It’s a little known fact, and seldom reported, that the Ordinariates of English Patrimony (UK, North America, Oceania) are for Catholics with a Methodist background, as well as Anglican and Episcopalian backgrounds. This is one reason why these ordinariates are often referred to by the term “English Patrimony” rather than just “Anglican Patrimony” which is a bit more constricting in a denominational sense. There is nothing wrong with the term “Anglican Patrimony” but the Ordinariates encompass a bit more than that. These Ordinariates were designed with all of English Christianity in mind, meaning those Protestant denominations that developed from the treasury of English Christian liturgy, devotion and customs dating all the way back to the 7th-century, when England was converted to Christianity from Paganism. Many expression of English Christianity have come and gone, but those that remain with us today are English Catholicism, along with Anglicanism, Episcopalianism and Methodism. The English Patrimony has been re-adopted back into the Catholic Church not only to accommodate some converts, but also to enrich the liturgical diversity of Catholicism.
It’s important to understand how the English Patrimony was discerned in Rome, in order to construct a liturgy and jurisdiction suitable for converts coming over from Anglicanism, Episcopalianism and Methodism. In addition to extracting portions of the Book of Common Prayer, other sources of liturgy were examined as well, including the Anglican Missal, the American Missal, as well as the old Sarum Use used in Catholic England prior to the English Reformation. In the end, it was decided that the English Patrimony is really those elements of English Christian worship that share common points of reference with Catholicism, which ultimately lead many Anglicans, Episcopalians and Methodists toward unity with the Catholic Church.
Think of Methodism as “Anglican Lite,” or Anglicanism with a strong Evangelical flare, because that’s exactly what it is. Methodism originally started as a movement within the Church of England to reform the Church of England (and her daughter church in the American colonies) from within. However, the Church of England, and American Episcopalianism, were not receptive to it at that time, so Methodism became it’s own separate denomination. Led by John and Charles Wesley, two brothers who were both Anglican priests, they opposed the idea of separation from Anglicanism at first, but reluctantly accepted it in time. They composed the Methodist Book of Worship, which is a modified version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. To this very day, Anglicanism (or Episcopalianism) and Methodism are intimately connected by history and heritage, finding their common root in the Church of England and the English Patrimony.
Catholics with a Methodist background should take a serious look at the Ordinariates of English Patrimony within the Catholic Church (UK, North America, Oceania). Within these Ordinariates, one will find many common points of reference familiar to those with Methodist heritage. It’s still very much Catholic, and militantly so, but at the same time they’re immersed in the English Patrimony, which will immediately seem just as familiar to Methodists as it is to Anglicans/Episcopalians. A Catholic, who is a former Methodist, can easily reacquaint himself with the English Patrimony by picking up a copy of the St. Gregory’s Prayer Book and visiting an Ordinariate parish or pre-Ordinariate group. A map to these parishes and startup groups can be found here. Former Methodists are automatically eligible for membership in the Ordinariates. That means canonical transfer is available to those former Methodists who want it, as well as their family members. More information on the English Patrimony can be found in my essay: The English Patrimony is for All Catholics.
Shane Schaetzel is an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism and was trained as a catechist through the University of Dayton – a Catholic Marianist Institution. Shane’s articles have been featured on LifeSiteNews, ChurchMilitant, The Remnant Newspaper, Forward in Christ, and Catholic Online. Shane is an author of Catholic books, which can be read here.