Bill MacKenty

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The Sin of the Episcopal Church

Posted in Personal on 14 - July 2009 at 06:59 PM (14 years ago). 297 views.

To my three regular readers, I am sorry for this highly tangential post. I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time. I’ll return to regular ed-tech stuff tomorrow.

I am a cradle Episcopal Christian. I was raised at St. Andrews church on Martha’s Vineyard, where I served as an altar boy. I am now a proud member of St. Mary’s in Time Square. I love my church, and my faith. I love the tradition, scripture, and culture of discernment in the episcopal faith.  I consider myself a faithful Christian.

As you may know the Episcopal Church ordained an openly gay man as a bishop. This caused a shitstorm in the Anglican Communion including some diocseses leaving the American Episcopal Church and affiliating themselves with bishops in more conservative diocseses. The Anglican communion wrote a formal report called the Windsor Report. I read some of it, and basically, the Anglican Communion said You really, really really should of talked to us about this first.  Today, the New York Times reports my church is ending a moratorium on potentially doing this again.

I think the sin the American Episcopal church committed is by not fully considering themselves as part of the larger Anglican Communion. I believe this is a uniquely American error. The Episcopal Church broke with the Anglican Church shortly after the War of American Independence, but the Episcopal Church is not independent. We identify ourselves as members of the Anglican Church. We seek communion with our Christian brothers and sisters.  I think being in communion means talking, considering, empathizing, and compromising.

I don’t think Jesus would turn away people who are homosexual. I reject the idea of a “fundamentalist understanding” of the bible that being homosexual is wrong or a disease. I think as a Christian, I am admonished to love my neighbor as myself - and I don’t think gay folks are somehow an exception to this rule. Being a devout Christian is about being devout - no matter who you are.

My point? My church needs to do a better job of reaching out to our fellow Anglicans. Maybe this schism is inevitable - I think everyone flipped out when we elevated a woman to the priesthood, now it is simply accepted. But we are not just “the episcopal church” - we are part of a much larger communion with whom we must consider and love.