LIMA — When Christ Episcopal Church closed its doors in 2005, it was the end of an era for local Episcopalians. The closest Episcopal church was Trinity Episcopal Church in Findlay. So the faithful could either drive to Findlay to attend services, or find refuge in other congregations, which led many parishioners across North West Street to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.
But after a 12-year absence, the Church of England — the spiritual authority for all Episcopalians — is returning to Lima, this time in the form of an Anglican church. The Venerable Paul Aduba, Rector of the Anglican Church of the Pentecost in Toledo, has announced plans to establish a new church in Lima early in 2017.
“Lima is strategic,” he said, explaining the decision to establish a church here. “It is between Toledo and Dayton. We found that Lima shares some very important dynamics. There is St. Rita’s Hospital there. You produce military equipment there. We discovered that Lima is a good, fertile ground for the Gospel.”
It is important to note here that the church Aduba hopes to establish is Anglican, not Episcopal. And while the two institutions are indeed related and share the same lineage, ecclesiastical politics of the 21st century have put the two churches at odds in a number of significant ways.
Aduba, who emigrated from Nigeria and settled in the United States in 2001, is an archdeacon representing the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity, which is affiliated with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. CANA is, in turn, affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America, but not with the Anglican Communion, which one might think of as the “official” Anglican Church, headed by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury.
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, which has a hierarchical chain of command, the Anglican Communion is based on relationships among churches and diocese. So, as the Rev. Andrew Gross, ACNA’s Canon for Communications and Media Relations has explained, the relationships among the various groups can at times seem a bit “murky.” But it is clear that the current disagreements among Anglicans can essentially be traced to the early part of this century when conservative congregations, particularly in Africa and the United States, took issue with what they perceived as the Communion’s increasingly liberal stands on women in the clergy, homosexual marriage and interpretations of Christ’s role in eternal salvation.
In the U.S., conservative Episcopal churches faced the choice of either going independent or aligning themselves with African bishops who broke from the Communion. Many of these congregations aligned themselves with Archbishop Peter J. Akinola of Nigeria, and these are the Episcopal churches that ultimately formed CANA.
Aduba’s arrival in the United States coincided with the early rumblings of dissent in the Anglican world. He served from 2004 to 2005 as the pastor at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bowling Green, officiating as well at services in Napoleon, Bryan and Fremont. He found that his approach to the services did not always sit well with the staid Midwestern congregants.
“Our brand of the Gospel is very dynamic,” he said. “We dance. We sing. We shout. But at St. John’s they were quiet. But our worship is more vibrant. We want to make noise. We want to shout. We want to dance. I discovered that in Bowling Green they were so quiet, so gentle, they didn’t want noise.”
Now serving in a diocese that is affiliated with CANA, Aduba believes he can bring this more animated, charismatic brand of Anglicism to Lima.
“We want to target those who are tired, those who are bored, those who say, ‘Man, I’m done. I no longer have the fire in me.’”
Lest Lima’s displaced Episcopalians worry about the theological underpinnings of this African-influenced approach to worship, ACNA spokesperson Gross noted that the charismatic is one of three streams of worship being expressed in ACNA’s churches, the other two being the Angli-Catholic, or traditional, stream, and the Evangelical stream.
“We spice our own churches with the charismatic, so it will be a vibrant church,” said Aduba, explaining his vision for the Lima church. “You won’t fall asleep in our church. But we, like the Episcopal Church, use the Book of Common Prayer. We are just like them.”
Aduba is now in the process of meeting with Lima residents and scouting potential locations for the new church.
He welcomes feedback and comments at 419-360-2048 or 419-867-4091.
Reach Dayton Fandray at email@example.com.