Friday, June 15, 2018

What's In The Name?

Regarding the St Aelred group, my regular correspondent notes,
The Rev'd Mr Tipton's blog of which you can read an example here is not overtly "affirming." I am sure that the name was chosen in an effort to add Olde Englishe tone. Frankly the blog reminds me of Fr Bartus' early efforts: Anglophilia, Wikipedia-level biblical/theological/historical insights, social activities involving Pimm's No 1 cup and bbq wings. Harmless, but sophomoric. In a normal Catholic parish a neophyte priest would be mentored by an experienced pastor.

Even if he had to be in charge right out of the seminary, often the case for TEC clergy, he would inherit experienced lay leaders and parishioners with institutional memory. In this case someone whose clerical experience was functioning briefly as a university chaplain is now in charge of making it up from scratch. I am sure the pastor of the host parish is available for advice, but frankly if we assume that the majority of the "70+" are/were his parishioners we can't really expect him to spend a lot of time mentoring Mr Tipton. And Houston is a long way away.

Regarding names, when Houston told St Timothy's, Ft Worth to move to the Diocesan Center chapel they were also told to choose a new name, according to their website. There is an OCSP St Timothy's in Catonsby, MD and a TEC St Timothy's, Ft Worth, so I can see why it was a good idea. The fact that this has not happened is another indication to me that the community is being allowed to wither away. There is already an OCSP St James, in Florida, but the other common TEC names are up for grabs.

The selection of someone who died rather than become an Anglican as the patron of an OCSP parish strikes me as odd, but there are two St Thomas More's and were two St John Fishers until the one in Arlington, VA folded, not to mention Holy Martyrs. [But why stop there? St Oliver Plunkett is available, too! --jb]

Mr Tipton strikes me as the sort who was trying to choose between St Aelred and St Swithun. Probably made a bad call.

Another possible parallel with Fr Bartus is that Mr Tipton probably also had no serious future with TEC. Nice kid, but the rectors, search committees, vestries, and bishops probably had plentiful supplies of better candidates. But that I should mention St Aelred and get almost immediate replies from several people concerning the (spurious) gay connection in TEC circles also indicates a tone-deafness. And as my correspondent puts it, Houston is a long way away.

Another visitor notes,

I thought the bit about St. Aelred blog sounding like wanting to be a part of Middle earth was funny! . . . But I suspect St. Aelred, which worships at 3 on Sunday, will be guided (or controlled) by the narrowly focused, and perhaps acute and opinionated members who make up their inner circle. Sometimes, it is my feeling that, in such communities, that growth is actually not wanted. Because if there is growth, then there is change. And then someone might say, "you know, we should have a think about the name of our parish". . ."and about this Middle Earth motif".
I think the surmise, that this guy is not a strong leader and probably tone deaf, is not a good augury for the future, and I can't avoid thinking this was a reaction in TEC. But Houston's the place that's going to put him in the microwave for 30 seconds and ordain him.