Geoffrey Squire encourages us to re-assess our distinctive mission
We all know the history of the Anglican Catholic movement and what has happened to it in recent years; but what of its future, if indeed there is a future for it?
One of the reasons that I have not crossed the Tiber is because I believe that there is a real future for the Catholic movement. but there is still a danger that we could merely conserve the little corner that we have as just one of many ‘traditions’, and fade away.
What we need is to really get the Catholic movement on the move again, but it will not happen if we go plodding along the way we often are at present. We need a renewed zeal to preserve all that we have retained, to reclaim that which we have lost, and to gain that which we have never had, and it is not just going to happen. We have to work at it at every level and that may mean changing the way that we do some things.
My book explores all that we commonly do at present, reviews it and considers possible new ways of re-presenting the unchanging faith to a very changed situation.
But where do we begin? We need to see the present situation as provisional, and within that provisional there will be something dynamic happening in most parishes. It may be new ordinands or a new children’s choir or a youth club or a growing Sunday school or even a successful Alpha course. Whatever it may be we need to fan the flames and then robustly tackle other needs. Most of all, every parish needs to consider how it will carry out the great mission to the young, the many who have not heard the good news.
Then we need joined up thinking and action. We are rightly concerned about the great need for more priests, but if we had many more young people would we not be far more likely to get them?
This book suggests that everything associated with our church, including guilds and societies, liturgy and music, teaching and mission, needs an appraisal to see if it is in need of change to suit the present age. It urges that, whatever we do, we do well, with high visibility and maximum publicity.
It explains how we need to take care that we do not see ourselves as a club with a great fence around us to preserve us from taint, but rather that we constantly nibble away at the boundaries to reach out to others who may be substantially with us or even totally with us, yet separated by accident of history. It speaks of how we must robustly defend all the essentials of the faith whilst being open to others, as without this there will be no movement but rather preservation.
No stone can be left unturned, as even an appraisal of the music or liturgy or street processions or the choir or youth club can bring dramatic results.
Major festivals and events have always been important to the catholic movement, and they can be today if properly organized, but it is in the parishes that the constant drip of a renewed and robust zeal will bear most fruit.
Historically, churches of the catholic tradition have had a special place for the poor and the marginalized, but what of today? Again we need an appraisal of how we reach out to and relate to the poor, those who feel rejected by the church, and those who feel that they are downtrodden but have no voice. No corner can be left untouched.
My book urges working together with other Anglicans and other Christians wherever possible as we can learn from and support each other, and can often work with others to our mutual benefit. We may not like committees and synods but that is how the church of today works, and our presence there is vital.
I write as an Anglican Catholic traditionalist, but there is much in this book that will be of interest to Affirming Catholics, many in the middle ground and others.
A new book titled ‘New Springtime’ and sub-titled ‘New life for the Anglican Catholic Movement’ has just been published by Pendlebury Press. Its normal retail price is £8.95 but it is on offer from Amazon at £6.95. The ISBN number is 9781999984625. The author, Father Geoffrey Squire SSC, is a retired priest in the diocese of Exeter and the administrator of Youthlink (England & Wales). He is a member of many catholic guilds and societies, has a wide experience of different Christian traditions and is active in social justice issues.