Skip to comments.Galesburg IL: Local congregation may join Anglican Communion
Posted on 07/21/2006 4:30:48 PM PDT by sionnsar
GALESBURG, IL: The word Episcopal removed from Grace Church Grace Church follows its faith roots.
Local congregation may join Anglican Communion
By JANE CARLSON
GALESBURG (IL) July 21, 2006 - Traces of the white letters that once spelled "Episcopal" still can be seen on the dark red sign outside Grace Church.
But the absence of those letters symbolizes where Grace Church stands following the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which was held in June in Columbus, Ohio.
Actions taken by the delegates at the convention exacerbated theological and political conflicts within the Episcopal Church, which is the American province of the global Anglican community - and have spurred a small network of dioceses across the country to look outside the United States for pastoral guidance.
Grace Church belongs to the Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy, which is among the dioceses that may seek alternative oversight following the election of the liberal Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop. She will be installed as the first female head of the Episcopalian Church in November.
Jefferts Schori has taken flak from conservative Episcopalians for blessing same-sex partnerships in her Nevada diocese and endorsing the ordination of openly gay priests. At the general convention, she incensed some Episcopalians by using the phrase "our mother Jesus."
Father Thomas Janikowski, who has been at Grace Church since 2003, said the "hot-button" political issues are divisive, but are less of a concern to him and members of Grace Church than is legislation passed at the convention that they feel condemns holy Scripture and has a negative effect on evangelism.
"There is concern about other issues, but the Christian faith is at the heart of it," Janikowski said.
Janikowski said one of the theological concerns is the adoption of a resolution that seeks to address anti-Jewish prejudice expressed in Christian Scripture, which some believe is a condemnation of God's word as being anti-Semitic.
Another point of contention was legislation that did not pass. A resolution to declare that Jesus is "the only name by which any person may be saved" based on John 14:6, "no one comes to the Father but by me," was defeated 675 to 242.
"You can't vote on something like that. You accept it," said Janikowski, who noted he felt that some of the resolutions go against his ordination vows.
The Diocese of Quincy will have a special diocesan synod in September to determine whether it will join a handful of dioceses across the country who will find pastoral leadership outside the United States. The Diocese of Springfield already has given Bishop Peter Beckwith permission to seek alternative oversight, which means a diocese would remain a part of the Episcopalian Church but its spiritual leadership would come from another province in the Anglican Communion.
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the 38 provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion are generally self-directed from the national organization down to the diocese and parish levels.
The Anglican Communion has 70 million members worldwide, with Episcopal Church membership at 2.3 million.
The legal name of Grace Church never included the word Episcopal, according to Janikowski. He said the church has been called Grace Church since it was incorporated in 1859.
But dropping the word from the sign is part of Grace Church's deliberate disassociation with actions of the Episcopal Church, as Janikowski outlined in a late June pastoral letter to members of the church.
Janikowski said nothing has changed inside the church.
"It's business as usual," he said. "After the synod, it will be business as usual as well. And that business is preaching the Gospel."
Janikowski said the decision to disassociate from the actions of the general convention has not been controversial within Grace Church and he does not feel aligning with the Anglican Communion over the Episcopal Church will divide the parish.
"We don't want to talk church politics," Janikowski said. "We want to preach the Gospel. When I get to the pulpit, they want to hear about Jesus Christ."
"Another point of contention was legislation that did not pass. A resolution to declare that Jesus is "the only name by which any person may be saved" based on John 14:6, "no one comes to the Father but by me," was defeated 675 to 242."
These things absolutely kill me. This has happened over and over in so many liberal (and even not so extremely liberal) churches, where conservatives, often at first out of seeming pure curiosity -- to see just how far the liberals will go in denying Christ -- put up something like this to a vote.
And it fails.
Votes where statements saying that Christ is the Son of God, and what-not. Failing even a simple majority. And this has been going on for years and years.
It was only some 3+ years ago, thanks to ahadams2 (Arlin Adams), that I began to take a bigger look at what had been going on outside of my local parish, ever since I joined it in 1983. Not a happy picture...
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