Joining an Anglican Church

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That is totally bizarre! Mick, I'm so sorry that you have been put through this ordeal!

    I wish you lived in the Tulsa OK area, because you likely would have no difficulty joining our ACNA parish. Or receiving communion even if you did not officially join. When the Holy Spirit led me to my current parish (despite my reluctance to return to a liturgical church, having left the RCC 30+ years prior for congregational protestant Christianity), I simply noted the service time and showed up for the Sunday service. The church bulletin stated that all baptized believers were welcome to partake of the Eucharist, so I did. It was wonderful, and I felt quite sure I'd heard accurately from the Lord. When shaking the rector's hand on the way out, he let me know he was available if he ever wanted to talk about anything, so I called and took him up on his offer the following Wednesday. He answered all my questions to my satisfaction while simultaneously getting to know some things about me, and he continued to make me feel most welcome; my past history in pentecostal and word of faith churches was no barrier (he even mentioned that a former JW was a member). Of course I am married, but after 5 years at this parish I have not noted any barriers to singles here.

    I attended another ACNA parish in town one time (it's in a more modernist-oriented diocese called C4SO and I wanted to see for myself what their service was like), and I was warmly welcomed by parishioners & invited to receive communion as a baptized believing Christian despite no one knowing me. Until now I'd anticipated and supposed that, should I be traveling, I would be similarly welcomed at services & communion in most any Anglican church in the USA. So I'm shocked by your experience! It boggles my mind to think that any Anglican rector would act exclusionary toward a person on the basis of their marital status. If any of them did to me what you say they've done to you, I would shake the dust off my feet and never return there. :run:

    As for any one that would demand a 20% commitment up front.... :no: may God have mercy on their darkened souls.

    P.S. -- Living around Houston, do you feel that the overall attitudes or atmosphere of people in that metro area somehow contributes to the negative responses you've encountered? Just wondering if it's a local thing. Maybe your idea of getting farther out of town is a good one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2023
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  2. AnglicaninExile

    AnglicaninExile New Member

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    Rex,

    Thank you so much for that warm reply.

    Yes, I wish I were in Tulsa!

    I agree completely with your post, esp the last sentence which aptly describes Houston. Unlike other cities in the state which truly represent our lifestyle, good naturedness and kindness (except Austin), the bayou city is, as one friend aptly described it, ‘the Los Angeles of Texas.’ Sadly reflective of not only our closed Anglican parishes, but Prot mainline, Baptist, Calvary Baptist, conservative Calvinist and many bible church’s (except Berachah) that dot our immense, theological landscape.

    I do have to admit a year ago I drove to a large / very \ conservative Bible church in my parent’s bedroom community just outside Houston. After parking I was approached by two deacons standing 10 ft apart firing questions I’ve become expert at answering: are you married? Divorced? Kids? Girlfriend? Why not?

    Strangely enough the friendliest church in town .., is any RC parish you happen to enter on any given Sunday. I’ve been in a baker’s dozen: welcome mat of friendly faces, the warmth, bonhomie, love is infectious. 20 years ago I worked for Franciscan monks for 2 years as a staff admin and that experience is what drew me to a near conversion with them but couldn’t cross the Tiber due to a multitude of the usual doctrines, papal issues. Her parishioners, priests though - I so dearly love).

    I spoke with yet another affluent parish admin by phone today ( I was however thrilled to speak with a human so that was indeed worth it!). Unfortunately she stated that their parish has both a required capital building fund fee and a 10% parish requirement tithe for membership (“there may be other costs so I’ll have to get back with you.”) I thanked her profusely for taking the time to speak with me but a return phone call would not be necessary.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2023
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  3. Spiritus

    Spiritus Active Member

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    That seems like such a strange (wrong) response for any church. I have relatives and friends from the Houston area and they report similar situations with other protestant churches so I believe it. It seems like the love of money is overshadowing the love of Christ and neighbor. As for the questions/comments about your marital status that's also weird. It seems a lot of Christians have forgotten the words of St. Paul and that single life (monastic or otherwise) is a valid, at times preferable path to follow.

    I'll pray for you that God will help you find a church that is both welcoming and fulfilling.
     
  4. AnglicaninExile

    AnglicaninExile New Member

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    Spiritus,

    Thank you for your post. The Father will provide a home, in His time.

    M.
     
  5. AnglicaninExile

    AnglicaninExile New Member

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    One of the more progressive parishes here that is also a "family church" has interestingly, the same familial restrictions as do the more conservative ACNA ones I visited: the need to enter the sanctuary with a wife, life partner or gf/bf when you arrive for worship. A communicant at this liberal parish very kindly answered several questions I had outside the fellowship hall while we shared endless cups of coffee and I think I now understand this issue better. He stated that although the parish is submerged in social justice they are a foremost a family-first institution and that "castle" (as he described it, using both hands in a circle) will keep others from intruding upon it. "We see them when they come in." He stated that married members are generally, established, have money, are stable and "once the kids are hooked into the system, the parents will follow." Although this sounds more like membership in a neighborhood booster club this new family-first imprimatur is certainly welcome in my estimation, although it should never be the standard for acceptance/rejection by a vestry, membership board or clergy. However, based upon the 90's church-building modules that were taught in most of the conservative/Calvinist seminaries from Dallas to SWBTS to Master's, it's my belief that much of that has carried over into the liturgical mainline (sans RC) from believers who left churches of their childhood, became Anglican, matriculated to the vestry and brought with them their old theological baggage - protection in numbers - by an (unwritten) requirement that new communicants be married.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2023
  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Jesus would leave the 99 safely-held sheep in search for the 1 lost sheep so as to bring it into the fold. Those Houston churches deny safe harbor to the single sheep when it shows up at the gate, eager to enter in! :facepalm: This is inexcusible.
     
