On the Road
  • Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cæli enarrant

I travel around the church a good bit — looking in on parishes, dioceses, seminaries, and other schools in order to meet leaders, hear stories, make and renew friendships, find writers, seek support for the work of the Living Church Foundation, and otherwise push along various projects. Along this pilgrim way I delight in the bounty of fellowship, common prayer, and mutual encouragement that characterizes the body of Christ, notwithstanding its imperfections.

The Church is Spirit-inhabited, a living organism. And it lives in no small part — in fact, primarily — from its missionary head and members, who blossom like branches from the vine that the Lord God brought out of Egypt, reaching round the whole world (see Ps. 80). The Latin viator for the Christian pilgrim — literally, the one who travels along the road (via) — gets at the movement that faithful obedience requires after the example of the Son, himself sent on mission before returning to the Father. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

In this Spirit, I’d like to extend a few shout-outs to my brothers and sisters along the way, with thanks for hospitality extended and creative cooperation, and with prayers for continued fruitfulness:

  • To Father Brooks Keith and the good people in and around Transfiguration, Vail: Thank you for your welcome, warmth, and faithfulness in that beautiful part of the world. Press on in joy, not least as the Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center is brought to completion.
  • To Father Robert Hendrickson, now at St. John’s, Denver: Bless you and the cathedral team in your seminal, and theological, labors.
  • To Father J.D. McQueen of All Saints, San Diego: Thank you for providing a home, and for preaching the gospel boldly and humbly.
  • To Father Matt Marino and family in Phoenix: Thank you for the educational and convivial conversation. The Lord of history, and of youth ministry, strides across Arizona, as elsewhere.
  • To the Benedictine brothers at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico: Thank you for welcoming a sojourning Episcopalian, happily tangled in boughs of hops. May the Lord grant you the grace to uphold your vows, and persist in your missionary witness to stability.
  • To Father Chip Prehn, headmaster extraordinaire, his team of chaplains, and Cecilia: Y’all are inspiring, and fun! I was honored to visit, and am spreading the word about Trinity School of Midland.
  • To our Anglican-Communion-Institute-turned-Cranmer-Institute mentors, now ensconced in Dallas, who gathered young leaders to work toward a vision for the next generation: Well done, and thank you. I am hopeful, and eager to see what comes next.
  • To the phalanx of folks, lay and ordained, at St. David’s, Denton, TX — steadfast, immovable: The harvest is great, and the laborers may now be enough to pull off something really interesting. Go for it, and let us know when and how we can help.
  • To the parishes of Holy Cross and Incarnation, Dallas, and the Cathedral of St. Matthew’s, and the outpouring of generosity, good humor, and hard work that characterize your ministries: Thank you for serving as a constant help in trouble, and as a second/first home.
  • To the holy family of St. Paul’s, La Porte, nestled in the cornfields of Northern Indiana, digging into old soil with joy and zeal: The Lord will reward you, and already has. For you, “O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, least of the tribes of Judah….” (Go Irish!)
  • To the von Balthasar disciples, and their Thomist allies, at Mundelein Seminary north of Chicago: The ecumenical crux of your curriculum is not lost on us. (Father Robert Barron for Presiding Bishop?)
  • To Principal Sumner and the crackerjack squad at Wycliffe College, Toronto, devoted to seeding and sustaining the missionary ethos of Anglicanism in a diaconal mode, sans manipulations, strategies, and power-grabs: May your tribe increase, and may the last be first.
  • To the good folks at Nashotah House (back home in Milwaukee), putting on a clinic in intra-Anglican unity, resolved to synthesize an evangelical-catholic future that may be shared and propagated for the good of the whole: Count me in.
  • And to the valiant members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S. and our handlers: It is indeed good and pleasant when brothers and sisters serve together in bilateral dialogue! It is like fine phrases of Scripture, and choice selections from the prayer book, sprinkled judiciously upon a carefully crafted text, / Upon the agreed text, which will help form our churches in courage, determination, and love for years to come.

Christopher Wells


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