Building bridges with Anglican groups

DSC00540On Sunday evening Mar. 26, Christopher Mahon (who I think is the first paid up “life member” of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society) and I attended the induction ceremony of Canon Brent Stiller, the new pastor of St. Peter and St. Paul Anglican Church in Ottawa.  St. Peter and St. Paul is part of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) which broke away from the Anglican Church of Canada more than a decade ago.


Shown here is ANiC Bishop Charlie Masters, Canon Brent Stiller, his wife Karen, and sons Eric and Thomas. Their daughter Holly was unable to be present.




DSC00520It was a joyful occasion, attended by several hundred people.

Christopher and I attended to share our best wishes, both as members of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter‘s Canadian deanery, but also as members of the Society.

The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) and a province/diocese of the Anglican Church in North America (ANCA).  

Before joining ANiC, as part of the Anglican Church of Canada, the parish was called St. George’s.  During my transition from the Baptist Church to traditional Anglicanism, I used to attend the daily weekday communion service at noon.  I knew and still know several people who attend there.  Fr. Doug Hayman, our priest at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, once served at St. George’s during his Anglican Church past.

St. Peter and St. Paul comes from the more evangelical and even charismatic stream within the Anglican world. We have a lot in common with them in their love of Scripture, their belief in a supernatural God, and their pro-life and pro-family stance.  They are a joyful, Christ-loving community.

I remember taking a picture of Bishop Masters and another ANiC bishop at the National March for Life.  They were there in their purple cassocks on Parliament Hill–Anglican Bishops for Life and what a welcome sight!  Alas, I can’t find it right now or I would post it.

ANiC’s chancellor Mike Donison, father of the previous pastor Paul Donison who has gone to Plano, Texas to pastor the largest ANCA parish, likes to say.  “We’re Anglicans who believe in the Resurrection.”


We’re Catholics who believe in the Resurrection!  And, as former Anglicans, we appreciate much of the same Anglican patrimony.   And, for us at Annunciation, we also know what it is like to leave everything behind to start afresh with new episcopal oversight.  Though St. Peter and St. Paul managed to keep its building, many ANiC parishes across Canada must use borrowed space as do many  Ordinariate parishes.

The worship during the ceremony was a mix of traditional hymns, some traditional choral music offered by the New Song Chancel Choir from Port Perry, Ontario where Canon Stiller served previously, and contemporary praise and worship music.

The distinctly Anglican prayers such as the Collect for Purity and the Prayer of Humble Access were in contemporary English. You can read about ANiC’s theological stance here.

Our parish has forged close ties with a nearby Roman Catholic parish, St. George’s.  We have joined them in sponsoring a Syrian refugee family and every year we have a joint-Corpus Christi Mass and Eucharistic Procession. This year, Bishop Steven Lopes is our celebrant.   I hope we can build similar ties with St. Peter and St. Paul.  Here I am with Canon Stiller at the cordial reception after his induction and institution.


19 thoughts on “Building bridges with Anglican groups

  1. However to fully accomplish this as the recent scenario of Father Christopher Phillips so illustrated — the role of the middleman in the way of the local Diocese Bishop must be re-examined !


    • I’m not sure what you mean! Now that we have a bishop in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, we do not need to rely on the local bishop to ordain priests or, in effect, have veto power over the establishment of an Ordinariate community. Perhaps in the UK or Australia it is different. Here in Ottawa, anyway, we have a great relationship with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who took our little parish under his wing during our preparation to become Catholic. He gave us a mentor priest to be with us during our catechesis and to celebrate our Anglican Use Mass for us. Archbishop Prendergast even celebrated our Mass for us several times, even coming to rehearse ahead of time. One Christmas Eve, before any of our clergy were ordained, and we couldn’t find a Catholic priest who was free, the archbishop himself came and celebrated our Christmas Eve Mass for us. Maybe we should invite him to come celebrate Mass for us on Ascension Thursday, as he has done that in the past.


      • If this is the present situation, than perhaps a serious reach out should be made to those Anglican groups – both community and/ or individual that were seriously harmed by the Bishops in their local Diocese. For instance as I personally observed, in the State of Maine such groups and /or individuals were denied membership after many months of awaiting. A lot of bitterness was the outcome and as well a fueling of the anger that many Anglicans still hold toward the Roman Catholic Church in the United States.


      • Without knowing what the circumstances of a particular community, family, or individual might have been, I would not even remotely begin to speculate as to why anybody might or might not have proceeded into an ordinariate. There are, however, a few obvious obstacles. Here are some of the most common.

        >> 1. By current Catholic ecclesial law, those ordained in the Catholic Church cannot exercise ordained ministry in an ordinariate.

