Our Anglo-Catholic Heritage
"Ours is the vocation of enchantment,
restoring to humanity the divine image
which sin has hidden but cannot destroy."
John Orens, "The Anglo-Catholic Vision"
Atonement is rooted in a tradition called Anglo-Catholicism. Parishes that identify as Anglo-Catholic emphasize the inexhaustible richness of the sacred, as manifested in church teachings, in spirituality and mysticism, in worship, and in the world. Our worship is deeply symbolic and celebratory, and our three Sunday services exhibit different sides of the Anglo-Catholic ethos. The 8:00 is a contemplative gathering, evoking the quiet prayer of monasteries. The 9:00 invites children, parents, and people of all walks of life into the mystery of God's presence. The 11:00 service is the quintessential Anglo-Catholic experience, where choral music, incense, and visual spectacle engage the senses in a transcendent encounter with the divine. While grounded in the Bible and apostolic Christianity, Anglo-Catholics draw on the whole Christian tradition for inspiration.
We perceive the world around ourselves as sacred, and we see all people and all forms of labor as having dignity and being worthy of affirmation.
Anglo-Catholicism is a form of worship and life found within the Episcopal Church and throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which we are members. It is often said that being Anglican is a middle way between Catholicism and Protestantism; Anglo-Catholics lean more toward the Catholic side of that middle way, hence the name. We are not Roman Catholic (we are in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, not the pope), even though we share much in common with Roman Catholic traditions. At the same time, we embrace progressive values. We affirm the ordination of women and LGBTQ+ persons as deacons, priests, and bishops. We welcome all baptized persons to receive Holy Communion. We believe God speaks in the midst of honest questions and deep conversations, and we value a wide diversity of perspectives rather than conformity of belief.
In its early years (1833-41) Anglo-Catholicism was centered in Oxford, England, so in its origins it is often called the Oxford Movement. It went through a time of consolidation in societies, religious orders, publication projects, and other institutions (1841-1900), and during that time it evoked opposition and controversy. Eventually it made its way into the mainstream of the Anglican and Episcopal Church (1900-1945). Since World War II (1945-the present), it has found reaffirmation and sought to adapt to changing times. You can read more about the history of this movement in the resources below.
At Atonement, we value our Anglo-Catholic heritage and consider ourselves a place where we bring that heritage into creative conversation with the challenges and opportunities of our urban context and the contemporary world.
Learn More About Anglo-Catholicism
Get an overview of Anglo-Catholic history and movements with the following chart:
Read about the history, challenges, and future opportunities for Anglo-Catholicism.
Get to know Anglo-Catholicism through its saints and icons.
Watch the video below from another Anglo-Catholic church, St. John the Evangelist, Montreal: