As the Episcopal Church prepares to hold its triennial convention in Anaheim next month, most of the media focus has been on continuing divisions over the role of gays and lesbians in the church.
Delegates are expected to vote whether to develop formal marriage rites or blessings for same-sex couples, and on reversing a 2006 moratorium on the consecration of bishops who are in same-sex relationships.
Yet, in most Episcopal parishes throughout the Inland area, the divisions over homosexuality rarely come up in conversation, priests and parishioners said. Theologically conservative and liberal members worship and volunteer side by side, disagreeing on issues such as gay bishops but united by the combination of a Catholic liturgical tradition and a Protestant belief in letting non-clergy interpret the Bible.
1. New Reformation Advocate wrote:
This looks less like an objective piece of journalism and more like a piece of propaganda in favor of TEC: it’s totally positive, and no one critical of TEC is quoted. Nonetheless, there were a couple of factoids or minor stats that caught my interest.
In the realm of national politics, 11 of our 44 presidents (or 25%) have been Episcopalian, and currently 38 of the members of Congress (or 7%) are Episcopal or Anglican. Given that TEC makes up considerably less than 1% of the American population that’s indeed indicative that our influence FAR exceeds our numbers, given our gnerally elite social status.
Perhaps even more stiking, an astounding 35% (over 1/3) of Episcopalians make over $100K a year.
Which makes me think: “How are the mighty fallen!”
Further evidence that the shift from a traditional Constantinian, state church mentality to a post-Christendom, Christ-against-culture stance is going to be very traumatic indeed. It will demand great sacrifices, since we’ve been so privileged for so long.
June 29, 8:07 am | [comment link]
2. Creighton+ wrote:
There is sooo much more to this that is being ignored. First, let’s address the question are people informed? The fact is that many laity do not care what is going on nationally or in the Anglican Communion. Plus, if things are going well and peaceful in their own church they do not care what is going on around them. Priests have learned not to do anything that rock the boats. The boat is rock enough without any help from them…they want peace!
Like Bishops, priests have decided to have peace at any price, at the expense of the gospel and the call to disciple people and train them to evangelize and be counter cultural.
This is not denial. This is intentionally ignoring the reality surrounding the Episcopal Church at pervasive levels such that no matter what happens people will believe whatever they want to believe. This is self deception and not just propaganda anymore.
So much of this is because people are tired of the endless fighting without resolve. Many have moved on to form the Anglican Church in North America. There is an alternative and the PB, bishops, priests and rest of the leaders in the EC will deny this until their faces turn blue. There is competition and eventually it will be in every Diocese of the EC and the ACoC. People, the laity, have a choice!
This is the fear that the leaders are ignoring. Too many of the laity go to church to fulfill their understanding of Christian obligation and not be in relationship with Christ.
Sadly, deception or denial ends in the same place. On some level the leaders of the EC know what is happening, whether they are reasserters or reappraisers. They know but theyl have come to the same conclusion to seek peace at any price.
The truth is their can be no peace without Christ as King and the Bride being faithful.
Lord have mercy on us all
June 29, 8:27 am | [comment link]
3. LumenChristie wrote:
No new rites are being developed.
Several resolutions have been submitted to change the language in the marriage canons to totally gender-neutral expressions: no longer “husband” and “wife”—“spouses”; no longer man and woman, but persons. The letter of Windsor will be upheld: the existing rites will simply be applied across the board.
Watch over the next few weeks what happens in the marriage canons—that will be the test vote.
June 29, 8:39 am | [comment link]
4. julia wrote:
“bull”—and comment on the article, not on the comments. Lay people are a lot more savy than this article gives them credit for.
June 29, 8:54 am | [comment link]
5. julia wrote:
Lumen Christie—I see changing the language to gender-neutral expressions as more telling than developing new rites. If those pass it clearly states that TEC is totally levelling the playing field on the subject of marriage. Why would you need new rites at all?
June 29, 8:58 am | [comment link]
6. LumenChristie wrote:
“The children of darkness are wiser in their own generation than the children of light.” Sad but true.
