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Ancient and meaningful traditions

August 14, 2012

Dr. Perm wrote me recently to note that he, evelynunderhill, and I are not wholly unified in our churchmanship. Perm, as our readers will know, is a Prayer-Book catholic, evelynunderhill more broad church but with a love of ritual, and this blogger, as our readers also will know, is an old-fashioned, stiff-upper-lip, Communion-on-the-first-Sunday-only, High-Church Protestant (see here for definitions).

Nevertheless, we are able to collaborate on this blog, writing hopefully and with humor and mutual generosity. That we are able to do so, despite differences in our preferred patterns of worship, has much to do with common focus and a common understanding of what things are most important in the life of the Church.

And those most important things are these: the centrality of worship, the necessity of telling the story of Christ Jesus through the read and preached word, and the freedom found in submitting ourselves to the Christian life of prayer and faithful observance.

We post much on these pages from the Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch in New York, and there is good reason for doing so. It is a model parish. Under the rectorship of Andrew Blume, St. Ignatius is a place rooted in the richest customs of the Church. Yet neither worship nor congregation is ever stuffy, neither ever seems outmoded, and never is ritual undertaken for its own sake. It is approached sacramentally, and it works. The parish comprises a congregation diverse in age, experience, and background, yet united in a common ministry of worship, observance, and outreach. The solemn quiet that precedes a service on West 87th Street is neither ponderous nor precious; rather, the sense of focus on the worship of a holy God is palpable. The visitor joins in the life of the congregation by taking his seat, opening his Prayer Book, and removing his mind from earthly things to things heavenly.

Below, we reproduce Fr. Blume’s warm and generous welcome as it appears this day on the church’s website.

Welcome from the Rector

Chancel, St. Ignatius of Antioch, NYC.

My dear friends,

We live in a society in which many people, especially young adults, say that they are seeking a faith community that both shares their values of love and inclusion and that is also in touch with the most ancient and meaningful traditions of the church. Saint Ignatius sits on a corner of West End Avenue and 87th Street living out those very precepts: we participate so very deeply in the liturgical and spiritual traditions of the Catholic faith that are our inheritance and, at the same time, welcome all people to participate at all levels in the ministry of our church—men and women, gay and straight, young and old, rich and poor, white and black. A truly open, welcoming, and inviting Anglo-Catholic witness here on the Upper West Side of Manhattan has the promise to serve as a beacon to a church and a world that is looking to find meaning in life, to find love and acceptance, to find the God who loves us all, and a community that seeks to live out this reality.

Our vision for our community is one where we welcome people at different places in their faith journey and people who may disagree with each other. It is in the gathering around the very presence of God incarnate in an ancient form of the liturgy that makes manifest the reality of the beautiful life God wishes for us that we can be strengthened to serve a world that is aching for our witness.

Come: gather and worship, so we may go out and serve and love a world that really needs us.

So welcome to our website. Please explore its depths and if you like what you see and read, please come and visit us. We celebrate the Eucharist on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:15, on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., and on Sundays at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m (10 a.m. in the Summer).

Faithfully yours,

Andrew C. Blume+


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