Wales: The Revd Mark Zorab reports on Belmont Exploration Day

7 11 2011

The Revd Mark Zorab writes about the study day on the Ordinariate held at Belmont Abbey on Saturday 5 November:

Some personal impressions of a day of prayer and study held with the Benedictine hospitality of Belmont Abbey into the subject of an Ordinariate for Wales.

At this time it should be stressed that this is only a discernment process and a study into an ecumenical possibility as a route for greater unity here for the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to fulfil the wish of Christ to the Father “that they may be one”.

About an hundred people lay and ordained attended this first meeting. On arrival after coffee and introduction, a talk by Mgr. Keith Newton the former Anglican Bishop of Richborough and now the personally appointed Ordinary of Pope Benedict to Anglicans wishing for reception into full communion with the church in Rome. A practical and direct talk with encouraging but also very honest resume of where we have come from and where we are and what may or may not be in the future for some. Then a sharing in the Conventual Midday office in the Abbey Church of St. Michael and all Angels. Afterwards a buffet lunch and on to a talk from a former Anglican priest and now priest of the Ordinariate, Fr. Jonathan Redvers Harris and question times before Evensong in the Abbey according to the 1984 Church in Wales rite. Then home to the parish and preparations for Sunday. The reflection will no doubt be different for everyone, some will definitely want to stay where they are, some will keep their options open if they can in conscience continue with no orthodox Bishop to pastor them in Wales any longer, some will just test their move to possible re-union with Rome and stay, others will do so and move. It was greatly heartening to here from Fr. Redvers Harris that it was often the truly liberal and often female Anglican priests and colleagues who are amongst the most supportive and encouraging to traditional Anglicans when moving, where they feel they are truly being called and where they feel they should answer that call.

For many, the new Church in Wales and its Governing Body insisting on a new creed for the faithful and ordinands, that they are obliged to consent to their new found self appointed authority to change matters of doctrine and order within the church, will be a decisive factor. One thing is evident that no one from the traditional ranks talks about being bitter or let down or anti anyone or anything, the focus is on what in conscience one can and should do here and now in the matter of all these things, knowing that there is only one true friend judge and Redeemer whose opinion really matters and He is the One to whom all of us will answer.


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