Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Pickled Cabbages"

From Andrew Teather, an Anglican priest in Manchester, England, in a post titled "Pickled Cabbages" at Anglican Wanderings, "Passionately Anglican. Unapologetically Catholic".

Please read Teather's Parable of the Cabbage at his website first.

The Parable of the Cabbage holds true for Churches in this country, we see those around us, as they see us, with different ecclesiologies, but still part of the same Church of England, for better or for worse. There is an acceptance that in this climate we have at least some sense of shared mission, at least this is the narrative I hear time and time again.

This strained relationship is continually about to crack at the joints though. We see the American situation, with the Episcopal Church, GAFCON and their variants at loggerheads in the courts and from the pulpits and, to be honest, I despair somewhat, knowing that we will be in the same boat soon, whether we like it or not. Again, I stress as I have done before that we would be very foolish to import the American situation into the UK, as we have no tradition of 'continuing' Churches ever attracting much in the way of a congregation, and at this point in time it would be ecclesiastical suicide. However, come it has. On June 17th to the 19th our brothers and sisters in FiFNA are having a meeting at which it will probably be decided that there will be a split in FiFNA between those, like St Clement's Philadelphia, who are happy with the Episcopal oversight offered by TEC and those who are not, who will join the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) which will join the many, many denominations in that country.


Let us, once more, return to the cabbage. Cabbages, as we have discovered, come in many guises, but all sharing an essential family resemblance. We in FiF UK, I do not see, have a family resemblance with the Archbishop of Sydney. We are concerned with the Catholic Faith, branch theory, the faith delivered to the Saints presented in a way which - it has been proved, do not forget this - is accepted and loved by people of these isles. I do not feel called to be a Priest in FOCA, I cannot accept the Jerusalem declaration and my vocation comes from this Church, through which almighty God worked and works to this day, witnessed by our growing Churches. I have no interest in off shore morality havens and I do not want to go from being a minority in the Church of England to a minority in FOCA, for we know what will happen eventually. The end will come, we are poised to leap out of the frying pan into the fire and I, for one, do not intend jumping unless there is absolutely no choice.
(Emphasis mine)

Change the name of church to the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada, and many of the priests in North America, of many different cabbage flavors, would very likely, agree with Teather.

Ever since the Archbishop of Canterbury began meddling in the affairs of the Episcopal Church, telling us what to do, with little understanding of our church polity, telling our bishops how to be bishops, as he did at the meeting of the bishops of the Episcopal Church in New Orleans, seemingly cutting slack to those who desire to spread division in our church, I have wanted to say to him, "Archbishop, take a look at the groups that are trying to divide the Episcopal Church. They will soon be at your church door. Do you really think that they will stop at the borders of North America. Do you really think that the the crown jewel, the Church of England, is not in their sights?" Unfortunately, I never had the chance. However, I have said it around the blogosphere time and time again.

As to Tether's desire not to "import the American situation into the UK", I suspect that neither he nor the Archbishop of Canterbury may have a choice as to whether that happens, as those of us loyal to the Episcopal Church had no choice. The groups intent on division come in and do their thing, permission or not.

I have quoted a goodly portion of Teather's post, but I urge you to read the entire post. It's quite good.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to his post. It is well articulated. Marilyn

Lapinbizarre said...

Andrew is the leading light behind a very interesting, varied Anglo-Catholic blog from my home city (Manchester) - a city to which, come to think of it, Mimi paid an unplanned visit just last month. He is not in fact "Father" at this point, but is to be ordained deacon in the diocese of Blackburn next month.

I find the cabbage metaphor very comfortable.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lapin, thanks. I edited the post. I saw the cassock and figured he was a priest.

Unintended, indeed! Not that I have anything against Manchester, but it was in and out for a new credit card. The airport there is a much better place than either Heathrow or Gatwick.