1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

Conservative Anglican. Moving soon. Don't know where to attend anymore.

Discussion in 'Scripture,Tradition,Reason-Anglican & Old Catholic' started by jinc1019, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Christian

    +83
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Republican
    Good Evening,

    After many years of searching for a church denomination, I settled on traditional (non-mainline) Anglicanism a few years back, and I don't regret it. I think the middle way of the Anglican tradition is closest among all existing churches to the way of the early church.

    However, I am not theologically liberal on most issues, and I'm about to move to a place with absolutely no traditional Anglican churches. There is a very large, quite "liberal" (not sure how else to describe it) Episcopal Church in town. There are many other mainline churches as well (PC USA, Methodist, etc.)

    The only traditional Protestant churches around are a couple of small Lutheran churches (LCMS, I think) and a couple of very small Presbyterian churches. All the others are evangelical, Baptist, etc., and I'm not a Baptist.

    Honestly, I just don't know what to do. I don't feel like I fit into any of these options. I feel too traditional for mainline churches, I don't believe in believer's baptism (at all) so most Evangelical and Baptist churches are out, and I wouldn't even be eligible to take communion in a confessional Lutheran church because of my beliefs on the Lord's supper, and the local traditional Presbyterian churches are very small and not nearly sacramental enough for me.

    Does anyone have any thoughts about this, helpful advice, etc.? I'm open to any and all suggestions, but I'm especially interested in the opinions of Anglicans (which is why I'm posting this thread here), since they are more likely to understand where I'm coming from theologically.

    Thanks for your time!
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +32,319
    United States
    Anglican
    Married
    Hello and thanks for your message. I'd say that you are in good company, as they say. Hundreds of thousands of other people fit almost the same profile as you've described in your own case and, frankly, I don't know that there is any good answer.

    I sometimes encourage people who ask what you did if they are absolutely certain that there are no more traditional Anglican churches nearby--Continuing Anglican or even ACNA--but I have the feeling that you've already done your homework in that respect.

    What other people have done that represented for them some sort of "better than nothing" answer might be instructive. Might. I am aware that some have gone to Presbyterian churches and been reasonably satisfied, but not the PCUSA kind, and I'm going to guess that it's unlikely that one of the others is among the churches you will have access to in your new town. Even at that, these Anglicans were all low churchmen, so ritual without a lot of ceremony was bearable for them.

    Otherwise, you have the confessional Lutheran churches. Some of the LCMS pastors are open to communing other Christians so long as they believe in the Real Presence, but otherwise it looks like you will be stuck without a church home and also without even a church at which you could be a perpetual visitor and feel at ease doing that.

    If this post suggests anything else you'd like to discuss, don't hesitate.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  3. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Christian

    +83
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Republican
    Albion,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. You make many good points, and I appreciate your thoughtful and, frankly, sobering approach. One of my primary concerns is that I believe I am obligated to become a member somewhere, since that seems to be the consistent view presented in scripture and in the early church fathers. There is no mention of a Christian without a church--the two are always together.

    As you pointed out, though, it does seem as though there aren't any good options.

    Just out of curiosity, and if you don't feel comfortable responding, then please don't, what would you do in such a situation? (Assuming no other Anglican churches.)
     
  4. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +32,319
    United States
    Anglican
    Married
    Hello again. First off, I agree with what you said about being a part of a congregation and the reasons for you to think about that issue as you do. We get a lot of comments and inquiries here from people who actually look down on church membership as though it conflicts with a commitment to Christ. Consequently, it's refreshing to hear from someone who holds the other view.

    Still, it may be the case that there is none you can in good conscience actually join. I wouldn't join one that I disagree with on important matters of faith and practice. That leaves only the option of being the perpetual visitor, which some other denominations easily take in stride, understanding the difficulty faced by a Christian who is in your situation.

    If one of those is available, the preaching is good, and the people welcoming and devout, I'd give it a chance. They'll probably even ask you to be an usher or teach Sunday School despite not being a member.

    It may seem odd, but in my own case, I've found that attending a non-liturgical, possibly non-denominational, church that is still traditional or conservative in basics is preferable. It's like interdenominational Bible Study with fellowship, hymn-singing, prayer, and a good and non-political sermon. That's something. I am not speaking of any "holy rollers" or cult-like fundamentalists.

