The term “Pax Nashotah” has been used for the last several years to describe life at Nashotah House. Life that involves people of multiple Anglican jurisdictions sharing the chapel, refectory, classrooms, and community. The current Dean-President, the Rt. Rev’d Edward L. Salmon, Jr. has said, “The House is a place – perhaps the only place – in the Anglican Communion where ecclesial affiliation has remained secondary to our primary mission of forming faithful priests and lay leaders for service on the modern frontier.” The announcement – made by roundabout means – of an invitation to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to come visit, preach, and experience the “Pax Nashotah” seems now to call this peace into question. Like all peace, it comes at a price. There are many who look at our active practice of reconciliation and see us “selling out” to one faction or another. It is sad and hurtful to hear, but we know that many before us – our Lord, the saints, and founders of the House – went through the same. We simply pray to be as faithful to Christ and His teaching as were our forebears, so that we may be agents of reconciliation in a broken world and to a broken Church.
We take Paul’s words to the Corinthians to heart: “ For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Cor. 5: 13b-17) Compelled by Christ’s love we seek to prepare those who will live to Him and for Him. We seek to be a worshipping and learning community preparing those who will lead worshipping and learning communities – it’s about being reconciled and in relationship.
We take no joy that folks who love the House are disturbed by the invitation and it was not issued in any other spirit than that of engaging in mission. The “Pax Nashotah” is not going to go away. The commitment to the Anglo-Catholic vision of the “faith once delivered to the saints” is not going to go away. The mission of the House, the direction of the House, the theology of the House is not changing. A visit, even one involving a sermon, will not change what has been bought at a price.