Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, December 18, 2006

Parishes/diocese leaving ECUSA

As the two largest parishes in the Diocese of Virginia have voted to leave, joining 4 others and possibly 8 more, many of us are getting jumpy. What is going on, and in particular, how does St. John's fit into all this.

First, I find it particularly troubling that the Diocese of Virginia worked out a program for parishes to take these votes and deal with property issues ahead of time, and now they are going on their own agreement. Just my opinion, but it smells of National Church interference in this local policy! Bishop Lee was quoted as saying the properties are an historic trust to the diocese which must be protected. Too bad he/they are not as zealous to protect the historic FAITH to which the people who donated the properties believed and for which they were motivated to give!

As I said in a recent email to the St. John's list, commending us to pray for those leaving as well as those of us staying in ECUSA to continue the fight for The Faith, which St. John's is doing (staying to fight that is).....

Finally, let me assure the people of St. John's that we continue to proclaim and believe in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith as received by this Church, not the new religion being foisted upon Episcopalians by General Convention in the last 40 years. Jesus Christ is still uniquely Lord, His Word in Scripture still contains all things necessary for salvation, and the Faith is unchanged as it has been once delivered to the Saints! Let us pray that we continue to be strong in these things, and stronger still as well ask the Holy Ghost to empower us to bring more and more people into the Faith in Jesus Christ!

Today there was a good article in the Pittsburgh papers quoting Bishop Duncan, my old diocesan bishop, on this situation. His words ring true to me and colors my prayers and thinking on this.

"It's the innovation that's torn the church apart. All of this gets blamed on the conservatives. The conservatives haven't changed. We're standing where we always stood," he said.
Duncan said the number of local congregations wanting to move in the direction of the national church has fallen from 13 to nine, and he expects more to have second thoughts. No local parishes have broken away.
"The Christian faith, being a revealed religion, you cannot change its faith or its ministry," he said. "Any church that turns away from it finds itself in deep trouble."
Seven of the 100 U.S. Episcopal dioceses have threatened to break from the denomination but have so far stayed put. Duncan said there has not been consideration of the Pittsburgh diocese's breaking away.
"Our view is that the national church has left its own constitution and we're standing where we always stood," he said. "We are the Episcopal Church here. We have not changed our beliefs or the way in which we stand."

The entire article can be found at http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/today/s_484704.html

Lord have mercy upon us all as we sort all this out!