Saint Luke's Episcopal Church
Feast of Saint Anselm, 2012
What is Saint Luke's Church?
Part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, we are an Anglo-Catholic congregation which stands for traditional Episcopalianism - historic Christianity in the Anglican tradition. We are not, therefore, part of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA, a.k.a. TEC) nor any denomination. In short, we are dedicated to and focused solely upon the proclamation of the gospel message of redemption through Christ Jesus our Lord.
For insight into our ministry and understanding of where the Church is in our day, including many of the issues we face together, no matter which jurisdiction we may minister in, read Bishop McMannes' letter entitled An Open Letter to the Bishops, Clergy and People of the Continuing Church.
Is the Parish in "communion" with other continuing churches?
We are, if and when they are upholding the faith and have preserved the historic teachings of the Church. We are not, however, scrambling to formally associate ourselves with "this or that" group, just for the sake of some sort of affirmation or legitimization of our existence in the eyes of others. To do so would be to deny the true nature of the historic Church, and to create a new interpretation of what it is to be "in communion" with other Christians.
John Henry Newman perhaps said it best. In his essay describing Church polity, or structure - called Catholicity of the Anglican Church" - he said, "Each diocese is a perfect independent Church, sufficient for itself; and the communion of Christians one with another, and the unity of them all together, lie, not in a mutual understanding, intercourse, and combination, not in what they do in common, but in what they are and what they have in common, in their possession of the Succession, their Episcopal form, their Apostolic faith, and the use of the Sacraments."
God will bring us together in His time, and we wait patiently for that to occur. In the meantime, pray for all Bishops and other ministers, that they may set aside that which holds them back from doing God's will in this respect.
Our Bishop and Rector is The Right Reverend David McMannes.
Ordained Deacon in 1976 and Priest in 1977 (both by the Ordinary of the Diocese of Los Angeles, The Rt. Rev. Robert Claflin Rusack), he was consecrated Bishop on June 10, 1995. Chief Consecrator was Bishop Morse of the Anglican Province of Christ the King, who was assisted by Bishops Clark and LaCour, both of the Diocese of the Southern States (APCK).
High or Low Church - "churchmanship."
Speaking in terms of "high" or "low" churchmanship, both are valid vehicles of worshiping Almighty God. Albeit somewhat different in ceremony and ritual, if the same Faith is proclaimed, shared and received, then God is glorified and mankind is blessed. Ultimately, what matters is one's understanding of the Faith, participation in the sacramental life of the Church, and a willingness to live out the faith in life, both in word and deed.
The dilemma of our day.
Saint Luke's was formed because of the instability and conflict found within many Christian denominations, and specifically within those which hold the apostolic ministry as an integral part of the Faith. Our name implies a very basic truth: we function only in the state of Arizona, and have been focusing soley on the care, feeding and strengthening of the parish of Saint Luke's Episcopal Church in Sedona.
What's the problem within the Church in our day?
We believe that at the very core of the problem plaguing the Church today is a misunderstanding of the call to corporate worship, and in particular to worship and adore Christ Jesus in the sacramental setting of the Holy Eucharist, also called the Mass, Holy Communion or Divine Liturgy.
Although the 1928 Book of Common Prayer declares that the bounden duty of each Christian includes worshiping God every Sunday in His Church, oftentimes infrequent attendance on the LORD's day in the LORD's house has become the norm in our day. And even where attendance is more systematic, a disinterested approach to worship and adoration frequently takes place, with more interest being focused on the externals, such as music and ceremonial. In such a case, then, in regards to our call to worship and adoration, we have what Paul calls ... a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." (2 Timothy 3:5)
What happens when sacramental worship is neglected?
The end result is always the same: instead of unity, discord; instead of strength, weakness; instead of commitment to Christ and to living out the Gospel message in word and deed, a short-lived excitement which, in the end, comes to no fruition. Biblically articulated, a "living out" of our Lord's Parable of the Sower, contained in Matthew 13:1-23.
