St Paul’s word’s haunted me. “There is one bread and one body. We who are one body
share in the one bread.” (I Cor. 10:17.) Eventually I accepted that the only way for my
personal vision of Jesus to be enlarged to a universal experience of the risen Lord was to
be received into full communion and personal union with his Body on earth–the
The next few months were terrible time of indecision. Together my wife Alison and I
contemplated the future. We had planned on a settled and happy life of ministry in the
Anglican Church. I hadn’t trained for any other career and if we left the Anglican Church
there seemed nothing but an uncertain future. Could we possible leave everything and
step out into the unknown? Surely it was possible to stay in the Anglican Church a bit
longer. Then one Sunday evening I went to Quarr Abbey—a local Catholic Benedictine
Abbey– for Vespers and Benediction. The modern abbey is built just a few hundred
yards from the ruins of a medieval abbey. As the monks chanted I agonized over the
decision to leave the Church of England.
“Why this call become a Catholic?” I cried out to the Lord. “ I only wanted to serve you
in the ancient church in England!”
As the incense wafted heavenward and the Christ’s body was lifted for us to adore, the
still small voice replied, “But THIS is the ancient church in England.”
Then the struggles ended. My mind was made up, and in the Autumn of 1994 my wife
and I began our course of instruction to be received into the Church.
When I became an Anglican I felt my Bible Christian background was being completed
not denied, and as we prepared to be received into the Catholic church I realized that the
same was true as we became Catholics. I could still affirm everything my non-Catholic
friends and family affirmed, I simply could no longer deny what they denied. F.D.
Maurice’s little snippet of wisdom had brought me across the Tiber, and in becoming a
Catholic I was affirming all of Christ’s truth without a shred of denial. Furthermore, I
felt that I had stepped into a church as vast, ancient and full of fascinating detail as one
of the medieval cathedrals. The vistas were huge and there seemed to be more and more
and more things to affirm, and that joyful affirmation, not sour denial was one of the
basic rules of this new country.
Our reception took place in a quiet service one February evening in the crypt of Quarr
Abbey church. That night all was harvest. There as the monks sang, and we were finally
received into full communion, the simple faith of my Mennonite forebears, the Bible
Christians’ love of the Scriptures and the ancient beauties of Anglicanism were all
gathered together and fulfilled in a new and dynamic way in Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic
and Apostolic Church.