Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bishop Keith Ackerman, FiFNA, Visits With Texas MSJ Chapter

+ Keith Ackerman spent a bit over three hours with the Texas Chapter at Holy Trinity Church in Hurst on Saturday, 19 September. During that time, Bishop Ackerman spoke frankly and personally to our questions, questions which are shared by many people. He acknowledged that there are flaws in the ACNA, but that this is the group that God has given us to work His will through, and that the ACNA is of an open mind, especially to the Anglo-Catholic mind.

He spoke of his great joy in visiting with evangelical Anglicans around the world and demonstrating to them that their views were actually the historic Anglo-Catholic views, while dismantling the caricatures built up regarding Anglo-Catholics as more interested in Mary than in mission and the spread of the Gospel in Christ Jesus. He said that his one of greatest moments of joy in dialogue were when J.I Packer said, after one of Bishop Ackerman’s presentations, “Well, if anyone had told me twenty years ago that I would be agreeing with the Anglo-Catholic position on anything, I would have laughed in his face. Today, I find that I agree to the point of calling myself an Evangelical Catholic.”

Bishop Ackerman also spoke of the great strides made in ecumenical progress with the Orthodox, especially the Orthodox Church of America, and of his hopes for the Nashotah House conference. “We are close, very close, to having an understanding which will lead to a deeper relationship.” He also spoke of the extraordinary flexibility regarding the new FiF-NA Diocese of All Saints, in accepting groups who are Anglo-papalist, Anglo-Orthodox, classic English High Church, Oxford Movement High Church, as well as making provision for various societies and religious orders under its umbrella.

Finally, he spoke of practicalities, of the sharing of ministries and talents among Anglo-Catholics and with others in the ACNA. He spoke of his own desire to celebrate and preach at Holy Trinity, and was overjoyed when Fr. Bob assured him that Bishop Fick has already given his blessing to do so. He is scheduled to speak to our cluster again on a Saturday late in November on the topic of pastoral counseling and then he will indeed preach and preside at Holy Trinity’s altar the next day.

The meeting ended with the clergy anointing and praying for his steady improvement in health and ministry, and his episcopal blessing upon us. The entire visit was truly a blessing and each man returned to his home parish refreshed and encouraged.

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