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”.
Today 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…