet. “I Love you.”

The transformational love of the Holy Mystery that exists within all of creation, and all of creation exists within (panentheism) is what this city needs, a surrendering of labels, and an embracing of compassion. No longer Muslim, Buddhist or Christian or any other designation…we are all human, learning and living compassionate lives… discovering that the bedrock is not to be loved, or simply love, but to be an action verb to seek out TO Love.

That is the call of the Holy Mystery after this carnage, that microcosmically reflects our current world, yet we are all called to this idea to live out actively loving one another.


This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you.

Jesus of Nazareth,

Recorded and reported according to the Community of the Apostle John in the Gospel that bears his name 15:12

A New Adventure Begins?



Jonathan Katz was the pastor we found frick-a-seed on the church lawn.” Bronwyn said it in such a matter of fact way. “The Bible passage was 2 Kings 1, a fiery judgment on the enemies of God.”

I pinch the bridge of my nose, another month, another dead clergy. Katz I had a passing knowledge of, we had talked to the church council and some congregants to get a fuller picture. While our Presbyterian, Smythe was transitioning and had angered people into believing she had betrayed her vows before God. This Lutheran congregation was being ripped apart by the largest donors spiritually abusing children as they surfed through their own grief, and the minister turning a blind eye or attempting appeasement to the families so as not to lose the money.

Another happenstance where one could view it as the vows taken in the name of God destroyed to appease the Empire of the world. If you want to spiritualize the killings, Bronwyn had my early speculation.

“Tuck believes these two killings are connected due to it tied to the idea of bearing false witness, and using biblical means to kill the clerics leading their followers astray.  The question if this is a killer targeting what he/she believes to be corrupt clergy where will he/she strike next?” Bronwyn shared.

I look to the ground in the station house, then up to the piercing green eyes of the one I love, but am afraid to tell. “That is the challenge, let’s be honest name a Christian who at one point or another in their journey did not feel betrayed by a clergy member.” Bronwyn is looking deflated by my answer, but my eyes hit a small story in the corner of the Sherwood Gazette. “Of course!”

“Care to share with the rest of us Tuck?” It’s one of Bronwyn’s constables helping on the case, a slender freckle faced youth with a Scottish brogue.

I grab the paper. “The Anglican Diocese is electing a new Bishop!” Bronwyn looks to me and then the young constable, shrugging they both are.  “Ours is the diocese that made the fuss a year back where a disabled child was escorted out of the Cathedral for creating a supposed disturbance with her tears during Good Friday?”

Bronwyn looks at me, “Really, everyone I know cries at Good Friday Mass, why was this so different?”

“Because the former priest in charge of the Cathedral was an ass clown, cost Anglicanism thirty percent of their members in the city thankfully, but another story of betrayal. They meet this weekend at the Cathedral, clergy and laity to elect a new bishop.” I do believe the thought of going back to an Anglican church is giving me an anxiety attack.

“We need to contact the Diocese they need to call the meeting.” Bronwyn was already firing orders around her team on this. As a passage from Joshua after the fall of Jericho flashes into my mind.


24 Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:

“At the cost of his firstborn son
he will lay its foundations;
at the cost of his youngest
he will set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.

The Book of Joshua 6:24-27…



Unicorn Golf & Games

A.C.A. Electric Ltd.

Chuck E. Cheese, Calgary Co-op, August Electronics Inc.


United Church of Canada‘s congregations of Foothills, Symons Valley, Campbell-Stone

St. George’s Anglican Church (also where I was the first wee babe baptized on the parish role in 1978)

The Mustard Seed Society (formerly Street Ministry)

Hull Child & Family Services, Calgary Sun, Presbyterian Record,

Spiritual Directions, University of Calgary Continuing Education

Eisner Institute for Professional Studies

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Francis of Assisi (circa 1182-1220)

St. Francis of Assisi (circa 1182-1220) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is funny, for those who have followed my musings, other blogs, let’s be honest my whole writing career I have made a living off of being the progressive voice, the one always for inclusion. This weekend the family had to come to a hard decision, we will admit that we originally felt the pangs of just saying to hell (stronger words came out of my mouth, with tears) with God‘s fan club after yet another time of being ripped asunder.

I will be the first to admit that I enjoy pushing the envelope, why? Simple, because my understanding of the Gospel of the Living Cosmic Christ, is a story of a man, backed by his family, unwilling to bend on living out the love of God.

I surrendered my discernment with the UCC because of them deciding the differently abled were not welcome within our local congregation.

Surrendered my lay ministry in the ELCIC because of the local church spiritually and emotionally abusing my children.

