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, October 13, 2008

Rector's Rambling for 10.12.08

This past weekend was a sad one for me. My former diocese, Pittsburgh, voted to leave the Episcopal Church USA. I hate talking ‘politics’, but this is something that has been reported on in the secular media, and I wanted to report the story to you from the prospective of a priest who was formerly in that diocese.
The media dwells upon one of the symptoms of the problem in the Episcopal Church, the one concerning marriage between one man and one women and the Episcopal Church’s increasing acceptance of lifestyles deviant to that biblical standard. But that is only a symptom. Other symptoms include the deviation from catholic doctrine (we do recite in the creed we believe one catholic and apostolic Church) for the sacraments such as who may be ordained, and jettisoning by some of the universally accepted creeds (statement of belief).
The disease is an increasing acceptance of a secular world view influencing the reading of the Scriptures and how the local modern Church wants to reinterpret them (or disregard them all together). The Diocese of Pittsburgh at one time was a diocese that was in the Episcopal Church mainstream. But as the Episcopal Church moved further into theological novelty, Pittsburgh experienced a revival under evangelical bishops Hathaway and Duncan. In a geographic area where the population is declining, the Diocese was planting new parishes, reviving old ones, and building new buildings for congregations bursting at the seams of their old facilities. All this was done with a solid, biblical proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord as is taught in the Word of God!
No diocese is perfect, but my time in Pittsburgh was a time of joyful participation. I, and my parishioners, actually looked forward to Diocesan Convention for fellowship with neighboring parishes who shared like-faith if not worship style.
Pittsburgh felt the time had come to separate corporately from ECUSA and unite to another province of our worldwide Anglican Communion. The House of Bishops used a novel approach to the canons (church laws) and removed Bishop Duncan in anticipation of the diocese’s vote this past weekend. Now the legal wrangling begins over property rights, etc. And all this is being watched closely by our worldwide Anglican Communion, most of whose bishops agree theologically with Pittsburgh’s theological position on Jesus, scripture, and marriage.
Pray, Pray, Pray for the Episcopal Church—that we may be the Church Jesus desires us to be: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. And this is on HIS terms as revealed in Scripture.