Ginger Galt Epley from Portmouth, Virginia, writes:

I was Baptized and Confirmed Episcopalian, but I joined the Catholic Church just a few short years after the Episcopal Church decided to ordain women priests.

Three years ago my former boyfriend of college days at the University of Georgia whom I knew through the Episcopal Center in 1971, and I got reconnected and decided to get married. I moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, from Athens, Georgia, and we married at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Oldtowne Portsmouth two years ago.

He is still an Episcopalian, but he basically shares many of my views, such as the pro-life and anti-gay marriage ones, and we both love The Book of Common Prayer (Actually, I learned about the Oxford Movement from him and how to be a Catholic in the Episcopal Church those many years ago and we both love to read Morning and Evening Prayer together from the Episcopal version of the Divine Office) but he has not become convinced that becoming Catholic is the way to go.

He has always thought he would always be an Episcopalian, but I think he feels affirmed by the recent decision of the Anglican Communion to censure the Episcopal Church USA as well as the Anglican Church of Canada.

I joined the Ordinariate long-distance before our wedding, but I have yet to attend an Ordinariate Mass. I have always dreamed of what is happening now, and I have wanted to find some way to help the growth of the Ordinariate in this area.

We have recently inherited Donald’s family home and there is much repair and restoration to do before I can try to make a reality of my idea: to have a “Bible Study” using the “Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham,” of which I have obtained a copy, and also a discussion group on “Early Christian Literature” (such as “The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary” and the writings of the early Church Fathers, such as Ignatius and Polycarp, and even maybe up to St. Augustine of Hippo; actually, I got this idea after reading “Four Witnesses”, a book by a convert to the Catholic Church showing that the hierarchical and Catholic structure of the Christian Church was there from the beginning, and did not wait until after Constantine.) in our home.

My husband is a Gideon and perhaps I could persuade some of his friends or their wives to take part in this “Bible Study”, as well as some of my Catholic friends. (I am a Secular Carmelite.) Wouldn’t that be a great work of evangelism?

We still have much work to do on the house before we would dare invite people over, but I would like to ask all of the members of the Ordinariates and the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society to pray for this intention.

I do not know of anyone in this area who would be interested in the Ordinariate, but I would want to find out. We live in Portsmouth, Virginia, near Norfolk, an hour’s drive from Williamsburg and two hours drive from Richmond.

During my journey to the Catholic Church from the Episcopal Church I started attending St. Steven’s Anglican Catholic Church in Athens, Georgia, and the pastor, Fr. Mark Haviland, was a neighbor of mine in Athens. I have read on their website that they have grown by leaps and bounds, and Mark Haviland has become the Archbishop and St. Steven’s, in Athens, Georgia has now become its co-cathedral. Ever since I became Catholic, I have been praying for the eventual conversion of that body to the Catholic Church. Could you also pray for that intention?

Ginger Galt Epley

P.S. Ginger has left us her e-Mail address and asked us to forward any responses or helpful information to her. So please leave your comments below.

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12 Responses to Ginger Galt Epley from Portmouth, Virginia, writes:

  1. Jeff Hirst says:

    Hello, Ginger.
    I pray for the Ordinariates every day, and will pray for your Intentions.
    I firmly believe that the Ordinariates are a gift of the Holy Spirit to the whole Catholic Church. In his good time, we will see the great fruits that they bear. In the meantime, everyone is at their own stage of belief. Here in the UK there are many who could be Catholics in the Ordinariate, but as yet are unable to make the move. In God’s sight what seems like a long time, is the twinkling of an eye. Keep praying!
    Over here, the Continuing Anglican Churches are much smaller than in The States, but are doing a great service keeping Anglicanism free from liberal ideas that are increasingly affecting the Canterbury Communion. Just before Christmas, I noted with interest that the leaders of some of the major Continuing Churches in the US, including your friend Archbishop Haverland, signed an agreement to work towards Communio in Sacris by 2017 – details on the ACC, APA, ACA and Virtue Online websites. This is a good thing, and I hope it extends to the various groups here in the UK.
    Pray for them, that this unity among themselves will lead eventually to union with The Holy See.
    With all good wishes to you and your husband.
    Jeff Hirst

    • Viola Hayhurst says:

      To the contrary … as they… that is the ACC and the TAC, etc. are strengthening their ties with each other in the United States …… they are becoming more and more removed from the dictums of The Holy See and are pushing their own agenda to be recognized along with the Orthodox and other historical churches as fully Catholic into their own right. A lot of this was the end result of the Ordinariate and its failure to compromise with both their laity and as well Priests …. to incorporate and work with such communities as “they are”. A lot of bitterness here. So tragic !

      • Viola Hayhurst says:

        To affirm this and sadly so … for I had so hoped that things would be different. “Reunification….
        The Anglican Church in America has, after a period of discernment regarding the Roman Catholic Ordinariate, emerged stronger and more committed to the Anglican “ethos” and the reunification of Classical Anglicans. Engagement with like-minded continuing churches has become a major task in our work within the ACA and should result in an increased level of cooperation, inter-communion and, we pray, eventual full reconciliation with our brothers and sisters in other Anglican jurisdictions.” Source http://anglicanchurchinamerica.org/reunification.shtml

  2. Rev22:17 says:

    Ginger,

    Living in Portsmouth, Virginia, you are also within about four hours of two (2) ordinariate communities — (1) Our Lady of Good Counsel in Jacksonville, NC (I-664 S to US 13 S to US 17 S) and (2) St. Luke’s at Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC (I-664 N to I-64 W to I-95 N to I-395 N). This obviously is a bit far to travel every Sunday, but close enough so a monthly visit — perhaps for a special event or a feast that is of particular significance in the ordinariate’s proper liturgical calendar — would allow you to have some contact and ordinariate fellowship until an ordinariate congregation forms in your area.

