"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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reflections on the First Two Days of the Assembly

I must say, this ACNA Assembly has been refreshing to attend. Having experienced a number of acrimonious meetings during my time in the Episcopal Church, what strikes me most about this ACNA gathering is the absolute lack of bitterness and division. Everyone seems delighted to be here, and perfectly willing to accommodate the differing opinions and worship styles of others. Yesterday, for example, there was so little division over the proposed Canons of the Church that they were all passed in less than half the time allotted in the schedule (and that seemed too brief to me when I first saw the time alotted!). All of the delegates seemed to be willing to say, "The Constitution and Canons may not be perfect but they are good enough and can be amended later if it appears they are not working well. Let's just get on with it so we can get back to doing what the Church ought to be doing."

And participating in the varied worship services, with their diverse styles, has also been refreshing for me. Although I have a preference for a moderate degree of "smells and bells," today I can appreciate better where my more contemporary Evangelical and Charismatic Anglican sisters and brothers are coming from. Everyone's preferences have been accommodated. Yesterday, for example, we began the day with a Rite I low mass in the cathedral at which we sang a couple of very traditional hymns (Mrs. Burton sounded great on the organ, as usual). Later in the tent we said Morning Prayer (Rite II) accompanied at times by a guitarist playing more-or-less traditional hymns mixed with a praise chorus or two. Then noonday prayer was a brief, spoken service. Finally the evening ended with a very traditional Rite I Evensong service, complete with incense. Large numbers of people took part in all four services, more or less comfortably, and seemed pleased to do so. It truly has been a pleasure for me as well.

Now I am off to hear Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America speak. It appears he may have an important announcement to make. I can't wait to find out what it is!


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