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The difference between hopping and jumping

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

One thing you might observe about Continuing Anglicans is that our membership occurs largely of people who have left another jurisdiction to join us. This is also true of many priests who for one reason or another seek to jump from their ship into our coracle.
 
The trouble is, those reasons do actually matter.
 
Fr Chadwick makes no apology for his wandering through several branches of the Catholic Church, and there is no reason why he should. His has been a choppy voyage and, at each stage, he has found himself at odds with the very reasons that those branches exist. One thing I have noticed about his Odyssey is that he has been seeking the Truth of Christ in His Church – something that resonates very strongly with me and leads us both on lonely furrows surrounded by those who want to define truth on their terms as if their will is absolute. This makes Fr Chadwick and myself extroverts despite the fact that our different autisms (probable in my case as I await diagnosis) render us very introvert. We know that while Christ is indeed within us, we can only ever seek Him from without or we risk worshipping a Christ that looks like our image in a mirror. We are extrovert in our search for Christ because we must turn outwards.
 
This means that we need a North Star – that can only be Christ Himself.
 
It also means that it is not easy for us to jump. It takes effort to realise that one is in the wrong place rather than just going through a bad patch. As I reflect on my time in the CofE, I realise that I should have jumped sooner save that I was still finding God’s truth as I ministered to the dwindling few who would tolerate my “fixed views” and “strict Anglo-Catholicism”. I found the Truth in their faith and, as they died or fell away from the CofE, that truth became dark, cold and lifeless surrounded by electronic keyboards and (female) Rural Deans with an agenda for “cleansing” the Church of Conservative Catholicism. While there’s life there’s hope, and where there is Christ’s Life, there is His hope.
 
And when He leaves, we must follow. That involves a jump, a summoning up of all our energy and resolve to leave a place which we once loved and once resonated with. We do it for no other reason than to answer the beckoning call of Christ. In my case, I jumped before really knowing where I was going, though in my heart of hearts, I had hoped to find a little coracle called the ACC and be pulled out of the choppy water. Fr Chadwick we found clinging to a rock slowly submerging as the tide increased.
 
The point is, we don’t jump lightly and certainly not to further our earthly walk. We jump when Christ bids us. We get out of the boat to walk on water only when Christ tells us that it’s safe to do so.
 
And then there are those who hop.
 
I have noticed that some priests approach the ACC in order to be re-ordained. More often than not, this sort of priest does so to collect a stream of valid ordinations. This shows such lack of faith in the body that ordained us. In the ACC, we have nothing to prove: our orders are valid and they are meant for service to the laity who thirst for the Grace of Christ. As ACC priests, we have a true ministry to perform and hard work to do. Our titles are meaningless in themselves and serve only to demonstrate the nature of the work that we do. In fact our titles hold us to account. If we are an archdeacon then we will only be accepted by Christ if we have served as an archdeacon to the best of our fragile and fallible abilities. If we are a bishop, or an abbot, then we will be held to account for every single member of our Diocese. It’s not a pleasant thought.

It bothers neither me nor my bishop that Fr Anthony is technically a bishop. He doesn't see himself as such and seeks only service as a priest in our Diocese and we believe him. We know that all who like to "remind" us of the fact are trying to make trouble and are exhibiting an unkindness that is designed to hurt rather than edify.
 
And yet, there are those who just want the purple, the mitre, the red buttons and the title of “Most Reverend Lord.” Well, let them have it. They will have to answer to Christ for it. They hop and it is of little energy. A hope is half-hearted in comparison with a jump because it is done without danger, without faith and without realising the importance of what the jump entails. Hopping occurs when there are queeny hissy fits between clergy with result in one of them walking out and shutting the door behind them declaring, “I am the One True Church!” God sees and will laugh them to scorn.
 
In the ACC, we have Boards of Ministry whose job it is to advise our Bishops as to the suitability of anyone who puts themselves forward to ministry in our Church. They can and will weed out all those who are “jurisdiction hopping” for their own ends because that will do nothing for the service of Our Lord Jesus Christ – indeed it is best that we do turn them down for the sake of their own souls!
 
We have a lot to do in the ACC: we need labourers for the harvest and welcome all those who have gathered themselves together in a true jump. We are tiny and far from perfect, but we are all fixed upon the glory of Christ Jesus and seek to do our best to serve Him in His people.

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