My husband and I returned yesterday (Sunday), from the Anglican Use Conference, an annual gathering of former Anglican Catholics, Anglicans and those somewhere in-between. This year's conference was hosted by Archbishop John Myers of Newark, NJ, the Apostolic Delegate for the Pastoral Provision in the US. Hence the location in Newark.
Thanks to the promulgation last October by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI of the apostolic constitution for Anglicans, Anglicanorum coetibus, the atmosphere of this year's conference was rather different from that of last year's--needless to say. Last year we knew something was imminent from the Holy See, but we didn't know exactly what it would look like or what the response would be from effected groups of Anglicans. This year, of course, we know much more of both, although there are many details still to be worked out.
I will write more on the conference later, once I've had a chance to reflect on the event and to see what others have written already (see list of links below). But I will offer one or two comments:
First, I was struck this year by the presence of a number of newcomers to the conference, especially the three people pictured above. The man at the lecturn is Archbishop John Hepworth of Australia, primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), the group of Anglicans whose formal petition to the Holy Father in 2007 got this ball rolling in the first place. For which, by the way, I and many others are exceedingly grateful. To the right of him is Bishop David Moyer of the Anglican Church in America (ACA--the US branch of the TAC) and finally, Bishop Carl Reid of Canada. Bishop Falk, first primate of the TAC and current President of the House of Bishops of the ACA, had been present earlier in the conference but was not there on Saturday, when Abp. Hepworth spoke to the participants. I was enormously encouraged by Abp. Hepworth's remarks and by the presence of all of these men. Their journey to this point has been more circuitous than mine was, certainly, and it has not been an easy one for them. But they are ready, I think, to cross the river. They have a number of pastoral and other details to work out with the Holy See in the future, but it appears that they have put their hand to the plow and are determined to be reconciled with Holy Mother Church. Please join me in praying for them and those under their pastoral care as they continue this process.
One other note regarding the Mass on Friday, a Solemn High Mass according to the Anglican Use. Since Friday was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it was fitting that it was held at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Photos of the Mass and from the rest of the conference are available at the website of Our Lady of Walsingham Parish in Houston (link below). Fr. Jeffrey Steenson, former (Episcopal) Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, was the celebrant. Video clips of his excellent homily can be found on the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite blog (link below). I learned afterward that this was the first Solemn High Mass OF ANY KIND held at this Cathedral in some 40 years!
Our Lady of Walsingham (conference photos):
Anglican Use of the Roman Rite blog (Fr. Steenson's homily):
The Anglo-Catholic blog (more details of the conference):