Fr. Ed Tomlinson argues that the Ordinariate is not only for former High Church Anglicans

If you have been following the exchange of comments following my recent post “How to justify remaining in the C of E (?)“, then you will have read the reactions resulting from the belief expressed by “norm” that the Ordinariates will draw Evangelical Anglicans in due course.

In a well-reasoned blog post, entitled “Not just for the High Church…“, Fr. Ed Tomlinson also makes a similar prediction, this time specifically concerning so-called “Prayer-Book Anglicans”.

customaryToday I make a different point. That the Ordinariate is not just for the high church but open to all Anglicans, no matter their churchmanship, who hunger for unity and are struggling with the present difficulties of modern Anglican life. And plenty of clergy in the Ordinariate did train at Ridley Hall not St. Stephens House, plenty of laity worshipped at middle of the road parishes not exotic shrines dripping with lace and plagiarised Romanism.

And increasingly enquirers to the Ordinariate come from evangelical and mid church backgrounds. Perhaps not surprising when you recall that the difficulties we faced did not centre on ceremonial at the altar but orthodox teaching in the pulpit. Thus anyone who believes in, say, the unity of Christians or a male only priesthood might be looking in interest. So too those who struggle to understand how one can re-marry divorcees without annulment or accept a contraceptive mindset. Truly the list of shifts in Anglican thinking is long. Such people might well be pondering their future considering Ordinariate life. This is a call then to those whose spiritual needs are not being met as opposed to any attempt to proselytise those who are happy as Anglicans and belong in that communion.

Prayer Book folk would find life in the Ordinariate agreeable. For our liturgical texts are dripping in Anglican patrimony. The Customary provides Offices from prayer book tradition and the Ordinariate Rite uses many of these favourite texts that once defined English spiritual life. There is here a treasury of devotional life holding broad appeal, something of great benefit to our mission as we seek reconcile where the reformation once divided. To gather into unity those born into a prayer book tradition but who no longer recognise the Church of their baptism with the emerging Church of England of the future.

Yesterday I suggested the true face of Anglo-Catholicism in the future will, ironically, be found in the Catholic Church. There is also a possibility that devotion to the Prayer Book will predominantly, maybe even exclusively, be preserved here also. For even now Saint Anselm’s in Pembury is one of only a few places locally where Choral Evensong is scheduled on a regular basis. We are living through a time of real change…

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4 Responses to Fr. Ed Tomlinson argues that the Ordinariate is not only for former High Church Anglicans

  1. EPMS says:

    The membership of the ACCC, to which about half of current Canadian OCSP members formerly belonged, was largely drawn from this conservative contingent: people who were equally opposed to change in liturgy and discipline. Many had attended Anglican parishes that were much “lower” than the ACCC parish they eventually joined, but they vaued the dedication to the 1962 BCP, the 1928 hymnal, etc. While the eventual drop-out rate was very high when the terms of AC became completely understood, presumably some parishioners originally from this kind of “mid-level” background did make the transition. It would be helpful to get their insights. Speculation about what might appeal to a group to which one does not belong is often quite inaccurate.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: While the eventual drop-out rate was very high when the terms of AC became completely understood…

      Yes, tragically so — and I wonder how much of this occurred because some “mentors” assigned to their parishes might have handled some situations poorly, perhaps because they also were misinformed or because the situations were not foreseen. There probably are a lot of lessons to learn here for the ordinaries and their staffs. And there also undoubtedly were some who had no desire for Catholic unity but joined the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) anyway figuring that Catholic unity would never happen, then bailed in panic when it did. But it’s likely that at least some of these will dip a toe in the proverbial water of an ordinariate community to see what it is at some point, whereupon those who like what they find will come into the ordinariate.

      You continued: … presumably some parishioners originally from this kind of “mid-level” background did make the transition. It would be helpful to get their insights.

      Yes, I agree completely!

      Norm.

  2. EPMS says:

    I think most of those who dropped out of the reception process or bolted before it got started, did so because they had been misled on the TAC side into thinking that AC would be some kind of intercommunion arrangement. If you care to reread John Bruce’s detailed account of this period on his Cold Case File blog, with its links to long chains of comments on Fr Smuts’ and Fr Chadwick’s blogs, you will see that it took some time for people to understand that what was on offer was not a corporate merger—that the Complementary Norms would apply to everyone, for example. I do not think we can fault the mentor priests, with whom most groups seem to have continuing warm relationships, as far as I can see.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: I think most of those who dropped out of the reception process or bolted before it got started, did so because they had been misled on the TAC side into thinking that AC would be some kind of intercommunion arrangement. If you care to reread John Bruce’s detailed account of this period on his Cold Case File blog, with its links to long chains of comments on Fr Smuts’ and Fr Chadwick’s blogs, you will see that it took some time for people to understand that what was on offer was not a corporate merger—that the Complementary Norms would apply to everyone, for example.

      That misconception undoubtedly was a factor, though I did my best to dispel it on the blogs to which I contributed at the time.

      You continued: I do not think we can fault the mentor priests, with whom most groups seem to have continuing warm relationships, as far as I can see.

      I am not blaming all of the mentor priests assigned to the groups that backed out, but it would be naïve to think that there were not a few “turkeys” among them.

      Norm.

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