We are a community of Anglo-Catholic Christians who are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the greater unity of
Christendom, for a more effective witness to the world as a response to the prayer of Jesus "that they all be one."
The Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman was founded in September, 2011 when a majority of the members of the
Episcopal Church of The Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Pennsylvania, under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Dr. David L.
Moyer, Rector of Good Shepherd from 1989 to 2011, gathered for Mass to mark a new beginning free from the disorder
of the Episcopal Church.
We chose to continue as an Anglo-Catholic fellowship with Cardinal Newman as our Patron because he was a man who,
from deep prayer and concentrated study, made a hard and costly journey from the Church of England to the Catholic
Church in the mid 19th century. We identify with him because we too, as a former parish and as a present
fellowship, have been on that path, making that journey.
We are people who have been led by God to spend years witnessing to “the faith once delivered to the saints,” and
who have striven to “speak the truth in love” to the leaders of the Episcopal Church, whom we saw as being
increasingly led by the spirit of the age, rather than being rooted in the revealed religion of historic
Christianity and its sacred Tradition. This was a grave concern to us and for our children, and our children’s
The Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman has been founded as a community of Anglo-Catholic Christians who live in
hope that their corporate vocation will ultimately be as part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Catholic Church.
Over many years Anglicans worldwide sent pleas and petitions to the Holy See to provide a way for them to be in
communion with the Catholic Church, while maintaining those revered traditions of spirituality, liturgy, discipline,
and theology that constitute the cherished and centuries-old heritage of Anglican communities throughout the world.
We shared this desire, for we came to the conviction, through experience, prayer, and study, that the Church of
Christ needs a more secure teaching authority to deal with the theological and moral issues that our contemporary
In November, 2009, the Holy Father generously responded with the history-making Apostolic Constitution
Anglicanorum Coetibus (“groups of Anglicans”). An Apostolic Constitution once pronounced by a Pope becomes
an unrescindable part of Canon Law. We praise God for Pope Benedict’s love and respect for the Anglican tradition,
and that there is now a way forward to heal the 500-year-old separation between Anglicans and the Catholic
The stated purpose of the Ordinariate is to create a special space within Catholicism where the distinctive contributions of the Anglican tradition will be preserved and enlivened. While it is always possible for an individual to become a Catholic, individual conversion alone does not create this new and special form of Anglican Catholicism, which demands to be embodied in a community. These distinctive features of the Anglican tradition – often unfamiliar to other Catholics – include:
- The Book of Common Prayer.
- The King James Bible, one of the great classics of the English language, and subsequent versions of the
Bible that seek to retain its fine sense of language.
- A more careful performance of the divine Liturgy, preserving its natural sense of dignity, beauty, and
drama as a public event.
- A more developed and thorough form of pastoral care, sensitive to the needs and feelings of
- A great and professional attention to music of high quality.
- A sincere respect for the talents of the laity.
The Newman Fellowship, as a “group of Anglicans,” now finds itself in a holding pattern, however. In November of
2011, Bp. Moyer was granted the Nulla Osta (meaning, “no impediment for ordination”) from the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome; but he continues to wait for the Votum (the "pledge" or "promise") required to complete the process of ordination to the Catholic priesthood.
Trusting in God, we believe that in time He will open the door for Bp. Moyer and our Fellowship. We know that
there are issues of concern, which may have been the result of misinformation and misunderstanding. We fervently
pray for their clarification and resolution. We stand at the door and knock.
In the meantime, continuing from day to day, we find that God binds us more closely together as brothers and sisters
in Christ. The Newman Fellowship is a community of Anglo-Catholics who are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ
and the greater unity of Christians, for a more effective witness to the world, as a response to the prayer of
Jesus, “that they all be one,” and to a posture of living daily by the faith that “God works all things together for
good to those who love Him."
We extend a warm invitation that many will come to the Fellowship, to discover the unique community we are, and to
embrace the richness of the Anglican tradition, especially its liturgy and music. If you are downcast in spirit, know that we
have found (and believe you will as well) our Fellowship to be restorative, and a place where hope in God’s goodness
is affirmed, and a place where the common struggles of life are addressed.
We are seekers, devoted pilgrims, and many of us are religious refugees. Although we have widely varied
backgrounds, together we are on a heartfelt journey as we worship, study, pray, and discern, and as we enjoy
extraordinary warmth and companionship, walking one step at a time as Blessed John Henry Newman wrote,
“Lead kindly light…I do not to ask to see the distant scene – one step enough for me.”
The Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman