The Post and Courier) The breakup in the Episcopal diocese has led some members of one local parish, the Anglo-Catholic Church of the Holy Communion, to make a move of their own.
Five families will follow the Rev. Patrick Allen, curate at Holy Communion, into the arms of the Roman Catholic Church.
Rev. Dow Sanderson, rector of Holy Communion, will remain part of the
Episcopal Church, along with most of the congregation, and strive to be
neutral as the drama plays out, he said.
The fracture comes as no
surprise; worshippers at this historic downtown parish at 218 Ashley
Ave. have long preferred to uphold Catholic traditions.
Communion adheres to the Oxford Movement’s assertion that the Church of
England (and other Anglican Church bodies) has been, and is now, an
apostolic church, a direct descendant of St. Peter’s church, a true
inheritor of the word of Christ.
Protestantism, instead, holds
that there is no “one true church,” that individuals have the authority
to forge a personal relationship with Christ and don’t really require
the aid of an institution.
The 19th-century Oxford Movement
asserts that the doctrine of apostolic succession accommodates “One True
Church” with three branches: Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy and
Anglicanism. Its ideas were promoted in a series of pamphlets called
“Tracts for the Times” (1833-41).
Allen said the process of becoming Catholic will take several months.
will continue to serve as curate at Holy Communion through the end of
the year,” he said. “Of the families who are making this move, several
adults are involved in ministry and leadership positions here, so they
will serve out their terms.”
In January, Allen and the others
will join the congregation at St. Mary Catholic Church on Hasell Street
to worship. Allen said he hopes to be confirmed as a priest in the
Catholic Church by late spring or early summer.
“At that point,
we will begin having our own ordinariate (Catholic community of former
Anglicans) and Mass,” he said. The group will share St. Mary’s.
than a year ago, Holy Communion, as a parish, considered opting out of
the Episcopal Church and joining the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, but
that possibility faded, according to Allen, who addressed the matter in
a Nov. 7 letter to the congregation.
is a move forward to the Catholic Church, and I am nothing but grateful
for my own years in the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South
Carolina,” Allen wrote.