        >> 2. Communities seeking to enter the ordinariate cannot be involved in unresolved lawsuits with their former denominations. (Most commonly, these lawsuits pertain to ownership of church property.)

        >> 3. Individuals who are in “irregular” marriage situations need to resolve those situations, most commonly through Catholic marriage tribunals, before their reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

        >> 4. Those who seek to exercise sacred orders in the ordinariate must complete the prescribed program of formation and submit to Catholic ordination. They also must receive a votum from the bishop of the local Catholic diocese.

        We have no way of knowing which, if any, of these issues may have impeded a particular individual, family, or community because the entire process is confidential.

        Bear in mind that there are many individuals who seek to come into the ordinariates on their terms rather than on the terms of the offer given by the magisterium. A while ago, the author of the OP of this discussion remarked on another blog that her community found that they got everything that they wanted as soon as they stopped demanding that it happen in their way. The magisterium of the Catholic Church is very careful to safeguard apostolic succession and the undisputable validity of the sacraments.



  2. Thanks a lot for sharing. It is great to know of the presence of these communities seeking Christ within Tradition and attached to the fundamental values of family and life. I hope that the Ordinariate(s) be God’s Providential bridge to re-unite all.


    • Again Norm, thank you for you continuing input here …. within your listing, a variable that you have correctly mentioned is :

      “4. Those who seek to exercise sacred orders in the ordinariate……. must receive a votum from the bishop of the local Catholic diocese.”

      Is not this the essence of my argument ? To reiterate — “the role of the middleman in the way of the local Diocese Bishop must be re-examined !”


      • In the case of an ordained minister of another denomination who applies for ordination to serve an ordinariate, who do you think has had more extensive contact with that individual?

        >> In many cases, the ordinariate does not even have a presence in the respective diocese so the ordinary and his clergy have no prior contact with the individual. In the case of your friends in Maine, for example, the nearest ordinariate congregation is two states away — and that congregation is under the pastoral care of a diocesan priest rather than an ordinariate priest!

        >> By contrast, the bishop of the local diocese and his clergy typically have had extensive contact with that individual through various ecumenical initiatives and programming intended to bring the various denominations together. Thus, the applicant typically is well known to the local diocesan bishop, or at least to his clergy.

        For such applicants, ignoring input from the bishop of the local diocese, who typically would solicit confidential input from his clergy before making a recommendation unless he knew the applicant personally, would be utter insanity!

        Note that the requirement for the votum of the bishop of the local diocese does not apply to vocations that arise within the ordinariate and its communities. Such candidates typically will be better known to their ordinariate pastors than to local diocesan clergy, so asking the opinion of the local diocesan bishop would not make sense.



  3. This type of encounter is always wonderful!

    Ecumenism needs to occur at two levels. The leaders of the respective bodies need to get together in dialog to resolve whatever doctrinal differences there may be and to work out the “nuts and bolts” of a reunited organization. However, it’s also imperative for congregations and their members to come together and get to know one another to overcome the prejudices that have developed through the centuries of schism and separation.

    The ordinariates have a very important role to play in ecumenism, giving witness to how the Anglican patrimony can flourish within the Catholic Church. That witness is most effective when our orthodox Anglican brothers and sisters have close contact with members of the ordinariate communities in their respective countries. I hope that all ordinariate communities are working with orthodox Anglicans to build bridges rather than walls! As Pope John XXIII remarked some years ago, we share much more than what divides us.

    Practically speaking, there is much that ordinariate congregations can do with nearby orthodox Anglican congregations. It would be wonderful for nearby congregations to share Evensong followed by a potluck supper with both congregations contributing to the food, perhaps coupled with a concert of music from the Anglican tradition. Joint bible studies and fellowships, in smaller groups, and collaboration in various social ministries also are very worthwhile.

    Orthodox Anglicans are fighting an uphill battle within the Anglican Communion, especially in the United Kingdom, North America, and Australia and New Zealand. They need our prayers!



    • If ANiC and ACNA follow the pattern of the other groups which have broken away from mainstream Anglicanism since 1976 they will remain marginal and continue to fragment. Those who were formerly in the ACCC no doubt remember that experience. It is good, without pressing the point, to witness to the Catholic alternative to disappointment and irrelevance. If the purpose of the get-togethers is simply to confirm them in their struggles with the Anglican church I think one would be better staying out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is far from “follow[ing] the pattern of the other groups which have broken away from mainstream Anglicanism.” Here in the States, the entire Diocese of South Carolina and the entire Diocese of Fort Worth left The Episcopal Church (TEC), and are now part of ACNA. Further, ACNA has a relationship of full ecclesial communion with the provinces of the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCon) — an alliance of orthodox provinces that represents over two thirds of the total membership of the Anglican Communion. The present Archbishop of Canterbury has invited the leadership of ACNA to the various meetings of primates of the provinces of the Anglican Communion. Further, ACNA seems to be growing while TEC and ACC clearly are in decline.

