I began this site “Apprentice2Jesus” years ago in a hunger to learn more about spiritual disciplines in the tradition of Dallas Willard and Richard Foster. Dallas has been a major influence in my learning so I used a phrase of his to communicate my desire.
The tagline says “A confessing Pentecostal connecting to a real world.” I can’t remember all the details of that phrase, but I wanted to communicate that I was a Pentecostal (and at the time a minister in a Pentecostal denomination) AND I was shifting in my theological understanding (without arousing too much suspicion from any Pentecostal colleagues who actually read the tagline and wondered what I was saying).
I used the term “confessing” because I truly held to the Nicene Creed and believed in being confessional, or “credal”, when my denomination specifically did NOT believe in being credal, historically.
My theological shift was gradual but significant. I was moving away from seeing communion and baptism as “symbolic” in the anabaptist tradition to seeing them as sacramental. They were an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace. Communion became about the presence of Christ when I ministered it to my congregation. Baptism became critical in that it was a witness of true change in the life of the believer.
Also, my friend Steve was on a similar journey and he coined the phrase “liturgicostal” and I didn’t want to steal it from him. He uses it well in his writing.
I was reminded of this tagline this week because one of my pastors noticed it and commented. I am now part of the Anglican Church in North America (having officially joined a year ago). He was curious about the phrase so it renewed my own exploration.
Some suggestions he humorously gave:
“Anglicostal” (which would more clearly define me in the specific stream of liturgical practice)
“Pentelican” which I just simply find hilarious.
I mention all of this because life’s major shifts have not only taken me to join the Anglican Church but to seek ordination transfer into the Anglican Church. That process began a year ago.
Along the way in my study of the church I was joining and asking to be a part of as clergy, I learned more about the ordinations of the ACNA. There is the ordination to deacon for one who will then seek ordination as a priest. All priests are first ordained deacons and then ordained as priests after a period of time.
The two main categories (when all is said and done) are “vocational deacon” and “priest.”
I entered into the process looking at priest. I was a pastor, so I should be a priest. That sort of thinking.
Looking at ordained deacon, I began to sense the leading of the Spirit in a different direction. If I sought vocational deacon, I would not be leading a congregation. I would not preside over the Eucharist, though I would serve the Eucharist. I would not pronounce the blessing over the congregation or give words of absolution.
As a deacon I would still teach and preach (when asked), but the role would shift to serving the priest (and Bishop if asked) and congregation in the liturgy, serving the congregation in matters of practical care, and connecting more to the community.
In prayer and seeking the counsel of wise clergy around me, it “seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us” that the Lord was asking me to move into ministry as a vocational deacon. My heart for the community and being IN the community a bit more is a driving passion of mine. I can then represent those needs of the community back to the church in various ways. Looking back, that’s probably been my heart all along.
While I have a couple of smaller things to finish up, I was allowed to have my name put forward by our bishop for ordination as a deacon. So, provisionally, I am in my final steps to be ordained as a vocational deacon this year in the Anglican Church in North America.
I don’t have to be ambiguous any longer. I am Pentecostal, to be sure. But I am Anglican as well. So… “Anglicostal” it is.
I have found home and my hearts rejoices.