    Not every Anglican could endure this approach, I know, but that's me. AND for what it's worth, I know personally some very dedicated Anglicans, clergy included, who just like you found themselves without an acceptable Anglican parish who did this exact same thing and seemed to find it workable.

    To try to replicate Anglicanism as much as possible does not work well for me because I am so aware of the points of departure that do exist between the two that I feel compromised or 'dumbed down' as I sit there in front of it.

    I hope this makes some sense, but of course you have to follow your own conscience. If a conservative Lutheran congregation (not ELCA) exists, you might be happy there. However, for me, it doesn't quite work.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  5. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Christian

    +83
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Republican
    This is a wonderful response, and I greatly appreciate it. I agree that a confessional Lutheran congregation doesn't quite work. I like Lutherans a lot, actually, but I just don't think I could ever commune with them in good conscience.

    I will strongly consider the available non-denominational, evangelical options available--of which there are quite a few--and go from there. You are right that it might end up being the best, albeit imperfect, option. Hopefully, at some point, an ACNA church will develop there (it's not a small place, so it's definitely possible over the long run).

    Thanks again for thinking these issues through.
     
  6. dqhall

    dqhall Well-Known Member Supporter

    +3,734
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    I volunteered at an Episcopal jobs ministry operating out of a storefront, even though I was not Episcopal. George Washington was a vestryman at this Falls Church, VA Episcopal Church in the 18th century. The greater Episcopal Church ordained a lesbian minister. This Falls Church congregation withdrew from the Episcopal Church. The church sued to get their church building back and won. The congregation joined the Anglican Church and rented worship space in a public school.

    I met a woman who used to be Roman Catholic. She and her husband had a large family. She got pregnant again. She had a fetus with the internal organs formed outside of the body. She got an abortion. She had to leave the Catholic Church. She became a Protestant.

    You might have to visit churches until you find one you like.
     
  7. Shane R

    Shane R Priest Supporter

    +875
    United States
    Anglican
    Widowed
    Jinc, You can private message me if you want and I may be able to dig something out of the woodwork. A lot of missions start out of someone's home and it's hard to find them without some help.
     
  8. Tigger45

    Tigger45 Stand by Ukraine Supporter

    +12,394
    United States
    Generic Orthodox Christian
    Married
    US-Constitution
    Exactly. I stumbled onto a local ACNA mission church by pure chance. They were renting a two hour time slot at a hospital chapel every Sunday morning, that used to be run by nuns. The chapel is the only thing left of the original building so it’s on a historic building’s list and must remain in tack by specific regulations. Because it was listed on the historic buildings list my mother caught wind of it to go in a take a look around. Once inside my mother found litterateur from the ACNA congregation which she then shared with me.
     
  9. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

    +4,157
    United States
    Anglican
    Married
    Perhaps you might prioritize what your "stoppers" are. The strength of each stopper might lead you to narrowing what you will and won't consider. For example, a big stopper in my search was bodies that do not have an open communion table for all baptized Christians. I don't agree with everything in my denomination, but I can tolerate those things more readily than I can tolerate a closed communion table. Your "stoppers" will be different, but ranking them may give you some guidance.

    More of my life is behind me than is in front of me, and I have to say I have never found a church in all my years that checked all my boxes and didn't involve some compromise to be there. Of course, there are some things on which we will not and should not compromise (e.g. our most salient "stoppers.") I suggest you may also want to examine individual congregations compared to their national church bodies. There are conservative pockets within denominations that are more liberal on the national church level. You would hear nothing liberal on Sunday morning in my own parish as you might expect from what you know about the denomination itself. Yet other Episcopal churches might make you squirm.

    Best wishes on your search. I hope you find a place to worship that is comfortable for you and as close of a fit as you can find.
     
  10. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +17,187
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    I agree with seeking.IAM that it might be worth visiting the Episcopal church and finding out whether the experience matches your image of them, given the breadth of Anglicanism generally, and whether their liberalism shows up in ways which you can work with (or not).

    Apart from that, a good few people where I am seem to have found the Lutherans the next best thing... but Lutherans in Australia and Lutherans in America are not necessarily the same sort of Lutheran, so again that might take an actual visit to work out how they might fit for you.
     
