Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Flotilla of Lifeboats

A mild-mannered, soft-spoken prelate
Gave an hour-long address recently to a
Small New England audience on
"How it all fits together."

Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the
Anglican Church in North America,
Described the genesis of his denomination
As a flotilla of lifeboats coming together.

To the outsider, the result is a
Crazy patchwork of parishes and dioceses
With little discernible organizational structure
And independent-minded members.

How does one herd the proverbial cats?
Not by direction, not by fiat from the top.
Only by recognition that they are all
Guided by the Holy Spirit in their actions.

Few of the parishes function in
Conventional church buildings
With pews, altars, stained glass
And deadening hoary history.

And that is because those parishes
That left The Episcopal Church
Were evicted from their buildings
By a vengeful leadership.

If you peruse the listings of
Parishes in ACNA, you will find
They rent quarters in public buildings
Or piggy-back other denominations.

An exception is the long-established
Reformed Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.
Which has been in existence since 1873
And brought in 150 parishes and missions.

ACNA now boasts over 100,000 members
In hundreds of congregations, but who's counting?
That's not the important thing,
It's the growth that is meaningful.

ACNA has a goal to plant 1000 new churches.
Its finances and structure are a mystery,
As is the specific role of its bishops
In vast dioceses across North America.

One is reminded of the early church
As depicted in Acts and the epistles.
No one quite knows how it will work out,
But the drive to serve is paramount.