“Growing Up: Growing Out” – Report on the first five years of the UK Ordinariate

The Ordinariate website reports:

The fifth anniversary of the erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham occurs early in the New Year. The Ordinariate has been preparing for this by undertaking a wide ranging survey of its current situation. Extensive interviews were held with clergy and laity across the country. The responses received have been collated into a report that will be used to inform the Ordinary and the Governing Council as they plan for the next five years. The findings will now be discussed in the local Ordinariate groups to identify how the particular mission of the Ordinariate can best be carried forward.

Mgr. Keith Newton, in thanking those involved in producing the document, said that the report highlights the great progress that had been achieved since the Ordinariate was founded but also where improvements need to be made. It also emphasises the need to explain better the distinctive nature and role of the Ordinariate both among its members and among the wider church.

The main findings of the report have been summariesed in an Overview Report, which can be accessed here.

The full survey report has been distributed to clergy and to members of the Pastoral Council for dissemination and discussion across the Ordinariate.

Growing up - growing out (front page)

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8 Responses to “Growing Up: Growing Out” – Report on the first five years of the UK Ordinariate

  1. EPMS says:

    Much of importance here. I will start by noting that the report recommends looking at the communities which are “flourishing” to identify factors which have led to their success amd to implement policies based on this information. This is something I have been going on about for some time; rather than sitting back and saying “Our Lord only started out with twelve apostles” and “Growth will occur naturally on its own while we sit with hands folded and hearts in the right place”.. Nobody wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, but surely there is a reason, or several reasons, why the community in Scranton, which started out with 50 members in fifteen households in 2005, now has over 150 members, owns a church, and is planning to open a school, while the congregation in suburban Boston started out with 29 members in 1996 and now has 50 members.

    • Joseph Golightly says:

      Some reasons
      1. The Episcopal Church in North America is in melt down
      2. The Anglican Use was well established
      3. Whilst there were ABC parishes nobody understood that this meant Anything But Catholic
      4. CoE people hate the Roman Church including bishops (and some are in the Society) and would rather ape what Roman does but not really accept it
      5. Forward in Faith and the Society are anti Ordinariate (and that of course means anti Roman)

      But despondency must not be allowed to settle, there is much to do to bring people into the Church that Our Lord gave us. God bless the Ordinariate

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Much of importance here. I will start by noting that the report recommends looking at the communities which are “flourishing” to identify factors which have led to their success amd to implement policies based on this information. This is something I have been going on about for some time; rather than sitting back and saying “Our Lord only started out with twelve apostles” and “Growth will occur naturally on its own while we sit with hands folded and hearts in the right place”..

      Yes — and the news of the report reveals that, in true Catholic fashion, much of what needs, or needed, to happen has been happening “under the radar” and not in public view. There is a process going on to lay the groundwork for all communities of the ordinariate to move forward. In the Catholic Church, you cannot assume that nothing is happening just because you don’t see something happening.

      You wrote: Nobody wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, but surely there is a reason, or several reasons, why the community in Scranton, which started out with 50 members in fifteen households in 2005, now has over 150 members, owns a church, and is planning to open a school, while the congregation in suburban Boston started out with 29 members in 1996 and now has 50 members.

      Well, let’s see.

      >> 1. The number of Anglican Christians in the Chestnut Hill area (where the municipalities of Boston, Brookline, and Newton meet) here in Massachusetts, where the St. Athanasius community worships, is quite small and the Roman Catholic population is quite substantial. Thus, the opportunities to recruit new members through evangelical outreach are quite limited. The Scranton area, by contrast, has a much smaller Roman Catholic population.

      >> 2. The Chestnut Hill area also is an enclave with relatively poor access from the larger metropolitan area that surrounds it. There is a decent east-west secondary road (Massachusetts Route 9) that comes within a block of the church where the community worships. This route intersects the inner beltway around Boston (Route 128/I-95) several miles to the west, but it turns into a city street with lots of traffic signals a few blocks to east. There is no good north-south route into the area, so those who come from suburbs to the north or south of Boston must take the inner beltway to the west of the city and then come eastward on Route 9. The suburbs to the west do have a more direct route, but many of them also have a significant Roman Catholic population. I suspect that accessibility of the community in the Scranton area has been much less of an issue.

      >> 3. It’s also very likely that the overhead of administration, spiritual formation, and other programming that are necessary to sustain any community consume a greater proportion of the time, talent, and other resources of the smaller community than of a larger community, leaving the smaller community with disproportionately fewer resources for outreach.

      There’s no doubt that a greater emphasis on evangelization or a pastor with a more charismatic personality or parishioners with a gift for drawing in their peers also might have contributed to the greater growth of the Scranton community, but these considerations are far from the sole cause of the difference in growth.

      But what’s really important here is that both communities are in fact growing. A community that is growing, however slowly, will not fail. It’s the communities that are hemorrhaging members that are in trouble.

      Norm.

  2. EPMS says:

    “Reasons” for what?

  3. EPMS says:

    Norm, your knowledge of the geography of greater Boston is immense, but your knowledge of Scranton is correspondingly close to zilch, so your comparison is merely speculative. But one could suggest, if Chestnut Hill was such rocky soil, couldn’t St Athanasius have—–moved? This is what St Luke’s, Bladensburg did, with appparently very good results.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You asked: But one could suggest, if Chestnut Hill was such rocky soil, couldn’t St Athanasius have—–moved?

      Perhaps not easily. The parish of The Episcopal Church (TEC) from which the founding members of the St. Athanasius Community came was in that general area, so any move to a location that’s more readily accessible would have been inconvenient for the founding members. The Archdiocese of Boston did close a significant number of parishes in the 1990’s, but the motivation was evolving demographics — the Catholic population was migrating from urban to suburban areas, forcing a consolidation of parishes in the inner city. Thus, the church buildings that were up for sale or underutilized were in inner city areas that were not readily accessible. The solution that the community found — the church building of a suppressed parish in which the receiving parish maintains one mass relatively early on Sunday mornings and holds baptisms, weddings, and funerals from time to time — probably was the most viable solution.

      Norm.

  4. EPMS says:

    Picking up on another point, thr idea that big things are going on “under the radar” seems to me a comforting fiction. The report states that the Ordinary is “overworked and isolated”. The problem of priests who live too far from their groups or have too little time to devote to them is clearly the result of the OOLW’s lack of resources. The fact that the Ordinariate is little known or understood in either Catholic or Cof E circles is mentioned. Of course many positive initiatives are being undertaken and our blogger works hard to make these more widely known, as do the editors of the Portal magazine. But the reality is that the OOLW is a shoestring operation, with a major visibility problem. There is no reason to believe that this is a cover for some kind of “Operation Overlord” being planned behind the scenes.

  5. Paul Waddington says:

    One thing that was missing from the review of the first five years was statistical information. I know that providing numbers for Mass attendance, for example, is difficult because of the degree to which Ordinariate groups have been integrated into parish life, but surely some estimates can be made. Providing numbers of clergy would be simple. Without some numbers, it is very difficult to assess anything.

    The second thing that is needed is some sort of directory. The website does this to a degree, but information on the groups is not set out in a consistent way, and in many cases is inadequate. I would suggest that compiling a directory should be a priority.

    Paul Waddington.

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