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Anglican/Orthodox Pilgrim Newsletter

Vol. 2, No. 1, Winter 1993

ORTHODOXY AND ETHNICITY

by Franklin Billerbeck

Upon hearing I was likely to leave The Episcopal Church and become Orthodox, a then leading member of E.S.A. remarked: "How could you? The Orthodox are so, so ethnic!" Indeed, many Anglicans perceive Orthodoxy as an ethnic labyrinth in which no foreigner can long survive. They would have you believe that most Anglicans who join Orthodoxy soon return "home": unable to endure the ethnic enclave they believe is Orthodoxy. To them, Orthodoxy is a strange, forbidding mystery, a world which no westerner can hope to understand.

Such a view simply does not square with the facts. There are many converts, a number from Anglicanism, who are very happy in Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, many Anglicans merely assume the Orthodox are too ethnic. Convinced their assumption is correct, without of course ever having seriously examined the issue for themselves, they simply write off Orthodoxy as "not viable". But if orthodoxy is "not viable" for westerners, how do you explain that 2,000 hard core Protestant Evangelicals have found a home and a mission in Orthodoxy? They have now been Orthodox for about 6 years—long enough for any honeymoon to end! If fundamentalists can make the transition, surely Anglicans can. If westerners can't survive in Orthodoxy, how do you explain that over one-half of the clergy in the Antiochian Orthodox

Archdiocese are converts! If Orthodoxy is so foreign, how do you explain that The Collect for Purity (Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open all desires known . . .) is in an Orthodox Liturgy? No, your name does not need to end in "opolous" or "inski" to be Orthodox. In fact, Heers, Reeves, Olnhausen, Green, Trigg, O'Callaghan, Doyle, McCauley, Morse, Grossman, and Gillquist are all names of people who are happily Orthodox.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. After all, Orthodoxy claims to be nothing less than the catholic (universal) church. The same church which our Lord commanded to "go and teach all nations". This includes America. It also should come as no surprise then that there are English people who are Orthodox, Japanese people who are Orthodox, Arabs who are Orthodox, Ugandans who are Orthodox, and Indonesians who are Orthodox. Closer to home, the Orthodox have significant missionary activity ranging from Mexico and the Caribbean in the south, to Alaska in the north; nevermind the missionary activity to "average Americans" within the continental 48 states (the Antiochian Orthodox, for example, have tripled in size in the past 25 years).

ANGLICAN ETHNICITY

Indeed, Orthodoxy embraces all cultures and ethnicities, even Anglican. There is even an Orthodox Liturgy based largely on The Book of Common Prayer, the Divine Liturgy of St. Tikhon. And, yes, Anglicans are ethnic. Looking back on Anglicanism, I am surprised to realize how truly ethnic it is. Consider the terms: guild, vestry, undercroft—they have an ethnic identification. There is also a certain Anglican aloofness, formality and even perhaps arrogance. Consider, for example, Delafield, Wisconsin. In a city of 5,000 people where The Episcopal Church has fewer than 100 baptized members, the local church, pardon me, Episcopal Church, used to proclaim itself as: "The parish church of Delafield." Why? Are there here shades of English ethnicity, of being the state church? Moreover, when seeking the local Episcopal Church, you can often tell the building by its architecture, if not, at least in the United States, by its red doors.

Hyfrydol (the traditional tune to "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus") and the Healey Willan communion setting are both characteristic hallmarks of an Anglican congregation. For that matter, so is the Anglo-Catholic practice of twirling a censor in a 360 degree circle (or its variant, the Queen Anne twirl, roughly resembling a figure eight). Anglican identity is historically grounded largely, not in what it is, but in what it is not. It has played itself off, found its identity, largely by contrast to others. Thus it is not Roman Catholic but claims to be catholic.

