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.

My Photo
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rector's Rambling - January 15, 2012

This week we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, held each year between January 18th (The Feast of the Confession of St. Peter) and January 25th (The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul). Between these two Feast Days the Church prays with special intention for the Unity of the Church.
Jesus prayed that we all be one as He and the Father are one. But it did not take long for the members of the Church, affected by original sin, to begin to have disagreements with each other and start forming divisions.
These divisions are not God’s will, but a manifestation of our fallen nature. In fact, it is a scandal to the body of Christ that we are divided.
The Anglican Church (of which St. John’s is a part) is the third largest worldwide. Roman Catholicism has about a billion adherents, and Eastern Orthodoxy 500 million (in many fragmented national churches). Anglicanism has about 100 million (again, fragmented into a variety of national churches).
Some American Orthodox Churches have reached out to Anglicans in a unity scheme incorporating our liturgy, and yet cannot unite across ethnic lines (Greek, Russian, etc.). The various Continuing Anglican Churches (break away groups from The Episcopal Church) have striven for unity among themselves, but find themselves further divided by theological and personality conflicts.
Recently the media has reported the appointment of former Episcopal Church bishop Jeffrey Steenson (and former Rector of the parish where I served as Curate) to be the head (Ordinary) of a new American Roman Catholic diocese for Anglicans using Anglican liturgy, music, and married clergy. But it doesn’t change the doctrines of the Roman Church which have separated us.
Pray for the unity of the Church, that God may soften hearts, open eyes, and put into effect our Lord’s desire that we all be one as He and the Father are one.