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The immediate future of the Mission of St Anselm and St Odile

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Things never quite go according to plan.

 My work over the last year has taken on a particularly unusual turn as I find myself involved more in writing and assisting my Diocese in its administration. That and my duty to my family means that I have reluctantly asked my bishop to put my provisional mission of St Anselm and St Odile aside for the time being in order to play to my strengths and be more effective for the development of the Church. He has kindly agreed and so I find myself as a non-parochial priest with permission to officiate.

This has been a difficult position, especially in a culture when a priest has to be priest of somewhere. My Church does not have the pattern for oratories or internal oblates, though we do have Religious Communities around the world. The size of the Diocese of the UK prevents these rather, and the fact that I am happily married does prevent me from setting up a Benedictine Monastery here.

Of course, there is nothing to stop me from living in a Benedictine manner: my community is my family and I am still linked to the monks in Salisbury formerly of Elmore and Nashdom. My superior is my bishop – that has to be so. One of the dangers of having Religious communities in Dioceses that are too small for them is that those religious folk become laws unto themselves. This is true of the last two professed members of the Diocese who both left at different times, both in a fit of pique because they couldn’t get their own way. The exercise of humility is to rejoice when one doesn’t get one’s own way and carry on – tough to do sometimes but very good for the soul.

My hope is that, one day, we shall have the resources and time to take the Mission of St Anselm and St Odile out of its mothballs. It will still sort of be in existence as I will be saying my Offices and celebrating the Mass early on a Sunday morning. However, in order to develop those resources, I need to pitch in with assisting the Diocese in developing its resources. We are growing and this growth means taking seriously the need for infrastructure and grounding. I have tried to produce a contribution to the theological grounding of the Anglican Catholic Church and to the administration of my Diocese and my commitment must be there before I can hope to build a more personal ministry in my locality. Given that, in general, the diocesan model is becoming less geographic due to social media, it makes sense to step back and see where the true needs lie.

Of course, I beg your prayers that I may serve the Church faithfully and effectively.

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