Though not Roman Catholic it is not Fundamentalist, for it retains the seven sacraments. It is not eastern, but it claims to be Orthodox. The real problem is to identify exactly what Anglicanism is. This is a part of Anglican culture and a real part of the Anglican mindset. Moreover also in Anglicanism is lack of a doctrinal basis—there is no confessional statement akin to that used in many protestant denominations (e.g., Westminster Confession), no clear method to interpret Holy Scripture, and, frankly, little serious attention to doctrine. Indeed, the doctrinal differences amongst Anglicans are startling and Anglican doctrinal ambiguity classic. Notable too are the movements that periodically change the face of Anglicanism: Elizabethan Anglicanism, Classical Anglicanism, Anglo-Catholicism, etc. Mind you that a cross on the altar (not to mention statues or icons) was not always well received, as the Church of the Advent in Boston can testify to.

Also inherent to the Anglican mindset is the notion of a fractured church i.e., the branch theory and the notion that each has a part of the Truth. The notion that there is only one church, with one identifiable structure, as Scripture says and Tradition bears witness to, which alone possesses the fullness of the faith, that any other "church" is simply not holding that fullness of the faith "once delivered" and is in error, is, frankly, a concept alien to Anglican thought.

Equally alien to Anglican thought is the notion that heresy can have eternal consequences. With such a mindset and approach to doctrine, it hardly seems a surprise that Anglicans, unlike the undivided church, seem soft on heresy. In fact, the notion of denying communion for doctrinal reasons is not even listed in the Book of Common Prayer 1979. Read the reasons for denying communion on p. 409 under "Disciplinary Rubrics". "Notoriously evil life", "done wrong and are a scandal" and "hatred" are the only reasons listed. No clear word about doctrine here! "Notoriously evil", at least in current practice, does not include such things as practicing homosexual acts. Not surprising then is that some Anglican clergy who become Orthodox and are ordained to the priesthood find it a challenge to pastor a congregation where doctrine is not an issue and is not open for dialogue or debate; where the real issue is sin.

As a group, Anglicans tend to be genteel and cultured. There is a particular sense of Anglican decorum, even to the point of absurdity. Part of this cultural identity includes the notion that it is improper to cause a "row". Thus many Anglican congregations would probably find it a shock to have their priest condemn, from the pulpit, abortion as murder and to deny communion to someone who helped procure an abortion. Yet this is exactly what the Sixth Ecumenical Council teaches! Anglicans would be stunned if a deacon hurled the Book of the Gospels at Bishop Spong and denounced him as a heretic. Yet it was none other than Athanasius who hurled the Gospel Book during an ecumenical council. Rather than respond in horror, Anglicans apparently see nothing wrong with reciting the Nicene Creed with bishops who reject its explicit teaching; apparently they see no contradiction between claiming to uphold the Nicene/Constantinopolitan faith, as expressed by the Nicene Creed, and sharing communion with heretics who reject that faith—nevermind that the same councils which proclaimed the creed, excommunicated those who rejected the faith expressed therein. Is it really so outrageous to expect that Anglicans, who claim to be catholic, refuse to share Eucharist with those who view Christianity as but one view of Truth, who reject the authority of Scripture, ordain practicing, unrepentant homosexuals, bless same sex marriages, and question the Virgin Birth? But of course such blunt action is hardly in the Anglican mindset. Such a position would likely be viewed as being radically conservative.

Anglican ethnicity is rooted in the British Isles and in the particularly English experience and worldview. In the United States, Episcopalianism was traditionally associated with the upper social class of society. To be Episcopalian was often viewed as being part of the powerful, elite and often wealthy element in society. The Episcopal church has even been referred to as the Republican party at prayer. To the extent that one really values this identity, they could view becoming Orthodox as going to a lower class and thus not a desirable option.

Anglicans looking at Orthodoxy will soon realize their own ethnicity. They may also come to realize much of their ethnicity is valued and cherished. Remember that Orthodoxy, because it is the fullness of "the faith once delivered" and offered to the entire world, embraces, transforms and makes new all cultures. Moreover, before 1054, England was herself fully Orthodox and a number of English saints are to this day commemorated in the Orthodox calendar.

FUSING FAITH AND CULTURE: THE ORTHODOX APPROACH

Precisely because Orthodoxy claims to be catholic (universal), it is at once both the ultimate expression of one's ethnicity and the ultimate rejection of ethnicity. Because ethnicity is absorbed into the faith, the faith becomes the ultimate, God centered, expression of ethnicity. Because the faith ultimately transcends ethnicity and creates a deeper unity than any ethnic bond, the faith is also the ultimate rejection of ethnicity.