We thought about returning to Anglicanism, but the parish of my baptism made it quite clear that children were not allowed to come to Christ.

The more evangelical sects question our family life, which quite frankly is none of their business.

Yet it was this past weekend within a congregation I had made the mistake of akin to a Franciscan Community simply because I like to see the best in people, and never give up for the simple reason that I truly believe that faith is not simply an individual enterprise, or a community participation, but both-and, a truly interdependent enterprise. So without the church then there can be no faith.

What brought me to the brink of this crisis, my family even, simple the charismatic-non-denominational/LBC that deemed it necessary to spread lies, see it came as a shock. A note that I had been deleted from their facebook group, usually thinking its a glitch but then noting that my wife had been deleted as well. Wife took it upon herself to contact the pastor, and this is where true character of people shine through. We were kicked off, because of me, wifey guilty by proxy, and why do you ask was I kicked off?

Simple, I had made the error of following other members leads and advertising their home based businesses (for me though it was spiritual direction which I had posted in other group pages), inviting church members through the page out to our home bible study (which was posted in other group pages, and was done at the behest of some friends in the church asking us to), and the mistake of asking if anyone during this season was interested in a contemplative service and if so who needed to be contacted within the church to make it happen. Oh, and at the behest of friends, contacting the church office to have the bible study ran in the bulletin (which has happened at multiple churches before, and many churches still advertise for us). For these transgressions we were deleted, and I was to be presented with a formal letter from the board to desist or else.

The pastor claimed that the board had contacted me on numerous occassions and I was “blatantly” ignoring their wishes. The kicker? Yep, you are right, at no point no one had contacted me, explained anything, the mysterious board of this church is hard to fasten down because there names are not public, and there is no easy way to contact the church. After almost eight months of attending the amount of words the pastor has actually spoken to my family can be counted on less than two hands, and that is including the time on a women’s spiritual retreat when she judgmentally told my wife that she had no relationship with Jesus.

The reason these simple postings of invitation, and query where creating a stir? Simple, according to them I am not a leader in the church, as such have no authority to teach, and by posting on the social media (Facebook) page of the church I was trying to ascertain the church endorsement of these activities.  The funny thing is they would rather find a way to cause a family harm, distress, and drive them away…rather than simply on the first post of “offense“ simply responding saying “Hey Ty anything like this needs to go through the board, this is who you contact“ or even taking the post down, and private messaging a person.

But they would rather abuse their power of the inner sanctum, and pretend they are the ones who know all, the sad part at this point in the journey, we are now simply done with this protestant pissing match of authority. Jesus called us to make disciples, to make disciples is to gather together, grow together, learn together, to have the open house and open arms that Christ taught us to have (that St. Francis of Assisi and many have restored the church to in times).

But the response was to simply remain silent, for none of this would have come to light if my wife had not contacted the pastor, an admin on the page to get this plot of lies exposed. The sad part is that after wife informed the pastor that whatever she was selling was b.s. and not to worry because our family would never be back to this nest of vipers, the pastor tried to add her as a friend on Facebook, ballsy or sad irony you decide.

So the spiritual pilgrimage of our family continues, we are simply looking for a spiritual home where the spiritual gifts of all of us from my little 5 year old princess, to my almost 7 year old preacher, my wife and me can be utilized in building God`s Reign here on earth to transform this world into the Imageo Dei.

So we have moved back from our stance on we are done with church, to rather we are done with Protestant churches, the politics and one up man ship, fear of power loss, money loving is just too much to take.

I had made a phone call to a local catholic parish to inquire about Children`s church at the parish, they had undertaken a discernment process to see if the church desired to have the children separate from their families during service, and if so what form should it take. I had done as my wife has asked me to do each time we chat with a new church, our son is blessed with Cerebral Palsy, and we wanted to make sure there was no issue, the lovely secretary at St. Mark`s simply responded, `why would that be an issue.` I explained that many churches we have attended had an issue with the differently abled, her reply was simple “all are welcome here, except those that want to make others unwelcome for we are all God`s children“ the response is something I held to this weekend during the prayerful discernment for it was simply such a community answer.

So now, we are praying for where God is guiding us within either a Roman Catholic Parish or Othodox. We are a wounded family, but it is in the wounds that we experience the resurrection with our Lord Christ. Our pilgrimage is taking a Sabbath for us to cleanse our spirits, but we know there is a community out there that will embrace us…trust in God, this Advent season is one of peace, hope, faith, joy, and love…for we await the miraculous birth of  a wee babe that will transform the world again.

