A theological resource. Dr John McDade’s reflection on the ‘The Roots of Catholicism’ (2014 Bonaventure Lecture, University of Durham) is an important resource in offering a 'Healing Catholicism' which we are aiming at.
Vatican II as our theological orientation. Saint Augustine’s, since 1979, has been serving the Church of Engalnd in the Catholic tradition. While serving our people, we are also committed to the unity of the churches which Christ intended. Saint Augustine's, from the very beginning has drawn from the Catholic heritage, particularly from the insights of the Second Vatican Council. For an Anglo-Catholic parish, we firmly believe, it is a crucial for a healthy Catholic spirituality and mission. The compassion for culture and people that the council teaches us is the most important resource in renewing the Anglo-Catholic heritage. The semi-circular arrangement of the liturgical space in our church reflects this spirit of Vatican II. It welcomes and embraces all people of good will.
Saint Augustine's is a diverse community. What makes a church 'Catholic' is the very fact that it brings unity to those arriving from diverse backgrounds. The Eucharist we celebrate creates unity while we preserve our distinctive gifts. We are very proud that our African and Caribbean people has found a thriving spiritual home in our parish. Our pastoral team and our volunteers pay a special attention to the spiritual and cultural needs of our people with African and Caribbean heritage.
We see ourselves as a praying family at the heart of Grahame Park. We support the local community through our prayers.
The Sacraments and prayer are important for us. It is through fervent and regular prayer that the desire for unity is kept alive. In the Church of England we need parishes which speak the language of the so called ’sacramental tradition’. Living a sacramental life is an important manifestation of Christ's Catholic Church (Article XIX). The divisions between our churches (on pastoral governance, doctrinal, gender, and sacramental policies) seem like an unbridgeable gap. That is why it is important to have communities which have core experiences in common with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. From this can stem an image of the church which prompts us to healing the wounds of the 'broken Catholic unity' ('Catholica'), also referred in Article XIX. We aim at the full experience of the power of the Sacraments when 'the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments are duly administered according to Christ's ordinance'.
We are a so called ‘Fulham parish’ under the pastoral care of The Right Reverend Bishop Jonathan Baker. As one of his parishes, in the Diocese of London, we would like to give him a support of prayer in his service of 'the holy and Catholick Church'. We believe that the 'Catholic works' ('labora Catholica' of St Augustine’s sheds a fresh light on the issues of ordaining women priests and women bishops. According to the 'Five Guiding Principles' in the CoE make it possible to live together with difference on this crucial issue. On the one hand, we wish to cultivate an open-minded Catholicism, which offers full participation to men and women. On the other hand, we retain our position of being a ‘bridge’ to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Traditions which ordain only men to be deacons, priests and bishops.
Saint Augustine’s would like to remain in dialogue with the theological position of our Roman Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters. Of course, there are people in our congregation for whom it is a sacrificial position. But they respect their priests' position. We do not want to have any division or ‘emotionally heated debate’ in our community regarding these positions. Neither wish we to be derailed by ideological or political debates on the issue. We respect the conviction of our founders and previous generations who faithfully served our parish and worshiped at Saint Augustine's. That is why, we believe, that St Augustine’s commitment to the Five Guiding Principles is a healthy conservative position, As a 'Fulham-parish', our main motive is the call to keep the sense of unity of the Church intended by our Lord alive. We firmly believe that the sense of unity - the ‘Catholica’ - is the guiding principle to which individual ambitions need to be humbly submitted.
As a ‘Fulham community’ we actively want to contribute to the life to the Edmonton episcopal area where we serve. We pray for the Bishop of Edmonton in Eucharistic prayers. We work on a good and active relationship with the priests and churches under his care in our deanery.
Ours is a thinking faith. A Catholic mission which serves all God's Creation always cries for an analysis of the human condition and the 'conditions for mission' Our motto is a ‘healing Catholicism’. ‘To heal’, this is the nature of Christ’s sacraments and teaching. This independence of the church does not not allow an uncritical celebration of the rapid changes in society and culture. Instead of submitting to the voice of the public or worldly powers, we need discernment. In the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, we are striving for an analysis - just as the Articles of Religion 'checked' and evaluated carefully the conditions of faith when they were formulated.
We are aware of that traditional Anglo-Catholic mission is in need of renewal. Without proper resourcing (theological, spiritual, social and cultural), this renewal is hardly possible. That is why Saint Augustine’s draws on those patterns of Catholic worship which are proven resources in overcoming insularism and isolation. While we firmly believe that ‘the Eucharist makes the church’, we go a step further by saying that ‘it is the sense of the Catholica’ that creates the church. This is our conviction that we need to see beyond the particular agendas the Church of England is wrestling with at the moment. Recovering a fuller Catholic horizon can help us in giving better responses. The five features of Catholicism which Dr John McDade outlines, is our cherished theological guidance. (See our video above, ‘The Roots of Catholicism’, 2014 Bonaventure Lecture, University of Durham, We share the insight that a healthy Catholicism requires a genuine sense of history. In the cyber-age, it is so important to regain 'what is real'. Without the sense of history there is no Biblical faith. That is why we are drawing on the Judaeo-Christian heritage in a conscious way.
Saint Augustine’s is committed to cultivating its spiritual life for its members and visitors. A confident, compassionate, and creative urban mission, following the directions of Capital Vision 2020, requires quality prayer life. Saint Augustine’s consciously draws on the Lectio-Divina tradition. By reflecting on the word of God, sacramental spirituality gets a healthy balance. When the modern psyche is endangered by the forces of consumerist culture, we deliberately revisit the treasures of the monastic tradition. By drawing on the practical wisdom of the Rules of Saint Benedict and The New Jerusalem Community, we wish to cultivate a spirituality of good stewardship. By caring for the beauty of our inner and external environments, we would like to be committed disciples of Jesus.
We consciously draw on Saint Benedict’s tradition of ora et labora (‘pray and labour’), contemplation and action. These two form a blueprint for our mission. Saint Augustine’s, as an Anglican Catholic community, is privileged to take up our Lord’s call to become a visible – sacramental - sign of the life of the Kingdom of God. Because of our service to the community, our ideal is a vita mixta, a mixed life of contemplation and action.
Saint Augustine of Canterbury. We have a further reason for applying the wisdom of Saint Benedict to the life our congregation. The patron saint of our community is Saint Augustine of Canterbury (died 26 May, 605). He is considered as ‘the apostle of the English’, a founder of the English church. He was a Benedictine monk. He was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission to Britain to Christianise King Æthelberht and his Kingdom of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism. Owing to Augustine’s perseverance with the mission, King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated as a bishop and converted many of the king's subjects. With this began the establishment of Roman bishops in the island. Augustine established the sea of Canterbury, becoming its first Archbishop.
In honour of the patron saint of our church, we engage with Augustine's formative Benedictine tradition. We would like to return to the foundational charisma of the early missionaries of this country. That is why we regularly read the Rule of Saint Benedict, which Augustine himself followed. For us his Rule is a guidance in developing our sense of belonging to the Christian community. We would like to offer healing experiences of communal life over against the forces of social fragmentation.
In the spirit of the Benedictine tradition, we pay special attention to our care for the elderly and our relationship with the local schools. Saint Augustine's church is committed to develop the possible most fruitful relationship with Orion Primary School and Goldbeaters Primary School and explore further forms of cooperation.
We have not given up redevelopment of Saint Augustine's church. We seek ways and sponsors to help the on-site regeneration of the building, and in the future, the extension of the building. The best preparation for that, is the life and the activities our church accommodates.