It works like this. Take the case of Russia. When missionaries went into Russia the entire nation ultimately became Orthodox. The entire culture became drenched in the Orthodox faith. All of life, its customs, its habits, its expressions became immersed in and an integral part of the Russian expression of the Orthodox faith. Yet the culture retained its unique characteristics—Russians did not have to give up being Russian to become Orthodox. The culture was absorbed into the faith and the faith permeated all aspects of the culture. Russian culture and ethnic identity was, like all things, made new in Christ Jesus. The uniqueness of the Russian culture was thus given its ultimate expression—it was made part of the Kingdom. Thus the Russian expression of Orthodoxy is and ought to be different than the Greek expression of the same faith. But the same faith unites Greeks and Russians into something more, namely, the body of Christ, the church.

Orthodoxy embraces and cherishes culture and cultural difference. Rather than cut off and isolate church as something alien to our everyday life, a box we fill on Sundays from 10:00-11:00, for the Orthodox, culture becomes a means of expressing and living our faith every day. Faith and culture are fused. As a result it becomes hard even to conceive of being Russian without being Orthodox, or being Greek without being Orthodox. And herein lies the problem.

Our culture has not yet been baptized into Orthodoxy. Thus we conceive of Greeks and Russians as Orthodox but they are different from us. We view their faith as something unique to their culture and not adaptable to ours. We view their faith as so cultural that we cannot readily conceive of it as being universal; we can't conceive of being Orthodox without also being Greek or Russian. Indeed, the same holds true for some Orthodox in America—thus they might ask you: "Are you Greek?" If you say "No, but I'm Orthodox" or "No, but I want to learn about the Orthodox faith", you may startle them for a minute, but then they will likely accept you. After all, the Orthodox are very aware that people of various cultures are Orthodox and they are very accepting of cultural difference while valuing and preserving their own unique cultural identity. To an Orthodox it would seem unthinkable to ask you to deny your ethnicity to become Orthodox. After all, ethnic identity is simply part of being human. Thus when Ethiopians, for example, attend St. George's Greek Orthodox church in St. Paul, MN, they are not asked to give up their culture. They are accepted as Orthodox and their culture is valued as being part of who they are: fellow Orthodox Christians. Naturally the respect is mutual. Orthodoxy's ability to fuse culture and faith is a great strength but also, in a way, a great weakness, especially in America.

When immigrants came to the United States, they banded together; thus easing their transition into an alien America and preserving their culture and their faith. Many immigrants were delighted just to be in America. Their goal was to be accepted. Because of the link between culture and faith, they were careful to preserve both. What they failed to see was the golden opportunity to make America Orthodox. Rather than try and do missionary work and convert America, they tried to retain their faith and their culture as an isolated box of their existence, while simultane- ously trying to be accepted by society at large, to be recognized as true "Americans". That is changing.

AN EMERGING AMERICAN ORTHODOXY

As the Orthodox church here in the new world takes in many converts and as the generations become further removed from the "old country", Othodoxy in America is changing in two respects. First, it is becoming missionary minded. The goal is to convert America to Orthodoxy! The goal of some Antiochian Orthodox is to plant 500 new churches by the year 2000. Orthodox are becoming less concerned about being accepted as legitimate members of American society and more concerned with making American society Christian. Thus we seek to proclaim our faith and to critique and confront American culture. We stand, for example, unequivocally opposed to abortion (murder) on demand, to immoral sexual practices such as homosexuality, to instant gratification as the driving force of life, abuse of various kinds, and environmental suicide (yes, environmental issues are theological issues). We affirm the dignity of human life, the centrality of the family, the need for work and sacrifice, and the equal but different roles of men and women. American culture has yet to be baptized into Orthodoxy. The mission of Orthodoxy in America is not unlike that of the our earlier mission to the ancient Roman world: win the people and the nation for Jesus Christ.