So here we await… the miracle to be birthed anew.


Down through history of the Celtic Church there have been issues that have arisen that would destroy the church- shatter the Anglican Communion. Each time a heresy has arisen there has been a movement of spirituality to counter.[1] Today another such issue faces not only the Province of Canada, and the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, but the world wide Anglican Communion. The question that has emerged is whether or not the blessing of committed, monogamous same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine or not? (St. Michael’s Report, p.3). The Most Rev. Andrew Hutchinson (Primate of Canada) commissioned the St. Michael’s Report in 2004 to explore this issue. Now the question arises for reflection is simple: is this the issue that will tear the church apart or is it just another form of renewal where we need to ask ourselves what is God doing here?

Paul Avis’ worked from the thesis in his book: Anglicanism and the Christian Church that one cannot use the term church to describe Anglicanism. For the term church as it is used today describes a church with a confession (ala Lutherans) or a Pope/Patriarch (ala Orthodox or Romans), whereas the Anglican Church International is not bonded by these matters, but rather by the coming to the Altar each Sunday for the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper (The Eucharist).

For the Communion to have survived for so many centuries it comes from walking the Via Media unlike most forms of ecumenicism, this middle path does not translate into he lowest common denominator. In fact it involves embracing both the Romanist and Protestant traditions, while at the same time using the Liturgy to create theology and doctrine.

Within the issue of Same-Sex Blessing arises another important part of Anglican History, the Anglican Communion started out as the Church of England (which dates back to shortly after the time of Christ as the Celtic Church that joined Rome, then left Rome). The Communion started as a state church, which meant that the church and state crafted what marriage meant. In the modern era there is a separation of church and state, yet there is still a mentality of the people in the pew that there should not be or that the separation is actually oppression from the government.

Since the Government of Canada has endorsed civil same-sex marriage is this a catalyst to the Anglican Church of Canada blessing them? An intriguing note is that in Europe quite a few churches are out of the marriage business altogether, and the Anglican Church there has a blessing service for civil marriages between a man and a woman (the most famous being Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles). This removes from the Priest the investment from the country, state, or province to marry.

As well saying because a civil marriage is possible, means that it is a catalyst for a church blessing in Canada ignores two key points. The first is that the priest and/or bishop have the right of veto for any marriage of a heterosexual couple within the church. Especially if it is a second marriage where permission of the Bishop needs to be sought. The blessing motif as opposed to marriage would remove much pressure from the clergy. If everyone had to be married by the Justice of the Peace, then it would only be the committed that would seek out the church’s blessing and remove the challenge from the priest. Within the Anglican Communion to have the sacrament of Marriage only one of the couple need to be baptized within the Anglican Church.

One side note is important here: The Sacrament of Marriage is not a Sacrament of the Priest, but rather of the Laity. The couple being married are the presiders of the sacrament, and it is to one another, not the priest to who the vows are said. The blessings work the same way. Using the benchmark of lawful marriage by the Government of the land for those unions that will be blessed also raises a whole other question the Communion is side stepping. Under Alberta Law, you are lawfully married to your significant other after six months of cohabitation (common law); if the law is the benchmark then a common law couple should be able to seek a blessing as well.

This brings us back to same-sex blessings, some say it is a matter of Biblical Interpretation or Hermeneutic, if this is the case then is it worth tearing apart an almost 2000 year old communion over hermeneutic? Within Canada, the Primate’s Theological Commission reported in the St. Michael’s Report did find that this issue was one of doctrine, but not one that was worth breaking communion over.

A doctrine is when the church speaks out on an issue, and by speaking out on that issue are revealing something about the nature of God (St. Michael’s Report, p.11). An interesting question that the report raised for the church (and I believe the church universal) needs to explore is that of what sexuality is? (St. Michael’s Report, p.8). A further statement from the report is what Same-sex Unions meant, that being a relationship that was committed, adult, monogamous, intended life-long same-sex relationships that include sexual intimacy (St. Michael’s Report, p.6).

Bishop Ingham in the Diocese of New Westminster gave his ascent to the blessings of Same-Sex Union, unlike what has been reported the true story is that it was n the third time the question had been raised and voted on at the Diocesan Synod. The first two times Ingham refused ascent because below 70%  and that was not a clear enough majority for approval. On the third time it was above 70% but also the Bishop’s hands were tied as any question that passes three Synods according to the Canons of this particular Diocese had to receive ascent.

