Friday, February 24, 2012

Anglican liturgy, evangelical worship style combine at Imago Dei in Orono

The Rev. Justin Howard stands before his congregation on Sunday afternoons dressed in liturgical garb unfamiliar to many in his flock at Imago Dei Anglican Church.

“A lot of people have questions about this,” he said, gesturing to the white alb, the long-sleeved, ankle-length vestment he wears over his clothes to conduct services. “It’s representative of our baptism. After all, Jesus wore a tunic. The cincture, this rope around my waist, signifies that we are bound in service to Christ.

“The stole that hangs around my neck represents servanthood,” he continued earlier this month. “I wear this Celtic cross because I believe the same spiritual DNA that was part of the early Celtic church is what we are planting here in Orono.”

Underneath his traditional church garments, the Anglican priest most often is clad in sneakers and blue jeans — the same kind of clothing worn by a most of the 40-60 people, a majority of whom are students at the University of Maine, who attend weekly worship services held at the Newman Center on College Avenue. Keep reading

I am posting articles like this one from The Bangor Daily News because they offer readers of Anglicans Ablaze a glimpse of the emerging face of the Anglican Church in North America.


RMBruton said...

What an Anglican name for a Church!

Robin G. Jordan said...

I ran a cursory Google search of the name. With the exception of Imago Dei in Orono, all the other churches with that name the search produced did not identify their denominational affiliation if they were affiliated with a denomination. They all appeared to be non-denominational churches. Based upon their web sites they all appeared to have a charismatic or contemporary style of worship. With the exception of Imago Dei in Orono, none of them were liturgical. The use of Latin names for churches is not uncommon in Lutheran denominations. However, my search failed to produce a Lutheran church with this name.

In the Church of England parish churches are customarily named after a saint of the New Testament or a saint of the early Church in the British Isles. The name might include other identifiers usually a reference to the locality. Names like Christ, Trinity, Grace, Advent, Calvary, Zion, Incarnation, etc. are not uncommon in the Episcopal Church but are less common in the Church of England. At the same time they are not entirely unknown. On occasion you come across a name like "Bishop Seabury Memorial Church," "Truro," or "Falls Church" in the Episcopal Church.

The new churches are exploring new territory as far as names are concerned. Some names they choose we may associate with non-Anglican churches. An earlier generation chose names for their churches we associate with Roman Catholic churches. It is worthy of note that few Anglicans churches especially here in North America are named in honor of the English Reformers.

Charles Morley said...

Meeting at the Newman Center! Is that irony, sarcasm, or mere coincidence? Almy monastic albs, Celtic pectoral crosses and glossalalia? We might need a new definition of "evangelical." Absolutely Orwellian.

Robin G. Jordan said...

Imago Dei’s pastor, I gather from the article, has been influenced by Ancient-Future/Convergence theology and the late Robert Webber and the Worship Renewal movement. Those influenced by Ancient-Future/Convergence theology typically see the Anglican Church in North America as an ecclesial body that is a “confluence,” or meeting place, of the three theological “streams”—Catholic, charismatic, and evangelical. This does not necessarily mean that they practice glossolalia. In the 1980s if you visited a charismatic Anglican or Episcopal church, you might hear prophecies in tongues with interpretations and “singing in the Spirit” as well as lively congregational singing. The music would include more recent compositions; a variety of musical instruments might be used. There would be prayer teams to pray for or with those desiring prayer. People would lift up their hands as they worshiped (which the Puritans also did). In Worship Renewal churches you are likely to encounter praise and worship songs and contemporary Christian music and prayer teams and people worshiping with uplifted hands but not prophecies in tongues or “singing in the Spirit.”

In all likelihood Imago Dei uses the Newmen Center because it is available and has an altar table. Worship Renewal churches are Eucharistic in their worship as well as liturgical.

As for a new definition of “evangelicalism,” the Anglo-Catholics and Ancient-Future/Convergence folks that comprise the larger part of the Anglican Church in North America already have redefined “evangelicalism.”

Charles Morley said...

I'm clear on the "catholic" and "charismatic" elements of the convergence movement. I still beg the dictionary use of the term "evangelical" while I acknowledge that, much like use of the word "gay," one might as well try to stop the wind.
Full pentecostalism is not a phenomenon reliquated only to the 1980's. I have attended five AMiA/ACNA churches near my home and glossolalia was practiced in all of them, and not just by the "worship leader." No interpretation of tongues was offered. One church even offered a class for newcomers and youth to learn it! All of the founding bishops from First Promise practice it, along with seventy percent of the TEC House of bishops.
I find most Protestant churchmen reluctant to speak to this issue, either in public or in private - perhaps because doing so might well cost them their pastorates!The Continuing jurisdictions are likewise silent for the most part as many are populated with charismatic Anglo-catholics themselves. It would seem this major shift in the spirituality of historic Anglicanism is not even open to discussion, much less scrutiny.
Newspeak indeed.

Robin G. Jordan said...

I don’t think that we can extrapolate from your experience—a handful of AMiA churches in a particular region—that glossolalia is a common practice in services of public worship in the AMiA and the ACNA. I have attended AMiA churches in Alabama and Tennessee and I observed prayer stations and uplifted hands and heard praise and worship songs and contemporary Christian music, but I did not encounter glossolalia. I am acquainted with a number of AMiA and ACNA pastors and their doctrinal views. I doubt that you would encounter the practice of glossolalia in their church services.

What is the source of your claim that 70% of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops are glossolalia practitioners. The practice of glossolalia and modernism generally do not go hand in hand. Episcopalians who have embraced modernism typically are attracted to Anglo-Catholic or non-Christian forms of spirituality (e.g. labyrinth walking, Native American spirituality, Tibetan sand mandalas, Wicca).

In searching the internet for articles and resources that might interest my readers, I have run into a number of posts in which Anglo-Catholic Continuers criticize the ACNA for its tolerance of charismaticism and women’s ordination.

What concerns me most is how those who espouse Anglo-Catholicism or Convergence theology are redefining the meaning of evangelicalism.