"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Eyewitness Report from Wheaton, by M.B. Hwang

Greetings to Texanglican's readers from your correspondent in Chicago/Wheaton!
Sadly, I was not able to get as many photos as I would have liked because they specifically asked at the beginning of the service that we not take photos unless we were professionally engaged to do so. So out of respect for worship, I refrained, but not everyone was so law-abiding. Even some clergy were breaking the rules - and with the flash on!

As you all know, the entire video is available on the Internet, so it would make little sense for me to describe the details of what actually happened when you can see it for yourselves. Rather, I'd like to write from a more personal (and biased) perspective. My guess is that most attendees found this an uplifting and liberating experience. People were saying afterwards, "That was an amazing service."

[The order of service may be found in pdf form here.]
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. I could tell right away that a lot of planning had gone into this service, because when we pulled into the parking lot, there were kind volunteers directing traffic. Bishops Ackerman and Iker made a nicely matching pair in the procession in. I had an advantageous aisle seat in a front row, near lots of clergy. (My teaching pastor was even able to give me a half-nudge of acknowledgment on the way past.) I was able to say hello to an old friend from InterVarsity; two faculty, one classmate, and one acquaintance from Nashotah; Ft. Worth's very own Dean Reed (in a tasteful cutwork surplice); and naturally, some familiar faces from All Souls'.

Even having grown up with evangelical style worship, I had some surprises. Bp. Duncan, for example, likes to say "God is good! "to which the correct response is "All the time!" (You're not allowed to laugh at my ignorance unless you know the response to "Our help is in the name of the Lord.") The most awkward part for me was the part where they blew a shofar and told us to shout. I am constitutionally incapable of shouting to the Lord in anything but anger despite having had a 5th grade teacher who insisted that it was scriptural, but I head some pretty vigorous sounds from many others. Perhaps I sound critical.

I'll admit it: I'm not convinced that the best use of praise music is at Eucharistic worship. However, those of us who prefer a more traditionally (western) catholic worship style need to remember that Wheaton is "Rez"-land. AMiA is big here. Charismatic is big here. There may have been stuff I wouldn't support, but no heresy, and since I believe that the formation of a second North American province would more or less benefit all Anglicans, I guess that means that tolerance and forbearance has to start tonight, even if it means getting a few songs stuck in your head or discovering that there is apparently such a thing as "non-alcoholic" wine. It's all too easy when one doesn't like somebody else's worship to forget that we used to put up with worse things.

To be fair, I probably stretched someone else's limits tonight as well. I went ahead and did as much of my usual bowing and scraping routine as I could, and I wouldn't be surprised if I turned out to be the only person who bowed through the Sanctus, knelt for the Anaphora and for Communion, and didn't give standing ovations. Nobody acted uncomfortable about it. Perhaps someone will go home thinking that it was prideful of me, and as a sinful creature I won't deny that somewhere in my heart, there's a part of me that likes to call attention to myself. But I want to show the utmost honor to our Lord the best I know how, I want others to feel free to do likewise, and I hope God will accept this and help me to live with the kind of humility that would seem to say that I did it not for my glory, but for His.

I didn't sign the Jerusalem Statement. I deeply wanted to, and had I been one of the bishops I probably would have done it for the sake of us all, but I strongly believe that the 1662 Prayer Book and the 39 Articles should be considered formative, but not "authoritative," for Anglicans. However, I want to be clear that the new Province has my full support. We're all going to have to be patient about things that mean a lot to us. I think more latitude would have been very wise in phrasing these particular statements, but hey, at least we're not compromising the Nicene Creed here. I mean if Bishop Ackerman can sign this without lying, there's gotta be hope.

Regarding Randall's question "Did you meet any bigwigs?" I have to reply: No, I did not meet too many bigwigs. I felt sorry for the poor bigwigs, who were immediately surrounded by crowds, and by the time the crowds had left, so had the bigwigs. So much for schmoozing and networking!

This event started at 7:30, and I had to take a 10:54 train back to Chicago. As I stepped into a cab on the way home, I had this telling little exchange with a friendly cab driver:

Driver: What's the secret behind that beautiful smile? You a naturally easygoing person? (This is the week before finals week, and I am a scrupulous worrywart.)

Me: Ha! Ha! Um, I mean ... actually ... I have clinical depression, haha.

Driver: Oh, well, so ...