Second, what is gradually emerging is a uniquely American expression of Orthodoxy. We are very early into this process. But what is starting to happen is only natural. People of various ethnic groups born and raised in America are going to incorporate their own culture into their expression of the Orthodox faith. The faith will not change. The expression of that faith will become uniquely American, just as there is a uniquely Russian and a uniquely Greek expression of the Orthodox faith. Thus such things as, for example, pews and organs (largely unknown in the "old country") may become a normal part of the American expression of Orthodoxy. American musical expressions may well find a place in the life of the church in much the same way that there is a distinct Greek chant and a distinct Russian chant. Such a change will come about very gradually—it will not be imposed from on high. Anglican converts to Orthodoxy have a wonderful opportunity to contribute to this process. Entire congregations can come over and preserve their unique identity and character. Indeed, because America is a melting pot, it seems likely that a variety of ethnicities will find continued expression within American Orthodoxy. Ultimately, the goal is to make America, with all of its various cultures, truly Orthodox so that our culture, our thinking, our expression is so united with the faith, that it is almost impossible to conceive of being American without being Orthodox.

Are the Orthodox ethnic? Yes, and both we converts and the "native Orthodox" are proud of our ethnicity. Our heritage is part of who we are.

PRACTICALLY WHAT MIGHT ONE FIND

Enter then into an Orthodox church and who knows what ethnicity you will discover. The liturgy may be in English, Greek, Arabic, Spanish, Old Church Slavonic or a combination of these. It depends upon the needs of the local congregation. As that congregation changes, its needs may change too. In Madison, Wis. the local Orthodox church uses about 48% English, 48% Greek and 4% Old Church Slavonic. St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis uses almost all English, whereas St. George's Greek Orthodox Church in St. Paul, Minn. has more Greek. Our Antiochian Orthodox Mission in Mequon has never so much as used a "kyrie eleison", let alone Agios O Theos (Holy God). Remember that the church must adapt to the needs of her members. The liturgy you will encounter will most likely be that of St. John Chrysostom—eastern rite. It might be in traditional English (with Thee and Thou) or it might be in contemporary idiom (with You and Your). If you attend a Western Rite parish under Antiochian jurisdiction, you would likely encounter the Divine Liturgy of St. Tikhon, based on the Book of Common Prayer. Besides language and liturgy, you might also be able to expand your culinary horizons!

What about those interminably long services the Orthodox are noted for? Well, only the spiritually weak complain about services being too long! But realistically, the average celebration of the Eucharist takes about an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half, (or just about as long as many Anglican celebrations) depending upon communions and sermon. Of course special occasions last longer. And you might also be able to attend Matins (Morning Prayer) before the Eucharist. Matins takes about 45 minutes and, unfortunately, is often poorly attended.

I've found the Orthodox to be very warm and welcoming once you get to know them. Again, it varies from congregation to congregation. Some congregations make you feel welcome from day one on; in other congregations it takes a while to get to know the people. Like Episcopalians, making everybody feel welcome on their first visit is not always our strong suit.

Moreover, at first Orthodoxy will likely feel strange and foreign. This is normal. Take your time. Do some study of the faith and the Orthodox approach (it is different than the western approach). Take time to get familiar with the eastern liturgy—it will grow on you! A relationship with the church, like true love as distinguished from infatuation, rarely happens overnight—rather it grows and develops over time. Indeed, part of the process of conversion is creating a new circle of friends and readjusting old relationships. Your true friends will support you in whatever decision you make. Some may be happy for you and some may feel hurt and angry. There is no way of knowing. Ultimately, of course, neither ethnicity nor friendship is a criteria for choosing a church. The only ultimate criteria is Truth.