  11. East of Eden

    East of Eden Well-Known Member

    +324
    United States
    Baptist
    Married
    As a former ACNA member (left due to woman's ordination) can I suggest the LCMS?
     
  12. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Christian

    +83
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Republican
    Thanks for the kind offer! Perhaps I'll reach out when I get closer to the move (it's still a little ways away). God bless.
     
  13. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Christian

    +83
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Republican
    Great advice. Thank you for these helpful and kind words!
     
  14. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Christian

    +83
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Republican
    Thank you for this advice! Much appreciated. I will likely do this.
     
  15. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Christian

    +83
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Republican
    Thanks for the suggestion. That is something I have considered. There is a small LCMS church in town. I'm not sure I could ever commune with them or be an official church member, but it might be a place I could worship in.
     
  16. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

    +4,577
    Canada
    Lutheran
    Married
    While not in fellowship, the ACNA and LCMS/LCC are on good terms right now.
     
  17. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 Pax et bonum! CF Ambassadors Supporter

    +10,283
    United Kingdom
    Anglican
    Single
    I have been part of the Church of England for many years - I have always loved it there and it has been my 'home'. Having moved around the country, I have attended many different churches. The style of each church, the way they worship, even the way they approach theology, varies between each.
    When I moved to my current town, I later started attending a very vibrant Anglican church. But very quickly I started to become unhappy. I did not feel at home there.
    I attended a Bible study and was astonished to find that they had chosen material written by a very socially conservative American megachurch pastor who even believed in creationism!
    The church itself seemed to me to be trying to rebrand itself. It was Anglican, but only really by name, since in practice it was doing everything possible to abandon its Anglican identity. The liturgy was gradually disappearing from a lot of its services, there were less hymns being sung, and the new worship format was always "Hillsongs". First it was Hillsongs in the evening, then it became Hillsongs in the morning as well.
    Holy Communion became a very informal service with none of the propriety and reverence you would expect - and I doubt that many people in the church believed in the Real Presence.
    It gave me a very clear indication of the type of church is was striving to become and I no longer felt I could be a part of it.
    I am theologically quite conservative - I like church done in the traditional way - but I am socially far less conservative and prefer churches that are a little more open minded.
    The beauty of Anglicanism is that you can have either, but it is not always easy to find churches that have both!
    These days, I attend my local church which is Anglo-Catholic. It ticks all of the boxes for me. But I'm starting to miss some of the modern songs - but not Hillsongs ;-)
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  18. jinc1019

    jinc1019 Christian

    +83
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    US-Republican
    Thanks for sharing! In America, the Anglican landscape used to be more in line with what you described in your post, but not anymore. Our theologically conservative Anglican churches (most, anyway) split several years ago from the established Episcopal Church, with help from established African churches.
     
  19. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

    +32,319
    United States
    Anglican
    Married
    Hello, jinc. I think I should add something here, but only because you asked for help and Anglican churches were part of the question. The churches that broke from The Episcopal Church several years ago (meaning, actually, about 11 years ago) are not the conservative Anglicans.

    These are arguably more conservative than TEC, but they tolerated all of TEC's doctrinal revisions during the previous 30 or so years and only split when the gay ordinations and same-sex marriages developments became too much for them. That still is the most distinguishing difference between TEC and ACNA.

    The conservative/traditionalist Anglican jurisdictions are the Continuing Anglican churches (and Wikipedia has a pretty good page on the "Continuing Anglican movement" if you are interested). So, I want you to have a correct roadmap to work from as you continue your search, and that's irrespective of what your deciaion ultimately is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
  20. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

    +4,157
    United States
    Anglican
    Married
    Also, in the name of a clear roadmap, be aware not all continuing Anglican churches are breakaways from The Episcopal Church. The ACNA congregation in my area was formerly a Vineyard Church and looks more Vineyard like than Anglican to me, such that I could never be comfortable there. They didn't spring forth from TEC at all. My Episcopal Church is high church, Anglo-Catholic. Those that left my church over homosexuality or women's ordination were more likely to become Catholic than to join our local ACNA. Many of them came from Catholicism in the first place. As in all things, please research to find the right fit for you, and look at the individual congregation as well as the denomination.
     
Loading...