Gathering Anglican Men: Fellowship and Spiritual Formation
Once a month in Birmingham, AL, the men of Christ the King Anglican get together to share a meal, fellowship, and learn from a guest Anglican speaker on topics of Anglicanism and spiritual formation.
“You wouldn’t believe the camaraderie that’s come out of this,” says Bill Hill, Chairman of Anglican Men, who had a vision for a men’s group that learns about the tenets of Anglicanism and helps one another in their walk.
“Young, old, seminarians, businessmen, professionals,” Hill says the group appeals to men in their early 20s up to age 75. “We have a lot of older guys that come to Anglican Men – doctors, lawyers, psychologists, and then there’s [our priests] – so we give younger guys a chance to see some of the older guys in action.”
Topics are usually about the sacraments or sacramentals, the Thirty-nine Articles, creedal theology, or a topic that might not be brought up on a Sunday morning, such as sexual sin. Next month, Fr. Alan Hawkins, ACNA Canon for Development, will be the guest speaker.
“We want to talk about catechesis… This is real stuff. This is not a bunch of contrived things. It’s where the rubber meets the road,” says Hill, adding that he’s seen men encourage each other to give sacramental confession and engage on a deeper level as a result of the meetings.
“One of the things I love about Anglican Men is that it brings together men of different ages, backgrounds, and stations of life,” says Fr. Michael Novotny, Curate at Christ the King. “This has created opportunities for men in our church to begin and, in many cases, deepen friendships with other men whom they might not have otherwise.”
Christ the King’s high church structure lends itself to a more formal meeting, with punctuality in mind and including an invocation, benediction, and blessing from one of their priests. Each meeting also includes introductions and one man’s testimony of his journey to Christ and the Anglican Church. But Hill adds that this is an idea can be replicated anywhere and can match a church’s structure.
“If you have a low church, you can do it however you want. Or if you have a higher church like us, then it can be like this. It doesn’t matter,” says Hill, making the point that the outcome is simply the spiritual formation of men in the Anglican Church.
Having previously been active on the United Methodist Men’s endowment board, and with a son involved in Knights of Columbus, Hill felt God calling him to start something similar for men in the Anglican faith.
“Just think about ten years from now… and you have an Anglican Men in every diocese, and these guys are fired up for our Lord. Think about the impact that that could have. On the church, on young people, on men and women in terms of marriage. That’s the big-picture vision.”
The meetings have also spawned mentoring relationships between Hill and four or five younger men in the church. He meets with them individually every couple of weeks to discuss business, relationships, spiritual matters, and life in general. And Hill feels more collaborations will come from the Anglican Men meetings.
“If Bible studies want to break out of this, or small groups want to break out of this, it’s just icing on the cake,” says Hill. Further developments could bring sponsoring of church projects and ministries. “[But] right now it’s more about fellowship and spiritual formation.”
Fr. Michael adds, “Within these friendships comes shared wisdom about vocation, marriage, fatherhood, and devotion to Christ and His church. A powerful thing for Christ’s church indeed!”
If you would like information on starting an Anglican Men chapter in your parish, please contact Bill.