Since this passed Synod approval with a majority of Synod delegate support the assumption would be that these are parish representative and the majority of the parishes supported as well. That would also be a false assumption, for it breaks down each Parish sends x number of delegates to the Diocesan Synod. These are Synod Delegates for the Diocese not the Parish they come from; they are Laity and clergy. For anything to pass requires a majority from the House of Clergy and the House of Laity. When the Synod opens the delegates prayerfully need to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

This is the “Hot Button” issue for the Diocese of Calgary election of a new Bishop on June 24, 2006. So much so that it was one of the eight questions posed to the eight candidates at a discussion forum put on DVD for the Parishes to view. What would they do if Same-Sex blessings passed at a Synod or the General Synod of Canada passed it. Everything from resignation to approval was voiced.

Here is the unique way of design of the Anglican Church; the Province of Canada (the national church) can pass it; even the Province we are apart of[2] can pass ascent. But the kicker is the Primate (head of the national church) and the Metropolitan (head of the regional province), have n say over whether or not each Bishop will grant ascent. For example in the Roman Church, the Pope can walk into any parish in the world and preach; for the Primate or Metropolitan to come in and preach in a church, they need to be invited by the Diocesan Bishop and the Priest of the Parish. For a church planting metaphor, think of the mother-daughter church method. The Diocese is the Church; each parish is a daughter of the mother (ala what Rockpointe Alliance is doing for church planting). Each Priest does not work for the parish, but rather for the Bishop.

All this to say is that it is not as easy as the Pope saying Same-Sex blessings are wrong, and that is the end of the discussion, each Diocese needs to make the decision themselves, so as people looked down on Bishop Ingham for saying that it comes down to whether or not the priest of the parish wanted to bless them or not, was empowering the priest with the power they already held over blessings of relationships.

As the national church, the provincial church and the diocese continues discernment on this issue, one need to understand the full complexity of how the Anglican Communion functions. Internationally big news was made in the media of the North American churches being removed from certain commissions, the unique part is that no where was it reported that these were commissions the North American churches had never served on in the first place. The communion is diverse, some Diocese ordain women, others do not, some Dioceses are more liberal that Bishop Spong, others are more conservative than Franklin Graham. But it is not our polity or hermeneutic that unifies us as a Communion, it is the simple act of the Liturgy that leads us to kneel at the Altar beneath the cross of Christ in spite of our differences, as family. Just as Christ showed the bond of family at the base of the cross on Good Friday by giving the Beloved Disciple to his Mother Mary; just as the Holy Family showed the church; just as the Disciples and Christ so does the church need to remember that we are diverse, we all have different interpretations of the scripture; but what are make and break issues for each member of the church?

Each generation has had to face a crisis within the church and we have endured. Each generation has had to rediscover Christ for their world, and the church ha grown because of God’s blessing and love. The question is not whether or not to bless same-sex unions; but for me the question arises is what is God doing with his people in the midst of this crisis?

For if we can discover the heart of God, the revival of faith in the world will be amazing.

[1] Archbishop’s Rowan Williams book The Wound of Knowledge takes the reader on a spiritual journey through the church from the New Testament times up to St. John of the Cross.

[2] Here is how it goes: Internationally there are provinces, the Anglican Church of Canada is known as the Province of Canada; that then breaks down to four provinces nationally, that also includes a Province of Canada. Alberta and the Diocese of Calgary falls in the Province of Rupert’s Land, where currently the Metropolitan of Rupert’s Land is serving as Interim-Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary.


Worship is not just for praise and supplication of God‘s people in Anglicanism, but also the amain arena for our theology (Stevenson, p.187). This relationship is tachkled in the Latin phrase Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi which literally translated means “the law of praying is the law of belief” (Stevenson, p.187). What does this mean for the average pew setter who may not be aware of this concept? It means that while other churches have a confession or a Pope for final authority in theological matters, Anglicans are a beast all their own. This reflection will explore theology of Anglicans from what we are or, or are not, to the Prayer Book, to symbolism and finally, pragmatism. Within the relfection the good and bad will be explored on the Via Media of Anglican Theology where the law of praying is the law of belief or in the more mundane, from the symbol comes the thought.

Stevenson’s article on this topic found in The Study of Anglicanism was an excellent and loaded word primer on this very notion. A good flow in from the discussion previously on Reason, Tradition, and Scripture coupled with the Via Media and now exploring how theological though is formed as an Anglican standard.

The church as a whole is known for taking the middle road of Protestantism and Catholicism (or in ancient language, Popish). There is no deining theologian that is held to as a universal authority (like a Zwingli, Luther, or Calvin) or ultimate authority. If there were an Anglican theologian in the past to read, it would be Richard Hooker, yet he is not unversally held to as a standard. For the church it is the Book of Common Prayer where our theology is found, so one could say that it is Cramner who is our theologian, yet in the era of speciality he would be called a liturgist more than a theologian.

