On a recent Sunday I became an Anglican.
This news will come as a shock to some of you, while others of you will be less surprised.
For me this moment comes as a culmination of a long and arduous journey of discernment. It is one step in a journey in which the way forward remains shrouded in mystery: I enter the Anglican Church as a lay person, and will continue to discern with the church what calling God might have in store for me.
To my United Church of Canada family, this decision is not a renunciation of the eighteen years we have travelled in fellowship. I will always be grateful to the church that welcomed our family, married us, and made me a minister.
The Anglican Church and the United Church are different expressions of our shared Christian faith. Each tradition has gifts and emphases that are necessary to the health of the worldwide Church.
Each tradition offers practices, ways of being Christian, that are distinct from one another and yet which work towards the same aim: the formation of faithful Christians living their faith in communities gathered around the gospel.
For me, now, the gifts of the Anglican tradition resonate most strongly. I recognize that for others, it is the practices of the United Church that provide the inspiration to best respond to God’s call. Others hear God’s call in other ways.
One way is not better than another way. The real test of all these ways of being Christian is the extent to which they form us into people who “do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.”
I’m confident that as we each find our way to the traditions and practices that make God real to us, and shape us into the people we were created to be, we will be a gift to one another and to Christ’s Church.
My heart is full of gratitude to many United Church friends who generously joined me in this discernment journey, all of whom so clearly loved and supported me—even when they disagreed with my ultimate decision.
To my friends in the Anglican Communion, thank you for your warm welcome, your prayers, and your support. I am grateful to the pastoral staff and the people of All Saints Anglican, and to all those who have contributed to my journey of discernment.
I wish you all the very best as you continue your faith journey!
Not surprised at all. God bless you, Jeff. I may join you some day. We’ll see what happens.
Thank you, Kari. As you can imagine, it’s been quite a journey. Blessings on your journey, too!
Which of the Anglican tradition’s gifts especially resonated with you? Which practices of the United Church still do?
I knew I could count on you to ask the incisive questions, Jake!
The gifts of Anglicanism that resonate most strongly with me are sacraments, Scripture, liturgy, tradition. I’ve always been drawn to those elements, and I find there is more to feed me in Anglicanism: weekly Eucharist, four Scripture readings each Sunday, the Apostles Creed, ancient prayers, the connection back to the Ancient Church.
For me, The United Church upholds the gifts of justice-seeking and fellowship. Many people in the UCCan seem able to find a living, vital connection to God in those practices. For me, it is a bit of a struggle: I need more help to be a good Christian, and the gifts of Anglicanism provide me with the support I need!
Best wishes on your continuing faith journey. Thanks for spending some of that journey with us.
Thanks Jim and Carol. It was truly a blessing to serve with you all in Kimberley.