Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 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

Friday, January 05, 2007

Real Episcopalians

Recently an article was published in the Washington Post about the parishes leaving, insinuating that the members are not "REAL" Episcopalians...for a variety or reasons. This sets up questions about the legality of the vote, and of course the diocese keeping the property!
See the article here.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/03/AR2007010301952_pf.html
The same article was sent to the St. John's email list with a highlighted quote that 2/3's of the members are Methodists, Presbys, or Baptists.
Here is my reply.
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It is a very interesting quote by the Washington Post, who has been distorting stories by claiming the issue in the parishes in Virginia is human sexuality, when that is only a symptom of the real problem - lack of biblical authority in the Church. Those 2/3 of the folks may have Methodist/Presby/Baptist background - but are members of the Episcopal Parishes being discussed. How refreshing to hear that people are finding Jesus in Episcopal Parishes!
Besides which, Canon 17, Title 1 says membership in ECUSA is not based on Confirmation but baptism and being recorded on the rolls. Confirmation is encouraged, not required - considering there were no Bishops in the Colonies until after the Revolution, it is clear Confirmation is not a sacrament required. "Expected" as the canons state doesn't mean required.
http://www.episcopalarchives.org/e-archives/canons/CandC_FINAL_11.29.2006.pdf
As per the Diocesan Canons and St. John's Operating Policy, any baptised person over 16, who has been regular in the worship of this Church for the last 6 months is eligible to vote in the Annual and Special meetings of the Parish. They are members of the parish even if their background is not Episcopal/Anglican.
Perhaps more interestingly, if only 1/3 of the 2000 and 2500 people who attend Sunday worship at those two parishes in Virginia are to be considered "members", that means 667 and 1000 people in those parishes are 'real' Episcopalians - almost more on a Sunday in the pews at the smaller, and certainly more in the larger Virginia parish, than any of the two largest parishes in the Diocese of Michigan put together. (Christ Church Cranbrook about 400, Christ Church Grosse Pointe about 350 according to the reports to the national Church found at http://12.0.101.92/Charts.aspx )
Lord, bring 1800+ more people on Sundays to St. John's to join us in knowing Jesus, loving and serving Him, striving to be obedient to Him as He has revealed Himself in Scripture - even if they are Methodists, Baptist, Presbys, or nothing at all, before they come. They will learn Anglicanism by using the prayer book and worshipping (Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi - or what we pray is what we believe - the 1928 BCP does a great job of teaching Anglicanism). I'll encourage them to be confirmed, but DEO GRATIAS if they are active in the parish even without it! So let's get on with doing the work of the Body of Christ - bringing people to Jesus and being made saints!