Me: Actually, I spent the afternoon talking about God with a friend, and then there was this service...

Driver: So the service pleased you?

Me: Uh... actually, I didn't even like the service very much. But important stuff is happening in the Church...

I am Randall's best-friend-forever, a dual US and Taiwan (ROC) citizen, a Nashotah non-graduate, a second-year M. Div student at the University of Chicago, a member of the Church of the Ascension in Chicago (TEC), and an intern at All Souls' Anglican in Wheaton (Bolivia).


Blogger ejwilson said...

thanks for this insider's view. I have to say, it really illustrates the problem with this new province. It seems to be a very uncomfortable union with the Evangelicals and the Anglo-Catholics who, rather than coming together for a common purpose are coming together to fight a common enemy.

What happens when you have a disagreement with them over women's ordination? Will Bishop Iker sit across the table from a female bishop in the new province?

I pray that Anglo-Catholics will soon realize that they will always be fighting for their identity until they come home to Rome, like I did.

Non-alcoholic wine? Jewish shofars? Praise music? These are clear ruptures from traditional Catholic worship.

Also, is that a blue chasuble and miter?

8:46 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

The new canons of the Church stipulate that bishops are to be male presbyters over the age of 35. So one of your hypos won't take place, Mr. Wilson. The fact that the pro-WO jurisdictions agreed to that limitation for the office of bishop speaks well for our ability to get along in the new province. As for worship styles, so long as the proper elements and words are used and the priest is properly ordained, things like music and vestments are adiaphora. I perfer "high" worship myself, but aesthetics is not the central thing. (Non-alcoholic wine is a bad idea, but I take comfort in knowing there is no way that could remove absolutely ALL of the alcohol from the wine, so it is still valid for mass. Not ideal, however.)

Blue is now frequently used as the Advent color among Anglicans, so that purple serves as Lent's distinctive color. We do so at St. Vincent's Cathedral in the dioFW as well.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a gross travesty of worship.

9:07 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

I'm sorry you feel that way, anon. As someone who is "amphibious" between Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals I rejoice that our new province will have room for both styles of worship. While I am not personally much edified by "Rez" style charismatic worship, I recognize its validity. For some people it draws them closer to God, which allows them to worship Him more sincerely from the heart. I am glad they have the chance to do it. I am sorry last night's service was a "travesty" for you. (Personally I doubt the Lord saw it as such.) May God continue to bless you with a venue in which you may worship God with all your heart as those good folks were trying to do, and in the manner you find most fitting to His glory. Best wishes for a blessed Advent season.

9:39 AM  
Blogger ejwilson said...

Blue vestments remain controversial and are illicit in the Roman Church. Rather than going with blue to distinguish between Lent and Advent, why not choose two different purples.

Thank you for pointing out the agreement about women bishops, I did not realize that. As a young man, I'm curious about the requirement that bishops be of a certain age.

At any rate, I do have a question about WO and the canons. Can the canons be changed? Can they guarantee that women priests in the various jurisdictions won't have ambitions to the episcopacy?

It seems to me to be altogether nonsensical to admit women to the major orders of the diaconate and the presbyterate and not the episcopacy.

I am also familiar with the line of argument about wine being fermented grape juice and that fermentation occurs whenever the skin, air, and juice meet. That is all well and good, but most processed grape products are pasteurized, ending this fermentation process. Thus, there is a good chance that the non-alcoholic wine was not proper matter.

I will even concede this point and argue that the intent of using non-alcoholic wine would also go to the intent of the priest in offering the sacrifice. The priest using non-alcoholic matter does not intend to offer wine as the blood of our Lord.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Julian said...

"The fact that the pro-WO jurisdictions agreed to that limitation for the office of bishop speaks well for our ability to get along in the new province."

It saddens me immensely to hear it - even as others are appalled that women can be ordained at all.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Andy B. said...

Father Foster,

Thanks for posting this story from your friend. It is very enlightening, but also very sobering. I must agree with the comment about the validity of the eucharist: very concerning indeed. I also question the notion that liturgy is about edifying people, and is thus adiaphora. No doubt it can--and does--edify as St. Paul teaches, but is that it's purpose?

The continued "loosy-goosy" treatment of the sacraments and the liturgy, even before this province is formed, greatly worries me. And by making concrete the ordination women within the constitution and canons themselves!, what does that do for any real ecumenical activity? Doesn't that just solidify our current "outcast" position?