But don't let this discourage you. The good and important things in life always take time. Remember that one congregation does not the entire church make and congregations vary. Take time to get to know as many Orthodox as you can. Be sure to try and attend some national conferences. I was truly stunned by how many former Anglicans I met at the Pastoral/Liturgical institute held at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Indeed, one contact just kept leading to another. When I spoke with Fr. Fester, the Evangelism Officer for the Orthodox Church in America, I asked him to take a quick guess, "off the top of his head" as they say, what percentage of clergy and what percentage of lay people in the OCA (Orthodox Church in America, one of the major Orthodox jurisdictions in the United States) were converts. At least 25%, or one in four, in each category, he replied. Of course it varies from area to area and even parish to parish. Further investigation revealed former Anglicans, now Orthodox, were to be found from Florida to Massachusetts and from Texas to California. There is even a former Anglican monastic community, now Orthodox, alive and well in Georgia. And they have been Orthodox for about fifteen years now. Moreover, fully one-third of all OCA bishops are converts and Bishop SERAPHIM, Bishop of Ottawa and the Archdiocese of Canada, is a former Anglican. Historically, The Episcopal Church has been a conduit for people journeying into Orthodoxy. This was noted by Sara Loft in her study of converts to Orthodoxy within the OCA (Converts Respond, Orthodox Church in America, Syosset, New York 1984, p.3 [available from Orthodox Christian Publications Center, P.O. Box 588, Wayne, N.J. 07474-0588]). In her study of converts, Loft found that from 1978-1983, 24% of the converts were former Episcopalians! The only group larger was Roman Catholic with 33%. From 1953-1983, clearly a much longer period, 21% of the converts were Episcopalian and 30% Roman Catholic. In both cases, Episcopalians were the second largest group of converts to Orthodoxy! And in the Antiochian jurisdiction, in the past few years no fewer than eight congregations have been formed primarily from Anglicans.

From Baltimore, MD to Concord CA, and from Milwaukee, WI to Fort Worth, TX Anglicans are coming home to Orthodoxy. Indeed, the person I mentioned in the introduction who told me the Orthodox were so, so ethnic, turned out to become Orthodox herself less than a year latter. Before you just write off Orthodoxy period, or dismiss it as being too ethnic, do some investigating on your own. Granted, some Episcopalians have had bad experiences with Orthodoxy (I personally know of at least two such cases) but there are many, many Anglicans (literally hundreds), who have found in Orthodoxy a home which only the fullness of the faith could provide. You owe it to yourself to go beyond the boundaries of Anglicanism and actually get in touch with the Orthodox. Don't hesitate to contact former Anglicans, now Orthodox—they can be of great help both because they know Orthodoxy and they know Anglicanism; in a word, we share with you a common heritage, a common culture. Take your time. Don't judge Orthodoxy by one quick visit anymore than you would judge a book by its cover or a T.V. program by one 10 second sound bite. In the end, I am sure you want to be only where Our Lord wants you to be.

If you are looking at options, I would ask that you investigate Orthodoxy and give it a fair investigation. Pray, read, study and take to heart the words of Philip to Nathanael: "Come and See".

A FORMER ANGLICAN: NOW 38 YEARS IN ORTHODOXY

by Frank Billerbeck

If I were an Anglican today, one concern I would have with Anglicans going to Orthodoxy is whether or not this is just a flash in the pan, a brief infatuation which will not survive the test of time. Thus I tried to find a former Anglican who has been Orthodox for many years and, frankly, though I found many of them, ten to fifteen years in Orthodoxy just was not long enough. My search finally led me Hartshorne, Oklahoma and to Archimandrite Thomas (Green). (An Archimandrite is a celibate priest in the Orthodox church.) I spoke with Fr. Thomas for about an hour over the phone. It was a wonderful experience and I would like to share parts of that with you.

Back before the days of computers and jet passenger planes, Archimandrite Thomas was an Anglican Augustinian monk living in Florida, part of Good Shepherd Monastery. That was back in the 1950's, part of the golden era of Anglo-Catholicism and Episcopalian growth and expansion.

What caused him to look elsewhere? While hesitant to criticize Anglicanism (it was after all his home for 36 years) he told me that the seeds of current problems were present back then. Looking back, he says that Anglo-Catholics did not realize the liberalism then present in ECUSA. In a word, they were deceived and if one scratched the surface, Anglo-Catholicism was largely a facade. As he said, his mother never could understand why he became Orthodox, but then she was isolated as to much of what was happening in the church. As to later events he is still surprised at how quickly Anglicanism caved in and at how little protest there was from the Anglo-Catholics over women's ordination.

