Troubles in the Episcopal Church
One of my friends who is a “cradle Episcopalian” said to me very recently that he and his parish followed two basic realities: 1. No One listens to the House of Bishops and have not for over 20 years and 2. there is only one sin left in the Episcopal Church and that is getting mad and leaving. Satire aside I think for those of us outside looking in we see a microcosm of what is happening across the denominational spectrum in what is taken place in the Episcopal Church. The dramatic decline in membership and the closing of many parishes, the bitter and vitriolic legal battles over property which means lets face it, money and lots of it, and a ever widening divide between those who believe in an Incarnational theology and those who do not. There has been a developing rift for some time in the Episcopal and other mainline churches between Orthodoxy and a Multicultural Universalism. Again within TEC the election of a presiding bishop who denies the unique divinity of Jesus that tension began to create the fissures that led to the splintering. Issues of inclusion of gay folke and the role of women were just a convenient ground zero. In many mainline denominations the splintering continues and those who remain seem to adopt a neo-congregationalism as a “marketing strategy ” for the future. Many find a parish or congregation that fits their view of “church” and “spirituality” and it is there they put their energies.
My friend was very saddened also when he read that some of his fellow Anglicans at an international gathering had refused to receive Communion from Bishop Schori but here again is a very dramatic example of the splintering mentioned above. If there is not “common faith” that is shared then how can we have communion one with another?
As to the Romans well I wouldn’t feel too badly about what they say about Anglican Sacraments being null and void becuase many Orthodox including many in the OCA believe Roman Orders are “dead”, Anglican and Protestant non-existent, and any others just plain anathema! Fortunately for all of us The Holy Spirit is not bound by our prejudices and narrow polities let alone our theologies!
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