However, on the other hand, there is the great potential this has to really revive North American Anglicanism, which is a worthy goal indeed. I suppose we shall just have to wait and see.

I pray that your enthusiasm and hope is well founded and I'm thankful this new province has you in it.

Your friend,

11:43 AM  
Anonymous David said...

So the canons do not allow women to be ordained to the office of bishop, but what about presbyter?

1:10 PM  
Blogger John said...

also attended the service, and MB wasn't the only one "bowing and scraping."

It bears repeating that charismatic AMiA churches exert a heavy influence in Wheaton. The band was all Rez folks, from what I could tell, and the Sanctus setting and other ordinary music are used at their services. I imagine the service would have been different had the organizing conference taken place in Fort Worth!

As Bishop Duncan (Archbishop Duncan?) noted, one evidence that this is indeed a sovereign act of God is that such a diverse group of bishops were able to agree on so much. "We couldn't have done this in our own flesh," he said.

So I'm hopeful. I don't want to dismiss the real concerns and questions raised by everyone, but I think the bishops are aware of the natural "fault lines," and I pray that God will use them to chart a way forward that everyone can stand on. (Or kneel, if that be your preference...)

2:01 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Yes, David, women may be ordained to the diaconate and presbyterate if their jurisdictions within ACNA permit it. Hence, there will be female priests in CANA and Pittsburgh, but not in Fort Worth or REC. This is what "respecting the two integrities" amounts to, and is the cost of unity for both sides in the WO debate.

BTW, in his press conference Bishop Duncan said that there were a number of women priests who were present to vote on the provisional constitution & canons and they all in favor of them, even with the decision to limit the episcopate to males. I, for one, appreciate their votes as a demonstration of their commitment to the unity of the new province. I am sure it was not easy for them.

2:03 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

John, you will be interested to know that the first provicial synod will take place at St Vincent's Cathedral in the diocese of Ft. Worth six months from now. I anticipate traditional Anglican hymnody (perhaps even Gregorian chant) and a good deal of bowing and scraping--with incense--then! :-)

2:11 PM  
Blogger ejwilson said...

I like the metaphor of fault lines. It seems to me that they should be warnings about the endeavor and yet they are being ignored, like the man who builds his house on the sand.

To Bishop Duncan's point about the fact the bishops of divergent opinions came together speaks to my point that they are not uniting around a single focus but are banding together against a common enemy (TEC).

I am bewildered that those in the Anglican Church who purport to be part of the Catholic Tradition, who believe in the Sacraments, etc. would spend so much energy to join forces with people who don't believe the same things about the Church and are very much committed to being Protestant.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

in his press conference Bishop Duncan said that there were a number of women priests who were present to vote on the provisional constitution & canons and they all in favor of them, even with the decision to limit the episcopate to males. I, for one, appreciate their votes as a demonstration of their commitment to the unity of the new province. I am sure it was not easy for them.

There are some who criticize this movement for "splitting" all the time (and sometimes they have a point), but let it never, never be said that many of us, and especially our women, did not make extremely painful and humbling sacrifices for the sake of unity!

Who could ever understand the sorrow? This had better be worth it.

2:29 PM  
Blogger ejwilson said...

Fr. Foster, the fact that some women in attendance gave their consent to their exclusion from the epsicopacy does not guarantee that other women priests in the province (or those yet to be ordained) will not want to one day become bishops.

Furthermore, it has yet to be explained to me how one can say it is permissible for a woman to be admitted to the orders of the diaconate and presbyterate and NOT the episcopacy.

It will only be a matter of time that a woman priest within the province gets the votes within their diocese to become a bishop.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Andy B. said...

No doubt all of the concerns here are valid, but one of the more pressing concerns is asked by Fr. Pinnock:

"Being in Communion with other orthodox Anglicans seems to be the point. Perhaps I am premature, but I would hope that by contrast any corporate post-CofE arrangement would state at line one of its foundational documents that it is formed with the intention of pursuing the ecumenical goals of ARCIC – the re-unification of Anglicans with the Holy See."

It does seem that the priorities are quite different. Common Cause seems to be throwing ARCIC out the window! I recommend his piece here.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in a parish with an ordained woman priest who has incredible gifts of teaching, administration and counseling. If she were a man, and if so desired, there would be no hesitancy about her credentials to be a bishop. But, she is one who is keenly sensitive to our Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical brethren who are anti-WO. If only some of them would be willing to see the obvious anointing and hand of God on some of our women priests.