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  7. AnglicaninExile

    AnglicaninExile New Member

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    Yes. Could not agree more.
     
  8. AnglicaninExile

    AnglicaninExile New Member

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    I will make one last comment on this and then back off it. My apologies to the forum staff for bogarting this issue as my first post when I signed up.

    Last year I attended a coffee fellowship at The Coffee House, a ministry of River Pointe Church in Houston, Texas which is located south of interstate 10 in The Heights. Multi-level, sound-stage, rooftop sofa's, cushions - wide array of coffee's and a superb selection of bakery. I have been back a number of times and have enjoyed myself (gorging on the cheese danishes) upstairs with my BCP. I occasionally meet a Catholic friend there for weekend caffeine.

    When I was at the coffee fellowship, the facilitator asked us to introduce ourselves and give our denominational story. When my turn arrived I stated I was Anglican, but still on the road to Canterbury. The facilitator (Neo-Calvinist) asked me to explain that. I gave a short account of what's transpired as I have explained here. After I finished, several hands went up behind me: two young ladies (Methodist), and across the room an older gay gentleman (60's) and beside him a married husband of three (with his wife) who had been laid off during the pandemic. After the coffee clatch was over, the facilitator joined me and this baker's dozen of theological legionnaires in a small discussion. The stories were heartbreaking. Each of us, had tried in his or her own way to join either a progressive or conservative Anglican Church without success. A few tears were shed: the couple was rejected because the church administrator feared having "someone on the dole" and they were quietly asked through another church member not to return ("the dignity of the parish"). The older gay gentleman recently retired, healthy with a gift of gab stated he had applied at one ECUSA church but they feared his Pentecostal background ("we find this intriguing but problematic"). The two Methodist ladies had gone to a number of membership meetings but could not afford the required cash outlay; both broke down in tears stating that they felt called by God to convert to this indescribable beauty of worship. They were told that "gifts are monitored" and "if you cannot provide a gift in the required amount we can set you up on pay-as-you-go." Single, they were also given a very cold reception as I had been. They also contacted the ACNA Bishop's office as I had but with no success.

    To say the Calvinist facilitator was stunned was an understatement. He got up, walked over, hugged both ladies; here wasn't a dry eye anywhere. Our group met again at a Starbucks a week later (which was closer to where most of us live in greater Houston) where we talked about "our breakthrough" :laugh:

    Post script: the two Methodist ladies joined a vibrant bible church in the city; the 60 year old is still undecided (I have lost touch with him) and I believe the wife of the married duo became members of Second Baptist, the calvinist mega-church in the affluent part of Houston - Riveroaks (?)
     
  9. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    They are solid and I hope you find Christ there.
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    If I were in your shoes (not that I'd ever live in Houston :p but if I did), I would write a kindly worded message directly to Abp. Beach and describe the ACNA and REC experiences in detail, including names and (at least approximate) dates. An archbishop, similar to the head of a company, usually values ground-level information about what is going on in his organization.

    I shared the content of your initial post with my rector (here in Tulsa) to see if he'd heard anything about the Houston churches. He replied in the negative but said FWIW that he'd be more than happy to chat with you if you felt an urge to do so (I can provide contact info via PM any time). He's an archdeacon in our Anglican Diocese of the Living Word, and both he and our bishop are the solid type who would never allow such goings-on in the ADLW (of course, in Houston you're encountering two different dioceses, Western Gulf Coast and Mid America REC dioceses of ACNA).

    Good thing I am not there. I probably would have gotten snarky with some of these parishes and told them they were discriminating against single, non-wealthy males; given sufficient time in the sun for a deep tan I might have been able to add a 'white privilege' accusation, to see if they could be shamed into making an exception! :laugh: But really, who wants to belong to any of those congregations anyway! They'd be the wrong sort of influence and the homilies probably would have made me grind my teeth.

    They are worse off without you, and you are better off without them. :thumbsup:
     
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  11. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    I am amazed at the inability of many churches to get out of their own way. Sins of ommission. . .
     
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  12. Raoul Michel

    Raoul Michel New Member

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    I also wonder what my case would be like: I was a traditionalist Catholic, even a Lefebvrist. I have received all the sacraments, but then I apostatized and converted to Seventh-day Adventism. Since 2006, I have been studying Anglicanism, I have read hundreds of books, thousands of pages, and countless blogs... but I have never attended a service. I am in a real spiritual crisis. I already suffered a lot for leaving my traditionalist "community," but I was very well received by the Adventists and it was a very tough time in my life, I made great friends... but I desire to be in a church with freedom, traditional (not traditionalist), and liturgical. I feel a thousand times closer to Anglicanism than anything else... I don't know what to do.
     
  13. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    It is always a tough journey. Often it comes down to what is offered at nearby parishes. I am not sure where you live in Argentina, and the local Anglican Churches are likely members of the Anglican Church of South America. There is likely some Gafcon style Churches around as well.