Tuesday, November 27, 2012


My friend John Woods asked this question here and posted my response to him at his blog. I know there are others who share our lament.  Read John's post and pray for him. Offer godly advice.

An Evangelical Anglican...Sadly Adrift Again

I usually hate to ask for directions, but...

Q."The catholic Christian must therefore be discerning." I've noticed that you refer several times to "catholicity" or small 'c' catholic Christians. What are the criteria for catholicity? In which churches may one find it?

A.The first question will determine the answer to the second. It is often easier to define something by saying what it isn't and that is what I have tried to do here.

I would say that Catholicity has the following distinctive marks. It involves the full sacramental life of the Church, apostolic teaching, the all-male priesthood devoted to purity of life, the authority of Scripture and Holy Tradition, oversight of bishops who are in submission to the Gospel and to one another, the Trinity, the Creed, and reverence for holy things such as Mary and the angels. It will express itself in worship using time-honored liturgies and with music that expresses reverent adoration. It is salt for a bland world. It is beauty to restore the divine image when we become cloaked in ugliness.

Now as to where we find this? You might find it at a church near you. So much depends on the Priest's vision of what the Church at worship should be. Of one thing I am confident, we will experience the fullness and beauty when Christ returns.

...full sacramental life...reverent adoration...salt for a bland world...restore the divine image when we become cloaked in ugliness...the Priest's vision...

Honestly, the only church I've ever visited that meets all the criteria is Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church in downtown Sacramento. http://holyascensionchurch.com/ I did feel as if Christ and Mary and angels and saints were there. The Liturgy was wonderful, moving, and even frightening, and, unfortunately for me, entirely in Church Slavonic. The parishioners had obviously not integrated into American culture and clearly weren't in any hurry to do so. The priest, Father Paul, was very polite, but he frankly pointed out that in addition to experiencing its beauty and power, one also needs a rational apprehension of the Liturgy. Since they don't plan to use English and neither my family or I will be mastering Russian/Slavonic anytime soon, conversion is not a realistic option.

Read it all here.


Christos Jonathan Seth Hayward said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I can, if you want, send you a copy of a Slavonic-English liturgy book. The priest is gravely mistaken; there are grandmothers fit for Heaven who do not understand the Creed, but have the divine Light in their heart.

Christos Jonathan Seth Hayward (Email)

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Find an OCA Church in your area: http://oca.org/parishes/deanery/OCA-WE-PCE
There is a place for you and your family. May the Lord bless your journey...
In Christ,
handmaid leah

Margaret said...

St. Anna's Greek Orthodox Church in Roseville, Ca is a congregation made up of more than 50% non-ethnic converts, and the Divine Liturgy is in English. We do congregationally chant the Divine Liturgy. The congregation is warm and welcoming, and may be a home for you and your family. This congregation has a character of being spiritually oriented, struggling Orthodox Christians, not an ethnically oriented congregation, although we do have parish members who come from Greek, Russian, Romanian, Serbian, Syrian, Lebanese, Mexican and Portuguese ancestry. We have adult religious education classes, three Bible Studies, and three Church History Classes from different perspectives; our and a large Youth Religious Education program. If you are in our area, please do come an join us. http://saintanna.org/