November 2013, current resident of Nashotah House Ms. Renee Smith, will take vows to live a consecrated life, promising herself to live a life dedicated to Jesus Christ and serving the Church in the world. As a witness to Christ’s love for humanity, Ms. Smith says, “Celibacy is a visible witness to the world that according to Henry Nouwen, ‘the relationship with God is the beginning, the source, and the goal of all human relationships.’ It reminds all of us in the Body of Christ of the Church’s relationship as His Bride and that there is eternal reality to be lived in our present reality. In agreement with the chastity ordained by God in marriage, celibacy speaks to internal and external purity and holiness.”
The service will be held at the Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh. It will be officiated by the Most Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh (also Archbishop of ACNA). He was, and continues to be, the Bishop of the diocese – just added on the responsibilities of Archbishop with the ACNA.
“This is about a unique worship – a setting apart that has not been seen much in our day and age. This is about looking forward with love to that great day when our Bridegroom comes for us.”
The preacher for the consecration service is the Rev. Dr. J. Douglas McGlynn, retired faculty member of Nashotah House. Ms. Smith first visited Nashotah House in 2009 expressly to talk with Fr. McGlynn and his wife Ana about her desire to be consecrated. Having worked on Parish Council with Fr. McGlynn in Pittsburgh, Ms. Smith says, “He has been very important in my life as well as my sister’s.”
During a 10-day Ignatian retreat in 2008, Ms. Smith shared that the Lord stunned her “by His love and His offer of deeper relationship.” During her sixth day of the retreat, Ms. Smith says, “He gave me a choice to choose Him alone or to say, ‘No, I need a human companion.’ I knew that this offer was real and that, either way, He would still love me. And, I knew that I wanted to pursue this new direction in our relationship. I realized this to be a gift of joy.”