Get it on, children of light!
June 29, 9:07 am | [comment link]
7. chips wrote:
I think that in small rural parishes throughout the Mid-West and South that most people do not know what has happened or think that it will not reach them. As a child/teen in the late 70’s early ‘80s when I heard that there were women priests - I thought well maybe in California or New England but that sure wont fly here in Texas. By retaining the Rite I service in the 1979 prayer book change in the service in rural and conservative parishes came about slowly. (as in turn up the heat slowly to boil a frog). What TEC does at GC2009 could be very important - same sex mariage rites or blessings might terrifly moderate to conservative rural/small town parishes into action - and could cause rebellions in dioceses throughout the South. There is always the stray that breaks the camels back - and now with ACNA in place - a parish has somewhere to go.
June 29, 10:22 am | [comment link]
8. Richard A. Menees wrote:
This seems a rather one-sided news report. It doesn’t mention the
June 29, 11:34 am | [comment link]
presence of the friendly and growing congregation at Christ’s Church in Highlands (San Bernardino). Christ’s Church includes many who have recently left the congregations reported on in the article. Several of Christ’s Church’s members are former wardens, treasurers, vestry members and a deanery president from the Episcopal congregations in the inland empire. Christ’s Church is
part of the Anglican Church in North America and the diocese of Western Anglicans. Christ’s Church meets at the Highlands Congregational Church.
9. John Wilkins wrote:
I think the inconvenient fact is that even many “conservative” members don’t think this should be a church dividing issue. When a priest gets all puffed up about it, they will get agitated themselves. When a priest focuses on mission, they will focus on mission.
In my own parish they say, “well, times have changed.” They are simply thankful that we talk about Jesus Christ and our role in the community. The fact is that if you WANT it to be a divisive issue you can make it so. If you want to bring people together, you can. The mistake is assuming that our own needs for outward purity and perfection are our issues, not God’s, as Jesus and Paul often noted.
June 29, 11:44 am | [comment link]
10. Cennydd wrote:
So according to this article, everything’s hunky-dory, right?
June 29, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
11. crogercooper wrote:
Here is my response to the Author of this article. In the past he has written about the ACNA but I wonder why he left out any mention in this article and only discussed “harmony”. The existing members of St. John’s stay out of “habit”.
Dear Mr. Olson; I have just finished your article in today’s PE, my compliments on an excellent article about St. John’s. The members of St. John’s provide many good services to the citizens of San Bernardino.
I am still friends with the members of St. John’s but no longer attend. I left for theological reasons.
I just wanted you to know that “The Episcopal Church” (TEC) is NOT the only Anglican representation in North America.
Unfortunately, most Episcopalians will not talk about the new Anglican presence in North America. As of last week in Bedford,Texas, the Episcopal church (TEC) is not the only Anglican presence in North America, to TEC’s chagrin. The Anglican Communion of North America was formed as a theological alternative to TEC.
You might want to do some more research about those who have left the Episcopal Church and have formed the Anglican Communion of North America, web site here http://www.acn-us.org/.
If you probe a little further you might want to ask questions in the following areas;
1. ASA (average Sunday attendance) vs membership roles. For example, my family and I (5 members) have NOT attended a Sunday service at St. John’s since 9- 2006 but we are still listed as members. I can list numerous families who have left the Episcopal Church but are still listed as members.
We no longer support the theology of the Episcopal Church nor do we support the church financially. I was in the Episcopal Church for 56 years but I am now a member of the Anglican Church of North America, soon to be the 39th Anglican Province in the world.
Pundits say 2.1 million Episcopalians, ASA 795,000, maybe down to 700,000. What happened to the other 1.3 million?
2.The property issues are not just a local Calif. issue but a Nationwide issue, 57 law suits Nationwide.
3. There is a strong and growing presence of the new Anglican Communion, see this web site. Locally there is Christ’s Church in Highland, where I am a member, Riverside,and one in San Jacinto. We have an ASA of approx. 60 people.
