Shane Schaetzel, the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society webmaster, messaged me the other day with the following news about our Ordinariate parish in Republic, Missouri:
Help! St. George Catholic Church has a problem, and it’s the good kind of problem to have. We’re growing! And we’re about to outgrow our humble chapel at the Little Portion. We’re nearly at standing-room only on Sunday mornings. We need to build a new temporary chapel that will significantly increase our seating capacity, and we’re going to need a little help. So we’re putting a call out to anyone of good will, who might be willing to donate to a building project. Donations, of any amount, can be given online through the ST. GEORGE WEBSITE. Anything you can give will be most appreciated and put to good use. Please pray for us, and consider helping any way you can.
Then, in another discussion, Shane offered the following keys to growing an Ordinariate community that he has given me permission to post here.
As the founder of St. George Catholic Church in Republic, Missouri, I’ll tell you how we went about it….
We started out as the “Anglican Use Society of the Ozark’s” back in 2010. That name probably didn’t help us much. People didn’t understand what we were.
We relied on social media (Facebook Page) in particular, with occasional exposure with local newspapers. The diocesan newspaper was helpful too.
One thing we did not do was approach the local Episcopal and Anglican churches. We left them alone. We knew that if we just made our presence known, those interested would come to us. I did however, make sure the local pastors of these Anglican/Episcopal parishes were aware of us, that way they could refer any interested parties. I recommend developing a friendly relationship with them. Perhaps have a get together, or lunch, wherein they can ask you questions. But be sure you’re knowledgeable before you do that. Keep this in mind. You’re not likely to get any referrals from these pastors, unless these pastors feel like you’re a trustworthy and safe person, and your group is legit.
We established a strong working relationship with the diocese too. The local diocesan bishop was personally aware of us, and even donated a chapel for us to use at a local Catholic parish. You don’t need to use a parish chapel, but you can if you think it helps.
Keep the vision alive. The objective is to grow your group large enough, and stable enough, to merit Ordinariate attention. Once you have a Parochial Administrator assigned to you, you go from being a Patrimonial Group to an Ordinariate Community. Make sure your members know this and keep the vision alive in their minds. Your group can be as big or as small as you like, but what you’re aiming for is at least 2 or 3 families who are eligible for Ordinariate membership. Additional members are welcome of course.
Don’t pigeon hole yourself. The Ordinariate is not a ghetto for former Anglicans. It is a vibrant evangelistic body. This means you reach out to more than just Anglicans. Your target audience is…
1.) Current Anglicans and Methodists of course
2.) Former Anglicans now Catholic
3.) Former Methodists now Catholic
4.) Former Anglicans and Methodists now something else (usually Evangelicals)
5.) Current Baptists
6.) Current Pentecostals
7.) Current unchurched people
8.) Interested Roman Catholics who can act as support members
Think outside the box. While your group is in formation, some of your members might be people (Evangelicals, Baptists, unchurched) who may be going through a period of discernment about joining the Catholic Church. Your group may be just the “half-way” point they need to make such a discernment. Think of it as an evangelistic opportunity.
Shane asked me to add this:
Once you get a Parochial Administrator from the Ordinariate, you need to do the following…
1.) Recognise you’re an Ordinariate Community (Church) now, and you need a patron name.
2.) Get ready to move out of any host parish/chapel you may be involved in. You can’t build your house in somebody else’s backyard.
3.)Become a mission in an area (neighborhood or town) where there is no solid Catholic presence yet.
Anyone who wishes to get started and gain a pin on the ACSociety.org map (it’s on the website’s front page) as a patrimonial community, here are Shane’s instructions:
The following is a map of established Ordinariate parishes and communities, as well as groups of Catholics (of any type) celebrating the Anglican Patrimony within the Catholic Church. To create a new listing, a community must be an established member of one of the Personal Ordinariates, OR if not yet established as an Ordinariate community, the group leader must make the bare minimum of the following commitments…
1.) Register as a member of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society (ACS): http://www.acsociety.org/membership
2.) A regular meeting place must be established with a real address that can be published on the map. This can be as simple as somebody’s house, or an office space, or a library room, or a Catholic chapel if available, etc.
3.) Provide the ACS with a contact person (name, phone number and/or email address) along with the physical address of the meeting place to be published on the map: http://www.acsociety.org/contact
4.) The group must meet minimally once a month, but may meet more often as the group desires.
5.) During each meeting, either Morning or Evening Prayer must be said (whichever is appropriate), according to the approved daily office of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, or the office as published at http://prayer.covert.org/
6.) Additional time for visiting and fellowship is encouraged whenever possible. Religious studies are NOT necessary. However, we encourage pastoral oversight by a member of the Catholic clergy if any religious studies are to be done. Materials for such monitored religious studies should be limited to the Catholic Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
7.) Contact the ACS with all this information, and keep the ACS updated regularly.