[Anglican Communion News Service] Faith in the Anglican Communion needs to be reaffirmed, according to the winner of a £1,000 prize (US$1,623) essay competition to explain “Why I am an Anglican and believe I shall remain so.”
Natacha-Ingrid Tinteroff, a French convert from Roman Catholicism, used her essay to celebrate the best of Anglicanism and the Anglican Communion, which she believes includes its liturgy, its space to discover God’s truth, and its “integral catholicity.”
In the essay — composed for a competition run by the Wiltshire, England-based Anglican charity St. Boniface Trust — Tinteroff wrote, “Being an Anglican is much more than what is currently advertised by the media. Anglican global identity is not defined by a positioning in favor or against homosexual clergy and women bishops. The overall depth of our tradition, and particularly its spirituality and liturgy, still nurtures the life of millions of Christians, including some who have formally left.
“At the same time, and although it is highly ignored, despite the so-called desperate situation of the Anglican Communion its churches welcome each year a considerable number of Christians who enjoy the spiritual solace provided by Anglican inclusivity. Faith in the Anglican Communion needs to be reaffirmed.”
In the piece, which alternated between the emotional and the cerebral, Tinterhoff, an academic and author, wrote about how attending Evensong had changed her life forever. “For the first time in my life, I encountered God during a service … I came ill, hungry and thirsty; I left fed, healed and renewed by the beauty of holiness.”
She explained that the Church of England is the only part of the Christian Church she can grow and consequently hear God. “I am able to do so because the Anglican tradition, which has welcomed me so generously, not only allows me to be a mature believer, but encourages me to be so. I enjoy the liberty that Anglicanism gives me as a scholar, and that I could not find anywhere else.”
Tinterhoff’s prize-winning essay was one of 64 entries to the competition from across the Anglican Communion. Submission came from Australia, the United States, the Caribbean, several European countries including the United Kingdom, and four countries in Africa. The entries were judged by two retired bishops diocesan, the Rt. Rev. Mark Santer and the Rt. Rev. Michael Turnbull, who were unanimous in selecting the winner.
St. Boniface Trust is a small Anglican charity that ran the competition because its trustees have been increasingly concerned that yet more divisions are being created between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. They also believe there is a need for a “clearer understanding of what it means to be an Anglican.”
Trust Chairman the Ven. Robin Turner said, “The idea of an essay competition was conceived by Canon John Townroe, former warden of St. Boniface College in Warminster, as a way of obtaining some fresh thinking on the subject.”
The winning essay can be read here. There are also plans to produce a booklet containing extracts from the other entries.