“We live out our awareness that we are called to be the Body of Christ”

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A friend sent this my way, from an Anglo-Catholic parish, St. Paul’s, in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC.

They’re looking for a new rector, and have published a Rector Qualification Sheet, which describes the parish, its mission, and what it seeks for the new boss.

I like how the parish describes itself:

In our worship, mission, and ministries at St. Paul’s, we live out our keen awareness that we are called to be the Body of Christ. This awareness is sacramental, in that all that we do proceeds from the foundation of our Eucharistic worship. It is also incarnational, in that we go forth from our encounter with Christ in Word and Sacrament to seek and serve Christ in others. An unusual variety of people from diverse backgrounds and surprising distances are drawn to St. Paul’s by what they find here.

As for the job description, here’s some of what they’re looking for:

In our worship, mission, and ministries at St. Paul’s, we live out our keen awareness that we are called to be the Body of Christ. This awareness is sacramental, in that all that we do proceeds from the foundation of our Eucharistic worship. It is also incarnational, in that we go forth from our encounter with Christ in Word and Sacrament to seek and serve Christ in others. An unusual variety of people from diverse backgrounds and surprising distances are drawn to St. Paul’s by what they find here.

We have a clear desire for more connection and dialogue with one another. We come from a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints, and in order to keep our focus on what unites us—the centrality of the Eucharist and our mission as the Body of Christ—we have tended to avoid addressing some critical issues, including the role of women clergy at St. Paul’s and the blessing of same-sex unions/marriages. During the current transition, we have begun to explore these questions. We seek a rector with the ability to facilitate dialogue on such matters as we discern the way forward to a vibrant future, one who can also help us build connections within our parish community and with others.

No one can be all things to all people. A clear understanding of personal strengths and energies will serve our new rector well, as will the ability to identify the complementary skills needed in other parish clergy and lay leaders. A genuine personal commitment to Christ in daily life, work, and prayer will help guide and sustain our new rector in this and all the other challenges we face.

There’s much more. Check it out. Visit the website, too. Most of what you’ll find could constitute a vibrant Roman Catholic parish. I wish more of these folks would cross the Tiber.

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As for just what, exactly, constitutes Anglo-Catholicism, Wikipedia has a good overview:

The expressions Anglo-CatholicAnglican Catholic, and Catholic Anglican describe people, beliefs, and practices within Anglicanism which emphasize the Catholic heritage and identity of the various Anglican churches, rather than the churches’ Reformed heritage.

The term “Anglo-Catholic” was coined in the early 19th century, although movements emphasising the Catholic nature of Anglicanism had already existed. Particularly influential in the history of Anglo-Catholicism were the Caroline Divines of the seventeenth century and later the leaders of the Oxford Movement, which began at the University of Oxford in 1833 and ushered in a period of Anglican history known as the “Catholic Revival”.

A minority of Anglo-Catholics, sometimes called Anglo-Papalists, consider themselves under papal supremacy even though they are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Such Anglo-Catholics, especially in England, often celebrate Mass according to the contemporary Catholic rite and are concerned with seeking reunion with the Catholic Church.

In addition, members of the personal ordinariates for former Anglicans created by Pope Benedict XVI are sometimes unofficially referred to as “Anglican Catholics”.

You can read more about their theology and practices here. 


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