A Letter from Fr. Warner

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes

Dear Christ Church,

I’m writing you from a rainy Gloucester day, winding down sabbatical with one month remaining until we worship again together. My thoughts are with you and your efforts to beat the heat, enter into your summer routines, vacations, and community life in the church. I’m sad to miss Bishop Hunter’s visit coming up in a few weeks; he’s a man I’m grateful to have in our midst and speak into our mission. In these weeks I’m also anticipating our return to Austin, to friends, family and parish life, and back into the rhythm of action after a season of contemplation.

This is one of the major themes I’m finding as I have been reading from pastors throughout the centuries: the tension that must always be held between action and contemplation. Church fathers and divines from the 4th, 6th, 17th and 20th centuries consistently echo St. Gregory the Great, who writes that whoever “pursues so completely the beauty of his Maker as to neglect the care of his neighbors or, conversely, whoever attends to the care of his neighbors so as to grow listless in divine love (whichever of these two he neglects), he does not know what it means to have twice-dyed scarlet in the adornment of the Ephod.” I am loving my time for reading, prayer, study and a little writing; and I am really thankful to return to action in August with “twice-dyed scarlet.”

Before we left we requested prayer for rich memory-making family time, formative experiences, and good conversations. Thank you for your prayer! We are forever marked as a family by this time and adventure. Long treks, cooking, eating and cleaning up together for all three meals a day, reading voraciously and discussing our books, whittling hazelnut branches, playing soccer, planting and harvesting with local farmers, good times of family Bible study and prayer, exploring great art, learning history, worshipping with the global and diverse body of Christ, these are a few of our favorite things (we also recently watched the Sound of Music again).

Right now, because of our Spanish visa finally expiring, we are in residence at Redcliffe College in Gloucester, England, a missionary training school that sometimes offers inexpensive hospitality for traveling ministers and missionaries. My heart is full of God’s goodness and grace. As I look back on the past few months, I see the gentle, deft hand of God positioning me here or directing my attention there to notice His presence and receive His gifts.

Before I go, let me share with you the news of a goodbye and a hello. With profound gratitude and admiration we say goodbye to Archbishop “Bob” Duncan who steps down after completing his term in leadership of the Anglican Church of North America. We are a young movement within the long historic Anglican tradition and have been formed in very difficult times. There are few people that could have borne the burden of leadership in such circumstances, maintained the unity, won broad trust and provided vision with such grace, skill and humility. Many times I’ve heard him call us, as orthodox Anglicans, to be a Biblical, unified and missionary church. Amen.

Last week the ACNA College of Bishops elected the Rt. Rev. Foley Beach to serve a five year term as our Archbishop. He is, by all accounts, a man of integrity with a track record of fruitful ministry and strong servant-hearted leadership. Please join me in welcoming Bishop Beach into this new role and interceding for him. You can read our bishop’s statement here.

My family and I miss you all and look forward to seeing you soon!