Under the Ecclesiatical Bus

Brother Causticus notes with gratitude the prayers of his readers for his safe return and, although his party of hopeful moderates clearly did not arrive at the Primates Meeting in time to have any visible effect, he does aver, not without a small bit of parochial pride, that his own office - to provide the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church with ample escort through a prickly thicket of purple shirts - proved wholly unnecessary, as she came armed with dignity and grace exceeding any protection BC could have mustered in even a double-verged stance. If Our Kate is possessed of a flawed Christology, as her critics suppose, that can be clarified or corrected, unlike, BC observes pointedly, a seemingly congenital predilection for grandiloquent posturing that afflicts so many in pointy headgear.

Which, of course, leads BC to consider the recent Communique from the Primates and its accompanying Schedule. While we await a ruling from the Communion Sub-Committee tasked with defining - in accordance with Scripture, Tradition, and Reason - whether that latter document shall be referred to as a "sked-yool" or a "shed-jool", BC, with an uplifted eyebrow, observes with some astonishment that the Episcopal Church is asked to submit itself to extraprovinical supervision by Primates to be named later and utterly repudiate the inclusion in its life and ministry of those committed to mutually uplifting same-sex unions.

BC has been accused of nuanced prolixity that admits to no easy labelling of his thoughts on all things Anglican and, indeed, has taken some quiet delight in perplexing those who would seek to do so, but time has come to speak plainly on these points, to wit:

  • The American church is blessed with more than ample bishops to dither through its own affairs in a wholly ineffectual manner and has no need of foreign bishops behaving badly on its shores, as the native supply of purpled hubris suffices.

  • While BC desires Christian harmony the wide world round, he is not willing to barter the lives of those he loves who have been examples of grace, charity, and a commitment to follow Christ at whatever cost and throw them under the ecclesiastical bus of power and control for the sake of a "unity" founded upon a common commitment to exclusion.
Making these public pronouncements, BC realizes, will no doubt result in his standing invitation to the Anglican Communion Vergers Conference being rescinded. This is not the sacrifice it seems, dear readers, as, for the most part, the sessions consisted of vergers from other parts of the Communion drinking BC's Scotch and, thereby emboldened, pointedly criticizing the American manner of holding the verge, then complaining loudly when the liquor was gone. All in all, Carnival in Rio next year seems more salubrious.

BC has seen much - far too much - in the past few days to continue countenancing an effete muddle to a middle of split differences and grammatical niceties. The Gospels remind us of the One who sojourned in the wilderness and emerged full of the Holy Ghost and power. If wander for a season we must, then let us begin, trusting our God to lead us through to the place He intends for us, that place bearing witness to the Christ who offered Himself unreservedly for the reconciliation of the whole world.

Thanks Be To God!

The joyous news of the safe return of the missing messengers to the Primates Meeting in Tanzania has no doubt reached you by now. As we understand it, all in the party are accounted for and safely en route to Nairobi, Kenya, where they will receive any needed medical attention and begin their journeys home. Algerian officials are expressing amazement that the party from the downed jet encountered, against seemingly impossible odds, a caravan of nomadic traders who carried them via camel to civilization. Initial reports indicate that the party set out from the downed plane together and for three days wandered in the desert with no nourishment save a Eucharist celebrated daily at dawn, before meeting up with the caravan headed for a distant oasis. While we have not heard from our beloved verger Brother Causticus yet, we are assured that the entire party emerged from the ordeal safe and sound. No doubt he will contact us as soon as he is able.

As always, we will pass on information as soon as we receive it.

In the meantime, I remain,

Your obedient servant,

Deacon Thorndike Andrewes

From Deacon Andrewes:
Downed Plane Found in Sahara

We have received word that Algerian army units have located the downed aircraft on which our verger Brother Causticus was traveling to the Primates Meeting in Tanzania. Although the Gulfstream G500 showed evidence of a "hard landing" it was intact and apparently sustained only moderate damage to its landing gear. No survivors or bodies have been found in the area. Algerian soldiers will continue to search, but a spokesman cautioned that even if passengers and crew survived the crash, "it would be a miracle for anyone to still be alive" who left the plane and attempted to walk to civilization.

