Skip to comments.Rifts Deepening in Episcopal Church
Posted on 04/12/2006 9:07:05 PM PDT by sionnsar
The 40 or so worshippers who broke away from St. John's Episcopal to form their own church, weren't the first Americans to trade modern Episcopal practice for 'historic' Anglican beliefs.
The topic caught media attention in 2003 when the Episcopal Church ordained Gene Robinson, an openly gay bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. Some Episcopalians vowed to leave the church.
But Madeline Whitaker - a 15-year member of St. John's Episcopal in Glyndon who left to join the breakaway Church of the Resurrection - said more complex theological issues are fueling the growing popularity of orthodox Anglican beliefs.
"One of the things that grieves me to the core is the lack of understanding of this issue among the public. This is not about homophobes versus liberated people," Whitaker said. "What really propelled me out of the Episcopalian church was the realization that the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) was drifting further and further from the essentials of the Christian faith."
More Episcopal ministers have stopped viewing the Bible as divinely inspired gospel, and begun viewing it as a "collection of folk stories" or a "good moral sketchbook" that can be interpreted in light of modern society, said the Rev. Eliot Winks, pastor of the Church of the Resurrection.
That approach, Whitaker said, has diluted the faith and left the Episcopal church condoning behaviors the Bible forbids.
Founded in the mid-1990s, the American Anglican Council represents clergy and laity that have left the Episcopal church to embrace "Biblical authority and Christian orthodoxy."
"We just had an explosion (in membership) after the General Convention (of American Episcopalian bishops) in 2003," said Cynthia Brust, a spokeswoman for the council. At that convention, bishops failed to pass a resolution upholding core tenets of faith, such as "Jesus is Lord," Brust added.
Membership in ECUSA, Brust said, dropped by more than 72,000 people in 2003-2004. During the same period, she said, 140 parishes left the church.
Membership in the American Anglican Council, she said, now includes more than 200 parishes that broke away from the Episcopal church, as well as tens of thousands of individuals who left on their own.
Both the Rt. Rev. John Rabb, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and leadership of St. John's Episcopal Church declined to be interviewed for this story.
My sympathies, believe me! Are you in a Network church?
Nope...small country church, Diocese of Virginia (Bishops Lee and Jones voted for Vickie Gene; Suffragan Bishop Gray (former Marine, recently retired) voted against. Please place me on your ping list.
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