About J. Barrett Lee


I am the world’s only Anglo-Catholic Presbyterian.

What exactly does that mean?

It means that I am a Presbyterian pastor with a High Church Anglican heart.

A part of me is very Presbyterian:

I believe…

  • The Reformed tradition works with a balanced polity and an even-keeled openness.
  • The Protestant Reformation was a movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church and a much-needed corrective to the abuses and distortions of its time.
  • Biblical literacy is essential to the work of the Church.
  • Ecclesia Reforma, Semper Reformanda (“The Church is reformed, and always being reformed”).
  • Salvation comes by trusting in God’s sovereign grace alone.
  • The royal priesthood of all believers.
  • No earthly authority can claim absolute obedience or infallibility.
  • I see the Holy Spirit at work in my denomination’s leaders and in the whole people of God every single day.
  • It was God’s call that brought me to my current congregation where I get to serve the most amazing group of people as pastor.

Another part of me is very Anglo-Catholic:

I believe…

  • The ministry of the Word by itself, without the Sacraments, leads to the equally dangerous pitfalls of fundamentalism and rationalism.
  • Informed sacramental worship, rooted firmly in the mystery of the Incarnation, should lead Christians naturally into the streets to “seek and serve Christ in all persons.”
  • “The Holy Eucharist [is] the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day” and not just something extra to be tacked onto the end of the service one Sunday a month.
  • Christ is really, objectively present in the Eucharist.
  • Whatever their form or administrative function, all denominations should retain the office of bishop within the lines of apostolic succession as a visible sign of Christian unity.
  • Fragrant incense, liturgical vestments, and Gregorian chant enhance our worship.
  • It is appropriate and spiritually beneficial to ask the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints in heaven.

This is the bizarre combination of qualities that I find within myself. I don’t really know what to do with that tension, except to hold it. That’s why I’m writing this blog.

If there’s anyone else like me out there, I cordially invite you to tag along and join in the conversation!

A little more about me, personally…

I live in southwestern Michigan with my spouse (a fellow Presbyterian pastor, but without my High Church tendencies) and our two kids.

I am a member of the Confraternity at St. Gregory’s Abbey, an Episcopal Benedictine monastery in Three Rivers, Michigan.

I serve as the pastor of North Presbyterian Church, a mission parish of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan in an inner-city neighborhood of Kalamazoo. North Church specializes in doing ministry with people who are mentally ill.

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