Sisters and Brothers,
I invite you to continue to lift up our ECC bishops in your prayers this week. Two important events are taking place.
First, on Tuesday some of our bishops began an important meeting with bishops from six other independent jurisdictions to see if there might be some way we can begin working in a more collaborative way. This meeting is being held in partnership with the Episcopal Church. Having the Episcopal Church's involvement is extremely important to us - especially for those of us who like to highlight our Anglican-rite identity! With these kinds of efforts, we are drawn even closer to our Episcopal sisters and brothers.
The second event begins this evening. I will be travelling to Austin for an ecumenical gathering of bishops, clergy and lay folks. This gathering is for those who, like us, claim an Old Catholic heritage. Bishop Rafe will be one of the speakers at this meeting.
The goal is to begin networking and cooperating. It is also geared to help other jurisdictions gain a clearer understanding of the Old Catholic Church's ecclesiology. We are trying to educate other jurisdictions about the structure and governance of the early church. (By the way...Old Catholics and Anglicans are on the same page regarding these insights.) This may help other jurisdictions understand what it means to claim to be Old Catholic. There are many jurisdictions which make those claims, but do not demonstrate the classic traits that are most important to the Old Catholic tradition.
Now, if I may, let me state another reason why all this is important. I realize that for some of us, all this talk about being "Old Catholic" is confusing and perhaps even uncomfortable. Some of us prefer to think of ourselves as being Anglican. But the truth is, our heritage is a blending of both traditions and is definitely more "Old Catholic" now that we are part of the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of Mid-America. (Bishop Rafe's apostolic lines are definitely Old Catholic).
The more I have learned about the Old Catholic tradition, the more I have found it to be compatible with the Anglican tradition. The two traditions are in full communion with one another and are both very, very similar.
Being part of the ECC, with our Old Catholic lineage, allows us to approach the Episcopal Church in a way that is actually helpful and might result in us finding some sort of recognition. So, for those of us who like to think of ourselves being "Anglican" - this is the best way for us to achieve unity with our Anglican sisters and brothers. It may be a bit strange, but sometimes with God, we have to take the wilderness route to get to the promised land.
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