We have great models--The Rev. Meg Guernsey, the Rev. Canon Dr. Alison Barfoot that most of you want to deny their calls from God. These are godly women who continue to suffer from the demeaning name calling of their orthodox "brothers."

I doubt that you would ever hear one word from them about their brother's chosen style of worship.


3:51 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

M.B.Hwang should know that the clergy were not in the room when the announcement about no photos being taken was made. That is all.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Julian said...


Fair enough.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Todd Granger said...

Not to sidetrack on an adiaphoron, but...

ejwilson, on the narrow matter of the color of vestments in Advent:

You may be correct that blue vestments are illicit in the rites of the Roman Catholic Church during Advent. However, blue was the color associated with Advent in the (English) Sarum Use, hence its use (recovery?) by Anglicans.

There should be nothing controversial about the color of vesture anyway - I am a High Anglican and very much a lover of order in liturgy, but the color of vestments is low on the list even of adiaphora, particularly since the colors varied not only in the West among various Rites and Uses, but vary widely between the West and the Orthodox Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Have you seen, for example, the eye-popping colors of the vestments of clergy in the Mar Thoma Church or in the other Churches in India of Syrian provenance?

4:52 PM  
Blogger Kamilla said...

"I doubt that you would ever hear one word from them about their brother's chosen style of worship"

Christie, are you seriously contending that women's "ordination" is merely a matter of a "chosen style of worship"?

God help us


5:04 PM  
Blogger At A Hen's Pace said...

I am smiling as I read the descriptions of Rez and its worship team--which did include a few musicians from other churches, I believe. (I was a Rez insider for 16 years but have been gone for over a year since we were sent out to plant a new Anglican church in WI.)

The Rez leadership is delighted, I'm sure, that Mr. Hwang carried on with the "bowing and scraping," just as a certain segment of Rez leaders and members also do. Only a handful of its nearly 800 members had ever set foot in an Anglican church before they came to Rez, a helpful perspective to keep in mind.

Rez, with its charismatic yet higher-than-you-might-realize sensibilities is a great example of how diverse, yet unified, one body can be! It is my prayer that this new province can be unified in the same way, despite my own concerns with WO.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


No, I didn't mean to equate it. But, I do believe that woman can have a calling from God that is equal to men.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Marmee March said...

I'd like to second Mama Hen's comments, and add one more for perspective. Many Rez members first attend while enrolled at nearby Wheaton College, and many of them come from teetotaling backgrounds. It's a pastoral consideration.

8:37 PM  
Blogger ejwilson said...

Todd, I think there are some other Sarum customs that would be great to restore, like unity with the Roman Pontiff.

Marmee, there are other ways to accommodate those who shun alcohol that don't involve taking action that has the potential to invalidate the sacrament. I have known several alcoholics who do not receive the precious blood, but only the body.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous David said...


Sorry to post this here because it's off topic, but I can't find another way to contact you. That is, in fact, my question. Can you provide an e-mail address at which I may contact you? I'm currently applying to M.A. programs, including Classics at Vanderbilt and Early Christian Studies at Notre Dame. I noticed that you are doing doctoral work at UChicago's department for New Testament and Early Christian literature. This is a program I would very much like to enter after completing the M.A. and I would love to correspond with you about your experience there, and also about your experience as a "scholar priest," as I also aspire to the diaconate or priesthood.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

You all might find this article intersting concerning liturgical colors...

2:03 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...


2:03 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Sure thing, David. My school/church email is rfoster@sves.org and my home email is texanglican@tx.rr.com

Happy to talk to you anytime about U of C. BTW, the easiest way historicial to enter the U of C PhD program in ECL is through their own MA program in the Divinity School. You might want to check out U of C Div School's MA while you are at it.

6:48 AM  
Blogger lukacs said...

What is Rez?

9:53 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

The Church of the Resurrection, Wheaton. http://www.churchrez.org/

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there is any good reason for restricting the order of bishop to males, how can female deacons and priests be justified? If females can be validly ordained as deacons and priests, then denying them the fullness of ministry in the episcopate is nothing other than discriminatory. "n house divided against itself cannot stand," and the policy revealed so far makes no sense at all. How can a woman be a priest in Falls Church but not in Peoria? This inconsistency strongly suggests that what we are watching is simply a one issue movement. That does not bode well.
Laurence K. Wells

1:42 PM  
Blogger An Anglican Cleric said...