    Norm.

  3. EPMS says:

    St Luke’s Sunday mass is at 8:30 am, which would call for a rather early start. The Sunday noon mass at OLGC is described as “typical Roman Catholic mass” on the website. Presumably this is available in Portsmouth, VA.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      For a member of the ordinariate who does not live near an ordinariate congregation, some level of bonding with an ordinariate congregation is very important.

      >> Yes, an 8:30 AM mass four hours from one’s home would require either an early start or an overnight trip — but either is feasible. It’s also plausible that one or another of the members of a distant community might be able to offer a place to stay overnight to a companion who is coming from a distance, once there’s a relationship.

      >> And the rite by which a community celebrates its mass is far less critical than the opportunity for bonding, sharing, and mutual support and encouragement provided by fellowship after mass. It’s in fellowship — not so much during the liturgy — that we build the bonds of community.

      Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, remarked in his books that, when presented with an opportunity, “the poor” — that is, those who fail in life — come up with every reason why something is not possible to take advantage of it while “the rich” — that is, those who succeed in life — ask how it is possible and set about finding a way to achieve it. We best support the ordinariates by doing the latter.

      Norm.

      • Yes, I agree with the sentiments of this comment.

        I too live about 300 miles from the nearest Ordinariate group (including a ferry trip of 25 miles). I now visit one or more communities several times a year.

        Last year I took part in the Walsingham pilgrimage, travelling up for the second time now with the Folkestone group directly from the seaside. My home group is Most Precious Blood in London and I try to take part in Mass there one or two times a year. I also try to make a point of going to at least one Ordinariate Mass per year at the principal church in Warwick Street. A couple of weeks ago I was in England and arranged to meet the pastor of the Deal group. Then there is our Expats spiritual director in France whom I visit at least once a year for a few days, and so on.

        Each visit involves quite a bit of driving and finding somewhere to sleep (I have slept in the car, on the ferry, at one of the rectories or our director’s home).

        But I would encourage you to make the effort – you will feel great, as I always do.

        David Murphy

  4. Susan White says:

    The Sunday Mass at St. Luke’s is indeed at stretch for you, with a start time of 8:30 am. However, perhaps you could make it to our next Evensong, Sunday, February 21st [the Vigil of the Ordinariate’s patronal feast, the Chair of St. Peter]. It starts at 7:30 pm at Immaculate Conception Church, 1315 8th Street NW, Washington DC., and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. We also have a 4 pm simple service of evening prayer, followed by fellowship, on the first Saturday of the month, September through May, at St. Anselm’s Abbey [4501 South Dakota Avenue NE, Washington DC]. You are always welcome.
    Which Ordinariate parish has Houston affiliated you with?
    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at StLukesDCOrdinariate@gmail.com

    Susan White, Administrative Manager, St. Luke’s Ordinariate

  5. EPMS says:

    Clearly where there’s a will, there’s a way. And the implication is that the liturgical experience is secondary to that of “fellowship” with fellow former Anglicans, now Catholics. In Mr Murphy’s case there is a literal “ex-pat” factor, but that experience has relevance to the general situation of former Anglicans now worshipping with regular diocesan congregations, at least as far as these comments are concerned. I am not sure whether Ms Epley feels personal nostalgia for a denomination she left 35 years ago or whether she feels that the Ordinariate could be instrumental in bringing her husband into the Church—perhaps both. But I am interested to know if other people agree that the “coffee hour” is the key to the Anglican Patrimony.

    • Viola Hayhurst says:

      My observation is that both the Episcopal / Anglican and as well Catholic communities offer some version of coffee hours, shared community meals….etc. It is just a matter of locating the community that best suits you. But it is only within the Catholic community that you are not yoked into or burdened by the “39 Articles ” and particularly that of “Article XXVIII” of the Book of Common Prayer. Hence being Catholic means that you do truly share in the real presence of the Living Lord in Transubstantiation. This should be the one determining factor in any decision to become truly Catholic….. not the ordination of Women or gay Priests and not Coffee Hour. And my observations as well to the ongoing formation of Ordinariate communities is that the “way” is still based on “technical merit” and not “spiritual” merit. Hence Anglican/ Episopalians— Priests as well as laity alike, that could truly enrich the Ordinariates, are continuing to be left waiting at the door or in many instances have simply given up.

  6. EPMS says:

    Amid this discussion of driving time, I have been looking to see who is ministering to St John Vianney, Cleburne, TX. http://www.stjohnvianneycleburne.com Fr Duncan is still shown on the community website, as you see, but as reported on this blog he is now in Greenville, SC. I know that Cleburne is 34 miles from Ft Worth, so I am wondering if Fr Charles Hough III, the former administrator of SJV, who is now serving at St Timothy’s, Ft Worth, might be helping out. Texas is fortunate in having a significant cluster of parishes.

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