About All Souls
AN ORTHODOX AND TRADITIONAL CHURCH
The Church was given the fullness of the Faith at Pentecost. That Faith was entrusted to the Apostles, handed down to and through their successors the bishops, principally recorded in the Holy Scriptures which “contain all things necessary to salvation” (Articles of Religion, Article VI), and most excellently and perfectly articulated in the Creeds and Councils of the Church. Therefore, whatever is proper to that ancient and eternal Faith, “that Faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all” (Canon of St. Vincent of Lérins), we do wholeheartedly affirm and seek to faithfully proclaim by word and by deed.
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
— Jude 1:3
Thus, when we use the word ‘traditional’ or ‘tradition’ (words which have practically become pejoratives in our day and age) we are not referring to “the way we’ve always done it;” or to the uncritical acceptance of the patterns of the past. Rather, we are speaking, primarily, of Tradition (capital “T”) which refers to that which has been given to us by Christ and His Apostles, that which has been handed down (‘handed down’ being the very meaning of the word ‘tradition’), that “faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us,
either by our spoken word or by our letter.
— 2 Thessalonians 2:15
A LITURGICAL AND SACRAMENTAL CHURCH
The Christian Faith includes not only the doctrine of the Church but its practice, its worship. Orthodoxy necessarily includes orthopraxy. For that which was handed down is nothing less than a way of life which is participation in God’s life. Thus, how we worship as Christians is not arbitrary nor is it simply a matter of taste. Rather, the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church is part and parcel of the deposit of faith.
Ongoing participation in the liturgy is ongoing participation in the life of God. — Mark Galli, Beyond Smells and Bells
Lex orandi lex credendi —- the law of prayer is the law of belief. Yes, we express what we believe in worship, but that’s not precisely the point of the former. More than that, our belief is shaped by our worship. And the worship of the Church (and this is supremely so in the Holy Eucharist) imitates, mirrors, and, moreover — joins the very worship of Heaven. Put another way, the liturgy is the earthly dimension of heavenly worship and, yea, even tears asunder that veil which divides (but a while longer) the twin halves of God’s one good creation. Thus, the Church – and this is manifested so beautifully in her worship – is the place where heaven and earth overlap. And how can it not be? For in Christ all things in heaven and on earth are reconciled and united; and the Church is nothing less than His mystical body.
The journey [of the liturgy] is to the Kingdom.
This is where we are going – and not symbolically, but really.
— Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World
A BIBLICAL AND CATECHETICAL CHURCH
We believe, without reservation, that Holy Scripture is the word of God. Therefore, it is to be believed, studied, meditated upon, and obeyed. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Scripture in the life of the Christian. A life in Christ is a life in the Scriptures. As our Lord said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Thus, we want to soak in the Scriptures as we worship the Lord according to the Book of Common Prayer; and learn the Scriptures through sermons, adult and children’s education, and personal study.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16
In concert with Scripture, we want to educate people with regard to the Church Fathers, the Creeds & Councils, and the worshipping life of the Ancient Church. For example, in preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, candidates would learn the basics of the Faith such as the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. There are also ongoing opportunities for Christian formation through the small group ministry.
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:
Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,
that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for Proper 28, The Book of Common Prayer
AN ASCETICAL AND EVANGELISTIC CHURCH
The life of the Church has rhythm — fasting and feasting, preparation and arrival, repenting and rejoicing. Our days are bookended by prayer. Our years are a journey through the life of Christ, beginning with Advent, a season of waiting for his arrival both in the manger and at the end of the age. Asceticism has to do with disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness, yes, but more broadly it has to do with the practices and ways of being germane to the spiritual life. An ascetic life then is one which cooperates with grace through mortification, the building up of virtue, participation in the sacramental life of the Church, prayer, and devotion (among other things).
There is in this way of life an attachment to the age to come and a detachment from this present age. But such ‘separation’ is not opposed to mission. On the contrary it is the impetus for it. Such a life, a life devoted to Christ and empowered by the Spirit, is profoundly evangelistic and missional. For it is only when we refuse to the love the world in the 1 John 2:15 sense (e.g. mankind in rebellion to God) that we can truly love the world in the John 3:16 sense (e.g. mankind, made in God’s image, for whom Christ died).
“The Church that is to be useful to God and a blessing to men must above all things be a spiritual Church…we need a true conversion ourselves; such a conversion as will make us place first the adoration of God for His own sake, and will create in our hearts a longing desire for spiritual growth. It has often been said that the greatest need in the extension of the Kingdom of God is not of more Christians, but of better Christians.”
–P.F. Harton, The Elements of the Spiritual Life