Wednesday, March 3, 2010

O Blest Communion! Fellowship Divine!

Over the past 24 hours, I've had the opportunity to see the real Anglican Communion in action.

Not the Anglican Communion of fudge and doublespeak.

Not the Anglican Communion of ambitious prelates with a fetish for control.

Not the Anglican Communion of arrogance, self-righteousness, intolerance and acrimony.

No. Today, I saw the real Anglican Communion.

One of our parishioners was on holiday in Honolulu. She and her husband traveled there each year with another couple, and since her husband's death, she has continued the tradition.

A couple of weeks ago, we wished her well on her trip and told her that we looked forward to her safe return.

Last weekend, while still in Honolulu, she had a severe stroke.

At this point, it isn't clear what the outcome will be, though it does not look positive. She will have a safe return, I don't doubt - but probably not the safe return any of us had envisaged. I've been in touch with some of her family by phone and some by Facebook.

So, how does the Anglican Communion come into it?

Last night, I left email and voicemail messages at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Honolulu, asking if a priest or someone on the Cathedral staff could arrange to visit my parishioner and her family members that are there. This morning, I got a call assuring me they were on it. This evening, another call from Fr. Moki Hino, the Canon Pastor of the Cathedral to give me a status report.

My parishioner and her family needed pastoral care, and they got it. All I had to do was ask.

I gather from my conversation with Fr. Moki that it is not at all unusual for St. Andrew's to receive requests like this. And conveniently, the hospital in question was just a few blocks walk from the Cathedral. But, from my end, it's clear that they did not treat this as a routine request, but as a vital part of their ministry.

If the institution of the Anglican Communion is to be nothing more than the backroom politics and the naked plays for power that it has become over the past decade or so, who needs it?

Not Jesus, certainly.

But this, today, was the real Anglican Communion - a fellowship of believers who work and live and pray together, for and with each other.

6 comments:

Moki said...

I thank you so very much for your kind words. Moki+

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Thanks for a reality checkpoint. This is communion as network, not imperium to be tussled over. It happens every day, far more than the legal wrangling and custard pie fighting which some do take for a hobby, but that is actually far less significant in the whole scheme of eternity, perhaps.

BillyD said...

A wonderful story.

I remember being shocked at reading a notice at the site of a UU congregation in Houston (home of many hospitals that draw patients from far and near) to the effect that they would only visit full members of their congregation who were hospitalized.

keith nethery said...

I really don't have any great insight to add, only that a story of God's love in action like this should be affirmed, and that is what I am doing. It's amazing how God works through God's broken vessels.

Ann Marie said...

I, too, have valued our ties when a parishioner has been critically sick while away from home. I can't describe the comfort and peace it brings to me to know that pastoral care for that person is just a phone call away. It makes a real difference both to me and to members of the home congregation to know that, while we can't be there, someone is.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Country Parson said...

My sister sings in the choir at St. Andrew's and we have often worshiped there so I was delighted to read this. Beyond that I commend to you Fr. Hino's book "Pa'a Kai" that infuses the gospel with the wisdom of Hawaiian heritage.
CP