Thinking Anglicans

General Convention is near

Episcopal Café has published two important articles relating to The Episcopal Church. Only the first one is, at present, scheduled for discussion at the triennal General Convention which starts on 8 July.

GC and B033: a preview and an analysis by Jim Naughton explains what may happen in relation to the moratorium in TEC on consecrating bishops who are in same-sex relationships.

Nick Knisely in Report on communing the unbaptized released introduces the text of a report from the House of Bishops Theology Committee entitled REFLECTIONS ON HOLY BAPTISM AND THE HOLY EUCHARIST.

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Pat O'NeillFord ElmsErika BakerFather Ron Smithpeterpi Recent comment authors
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BillyD
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I wish that we could avoid calling the practice in question, “open Communion,” as the bishops’ committee does. That term already has a well-established meaning in American church life: the practice of offering Holy Communion to Christians who do not have formal ties with the local community. The opposite is “closed Communion,” in which one has to be a member of the local congregation’s denomination (or, in some cases, of the local congregation itself) before receiving Holy Communion. The Episcopal Church already practices open Communion; groups such as the Missouri Synod or the Roman Catholic Church do not. That said,… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“No one, as far as we can tell, advocates that churches establish checkpoints on the way to the altar.” Absolutely not, but why would we need to? Among the many other things it is, reception of the Eucharist is an expression of one’s desire to participate in the work of the Kingdom, a sign of a person’s acceptance of Jesus and His Gospel. How many would want to do that if they were not interested in actually becoming a member of the ecclesia and taking part in the work of the Kingdom? Who’d want to lie to God, even one… Read more »

Kurt
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Kurt

Generally, I agree with Fr. Bill Carroll. Yet Tom Sramek, Jr. has a point: perhaps there should be “exceptions to the restriction within their dioceses for pastoral and/or evangelistic reasons.”

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Jim Norton’s article on ‘Episcopal Cafe’ draws our attention to the fact that GC 2009 will – among other important issues – become a definitive anvil for the working out of future attitudes towards the implementation of the Church’s recognition and blessing of same-sex unions. Whether or not the delegates will decide to defer the whole question of official liturgies, the outcome is bound to affect the rest of the Communion. If General Convention decides to go forward with any accommodation of the need for specific legislation allowing Church blessings of same-sex partnerships, they should do so without resort to… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“All you’d have to do is be clear that reception of the Eucharist is a sign of one’s reception of the Gospel, so if you are not prepared to receive the Gospel and follow Christ, then do you really want to carry out an act that say you are indeed prepared to do so?” But what does that MEAN, Ford? I agree w/ you, as far as this goes. But that’s not the same, I don’t think, as being “a baptized and receiving member of one’s local church” (much less, the even more exclusive permutations). Any individual person can decide… Read more »

Lynn
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Lynn

Mentioned at Tobias Hallers’ blog, but worth repeating: Our priests invite all baptized to received, and the unbaptized to receive a blessing at the altar. And no 🙂 no credentials are checked – and my church does get a reasonable amount of out-of-town visitors and tourists. I’m starting to feel incredibly old-fashioned on this issue, no doubt because in the 1960-1970s, we were raised with no communion until after confirmation. I’m not offended at an RC mass that I’m not invited to receive, but that’s because I honor their beliefs and traditions, and my friends that follow them. We were… Read more »

peterpi
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peterpi

I am Jewish and sing in the choir of an Episcopal church. One day, nearing Maundy Thursday, I e-mailed a priest at the church and asked him what were the Episcopal Church’s view on what actually occurs at Communion. His asnwer was essentially, “It depends.” He said some people believe in transubstantiation, others believe in consubstantiation, there are church teachings on Real Presence, etc. Seeing such anbiguity, and wanting to be respectful, when the choir receives communion, I have always opted to be blessed instead. I believe communion to be a 2,000 year essentially unbroken chain of priests and worshippers… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Peterpi:

The problem is that, according to some, if you don’t do and don’t believe exactly as they do, you aren’t really a Christian. You see and hear it all the time from the extreme ends of things, where there are folks who refuse to call Roman Catholics Christian, for example.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Peterpi:

The problem is that, according to some, if you don’t do and don’t believe exactly as they do, you aren’t really a Christian. You see and hear it all the time from the extreme ends of things, where there are folks who refuse to call Roman Catholics Christian, for example.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Any individual person can decide for themselves—even on the spur of the moment—whether they are “prepared to receive the Gospel and follow Christ”. However, to be baptized/previously-receiving requires prior actions (inc. by others).” And, having made that decision, that person is then received through baptism. If your argument is that this is the Spirit moving people to accept the Gospel (and I see no more reason to say that than to deny it), and that such reception then constitutes what in the Early Church was called a “baptism of intent”, then fine. But that person still has to go on… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Ford Elms makes a lot of sense here. However, what ought perhaps to be taken into account is the need for teaching about what the sacrament of Holy Communion is really all about. I guess this marks out a major difference between Roman Catholics and Others (including some Anglicans, it must be said) who have no particular belief in the actual Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Once one is convinced that Christ is indeed present in a special way at the Eucharistic celebration (and in the consecrated Elements), then one’s presence at, and reception of, the Eucharist, takes on… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford I’m not disagreeing with the tenor of your post, but “Do we not have a higher regard than this for something that we at least pretend to believe is one of the most important gifts we receive from God?” and “Unless it is quite clear to people what reception of the Eucharist means…” are difficult statements, when even professed, baptised and active Christians cannot agree on what the Eucharist is and what it means. We must be careful that we do not over-intellectualise what being a Christian means, and that we do not fall into the trap of believing… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Can we deny access to this presence of Christ to anyone who detects His Presence and wants to receive Him?” There are some presuppositions in this that I don’t necessarily agree with. First, does the warm fuzzy, “It’d be nice to take part in this, gee I wish these Christians weren’t so exclusive” really about detection of the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Second, the idea that this is “denying access” is perhaps a bit skewed. We are not saying to the unbaptised “You may not be one of us.” We ARE saying “If you want to be one… Read more »