Milan’s Holy Trinity Anglican Church recently found new leadership for its small, but growing congregation.
During the month of December, the church’s bishop, the Rev. Francis Lyons of Bolivia, appointed the Rev. John C. Jorden, 61,of Ashland as Vicar of Milan’s Holy Trinity Church.
Jorden, who lives and practices psychology in Ashland with his wife Martha, said his mission will be to bring more people into the church.
“We want to spread the good news,”Jorden said. “We hope to grow the church to double its current size. We have a lot of property. It sits on three acres. With God’s help that will happen.”
Jorden has been a visiting priest at Holy Trinity since it opened and he has seen the church’s congregation grow from 7 to 45 people in a few years.
Jorden took over for Father Mark Scotten, who was Holy Trinity’s interim priest for two years after the church split with Sandusky’s American Episcopal church back in 2004.
“We were a brand-new start-up church two and a half years ago,” said Rick Babcock, Holy Trinity’s Senior Warden. “We just bought the Milan church a year ago.”
Jorden said the Anglicans split with the Episcopalians because the Episcopalian denomination was becoming too liberal, and its interpretation of what the Bible means and how to apply it in today’s secular world was too fluid.
He said differences in doctrinal interpretation on the authority of scripture, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and the principals of Anglicanism created a rift between the Episcopalians and the newly formed Anglican community.
"We rely on scripture, reason, and tradition," Jorden said. "The new Episcopal church believes all truths are relative. Your truth is yours. Mine is mine. We believe there's only one truth."
Jorden's uncompromising views on spirituality led him away from the Episcopal church back in 2005. Before that, he was an Episcopal priest for 20 years.
"It was over some of the issues where the national church was going and I was not in favor of it," Jorden said. "It became a political struggle. A small group decided they wanted to go in another direction, so I resigned."
One of the issues, perhaps the most renowned, that led to both Jorden's leaving as well as the split between the Episcopalians and the Anglican church was the appointment of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson to the New Hampshire division of the Episcopalian church back in 2003.
"That's only a small part of it," Babcock said. "People try to say that's the whole reason and that's not true."
Despite the divisiveness of the issues that brought them together, it is precisely Jorden's unwavering, solidified views on the issues of right and wrong and doctrinal interpretation that have made him so popular among his followers in Milan.
"He's very personable and approachable," said Terrence Templeton of Huron. "You can approach him with any kind of problem and he'll deal with it. We found that out pretty quickly with him, even in the short time he's been there."
Jorden has been a priest for a total of 37 years, entering the Roman Catholic seminary when he was 15 years old. As a practicing psychologist, Jorden said his relationship with God does not conflict with his relationship with patients or vice versa.
"I think they compliment each other," Jorden said. "I think anything that helps us understand how people think and act is good. Most people who come to me as a psychologist know I'm a priest."
Holy Trinity Anglican church is located at 1608 East Ohio 13 in Milan and hosts a Christian education program at 9 a.m. on Sundays followed by Holy Eucharist 10:30 a.m.