What happens when former Evangelicals find their way home to the Catholic Church through the Anglican Church? They bring with them into the Catholic Church a whole range of gifts from their former traditions. They bring the zeal and dedication of the Evangelical. They bring wide and deep knowledge of the Scriptures. They also bring the Anglican love of fine preaching, excellent hymns, reverent worship and beautiful language and liturgy.
The new Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans may attract far more than a few disgruntled Episcopalians. A whole range of Protestant Evangelical Christians are ‘out there’ searching for a church where they can exercise these great traditions from Evangelicalism and Anglicanism in faithful full communion with the Catholic Church.
The Anglo Catholic is a new blog dedicated to news on the development of the Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans. The blogger breaks the news today of an interesting development.
In Springfield, Missouri there are four Episcopal churches and two continuing Anglican congregations, but none have expressed interest so far in becoming part of the Anglican Ordinariate. However, a group has started by a man and wife who are former Evangelicals who became Episcopalians and then converted to the Catholic Church.
Shane Schaetzel put up a facebook page expressing interest in the Anglican Ordinariate and now has small and diverse group of people meeting for prayer to discern the way forward. They want to start an Anglican Use Congregation to eventually become part of the Ordinariate. I predicted this would happen. This new venture by the Holy Father may attract some Episcopal congregations, but I believe we are going to see a movement like this of other former Evangelicals.
I think there are quite a few out there who, like me, have been on the Canterbury Trail for some time. They are invisible because they are now in a whole range of different churches. They might be biding their time in their Evangelical church because they know how intolerable the Episcopal church would be and they don’t want to join an even smaller Anglican sect. They are drawn to the Catholic Church, but are put off by many of the problems within their local Catholic Church too.
I believe the Anglican Ordinariate will be a bridge for many of them. You can read more about Shane Schaetzel’s group here. Pray that more people will take this step and step out simply to respond to Pope Benedict’s appeal.