Nevertheless, in the 1950's there was laxity in marriage discipline which particularly caused him to reconsider Anglicanism. In conscience he could not remain Anglican, so, in 1956 he left. While he had been dissatisfied for 2-3 years, it was still not easy to leave. As he told me "I can't say there weren't times I found myself longing for the Anglican Church because it had been my home for 36 years of my life." Yet, once the dye was cast, he did not look back. He attended Holy Cross Greek Orthodox seminary for a year and met a Syrian/Antiochian Orthodox priest who was also a former Anglican. The Syrian/Antiochian jurisdiction placed greater emphasis on English and, under Antiochian jurisdiction, he was ordained a priest in 1957. In the early 1970's he transferred to OCA jurisdiction. He has faithfully served Orthodox congregations in California, Massachussets, Arizona, and Oklahoma.

I asked how he dealt with the fact that Orthodox have an ethnicity different from Anglicans. He told me that he soon found he "had to take the attitude I am becoming Orthodox and I should not expect the Orthodox to become Anglican and at times it will be difficult because, more so than Anglicanism, Orthodoxy is identified with the national heritage of the people." As he pointed out, however, being raised in ECUSA, we did not realize how English the Church really was. By becoming Orthodox he has met groups of people he never would have had he remained an Anglican, such as Ethiopians, Eritreans, Albanians, and Romanians.

Now semi-retired in Hartshorne, his congregation of some 20 souls is doing well. The people are very serious about and dedicated to the faith and give generously, even though most are retirees. He is accepted in the community and is leading a Bible study of 1st Corinthians. The Bible study group consists of 3 Anglicans and one person of Greek descent! Church services are in English.

Archimandrite Thomas is living proof that Anglicans can convert to Orthodoxy and survive. If ever you are near Hartshorne, Oklahoma, I suggest you visit Fr. Thomas. He is a wonderful person, a faithful priest, and has an interesting and unique background—and he has also been Orthodox for 38 years.

EDITORIAL: COME HOME!

by Fr. William Olnhausen

The 1989 convention which formed the Episcopal Synod of America was perhaps the last in a series of gatherings which raised the hopes of traditional Episcopalians. Here, it seemed to many, was an "ecclesial structure", a kind of "shadow province", which offered some chance either to hold traditional Anglicans together till the Episcopal Church turned around or else to lead them to a safe haven elsewhere. Six diocesan bishops, out of the 95 Episcopal dioceses, appeared to commit themselves to do whatever was necessary to maintain the traditional ministry of the Episcopal Church, and to cross diocesan lines (with or without the diocesan bishop's permission) in order to minister to traditional Episcopalians who so requested. The bishops who stepped out to form ESA are to be admired; they had been under almost unbearable personal pressure to conform to the PECUSA party line. They still have not sold out.

Nevertheless, three and a half years later, what has the Synod produced? (1) One retired bishop who bravely ministered to one traditional parish in another diocese. (2) An Episcopal Missionary Diocese headed by the same bishop, which established some new congregations and then, apparently in frustration, founded a new Episcopal Missionary Church, leaving the Episcopal Church and the Synod behind entirely. (3) A small number of tracts and publications. (4) No further movement toward a new province which can protect traditional Episcopalians. (5) No perceptible influence on the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion, both of which continue down the path to destruction. Indeed, the decisions to ordain women in England, South Africa, and Australia appear to assure the victory of heterodox religion in the Anglican Communion. (6) Most disturbing of all, ESA has produced no clear sense of direction. What does the Synod plan to do?

Our specific questions about the Episcopal Synod of America are three-fold:

(1) What is the Synod's vision of the future? The handwriting has been on the wall since 1976. Where does Synod leadership plan to go when life in the Episcopal Church is no longer institutionally possible, as it will likely become? If there is some plan for the future, ESA has been remarkably successful in keeping it secret.