Does this mean as a church we seek out the lowest common denominators to appease everyone? No. That is a misinterpretation of our theological heritage, and just diving into the Prayer Book dispels that notion. It is a balancing act in history that made people tolerable yet some unhappy. Yet it brings about the idea of where certain parties in the Communion want to move the Anglican Church. Movements to move us to more of a confessional church that removes the backbone of what we are as a people, a people that take our theology from our prayer.

This idea of the Prayer book was both a field for Cramner of theological expression and experimentation (Stevenson, p. 189). It is a basis of the liturgy that it explores symbols that impact the people, and brings an understanding of God into their daily lives.

It is why services were deemed to be held in the language of the people with the priest and people reading from the same Prayer Book. Nothing hidden in the liturgy, the ability to experience theology right there. That is the ability to experience as a community and indvidual the Spirit of God. It is why the binding act for the Anglican Church worldwide is the Eucharist. Not exactly transubstantiation and yet more than just a rememberance it is something in between, one of the great mysteries of the faith. Yet one common cup bonds us all, in our diversity of theology and belief.

It is what would be lost to the church if we moved towards a confession or to one central authority…the ability to be universal in our belief in God, yet localized to a liturgy that impacts the walk and belief of the people in that location. For it is in the act of the liturgy that our theology comes alive in the community.

Now of course there is a down side to the way Anglicans do theology, because it can easily become rote. The Canadian church has been under a twenty-five year experiment with our Book of Alternative Services, not wanting to alter the Book of Common Prayer from the 1600’s. Yet is so doing we are negating the Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. The liturgy itself can become frozen in time and an untaouchable, which goes against the spirit of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith in regards to the liturgy as well as the theology experimentation Cramner began.

For if our theology is to stay fresh, and channelling God we not only need a liturgy that reflects where we have been and where are at, but experimenting with the possibilities of where God is calling us to be as His people.

The concept of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi also raises the question of church decoration. For you are laying out decorations for a worship service that will take in all a person’s senses and the use of symbols become powerful and important. It is not a symbol like one would choose to adorn a hockey jersey with but rather a symbol that reflects what the ministry of the church is.

It takes the symbol selection out of the hands of just one person and what impacts them, but rather to a whole community of people and what to them is the symbol of the faith. The localized worship of God within the universal bond of the Eucharist.

The final part to be touched upon is a rather simple statement Anglicans are pragmatic theologians. The pragmatism found in the Church of England is becuase the theology is relevant to the socio-cultural factors of the day. It touches the people where they are at and let’s them experience God there.

One major distinction within the more liturgical style service is that it is not necessarily seeker sensitive or geared towards a salvatory altar call as one will find in the more mainline Evangelical service (although there are strong evangelical Anglican churchs that probably do practice these). Rather the Eucharist (our Mass) is geared towards a servicing of the Saints. What is going to allow the saints of God to rest in Him and experience Him within Sunday morning worship so that they are equipped to live out the Great Commission Monday to Saturday within their school, workplace, community and nation?

It is a service designed to bring the Body of Christ to the foot of the Cross-at the altar rail each week around the world to share in the renewal that His Cup and Bread bring to us so that we may be filled with His Spirit, Love and Grace for another week.

It is in our prayer that our theology is formed, there are amazing things that can happen because of that, and amazing drawbacks, yet in the end if it equips the Body to answer God’s call to change this world, then so be it.

How we know we are following God’s will? For some it is with the aid of a spiritual director, in some faith traditions it is upholding scripture as the final judge of what is right and wrong. Does that mean that scripture speaks to every decision that needs to be made in life? Every moral choice along the journey? Does it clearly spell out solutions to divorce, abortion, marriage, leadership in the church? The litany of issues for discussion currenlty in all faith traditions can go on and on and on where each party can bring their own interpretation of the text to the table.

It is this crossroads the Anglican Communion has come to on the debate of Same-Sex Marriage or blessings. Each side of the argument has held up scripture to defend its stance. Some will ignore passages that disagree with their theology; while others will remove a vers or two from the context (historical, social, biblical) to make their point more valid. This may be a new issue, but the idea of a church in flux and debate is not new.

A reading of John Newman’s The Via Media illustrates the challenge the Anglican Church as a whole faces in walking the middle ground between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. In his dialogue between Clericus (Clergy) and Laicus (laity) he illustrates the core of what the Reformation had been about had been lost, and that there needs to be another renewal of the Reformation to get the church back on track. A renewal of beliefs rooted firmly in the church that Christ commissioned.

