A Family within a Clan

Pastoral Reflections

Our clergy from TLC are getting ready for the Diocesan Gathering beginning Monday. As we prepare, I am reminded again of the nature of our (Anglican) Communion and what it means to belong to the Anglican clan.

The diocesan gathering is an annual occasion where clergy and lay representatives from parishes within a diocese are hosted by the bishop. They discuss matters of importance for good governance and overall health of the Church. But there’s more. I am thankful that Bishop Ross makes much more out of it than the necessary approvals of policies and reports. Our annual gatherings give attention to tending to the souls of clergy (and spouses present), sharing in each other’s stories of faith and ministry, clergy renewal, and receiving the gift of being “ministered to” as sheep of the Lord’s fold.

As you know, the Anglican Church is episcopal in its polity. ‘Episcopal’ derives from the Greek word, episcopos, generally translated ‘overseer’ or ‘bishop’. This means that each Anglican church locates itself under the oversight of a bishop. The bishop is like pastor to the pastors. Also, the bishop normally belongs to a college of bishops where they are mutually accountable to each other. This entire structure is critical in church life.

It is a blessing to know that, as pastor, I am under authority, myself. It is a relief to think that I have someone to go to in those circumstances bigger than I can handle on my own. Said differently, every system has its advantages, but frankly, I am grateful not to have to operate independently. We, as a family unit, are part of a big clan.