Some ESA folk clearly hoped to maintain a traditional Anglican province in communion with Canterbury. With that option now closed, will ESA join with other dissident Anglicans in the world to become yet another "continuing Anglican" denomination? This option is based on the assumption that traditional Anglicanism (without Canterbury) is viable. But will the real "traditional Anglicanism" please stand up and identify itself? Is traditional Anglicanism Anglo-Catholic? Evangelical? Liberal? High Church? Low Church? Broad Church? Isn't it precisely traditional Anglicanism's nebulous definition of itself which has led to the present chaos? Theologically and morally, Anglicanism has failed. It contained within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Are those who wish to return to the safety of Episcopalianism as it was in, say the 1950's prepared to endure its collapse again - twice in their lifetime? This is not the solution.

Will ESA go to Rome? But the Roman Church is as deeply disturbed as Anglicanism. Is the American Roman Church really interested in taking in conservatives? How many Episcopal parishes have found a genuine welcome there? Many old-fashioned Anglo-Catholics still long for the Roman Church as she once was in 19th century England—but have they taken a hard look at her as she is today, especially in America?

Or will ESA make the right choice and move towards Orthodoxy? We see each of these tendencies among various ESA folk. This is likely why the Synod is unable to move. We suspect, therefore, that ESA, despite its good intentions, is destined to become what Bishop Terwilliger warned of years ago: a splinter group that begets only more splinters. In any event, "where there is no vision the people perish", and ESA has had a hard time retaining support without a clear vision of the future. In fact "not to make a decision is to make a decision". Present ESA policy appears to be to hang on till the last traditional Anglican dies.

(2) Why do ESA bishops not take the simple, obvious step of breaking Eucharistic fellowship with bishops who have consecrated or given consent to the consecration of female bishops, and also with bishops like John Spong who have publicly professed non-Christian doctrinal and moral principles? To be in communion with heresy is to participate in it. Unity at the altar has always implied unity in the faith. To withdraw from communion would set boundaries, define terms, and require no complicated structural break for now. For ESA to remain in communion with those who are destroying the Episcopal Church's faith and order seems self-defeating and exceedingly non-traditional.

(3) Why is ESA still even trying to remain within the Episcopal Church? By its actions, Anglicanism has rejected its Catholic identity and has forsaken the "branch theory"—neither of which were ever accepted by either Rome or Orthodoxy. The issues today all cut across Western denominational lines, and the old denominational structures no longer make sense. There is every evidence, judging from membership and attendance statistics, that God is destroying them. Why are traditional Christians clinging to the Episcopal Church? We former Anglicans who are now Orthodox would like to say to ESA and its beleaguered supporters: Come home!

How can the "foreign, Eastern, ethnic" Orthodox Church be a home for Anglicans, you ask? Let me tell you:

(1) Orthodoxy is no more "foreign" than Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, and, yes, even Anglicanism. Perhaps one of Anglicanism's difficulties in the United States has been precisely that it is "English ethnic", planted on foreign soil. Have you ever considered that the Bible itself is an Eastern document? That doesn't seem to be a problem for Americans - although the Western presuppositions which Western Christians have imposed upon the Scriptures may help to explain their current state of confusion about the Bible. Furthermore, the Orthodox Church is not just ethnic but multi-ethnic. Indeed Orthodoxy is Greek, Russian, Arab. It is also American. In the United States, there is a rapidly developing "American ethnic" Orthodoxy, within which Americans can quickly feel at home.

There are many former Anglicans who are Orthodox. Within my own Antiochian Archdiocese, well over half the clergy are converts, and perhaps 20% of the total are former Anglicans. Just in the last four years, this Archdiocese has taken in Episcopal congregations (or portions thereof) in suburban Milwaukee, Denver, Boulder, Fort Worth, Concord (California), Omaha, and suburban Baltimore. But in the end the question is: which do you value more, your Anglican ethos or your faith? If you had to give up one, which would it be? Are you now sacrificing your Christian inheritance and that of your children and grandchildren for a "mess of [English] pottage"?