For the Church of England International, otherwise known as the Anglican Church (or in countries where being seen in co-operation with Britain is not a good thing, “the Episcopal Church”) it has a strong history of holding both Reformists and Catholics together under one cross (hence the two versions of the Lord’s Prayer in the prayer books). This is done by our decision-making process, known colloquially as the “Three Legged Stool”: Scripture, Reason and Tradition.

Scripture of course being the Word of God, the Canonical books, but also in the more Catholic school of thought (which I am a part of) within the Communion, the Deutero-Canonical works as well. Reason being our ability to think things out logically, it is one of the greatest gifts God gave humanity that the animals do not have. Finally, Tradition or Traditio. This is the tradition in hte church that dates back to Apostolic times, and led to such writings as the Apostle’s Creed. It is not like the tradition most default to, for example a church has always used overheads for worship music, then they move to hymnals for a period. The small “t” tradition is the one we create and after a while it becomes a localized tradition and is not what is meant when Anglicans speak of Tradition in their decision-making process, and faith.

This brings us to the view of Anglicanism and the Scriptures, because as in any church dispute one side will hold up the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and this style of fundamentalism has led to many nasty instances historically. On the other side is fundamentalism as seen in those that badly interpret or ignore pieces of scripture that disagree with their concept of God. Either of these two stances does a disservice to God’s words, but also tends to place God in a box by trapping God in the way that only our human vocabulary can describe the way that God is.

As Reginald Fuller phrased it in his article in The Study of Anglicanism- God’s word is the incarnate word as seen in the life of Jesus Christ (p.88). Fuller goes on to write about the inspiration of Scripture as covering both Old and New Testaments as an outline to the faith (p.88-89) for a believer to be able to see the journey with God and pointing to the saving grace we find in the Life of Jesus, the word of God incarnate (as bluntly phrased in the first chapter of the Gospel of John).

Scripture is held in Primacy, which means that it is the norm by which faith, and traditions are judged as to whether or not they are from God and part of God’s teaching (Fuller, p.91). Fuyller also adds besides being a norm for faith, the Bible is the starting point of understanding God’s characted, so it becomes a norm for our ethical/moral behaviour as well (p.92). To add to this understanding, Article VI in the Thirty-Nine Articles (An Anglican Catechism) states that scripture contains all things necessary for salvation (Fuller, p. 90 and the Bo0k of Common Prayer).

What does this mean for a believer who is part of an Anglican Faith tradition? I cannot speak for the masses, but I can reflect on my understanding and what it means for my reading of the Biblical Text. I am on the published record (The March 2005 issue of the Presbyterian Record for my article Love God, Love His Story) that I do not necessarily read the Bible as edicts or Law, but rather the Story of God with his people.  It is a continuing story that has new chapters written each and every day, yet here is the beginning and end of the story presented to us in a library of stories, poetry, dramas, histories, biographies, pretty much every kind of genre writing available.

It leads to a broad perspective of the whole text God has given us, that points us specifically namely to the Word incarnate Jesus Christ and what that means for us as his people. To live our lives in the heart of God, with the Word of God both written and incarnate as our norm to figure things out.

This leads into a beginning to unpack the liturgical worship and the mysteries of our faith. The New Church Teaching Series is designed to help equip laity to lead in the church. Two volumes that help to explore the liturgy, is A Theology of Worship by Louis Wiel and Mysteries of Faith by Mark McIntosh. It may seem unique to explore liturgy with inerrancy of scripture, yet it fits together. As discussed earlier the incarnate word of God is Jesus. The liturgy is the Traditio that aids in the community expereince of the word of God.

Scripture is used to develop the framework for an Anglican’s faith, from the prayers of confession, praise, thanksgiving, and intercession to music to the sacraments, they all come from the story of God’s people living in the heart of God. Celebrated together with one another to draw us closer together God as a community. The liturgy service on Sunday is designed within a three-year cycle the entire Bible will be read to the People and taught. But we are not a service of the written word of God with that being the focal point, rather we are centred on the Eucharist and this is what bonds the Anglican Communion together as one, coming humbly to the altar to renew oursleves with the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Not just a rememberance as within the Protestant church, yet not transubstantiated as within the Roman Catholic Church. One of the mysteries is the Eucharist and what exactly happens during it, but it is one cup, one bread of promise and hope for a people to experience the Incarnate Word so that we are equipped and readied for Monday to Saturday as Christ’s ministers in the world.