        The provinces of GAFCon, which take exception to both (1) the blessing of same sex unions and (2) the episcopal ordination of clergy who are living in active homosexual relationships, are no longer recognizing communion with either TEC or the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC) and are threatening to leave the Anglican Communion if the communion does not expel both TEC and ACC. The situation has the Archbishop of Canterbury walking a tightrope in an effort to keep the communion together.

        The bottom line here is that ACNA is NOT a relatively insignificant “Continuing Anglican” body, and the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) is now the Canadian diocese of ACNA.



  4. Regarding Ms Hayhurst’s oft-reiterated expression of regret over the treatment of her friend in Raymond, ME, I might direct her to these comments by another faithful reader who, while similarly disappointed has now moved on and expresses his gratitude for the blessings he has received. Usually when you don’t get what you think you want, there’s a reason for it.


    • I can assure you that Father Kevin has indeed moved on with grace and wisdom and while the Traditional Anglican Community is the richer for this; however, the Ordinariate is unfortunately the poorer for it. In his role as an Anglican Priest, his weekly meditation is a brilliant rendition of the Anglican way AND his readership includes not only his fellow Benedictines .. both Anglican and Catholic … but as well many Catholics and protestants, alike. All are invited to receive his weekly musings:


  5. It is very important to remain friends with those we have left behind as we have journeyed into full communion with the Holy See. I became a Catholic in the old-fashioned way in 1994 – if only we’d had the Ordinariates then, how different things might have been! – but I have always been able to go back to the Church of England parish where I was a Reader, often sadly for funerals. Indeed, when I had to organise a friend’s funeral 18 months ago, it was to my former Vicar there that I turned – my friend was a non-practising Anglican – and he readily agreed to officiate, and did a splendid job. I have met with nothing but acceptance and a welcome from the congregation. I have recently commented on the old Anglican Expats site that I believe that Continuing Anglicanism is important, maybe sometimes as a holding-station for those waiting to enter the Church either through the Ordinariates or into a Diocesan parish (as hopefully in the Torres Straits) but also in its own right. There are those who are Anglican by conviction or who for any number of reasons cannot become Catholics – doctrinal, practical, whatever, and Continuing Anglicanism is a safe place for them to live out their spirituality. Having said this, it must be a good thing if the various Continuing groups in the US reunite after October’s Synod, as they can do so much more together than fractured. Here in the UK, where Continuing Anglicanism is very small, the hope of reunification amongst the Churches that constitute it is even more relevant. There also seem to be interesting moves afoot to realign the English branch of the TAC with the Nordic Catholic Church. I take much the same view regarding Old Catholicism, though this appears to be even tinier and more splintered. I know people who have recently become Catholics after a long journey from Anglicanism via the bye-ways of non-Utrecht Old Catholicism, and the sense of coming home is palpable, but again for many that is not an option for doctrinal reasons. Where these smaller groups, Anglican or Catholic, stick to a traditional understanding of belief and practice, they can be forces for good, so I would urge us not to be too ‘sniffy’ about them, and to reiterate the point made so well in the post, to keep up the friendships and communication.


    • Have you considered visiting an ordinariate community in your area?

      If you came to the Catholic Church from either the Church of England or a “continuing Anglican” body, you have an open door to membership in the ordinariate.



      • Hello Norm,

        I am a member of the Ordinariate, but as yet there is no local Ordinariate community in my area, This will hopefully change,



  6. To be honest, Ms Gyapong uses the phrase “as former Anglicans” to describe herself or her Ordinariate parish. There may well be former Anglicans there, but her use of the phrase is misleading when applied to herself. She joined the then “Anglican Catholic” Cathedral of the Annunciation from a Protestant denomination, but she was never an actual Anglican in Communion with Canterbury. I gather that the majority of many Ordinariate communities came from places other than the Anglican Church, including Roman Catholics who prefer the liturgy. It is also inappropriate for someone like Mr. Donison to make an uncharitable and untrue statement about ANiC people being (the only) “Anglicans who believe in the Resurrection.” You might find people who have questions or even doubts in nearly any church, but it is absurd and insulting to say that “run of the mill” Anglicans are an inferior lot who have no faith in the Risen Christ or disbelieve the central fact of our faith.


  7. Pingback: Anglican identity; Catholic identity | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

  8. Pingback: Anglicans for Life at Canada’s March for Life | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

  9. Pingback: Anglican Church in North America (ANCA) on the rise | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

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