Friday, 23 April 2010

In the Meantime...

A very good couple of days spent in Devon. Old friends Robin and Anne Ellis in Exmouth (seen here in a windowseat where we enjoyed coffee) put me up overnight. The purpose of my visit was to attend the Southwest Synod of SSC (the Society of the Holy Cross), held at Heavitree parish church. That is a place with a great history, and for me is especially dear because it is where my first fellow PEV, Bishop John Richards, had been parish priest. Robin was eventually to join him a an Archdeacon, John of Exeter, Robin of Plymouth. Then John took up the Provincial Bishop task as first Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

The Master of SSC, Fr Kit Dunkley, had asked me to speak about the work of priests in the present climate. Because so many of us seem to be anxious and not a little confused I talked about living in an 'interim' - in the meantime. I hope I may find space to publish what I said on the Anglo Catholic website; here I will just summarize.

"What is this 'little while' he speaks of?" the disciples asked: "we cannot tell what he says."

They were living in the meantime between Resurrection and Ascension; truth to tell, we are all of us in the meantime; waiting for the Parousia at the end of time. "It is not yet apparent what we shall be; but when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is".

So this time of waiting until all becomes clear about the Ordinariate is unsettling; but necessary. Our task, as priests of SSC, is to continue to support one another, and respect whatever any individual may decide. Some for domestic reasons will feel constrained to stay. Others, for the sake of their people, might make the same decision. Others yet again may decide they have to give a lead to their people, and for that reason must go. Whatever decision anyone makes, we must respect it and believe that, like our own , it has been made prayerfully and in conscience.

I ended with a little snatch of song, recalled from my youth:

There’s nothing surer - The rich get rich and the poor get poorer;
In the meantime, inbetween time, ain’t we got fun!

One of the neglected gifts of the Catholic movement is just that; the ability to have fun as Christians. Perhaps it is an important part of our Patrimony as we live through the mean-time.

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