Monday, May 31, 2010

Trinity Sunday

Yesterday was Trinity Sunday, the Sunday following Pentecost. For the small gathering of worshipers at Alpine Elementary School in East San Diego County, Trinity Sunday is an important day: the Feast of Name for Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity.

I've written about Trinity Sunday before, listing the Propers (Collect, Epistle, and Gospel), but today I want to write about this little church named for the Blessed Trinity.

Nearly six years ago, I stepped into a beautiful little church I had seen from the freeway as I drove through the hamlet of Alpine halfway up the mountain to our small town. The Church of Christ the King pulled me in, and after perusing their website, I attended a Wednesday night service then a Friday morning healing service. I was hooked--on the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, on the simple services focused on the reading and praying of Scripture, on the meditative aspect of worship, on the plain adobe walls of the mission-style small church with its red Spanish tiles and stunning crucifix. The priest, Father Keith Acker, was quiet but welcoming.

A year or two later, when the San Diego Diocese gained a new bishop who began pushing a liberal view of Christianity, Father Acker was the first of nine pastors in San Diego County to take their congregations and leave the Diocese. And thus Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity was born in December 2005, meeting in the auditorium of Alpine Elementary School ever since.

I greatly admire Father Acker for his willingness to stand firm for the Gospel as expressed in God's Word, for his compassionate care of the elderly and housebound, for his training of young people through the Free Teen Guitar Class ministry, and for his care of our family. When we couldn't continue to meet on Fridays because the elementary school was in session, he built a small chapel onto the back of his garage with a single pew, an altar, and icons on the walls. On Holy Days when more people attend or when the weather is too cool to meet in the chapel, we gather in the Ackers' dining room which also has a display of icons and a beautiful crucifix over the fireplace. Father has always involved the kids in the services, training the boys, B especially, as acolytes and giving them bells to ring at prescribed times and candles to light and extinguish.

I continue to find great meaning and a deep sense of contemplative worship in the Anglican tradition, and a true evangelical zeal in the conservative branch of the Anglican church. Scripture takes a greater precedence in Anglican worship, especially when Morning Prayer precedes the Holy Communion service. I also greatly value learning and following the Christian Year. I appreciate the focus on Biblical saints, praying for us to follow their examples of imitating Christ our Lord and Saviour.

So thus as Ordinary Time follows Trinity Sunday, we prepare for the long summer and autumn of Ordinary Days--of growing in our faith (thus the liturgical color of green) and allowing ourselves to be molded into the love and service of Christ our Lord.

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