No, I haven’t taken holy orders.
A little over five months ago, I published the letter that we sent to friends and longtime acquaintances in our former parish, the Church of the Holy Family. A number of you graciously replied with your support and prayers. Fr Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina, asked that I would let my readers know about our search for a new church home and the process that has led us to where we’ve landed.
Our new church home, though we’ve not yet transferred our letters of membership, is All Saints’ Church, a parish of the Anglican Mission in America (and Anglican Church in North America) in Durham. How we’ve come to be there is the reason that I entitled this post, “Where we’ve been called“. We did visit another church a couple of times during a period of discernment, but that parish is nearly an hour away from us and, as our daughters kept telling us, we should join All Saints’ Church because “they asked us to come”.
Shortly after I published our letter, and the Revd Dr Kendall Harmon linked to the letter at Titusonenine, I received an email message from Dr Bill Roper, the Senior Warden at All Saints, in which he invited us to join them. In a meeting we had a couple of weeks later, Bill told me that All Saints’ Church were in the process of becoming more thoroughly Prayer Book Anglicans, and that we would be a welcome addition and help to the congregation in doing that. About a week later, I enjoyed the gracious hospitality of All Saints’ rector, the Revd Dr Steve Breedlove, and of his wife, Sally, at a short retreat in their home for All Saints’ parishioners interested in the liturgy, under the leadership of the Revd Mr Chip Edgar, rector of Church of the Apostles in Columbia, South Carolina.
I am now – despite our not having officially joined yet – working with a committee of the rector, the minister of worship and several interested parishioners on shaping the liturgy at All Saints’ Church in greater conformity to the Book of Common Prayer and the traditions of Anglicanism. Admittedly, and somewhat to my High Church regret, All Saints wants neither to be “low church” nor Anglo-Catholic, but they do state a desire to be thoroughly and authentically Prayer Book Anglicans. I hope to be able to put some twenty-five years of amateur study of liturgy and liturgical theology to work for our new church.
Our children have attended a couple of meetings of the youth group and intend to continue attending from time to time, though we’ve allowed them to continue to participate in the youth fellowship at the Church of the Holy Family, both because the leadership are thoroughly biblical in outlook and because it allows them to see friends of years whom they otherwise would rarely see.
On the Second Sunday in Christmastide, my wife and I even led – on about twenty minutes’ notice – the music team for that morning’s eucharistic liturgy.
So, here we are. The Martin-Grangers have landed.