3 Aug 2018
And I Began To Wonder.....
August 2nd is my son's birthday, and he asked me, “Dad, what are you doing with your faith? Are you an Anglican? Is that your faith? What would Great-granddad and Grand-dad say if they saw you now?” Indeed!!!! I asked myself the same questions and was reminded of the 39-Articles of Religion that guide our faith, and thus had to consider, "Hartley, what are you doing?"
Each morning, when I am in residence, I repair to my chapel, dedicated to my family. There, I seek God's guidance. This is usually a quiet time for me, but today I am troubled as the way of my faith seems lost. Anglicans-on-line (AOL) reports there are 79 branches claiming to be of the Anglican faith, but are they really?
Most of the groups according to AOL are not from true Anglican roots, but that doesn't matter to me; what does matter is that they believe and abide by God's word.
Hartley, I ask myself again, what are you doing? These groups--cutting in on each other...this is not how Anglicans should behave.
I have been at the altar of this faith since age 4. I have given 50 years of service to this faith which I was born in, and where I shall die. But of late, I have to reflect on the fact that we have become a party to divisions, fighting, slandering, without prayer, peace or spiritual acclamation. Today, I must reaffirm the vows I took on that cold January 1974: be diligent and trustworthy.
Over the last 21-years the ACW has conducted 11 Synods--all within the Cathedral of Good Shepherd. Seven bishops and 31 priests were consecrated and ordained. We have seen guests from 32 US states and 19 countries, but still it seems we are losing our way by fighting. What are we doing? It is time to stop and redirect our efforts: we must defend the faith, not with acrimony, but by residing in the garden of peace.
I wonder what they would think--our predecessors, our Patron Saints, Archbishops Thomas Becket and Wilfred Portier. Would they be proud of us? I think not.
We live in the time of the internet, a wonderful but dangerous tool. It has taken over our lives, our governments, and banks. Even the church is being destroyed by it. We cannot avoid the fact that it is here to stay, but we must not let it destroy our faith
My son is right to ask the question, what are you doing?
We have witnessed and been angered at how certain clergy are treating each other. But then I repair to the 23rd Psalm of David, “the Lord is my shepherd”……. and with this spiritual civility returns.
There have been admitted mistakes in trying to build the faith without proper vetting and verification, and such has its consequences: people come and go, but the faith remains. We have seen many of the 79 listed branches on AOL: their priests fail and lose hope. This is not the Anglican faith. Our founding Patriarch Alexander McGuire struggled, but when he departed, his church fell into divisions. Now, his AOC is all but gone.
We have bishops with no diocese, churches, or ministry. We have seen an active Anglican branch fall from 27 parishes to 3 in 4 years. The church is no longer focused on faith but divisiveness; no longer is it assured that faithful generation will follow faithful generation. And I begin to wonder.
Thomas Beckett died for his faith, so too am I willing. My loyalty is not to a denomination, but to God and the faith that bore me.
We must return to prayer. Those who have left the ACW did not do so because of the faith, but personalities, mine included. We will not ask for their return to the ACW, but to the Path of Peace.
Our Mother Church, the Church of England, is struggling to maintain adherence to the faith. The ordination of gay bishops and priests raises a serious question, but like a son to his Mother, I cannot leave her. There I shall remain. If I have offended any, I ask for your forgiveness, for there is a greater charge. We must jointly be committed to this as this life draws to its end.
THE ACW WILL NEVER DIE. Like, Wesley, (Methodist), Allen (AME), Luther (LC), and Mason (COGIC), we cling to God's word, preserving a path for our successors to continue to channel His glory.
Hartley, Metropolitan Archbishop-ACW