Bishop David Moyer of the Traditional Anglican Communion has just forwarded the text of his address at this weekend's "Becoming One" gathering in Kansas City.
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It is indeed a great honor to be here and to have been asked by Father Davis to speak this evening.
Our paths first crossed in the early 1980’s on a Cursillo weekend in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. I was one of the three spiritual directors for that Cursillo when Fr. Ernie was a Cursillista.
It was a little over a year ago that we reconnected, and I was thrilled to learn of the path of Ernie guided by the Holy Spirit. We all travel in different ways, and respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit at different times; but (and here I am preaching to the Choir) we know that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit both to empower and unite Apostles and disciples from Pentecost until He comes again with power and great glory.
I was raised as what I would call a “Broad Church Episcopalian.” In my childhood parish in Somerville, New Jersey, the Eucharist gradually moved from being a once a month main service celebration with “Solemn High Morning Prayer” (with the elevation of the cash!) for the other Sundays of the month to being the principal Service. It was dignified and reverent, and the beauty and power of the Prayer Book’s language took deep root in me.
I first felt a call to the priesthood at the age of fourteen through the holiness of the Rector of our parish. I would arrive in the sacristy on Sundays at about 7:15AM to serve as his acolyte for the 8:00AM Service of Holy Communion. (I arrive at everything early, and am a bit of a punctuality freak.)
Upon arriving in the sacristy, I would always see the Rector kneeling at the communion rail in silent prayer. I had no idea how long he had been there in prayer. He would rise from his knees ten minutes before the Service; would step into the sacristy in silence; put on his vestments; lead a prayer of preparation, and then to the Altar we went.
I was not in any way put off by his silence and refusal to engage in pre-Service conversation. I knew unconsciously that what he was about and what we would be corporately about was very serious, and very holy. I wanted to be like him.
I embraced the Anglo-Catholic tradition when in seminary through my attendance at the Church of the Ascension, Chicago – where I first experienced Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (which took a mystical grip on me, especially in the silent moments of Adoration), and also through my two years of field education work at a parish in the western suburbs of Chicago under the tutelage of a fine priest who had been raised Southern Baptist in Texas, and who described his “conversion” to Anglo-Catholicism as “swallowing the hook, line, and sinker – Mass, Mary, and Confession!”
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