To say Anglicans are people of the Word is accurate in my opinion, because our ability to figure out norms living in the Heart of God comes from the written word and the Incarnate word. It is experienced in life. It is experienced in the water of Baptism that God uses to wash us clean; it is within the laying on on hands for Confirmation and Ordination or the anointing with oil and praying over the sick and/or dying. It is found in the blessing of a marriage of two people made one, or in the Eucharist.

One people under Christ bonded by the Eucharist. We are a people of God that discover God’s will for our lives by using Reason, Scripture, and Tradition. This “Three Legged Stool” helps equip us for action in the world. It is in the action of the six days we are called to minister to the world and be renewed on the seventh in community of God’s people. It is this we as a people need to remember wehn we hit crossroads and disagreements on points of doctrine, we have been at crossroads before and instead of asking what is right and wrong, what about asking “what is God doing within his people with this?”


Chadwick, Henry. “Tradition, Fathers, and Councils” in The Study of Anglicanism by Stephen Sykes, John Booty and Jonathan Knight, eds. Revised Ed. London:SPCK, 1998.

Fuller, Reginald H. “Scripture” in The Study of Anglicanism by Stephen Sykes, John Booty and Jonathan Knight, eds. Revised Ed. London:SPCK, 1998.

McGrade, A.S. “Reason” in The Study of Anglicanism by Stephen Sykes, John Booty and Jonathan Knight, eds. Revised Ed. London:SPCK, 1998.

McIntosh, Mark. Mysteries of Faith. Vol. 8 in The New Church Teaching Series. Cambridge: Cowley, 2000.

Newman, John. “Via Media” at 5May 2006.

Wiel, Louis. A Theology of Worship. Vol. 7 in The New Church Teaching Series. Cambridge: Cowley, 2003.

*John Newman would convert later in life to Roman Catholicism and become Cardinal Newman.


year we would like to see your parishes take a few minutes to think about consciously including AYC in your parish plans and budget.


We hope families with children will consider a week at camp in August for your children.


At AYC, we had 34 parishes represented among our campers and staff last year. Of the 83 parishes in our Diocese last year, only four parishes donated money to sponsor 12 children who needed bursaries. Yet those 12 children were from eight different Anglican parishes.


We have been blessed by a number of individuals donors to our camp who do not even belong to an Anglican parish yet want to make sure we never have to say no to a request that a child go to camp.


Special thanks goes out to all those who recognize the importance of this ministry. We could never do it without all of you. Because we rent the site with kitchen and support staff included, we incur extra expenses.


In the past, the Diocese has not included AYC in their annual budget. However, we have been very grateful when the Diocese covers our deposits and any shortfalls we may have incurred.


This past fall as we welcomed our new Bishop, the Executive blessed us with a one-time gift to help us with our deposits for the coming year.


There is also a group of people who volunteer hours of their time to work at camp, plus donate supplies to keep camp going. We could not operate without the commitment of these people.


AYC is held for two weeks in August at a site we rent on Red Deer Lake (west of Hobbema) called Livings Springs Bible Camp. Over the last several years, we have built a wonderful relationship with the Living Springs Board and Staff.


Living Springs is owned and operated for the summer months as a joint venture between six local Evangelical Churches. We have reached approximately 100 children each year. We could accommodate 75 children each week.


This is where you come in. Spread the word to every family you meet. Perhaps your parish would consider sponsoring children connected to your parish.


No children? A donation to AYC directly will help sponsor children whom you may not know but whose parents may not be able to afford the full fee. The AYC philosophy is that every child should be able to attend camp. The cost to sponsor one child is $330 and through the Diocese, we can offer a tax-deductible receipt for your donations.


If you feel you would like to get involved with this important ministry or would like to learn more about what we do, then we would like to invite you to our Annual Camp Reunion and Dessert fundraiser on March 3, 2007 at Holy Trinity Church, 18 Hidden Creek Road N.W. from 2-4pm.


We will have desert, a silent auction and lots of pictures from past camps. Itʼs a chance to visit old camp friends and to get a real feel for what camp is all about. I challenge every parish to send someone to our reunion to see what camp means to the children who attend. Better still send one child to camp.


Lastly, we ask all of you for your prayers. Pray that we receive the children to attend, the volunteers to staff camp and the funds to pay our way. This is a Diocesan ministry and our hope is that every parish large or small with children or not, will see the importance of this ministry and find it in their hearts to participate in some small way.


Please visit our website for more information. or call us directly on our AYC phone (403)835-3555. See you at the reunion!

