Fr. Eugene Fairweather "was a key figure in ARCIC (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission), passionate about reunion with Rome, and known at home for his opposition to the Plan of Union with the United Church of Canada. When he spoke in diocesan synod, or at General Synod, people paid attention". As one of the best known Anglo Catholics it was widely expected that Fairweather would "give the theological `coup de grace' to the ordination of women" debate in the Anglican Church of Canada. The author recalls a debate in which she participated as a theology student in which she spoke in favour of the ordination of women and Fr. Fairweather opposed. "To my considerable surprise we won the debate. But it was not my brilliant oratory ... I believe that it was Eugene's lack of conviction on the topic. Though he was publicly opposed to the ordination of women, he had privately been persuaded that, theologically, it was the right move." "At the General Synod of 1975, Eugene Fairweather did not argue against the ordination of women as his followers had steadfastly hoped. He did argue for more time for implementation". "I never heard him give a spirited defence of the ordination of women, though he showed his solidarity early on. It was more that he had been persuaded by his reading and reflection upon the tradition of the Church that this was a matter indifferent, a question not of the essence but of custom. As the Primate, Michael Peers, recalled at Eugene's Requiem at St. Mary Magdalene's, Eugene had lived by the maxim he had first articulated at General Synod in Quebec City [in 1975]: `Whatever the word `tradition' means, it does not mean that whatever has not been done cannot be done'."
Author is Director of Faith, Worship and Ministry for the Anglican Church of Canada and is a former tutor in Theology for Dr. Fairweather, Trinity College, Toronto.
Letter to Bishop Peters "about your decision last May to reject the ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] recommendations for Edward Rix and Jeffrey Reed and to refuse them postulancy in the Diocese of Nova Scotia on the basis of their position, or lack of a position, on the question of the ordination of women to the priesthood".
The author points outs that in its beginnings the Tractarian (Anglo-Catholic) tradition had a great missionary energy that "established a profound connection between God and the hunger of the world. The Eucharist was understood as a sacrament by which God addresses human hunger out of God's own Trinitarian life. That witness was shaped by perceptions that the urban poor were a spiritual as well as a political and economic challenge, and that prevailing expressions of Christianity failed to take seriously God's care for the material reality and circumstances by which lives proceed". "Catholic Anglicanism brings particular gifts to this [post-modern] period in history. Its liturgical tradition is move evocative than regulatory, more polyphonic than singular, and therefore more likely to be helpful in coaxing shared evangelical witness out of diverse responses to the kerygma. At the same time, it offers itself as what Brueggemann calls the 'testimony to otherwise' to a world ruled increasingly by the inevitability of current arrangements".
The author comments on some of the arguments John Bowen made in his article "Evangelism in the catholic tradition" in this same issue and comments broadly on the larger gifts of both the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical traditions within the Anglican Church in general and with regard to evangelism in particular.
The author a well-known Evangelical author and Director of the Institute of Evangelism at Wycliffe College writes about a "hunch" he has, that "Catholic Christianity -- by which I mean Anglican churches which value (among other things) ritual, mystery, tradition, and ceremony -- ought to be evangelistically `successful' in a post-modern world". He discusses some basic components of evangelism in general and then makes some specific suggestions for churches in the "Catholic tradition" including: "Teach the congregation, through sermons and study groups, about the evangelizing ministry of the church .... Work on being a congregation that truly welcomes newcomers who don't know an angelus from an angel or a cope from a cop. .... Preach the Gospel with visitors in mind who have never heard it before. .... Make the service user-friendly -- without watering it down. .... Offer instructional courses for newcomers who want to know what faith is all about."
The author responds to some of the arguments John Bowen made in his article "Evangelism in the catholic tradition" in this same issue. Among other concerns she resists Bowen's use and definition of the word "catholic". She also says, "First, I would suggest that the description of post-modernity is a little too neat and tidy." "A second point of critique is really more of a request for the article to go a little deeper in its exploration of possible points of connection and conflict between post-modern culture and a Catholic ethos. .... I believe there are, however, several aspects of Catholic tradition and ethos which may be in direct conflict with post-modern culture."
The author describes some of his personal faith journey which took him back into the Anglican Church after an absence of many years. His godson had had a similar experience of returning to a faith community after a long absence. The author is critical of some of the arguments John Bowen made in his article "Evangelism in the catholic tradition" in this same issue. "If there is a Catholic style of evangelism, I hope it involves living one's practice of the Christian faith openly -- without apology, without mystification, without spiritual arrogance -- in full view of one's neighbours."