Friday, December 5, 2008

Grateful For The Beginning. Hopeful, But Not Quite Celebrating Yet

(PHOTO CREDIT: Kim Johnson)

Over at TexAnglicanM.B. Hwang writes about the Wheaton gathering:  

"For me, it was bittersweet. Anticipation - and watching it unfold - is a complex emotion. I am simultaneously amazed by the unity and dismayed by the difficulties in maintaining healthy diversity that still lie ahead, glad that a long-awaited future is taking shape and sad for the pain of the reality of divisions, relieved but also aware that our detractors are watching, appreciative of an obviously thoughtfully organized event bit also unmoved by the style of worship and approach to liturgy. In short, I feel that this is a time for hope and endurance but not exultation or relaxation, so I suppose my greatest difficulty with the service was that it felt so insistently celebratory to me."
On the eve of the Wheaton gathering, TexAnglican wrote:

"...  it seems clear that the December 3rd meeting will not actually "launch" the new province. It will, instead, present what its framers intend for it to become once its new constitution is ratified by member ecclesiastical entities.

This actually makes sense, in light of the fact that the diocesan conventions (or equivalents) of each of the member dioceses and ecclesiastical bodies will surely have to ratify the proposed constitution individually before they will officially become members of such a new provincial structure. The CCP's leaders seem to be following the course taken in adopting the U.S. Constitution. It was proposed and debated for months before the individual states ratified it one-by-one and it went into effect."

Add to these two observations the biggest concern of all, the differing positions on catholic faith and order, especially as it relates to the ordination of women to the priesthood,  I reply now to that oft asked question, "So, how do you feel about the new province, the ACNA?"   

My honest answer is this.  It was an honor to be in Wheaton for the gathering and to sign the Jerusalem declaration. I am hopeful.  The gathering demonstrated reason for hopefulness, but is premature for unrestrained celebration. 

As M. B. Hwang said, "I feel that this is a time for hope and endurance but not exultation or relaxation".  Amen.  Well put.

 +Frederick G. Fick

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