Documents found in the plane indicate that passengers were a self-described group of "faithful moderates" who were attempting to mediate in an unofficial capacity between the increasingly polarized factions at the Primates Meeting. A handwritten note on the plane read "First, kill all the bloggers", but there is no evidence of foul play at this time.

Although chances of survival appear increasingly unlikely, we continue in prayer at St. Euphemesius-By-The-Freeway that all will be found and returned safely.

From Deacon Andrewes:

Beloved Verger's Plane Missing; Presumed Crashed

It is with heavy heart that I confirm the information that Dr. Burton-Coggles mentioned during yesterday's services. A privately-chartered airplane bearing a party of unofficial delegates to the recently-commenced Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania has been reported missing and presumed crashed. The verger of St. Euphemesis-By-The-Freeway, Brother Anselm Causticus, was said to be on the plane that disappeared over the Grand Erg Occidental (Western Sand Sea) of the Sahara Desert in Algeria. While we, of course, hold out hope that there may be survivors, Algerian government officials describe the area as remote and inaccessible, with no human habitation for hundreds of square miles. Sandstorms have complicated efforts to locate the plane from the air, but Algerian army units will mount a recovery effort when a crash site location can be determined.

Although Brother Causticus was unable to share full details of the entourage's mission with me before his departure, he noted that the delegates hoped to effect a reconciliation between the disputing parties among the gathered primates so that Anglicans worldwide could move forward together in common mission. He was selected for the team due to his vast knowledge of and personal contacts within the Anglican Communion, owing to his untiring international efforts to re-establish the ancient office of verger within the Church.

Dr. Burton-Coggles and I will keep the St. Euphemesius family informed of any further information we receive as it becomes available. In the meantime, an Evensong prayer vigil will be held in the chapel tonight as we continue to pray for the safe return of our dear brother and all who were on the flight with him.

Your servant in Christ,

The Rev Deacon Thorndike Andrewes

Traveling Mercies

London, England

Brother Causticus apologizes to his loyal readers for his silence of late. He has not, as you might surmise, been waiting patiently for Canon Kendall Harmon to respond to his "tag" in the diversion of Seven Things. Sadly, BC has long since abandoned hope on that score. Though BC has declared a plague on both houses in The Current Unpleasantness afflicting the Anglican Communion, he must note he is viewing with a certain reappraising favor the party of the homosexualist apostates, due to the prompt response of the Reverend Susan Russell, who got into the spirit of the thing with a gracious alacrity. While BC appreciates very much the virtues of theological rectitude, he prefers to see it coupled with a sense of play and was sorely disappointed that the good canon, with whom BC shares a common affection for certain Pauline passages, was unable to slip away from his Institute on Religion and Democracy taskmasters for a brief while to offer up his no doubt droll insights.

No, BC has been otherwise occupied with ecclesiastical skulduggery in the form of certain late-night calls from a Manhattan area code, a visit from man identifying himself only as "The Good Physician" who inoculated BC against various tropical ailments, and a remarkable rendezvous with a fearsome-miened fellow named Wing Ho behind an Armenian grocery store, where BC was presented with currency, airline tickets to London, and two custom-crafted verges he was charged with guarding unto death and beyond. A Lincoln Town Car with Nevada plates then whisked him off directly to the boarding ramp of a Virgin Airways transatlantic flight.

BC is now typing these lines from Heathrow, where he is awaiting further instructions. BC takes some small pride in knowing even the obscure nooks and crannies of the Ecclesia Anglicana, but he assures his dear readers he had no inkling the Church of England possesses an hidden VIP lounge in a major international airport that has a very fine offering of single-malt Scotch indeed.

Brother Causticus will report further as he is able in the days to come.