A Teacher Finds the Anglican Way

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As a teacher of theology in an ecumenical Christian school, Anglican Compass has been helpful to my own faith, in explaining the faith to my students, and as a resource for our weekly service of morning prayer.

A Compass for Our Family

My own personal journey, and the journey of my family into the Anglican tradition, is a story of the value of the Anglican Compass.

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After getting married and moving to the Dallas area, my wife and I settled into an evangelical non-denominational church in which to begin raising our young family. We had attended a few Anglican services together, but the formality and hierarchy left us uncomfortable, particularly on account of my wife’s Baptist background. Five years later, in the midst of scandals at our church and the absence of accountability for our pastors, my wife and I found ourselves searching for a new church and a new tradition. I was interested in Anglicanism, but needed materials that could help explain the tradition. So I began to Google, and Google led me to Anglican Compass.

One of the first articles I came across was this fantastic one that very helpfully explained why specially ordained clergy, as well as a formal liturgy, are necessary for the celebration of Holy Eucharist. I also found other articles, like this one on crossing oneself and this one about vestments, to be helpful for explaining the purpose behind certain things that initially made us uncomfortable. With this help, we found Restoration Anglican Church and haven’t looked back.

Once in an Anglican parish, and trying to figure out how to “do Anglican things,” Anglican Compass really began to shine. It helped by giving a run-down of the liturgical structure, explaining how to participate in communion, the rationale for infant baptism, its historical basis, and responses to common questions. And then, after baptizing our three daughters, Anglican Compass taught us how to pray at home, and helped us to understand Confirmation in the terms of maturity and mission.

A Compass for My Students

One of the most obvious fruits of my journey into the Anglican sphere is how it has affected my work as teacher of theology in an ecumenical context.

Inspired by Anglican Compass on the value of catechesis, I have my students memorize the answers to a catechism largely derived from To Be A Christian, published by ACNA.  I assign the Apostolic Fathers, which produces fascination with both the Didache and the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch. I ask the question, “How then should we live,” helping students not only to ask questions, but also helping them to discover answers.

I have found the Anglican Compass to be a helpful explainer for students who ask where I go to church. Once I answer, they usually want to know what Anglicanism is, and so I always hand Winfield Bevins’ outline of Anglican beliefs, which is excerpted from Winfield Bevins’s book Simply Anglican. I have had students who were questioning their faith, join my wife and me at church on Sundays, and on Monday mornings, sitting in my office, struggling to understand why they were moved by Anglican worship.

I see in my students a journey into deeper Christian faith, buoyed by the church fathers, similar to others shared on Anglican Compass.

A Compass for Prayer

Of course, answers are best found in prayer. And so on Wednesday mornings, I lead whoever shows up (students, teachers, staff) in the service of Morning Prayer.

Once more, Anglican Compass has proved to be an invaluable companion by producing quarterly prayer booklets. Though I have experimented with projecting the liturgy on the screen (shout out to the great work done at DailyOffice2019.com!), I think tactile, printed booklets lead to a better experience and I plan to let folks keep them in the hopes that praying the hours may become a habit for them as it has for me.

Moreover, Anglican Compass has assisted my own prayer life, especially in making confession. This article on hearing confessions was especially helpful to me. In addition to the joy of the collective confession and absolution during the service of Holy Communion, private confession has been a channel for the grace to be a better husband, father, and teacher.

Gratitude for God’s Grace

Ultimately, the Anglican way has administered grace, to me, to my family, and to my students. We receive the sacraments, the drama of a liturgy that moves our hearts, the daily office with its training of mind and body, a window into the Great Tradition of the Church, a clear continuity with the communion of saints, and a humbling, awe-inspiring vision of the providential work of God in the past, in the present, and into the future. And this journey would not have happened without Anglican Compass.

Published on

November 18, 2022

Author

Greg Jeffers

Greg Jeffers is a member of Restoration Anglican Church in Richardson, TX. He serves in the Department of Theology at the Covenant School of Dallas, where he teaches high school courses on Ethics and Rhetoric.

View more from Greg Jeffers

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