Anglican in Heritage, Interspiritual in Perspective and Practice…
Most Definitely NOT Your Grandmother’s Church
Where were you born?
The UAC was born in 2003 and our parents (founders) chose the name The Universal Anglican Church. We love our name in that Anglicanism has been the historic “middle way” between extremes, but in some ways we have outgrown it. In addition to our Anglican clergy, we have had clergy and members from the Methodist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Non-Denominational traditions. What drew them to us was not our Anglicanism per se, but rather our absolute insistence on the full inclusion of all people in the full life of our Church.
Unfortunately, in the past two decades, world-wide Anglicanism has been less than inclusive and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to expect that to change. Anglican bishops in the African continent as well as those in North America who choose to follow them, have been outspokenly exclusive of our LGBT brothers and sisters. Very often they are exclusive of women of any affectional orientation. This creates a situation we are no longer willing to be identified with, and so our name has created some confusion. We still love our Anglican heritage, but what we value in Anglicanism is not what world-wide Anglicanism is engaged in at the present moment.
We also recognized a certain lack of clarity around the word Universal in our name. Some thought that it meant we wanted to have ministries all over the world. Others thought, appropriately, that it was another word for catholic with a lower case “c”. Others thought, incorrectly, that it mean we were a splinter movement from Roman Catholicism. In fact, we aren’t a splinter movement from any Church. At our inception only one of our clergy was ordained, and he had been ordained in an Independent Church.
Perhaps more importantly, we have come to understand our charism more accurately as Universalist. We are Christians who have intense faith in the power and love of God to win out. We believe that God is all-powerful. We believe that God is all loving and unchanging. We believe with Dame Julian of Norwich that this means that God can never become angry, because if God were to become angry God would have to change – and God is unchanging. We agree with Julian that sin is “no thing”, which is to say that sin is the temporary absence of the light and love of God in a situation because the individuals in question refuse that light and love. We do not believe in a devil in red pajamas. There is no counter force battling against God for control of the universe. God is all, which is why God self identified as I am in the Bible.
God doesn’t punish, not even momentarily – much less for eternity. The pain and suffering we encounter are the products of the consequences of our choices coupled with our distorted thoughts and feelings. There is no hell, everyone is already “saved.” We are Christian Universalists!
The other issue we wanted to clarify is that while we are a non-institutional Church, most of our ministries are not parish ministries. In addition to being parish priests, our clergy are drug and alcohol counselors, chaplains, street ministers, healing practitioners, retreat leaders, spiritual guides/directors, spiritual teachers, health care professionals, have ministries to the homeless, and a host of other ministries. We are Church, and we are so much more.
We are still the Universal Anglican Church, but to keep things simple and to be more precise and inclusive, we have chosen to say:
WE ARE THE UAC!
|The Shield of the UAC|
What is a Christian in Exile?
A Christian in Exile is a person who feels estranged from what passes for Christianity today for any number of reasons. Some of those reasons might include:
1. A discomfort that the word “Christian” is often used in a way that suggests that to be a Christian one must be a fundamentalist extremist, preaching a gospel of spite and vindictiveness that has nothing to do with the God of Love we have experienced in our lives.
2. A discomfort with the lack of integrity seen on the part of many Christian leaders today.
3. A preoccupation with spin and conservative politics by some “Christian” leaders to the exclusion of the 3000 scripture verses that tell of God’s concern for the poor and marginalized.
4. A conviction that, despite the behavior of fundamentalist extremists, a theocracy is never a desirable form of government.
5. A recognition that science reveals truths about God’s world, and any God whose divinity would be so threatened by scientific advancement that it is necessary to invent “psudo-science” such as so-called “creation science” is a god so small as to not be worthy of our worship or attention.
6. A recognition that the Bible never was intended to be interpreted literally and that such practices only arose in the 19th century and are the product of “Christians” who are more interested in thought and behavior control than the reality of God as experience in and through (among others) Jesus Christ.
7. Christians in Exile identify themselves as Christians, even though they might not be considered Christian by fundamentalist extremists.
Most importantly, Christians in exile seek to build a faith community where all people are truly welcome and respected, where no one is manipulated or coerced into feeling or believing in a particular way but rather are allowed to follow where God is calling them to be – supported by a loving faith community.
Guidelines for Inter-Religious Understanding:
Ultimate Reality cannot be limited by any name or concept.
Ultimate Reality is the ground of infinite potentiality and actualization.
Faith is opening, accepting, and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.
The potential for human wholeness – or in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transformation, blessedness, nirvana – is present in every human person.
Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices but also through nature, art, human relationships, and service to others.
As long as the human condition is experienced as separate from Ultimate Reality, it is subject to ignorance, illusion, weakness and suffering.
Disciplined practice is essential to the spiritual life; yet spiritual attainment is not the result of one’s own efforts, but the result of the experience of oneness (unity) with Ultimate Reality.
Prayer is communion with Ultimate Reality, whether it is regarded as personal, impersonal (transpersonal), or beyond them both.
WE ARE THE UAC!
Women and men; young, old, and somewhere in between; of all socio-economic backgrounds; from the country, the city, and the suburbs; black, white, brown, yellow, and occasionally green; of every sexual orientation; employed, unemployed, self-employed, retired; blue-collar, white-collar, dog collar, and no collar at all; married, engaged, single, living together, domestic partners, divorced, widowed, and some combination of the above; grandparent, great grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, and child; and so much more, all sharing the life transforming, exciting journey of being followers of Jesus.