Rev. Scott's Letter, March 29
Delivered By
Rev. Tom Scott
Delivered On
March 29, 2020
Attached Document
march_29.pdf
Description

 

MARCH 29

Perhaps, as I write this, you are glued to the tv, (as my wife Dorothy is), watching episode 1 in the ninth season of “ Call the Midwife”. If you are not familiar with the series, it is a fictional account of midwives in Great Britain during the 1950’s and into the 1960’s. Among the midwives are women who are members of a fictionalized religious community based on the Society of St. John, Divine, an order of Anglican nuns.

The show has been wildly popular in GB and in the USA. I like to think that several good things have come of this: midwifery is better known and appreciated here in the USA because of the show, a fair portrait of GB at the time is given—esp. the post-war struggles with poverty; rationing; racism and classism; truly limited medical resources; issues with pregnancy, abortion, and contraception; and gender inequality as we would say now—and Anglican religious orders are presented to a largely ignorant world.

The revival of the religious community life in Great Britain in the mid-19th century (300 years after their suppression by the crown in the mid-16th century) is one of the lasting legacies of the “Oxford Movement”, which was as transforming and renewing a force in the church as the Methodist movement through the Wesley brothers half a century before. Anglican religious communities blossomed all over the world, including the USA. We have several communities in the diocese of Chicago the Sisterhood of St. Anne (sistersofstanne.org), a chapter of the Brotherhood of St. Gregory (gregorians.org) and the Community of the Mother of Jesus (cmjreligious.org).

Not all people who are part of a religious order or community live in monasteries. Some communities have both men and women. Some communities have friends or associates who share in the community life, but are not living under formal vows.

I hope I have piqued your interest in finding out more about religious community life in the Episcopal Church. There are many communities and orders, and each has a process for helping those who want to learn more, from basic information to inquiries for discernment. Some general resources are the websites for our diocese and the Episcopal Church.org. See also National Association of Episcopal Christian Communities (NAEAA) and the Conference of Anglican Religious Orders in the Americas (CAROA).

O Lord Jesus Christ, you became poor for our sake, that we might be made rich through your poverty: Guide and sanctify, those whom you call to follow you under the vows of religious life, that by their prayer and service they may enrich your Church, and by their life and worship may glorify your Name; for you reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 
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