Why has it happened?
The current dilemma flows from the essential contentiousness of fallen man, but also from the neglect and carelessness of the clergy, in regards to the celebration and reception of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. As was rightly observed by one running for public office in the United States several years ago, "The fish rots from the head." Consequently, we now have many laymen who also neglect the Blessed Sacrament and the call to worship God every Sunday in His Church and with His people, the Body of Christ.
Such a quandary is understandable. If your bishop or priest does not hold the Sacraments of the Church to be of utmost importance and to be both grace-filled and efficacious, why should you?
Putting that truth into the context of the Faith and using the words of Dom Chautard, it is easy to see the interconnectedness of a clergyman's belief and the laity:
A fervent priest makes a pious people;
A pious priest, a decent people;
A decent priest, a godless people.
"Decency" is simply not the calling to which we are drawn. God's will is our salvation - that we become His holy and adopted sons and daughters, in Christ Jesus. Our ultimate goal is the Beatific Vision, given by God's grace through Christ, and that grace is given freely in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Therefore, we focus our labors, first and foremost, on the sacrifice of the mass and on encouraging clergy and layman to develop their understanding of, commitment to, and participation in the sacramental life and worship of Almighty God.
In short, our Lord tells us, "Do This," and we become His as we follow His commandments.
Regarding Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
As noted in the letter referenced above, at the historic Saint Louis meeting a priest preached the following admonition and encouragement: "I call upon you to exercise your apostolic commission - save yourselves, your children, your families, your friends and fellows. Leave this modern Egypt - the fleshpots of the Minneapolis Church - whose bishops act like Pharaohs, building pyramids of personal power and privilege. Leave this kingdom of death, this House of Pharaoh, and march with us into the desert."
Noble words, to be sure; however, that man became a Continuing Church bishop, and he was not only correct in his assessment of the prior church in which he resided, but was also quite prophetic regarding the Continuing Church and its clergy. Some of our bishops have acted in the same godless ways of those we left behind so many years ago.
Whatever we may call it - "collegiality" or unspoken "gentleman's agreements" or just pure lazinesss, self-centeredness or an over-riding sense of fear, guilt or sin - if our bishops and other ministers sit in their own "personal powers and privileges" and refuse to reach out to support other clergy who are within the description of John Henry Newman's words above, the sin is theirs, and God's Church suffers.
Because the apostolic ministry is so very important to the ability of the Church to carry on its mission and ministry from one generation to the next, we ask all to constantly pray for their clergy. Pray for them daily, remembering Saint Bede the Venerable's words, that a priest or bishop "who without an urgent reason omits to say Mass robs the Trinity of glory, the angels of joy, sinners of pardon, the just of divine assistance, the souls in purgatory of refreshment, the Church of a benefit, and himself of a healing remedy.
What, then, do we represent and spend ourselves for?
We represent traditional Episcopalianism - historic Christianity in the Episcopal tradition. With our heart, mind and soul always connected to the sacramental worship of Almighty God, we know that the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ must and can be faithfully preached by His Church throughout all ages.
OUR BELIEFS are based on the teaching of the Bible and the ancient creeds of the Church. We use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as the basis for our worship. OUR MISSION is to worship God, serve Jesus Christ, and to bring mankind to Jesus and His Church by: (1) proclaiming biblical truth through Catholic order as it is embodied in the historic Book of Common Prayer; (2) preaching God's Word and administrating His Holy Sacraments; (3) showing the love of Christ by reaching out to others through works of charity; and (4) upholding Christian family values and teaching the Christian faith and New Testament morality to our children. OUR GOALS are: (1) to grow in understanding of and participation in the corporate worship services of the Church; (2) to read Holy Scripture daily; and (3) to love God and our Neighbor more fully.
We do all this knowing full well that our work does not end "until His coming again," and while embracing the truth of the words which we have taken as our biblical motto for the Diocese: