Fort Worth Clergy Retreat
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!