Ditto everyone that was written in the main post concerning the service. The Eucharist itself was orthodox and reverently celebrated by Bishop Duncan with appropriate ceremonial, but the contemporary music, the shouting, the assumption that we all knew the response to "God is good!" (All the time!) was a bit strange to this 1549, 1662, 1928 Prayer Book Churchman (and I don't mind contemporary music or language mind you--but I do like things done reverently and in order).

Sitting in the clergy section as did texanglican, I had charismatic clergy sitting behind me responding to about every sentence that Bishop Duncan spoke.

I was one of the scofflaws who took pictures with a cell phone (no flash)--I only found out after that we weren't suppose to take photos. I'll send you some if you'd like when I figure out how to download them from my phone.

Like the Anglo-Catholic bishops coming from ECSUA and my own bishops of the REC (a couple of whom border on the Anglo-Catholic), I didn't raise up my hands during the hymns or sway side to side. As my rector and I joked after the service, we raise our hands where the Parson's Handbook tells us to during the Eucharist. I did notice that almost everyone crossed themselves during the Absolution and Benediction, and most of the clergy bowed during the Incarnation in the Creed.

Yes. . .non-alcoholic wine. . .I believe that's called Methodist transubstantiation. The biggest slight of all was giving +Iker one of the "non-alcoholic wine" chalices. True, some wine remains (you can't stop fermentation completely) so that's a bit of a consolation. Also, they quickly removed +Iker from the non-wine wine duty when absolutely nobody chose to receive it.

By the way, we brought a United Reformed pastor with us who is in the process of joining the REC, and on the ride home he commented (slightly tongue in cheek) that he "would have preferred an Anglican Missal service." Me too. While, it was a moving service, I hope the Anglo-Catholics show the AMiA folk how its done in Texas when they all come down for that.

9:33 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Thanks for stopping by, AC. Just to clarify-the main post was written by a good friend of mine, M.B. Hwang, an intelligent theologically and liturgically well-informed laywoman studying in the graduate Divinity School at the University of Chicago.

Thanks for giving us a view from the clergy section!

8:22 AM  
Blogger An Anglican Cleric said...

Oops, sorry about this misread on that texanglican.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous former sheepdog said...

It is my understanding that the "God is good!" with reply, "all the time," comes to us from our brothers and sisters in Africa.

I'm very sorry that M.B. Hwang did not appreciate the service. From what I saw it was wonderful and I would've felt right at home. Looking at what was in the pdf of the service bulletin, it appears to be a well-blended liturgy.

There is no reason we can't embrace and share an historic, orthodox faith in Christ, but still be 21st century Christians.

And the shofar is a reminder of Christianity's Jewish roots. I was blessed to be able to see a copy of the worship book used in Jerusalem this summer at GAFCON. It was a well-blended, inspired collection of old and new songs and hymns, used all over the world in Anglican worship.

Perhaps some of us need to be a little more flexible in our worship style and be more open to the Holy Spirit's leading.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Bob Maxwell † said...

Anglo Catholic ->Methodist -Asburian ->SWTS, Chicago, N IN to the southwest ->ACOK. So, this Wesleyan in the Wesley's Church is all Three Streams.

In the procession, I found myself missing the incense and then the ram's horn sent holy chills up my spine. . .bowing, kneeling in the pew like a Free Methodist, bowing at the name of Jesus and the Incarnation and Gloria, and raising my hands like Asburians now do. . .and I expect the service at St. Vincent's will be just as exalting, but with smoke and bells! I, too, couldn't believe they stuck that chalice in Bp. Iker's hands! And, as the gentleman and servant of the Peopl of God that he is, he stood firm.

Be aware that some of us aged but not decrepit clergy have rethought WO and are very glad that the new Constitution takes note in the silence about WO in the Constitution. This means we may revisit and like the Church of Latvia return to the tradition of only males to be ordained.

The terms I have heard from coast to coast are "WO has not yet been received and could still be reversed," and "WO is not a salvation issue." I do not believe this was just P.R.

See all y'all at the ACiNA Provincial Assembly at St. Vincent's!


2:31 PM  

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