This report was sent by Bishop David Moyer, the Episcopal Visitor to The Traditional Anglican Church, and it describes the recent meeting he had with the TAC clergy there.
A gathering of Brothers
by Fr Martin McManus, TTAC
Our journey begins across the border in bonnie Scotland, on the banks of the river Calder where we find the small village of Calderbank: famous for the production of the Vulcan, the first iron boat and for supplying the iron for the building of the Queen Mary cruise liner at the Clyde ship yards.
Then moving south to the banks of the river Skerne, we come to Darlington: on the line of the world’s first passenger railway between Shildon and Stockton-on-Tees.
Before too long we reach the rocky promontory of north Yorkshire’s largest seaside resort of Scarborough: I can hear the question you are all asking. Are you going to Scarborough Faire?
Continuing south and west we reach Llanandras, the church of St Andrew at 'the border of the meadow of the priests' or more commonly known in the English as Presteigne in Powys, Wales.
To the south and east, where in ancient days the temporal and spiritual thirst of many a pilgrim would have been quenched at Saint Anne’s Well: of course I speak of Stanwell in the borough of Spelthorne, very near to Heathrow.
Then to the Stone Age flint mines and Iron Age hill fort of Cissbury Ring: where I hear you ask? Worthing of course, is my answer.
Following the south coast of England we reach the Sound between the rivers Plym and Tamar which was a major trading port in the Bronze Age and today the busy and major port of Plymouth.
This incredible journey ends with the sometime Bishop of Matabeleland (Worthing) and priest brothers (all over the country as described) of the Traditional Anglican Church in Great Britain, being joined by our Episcopal Visitor from the city of brotherly love, Φιλαδέλφεια (Philadelphia, largest and busiest port of the original thirteen American Colonies) at All Saints Pastoral Centre at London Colney just outside St Alban’s, England.
Built in 1901 by Leonard Stokes as the Anglican convent for the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, and with the addition of the chapel designed by Sir Ninian Comper (Architect, not registered) in 1927, the Pastoral Centre is the beautiful and spacious setting for our residential retreat.
Beginning on Monday 24th October, those of us who are well enough to travel, and have diaries free enough, begin to gather at 3pm: the sun is shinning, the sky is blue and clear, and there is an air of happy expectation at meeting the brothers. After being shown to our simple yet comfortable rooms, we meet cassock'ed but not biretta'ed, for coffee and to discover our timetable.
Throughout the following three days, we enjoyed our Anglican Patrimony to the full: the offices of Matins, Sext, Evensong and Compline sung to Anglican chant in the Comper chapel while seated in choir. The Communion Service, commonly called the Mass (BCP), read ad orientem on Tuesday by Bishop Moyer and read on Wednesday by Bishop Mercer, CR. The two devotional addresses delivered by Bishop Moyer concentrated on the priest as Pastor and the priest as Preacher.
On Tuesday morning following mass and on our way to breakfast as we walked the cloister, I giggled to myself saying ‘oh dear someone’s burned the toast.’ A grey haze was hovering one foot off the ground to the ceiling. When approached by two ladies wearing smiles and thank yous: I suddenly became aware of the aromatic nature of the haze hovering around us as yet more of our Anglican patrimony that had escaped the chapel and engulfed the cloister.
Feeding our souls on a diet of communal offices in choir, the Eucharist, and the fatherly instruction of our Episcopal Visitor, was hungry work!! However, our temporal needs were wonderfully catered for by the staff of the centre: attentive, discreet and so warmly welcoming, they really made our stay a joy. Moreover, all that singing, and the brotherly banter at meals, and walking in the aromatic haze of incense made us all thirsty. Again, the staff came to our rescue by manning a comfortable and cosy bar with adequate refreshments to maintain our Anglican patrimony in the best of cheer.
As we prayed throughout our stay, we remembered affectionately our Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth: we also remembered the Holy Father, Bishop Alan Hopes, and Msgr Keith Newton. Bishop Moyer and Bishop Mercer will be meeting with Bishop Hopes and Msgr Newton on Friday 28th October to discuss the way forward of the TTAC entering the Ordinariate of Our Lady Of Walsingham. We pray God’s blessing on that meeting.
As part of our encouragement we heard a presentation from Fr Murley about the mission of St Mary’s in Stanwell.
Coming from all four directions, gathering as brothers around the Lord: to pray together, eat together and be encouraging one to another in the ministry that we partake was a wonderful experience, one we hope will become a regular part of our annual calendar.