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, January 25, 2016

Praying for Unity - Rector's Rambling for January 24, 2016

This past week, and until Monday, we are involved in what is known as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Begun by an Episcopal Religious Order called the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, located in Garrison, NY, the founders felt called to develop a ministry of ecumenical relations.  When the Order became Roman Catholic, they petitioned the Pope in 1916 to recognize their ecumenical work as their primary mission, which he did.  By doing so the Roman Catholic Church joined in what had primarily been a pan-protestant work until this time.
Couched each year between the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter (January 18) and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), the week is dedicated to the important work of our unity as Jesus desired when he prayed that we all may be one as He and The Father are one (John 17:21).
The unhappy divisions in the Body of Christ are a result of human sin and obstinacy.  Small schisms in the early years of the church due to heretical teachings came and went, but the largest division happened in 1054 AD, when there was a separation between the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic) Church.  The 16th century saw the church in Europe divided over theology, politics, and personality.  Unfortunately, division usually brings yet more division, witnessed in the United States with 217 major protestant denominations, and upwards of 35,000 independent or nondenominational congregations according to a study by the Hartford Seminary.
Even within Anglicanism in the United States there are counted at least 30 different groups that have separated from The Episcopal Church, and from one another.  And at this time even the Episcopal Church finds itself in a tenuous relationship with the rest of the Anglican Communion because of our theological novelties.
Pray for the Church.  Pray for Unity.  Pray that we all be one.  This is Jesus’ will for us.