Link: Fr. Tony Clavier.
Fr. Tony, who’s feeling better apparently… has written a challenging piece that basically asks us if we might turn our dudgeon down just a bit in terms of our response to the Nigerian Mission in America… The Virginia mission referred to in the last sentence is a new congregation in Virginia that has been founded recently by the Nigerian Anglican Church.
Four hundred years ago Anglicans landed in Jamestown and celebrated the Eucharist. Mission was established. That mission was not to provide some ecclesiastical flavor, choice or alternative. Our mission was to be the Church. Simple as that. Maybe it sounds arrogant. We have been arrogant. Maybe it sounds anti-ecumenical. It shouldn‚Äôt be. Part of what our claim says is that we are everywhere seeking to draw all, serve all and love all. If we ourselves enable parishes to be places which draw out from the world like-minded people, we have nothing at all to say to our sisters and brothers in that Virginian mission. They are merely copying us under different management. If we create gathered groups containing our kind of saints why can‚Äôt others?
I have to admit that I’ve often wondered the same thing. What does it mean for us to claim to be a catholic church? What sorts of implications does it have when we set up an Episcopal parish across the street from a Roman or Greek Orthodox congregation? How about a storefront pentecostal one?
Maybe we can think more about being the best possible congregations we can be to the communities in which we minister – and welcome the other expressions of our shared Christian faith when they minister to the same community that we do. Or something like that…