Last Sunday, Double D and I visited St. Matthais' Anglican Church on the recommendation of an acquaintance. Double D said it was described to him as a combination of Catholic and Protestant. How timely, since I had strangely but privately been thinking of returning to Catholicism. *gasp*
Originally, St. Matthias was Episcopalian when it started in 1960. Early last year they declared themselves part of the Anglican Communion, separating permanently from the Episcopal Diocese. From Wikipedia: The Anglican Communion considers itself to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and as being both Catholic and Reformed. For some adherents it represents a non-papal Catholicism, for others a form of Protestantism though without a dominant guiding figure such as Luther, Knox, Calvin, Zwingli or Wesley. For others, their self-identity represents some combination of the two. The communion encompasses a wide spectrum of belief and practice including evangelical, liberal, and catholic.
The High Mass I attended at St. Matthias seemed more Catholic than the Catholic masses from my childhood, complete with incense, candles, and a healthy spattering of holy water. The service was stunningly beautiful and worshipful, which is something I have missed, and lately has become a real sticking point with me. Attending numerous Baptist and Presbyterian churches in our area, there seemed to be no genuine attitude of reverence. It always felt like I was attending a weekly social, with singing for entertainment, followed immediately by a 20-30 minute sermon, and a collection of dues. Who can possibly focus mind and energy on God when one is busy socializing, singing, and being preached to? I know many feel the worship comes from singing, but that alone doesn’t do it for me. Suddenly, the rituals and the quietness are necessary for me to completely focus and they are surprisingly comforting. Who knew I would ever want that again? I have to wonder what has caused this change in me, and just as I’m having these pangs of missing the Catholic Church, someone would tell us about St. Matthias. Hmmmm…
Over the last 30 years, I rejected Catholicism based on certain doctrines I believed to be incorrect, or at least lacked strong support from the scriptures, such as the excessive worship of Mary, praying to the dead, and repetition of prayers. If St. Matthias does not hold these doctrines as truths, there might be hope for me yet. Certainly, as I research and reacquaint myself with their practice of the ancient rituals, I now see the beauty in it. No church is perfect and there will always be things I disagree with. I just have to determine which aspects, if any, might be detrimental to my spiritual welfare. I have a lot of questions for the priest at St. Matthias and I hope he can answer them adequately, because I am exceedingly weary of bouncing from church to church. In fact, I had given up altogether of finding a church to touch my heart and soul, which was quickly becoming disillusioned with organized religion as a whole. Amazingly, Double D is open to the idea. I love that he is willing to put his staunch Baptist upbringing aside so that we can explore this new way of worship.