(2) Anglicanism's roots are Orthodox. Many of us taught that early pre-Roman Catholic British (Celtic) Christianity was "very much like modern Orthodoxy", "Catholic but not Roman Catholic". That argument can scarcely be made today, but in the beginning it was true. St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote that:

"the Church, although scattered over the whole civilized world to the end of the earth, received from the apostles its faith... [and] carefully preserves it, as if living in one house. She believes these things [everywhere] alike, as if she had but one heart and one soul, and preaches them harmoniously, teaches them and hands them down, as if she had but one mouth. For the languages of the world are different, but the meaning of the [Christian] Tradition is the same. Neither do the churches that have been established in Germany believe otherwise, or hand down any other Tradition, nor those among the Iberians, nor those among the Celts, nor in Egypt, nor in Libya, nor those established in the middle parts of the world." (Against Heresies: Book I)

That Church which has always been united in the faith and remains so today, without addition or diminution, is the Orthodox Church. In the days before papal power and Western doctrinal innovation divided West from East, British Christians ("the Celts") were part of the primitive Orthodox unity - for the British Church was united with the rest of Orthodoxy in the faith and in Eucharistic fellowship. I have discovered that all my early British heroes and heroines were Orthodox! The Orthodox Church in America today publishes a little booklet titled "Saints of the British Isles". (Does the Episcopal Church have such a pamphlet?) The official calendar of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America commemorates the likes of Joseph of Arimathaea, Alban, Columba, Aidan, Patrick, Brigid, David of Wales - and also Aristobulus, the first Bishop of Britain, whom the English have long forgotten, but the Eastern Orthodox still remember! In this context, does Orthodoxy seem like home? Indeed, it does.

(3) Most important, Orthodoxy is the fulfillment of the highest Anglican ideals. Anglican Catholics sought to be patristic, emphasizing the continuity of the faith throughout history, loyal to the "faith once delivered to the saints", neither adding to it nor subtracting from it. Anglican Evangelicals wished to be true to the Scriptures, Christ-centered, emphasizing personal devotion to the Lord. Classical Anglican liberals (as opposed to the authoritarian modernists now wielding power) wanted to avoid legalism and externally imposed authority, but rather to allow each person a free response to God. All these ideas are fulfilled in Orthodoxy - but brought together not in antithetical movements and parties, as Anglicans often did, but in genuine synthesis. Anglicanism failed not because its ideals were wrong, but because Anglicanism did not know how to recreate primitive Christian unity; because the Church cannot be recreated but can only re-entered; because Anglicanism was, in Bishop Terwilliger's words, "not a church but a series of movements"; because Anglicanism has been part of Western Christianity, blown this way and that by the winds of Roman Catholic and Protestant controversies, reactions and counter- reactions, reformations and counter- reformations. And now, as the Roman and Protestant systems are collapsing, classical Anglicanism is going under, too. But Anglican ideals are everyday reality in the Orthodox Church.

Let me speak of what I have seen in eight years of close association with Orthodoxy, after three and one half years as an Orthodox priest. Orthodoxy is genuinely united in the Catholic and Apostolic faith. I have yet to meet or hear of anyone in Orthodoxy who denies any article of the Creed. Orthodoxy is profoundly Scriptural. Orthodoxy is not only Christ-centered but Trinity centered, with deep personal devotion to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What holds Orthodoxy together is not externally imposed authority but rather personal conviction and conversion. But the Orthodox have an aversion to ecclesiastical movements; there are no Catholic, Evangelical or liberal parties. In Orthodoxy the highest Anglican ideals are harmonized and exist not as warring factions, not just living together under one roof but married, united in worship, in theology, in prayer, in daily life.

Is the Orthodox Church the "perfect church"? Of course not. It is filled with sinners. It has many problems. But the faith is not one of them. Bishop Kallistos (formerly Timothy Ware, a convert from Anglicanism and author of The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way) writes that as the Western denominations progressively lose their grasp on the fundamentals of Christianity, more and more people must turn to the Orthodox Church to find "simple Christianity".

As so we say again to traditional Anglicans: Come home to Orthodoxy! Why stay in Egypt when God offers you a land where you can be free? Why remain in a post-Christian denomination which has failed, where you are not welcome, when you could live in peace, propagate the faith, and leave a Christian heritage to your children? Why cling to the past, when you could bravely move into the future? God bless you for your faith, your courage, your hope and your intentions. Don't waste them.