Sheila Taylor was

AYC Director for 2006







Summer’s Coming




Free for all at Senior Camp.


Fun at Junior Camp.


Why Join a


Religious Order?


by Ty Ragan


I began the second phase of my Novitiate with the Third Order, Society of St. Francis of Assisi on the eve of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4).


I watched with joy as the animals God entrusted to us were blessed. A question is asked by a friend as I help him write a term paper in the history of Christian spirituality, why a Religious Order? Why strive to be “of no higher office than that of minor” as Francis phrased it in his earliest Rule?


Why? Because it gives me the freedom to move in life among those who need help unhindered by red tape. St. Francis of Assisi is not only the patron of animals and ecology, but also became the patron of political activism. The front line of social justice work came from the spirit of Francis and Clareʼs journey to the heart of Christ.


It is a vocation that fits my character, running for office, writing articles or letters, challenging the leaders of our church and nation or simply buying lunch for someone who is hungry or helping someone achieve. Yet then the question arises, isnʼt this what being a Christian is all about?


The answer is yes. Part of it is community. Itʼs being connected internationally with brethren that share the same heart of faith.


But it is more than community. Part of it is accountability. But you can also find that by being part of Cursillo, TEC or any host of other men or womenʼs ministries.


Recently I have been going through a rough patch of discouragement in my calling. Itʼs not about my vocation, for my vocation is Franciscan. Currently my calling is ministry to youth and children in the church. I also work with Hull Child & Family Services.


That is the joy of the Gospel life. The Holy Spirit moved within me over a year and a bit as I wrote my personal Rule of Life to be a Franciscan. Over this past year I have been living this rule more consciously.


The rule is designed to be general enough for life, yet specific enough to constantly cause growth in ministry in the world.


I am in the home stretch as I move towards life profession. In my heart I know this is where I should be. But in the religious life it is a community decision reached through prayer.


My vocation is not mine alone, but a community decision. This goes back to the earliest rule where Francis wrote about missionaries. He said their calling had to be seen by the friars, the priest, and the church. They had to be willing to learn about the culture and become fluent in the language.


I am a missionary. I have to remember that. A document challenges me to never give up. The religious life is not for every believer. It is a call to obedience, simplicity, prayer, and action.


It is a call never to remain silent when injustice is seen and to help those who are in need. It is a challenge to daily examination and transformation. As Francis wrote in those early days about education; a brother should not move on from one teaching of. Jesus until it is inwardly digested and outwardly lived out.


To be a Franciscan is to literally live out the heart of Christ in the world. The answer is simple for me when I am asked why the Religious Life? It is the same for all of us; God called and I answered.

Ty Ragan is a lay Franciscan working in ministry to youth and children at St. Georgeʼs Anglican Church, Calgary. He is a frequent contributor to the Sower.

( p.8)


Every year the same thing happens. June comes around and the church empties. It is Canada, and summer. What do you expect? Then September comes, and the frantic prayers: will the youth, the children, the families return? It takes until November for some ministries to be back in full swing.


Last winter I proposed that St. Georgeʼs, Calgary embark on a summer youth group and childrenʼs ministry. The children would live out the Exodus Story as actual Hebrews (yes my tour guides-Sunday school teachers-were in full costumes).


The youth group went on a series of day and evening Retreats from the Calgary Police Interpretative Centre (every youthʼs dream to process their youth leader?) to the Sam Livingston Ducks Unlimited Reserve. We also had campfire nights and awake-a-thons to answer the call to stay awake with Christ.


The youth summer kicked off with the “end of class bash: whole armour of God” where as the youth coined it in this water gun capture the flag match “We got to soak the priest and monk!”.


The cap off was a full day week-long vacation Bible school August 7 – 11 from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm for three to 11 year olds from the community to become part of Godʼs justice league (for fifteen children, half not from the church this was the best $15.95 I have ever spent).


Did it work? Our lowest ebb on a Sunday was two children, but we got as high as 20 with a normal Sunday seeing eight to 10 children in church. Our lowest youth retreat was five youth, the highest was 22.


Yes, there are many wonderful youth and childrenʼs camps available in Alberta and within the diocese. Yes, the city provides many great things for teens and children in the city, but what this summer proved was something even simpler.


You build a community where a child or teenager can be accepted for who they are, and meet Jesus…quite simply they will keep coming regardless of the time of year.


I would encourage each parish in the Diocese to begin year round ministry, it is not an experiment, but an integral part of the life of the Christian community.

Tyler Ragan is in ministry with children and youth at

St. Georgeʼs Anglican Church,

the parish where he was baptized as an infant.

( p.12)