Thursday, January 28, 2016

Community



I had the blessed opportunity today to take part in a Clergy Day in the Diocese of British Columbia.  I was blessed to have been invited by Bishop Logan to attend.  I was blessed by Padres Dave Donevan and Mike Gibbons to have permission to be excused from my regular duties in order to be there.  I was blessed by all those who gathered in Colwood today at the Church of the Advent as we shared who we are and how God is ‘nudging’ us today.

I have maintained since my first posting in Halifax that no chaplain can be authentic without being continually grounded and formed in one’s own tradition.  The more I am able to identify with what it means to be ‘Anglican,’ the better equipped I am to live out this often challenging, but extremely rewarding ministry.  As an Anglican, I find this grounding in community.  All the other tenants particular to Anglicanism - common prayer, the liturgical standard of Holy Communion, the concept, “Lex orandi, lex credendi” (loosely translated, “the law of praying is the law of believing”), episcopacy, and the never-ending drive to maintain ‘decency and order’ in all things – all these only find their expression in community.

As Anglicans, we undergoing a very public struggle with what it means to be ‘community,’ arising most recently from the much-publicized gathering of Primates and Archbishops.  I don’t believe anyone with ears to hear or eyes to see could not have predicted that this day would come, but none of us ever wanted it to happen. I have heard the many interpretations of the sanctioning of the ECUSA, ranging from ‘putting them in a corner’ to ‘walking together in a different way.’  Honestly, I believe the truth is found in all these expressions, depending on where you find yourself.  My personal interpretation is that the ECUSA, by opening its arms to LGBT persons, is now sharing in the gentle-loving-exclusion that these persons have lived through for years.  My personal response in this is to pray for and walk beside my ECUSA sisters and brothers in every way I can to let them know that they are not alone.

Today was a reminder to me of ‘Christ in the midst of us’ – salvation is not a personal event – it is lived out, painfully at times, in community.  We may not be ‘one’ in many ways, but the will to form community, despite our differences, is a gift and the grace of God.

So thank-you to the clergy who shared their stories and struggles today – I was reminded that I am not alone.  Thank-you to those who came up to ask who I was and what kind of uniform I was wearing – I felt welcomed.  Thank-you to those with whom I am sure I will disagree with over various and sundry topics from time to time – God has put us in each other’s lives for our mutual enrichment.  Thank-you to Bishop Logan for his gentle, but firm, guiding hand throughout the day – I felt the Spirit moving.