Anglican vicar converts, brings half his flock with him

Details, from a neighborhood in South London:

A vicar led half his congregation in converting to Catholicism after complaining that the Church of England is telling believers in traditional values to ‘sod off’.

Father Donald Minchew was followed by 70 of his flock when he left the Anglican church where he has led services for nearly two decades to join a Catholic church less than 500 yards up the road.

He said the extraordinary leap of faith made him feel like the ‘Prodigal Son’ returning to a church with established beliefs after years of enduring the ‘pick and choose’ attitude of the CofE where congregations are fed on a diet of ‘pap and banality’.

The 63-year-old quit St Michael’s and All Angels parish church in Croydon, south London, to move to neighbouring St Mary’s Church because he opposed many decisions by the General Synod, including the ordination of women priests and bishops.

When he first told his congregation at St Michael’s of his plan during a service there was ‘surprise and astonishment’, he said.

‘They faced a stark choice – to follow me or stay where they were with what was left.

I never bullied or pressured anyone to join me. I let them make their own choices.

‘In the end about 70 of the congregation of 120 came with me.

‘They are very brave because they have answered the call of God and done it at great cost, often causing rifts and divisions with family and old friends.

‘The Anglican bishop and Archdeacon of Croydon were extremely understanding and supportive.

‘But from within St Michael’s there were a few false rumours put around to try to keep members of the congregation, including the ludicrous claim that the Catholic church would be ordaining women within a decade.

‘It was a little uncomfortable but I have no regrets.

‘When I was ordained in the Church of England in 1976 there were some things that would never be challenged.

‘But now it just seems that everything has come up for grabs.”

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Comments

  1. This is a great story. Good for Father Donald Minchew and his flock. After all, it is the Church of the Real Presence.

  2. The Anglican Church tried to be everything to everybody.
    It has ended up being nothing to nobody.
    It is a very important lesson.

  3. The time will come when everyone will have “itching ears” and will tolerate no sound doctrine. That time is here.

  4. pagansister says:

    Hope they are all happy with their decision.

  5. Well, if any of them aren’t… it’s a 500 yard walk back.

  6. Only when your eyes open and your ears able to hear do you know your true calling- To serve your God; Not pursue political correctness or please liberal minds. May you continue to pursue that biblical truth as you serve our God.
    Andy

  7. I’m always torn when I come across these stories. On the one hand, I’m happy that these people have found a new home in the Catholic Church. On the other, this stuff wouldn’t be happening if we weren’t witnessing the complete collapse of Northern Anglicanism. What it would have been to see the Anglican Church finding a way to reconcile with Rome while it was thriving in its ancestral lands.

  8. If you’d like to know how converts to the Catholic Church are reaching out to their disaffected Anglican brethren, check out the St. Thomas More Society, which runs an annual conference and provides support and direction (as in, “home to Rome” direction) to clergy and laypeople. http://www.stthomasmoresociety.org/aboutSTMS.htm

  9. pagansister says:

    Very true, T.E., very true. :o)

  10. midwestlady says:

    I applaud his courage, and the courage of those who came with him. Very good.

  11. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Converts to the Catholic Church are a great blessing and a great example for “born” Catholics.
    A few years ago a Protestant minister–a woman–gave up her ministry and ordination– to become a Catholic. She likes to say she used to be a “Bible -believing Protestant” but is now a “Bible-believing Catholic” because it was her many years of studying the Bible and taking courses in the Bible that led her to Rome.
    Now she is one of our most active parishoners, on the parish council, and works with me on adult education faith formation projects.
    I feel blessed to have been the one to have instructed her in The Faith although she didn’t need much instruction as she had read copious amounts of works by Scott Hahn, G.K. Chesterton, Peter Kreeft, and other truly orthodox Catholic writers.
    Too bad we can’t get our “born” Catholic people to read more solid books to deepen and enliven their faith in the face of an increasingly secular culture.

  12. Jack B. Nimble says:

    Shame on you Roman Catholics and this post. When did snarky triumphalism become the new paragraph in the Nicene Creed? I must have missed it. Anyone who read the tabloid article quoting this priest and saw the related photo (biddies and African immigrants) will have to admit they didn’t wake up and say “Rome had it right about papal infallibility, and old Cranmer was a heretic”. No, it’s all about keeping those female cooties away from the altar and going to a place where their fearful misogyny and homophobia can flower unchecked. This priest has problems with women in ministry, period, and all his other arguments are window dressing. So different from most of the convert priests here in the USA who (mostly) speak warmly of their Anglican heritage and their friends still in the Episcopal church.

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