"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, January 29, 2009

Fort Worth Clergy Retreat

For the last three days I have been away, dear Reader, at the clergy retreat of the diocese of Fort Worth. This was a silent retreat at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat Center on Lake Dallas, and it provided valuable time away from the hustle and bustle of school and parish life. There was plenty of time for prayer and study. And, I'll admit, I caught up on some much needed sleep as well.

Almost all of the clergy of the diocese were there. We participated in Morning Prayer, Eucharist, Evensong, and Compline each day. And there were a series of meditations on the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary given by the Rev. Ralph T. Walker, Master of the Society of the Holy Cross in the province of the Americas and rector of St. Michael and All Angels Church in Denver. I found much a great value in these meditations, especially in their focus on how our following Christ amounts to "coming with Him." Lunch and dinner-time readings from Scott Hahn's fascinating book, Hail Holy Queen, supplemented the talks well.

I regret that one aspect of the talks did hamper my full appreciation of them. In several of the meditations I couldn't help but notice a rather negative attitude toward the beliefs of Protestants--an attitude that extended to evangelicals as well as liberal Protestants. Of course, it makes sense that a leader of the SSC speaking to a group that had a large number of SSC members in it would have a strongly Catholic flavor to his remarks. But as an Anglican of the "middling sort" who honors our Reformation heritage as well as that bequeathed to us by our ancient and medieval Christian forebears, I personally would have been better able to appreciate Fr. Walker's otherwise wonderful meditations if they had not taken quite such a dismissive tone toward our traditionalist Protestant friends. I feel an irenic approach with respect to our differences is even more important these days as we are busily forging a new North American Anglican province that will bind together traditionalist Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical and Charismatic Anglicans.

Please don't get me wrong. The talks by Fr. Walker had much of great value in them. I can easily see why so many people have found his spiritual counsel valuable, and I am grateful for the chance to have heard him speak over the last three days. And the retreat as a whole was very profitable for me and for other participants with whom I have talked.

The retreat was deeply Anglo-Catholic in its tone, of course, and that was wonderful. My personal reading, though, meant my "reformed" side also benefited from the retreat. In addition to a detailed study of Ephesians over the last few days, I also read much of Martin Luther's On the Bondage of the Will and Alister McGrath's Christianity's Dangerous Idea, a study of Protestantism and it's history.

Now, rested and spiritually refreshed, I am ready for school in the morning!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sunset in Bedford Tonight

My father, Randy, took this beautiful picture of our sunset here in north Texas tonight. It was a lovely day here, with a high in the upper 70's.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quote for Reflection from C.S. Lewis

"I am a very ordinary layman of the Church of England, not especially 'high', nor especially 'low,' nor especially anything else."

C.S. Lewis, from the Preface of Mere Christianity.

I have frequently thought about this statement from Lewis in the eighteen and half years since I first read it during the week before my baptism at All Saint's Church in Austin, Texas. In a way it encapsulates my own walk with the Lord in the years since I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1990. I would today happily describe myself as "a very ordinary Anglican, not especially 'high,' nor especially 'low,' nor especially anything else."

Personally I rejoice that the Anglican tradition is able to accommodate within its bounds both the fine people of St. Timothy's, Fort Worth, with their beautiful Anglo-Catholic worship of the Living God, and the good folks at St. Andrew's in downtown Fort Worth, who faithfully adhere to the more Reformed traditions of our Communion. I love worshiping with Anglicans of both the high and low church "parties," and wish them all many days of faithful service. But I must admit that my own liturgical tastes fall somewhere in the middle.

As it happens St. Vincent's Cathedral, where I presently serve, provides just about exactly what I find best equips me to worship the Lord and nourishes my own spiritual life when it comes to liturgical practice. On the one hand, if some Anglicans of a more "evangelical" bent visited us on a Sunday morning, they might feel we were a bit too "Catholic" for their tastes. (We certainly do high mass--a sung Eucharist complete with lace and moderately elaborate "smells and bells"--almost every Sunday at 9AM.) On the other hand, I have heard at least one highly-regarded Anglo-Catholic priest here in the diocese jokingly refer to us as "you Protestants at the cathedral!" (Our dean is, after all, a Trinity School for Ministry man. And the wonderful people of our parish are quite good sports about my evangelically-tinged sermons! [I've even taken a floppy Bible into the pulpit on a few occasions! :-) ]

I am very blessed that the Lord has given me an opportunity to serve Him in a faithful, orthodox Anglican community that is just about the perfect fit for a "middling sort" like me!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Which Church Father are You?

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Good Friend Ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests in Italy

A good friend of several readers of this blog, Francesco Giordano, has just been ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests in Christ's Holy, Catholic Church by the Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Albenga-Imperia in Italy. May God grant Father Giordano many years of fruitful ministry!
Congratulations, Don Francesco!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Attendance Is Up At St. Vincent's Cathedral

Defying the expectations of some, attendance at St. Vincent's Cathedral actually increased in the year 2008. Despite turmoil in the national Episcopal church and uncertainty in the run up and aftermath of our diocesan vote to leave TEC and realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone more people attended our parish in the year 2008 than had for many years.

Our Average Sunday Attendance in 2008 was 417. That is up seven worshipers from the year before (1.7%). That is not an enormous jump in attendance, admittedly, but it continues the "tradition" of an increase in ASA of about 2% per annum that has been the rule here for the last five or six years.

And that trend seems to be continuing even more strongly in the last few weeks. Last week (the second Sunday of Christmas), for example, saw just shy of 490 people attending our Sunday worship.

May God give us the grace to continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ effectively.

Above you will see a photo taken of the early mass on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Excellent! (Watch till the end.)

Hat tip to Stand Firm.

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