Between his service in the Air Force and attending college the Rev. Lowell E. Andrews of the Parish Church of the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity thought that being a monk might be his true vocation.
"There were three requirements, or vows," Andrews said, numbering them on his fingers. "Poverty, chastity and obedience."
"It was the third one I had problems with," he said.
He graduated with a degree in social work from Arizona State University.
Andrews took put his degree to good use. He founded and served as the headmaster of St. Paul's Preparatory Academy, an Anglican school for young men in Phoenix for 42 years.
Working with the groups of young men at the school Andrews used the verses found in Ecclesiastics and Proverbs in the Bible as a guide to teach young men how to behave.
A few of these young men have gone on to the priesthood and most have graduated from college.
According to Andrews, a clergyman, aside from presenting ecclesiastic masses and services, is really a social worker with a collar on. It is the clergyman's privilege to take care of the flock with which he has been entrusted.
Traditional Anglican masses are given by the priest facing the altar with his back to the congregation. Andrews is aware of the need of some of his flock to hear the liturgy. His sonorous voice will soon be assisted by a sound system.
"We're all in this together. The ultimate goal of any faith or church has got to be love," said Andrews.
Holy Nativity is an Anglo-Catholic church that keeps the ancient teachings and the succession of the Apostles intact. "We follow the whole scripture without alteration and we celebrate the Lord's presence among us in his seven sacraments. Especially the sacrament of Holy Baptism and the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist," said Andrews Anglo-Catholics have the same roots as Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches. "The word "Catholic" is from the Greek word "kath holon" meaning "according to the Whole."
According to Andrews, to be a Catholic means to be a part of the one church founded by Jesus Christ.
"While many Christian denominations claim to be that one church, Anglicans make no such claim," Andrews said. "We are part of Christ's church, but so to are all baptized people. Our prayer book and missal defines the church as ‘the Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head' and all baptized people are the members."
Andrews said he was inclined to the priesthood since his boyhood in Pocatella, Idaho. His second career was put on hold because, "I started my ordination once, but I had to put it on hold because of my commitment to the school."
Andrews and his wife, Marilyn Kieffer-Andrews, had always planned to retire to Payson upon finishing their careers in Phoenix. They built their home, which is nestled under the Mogollon Rim, large enough to hold small retreats.
Andrews took on his responsibilities at Holy Nativity in January after a mere 18 months of retirement. He has been busy ever since with visits to his parishioners.
He has completed his four years of theological education through the diocese and the University of the South and expects to be ordained as a priest by Bishop James Gordon Stewart sometime in November.
This story is a another part of the Roundup's continuing series on how the churches in the Rim country add beauty and grace to our community.