St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Catholic Church in Old Towne - Nov / Dec 18

Father Neil Edlin stands in the pews at St. Mary Magdalene. Besides volunteering at Mary’s Kitchen and LivingWell Pregnancy Center with his congregation, Father Edlin hosts a weekly Bible study at the Orange Senior Center.
St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Catholic Church in Old Towne
Many churches understand the importance of foreign outreach, but Father Neil Edlin at St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Catholic Church in Old Towne, makes such assistance a priority.  Through fundraising, St. Mary Magdalene has drilled wells, and funded orphanages, and schools for Anglican Catholic overseas ministries.
“One of our international ministries assists underprivileged women in a Christian community in Pakistan,” says Fr. Edlin, who has served as rector of St. Mary Magdalene since 2008.  “We send money to our missionary bishop in Pakistan, who buys household items for daughters of Christian field laborers for their dowries, which they need before they can marry.”
St. Mary Magdalene also helps the local community, including Mary’s Kitchen, the Living Well Pregnancy Center and the Orange Senior Center.  Though the congregation is on the smaller side with 125 members, everyone contributes.  Established in 1979, there are generations of families still attending.  It’s this family atmosphere that encourages new members to stay, notes Fr. Edlin.
“I know that a lot of people explore and find us.  But what usually keeps them here is the warm and friendly atmosphere.”
Lou Carlson, who has been an active member of St. Mary Magdalene for six years, agrees.  “Father Neil is warm and pleasant and greets everyone.  He does a wonderful sermon.  The first one I heard was a life-changer.”
Edlin assisted the previous rector before his retirement in 2008, but never thought that he would then take over St. Mary Magdalene.  With encouragement from the members and at the completion of a Masters degree and Seminary, Fr. Edlin began leading the church.
“So many people saw qualities in me that I wasn’t paying attention to,” he says.  “I decided that if they felt I could serve them in this capacity, then I would do so.” 
Since then, Fr. Edlin has devoted his time to improving the service by focusing on sermons that educate and provide members with the ability to defend the Christian faith.
“There’s a lot of meaning behind what we do here,” says Fr. Edlin.  “I try to make the sermons substantial enough that people are edified by what they hear.  I’ve spent a lot of time over the years educating my congregation.  It’s great to see them light up and excited over learning about our faith and why they hold the beliefs they do.”
205 South Glassell St., Orange CA 92866  /  714-532-2420

Published in the Nov / Dec 18 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review

Article Written by Yuki Klotz-Burwell, photos provided by Jeanine Hill

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