Anglican Single Consecrated Life
Single Consecrated Life – A New Expression of Religious Life in the Anglican Church
“The vocation to live the single consecrated life is a person’s response to a call from God to live out their Christian life under the vow of consecrated celibacy. From Apostolic times, God has called people to consecrated celibacy.
Today we need to respond positively to those who are being called and to make the church aware of this gift and way of life.
We need to support and encourage those who seek to live out this consecration in the world, in response to God’s invitation to follow the way of Christ.”
This website explore and provides resources for Anglicans seeking to live a Single Consecrated Life. It includes the stories of a number of people who have done so.
“Edwin Phillips, an Anglican Priest and a ‘Franciscan Contemplative’ of the Third Order of Saint Francis was called by God to erect a Hermitage to further explore a life of contemplative prayer and solitude.
He approached the Director of Nicholaston House, Derrick Hancock, to ask of the possibility of siting the Hermitage in the garden of the House. The present site was offered to Edwin, as friends of Nicholaston House had been praying that this area of ground would one day be set aside as a place of prayer.
Inspired by the writings of the late Brother Ramon, Edwin spends as much time as possible in the Hermitage and finds there that peace and solitude which helps him in his life of contemplative prayer.”
“A vocation to the single consecrated life should be tested over a period of time before temporary vows are made.
The candidate should have a spiritual director who is familiar with this form of consecration.
A proper enquiry should be made of the candidate – and the attached questionnaire indicates the areas of enquiry.
The vocation is rooted in God – it is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’ – but the vocation also needs to be rooted in the Church by association with a parish, chaplaincy or Religious community.
After a period of probation, annual temporary vows may be received, and renewed, using a form of service that recognises the maturity, perseverance and significance of the consecration being made and renewed.
The length of time in temporary vows will depend on each particular candidate, but life vows should only be made with the support of those who have been involved in the discernment process. Temporary vows may be renewed and thirty should be regarded as the minimum age for making a life vow.
Candidates should be single, widowed or divorced. Someone who is still bound to marriage vows may not take a vow of celibacy.
A ring and/or a cross may be appropriate symbols of the covenant relationship being undertaken.
A personal vow should be received by a bishop who will keep a record of it and also inform the Advisory Council and the diocesan bishop if another bishop has received the vow. The bishop of the diocese in which a vowed person lives shall also have authority to grant release from the vow, at which point the Advisory Council should again be notified.
If a vowed person moves to another diocese, the bishop should commend the person to the bishop of the diocese to which the person is moving.
An annual meeting with the bishop (either personally or through a delegate) is advised. He should also ensure that a vowed person has an adequate network of spiritual support and the means to maintain a lifestyle suitable to his/her vocation.
A candidate may take an additional vow(s) in addition to consecrated celibacy to indicate a lifestyle (for example, simplicity, hospitality, commitment to the poor) or a particular devotion (for example, to the Blessed Sacrament, intercession etc). Although candidates will be expected to live within the spirit of the evangelical counsels, it is not appropriate to take vows of poverty and obedience as the candidate retains control of personal finances and has no Religious superior.
It will help if aspirants and single consecrated people can be put in touch with others who have taken a similar vow either within the Church of England or with a member of the Order of Consecrated Virgins (OCV) within the Roman Catholic Church.
In due course, we trust that there will be an increasing number who will form a network to support one another. Key ingredients in this support will be encouragement in the distinctiveness and variety of the call on each person’s life and the recognition that this will continue to grow and change over time.
Personal encouragement and formal recognition by a bishop can be an important factor in developing individual vocations. At this point in time bishops have a particular opportunity to promote this step as both an ancient and contemporary expression of the consecrated life offering enrichment to the Church today.”
From Appendix VIII of “The Religious Life Directory” of The Religious Communities’ Advisory Council
The website also includes “The Rite of Consecrated Celibacy for those making profession in the Single Consecrated Life” – http://www.singleconsecratedlife-anglican.org.uk/profession.php – which includes:
“Candidate: Father, receive my resolution to follow Christ in a life of consecrated celibacy, which I here profess (for x years/life) before you and God’s people, and pray that I may be given grace to persevere in love and faithfulness.
The Bishop then says the prayer of Consecration
Loving Father, you have loved and redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ. He is your Word, through whom all things were made. Look with favour on this your servant N. who has resolved to follow you in the holy state of celibacy. You have inspired him/her to make this vow and s/he now gives you his/her heart.
Lord, protect N as s/he desires to be strengthened by your blessing and consecration.
Here the bishop may anoint the candidate
Through the gift of your Holy Spirit, give him/her chastity with right judgement, kindness with true wisdom, gentleness with strength of character, freedom with purity of heart. Give him/her the gift of love to love you above all others. May his/her life deserve our praise, without seeking to be praised. May s/he give you glory by holiness of life. Be yourself his/her glory, joy and whole desire. Be his/her comfort in sorrow, his/her wisdom in perplexity, his/her protection in the midst of in justice, his/her patience in adversity, his/her riches in poverty, his/her food in fasting, his/her remedy in sickness. S/he has chosen you above all things, may s/he find all things in possessing you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. All: Amen.”