I am the world’s only Anglo-Catholic Presbyterian.
What exactly does that mean?
A part of me is very Presbyterian:
- 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:
- 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 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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- Jean Vanier. Becoming Human
- Anthony Marett-Crosby (ed.) The Benedictine Handbook
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- Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation