The Church of the Holy Family (the Church) is an Anglican-Catholic styled collegiate church that is ministered by the Priestly College of the Holy Family in Storgosia in the Second Life world. Although we are Anglican-Catholic in our form of worship and the overall design of the Church, we welcome all people of good will– including any Christian or non-Christian people. Our place is one of solitude, solace and sanctuary within the Second Life world. Whether you are part of a family RP looking for a place of worship in order to raise your family in a religious setting, seeking to find God in Second Life and people of common faith or just curious about religious and Christianity in general, than the Church of the Holy Family has something for you (even if you are none of these things, chances are you will find something relaxing and comforting here at Holy Family).
The Church is ministered by the Priestly College of the Holy Family (the College) which are a group of Priests (and Priestesses, since this is Anglican-Catholicism) who train and pray together to serve the Church. This means taking leadership roles in events, working around the Church and helping parishioners and guests. The College serves as a professional corporate body that is overall in-charge and responsible for the Church and her grounds. Additionally, the College is self-governing and self-regulating and therefore members of the group adhere to professional standards with regard to the administration of church services, liturgies or assisting parishioners and guests. The Church itself is collegiate in nature because this College provides all of the care and attention demanded from the Church and we do not fall under any canonical diocese or jurisdiction. All members who take formal religious roles within the College are known as Canons. All Canons of the College have the right to use the C.H.F. post-nominal as a form of title once they are confirmed in any rank. The College is headed by the Dean who is also typically the Rector of the Church. The present Dean of the College and Rector of the Church is the Rev. Canon Eric James Westwood C.H.F..
There are three ranks of Canons within the College. The process for appointment and movement within the ranks is determined through prayer and guidance from the Chancellor and Dean of the College and from all members of the Church. The ranks are as follows:
- Canon Regular – Priests/Priestesses of the College who devote a great amount of time and talent within the Church and her members
- Canon Secular – Priests/Priestesses who have other lives within Second Life but offer any extra time and talent that they can spare to the Church and her members
- Canon Professor – Priests/Priestesses and lay members who are teachers or caregivers to children and religious schools
There are five offices for leadership roles specific to the College; together in council known as the Holy Family Chapter (the Chapter). Each role is confirmed by the Dean but appointment and selection varies depending on the will of the Chapter. The offices are as follows:
- Dean – President of the Chapter; head of the College; Rector of the Church; responsible for the overall function and conduct of the Church; presently: Rev. Can. E.J. Westwood, C.H.F.
- Precentor – Second to the Dean; presides over the music and liturgical form of the Church; responsible for the administration of membership and corporate function; presently: vacant
- Chancellor – Responsible for the education and doctrine of the faith within the Church; oversees the Liturgy of the Word and the preparation and distribution of texts as well as the training of junior members; presently: vacant
- Almoner – Responsible for the administration of fundraising and charitable works of the Church; oversees the collection of alms; presently: vacant
- Sexton – Responsible directly to the Dean for the Church grounds and property; presently: occupied
The College assumes the charism of opus Dei— the work of God– and forms that charism along the example of the Holy Family. Each member of the family fulfilling a unique and distinct role and mission from God in the work of God. Joseph, the husband of Mary who was convinced by an angel to keep Mary as his own as she would carry the Son of Man. Mary, the God bearer– Theotokos— who is rightly called for intercession by the Church because of her special relationship with God and His Son. And lastly, Jesus, the man whom God became. Each one with their unique role and perspective and yet all serving opus Dei. Likewise, the College applies this charism to the teachings within the Church itself. We are ecumenical by nature because we see all of the Christian faith as part of that one large Holy Family. And furthermore, we are capable of seeing opus Dei and indeed God Himself, in the everyday aspects of life– including those most darkest and obscene– because all things are created through Him and for Him. In that sense, our presence on Second Life is driven by the fact that even a virtual world can exist to provide glory toward the name of God and in that mission we strive to provide a solid Christian presence in Second Life for any and all to come and see.
If you would like to join the Church or the College or have any questions or concerns please feel free to fill out the form located here.