Monday, June 22, 2009

My Report on the FiF-NA Missionary Diocese of All Saints

At the recent FiF-NA assembly, I was called upon to act as recording and reporting clerk for the sub-group meeting to discuss the new diocese in formation, now known as the Missionary Diocese of All Saints. Below is my report as given to the assembly on Friday morning.

The consensus of the meeting was that the name - Missionary Diocese of All Saints - aptly sums up our understanding of our calling.

We are to be missionary: overhead structures will be light. There isn't concern for building an extensive diocesan staff or headquarters. Rather, all funds and energy will be channeled into reaching the world for Christ with the unchanging truth of the catholic faith. We wish to move forward, in faith, instead of back into the bureaucratic nightmares and top-heavy structures of TEC.

We are a diocese: a Eucharistic community of clergy and laity gathered around a bishop. The bishop is to be the servus servorum Dei - servant of the servants of God. He sees his calling to be a Father to the Fathers, especially in shepherding the families of the clergy. The diocesan will be just as concerned about the spiritual life and growth of the priests as he is about the numerical and programming growth of the parish. It will be a true communio sanctorum.

We are there for All Saints: the diocese collaborates in its mission with the saints of God in ACNA, and especially with the dioceses who share our concern for integrity of sacramental orders and catholic mission. We seek to embody and pass on the catholic tradition that we have received from the saints who went before us - adding nothing, neither taking anything away from the faith once delivered. And we do this because we are convinced that this is the chief way in which Christ has chosen to sanctify his bride - washing them in the word so that we all become saints of the Lord.

The Missionary Diocese of All Saints seeks to be a truly catholic community - according to the whole church, working in the whole USA, for the wholeness of the Anglican witness to the good news in Jesus Christ.

And we need your help. We've already received startup funds, and we're likely to need more. But we also need you as saints to come to our aid with what Benedict described as ora et labora - the prayerful and practical.

Prayer: nothing we do can be effective if it is not covered in prayer. Please covenant to pray for the unity of the whole church, and the usefulness of the Missionary Diocese in specific. We've already seen what a church looks like that tries to minister on its own power and wisdom.

Practical: We also need your expertise - those areas in which you are well practiced. There are canons to write, postulants to pursue, and ministry to be done. Without your expertise in these areas, we will be forced to make our own wheels - and that's not catholic. We wish to receive from your hand the good things that God has shown you so that we may carry them forth in our missionary enterprise, for the perfecting of all saints.

No comments: