Friday, July 27, 2007

What I've Been Up To Lately... The 2007 Synod of the Diocese of the Eastern United States Report of the Board of Examining Chaplains

‘By his additional blessing the priest becomes different from the ordinary people. For only yesterday he was just an individual among the rest of the people and lo! He has suddenly become a leader, a president, a master of worship, a teacher of hidden mysteries. This takes places without any bodily or external change in his appearance, but his invisible soul, by an invisible power and grace, has been transformed into a higher state.’ Words of Saint Gregory of Nyssa regarding the responsibility of the Board of Examining Chaplains, the Catholic Priesthood. With the truth of these profound words in mind, it continues to be my highest privilege and honour to serve as Chairman of the Board and to present once again this year this report to the Diocesan Synod 2007. I am deeply grateful to the Bishop for the confidence and trust he has placed in me by assigning me to this task, and I pray that I have in the past year discharged this weighty charge with fidelity and increased efficiency.

At this time, I wish to thank the other Examining Chaplains of the Diocese, who sacrifice much of their personal time and energy in the crucial work of this august body. Working with them is the greatest privilege one could have in the Church, and I remain in awe of their knowledge of and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have these Reverend Fathers to thank for the excellent standards now in place in our Diocese for the formation of Priests, Deacons and Deaconesses for the twenty-first century. I have never seen a finer group of dedicated and hard-working priests: Father David Eastes of Saint Luke’s Church, Port Orange, Florida; Dean Douglas King of Saint Paul’s Church, Melbourne, Florida; Dean Glenn Spencer of All Saints’ Church, Charlottesville, Virginia; and Father Michael Ward of Saint Mark’s Church, Vero Beach, Florida. Father Paul Blankinship remains on a leave of absence from the Board. Let us continue to remember today Father Paul, Andrea, and their lovely son Andrew, who has recently received a good prognosis concerning his cancer. Please continue to offer your daily prayers for little Andrew, his sister Sophia, Father Paul and Andrea. It continues to be a joyful blessing for all the Examining Chaplains to serve the Church and Diocese in this ministry, and we again thank the Bishop for our appointment.

Since last Synod, 6 men were ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests and 3 men were ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons. The following men are now Priests forever after the Order of Melchizedek: Father Kevin Burks of Saint Alban’s Cathedral, Father Daniel Malcolm of All Saints’ Church, Charlottesville, Virginia, Father John Poole of Saint Philip’s Church, St. Petersburg, Florida, Father Clarence ‘Chip’ Sills of Saint Francis’ Church, Blacksburg, Virginia, Father Tracy Smith of Saint Mary’s Church, Delray Beach, Florida, and Father Kevin Sweeney of Appomattox Anglican Church, Appomattox, Virginia. Father Pasquale (Paschal) Fermo, OSF of Saint Luke’s Church, East Aurora, New York was ordained to the permanent Diaconate.

Currently and splendidly, there are 26 persons enrolled in the diocesan ministry process, from 5 in the beginning application mode to others who fall into different stages on the way to approval for Orders. We should be infinitely grateful to God for the ongoing surge of vocations in our Diocese. Let us continue to pray for an increase of vocations to the Sacred Ministry of the Holy Catholic Church and let us beseech the Lord for truly holy, good and godly Priests and Deacons.
A new streamlined and improved application process for the Ministry of the Diocese has been implemented in the last year, a new sequence which more closely involves the two Bishop’s Advisory Committees and enables the applicant to finish the more mundane aspects of the application first, so that, once recommended and approved, he may move on to concentrate more freely and astutely on the vital matter at hand, prayer, reflection and recollection for the discernment of a vocation to service in Holy Mother Church. Aspirants must now first complete their Diocesan applications in toto, including medical and psychological examinations, and must be interviewed by the Bishop’s Advisory Committee before they are permitted to enter the one-year Discernment Programme. A fee of $75 dollars is now required of new applicants in order to cover the cost of the background check. Once the Advisory Committee recommends an aspirant for the process, and the Chairman of the Board reviews the application, the individual may then begin the reading, writing and formation of the Discernment Programme with our consent, upon the completion of which an aspirant may then be interviewed for postulancy by the Board of Examining Chaplains. We believe this to be a far better and effective approach to the process and we trust it will bear fruit in time to come.

Over the past year, the Examining Chaplains have enjoyed the opportunity of working with a number of men in varying stages of preparation for Ordination. Father LeRoy ‘Chris’ Gardner, Deacon of Saint Matthew’s Church, Riverview, Florida and Father Ernest Pinto, Deacon of Saint Mary’s Church, Delray Beach, Florida both have continued their seminary formation through the Theological Certificate Programme of the Reformed Theological Seminary virtual campus. Michael Cawthon of St. Michael the Archangel Church, Charlotte, North Carolina has been admitted to the Reformed Theological Seminary virtual campus Master of Arts in Religion programme. Matthew Harlow of Saint Michael the Archangel Church, Charlotte, North Carolina has been authorised to attend Reformed Theological Seminary virtual campus. Andrew Preslar of Saint Michael the Archangel Church, Charlotte, North Carolina has been given a special formation course including Clinical Pastoral Education and a parish internship.
Arthur Walker of Saint Michael the Archangel Church, Charlotte, North Carolina has enrolled in the Master of Arts in Theology track through the Distance Learning programme of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.

At our official Synod meeting held Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 July here in Charlotte, we canonically examined Father Edward Moore of All Saints’ Church, Charlottesville, Virginia for the Sacred Priesthood and we canonically examined Deborah Kidd of Saint George the Martyr Church, Simpsonville, South Carolina for the Office of Deaconess. We enjoyed pastoral conferences with Donald Sackett of Saint Alban’s Church, Joppa, Maryland, a seminarian at Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin, Paul Rivard of Saint Barnabas’ Church, Dunwoody, Georgia, a seminarian at Erskine Theological Seminary, Due West, South Carolina, and Thomas Burr of Saint Paul’s Church, Crownsville, Maryland who continues his studies at Saint Mary’s Seminary Ecumencial Instsitute in Baltimore, Maryland.

We also interviewed two men for postulancy for Holy Orders in the Diocese: Paul Owen of All Saints’ Church, Arden, North Carolina and Daniel Trout of Saint Alban’s Cathedral. Deborah Gravatt of All Saints’ Church, Arden, North Carolina was interviewed for entrance into the Deaconess training process. The Board has subsequently recommended all three to the Bishop to begin the next stage of formation.

At this Synod we have submitted our reports concerning examinations to the Bishop and the Standing Committee for their consideration. One candidate for the Priesthood and one candidate for the Deaconess ministry, both approved by the Board, have been presented to the Standing Committee for final approval for Ordination at this Synod.

All Rectors and Vicars are reminded that they should have on file copies of the Diocesan Application for Ministry with its cover pages which provide the sequence of procedures for those contemplating a vocation to Holy Orders in this Church. Men who wish to offer themselves for the permanent Diaconate now have a specific programme in which to enter for that purpose. There have been some pointed questions about our new Diaconate requirements, and I am always happy to provide any information one may require. Aspirants for the Priesthood now entering the process are universally required a master’s level degree in theology for Ordination. Our original goals for Ordination standards are now finally a reality.

On a personal note, please remember that all members of the Diocese and Province, clergy and lay, are most welcome to contact me at any time regarding any questions or comments concerning the Board of Examining Chaplains and our work. ‘Chad Jones University’ as Lisa Ulrich describes it, is always open and available for you. Although the ‘University’ is soon relocating to Saint Barnabas’ Church, Dunwoody, Georgia, please be well assured that the sign on the door says, ‘the Chairman is in,’ and I am at your continual disposal to provide whatever you may need from the Board for the formation and training of our future Priesthood.

Dear Bishop Grundorf, thank you for your loving and continual support of our work, and thank you, beloved members of the Synod, for your time and kind attention.

God bless you! Respectfully submitted: Father Chandler Holder Jones, SSC, Chairman.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The ACC on Church Unity

STATEMENT FROM THE METROPOLITAN OF THE ORIGINAL PROVINCE OF THE ANGLICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH CONCERNING CHURCH UNITY

For the past twelve years, the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) has had an official policy of seeking unity among Continuing Anglicans in general, but of seeking it first with the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) and the United Episcopal Church of North America (UEC), which are the other two Churches that share our beginnings in the Congress of Saint Louis (1977), in the Affirmation of Saint Louis, and in the 'Chambers Succession' of consecrations of bishops in Denver (1978). In part, this beginning point rested on a judgment of principle, namely that the unfulfilled hopes of 1977-1978 should be realized as soon as possible. In part, this judgement rested in the practical expectation that Churches with so much in common might find it easier to unite than would bodies with less in common.

In any case, it seems to us now desirable to state firmly and clearly the following points:

1. The ACC believes itself to be in a state of full communio in sacris with the APCK and the UEC;

2. The ACC believes that anything which divides these three bodies from each other is regrettable and should be stopped or overcome;

3. The ACC believes that anything that undermines the internal unity and stability of any of these three bodies harms us all and harms the cause of unity among Catholic and Orthodox Anglicans. In particular we believe that one cannot serve the cause of unity by undermining or dividing any of the foundational Churches of the Continuing Church movement;

4. And, finally, the ACC believes that we cannot be in a state of full communio in sacris with any ecclesial body which is a member of the Lambeth Communion or which is in communion with any body that has such membership.

I now call upon the bishops of the UEC and the APCK to join me in affirming these points. I pledge to assist them in sustaining their own unity and stability. And I pledge to work with them, quietly and patiently, in order to build full organic unity amongst ourselves.

(The Most Reverend) Mark Haverland, Ph.D.
Archbishop & Metropolitan
July 3, 2007.
Athens, Georgia

Editor's Note - This statement, in part, could come now as a result of both the recent intercommunion agreement achieved between the ACC and UEC and the very recent developments in the Anglican Province of Christ the King, in which Bishop Rocco A. Florenza of the APCK Diocese of the Eastern States has made a direct overture of communion to the Anglican Church in America (ACA), which is not technically a 'Chambers Succession' body. Please visit http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/ for more information on the subject.
It should be noted as well that, as a result of the intercommunion agreement established between the UEC and the ACC, the United Episcopal Church in North America recently terminated its long-standing concordat of intercommunion with the Anglican Province of America (APA).

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