Monday, June 19, 2006

For Those Who Have had Enough

Based on the recent events at the general Convention of The Episcopal Church, I have the following (totally self-serving) recommendations for any shell-shocked orthodox Anglicans in Central Texas who just can’t take it anymore:

If you want to stay in the Anglican tradition:
St. Francis Episcopal Church (Episcopal Missionary Church)
1408 W. 9th Street
Austin, Texas 78703

Yes, it’s one of the Continuing Anglican churches; it is part of a splinter group; there are only a couple of dozen parishes in the whole EMC; the demographics are skewed to the older side (that’s changing, actually); and yes, they use the ’28 prayer book with Elizabethan English. HOWEVER, the people are friendly and committed, the Sunday School discussions are refreshingly serious and well thought out, and the sermons are both good and solid. You won’t waste the whole Eucharist trying to figure out “What are they trying to put over on me today?” and you might find after a bit that you actually like the ’28 service. (A challenge for the newcomer – spend some time figuring out what things of substance got left out of the ’79 prayer book.) Try it for 5 weeks and you’ll decide you like it. A lot.

For those ready to start over:
Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church
1320 E. 51st Street
Austin, Texas 78723

Yes, it’s Catholic. Statues of the saints; icons of Mary; big pictures of the Pope; no general confessions (they don’t believe in general sins); rosaries; novenas; the whole nine yards. Like I said above – try it and you might find you like it. As one of the Eastern Catholic churches (as opposed to the Latin-rite Catholic Church), they avoided the post-Vatican II goofiness that swept through the Western church and is only now getting cleared away as my overindulged and unlamented generation dies out. Although in full communion with the “Church of Rome,” and obedient to the Pope, they have their own Patriarch. The liturgy’s in English except for a few parts, which are not in Latin, but Aramaic - the Maronites have been around for a while… The church is gorgeous – very conducive to prayer - and a large chunk of the congregation is made up of converts. Good preaching, a glorious liturgy. If you’re thinking of swimming the Tiber, think about swimming the Euphrates instead.

Whatever you do, don’t spend your time worrying about what’s gone south in the Episcopal Church. Do something positive, instead.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phill. 4:8, NIV)