The other day I was looking for something–what, I now don’t recall–and I stumbled across the website of a parish we attended in the days B.S.–Before Seminary, that is. As I admired it and remembered with fondness the Episcopal Church that used to be, I happened to recall a conversation I once had with Brother John-Charles, the Franciscan who was also a bishop.
The good friar, may he rest in peace, observed that we Anglicans needed to recreate the old devotional societies that had fallen under the control of the new religion of 815. I allowed that he was correct, and the conversation moved on to other areas, but my wandering on the web reminded me of that conversation and more. Yes, we need versions of the old devotional societies that haven’t bent the knee to baal, but we need something else more urgently.
Before we work on those devotional societies, I contend that we need even more two organizations that are essential to the growth and health of a parish. First and most important is a women’s group analogous to the old ECW, an “ACW,” if you will. An ACW or Mothers’ Union is the backbone of a healthy parish and gives the women of a parish, who do, let’s face it, most of the work, a place to connect. I spoke about this need to a Jewish friend, who said, “you need a Hadassah.”
The second group that helps structure a parish is a men’s group. In one parish I attended as a layman, the men had affiliated with the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, a fine group we could emulate, without the pentecostal streak, of course. Or we could look to St. Joseph Covenant Keepers as a model.
A parish I once knew had an Anglican Catholic version of the Knights of Columbus, another good model to emulate.
Perhaps as we work for unity amongst Anglo-Catholics in the “G-4” we could develop some of these parish stand-bys.