Saturday, February 16, 2008

Just for fun

Of course, sometime in the next 5 years, I'm thinking about planting a new Anglican parish in Georgetown, Kentucky, to bring the Catholic religion to that poor benighted land. Now, you may be aware that it is traditional for protestant groups to name their communities after numbers, or the streets along which the meetinghouse sits, or something that shows good marketing sense while resonating with the language of Scripture (e.g. "New Hope" or "Living Water, and so on). The Catholic churches (Rome, Canterbury, and the East) will often name their communities for notable saints, or events in the life of Christ. While there's not a hard and fast rule, many hardcore Anglo-Catholic churches will pick the latter option. For example, Church of the Advent in Boston is so "high up the candle" that the local Roman Catholic Archbishop gets a nosebleed when he passes on the street.

While I might have fled to the Church of the Holy Hierarchical Authoritarianism, I've got enough tra-la-la tree-hugging namby-pamby egalitarianism in me that I'd probably go in and start the "Georgetown Anglican Fellowship," and then when we numbered around a dozen, start discerning an appropriate name/patron/commemoration for the parish. But just for fun, here are my top five name choices for a new parish I'd like to start, somewhat in order.

  1. Saint Clement of Rome. We have one document extant from this early leader of the Roman Church, his Epistle to the Corinthians in which he lovingly chides them for their disunity. The community had recently overthrown their college of presbyters and apparently brought in some upstarts to replace them. I've written on the Epistle here. I believe that American Anglicanism has an ecumenical and unifying mission in the life of the Church as it seeks to live and share the Gospel, and looking to Clement and his writing as an example would be good for a young parish.

  2. Saint Mary Magdalene. Mary is known for her loving dedication to the Christ who exercised and healed her of demonic oppression. In a neurotic, materialistic suburban culture, we need this model. Also, this is the name of a famously exuberant Anglo-Catholic parish in Oxford. Which is braggable. Heh.

  3. Church of the Resurrection. This really shouldn't need any explanation at all. We need Jesus Christ, the second Adam, to heal us and make us alive.

  4. Saint Cyprian of Carthage. Haha, not really. I just wanted to see who was paying attention.

  5. Church of the Incarnation. Take that, latent gnosticism! Meditation on the Incarnation will guide us to sacramental and catholic imagination, to understand that matter can and does bear the glory of God.
What do you think?


Garrett said...

I briefly thought #4 was a Ghostbusters 2 reference.

+ Alan said...

1 = He was cool but the name would be too confusing - every 5 minutes you'd be having to explain that you weren't Roman Catholic, that there was nothing wrong with that, but that you weren't - uh, no not Episcopalian, Anglican, like England, Church of...

2 = I like that one. And if you do, please DO embrace the traditional story that she well may have been a prostitute and God loved her anyway and redeemed her like the rest of the sinful lot of us and that's what this whole mess is all about.

3 = Good traditional one - again, what it's all about - not just His Resurrection but our resurrection in and through Him.

4 = huh? Ahh, North African Saints - just get all into the desert Fathers or something - St. Pachomius of the desert - that'll get attention.

5 = Incarnation's good - it's very good.

There are a good number of Saints from Britain who would be great namesakes for a community...

- St. Aelred
- St. Anselm
- St. C.S. Lewis :)

tons of others I'm sure.

Peter said...

How about St. Pusey? Or St. John Henry Newman?

Just thinking out loud. Tee Hee!

Indie Pereira said...

I'd go with Mary Magdalene because not enough churches are named after women.

Josh said...

So Kyle's Super Duper Church of Awesomeness 5000 is out?

"When other churches just Anglican't, we Anglican..."

Anonymous said...

I like #5 the best. I like the idea of St. Mary Magdalene, however you do have all those weird books out there that claim she was Jesus' wife etc. and you may set up for some interesting outreach that way - may be interesting.I like and recommend St. Thomas Beckett a/k/a St. Thomas of Canterbury as the movie Beckett is one of my all time favorites.

Anonymous said...

You could always go the St. Gene Robinson route...

Oh wait, you're a schismatic Anglican... I forget.


SaintSimon said...

Saint Simon?

Only kidding.

Go for 'Incarnation' or 'Resurrection'.

Or St Irenaeus, celebrated by all branches of the church.


St Happy Clappies'

But then maybe, just maybe...

"Mars Hillock"

Kyle said...

To clarify, the reason I don't believe the Episcopal Church to be a Christian church has nothing to do with gay bishops.


Repent, Mike.

Anonymous said...

Of those that you've suggested, Incarnation seems the most obvious to me.

Whenever I fantasize about planting a church, I have always assumed that I'd name it after Our Lady... Of course there are literally thousands of options there...

A(n) (Evangelical Catholic) Lutheran Pastor friend of mine once threatened to plant a church and call it Our Lady of the Ninety-Five Theses.

The naming of a parish might seem trivial to some, but most parishes don't change their names often--so you more or less have to live with it once it's chosen and there are spiritual/practical matters that are not always obvious.

For example, if one takes seriously the idea of the patronage of the saint one's parish is named after, then one shouldn't choose lightly. At both parishes I've served since my ordination to the priesthood (Saint Martin (of Tours)) and Saint Matthew, I've tried to get a sense of the character of that saint, or some hook on which to understand how the mission of the parish might be formed in the character of that saint. Martin of Tours was more interesting (to me), but I was only a curate and so I didn't have much influence in terms of mission anyway.

There are also issues like Patronal Feasts that will give particular shape to the liturgical year. A mission/church named after the Incarnation would probably have Christmas as its Patronal Feast, which is great in some ways, but problematic in others.

There is probably more, but I have to get to a doctor's appt.

A good and fun exercise, Kyle. I'll be happy to see the proposed plant grow into more than that in the years to come.

Father Rhodes

Anonymous said...

Matt from St Pat's

Hey, why not got the North American Protestant route and define your church by what you're against.

How 'bout
"The Romish Doctrine of Purgatory is Rugnant to the Word of God Anglican Church"

No offense to the RC's here just some theological humor.

Peter said...

"To clarify, the reason I don't believe the Episcopal Church to be a Christian church has nothing to do with gay bishops."

Oh come on -- of course it does. Surely the reality of a practicing homosexual in a bishops chair is related to the deeper and more tectonic realities that you find problematic about the Episcopal Church. At the very least it is symptomatic of the problems.

Nah, nah, nah nah, nah

Anonymous said...

Repentance is my middle name, Kyle.


t4stywh34t said...

My two favs have always been:

St. Origen Church of the He-Wasn't-That-Heretical


St. Augustine (of Canterbury - not the bastard from Hippo)

betsy said...

Normally, I'd expect Incarnation to appeal most to me...but Church of the Resurrection is perfect.

Chris Larimer said...

I think I'll try to name my church plant, Theodore of Mopsuestia - or as he was known to his exclusivist frieds, "Teddy the Mop."