(Living Church) Eric Turner—Speaking of Reconciliation

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a sermon she preached to Episcopalians in Charleston on Jan. 26, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori chose a regrettable tone in her characterization of people who were, until only recently, fellow Episcopalians....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

8 Comments
Posted February 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. A Senior Priest wrote:

I really do believe that she thinks this is all a personal affront, and she does not want people like us in what see sees as “her” denomination.

February 9, 1:34 am | [comment link]
2. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Could’ve, would’ve should’ve….... but did not. I think Bishop Lawrence is correct in his assessment that she could not keep from demonizing him and the diocese.

February 9, 10:38 am | [comment link]
3. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I’m glad that TLC published this fine piece by Fr. Turner.  Not least because we are old friends who have drifted out of touch with each other.  There once was a time, over 20 years ago now, when Eric and I served as the co-convenors of the then brand new Commission on Church Planting for the Diocese of VA.  We were two young priests in Richmond with a common passion for evangelism and world mission, including church planting.  It was a joy to work with him.  In many ways we were kindred spirits (although he was always far more low church and less committed to charismatic renewal than I am).

Since then, in the course of the TEC civil war, we’ve chosen different paths.  He stayed in TEC and accepted the call to St. John’s, Melbourne in the Diocese of Central FL.  I left TEC for the ACNA as soon as it was formed in 2009.

But this sounds like the Eric I knew and respected so much.  I must admit that he was always much more pastoral than I was, or ever will be.  I admit that I wouldn’t be as gracious in my criticism of the PB’s outrageous remarks as he has been.

But when it comes to fostering real reconciliation, the best thing that any of us can do is to follow the Lord’s admonition to pluck the log out of our own eyes before we try to pick the speck out of our brother’s eye.  Whether we’re orthodox Christians who’ve stayed in TEC or left, the best thing we can do to help heal the deep wounds that have been inflicted on so many of us is to seek to put our own house in order, so that we are fit to be reconciled in the future.  I was moved by Fr. Turner’s testimony to just how devastating the wounds have been for many of his parisioners at St. John’s, Melbrourne, even years after the split took place.  Doubtless the rectors of other parishes could say the same, not least those that experienced the major splits that occured in Central FL despite the fine leadership and the brave attempts at mediation shown by +John Howe.

Words do matter.  Proverbs 15:1 puts it succinctly.  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  So true.  I’ve certainly uttered some harsh words about the PB and our liberal foes on this very blog that I now wish that I could take back, but alas, they will stay in the archives as long as cyberspace endures.

I thank God for the gift of Eric’s friendship in the past, and for his faithful service of Christ and his Church down to this day, and I hope that someday, even if we’re never again part of the same Anglican jurisdiction, that we’ll be able to renew those ties.  He’s the kind of faithful, godly pastor that is so sorely needed in these tumultuous and confusing times.

David Handy+

February 9, 12:39 pm | [comment link]
4. SC blu cat lady wrote:

I too like Eric Turner’s words about reconciliation. However, it is clear that TEc leadership like KJS+ does not want reconciliation that takes the sort of forgiveness Turner mentions in his fine article.  Hence my comment. TEc reconcile with those who have left? That will have to be God’s work as TEc leadership is not helping things by demonizing those who have left.

February 9, 2:12 pm | [comment link]
5. aldenjr wrote:

It is true that reconciliation can only happen when both sides want it, however, Father Turner omits the point that both sides must first confess their sins to each other and both ask for forgiveness lest the one or the other side assume, piously, that they were always in the right.

February 9, 4:29 pm | [comment link]
6. Sarah wrote:

Although certainly her sermon said what it said, I found it mostly amusing, as I do much of what she writes.  *Of course* she said what she said—because she feels what she feels.

All of her “reconciliation” talk is just so much religious boilerplate that functions more as filler anyway. 

I just haven’t taken what she says seriously—or rather, I’ve taken it as seriously as I do the words a small child says who’s having a temper tantrum.

I agree with Father Turner that the institution that is TEC won’t be reconciled with the institution called ACNA or those who have left TEC—at least I hope not.  We don’t need such reconciliation, from the current leaders of TEC.

To me, it’s all good. I’m not “reconciled” with Bishop Jefferts Schori, nor do I wish to be, unless she is converted to the Gospel and a submission to Christ’s love.  And she and I are in the same organization.

But those who believe the Gospel within TEC, as well as those within ACNA and elsewhere, are reconciled.  I am happily reconciled with Bishop Lawrence and have that fellowship with him that I have with those who believe the Gospel.

I don’t think that the organizational boundaries really have much to do with who is reconciled with whom.

February 10, 8:43 am | [comment link]
7. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

SC blu cat lady (#2),

Just so it’s clear, my comment above was in no way critical of your #2.  I agree with you and Sarah.  Naturally, I concur that any reconciliation worthy of the name is a two-way street.  I was offering a warm tribute to an old friend and colleague.

David Handy+

February 12, 9:54 am | [comment link]
8. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Hi David+, I understood.  It is obvious how much you admire Eric Turner+.  Once I read your wonderful tribute and comment, mine read as rather snarky which is not really what I intended. Just wanted to make clear that I agreed with Eric Turner about how reconciliation should work not how TEC seems it should work. As you say reconciliation is always a two way street.

February 12, 3:28 pm | [comment link]
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