Reflections On Clericus

Three or four times a year, the Bishop calls all the clergy of our diocese (priests, deacons, etc.) to meet with him for a day at the church which has been designated the Pro-Cathedral for the diocese, St. Luke’s in Akron, OH. This meeting is called a Clericus. (Anglicans have a special word for almost everything related to the church. For example, did you know that most ex-Episcopalian Anglicans refer to the basement of the church building as the undercroft ? Neither did I.)

The purpose for the Clericus is to provide a time for colleagues in ministry to get together to learn what is happening in the diocese, to build or nurture friendships, to spend some time praying with and for each other, and to share the Eucharist together. This fall’s Clericus was held yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 3. It was a great day.

The Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes (ADGL) is part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a new, albeit still unofficial, province of the worldwide Anglican communion. ACNA was formed in 2009 as an orthodox and evangelical alternative to The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US and its counterpart in Canada. The highest ecclesiastical authority (the Primate) in the ACNA is Archbishop ++Robert Duncan. The Bishop of our diocese is The Rt. Rev. +Roger Ames. When I was ordained in the ACNA, first as a deacon and then as a priest, I promised to regard the Bishop with loyalty and respect and yes, obedience. I took those vows seriously when I made them originally. I still do. Of course, it is no burden to fulfill my vows when the Bishop is a man of godly character and integrity. We are blessed to have such a Bishop in this diocese.

I am still very much a newcomer to this tradition and to this diocese. Although this was the fourth time I have attended a Clericus, it was my first as a priest. Our diocese is growing rapidly as new parishes and ministries, and their respective clergy, are added to our number. In a few cases, clergy from other traditions have taken Holy Orders in our diocese, while the churches they serve continue to work through the process of identifying with our diocese and with the ACNA. These are unusual situations, but they are altogether consistent with the unique character of this “new Anglicanism” which God is raising up in North America.

I am excited to be a part of all of this. (Or as excited as a 61 year-old man, who has devoted his life to Christian ministry and is a bit “frayed around the edges” from the experience, can be.) Even though the ministry for which I was ordained, a new church plant in Columbus, OH, has not yet taken shape, I still feel welcomed and affirmed by my colleagues in the diocese. And I rejoice with them when they report, as so many of them did yesterday, that God is at work in their situations and settings. It encourages me to continue to wait with the expectation that God will soon overcome the obstacles that, at present, impede the realization of the vision for St. Patrick’s Anglican Church in Grandview Heights.

I wanted to use this blog post as a way of saying thank you to all those who have welcomed me into this diocese and have assured me of their prayers for me and my ministry. So, to Bishop +Roger Ames, to Archdeacon Mark Scotton+, to Chaplain Fr. John Jorden+, and all the other priests and deacons with whom I am privileged to serve in the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes… Thank you for making this newbie feel so warmly accepted. And may God bless the ACNA, the ADGL, and all of their efforts to bring glory to His name.

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