Thursday, April 24, 2008


New York Times ad notes Episcopal Church history, mission
Somewhere near you, there’s a blue-and-white sign bearing the familiar slogan: The Episcopal Church Welcomes You. It represents some 7,400 congregations that trace their beginnings in North America to a small but hopeful group of English Christians who arrived May 14, 1607 at a place they called Jamestown — the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

...Wherever you find us, you’ll find the Book of Common Prayer and a Christian faith that honors and engages the Bible, the tradition of the Church, and God-given human reason. Joined in prayer, you’ll find people with many points of view — Christians who are progressive, moderate, and conservative — yet who value the diversity of their faith community. That’s a heritage drawn from our deep roots in nearly 2,000 years of English Christianity, and shared by a worldwide Anglican Communion that unites nearly 80 million people in 164 countries through prayer and ministries committed to caring for “the least of these,” as Jesus commanded, by reducing poverty, disease, and oppression.

Episcopalians struggle with the same issues that trouble all people of faith: how to interpret an ancient faith for today… how to maintain the integrity of tradition while reaching out to a hurting world… how to disagree and yet love and respect one another. Occasionally those struggles make the news. People find they can no longer walk with us on their journey, and may be called to a different spiritual home. Some later make their way back, and find they are welcomed with open arms.

Despite the headlines, the Episcopal Church keeps moving forward in mission — in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as congregations in Belgium, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guam, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands. We’re committed to a transformed world, as Jesus taught: a world of justice, peace, wholeness, and holy living.

...Come see for yourself. Come and visit… come and explore… come and grow.

This ad which ran in the New York Times almost a year ago really caught my eye. It is a good piece which presents a picture of the church that resonates with my experience.

No uniformity here!!! Not all who grace its doors, pray the prayers, recite Creeds or kneel at its altars have the same take on life or spiritual issues! Though I agree with some and others I profoundy disagree, with all I share a bond that is beyond myself! There is a union we share by virtue of our baptism , one that grows as we share the table of the Lord, as we serve the needy in the name of Christ...! These same bonds I share with my very charismatic sisters, my very Baptist cousins, Roman Catholic aunts, my spiritual family in the CEC, friends and acquaintances throughout the years with whom I have prayed, studied, believed, hoped, argued, laughed and cried...we all call on the name of Jesus, are baptized by one Spirit into one body...pimples and all! There is also the bonds of our common humanity with all its joys, hopes and profound sorrows which Christ decided to share! These as I see it, no ammount of discussion and disagreement can destroy.

I have grown weary of the seeming pettiness that has so often intruded into my walk of faith, the demeaning or exclusion of others in the name of "truth", the push for uniformity, to exactly define, renew , reform , reinvent, retain, correct... always and to the ages of ages amen! All of these, done in the name of purity, annointing, faith, Christ, His Church... catch the attention of sincere people! It does sound inspiring but is very sobering to experience, a marvel that we, being as flawed as our neighbour, spend precious energy on the mote in the other's eye!

I need a change in scenery...and as some run from The Episcopal Church, I have felt drawn to it! There is a fascinating, perhaps unmanageable mix, catholic, protestant , liberal, conservative, unity and chaotic diversity, beauty and unatractiveness, selfishness and charity .... frustrating, wonderful, imperfect, unfinished...just like me, just like Christians, like the Church of Jesus which I have loved in its many forms for the last 30 years! I do not have to talk myself into believing it is "the One", nor "the move of God for the day", nor a "New Reformation" is what is is...and right now, it is quite okay by me!

I do not have the answer to the dilemmas and conflics of people in TEC, I did not in the CEC, as I do not for my own...but God, who came to us in Jesus surely must or we would all be insane! It is in Christ I put all my trust, in Him I lean, He that I follow as I come to the Episcopal see, discover, serve , hopefully grow! The rest are incidentals....!

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner!


1 comment:

Fr. Mike Birdsong said...

Have a blessed Journey my friend.