4. You mentioned in your article that there are 2.1 million Episcopalians, this number is disputed, out of 80 million Anglicans worldwide. If the 2.1 million is correct then the Episcopal Church represents a small minority of the Anglican Communion. Many of the 38 Primates in the Anglican Church do NOT recognize TEC as a legitimate Anglican body and have offered their support to The Anglican Communion of North America, ACNA.
The newly formed ACNA has 28 Dioceses, 700 congregations, and 100,000 membership.
5. On a personal note regarding St. John’s, here are some points to consider:
1. At the time David Starr was chosen a “Priest in Charge” for St. John,s I was on the Vestry of St. John’s. I did NOT vote for him and I was the only dissenting vote. I did not vote for him do to his theology. I resigned from the Vestry at St. John’s and I have attached my resignation letter.
2. St. John’s has gone from Parish status to “Mission” status and over 1/2 of their operating income comes from the Diocese of Los Angeles.
3. Four generations of my family have attended St. John’s for the past 85 years, two weddings, 11 baptisms and confirmations, and several funerals. At this time there will be no one else, in my family, attending St. John’s.
4. I have been a “cradle” Episcopalian, not a convert, one who has left TEC to embrace the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ presented in the Anglican Church of North America.
I just thought you might like to know. I would hope that you would consider writing another article on the new Anglican Communion in North America. This would be a nice “balance” in “equitable time” journalism.
I am composing a “Letter to the Editor” and I will copy you.
June 29, 3:03 pm | [comment link]
12. robroy wrote:
The lion roars. Nice letter, C. Roger Cooper.
June 29, 5:18 pm | [comment link]
13. crogercooper wrote:
I wrote several drafts of this “Letter to the Editor” and kept editing them down to get rid of my “vitriol”, vitriol is not good. After a solid prayer time this is what the Holy Spirit encouraged me to write. I needed to get it in quickly, author check etc. and hope it will appear in tomorrow’s newspaper. You may question the sanity of listing my phone number but I welcome the calls. As I am self employed Jesus is my ultimate boss, and my wife in second place. I actually think the PE will NOT include my phone number but it was worth a try. I would love to spend the day on the phone talking to people about Jesus and the witness of the Anglican Church in America.
Letter to the Editor
From: C. Roger Cooper
RE: “Be in Communion” 6-29-2009
The front page article “Be in Communion” stated that “The 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. Body of the worldwide Anglican Communion…”
I would like to inform the PE and readers that last week, in Bedford Texas, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) was formed. This communion represents 28 Dioceses, 700 Parishes, 100,000 members and is growing daily. ACNA represents an Anglican alternative to The Episcopal Church (TEC). The Inland Empire has several Anglican Churches not affiliated with TEC. More information about these local Parishes can be found at http://www.acn-us.org/. Or give me a call 909-384-1216.
June 29, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
C. Roger Cooper
215 North “D” street #101, San Bernardino, CA 92401
909-384-1216 cell ph. 909-910-1416
14. little searchers wrote:
I understand and share the angst of GrogerCooper. I was once an active member of one of the churches in this article. This article was a puff piece to make ECUSA and the Los Angeles Diocese look nice before their National Convention in Anaheim. This article describes parishes that conduct sacraments while worshiping the secular popular culture. It’s sad. The revelation was painful for me and caused me to question my faith. After much reflection and prayer, I fired Jefforts Shori and her Bishops as my spiritual advisors.
June 30, 12:10 am | [comment link]
15. crogercooper wrote:
I know this is late but I just wanted all to know that the Press Enterprise published my letter to the editor, see below, 7-8-2009. They changed my original submission but basically the “edited” version sya want I wanted to say.
Note alternative church
The P-E article “Be in Communion” said, “The 2.1 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. body of the worldwide Anglican Communion ...” (June 29). But the Episcopal Church is not the only U.S. body of the worldwide Communion.
The newly formed Anglican Church of North America represents an Anglican alternative to The Episcopal Church.
This church represents 28 dioceses, 700 parishes and 100,000 members, and is growing daily. The Anglican Church of North America has no connection with The Episcopal Church.
C. Roger Cooper
July 8, 5:07 pm | [comment link]