Message on the 4th Anniversary of The Anglocatholic Church (February 21, 2016):
Your Eminences, Excellencies, Clergy and Faithful Members of The Anglocatholic Church!
If I can paraphrase the message in Saint Paul’s message to Corinthians (1 Cor. 15:10), then we may say concerning The Anglocatholic Church of its 4th Anniversary: by the grace of God we are what we are. It has been a short time, but time full of various activities. We have experienced great blessings of God, at the same time there have been several sad stories, which made us only dependant on the grace of God.
Just now we are active in 30 countries of the world at 104 missions or parishes. Our clergy consists of 241 faithful men – 29 bishops, 153 priests, and 59 deacons. And our total membership around the world is 28,832 people.
Is it too little for 4 year activities? I believe that one basic charachteristics have been faithfulness. Being a self-supporting church (some may call us also church of poor to the poor), it certainly has given a lot of challenges. As your Patriarch, I have felt depression and my faults to lead this community of faith to better church life and better results in our ministry. But we have stayed faithful from the grace of God! Praise to Him: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.
I have to say, that there have been people, who have joined us with hopes to get something, even materialistically big. And they have been disappointed and left. Some people among clergy we have had to depose and excommunicate. We are a church with very clear vision and discipline – our Canon Law states very clearly what we believe and what are the requirements to be part of The Anglocatholic Church.
It has made me very blessed and thankful, when I receive letters from clergy and lay members with positive messages, with thanks to The Lord Jesus Christ, Our Saviour! Because there are very many things we can all be very thankful for. When we see different events on our website, then there is a lot of joy. We simply need to see it! Just now we finished The Revised Code of Canon Law of The Anglocatholic Church, this process was led by The Most Reverend Dr. David Smith, Patriarch Coadjutor of The Anglocatholic Church. Several practical issues in this process were led by The Most Reverend Lars Sperling, Bishop of The Diocese of Saint Luke of The Anglocatholic Church. I am very happy for the last consecrations of Bishops by The Most Reverend Dr. Raphael Marie Villiere, Primate of All Europe of The Anglocatholic Church. And I can go on and on mentioning several our most wonderful bishops – thank you very much what you have done for The Kingdom of God! I am sorry that we do not have Medals to give to you, but we ask the special blessings of God to you!
What we can expect from the future? Also to be dependent of the grace of God. Next year The Second Conclave of The College of Bishops of The Anglocatholic Church we want to celebrate from the grace and mercy of God.
May Almighty God – The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit bless you all abundantly!
Yours in His service
Patriarch Dr. Heigo Ritsbek of The Anglocatholic Church
February 21, 2020 Anno Domini