Fr. Lee Kenyon writes from Canada, asking our prayers for the people of St. John’s Church, Calgary, as they prepare for a parish vote to ratify the unanimous decision by the members of the Vestry to seek entrance into the Ordinariate when it is established for that country. St. John’s was founded in 1905, and presently is a parish of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary within the Anglican Church of Canada.
This is what was approved by the Vestry, and the parish vote will be taken sometime near the end of November:
On 16th February 1993 the Rector, Wardens and Vestry of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Calgary adopted a Mission Statement which committed us to "faithfulness to Scripture and Holy Tradition . . . based on traditional classical Anglicanism", the faith of which was to be expressed in "living traditional Anglo-Catholic Prayer Book worship". While holding firm to these principles ever since, theological, ecclesiological and sacramental developments within the Anglican Communion over nearly forty years have led us, as a Parish, walking, in peace and in love, a different path from that of the Anglican Church of Canada as it now stands.
"Endeavour[ing] to give full expression to the Faith once delivered as evidenced in Scripture and attested to in the Creeds and Councils of the undivided Church", as we have maintained on our Parish website for many years, the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Calgary has, since its Annual Parochial Meeting in February 2010, been engaged in a period of exploration and discernment as to its future direction as a parish of Anglo-Catholic conviction and practice. A Future Committee, appointed at the Annual Meeting, voted by a majority in April to recommend to the Vestry that it explore, with the Parish as a whole, the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI for Anglicans to enter into full communion within the Catholic Church whilst "maintain[ing] the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church", as set out in the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, issued 20th October 2009.
In unanimously receiving and approving the recommendation of the Future Committee, the Vestry set in motion a formal period of parochial exploration, discussion and study of the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus and of the faith and practice of the Catholic Church. This has been achieved through: a series of Open Forums, one involving the Ecumenical Officer for the Catholic Diocese of Calgary; the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church through the catechetical programme Evangelium; informal discussions and meetings with parishioners; sermons; and, significantly, a formal meeting of the Priest-in-Charge, the Church Wardens and a member of the laity with His Grace the Archbishop of Toronto, The Most Revd Thomas Collins, appointed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to be the liaison for groups of Anglicans exploring Anglicanorum Coetibus. The Anglican Bishop of Calgary and the Archdeacon of the Bow Valley have been fully informed of this process of exploration within the Parish.
After nearly half a year spent on this process, it is the desire of the Vestry of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Calgary to affirm certain key principles of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, namely that:
"Every division among the baptised in Jesus Christ wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, 'such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalises the world, and damages that most holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.'" (Anglicanorum Coetibus, p.5)
"The communion of the baptised in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff." (ibid., p.6)
"This single Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic 'subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.'" (ibid., pp.6-7)
Desirous of that unity willed by Christ on the night before he died, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (St John 17.21), and remaining committed to "endeavour[ing] to give full expression to the Faith once delivered as evidenced in Scripture and attested to in the Creeds and Councils of the undivided Church" and "faithfulness to Scripture and Holy Tradition" we, the Vestry of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Calgary do hereby resolve the following:
We accept, unreservedly and with humility and gratitude, the invitation of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church through the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus in a corporate manner. Upon the ratification of this motion by parishioners at a Special Meeting, we instruct the Church Wardens to negotiate with the Anglican Diocese of Calgary the transfer of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, and its property, to the Anglican Ordinariate for Canada, to be effective on its establishment by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus and its Complementary Norms.
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