To the Diocese of the Holy Cross, meeting in Synod on the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, April 25, 2008 , in Greenwood , South Carolina , at St. Andrew's Church

by the Rt. Rev. Paul C. Hewett, SSC


on the feast of St. George the Martyr, April 23, 2008 

Christ is risen.

The Council of the Anglican Association in the United Kingdom extends fraternal greetings to the Right Reverend Paul Clayton Hewett, SSC, his brother bishops, priests, deacons and people as they gather in Synod on the feast of St. Mark in this year of Our Lord 2008.

We are especially pleased to learn of your interest in and support for our determination to promote the Anglican patrimony which we share in common.

To this end we are gratified that you have invited our colleagues – the Reverend Fathers Arthur Middleton and Geoffrey Neal – to be Guests at your gathering and to reflect upon concepts and to exchange ideas with you.

It is our earnest hope that this collaboration may be fruitful and productive in the years ahead as we move forward in the faith we share.

For and on behalf of the Anglican Association,

Anthony Kilmister

President, the Anglican Association of the United Kingdom .

We are grateful for Anthony Kilmister's encouragement. Many of you know that he is President of the Prayer Book Society in the United Kingdom and now also of the Anglican Association to promote our patrimony. We are glad to have Fathers Arthur Middleton and Geoffrey Neal with us from England , both active in the formation and development of FiF/UK. May we at this time formally thank Elizabeth Morgan, Directress of the Altar Guild of the Diocese of Albany, for her workshops over the past two days, and Father Jerry McKenzie for leading the Quiet Day. Bishop Patrick Murphy and Betty send their greetings from Houston , Texas . We owe a debt of gratitude to St. Andrew's, and Father Peter Geromel, for hosting this Synod, and to everyone who serves on our committees, boards, chaplaincies, ministries, and the ACW, and to everyone who took the time and spent the money to come here.

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord, Jesus Christ.

In the Western Church , every religious order has a founder with a vision of a particular way of living the Gospel. St. Benedict established families of monks who would have a set place to live. St. Francis had brothers with no set place. St. Dominic sent out preaching friars. We as Anglicans have a particular vocation in centering ourselves on the consensus of the undivided Church of the first millennium. As with the early fathers, the starting point in our theology is the Incarnation. Our Book of Common Prayer is a Benedictine way of life. We have a special ability to connect with Rome , Orthodoxy and Protestantism and to reveal the essential unity of the Body of Christ.

Let the words of Isaiah the prophet, chapter 58, verse 12, speak to us: And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

Our history as a community of Christians is unique, starting with the ancient Celtic Church of Britain and its resonances with the Eastern Fathers. The Benedictines came in the 6 th century and over the next thousand years built the Church in England , using as their model the Church as the Family of God and the Household of Faith. Our Reformation Fathers anchored themselves firmly in the Fathers of the early Church and would become known on the Continent as the stupor mundi , the wonder of the world, for their orthodoxy, piety and learning. Catholic and Evangelical movements in the 19 th century grounded us more firmly in the one great Tradition of the Church and in missionary zeal around the world. The Church of England became the spiritual matrix for the emergence of the greatest empire the world has ever known. In the 20 th century, the Anglo-American alliance, comprised mostly of Anglicans and led by Winston Churchill, won the greatest war ever fought. In our own time, the language spoken everywhere, the richest and most expressive language in the world, is the one whose modern form was distilled from the Book of Common Prayer, the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare. The English language, English spirituality and culture, are the most absorbent in the world, as a result of invasions and an ingenious fusion in Christ in a crucible of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Viking and French cultures. It is no coincidence that the world's first parliamentary system arose in England . It arose because Alfred the Great, one of the greatest kings that ever lived, set the stage for it.

We have a story to tell, a gift to give, a patrimony to promote, as we go about the work of extending the Kingdom of God and curing souls. The gift we have to offer the rest of the Body is of inestimable value, and that is why Satan has been attacking it with such ferocity. Some Anglicans lose heart and say that we are fatally flawed and all washed up. “Let us go at once to Rome or Orthodoxy,” they say. But God has a plan for us; He has given us a vocation. And the patriarchs of the universal Church know this.

The Dominican, Father Aidan Nichols, is asking us to describe for Rome how we size up our patrimony. He is giving us homework to do. Will we tell our big sister the things we want to bring with us? Will we say what our patrimony, our heritage, is? Will we describe our gift? The rest of the Body needs it and can only be richer with it, and so it should not be lost by absorption. Rome has been asking us over the years to tell our story. “What made you so great? Tell us, because we have been separated for so long. We want the inside scoop. We want to know how you describe your Benedictine emphasis on the Family of God, with your small parish families, in a time when family life is falling apart. Our emphasis, with our huge parishes, is on the Army of God, the militia Christi ; your emphasis is on the Household of Faith. Tell us about the Book of Common Prayer, as insiders who use it every day. Tell us how your ethos produced so many eminent lay theologians. Tell us how you raised up the British Empire; tell us how you liberated Rome and Paris and Athens in WWII; tell us about your deep ties with the Orthodox, with whom we yearn to be visibly one. Tell us how your re-aligning Communion can re-connect with the Orthodox in ways that will help us get closer to them.

When John Paul II asked us all in his encyclical, Ut Unam Sint , how the Petrine Office could more effectively serve the Church to reveal its unity, Olivier Clement, who is Russian Orthodox, answered him in the brilliant book, You Are Peter . Let us dignify Aidan Nichols' request with a similar response. Let us help our colleagues from England , the Canons Arthur Middleton and Geoffrey Neal, representing the Anglican Association, dignify the question with a response. “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

The Anglican fathers who built on the foundations of Benedict and Alfred the Great preserved and contributed to our patrimony in difficult times, difficult and confusing times. They bore their contentious times with joy and optimism – Hooker, Hammond, Andrewes, Laud, Traherne, Keble, and so many others, encouraging us and firming our resolve. In our own times we know the genius of T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Charles Williams, Eric Mascall, Edwyn Hoskyns, A. G. Hebert and Alan Richardson, to mention a few. Rome at her best wants us always to find a way to continue our unsurpassed musical tradition with Charles Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Francis Jackson and so many others. Anyone who hears Herbert Howell's Collegium Regale at an Evensong, even a hardened sinner, will want the tradition that produced it to continue and flourish. English hymnody is unique in the world with its optimism and exquisite sweetness of life in the Holy Spirit.

What a tremendous heritage we have, what a great way to proclaim the Gospel, to extend the Kingdom, and to cure souls. On this Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist let us ask God for a greater thirst for souls. Let us rejoice in our Anglican Way as a way of living the Catholic Faith, and pray and work for more people to know our living Lord Jesus Christ in our midst, in our parish families, the matrix for the cure of souls, the healing of wounded creation, the recapitulation of man in Christ. Thirst for souls, those we meet. Pray and offer the Mass for them and witness to them.

God is calling us to take the hard road, the high road, to walk through the fire, of getting our act together as a re-aligned Anglican Communion. Rome out of courtesy will take us in dribs and drabs but what she would rather see is the whole re-aligned Anglican Communion enter into communion without absorption, without loss of the gift. We are facing the hard work of connecting with and networking with the Global South and the evangelicals. We need to become more evangelical and they need to become more catholic. In the lives of the saints we see a three-stranded rope, with catholic, evangelical and charismatic all knit together, the skeleton, the muscle and the heart. Of course “catholic” by definition means all three strands. But where they have separated, repairers of the breach have to roll up their sleeves and keep up with the hard work of getting all three completely together. We are not to criticize the breach but repair it.

Among Anglicans, not all evangelicals and charismatics are with us on the ordination of women. But the ordination of women among believers is doomed. It will fail, like all gnostic systems, because it is not of God. Sarah Mowbray in the latest New Directions magazine tells how and why she gave it up, and this sort of witness is gaining ground. Wherever the evangelical community is weak and infected with gnosticism, we can teach, gently but firmly, firmly but gently, the Catholic Faith, and the Prayer Book tradition as a way of life, and apply the principle of Hebrews 7:7, that the lesser is blessed by the greater. We cannot be in communion with anyone who ordains women, nor will the Federation of which we are part. But we can trust God that the ordination of women will come to an end among those who aspire to be orthodox. Should that not happen before we commit completely to one another, we in the Federation can step back, and align only with Forward in Faith. That will still be a huge step in the right direction. In the meantime we have an opportunity to shape the future of re-aligned Anglicanism, and witness to those who are now groping toward orthodoxy. The lesser is blessed by the greater. In the new creation, a good apple in a barrel of rotten apples can make all the apples good. Even the waters of the Dead Sea can be made fresh by the living water from God's Throne.

In the converging church we therefore have a prophetic role, a teaching role and a missionary role. In our prophetic role we are ahead of our times, out beyond the battle lines as a reconnaissance operation. We teach from the one great Tradition of the undivided Church, the paradigm and the standard for unity. The Orthodox have always had the same paradigm for unity, and now Rome does too. John Paul II said that as we face the third millennium, we overcome the divisions of the second millennium with the consensus of the first. We have a missionary role, because over the past thirty years, orthodox Anglicans in this Country have started so many hundreds of parishes, that the orthodox remnants in England and Scandinavia want to know what lessons we have learned. As the Lord inspires us to prophesy, teaching and evangelism, we do our part to add some tone to the muscles and sinews of orthodox Anglicanism.

We are in a new phase of federating with sister jurisdictions in the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas . The FACA is comprised of the Anglican Province of America, the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in America, the Episcopal Missionary Church, the Anglican Mission in America, and ourselves, some 500 parishes altogether. We are moving toward common, and higher, disciplines and standards for marriage and Holy Orders. We work together on missionary strategy, better communication, mutual support and accountability. The Federation is now a partner with Common Cause, itself a federation. We are at the table with our partners, to help shape our future. Through the upcoming conference in Jerusalem , the Global Anglican Futures Conference, we can meet people we otherwise might not meet, enabling us to examine our future together, and raise important questions. What, for example, is the relationship between Archbishop Peter Akinola and Francis Cardinal Arinze in Nigeria ?

Our Diocese can give the Anglican Association a greater international edge and provide an opportunity to share the lessons we have both learned. Together we can promote our patrimony and what it means to be an Anglican. We can read Father Middleton's latest book, Restoring the Anglican Mind , which Gracewing is bringing out next month. We can help with research and writing tracts. We can tell our story to the rest of the Body. It is an amazing story of the Holy Spirit opening up a way for us in the wilderness, sometimes under humanly impossible conditions. He is both forming us in Christ, and leading us to the promised land, the glorious restoration of our life in Christ. Surprising numbers throughout His Body are standing on tip-toe to see this and be blessed by our gift, and say “they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”

With the greatest evangelist that ever lived, we lift up our hearts and say, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 20-21)

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